Eighteen die in air crash in Luxembourg


LUXEMBOURG: At least 18 people died when a small passenger aircraft crashed in thick fog near Luxembourg airport yesterday morning, reports Denis Staunton. The Luxair flight from Berlin, a Fokker 50, crashed in a wooded area shortly before it was due to land.

The pilot and one other person survived and rescue teams recovered the remains of 18 people. Two remained missing last night but authorities held out little hope that they would survive.

Luxembourg airport was closed because of fog when the crash happened. Air traffic control towers in Germany and Luxembourg received no distress call from the aircraft and the cause of the crash remained unclear last night.

Meanwhile, a fire swept through a sleeping car on a Paris-Vienna express train yesterday, killing 12 people, including two children, and injuring nine others, the French railways said. Five Americans, three Germans, two Russians, a Greek and a Hungarian were killed, French SNCF railway chief Mr Louis Gallois told reporters.

Swaziland rules on monarch's case

JOHANNESBURG : A critical contest in Swaziland between the courts and one of the world's last absolute monarchs over a teenage girl - who was allegedly abducted by the king's emissaries to serve as his 12th wife - has been deferred on a note that satisfied the honour of both contestants, reports Patrick Laurence.

The High Court of Swaziland has emerged with its integrity intact after resisting attempts of the Attorney-General, acting it is assumed on the orders of King Mswati 111, to coerce it into throwing out an application before it by the mother of the teenage girl seeking judicial order for the release of her daughter.

King Mswati, however, is seemingly assured that the teenage schoolgirl, Ms Zena Mahlangu, will become his wife, Zena's mother, Ms Lindiwe Dlamini, having brought a new application to the court requesting it to postpone the matter indefinitely.

Plane-spotters found not guilty

KALAMATA - A Greek appeals court has found all 13 British and Dutch plane-spotters not guilty of involvement in obtaining state secrets, ending a year-long ordeal for the aviation enthusiasts.

The three-judge panel in the seaside town southwest of Athens overturned sentences of up to three years against 11 Britons and two Dutchmen. - (Reuters)

18 drown in Kenyan accident

NAIROBI - Eighteen people drowned early yesterday when a small passenger boat they were travelling in capsized in southwest Kenya's Lake Victoria, police and witnesses said.

"Twelve others were rescued by members of the public and police," Nyanza Provincial Police officer David Kipkemoi Korir said from the lake-shore city of Kisumu. Mr Korir said police had only managed to recover four bodies. - (AFP)

Parliament opening is postponed

ISLAMABAD, - Pakistan's military government has delayed the opening of parliament for one week amid ongoing jockeying between political parties seeking to form a coalition government as the country returns to civilian rule.

The postponement, announced on state television following a cabinet meeting, raises doubts over the likelihood of a coalition between the anti-military party of former prime minister Ms Benazir Bhutto and a group of far-right religious parties. - (Reuters)

Call for Afghan women's rights

KABUL - A group of European women parliamentarians urged Afghan women to shed their veils yesterday and called for aid cuts unless the government took women's rights more seriously.

The left-wing European parliament delegation spent several days in Afghanistan where most women still wear an all-enveloping veil or burqa. The burqa was compulsory under the strict Islamic Taliban regime which was toppled last year. - (Reuters)