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71 killed in Russia passenger plane crash

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MOSCOW — A Russian passenger plane has crashed near Moscow soon after take-off, killing all 71 people on board. Saratov Airlines’ Antonov An-148 jet carrying 65 passengers and 6 crew crashed after take-off outside Moscow.

The Saratov Airlines regional jet disappeared from radar screens a few minutes after departing from Domodedovo Airport en route to the city of Orsk, about 1,500 kilometres south-east of Moscow.

Domodedovo air traffic control lost contact with Saratov Airlines flight 703, bound for Orsk, several minutes after take off, an official from Russia’s Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) told local media.

Emergency services immediately deployed rapid response teams to the reported crash site, but rescuers and medics had to reach it on foot, walking through the countryside buried under snow.

Fragments from the airliner were found in the Ramenskoye area, about 40 kilometres from the airport. Preliminary reports say the wreckage is spread across an area between adjacent villages.

The office of Russia’s transport prosecutor said all 71 people on board had been killed. The Emergencies Ministry said the search-and-rescue operation will work around the clock, with the crash site observed by drones.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov confirmed there were no survivors and said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead.

President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to those who had lost relatives and ordered a special investigative commission to be set up. Putin also put off a planned trip to Sochi in order to closely monitor the investigation.

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PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team

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KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.

PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.

Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.

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