International News Round-up

By Adam Bergin


The crash killed all of the 68 people on board

A passenger plane in Cuba has crashed in the centre of the country, killing all 68 people on board.

The Aerocaribbean aircraft had been flying from the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba to Havana when it crashed in mountains near the town of Guasimal.

A Civil Aviation Authority statement said that among the casualties were 40 Cuban residents, including the seven cabin crew, with the other 28 passengers coming from many countries, including Argentina, the Netherlands and Germany.

It is not yet clear if bad weather was a reason in the crash, but a tropical storm warning had been issued in Santiago de Cuba province where the plane took off.

A hurricane is growing in strength and heading towards Haiti, it is feared, threatening earthquake survivors living in temporary sites.

Hurricane Tomas is packing winds of 80mph (130 kph) and the US National Hurricane Centre says the eye of the hurricane will pass near western Haiti later today (Friday).

Aid agencies are rushing to get emergency shelters ready before the hurricane arrives, having already killed 14 people in Saint Lucia.

North America:

The Democrats have won the close race for the US Senate seat in Washington state in the mid-term polls.

Senator Patty Murray was twice joined by President Barrack Obama when campaigning in the run-up to the polls.

The result means the Republican surge was not enough to stop the Democrats who still have a slight majority, with 51 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The Tokyo male wore a prosthetic mask to board the flight

Authorities in Canada are investigating “an unbelievable case of concealment” after a Tokyo male boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man.

The incident, which occurred on a flight from Tokyo to Vancouver last Friday,  is believed to be an attempt to gain refugee protection.

Air Canada Corporate Security today said: “The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands. During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s.”

South-east Asia:

Indonesia‘s Mount Merapi has erupted overnight killing at least 64 people, doubling the death toll since it became active again last week.

Hospital officials said more than 70 others were injured today suffering burns and respiratory problems, with many in a critical condition, after a gas cloud hit villages with even greater force than previously.

The latest eruption began late on Thursday but the location of today’s casualties was declared a safe zone until today.


In Ireland, the cost of borrowing has hit record levels again after plans to slash €6bn (£5.2bn) in the upcoming budget, twice what was predicted three months ago, were announced.

Ireland’s cost of borrowing rose for the eighth day in a row hitting an historic high of 7.77%, with concerns rising that the country would seek a bailout in the new year

Finance minister Brian Lenihan conceded the cuts were worse than expected but allayed fears, stating the action was “deemed necessary and will underline the strength of our resolve and show the country is serious about tackling our public finance difficulties”.