- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 8, 2006

RUSSIA

Plane carrying 200 crashes in Siberia

MOSCOW — An airplane carrying about 200 people crashed today in the Siberian city of Irkutsk and most on board were feared dead, officials said.

The Sibir Airbus A-310 crashed on landing, veering off the runway and bursting into flames, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said.

Mrs. Andrianova said 43 persons were hospitalized, but most of the other passengers and crew members were feared dead. The plane carried a crew of eight and 192 passengers.

The aircraft was on a flight from Moscow to Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal. It took emergency services more than two hours to extinguish the flames, Mrs. Andrianova said.

BRITAIN

Anglicans approve women bishops

LONDON — The Church of England voted yesterday to ordain women as bishops, a major liberalizing step in a faith that also has faced schism over homosexuality, although it could be years before the first woman bishop is named.

The English church has ordained women as priests for a decade and one in six parish priests is a woman. But the church maintained what critics called a “stained-glass ceiling” that prevented women from rising to the rank of bishop.

SAUDI ARABIA

Seven terror suspects escape from prison

RIYADH — Seven suspected terrorists escaped from a prison in the Saudi capital, officials said yesterday — a rare jailbreak in the tightly controlled kingdom and U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

The Saudi Interior Ministry described the fugitives as religious extremists and said they had been arrested in separate incidents during the past year.

Spokesman Mansour al-Turki would neither confirm nor deny press reports that the fugitives were linked to al Qaeda, saying only they had been arrested on suspicion of terrorism.

EAST TIMOR

Nobel laureate named prime minister

DILI — Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta was named East Timor’s new prime minister yesterday, shouldering the responsibility for restoring stability in the young nation after months of violence and political turmoil.

President Xanana Gusmao announced the formation of a new government, filling a void created when former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri resigned last month amid charges he formed a hit squad to kill his political opponents.

Many in East Timor blame Mr. Alkatiri’s dismissal of 600 soldiers — nearly half the country’s armed forces — for May street battles that erupted in the capital between police and army units and later spilled into gang warfare, looting and arson.

YEMEN

Terror suspects freed for lack of evidence

SAN’A — A Yemeni court acquitted 19 purported al Qaeda members of charges they plotted to blow up a hotel frequented by Americans, citing a lack of evidence.

The defendants, 14 from Yemen and five from neighboring Saudi Arabia, were accused of having formed a gang to assassinate Americans and Westerners in Yemen, and of having joined the war against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Several of the defendants confessed to having been in Iraq to fight U.S. troops there and had Iraqi stamps on their passports, the judge said, “but this does not violate [Yemeni] law. Islamic Shariah law permits jihad against occupiers.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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