January 30, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Russian fighter makes its debut

From Wire Reports
Associated Press photo

A Sukhoi T-50 is seen Thursday at an airfield near Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Siberia, Russia.
(Full-size photo)

Moscow – Russia’s first stealth fighter intended to match the latest U.S. design made its maiden flight Friday, boosting the country’s efforts to modernize its rusting Soviet-built arsenals and retain its lucrative export market.

The Sukhoi T-50’s flight comes nearly two decades after the first prototype of the U.S. F-22 Raptor took to the air, and Russian officials said it will take another five years for the new jet to enter service. Still, the flight marked a major step in Russia’s efforts to burnish the faded glory of its aviation industries and strengthen a beleaguered military.

The sleek, twin-engined jet closely resembling the Raptor flew for 47 minutes from an airfield at Sukhoi’s production plant in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday.

Report: American wants to defect

Seoul, South Korea – An American man detained by North Korea after allegedly entering the communist country illegally has sought asylum and wants to join its military, a news report said today.

South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said the man crossed into North Korea from China on Monday.

It said an unidentified source in North Korea told the newspaper the 28-year-old man said he came to the country because he did not “want to become a cannon fodder in the capitalist military,” and “wants to serve in the North Korean military” instead.

The National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s top spy agency, said it could not immediately confirm the report. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said it had no such information.

On Thursday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported an American was arrested Monday for trespassing.

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