Friday, April 4, 2008

Afternoon Roundup

A U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber caught fire Friday after a landing at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, U.S. military officials said.

The crew evacuated safely, the officials said.

They said the fire began while the plane was taxiing after landing about 9:10 p.m. at al-Udeid, the headquarters of U.S. military air operations for the Middle East.

Officials said the fire on the bomber was contained. A military board of inquiry has been appointed to investigate the incident, they said.

The officials said initial reports said the plane crashed at the headquarters of the U.S. military's air operations for the Middle East.

Commenter Bond, James Bond passed along word that the crew was based out of Elmendorf.


PARIS, France (AP) -- Pirates seized control of a French luxury yacht carrying 30 crew members Friday in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's coast, the French government and the ship's owner said/

Attackers stormed the three-mast Le Ponant as it returned without passengers from the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, toward the Mediterranean Sea, said officials with French maritime transport company CMA-CGM.

"This is a blatant act of piracy," Prime Minister Francois Fillon told reporters while on a visit to Brussels. "The Defense and Foreign ministries are mobilized to act as quickly as possible, I hope in the coming minutes or hours to try to win the freedom of these hostages."

He did not elaborate. France has considerable military resources in the region, including a base in Djibouti and a naval flotilla circulating in the Indian Ocean.

The ship was in the high seas in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia's coast in the Indian Ocean, the ministry said. At least some of the crew members are French. The company declined to identify any other crew member nationalities.

"French authorities are handling the situation," Jean-Emmanuel Sauvee, managing director of La Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, told reporters in the southeastern city of Marseille, where his subsidiary of CMA-CGM is based. The company did not want to comment further so as not to endanger the crew members held hostage, he said.

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