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story.lead_photo.caption This Soyuz MS-11 space ship launched U.S. astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Оleg Kononenko and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint Jacques to the International Space Station at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday.

3 astronauts arrive at space station

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan -- A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts successfully docked with the International Space Station on Monday after a clean launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan six hours earlier.

American astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko docked with the station Monday while flying more than 250 miles above Ecuador.

The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft entered a designated orbit just under nine minutes after it launched from Baikonur. The spacecraft made four orbits over six hours as it chased the space station.

McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will spend more than six months at the space station doing research and experiments in biology, Earth science, physical sciences and technology.

The station's current crew of NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russia's Sergei Prokopyev and Germany's Alexander Gerst were waiting to greet the newcomers. They are scheduled to return to Earth on Dec. 20.

Monday's safe launch came nearly two months after a Soyuz-FG rocket carrying American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its Oct. 11 flight, activating an automatic rescue system that sent their capsule into a steep ride back to Earth. They managed to emerge safely.

Mexican leader to sell presidential jet

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday moved to fulfill his campaign promise of selling the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that had transported his predecessor since 2016.

The aircraft was headed Monday to a facility in California where Boeing can help maintain the presidential jet until a buyer is found, Finance Minister Carlos Urzua and Banobras development bank Director Jorge Mendoza said in a message to reporters in Mexico City.

Lopez Obrador has criticized the plane, which cost more than $200 million, as ostentatious -- more luxurious than Air Force One, which flies U.S. presidents around the world, and too lavish for the leader of Mexico. Lopez Obrador opened the plane to the media over the weekend, giving Mexicans an inside view of its plush seats, dark paneling and swanky living quarters.

NATO chief expects Bosnia push to join

BRUSSELS -- Bosnia-Herzegovina is likely to take a major step this week in its bid to join NATO, the military alliance's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Monday.

NATO foreign ministers are expected Wednesday to activate Bosnia's Membership Action Plan, a process that prepares countries for membership. Although the route to membership would become clearer for Bosnia, the Balkan country is unlikely to join NATO soon.

Stoltenberg said he expects the foreign ministers will signal that "we are ready to receive the first annual national program" from the ethnically divided country, which was riven by war in the 1990s when the former Yugoslavia broke apart.

"Then it's up to Bosnia-Herzegovina to decide whether they use this opportunity," Stoltenberg added.

The anticipated move comes eight years after NATO offered a Membership Action Plan to Bosnia. However, the alliance declined to "activate" the plan until conditions were met, with the process held up over the registration of defense property such as military barracks and buildings used by the Defense Ministry.

Registration is meant to be made at the national level, but one of the three entities that make up modern Bosnia -- the ethnic Serb Republika Srpska -- refuses to do so. Rather than allow the Bosnian Serbs to veto the action plan, NATO allies have decided to move forward regardless, even though the property must still be registered.

Hamas orders 6 spy suspects executed

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- A Hamas-controlled military court on Monday sentenced six Palestinians to death after they were accused of collaborating with Israel.

The court sentenced another eight defendants in Gaza to prison.

The 14 verdicts were the most issued on a single day since the Islamic militant group wrested control of the territory from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Since 2007, Hamas has executed 28 Palestinians, the majority on charges of aiding Israeli security and intelligence agencies.

Rights groups accuse Hamas of killing dozens of other suspected collaborators extrajudicially, especially during the three wars it has waged with Israel.

The verdicts were linked to a botched undercover Israeli commando raid in which seven Palestinian militants and an Israeli officer were killed last month.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

A Section on 12/04/2018

Print Headline: 3 astronauts arrive at space station Hamas orders 6 spy suspects executed Mexican leader to sell presidential jet NATO chief expects Bosnia push to join

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