- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2007


Airliner crash-lands; 7 dead, 23 hurt

MOSCOW — A Russian airliner crash-landed in the central Russian city of Samara yesterday, killing seven persons and injuring 23, emergency officials said.

The Tu-134 plane, an aging model, belonged to the Russian airline UTAir and had 57 persons on board, including seven crew members, the company said. Two of the crew members were among the injured, it said.

Some Russian news outlets, citing local emergency officials, reported that the plane landed on its fuselage after the landing gear failed to come down.


Goodbye boosts Chirac’s popularity

PARIS — Public support for French President Jacques Chirac, who recently announced his retirement from politics, increased in March, according to a newspaper poll yesterday.

Support for Mr. Chirac, who was head of state for 12 years, jumped three points from last month to 46 percent, with 53 percent saying they were dissatisfied, according to the IFOP poll for Le Journal Du Dimanche.

Mr. Chirac said last week he would not seek another term.


Poll picks Sarkozy in election runoff

PARIS — France’s center-right candidate Nicolas Sarkozy would win in a second round of the French presidential race against Socialist rival Segolene Royal, according to an opinion poll published today.

Mr. Sarkozy, the country’s interior minister, would win 52 percent of the vote, with Ms. Royal garnering 48 percent, the Ipsos/Dell poll conducted for the SFR network and Le Point magazine showed.

In the first round of the presidential election set for April 22, Mr. Sarkozy would net 29.5 percent of the vote, Ms. Royal 25 percent and centrist candidate Francois Bayrou 21 percent. Far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen would garner 12.5 percent.


Bomb materials seized by police

BELGRADE — Police yesterday arrested four persons after uncovering a haul of plastic explosives and guns during a raid on a southern mountain camp, reports said.

Police seized munitions, bombs, ID cards and terrorist propaganda in the swoop at the camp in the Velika Ninaja mountain, near the border with Montenegro, said the state-run news agency Tanjug.

The four men arrested are all Muslims originating from the city of Novi Pazar, 155 miles southwest of Belgrade, and are suspected of being part of a terrorist organization.


Relations with Cuba called ‘very good’

MADRID — The Spanish foreign ministry declared relations with Cuba “very good” after the top diplomats of both countries met yesterday about bilateral ties and the health of Fidel Castro.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos held talks in Madrid with his Cuban counterpart Felipe Perez Roque, who was wrapping up a brief European tour that had taken him to Rome and Lisbon and to a Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Paris.

In Lisbon on Friday, Mr. Perez Roque had said the convalescing Mr. Castro has gained weight and was exercising daily.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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