News in Brief

37 Ukraine Miners Trapped

A powerful explosion tore through a mine in eastern Ukraine early Sunday, trapping at least 37 miners who were making repairs to improve safety conditions in the mine, officials said. Four workers above ground were injured.

The explosion occurred around 5 a.m., some 1,000 meters underground at the Karl Marx mine in Donetsk, said Maryna Nikitina, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's industrial safety watchdog.

At least 37 miners were trapped underground, Nikitina said. Four workers who were above ground at the time -- three of them women -- were hospitalized with severe burns, she said.

Rescue workers have begun trying to get to the trapped miners, Coal Industry Minister Viktor Poltavets said in televised remarks. (AP)

2 Explosion Victims Found

Rescue workers have found another two bodies at the scene of a blast in a ship in Kaliningrad, a Navy spokesman said, bringing the total dead to nine.

One person is still unaccounted for after the explosion Thursday in the civilian ship, which was being repaired in a naval dockyard.

"One body is still missing but we are continuing our searches," Navy spokesman Captain Igor Dygalo said.

Navy commander Vladimir Vysotsky told reporters in Kaliningrad that workers had violated safety rules, causing the blast. (Reuters)

Jets Tail Finnish Premier

HELSINKI -- Finnair said two Russian fighter jets followed one of its planes carrying Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen when it flew in Russian air space last week.

A passenger on board the scheduled flight saw the two jets tailing the aircraft for several minutes when the airliner flew over northwestern Russia en route from Helsinki to the Korean capital, Seoul, said a spokesman for the Finnish national carrier.

Hassinen said the airliner's pilots did not see the jets and that the Wednesday incident would not cause Finnair to take any action. There were some 200 passengers on board the Finnair plane.

Finnish aviation officials on Saturday confirmed the reports and said Finnair should have been advised by the Russians about the jets. (AP)

3 Dagestani Gunmen Killed

Special forces killed three gunmen during a shootout in a town in Dagestan on Saturday, Interfax reported.

The report offered no details on what triggered the shootout in Khasavyurt, about 65 kilometers west of the regional capital, Makhachkala.

Interfax said the operation lasted for about 40 minutes and involved armored personnel carriers. There were no servicemen deaths it said. (Reuters)

Traffic a National Problem

The city's snarled-up traffic is not just a problem for Moscow drivers, it is a problem for the entire country, Mayor Yury Luzhkov told a group of construction officials Sunday.

"Resolving the traffic problems is a task not only for Moscow and Muscovites, but for all of Russia, since the capital is the country's chief transport hub," Luzhkov said in a speech at Moscow Hippodrome, RIA-Novosti reported.

Luzhkov has proposed that the federal government match each ruble spent by City Hall to improve transportation in Moscow. (MT)

Police Chief's Car Attacked

An explosion ripped apart a car carrying a district police chief in Chechnya, and gunmen then shot at the burning vehicle, Interfax reported.

Police chief Shamil Kutsayev and two other policemen were wounded in the attack Friday and taken to the hospital. (Reuters)