Russian navy to get hypersonic weapons
MOSCOW • Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday the Russian navy would be armed with hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones, which the Defence Ministry said were in their final phase of testing.
Mr Putin, who says he does not want an arms race, has often spoken of a new generation of Russian nuclear weapons that he says are unequalled and can hit almost anywhere in the world. Some Western experts have questioned how advanced they are.
The weapons, some of which have yet to be deployed, include the Poseidon underwater nuclear drone, designed to be carried by submarines, and the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, which can be deployed on surface ships.
Volunteer admits to starting cathedral fire
RENNES (France) • A volunteer church assistant has confessed to setting the fire that severely damaged a Gothic cathedral in the western French city of Nantes, his lawyer said yesterday, although his motives remain a mystery.
The 39-year-old, an asylum seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, was arrested on Saturday after laboratory analysis determined that arson was the likely cause of the blaze, the local prosecutor's office said.
Prosecutors opened an arson inquiry into the early morning fire on July 18 after finding that it broke out in three different places in the church, which the volunteer had locked up the night before.
High school reunion ends in bus tragedy
HANOI • A high school reunion trip in Vietnam took a fatal turn yesterday when a bus carrying the alumni crashed and flipped over at a bend on the highway, killing more than a dozen passengers.
The nearly 40 passengers were classmates from Dong Hoi High School who were travelling to visit the area in central Quang Binh province for the 30th anniversary of their graduation.
The bus driver lost control on a sharp turn on the highway, said state media. At least 13 people were killed and many more injured.
"People on the coach said that when the coach was travelling down the slope, there were signs the brakes were damaged," reported Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Images shared on news websites showed a bus on its side in a gutter by the road, with rescuers tending to the injured.