World News (April 16, 2018)



ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — A hulking military transport plane crashed just after takeoff in Algeria, killing 257 people in the worst aviation disaster in the North African nation’s history and plunging the country into mourning.

Soldiers, their family members and a group of 30 people returning to refugee camps from hospital stays in Algeria’s capital died in the morning crash of the Russian-made II-76 aircraft.

The plane went down in a field just outside a military base in Boufarik, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Algiers and was devoured by flames, killing 247 passengers and 10 crew members, the Defense Ministry said.

There was no official mention of survivors but one witness reported seeing people jump out of the aircraft before it crashed.

Arabic-language channel Dzair TV reported that five people were in a critical state but it was unclear if they had been on the plane or were injured on the ground.

BEIRUT (AP) — With a mix of fear and defiance, Syrians braced for a possible U.S. attack in retaliation to an alleged chemical assault that killed dozens over the weekend. Some stocked up on food and prepared underground shelters while others taunted the U.S. president to go through with his threats.

Activists reported that government forces vacated strategic potential targets, including air bases around the country in apparent preparation for incoming strikes.

The Foreign Ministry in Damascus denounced President Donald Trump’s threat to attack the country as “reckless” and a danger to international peace and security.

The statement was the latest in a war of words raging between Washington and Moscow since Saturday’s suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town Douma, just outside of Damascus, which killed more than 40 people according to activists and first responders.

The World Health Organization said about 500 patients showed signs of exposure to toxic chemicals following the Douma attack.

NEW YORK (AP) — J.D. McClatchy, a revered and versatile man of letters praised as a poet, librettist, educator, editor and translator, died Tuesday night at his home in Manhattan. He was 72.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced that McClatchy, known as “Sandy” to his friends, had been battling cancer and died at his home in Manhattan.

“Sandy always had time to gossip in the midst of myriad deadlines and I marveled at the hours he logged in his dedication to the literary arts,” Knopf editor Deborah Garrison said in a statement. “His own work was a major contribution to American poetry, yet he rarely mentioned it because he was busily engaged in editing or enlarging the work of others.”

As a poet, McClatchy was acclaimed for drawing upon a rich and unpredictable range of influences, from classical music to Japanese history, for his perception and intimacy about private life and growing concern about political life, especially after the September 11, 2001, attacks. His books included “Star Principal,” ″The Rest of the Way,” ″Hazmat,” a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, and, most recently, the 2014 publication “Plundered Hearts.”