MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Two Russian pilots safely landed an airliner carrying 233 people in a cornfield outside Moscow after striking a flock of birds, prompting the Kremlin to hail them as heroes who will receive top state awards.
The Russian authorities have said it was a miracle that no one was killed when the Ural Airlines Airbus 321 came down in a field, southeast of Moscow, with its landing gear up after hitting a passing flock of gulls, disrupting the operation of the plane’s engines.
Up to 74 people, including 19 children, were treated for injuries, six of whom have been hospitalized, Russian news agencies quoted the emergencies ministry as saying.
State television said the incident was being dubbed the "miracle over Ramensk”, the name of the district near Moscow where the plane came down, around one kilometer (0.62 miles) from Zhukovsky International Airport.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid praised pilot Damir Yusupov as a "hero,” saying he had saved 233 lives, "having masterfully landed a plane without its landing gear with a failing engine right in a corn field.”
Some drew comparisons with U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which performed a landing on the Hudson River in New York in 2009 after striking a flock of geese.
"We congratulate the hero pilots who saved people’s lives,” Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said, adding that the Kremlin would see that the men were quickly given state honors. "There’s no doubt about this. They will be given awards.”
ROME (AP) — Three ailing migrants and a family member were evacuated Friday from a Spanish rescue ship anchored near a southern Italian island but 134 others remained stuck on the boat as Italy’s political battle over migration raged on.
The humanitarian ship Open Arms had rescued 147 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea near Libya two weeks ago and won a legal battle to enter Italy’s territorial waters despite a ban by right-wing Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Yet most of the migrants remained aboard the ship as Salvini stuck to his resolve to keep humanitarian vessels from docking in Italy.
"I’m not giving up, you can be sure of that,” Salvini vowed Friday in a tweet.
Despite offers by Spain and five other European Union nations on Thursday to take in the migrants, whom Salvini doesn’t want to accept, it was unclear when or how the standoff might end. The Open Arms was anchored a few hundred yards (meters) off Lampedusa island and one emergency worker said tempers among migrants were fraying as the delays dragged on.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s police used tear gas, arrests and beatings Friday to quell anti-government protests in the capital, Harare.
Seven people were injured, including one in critical condition, and 80 people were arrested, said Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party that organized the demonstrations.
"There is not going to be any rest until we achieve a people’s government...we will continue to mobilize,” said Chamisa at a press conference, following a day of clashes between police and opposition demonstrators.
Human rights groups criticized the police, saying they used excessive force against the protesters. The police, however, denied that they committed abuses.
"We are not impinging on people’s rights,” police spokesman Paul Nyathi said on the state television. "People should engage in lawful activities and they should not be at places where they are not supposed to be.”
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday, while satellite data showed polar ice shrank to its lowest levels.
According to the NOAA, the average global temperature for the month was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.4 Fahrenheit), making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.
"Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows," the agency said.
The findings confirmed data released by the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service on August 5, though the margin of the new record compared to the last, in July 2016, was greater according to the US data.
Searing heat waves saw records tumble across Europe last month, while in the U.S., nearly 150 million people struggled to stay cool from the Midwestern plains to the Atlantic coast and local media reported at least six deaths.
NEW DELHI (AFP) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Thursday of the risks of an "unchecked population explosion" in the nation of 1.3 billion people, the first time he has raised the issue, and called for family planning measures.
India is the world's second-most populous country behind China with 1.4 billion, and its population is set to surpass its East Asian neighbour by 2024, according to the United Nations.
"It is time to accept the challenges up front... population explosion. It will bring a lot of challenges for the future generations of this country," Modi said in an Independence Day speech in the capital New Delhi.
"We have to think if we can do justice to the aspirations of our children. There is a need to have greater discussion and awareness on population explosion."