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In Brief | Nation & World 12-30-12

Former president Bush moved out of intensive care

HOUSTON — Former President George H.W. Bush’s condition continued to improve Saturday, prompting doctors to move him out of intensive care, a spokesman said.

“President Bush’s condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said Saturday. “The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes.”

Bush was hospitalized Nov. 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough. He was moved to intensive care at the Houston hospital on Dec. 23 after he developed a fever.

Suspect held in fatal subway shove case

NEW YORK — A woman is in custody in the death of a man who was shoved in front of a speeding subway train, and she “made statements implicating herself,” New York City police said Saturday.

Detectives questioned her but aren’t releasing the 31-year-old suspect’s name until she is formally charged, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said in a brief statement. Among other things, investigators were arranging for witnesses to positively identify the woman in custody as the attacker, police said.

Sunando Sen, a 46-year-old Queens resident who was born in India and ran a printing shop, died Thursday night when a woman who had been muttering to herself on a train platform in Queens suddenly knocked him on the tracks as a train entered the station.

The woman fled after the attack.

4 dead after airliner goes off Moscow runway

MOSCOW — A passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia’s third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing at least four people.

Officials said there were eight people aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings that was flying back from the Czech Republic without passengers to its home at Vnukovo Airport.

Emergency officials said in a televised news conference that four people were killed and another four severely injured when the plane rolled off the runway into a snowy field and partly onto an adjacent highway, then disintegrated. No collisions with vehicles on the major, multilane highway were reported.

The plane’s cockpit area was sheared off from the fuselage and the tail section partly torn away.

Philippines eases access to contraceptives

MANILA — Philippines President Benigno Aquino III has signed legislation that will provide modern contraceptives to the nation’s poorest people and mandate sex education in public schools, a spokeswoman announced Saturday.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines immediately vowed to challenge the new law in the nation’s Supreme Court and rally demonstrations in the streets, alluding to the bishops’ role in inspiring the “People Power” revolution in 1986 that helped topple former President Ferdinand Marcos.

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was passed by the Philippines Congress this month after the bishops and their supporters had successfully blocked it for 14 years.

75 percent tax on French rich overturned

PARIS — France’s planned new tax on the rich was ruled void Saturday by a 12-member panel that is the country’s highest authority on constitutional issues.

The Constitutional Council in Paris handed down a decision declaring parts of the 2013 finance bill passed by the French parliament amounted to unconstitutional taxation. The government of President Francois Hollande immediately said it would introduce amendments.

Under the bill, income above $1.32 million annually was to be taxed at 75 percent.

India’s leaders urge calm after rape victim dies

NEW DELHI — Indian riot police blocked major roads, imposed restrictions on “illegal assembly” and shut down subway stations Saturday as they braced for fresh demonstrations even as politicians appealed for calm following the overnight death of a rape victim at a Singapore hospital from multiple organ failure.

On Saturday, six men accused and under arrest in the attack on the woman were charged with murder.

By wire sources