Updated 

In Brief | Nation & World | 4-28-14


Military observers held by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine speak under armed guard

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Pro-Russian militants in camouflage fatigues and black balaclavas paraded captive European military observers before the media on Sunday, hours after three captured Ukrainian security guards were shown bloodied, blindfolded and stripped of their trousers and shoes, their arms bound with packing tape.

The provocative displays came as the increasingly ruthless pro-Russian insurgency in the east turns to kidnapping as an ominous new tactic.

Dozens of people are being held hostage, including journalists and pro-Ukraine activists, in makeshift jails in Slovyansk, the heart of the separatists’ territory, as the pro-Russian insurgents strengthen their control in defiance of the interim government in Kiev and its Western supporters.

Speaking in deliberate and clipped phrases, Col. Axel Schneider of Germany, speaking on behalf of the observers, insisted they were not NATO spies, as claimed by the insurgents, but a military observation mission operating under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“We are not fighters, we are diplomats in uniform,” he said, noting that his unarmed team included an officer from Sweden, which is not a NATO member.

Bad weather hinders divers search for more than 100 missing from sunken ferry

JINDO, South Korea — Divers on Monday renewed their search for more than 100 bodies still trapped in a sunken ferry after weekend efforts were hindered by bad weather, strong currents and floating debris clogging the ship’s rooms. Officials said they have narrowed down the likely locations in the ship of most of the remaining missing passengers.

Divers found only one body Sunday after a week that saw an increasing number of corpses pulled from the ship as divers made their way through its labyrinth of cabins, lounges and halls. The number of dead from the April 16 sinking is 188, with 114 people believed missing, though a government emergency task force has said the ship’s passengers list could be inaccurate. Only 174 people survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.

Senior coast guard officer Kim Su-hyeon said that most of the remaining missing passengers are believed to be in 64 of the ship’s 111 rooms. Divers have entered 36 of those 64 rooms, coast guard officers said, but may need to go back into some because floating debris made it difficult for divers to be sure that there are no more dead bodies.

Ko Myung-seok, an official with the emergency task force, said Monday that 92 divers would search the ferry. He also said that the government was making plans to salvage the ferry once search efforts end but that details wouldn’t be available until officials talk with families of the victims.

On Sunday, South Korea’s prime minister resigned over the government’s handling of the sinking, blaming “deep-rooted evils” in society for the tragedy.

Pilot missing after 2 small planes collide over northern end of San Francisco Bay

RICHMOND, Calif. — The Coast Guard searched for a pilot in the northern part of San Francisco Bay on Sunday after two small planes collided over the water and only one of the aircraft landed safely, authorities said.

Debris was spotted in San Pablo Bay after the 4:05 p.m. collision near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Petty Officer Loumania Stewart said.

The collision involved a single-engine Cessna 210 and a single-engine Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. Each aircraft had one person on board.

The Cessna crashed into the water and the pilot of the Hawker was able to land safely at Eagle’s Nest Airport in the small Northern California city of Ione, Gregor said. The pilot was reportedly uninjured.

Gregor said both planes took off from Half Moon Bay Airport, roughly 20 miles south of San Francisco.

By wire sources