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U.S. transport plane crashes

Fri., April 1, 2005, midnight

Tirana, Albania A U.S. military transport plane crashed in central Albania while on a training mission Thursday, and nine American personnel aboard were believed to have been killed, Albanian officials said.

The Pentagon said a search was under way for the C-130 but poor weather was hampering efforts.

The plane had taken off from Tirana’s airport and crashed on Driza Mountain in the district of Gramsh, 50 miles southeast of the capital, Tirana, Albanian Defense Ministry spokesman Agim Doci told the Associated Press.

Doci said officials believe that the nine people aboard, all Americans, were killed.

Albanian Army chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Pellumb Qazimi, said the plane was part of a joint Albanian-U.S. military exercise.

The Albanian News24 television station reported that the location of the crash was remote and hard to reach.

Wolfowitz approved to lead World Bank

Washington The World Bank approved Paul Wolfowitz as its new president Thursday, affirming the administration’s choice of a Bush loyalist to take the helm of the 184-nation development bank.

Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary who helped plan the Iraq war, will begin his five-year term on June 1.

“Nothing is more gratifying than being able to help people in need and developing opportunities for all the people of the world to achieve their full potential,” Wolfowitz said after winning unanimous approval from the World Bank’s 24-member board.

The bank’s stated mission is to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in developing countries. It lends around $20 billion a year to developing countries for various projects, including roads, schools and fighting AIDS.

Idling truck may have caused refinery blast

Houston A contractor’s idling diesel truck may have sucked in a hydrocarbon liquid and vapor cloud, sparking last week’s fiery explosion at a Texas refinery that killed 15 and injured more than 100, investigators said Thursday.

“Witnesses saw vapor in the area of the truck and observed the engine begin to rev up and race,” U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board manager Bill Hoyle said in a statement.

“This behavior by a diesel engine indicates the presence of a flammable atmosphere entering the air intake. A driver reported trying to shut off the engine but was unable to do so,” he said.

Hoyle said once CSB investigators enter the area at the BP PLC plant where the explosion occurred March 23, they plan to look for the truck engine and determine whether it was an ignition source for the liquid and vapor release from a nearby vent.

Mugger gets bag with a surprise inside

San Diego This mugger was left holding a bag he didn’t really want.

Police said they were searching for a gunman who ran up to a woman while she was walking her dog Monday night and grabbed the bag she was holding. It contained poop.

When the gunman discovered what was in it, he threw it down in disgust, pointed his gun at the 32-year-old woman and demanded money, San Diego police detective Gary Hassen said.

He then aimed his .22-caliber semiautomatic at the dog, named Misty, and pulled the trigger twice but the gun didn’t fire, Hassen said. The robber, who was believed to be in his 20s, ran to a waiting small, silver car and fled, police said.


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