News Two dead, one missing as freak weather hits Italy, France
Russian passenger airliner was forced to make an emergency landing while on fire at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport Sunday, turning into a fiery ball as it skidded on the runway, killing 41 people.
Thirty-seven passengers have been confirmed alive. Five people have been hospitalized, according to Aeroflot airlines.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the equivalent of the FBI, has confirmed death toll and said two children were among those killed.
There were 73 passengers and 5 crew members on board the Sukhoi Superjet 100 plane, operated by the Russian airline Aeroflot. It took off from Moscow bound for the northern city of Murmansk, but was forced to turn back due to unspecified “technical reasons,” according to a statement from the airline, which added that the engine caught fire.
Video of the landing was shot by Norenko Mikhail, a passenger on a different plane, showed massive flames and black smoke shooting from the aircraft as it descended onto the runway, and then burst into flames as it came to a stop.
Passengers evacuated using emergency slides, the video shows.
Firefighters have extinguished the blaze, according to Russia’s emergencies ministry.
Emergency services set up an operation center at the airport, and a reception point for relatives of the victims.
The airport has continued to operate, though at least half a dozen flights have been diverted to other airports or cancelled.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev immediately ordered that a state commission be established to investigate the caused of the fire, and the Investigative Committee said it has opened a criminal probe to establish the cause of the crash.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to the victims, and ordered a full investigation into the fire, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency. Putin has also directed that all necessary help be provided to the victims.
This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.
FILE PHOTO: n Greenland, a glacier’s collapse shows climate impact
By Simon Johnson
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Top diplomats from the United States, Russia and other nations which border the Arctic meet in Finland on Monday to discuss policies governing the polar region, as tensions grow over how to deal with global warming and access to mineral wealth.
(Graphic: Rising global temperatures – http://tmsnrt.rs/2fd44vX)
Countries have been scrambling to claim territory or, like China, boost their presence in the region as thawing ice raises the possibility of exploiting much of the world’s remaining undiscovered reserves of oil and gas, plus huge deposits of minerals such as zinc, iron and rare earth metals.
With time-saving Arctic shipping routes also opening up, the Pentagon warned on May 2 of the risk of Chinese submarines in the Arctic.
That followed a sharp statement by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who will give a speech at the Arctic Council meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland on May 6 – rejecting a role for China in shaping Arctic policy.
„The U.S. has realized that they cannot leave the Russians and Chinese to carve up the Arctic as they see fit,” said Niklas Granholm, deputy director of studies at Sweden’s Defence Research Agency.
The Arctic Council is made up of the United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, with the region’s indigenous populations also represented.
China has had observer status at the Council since 2013, and has been increasingly active in the region, outlining a plan for a „Polar Silk Road” last year.
Russia has reopened military bases closed after the Cold War and is modernizing its powerful Northern Fleet. In response, the U.S. has reconstituted its Second Fleet, whose area of responsibility will include the North Pole.
The Arctic Council’s remit excludes military matters, but participants have already clashed, with the Washington Post reporting that the U.S. had refused to sign off on a final declaration, disagreeing with the wording on climate change.
MELTING THE ICE
„There are different tones with which different countries want to approach climate change,” Finland’s Arctic Ambassador Aleksi Harkonen said.
„It’s not about whether climate change can be mentioned or not. It will be there, in the final declaration.”
Surface air temperatures in the Arctic are warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe, and the ocean could be ice-free during the summer months within 25 years, according to some researchers.
(Graphic: Ocean tides and warming – https://tmsnrt.rs/2OZBykT)
That could have a profound effect on the world’s weather as well as on wildlife and indigenous populations in the polar region.
President Donald Trump has frequently expressed scepticism about whether global warming is a result of human activity and has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
That agreement aimed to limit a rise in average global temperatures to „well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times by 2100.
Another flashpoint in Finland could be the meeting between Pompeo and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will discuss the political crisis in Venezuela.
Russia has accused the United States of trying to engineer a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, one of its closest allies in Latin America.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told Russia to stop interfering in what he called America’s „hemisphere”.
India, South Korea, Singapore, Italy and Japan have observer status at the Arctic Council in addition to China.
(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner and Lesley Wroughton in Washington, Andrew Osborne in Moscow and Anne Kauranen in Helsinki; Editing by Jan Harvey)
Astronomers have assembled the most all-encompassing image of space ever created.
Dubbed the “Hubble Legacy Field,” this wide view image shows around 265,000 galaxies. These galaxies go back 13.3 billion years to 500 million years after the big bang, showcasing how they have changed over time.
This latest Hubble mosaic consists of around 30 times as many galaxies as previous deep fields did. For example, the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) which was put together in and is included in the Hubble Legacy Field, contains 5,500 galaxies.
“The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see,” NASA said in its statement.
The findings from 31 different Hubble programs came together in order to assemble this image. According to NASA, no image will surpass the Hubble Legacy Field until the next generation of space telescopes are launched.
„Now that we have gone wider than in previous surveys, we are harvesting many more distant galaxies in the largest such dataset ever produced by Hubble,” said Garth Illingworth, who led the Hubble Legacy Field image team. „This one image contains the full history of the growth of galaxies in the universe, from their time as ‘infants’ to when they grew into fully fledged ‘adults.'”
„The expectation is that this survey will lead to an even more coherent, in-depth and greater understanding of the universe’s evolution in the coming years,” he added.