Plane crash in Kazakhstan
kills 21 people
MOSCOW — A passenger plane crashed in heavy fog outside of Kazakhstan’s largest city Tuesday, killing 21 people, Kazakh emergency officials said. The crash was the second aviation disaster in the country in a month.
The jet that crashed Tuesday was a Canadian-built Bombardier Challenger CRJ200 operated by SCAT, a private Kazakh airline. It was on its way to Almaty from Kokshetau, 775 miles away, and crashed near the Almaty airport as the pilot tried to land in a heavy fog. Emergency officials said there were no survivors.
Yuri Ilyin, the deputy head of the Almaty emergency department, said there were no signs that the crash was caused by a mechanical malfunction.
“There was no fire,” Kazakh state news media quoted him as saying. “The plane was only destroyed on impact when it hit the ground.”
Rescue workers recovered the plane’s flight recorder, according to a Twitter post by the president’s official communications service.
—Andrew Roth, The New York Times
Incoming Chinese leader vows not to bargain on territory
HONG KONG — China will never bargain over what it deems to be “core” territorial and security interests, the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, said in his first published speech setting out his foreign policy views since taking over as head of the Communist Party.
At a time of volatile tensions with Japan and other Asian neighbors over rival maritime claims, Xi laid out to the Communist Party’s elite Politburo some of the principles likely to shape Chinese diplomacy, seeking to balance vows of commitment to peace with a warning that certain demands are sacrosanct to Beijing.
At the heart of that message was Xi’s invocation of “core national interests,” a sweeping and ill-defined term that he and other senior Chinese officials have used to refer to security and sovereignty interests that they say are not negotiable. These include quelling independence movements in Tibet and the far western region of Xinjiang and eventually bringing the island of Taiwan under Chinese sovereignty.
—Chris Buckley, The New York Times
Departing South Korean leader creates furor with pardons
SEOUL, South Korea — With less than one month left in office, the departing president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, granted special pardons Tuesday to political allies, a longtime friend and dozens of others who have been convicted of corruption and other crimes. The pardons ignited a rare quarrel between him and the president-elect.
The office of the incoming president, Park Geun-hye, had warned Lee for days not to “abuse his presidential power” by granting pardons in his last days in office that would “go against the will of the people.”
Lee ignored that appeal.
“This is not an abuse of presidential authority,” Lee was quoted by his office as saying during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. “It is carried out according to law and procedure.”
His office said Lee noted that far fewer people had been granted presidential clemency during his five years in office than under his predecessors.
The highly unusual dispute between Lee and Park, who are members of the governing Saenuri Party, rekindled a long-running controversy in South Korea over the president’s clemency power.
—Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times