tampabay.com

A deadly flashback in Chechnya

By TIMES WIRES
Published April 28, 2007


MOSCOW 

A Russian military helicopter crashed in the mountains of Chechnya on Friday, killing at least 18 service members on the most lethal day for Russian authorities in the volatile region since late 2005.

The cause of the crash has not been officially established.

There were indications that the battle to which the helicopter was flying was much more intense than most in recent years. The helicopter crashed in the late morning, and fighting nearby was still being reported at 4 p.m. Russian officials also said that at least three Chechen insurgents had been killed.

Chechnya has been the site of two devastating wars since 1994 pitting federal forces against separatist rebels.

ORANJESTAD, ARUBA

Search for Natalee Holloway goes on

Dutch police on Friday searched the yard of a one-time suspect in the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway, the Aruban prosecutors' office said. Police and forensic investigators churned up the earth outside the home of Joran van der Sloot, the last person known to have seen Holloway alive before she vanished nearly two years ago during a school vacation.

"The investigation has never stopped, " said spokeswoman Vivian van der Biezen.

CAMP DAVID, MD: President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threatened North Korea on Friday with the possibility of new sanctions unless it abides by its promise to shut down its nuclear program.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: Hundreds of Afghan soldiers and police retook the district of Giro from the Taliban on Friday, pushing out militants who seized the area a day earlier.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS: A Bahamian court cleared the way Friday for Anna Nicole Smith's ex-boyfriend to leave with their baby daughter, rejecting an appeal by Smith's mother.