News in Brief

Su-25 Explodes in Midair

An Air Force plane exploded in midair in the Far East on Thursday, killing its pilot, the Air Force said.

The Su-25 attack plane was flying a training sortie some 140 kilometers outside Vladivostok when the incident occurred.

Reached by phone, an Air Force spokesman said the accident was caused by a detonation of ammunition on board the single-seat plane, which is designed to carry bombs and rockets. (MT)

Jewish Group Cuts Ties

The country's largest Jewish community has severed its relations with the Council of Muftis, after a leading mufti publicly compared Zionism with fascism.

A spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said it had suspended its ties with the council following comments made by the co-chairman Sheikh Nagifula Ashirov on Feb. 28 at a Moscow rally.

The Council of Muftis declined to comment Thursday. (MT)

For the Record

Armenian President Robert Kocharyan has warned his opponents against holding protests after a national state of emergency was lifted. He said police would break up any unauthorized protests held after the 20-day state of emergency ended at midnight on Thursday. (AP)

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said new U.S. proposals would allow Moscow to closely monitor activities at U.S. missile-defense sites in Europe, Izvestia reported. Lavrov also said Washington's new proposals reflected acknowledgment by the United States of Russia's concerns. (AP)