NW briefs

June 24th, 2015 8:43 pm

First Posted: 5/3/2013

CHALDOVAR, Kyrgyzstan

U.S. jet with 3 aboard crashes

An American military refueling plane carrying three crew members crashed Friday in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian nation where the U.S. operates an air base key to the war in Afghanistan.

There was no word on the fate of the KC-135 crew as darkness fell and the search for them was suspended for the night. Cargo planes do not have ejector seats. Officials at the U.S. base said they had no information yet on the cause of the crash.

The plane was on a refueling mission for Afghanistan war operations at the time of the crash.

PAJU, South Korea

Shared factory park closes

The last seven South Koreans stationed at a jointly run factory park in North Korea pulled out Friday, silencing the complex for the first time since it was launched nine years ago in a seemingly distant era of reconciliation.

The complex in the town of Kaesong, just north of the Koreas’ heavily fortified border, was the rivals’ only remaining symbol of rapprochement. It had employed more than 53,000 North Korean workers and hundreds of South Korean managers until last month, when Pyongyang started gradually blocking its operations.

The last seven South Koreans left after negotiating taxes and the back salaries of North Korean workers. Their departure leaves the Koreas with virtually no official communication channel.


Santorum praises NRA warriors

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum praised the National Rifle Association as “warriors” defending the U.S. Constitution.

Santorum spoke Friday in the political rally at the NRA’s national convention in Houston. The convention is being held amid the backdrop of the fierce gun control debate raging across the country and the recent defeat of a major gun control bill in the U.S. Senate.

Santorum, a former senator from Pennyslvania, told NRA members that the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment “come from God.”

Santorum said the debate over gun control is one over the country’s core traditional values.

WEST, Texas

Meth behind plant blast?

Burglars occasionally sneaked into and around a Texas fertilizer plant in the years before a massive, deadly explosion — sometimes looking for a chemical fertilizer stored at the plant that can be used to make methamphetamine, according to local sheriff’s records.

Sheriff’s deputies were called more than 10 times to West Fertilizer in the 11 years before an April 17 blast that killed 14 people, injured 200 and leveled part of the tiny town of West, according to McLennan County sheriff’s office files released through an open-records request. Multiple calls involved suspicion that anhydrous ammonia was being stolen.

The records portray a plant with no outer fence that was a sporadic target of intruders. Law enforcement was occasionally called because someone had noticed the smell of gas outside or signs of an intruder.

Anhydrous ammonia is a fertilizer that is a frequent target of burglars trying to manufacture methamphetamine.