Russia-bound aircraft from India crashes in Afghanistan

Russia-bound aircraft from India crashes in Afghanistan
A general view of fog laden west Kabul on January 19, 2024. (Photo by Omer ABRAR / AFP)
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Updated 21 January 2024
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Russia-bound aircraft from India crashes in Afghanistan

Russia-bound aircraft from India crashes in Afghanistan
  • Plane went missing in Badakhshan province, which borders China, Tajikistan, Pakistan
  • Private jet was charter ambulance flight traveling from India via Uzbekistan to Moscow

KABUL: A Russian-registered private plane carrying six people is believed to have crashed in a remote area of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said on Sunday.

The crash took place on Saturday night in a mountainous area near Zebak district in the northeastern Badakhshan province, which borders China, Tajikistan, and Pakistan.

“According to initial information, a Falcon 10 Russian private jet plane carrying six crew and passengers was heading to Tashkent (the capital of Uzbekistan) from India yesterday at 7 p.m.

“Due to some technical problem, the plane lost its signal. Possibly when it was over the outskirts of Zebak and Kuran wa Munjan districts of northeastern Badakhshan province, it got lost and crashed,” Imamuddin Ahmadi, civil aviation ministry spokesman, told Arab News.

Ahmadi said the ministry had dispatched a team to investigate the incident and that more details would follow.

The mighty Hindu Kush mountain range cuts through the rural Afghan province, which is home to the nation’s highest mountain, Mount Noshaq, at 7,492 meters high.

Russian aviation authorities said in a statement that the plane was a charter ambulance flight traveling from the Indian city of Gaya, via Uzbekistan, to Moscow on a French-made Dassault Aviation Falcon 10 manufactured in 1978.

“On the evening of Saturday, Jan. 20, while in the airspace of Afghanistan (near the border of Tajikistan), the Falcon 10 aircraft, registered in the state register of civil aircraft of the Russian Federation, stopped communicating and disappeared from radar screens,” the statement added.

“There were six people on board the plane – four crew members and two passengers.”

Russian authorities also said they were in contact with their Afghan and Tajikistan counterparts.

“The search for the aircraft is underway.”


US to take ‘hard look’ at fighter project, top official says

US to take ‘hard look’ at fighter project, top official says
Updated 27 sec ago
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US to take ‘hard look’ at fighter project, top official says

US to take ‘hard look’ at fighter project, top official says

RAF FAIRFORD, England, July 20 : The US will closely dissect its plans for a Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) platform — a future family of fighters and drones — before deciding whether to go ahead, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said on Saturday.
The cost of the future F-22 replacement has come under scrutiny after topping $300 million each, three times the cost of an F-35. But Kendall also highlighted evolving threats, in an apparent reference to rapidly arming China.
The idea of using drones or Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) will remain part of the proposed initiatives, he said.
“Before we make the commitment that we are close to making, we want to make sure we have got the right design concept,” Kendall said at Britain’s Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military air show.
“NGAD was conceived before a number of things: before the threat became so severe, before CCAs were introduced into the equation and before we had some issues with affordability that we are currently facing,” Kendall told reporters.
“So we are going to take a hard look at NGAD before moving forward, but the family of systems which includes a crewed platform and CCAs and weapon systems and communications ... is still very much the concept that we are pursuing.”
The Air Force faces heavy costs for renewing its land-based nuclear deterrent and developing the B-21 bomber.
“Before we commit to the 2026 budget, we want to be sure we are on the right path,” Kendall told reporters.
Analysts attending the air show said the depth of the review suggested the Air Force wanted to refresh its view on whether NGAD remained well adapted to threats posed by China as its schedule slips into the 2030s.
“NGAD is a whole series of programs under the umbrella of capabilities that the Air Force wants in order both to better deter China and to fight and win if necessary,” said Vago Muradian, editor of Defense & Aerospace Report.
“The Chinese are changing how they’re going to fight. So the question that a budget-constrained Air Force is asking is whether the tens of billions of dollars is the right investment, or are there better ways of achieving some of these same aims.”
Boeing and Lockheed Martin are widely seen as competing to win the core fighter part of the project.
The rethink has captured attention in Europe where Britain’s crewed-uncrewed GCAP project, in partnership with Japan and Italy, may face scrutiny in an upcoming UK defense review and France, Germany and Spain are working on the FCAS/SCAF project.
Partners in GCAP are expected to give an update at the opening of the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday.


Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound

Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound
Updated 18 min 32 sec ago
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Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound

Trump’s former physician gives new details on gunshot wound

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s former physician Ronny Jackson said on Saturday that the former president is recovering as expected from a gunshot wound to his ear that he suffered last week, but noted intermittent bleeding and said Trump may require a hearing exam.
The bullet fired by a would-be assassin at a July 13 Trump rally in Pennsylvania came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head” before striking the top of Trump’s right ear, said Jackson, a Republican congressman from Texas who served as physician to Presidents Trump and Barack Obama.
Five days after narrowly escaping assassination, Trump on Thursday accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the Nov. 5 election.
Jackson, providing what appeared to be the first public description by a medical professional of Trump’s gunshot wound, said in a letter posted on social media Saturday that “the bullet track produced a 2 (centimeter) wide wound that extended down to the cartilaginous surface of the ear.”
“There was initially significant bleeding, followed by marked swelling of the entire upper ear. The swelling has since resolved, and the wound is beginning to granulate and heal properly,” he wrote.
Jackson said he had provided daily evaluation and treatment of Trump’s wound since the shooting. He said no sutures were required, but noted that due to the “highly vascular nature of the ear, there is still intermittent bleeding requiring a dressing to be in place.”
“He will have further evaluations, including a comprehensive hearing exam, as needed,” Jackson added.
Trump recounted the assassination attempt to a rapt audience on Thursday at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, saying that he was only there “by the grace of Almighty God.”
“I heard a loud whizzing sound and felt something hit me really, really hard on my right ear,” he said, a thick bandage still covering his ear. “I said to myself, ‘Wow, what was that? It can only be a bullet.’”


Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye

Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye
Updated 22 min 38 sec ago
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Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye

Greek border guard shot in abdomen while patrolling border with Turkiye

THESSALONIKI, Greece: A Greek border guard was shot in the abdomen Saturday while patrolling an area of the Greek-Turkish border where undocumented migrants seek to enter the European Union, Greek police said. The injuries are not life-threatening.
Four Greek border guard officers were on duty along the Evros River, the land border with Turkiye, shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, when three or four shots rang out from the Turkish side, police said.
A bullet hit one of the border guards in the lower abdomen. The injured man was taken to a hospital in the town of Didymoteicho, where he was operated on, police said.
Police added that the injured officer was in stable, non-life-threatening condition.
Greek media reported that police officials believe the shooter or shooters were probably human traffickers. Officials are not allowed to speak about cases under investigation and the officials requested anonymity.
A police statement said the bullet was fired from a pistol.
The patrolling officers had detected some movement on the Turkish side, but could not tell how many people were there because their view was blocked by thick vegetation. With several more border guards converging on the site, no crossing was made.
The border guards are a special unit of Greece’s police.


Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence

Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence
Updated 28 min 9 sec ago
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Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence

Azerbaijan’s president pledges to help French territories secure independence
  • Azerbaijani authorities accuse France of bias in favor of Armenia in efforts to achieve a peace treaty to end three decades of conflict

SHUSHA, Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev pledged on Saturday to help France’s overseas territories secure independence, the latest in a series of incidents pitting his ex-Soviet state against Paris over long-running conflicts in the Caucasus region.
Aliyev accuses France of interfering in its affairs over its contacts with Armenia, against which it has waged two wars in 30 years linked to disputes over Baku’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In recent months, Azerbaijani leaders have focused on France’s South Pacific territory of New Caledonia, gripped by weeks of violence over the objections of Indigenous Kanak activists to a contentious electoral reform.
Aliyev made his latest comments at a media forum days before the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris and just after the staging in Baku of a congress bringing together pro-independence groups from New Caledonia and other French territories.
“We will support you until you are free,” Aliyev told the forum, citing French territories that he said were still subject to colonialism.
“Some countries are still suffering from this. The Comoros islands, Mayotte are still under colonial rule. It has been our duty to help these countries liberate themselves from this revolting remnant from the past.”
Earlier this week, an “initiative group” staged a congress in Baku attended by pro-independence groups from New Caledonia and other French territories, including Corsica and Caribbean and Pacific islands.
French media accounts of the meeting said participants sharply criticized French authorities and an Azerbaijani delegation was invited to visit New Caledonia.
France accused Azerbaijan in May of meddling and abetting unrest in New Caledonia by flooding social media with what it said were misleading photos and videos targeting French police.
Azerbaijan has denied the allegations.
Azerbaijani authorities accuse France of bias in favor of Armenia in efforts to achieve a peace treaty to end three decades of conflict and in signing defense contracts with authorities in Yerevan. Azerbaijan expelled two French diplomats last December.


Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says
Updated 27 min 43 sec ago
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Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

WASHINGTON: The gunman in the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump is believed to have flown a drone around the Pennsylvania rally site ahead of time in an apparent attempt to scope out the site before the event, a law enforcement official said Saturday.
The drone has been recovered by the FBI, which is leading the investigation into last Saturday’s shooting at the rally by 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks.
Crooks fired multiple rounds from the roof of a building adjacent to the Butler Farm Show grounds, where Trump was speaking, before being fatally shot by a Secret Service counter sniper. The existence of the device and its use at some point before the shooting could help explain why Crooks knew to fire from the point.
The official who described the drone was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Details of the drone were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Trump said this week that one bullet clipped his right ear. A memo released Saturday by the Trump campaign and authored by Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, who served as the GOP nominee’s White House physician, said that Trump sustained a gunshot wound to the right ear from a high-powered rifle that came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head, and struck the top of his right ear.”
One of the bullets aimed toward Trump killed 50-year-old firefighter Corey Comperatore, a spectator who was in the bleachers. Two others were seriously wounded.
The FBI is continuing to investigate what may have motivated Crooks to carry out the attack. So far, officials have not found any ideological bent that could help explain his actions.
Investigators who searched his phone found photos of Trump, President Joe Biden and other senior government officials, and also found that he had looked up the dates for the Democratic National Conventional as well as Trump’s appearances. He also searched for information about major depressive order.
More details about the investigation are expected to be made public in the coming week when FBI Director Chris Wray appears before the House Judiciary Committee.