News briefs Aug. 18

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Indonesian plane wreckage found

Trigana Air Service's ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane takes off at Supadio airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The same type of a Trigana airliner carrying 54 people was missing Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. (AP Photo)
Trigana Air Service’s ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane takes off at Supadio airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The same type of a Trigana airliner carrying 54 people was missing Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country’s mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. (AP Photo)

A search plane has spotted the wreckage of an Indonesian passenger plane that went missing Sunday with 54 people onboard, rescue officials said Monday.

There was no immediate word if there were any survivors from the crash, which happened in bad weather in Indonesia’s mountainous easternmost province of Papua.

The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was carrying 49 passengers and five crew members on a scheduled 42-minute journey. Five children, including two infants, were among the passengers. Officials said search and rescue teams were preparing to

Officials said the wreckage was spotted about 12 kilometers (7 miles) from Oksibil, and Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said search and rescue teams were preparing to try to reach the crash site by air and foot.

That disaster was one of five suffered by Asian carriers in a 12-month span, including Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 people aboard during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Traffic deaths up in the U.S.

Motorists drive through a construction zone in Altoona, Iowa on April 17, 2015. Traffic deaths in the U.S. are up 14 percent in the first six months of this year and injuries are up by a third, according to data from all states gathered by the National Safety Council. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)
Motorists drive through a construction zone in Altoona, Iowa on April 17, 2015. Traffic deaths in the U.S. are up 14 percent in the first six months of this year and injuries are up by a third, according to data from all states gathered by the National Safety Council. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)

Traffic deaths were up 14 percent nationally in the first six months of this year and injuries were up by a third, according to data gathered by the National Safety Council.

An improved economy and low gas prices have encouraged Americans to put a record number of miles on the road, said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president of the council. All told, nearly 19,000 people across the country lost their lives in traffic accidents through June. But, she said, that’s not the whole explanation for the increase in deaths and injuries.

If the trend continues, traffic deaths this year could exceed 40,000 for the first time since 2007, when there were nearly 44,000 deaths, Hersman said in an interview. Despite a number of safety improvements, the trend could be influenced by a growing number of states raising speed limits and drivers everywhere distracted by cellphone calls and text messages. The council estimated in a report this spring that a quarter of all crashes involve cellphone use.

Bomb kills over a dozen in Thailand

Sakchai Lalit
Officials close off an intersection after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)

A bomb exploded at a popular shrine near a key political protest site in central Bangkok on Monday evening, the government said, reportedly killing more than a dozen people and injuring many others.

The bomb exploded inside the Erawan Shrine, and another undetonated bomb was found near the complex, said Maj. Gen. Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for Thailand’s ruling junta. The shrine is a tourist landmark also popular with Thais.

Thai PBS television said at least 15 people were killed. Weerachon said dozens were injured, and that some foreigners were among the hurt. Officials said they still are unsure of the culprit behind the bomb.

Thailand’s capital has been relatively peaceful since a military coup ousted a civilian government in May last year after several months of sometimes violent political protests against the previous government. However, there has been some tension in recent months as the junta has made clear it may not hold elections until 2017 and wants a constitution that will allow some type of emergency rule to take the place of an elected government.

Trump reports for jury duty

Donald Trump, center, gives a fist bump to a pedestrian as he arrives for jury duty in New York, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Trump was due to report for jury duty Monday in Manhattan.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Donald Trump gives a fist bump to a pedestrian as he arrives for jury duty in New York, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Trump was due to report for jury duty Monday in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took a break Monday from courting voters to go to court as a potential juror.

Trump shook hands and fist-bumped bystanders as he reported for jury duty at a Manhattan court, arriving in a limousine.

The GOP front-runner said last week he was “looking forward to appearing” for jury duty.

A court officer escorted him to a seat in the front row, and court officers’ union President Dennis Quirk said a special team of uniformed and plainclothes officers was brought in to help handle the media presence while ensuring all regular posts were covered. Quirk said that was standard for any high-profile person.

Earlier that day Trump declared, “The wall will work,” when asked about an element of his immigration platform: making Mexico pay for a permanent border wall.

 

Shelling increases in eastern Ukraine

A woman visit her apartment damaged after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. At least seven civilians and two Ukrainian troops were killed overnight today in eastern Ukraine as shelling from the warring sides intensified. (A woman visit her apartment damaged after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. At least seven civilians and two Ukrainian troops were killed overnight today in eastern Ukraine as shelling from the warring sides intensified. (AP Photo/Sergey Vaganov)
A woman visits her apartment damaged after shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. At least seven civilians and two Ukrainian troops were killed overnight today in eastern Ukraine as shelling from the warring sides intensified. (AP Photo/Sergey Vaganov)

A night-long artillery exchange in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russia-backed rebels claimed nine lives on Monday, casting doubt on the already shaky cease-fire.

The fighting between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian government troops in the country’s industrial heartland eased after a truce was signed in February. But despite pledges to withdraw heavy caliber weapons from the front lines, both sides seem to be engaged in recent heavy fighting.

The conflict has killed an estimated 6,400 people since April 2014, according to the United Nations.

President Vladimir Putin, who met representatives of various ethnic communities in the Russia-occupied Crimea on Monday, did not comment on the recent shelling. But he used the opportunity to claim that the current Ukrainian government is not free to make its own decisions because the country “is being managed from the outside.”

 

 

 

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