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story.lead_photo.caption In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, March 11, 2018, a MiG-31 fighter jet of the Russian air force carrying the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile takes off from an air base in southern Russia. The Russian military says it has run a successful test of the Kinzhal missile, that President Vladimir Putin sited among several other new nuclear weapons that would bolster the nation's military capability. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, File)

Russia: Hypersonic missile test success

MOSCOW — The Russian military said it has conducted a successful test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile capable of sneaking through enemy defenses.

A video posted by the Defense Ministry Sunday showed a MiG-31 fighter jet launching a Kinzhal, or Dagger, missile during a training flight. The ministry said the missile, which carried a conventional warhead, hit a practice target at a firing range in southern Russia.

President Vladimir Putin named Kinzhal this month among the new nuclear weapons he said would bolster Russia’s military capability and render the U.S. missile defense useless.

Putin said Kinzhal flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 1,250 miles and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead. The military said it’s capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.

Afghans recapture hub from Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan security forces recaptured a district headquarters in western Farah province on Monday, just hours after the Taliban overran the police and administrative offices, killing eight policemen, a spokesman said.

The development came as insurgent attacks against security forces have stepped up across Afghanistan, including in Farah province.

In Monday’s assault, the Taliban launched a multipronged attack and stormed the district headquarters in Anardara, which they were able to hold on to for a few hours before Afghan reinforcements arrived.

Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that along with the eight killed in the assault, 10 security troops were wounded in the morning attack.

The Afghan forces also carried out heavy airstrikes during the day in Anardara and more than 50 Taliban fighters were reported killed so far, he added.

Icebreaker rescues U.S. science team

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A group of American scientists who were stranded in an ice-bound island off the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula were rescued Sunday by an Argentine icebreaker, U.S. and Argentine authorities said Monday.

The four scientists and a support staff member, who were conducting research at Joinville Island, were airlifted by helicopter to the Almirante Irizar icebreaker.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. icebreaker Laurence M. Gould was unable to carry out the evacuation because the ice barrier was too dense on the Weddell Sea in front of the island, which is south of the Argentine mainland. The U.S. Antarctic Program then requested assistance from Argentina.

Argentina’s armed forces said that the five are in good health and will be transferred to the U.S. vessel when weather conditions improve.

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs said the scientists are led by Alexander R. Simms, an associate professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The support staff member is an employee of the the foundation’s Colorado-based Antarctic support contractor.

“The U.S. Antarctic Program expresses its gratitude to their Argentine colleagues for their willingness to help,” it said.

Citing Ukraine, EU extends sanctions

BRUSSELS — The European Union has prolonged sanctions against senior Russian officials, lawmakers and military officers for a further six months over alleged meddling in Ukraine.

EU headquarters said in a statement Monday that “an assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime.”

The asset freezes and travel bans on 150 people and 38 “entities” — usually companies or organizations — have been extended until Sept. 15.

Those targeted are accused of “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The EU imposed sanctions on Russia three years ago after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and it refuses to recognize Moscow’s authority there. Some Crimea officials are also on the sanctions list.

A Section on 03/13/2018

Print Headline: The World in Brief

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