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Serbian President Boris Tadic announces his resignation

 Boris Tadic’s resignation will allow him to stand for re-election on 6 May

Serbian President Boris Tadic has announced he is resigning.

He still has 10 months of his current term of office to serve, but the move will allow him to stand for re-election on 6 May.

Parliamentary elections are already scheduled to take place on that date, and the move is seen as a tactic to help his Democratic Party’s campaign.

Mr Tadic says he will formally submit his resignation to the speaker of the Serbian parliament on Thursday.

Mr Tadic, who’s keen to build closer links with the European Union, will face a strong challenge from the nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17609266

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Elderly US woman lands plane after pilot-husband dies

Helen Collins had taken basic lessons in taking off and landing 30 years ago

An 80-year-old US woman with little flying experience has staged an emergency landing in Wisconsin after her pilot husband collapsed and died.

Helen Collins remained calm as she brought the small Cessna plane in to land at Cherryland Airport, even though she said she knew her husband was dead.

She had taken basic lessons in taking off and landing 30 years ago, her son told the Associated Press news agency.

James Collins, also a trained pilot, helped guide his mother down via radio.

Mrs Collins and her husband John were coming back from their holiday home in Florida when he suffered a fatal heart attack in the cockpit.

She called the police and local pilot Robert Vuksanovic went up in another small plane to try to help guide the Cessna down.

‘Under control’

The plane had almost completely run out of fuel by the time she landed at the small airport in Sturgeon Bay and had only one functioning engine.

It skidded down the runway for about 1,000ft (305m) before coming to a halt.

Family picture of John and Helen Collins John and Helen Collins were returning from Florida when he suffered a heart attack

“She was calmer than everybody on the ground. She had it totally under control,” James Collins told AP.

“The amazing thing is she landed that plane on one engine – I don’t know if there are a lot of trained pilots that could do that.

“I already knew I lost my dad; I didn’t want to lose my mom. It could have been both of them at once.”

Local resident Torry Lautenbach watched the Cessna land and estimated that Mrs Collins circled the airport about 10 times.

“She did a really good job. It was amazing. It took one bad hop and then it came back down and skidded.”

Mrs Collins was taken to hospital with injuries to her back and ribs but is expected to be released within the next few days.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17605770


Belgium coach crash in Switzerland tunnel kills 28

At least 28 people – including 22 children – have been killed in a coach crash in a tunnel in Switzerland.

Another 24 children were injured in the crash near Sierre, in the canton of Valais, close to the border with Italy.

The coach, carrying 52 people back to Belgium, hit a wall in the tunnel head-on late on Tuesday. Both of the coach’s drivers were among those killed.

The children, from the Belgian towns of Lommel and Heverlee, were returning home after a skiing holiday.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who is travelling to the scene of the crash, said: “This is a tragic day for all of Belgium.”

The bus crashed shortly after 21:00 (20:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

In Brussels, the Belgian foreign ministry said most of the children were aged around 12, and the bus was one of three hired by a Christian group. The other two reached Belgium safely.

Scene of crash, Switzerland, 14 March 2012 The coach is removed from the crash scene. It appears to have travelled along the right hand wall of the tunnel and collided head-on with the concrete wall (right) that provides emergency access

The children had spent a week skiing in Val d’Anniviers in the Swiss Alps.

Those on board the bus that crashed were from ‘t Stekske primary school in Lommel, close to the Dutch border, and from Sint Lambertusschool in Heverlee, near Leuven.

Some of the injured were flown by helicopters to hospitals in Lausanne, Bern and other Swiss cities.

Swiss prosecutor Olivier Elsig told a news conference the bus was new, or nearly new, and was equipped with safety belts.

In a tunnel where the speed limit is 100km/h (62 mph), Mr Elsig said the bus collided with the right-hand wall and then hit, head-on, a concrete wall that forms part of an emergency access section. An investigation is under way.

More than 200 people and eight helicopters were involved in the rescue operation.

Swiss journalist Ruth Seeholzer told the BBC that the two-lane tunnel was not busy with traffic when the accident happened and driving conditions were normal.

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Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said: “It is incomprehensible. There were three buses and only one was in an accident, without any contact with another vehicle.”

A helpline for families has been set up, and many relatives are expected to arrive in Switzerland later.

Belgium has made two aircraft available to take them to Switzerland.

Belgium’s ambassador to Switzerland, Jan Luykx, has travelled to the crash site.

He said: “This tragedy will hit the whole of Belgium. The magnitude of the accident is difficult to take in. For the moment I am concentrating on the practical aspects. The emotional side will come when we meet the families.”

The head of the Valais region, Jacques Melly, expressed his deep sadness at the accident, sending his condolences to the families of the victims and praising the rescuers for their work in “extremely difficult conditions”.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17362643