News in Brief

20 Dead in Mi-8 Crash



KIEV -- A helicopter belonging to Ukraine's state gas company crashed Monday as it tried to land on a Black Sea drilling platform, killing 20 people, officials said.

The Mi-8 helicopter went down about 70 kilometers offshore, said Valentyn Zemlyansky, a spokesman for the company, Naftogaz. The craft hit a support pole on the rig with its tail, then fell onto the rig and caught fire, emergency officials said. (AP)




Officers Jailed for Spying



BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- A Kyrgyz court Monday handed down long prison sentences to Kyrgyz security officers accused of spying for Russia.

The court convicted four Kyrgyz men, two of them working for the SNB security service, to jail sentences ranging from four to 14 years for spying for Russia and other security violations, said Vyacheslav Luzhansky, one of their lawyers. It was not clear what the men were charged with. (Reuters)




Missile Defense Delay



PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The signing of a U.S.-Czech treaty on missile defense has been delayed, the Czech Foreign Ministry said Monday.

No official date had been set, but U.S. diplomats in Prague had mentioned early May as a possibility. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected in the Czech capital for the signing.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said Monday that negotiators were unable to set a date for the official signing. (AP)