- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 10, 2009


U.N. plane crash kills all 11 on board

PORT-AU-PRINCE | A surveillance plane assigned to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti crashed into a mountain Friday, killing all 11 military personnel on board, the United Nations said.

U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas in New York said the Uruguayan CASA 212 aircraft went down in rugged terrain west of Fonds-Verrettes near the border with the Dominican Republic.

Rescue teams had to go to the area on foot because there were no roads in the area and when they arrived they found no survivors, she said.

All bodies were recovered and being taken back to the capital of Port-au-Prince, according to a statement from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

The victims were Uruguayan and Jordanian military personnel serving with the 9,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force that has been in Haiti since a 2004 rebellion ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Ms. Montas said.

It was unclear why the plane was doing surveillance near the border or how often such surveillance flights take place.


Mitchell meets Abbas, Netanyahu

JERUSALEM | U.S. envoy George Mitchell held separate talks with Israel’s prime minister and the Palestinian Authority president on Friday, at a time when hopes of a Middle East peace breakthrough appear dim.

Despite low expectations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office described his two hours of talks with Mr. Mitchell in Jerusalem as “productive and constructive, and focused on steps for advancing the peace process.”

His office said the prime minister and Mr. Mitchell “agreed to continue the talks in the coming days,” and that the U.S. envoy and his team would meet aides of Mr. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday.

Mr. Mitchell later met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank’s political capital of Ramallah. He also plans to hold talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday.


Physicist arrested on al Qaeda suspicion

GENEVA | French authorities have arrested a nuclear physicist working at Europe’s “Big Bang” collider laboratory who is suspected of links to al Qaeda terrorists in Algeria.

The organization, known as CERN, said the man was one of more than 7,000 scientists on the Swiss-French border and was assigned to analysis projects.

A French official said the physicist was one of two brothers arrested Thursday in the eastern French city of Vienne, 20 miles south of Lyon.

Police had said the men were French and between the ages of 25 and 32.


Storm death toll passes 540

PANGASINAN | The death toll from two weeks of unprecedented storms across the northern Philippines soared past 540 on Friday after landslides consumed homes and neck-deep floods inundated towns.

At least 181 people were killed in a series of rain-triggered landslides overnight Thursday and on Friday in mountainous regions of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, local officials reported.

Meanwhile, the downstream farming plains of central Luzon were inundated with water that reached two stories high after dams in the mountains could not hold the phenomenal amount of water that has fallen on the region.

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