Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Briefly

June 1, 2003

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France: Concorde soars home in final commercial flight

Air France's streamlined white Concorde swooped into a Paris airport Saturday in a final commercial flight home, ending two and a half decades of supersonic travel between New York and Paris.

The plane, above, touched down at 5:44 p.m. local time at Charles de Gaulle Airport after cruising over the Atlantic Ocean at twice the speed of sound. Several thousand Concorde fans greeted the "white bird."

"It's the end of an era in aviation," Dominique Bussereau, France's transport secretary, said before the flight took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Eleven crew members and 68 passengers were aboard for the 3 1/2 hour flight -- including a woman who bought a seat for her dog, Romeo, as she does every month.

British Airways, the only other airline that flies the Concorde, plans to retire its fleet at the end of October. Both companies say they can no longer afford the plane's maintenance.

Philippines: 23 dead in new fighting

Clashes between Philippine troops and Muslim separatist guerrillas left at least 23 dead Saturday, just days before a 10-day unilateral cease-fire was set to begin.

About 70 guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ambushed a group of militiamen in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao at 6 a.m., killing seven and wounding two, said Maj. Gen. Generoso Senga, commander of the army's 6th Infantry Division.

The rebels seized the weapons of the militiamen and escaped. Troops backed by two M-520 attack helicopters pursued the guerrillas, killing 12.

Sporadic gunbattles in the area continued for most of Saturday morning.

Singapore: Nation called a model of SARS control

This island nation, one of the hardest hit by the SARS pandemic, officially brought the disease under control Saturday after it halted the spread of the virus for the past 20 days.

The World Health Organization in Geneva announced that Singapore was being removed from its list of countries where the pneumonialike disease is known to be spreading internally.

"From the start, Singapore's handling of its SARS outbreak has been exemplary," said Dr. David Heymann, WHO's executive director for communicable diseases.

The announcement was welcomed by Singaporeans, whose economy is expected to lose $900 million because of a dramatic drop in the number of visitors.

Singapore's first cases of atypical pneumonia were reported March 9 before SARS was recognized as a disease that spread easily in hospitals. In all, 206 people came down with SARS, including 31 who died, ranking Singapore fourth on the list of locations affected by the disease behind mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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