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Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail party on verge of defeat

DUBLIN, Ireland

Irish ruling party poised on brink of defeat

Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail party faced its worst defeat in nearly 80 years as a tidal wave of voters enraged by 13 percent unemployment, tax hikes, wage cuts and a humiliating European Union bailout swept an opposition party close to power Saturday. Fine Gael polled 36.1 percent support with the first round of counting completed in all 43 constituencies, a figure that would put it in power but without a majority of seats in the Dail, the lower house of parliament. Party leader Enda Kenny, destined to become prime minister, pledged to move quickly to form a government. Labour, Fine Gael's possible coalition partner, was running second at 19 percent while Fianna Fail polled a historic low of 17 percent.

SEOUL, South Korea

N. Korea threatens to fire at the South

North Korea's military threatened today to fire at South Korea as Seoul prepared to start annual joint drills with U.S. troops, maneuvers Pyongyang says are a rehearsal for an invasion. The North's military warned that it would fire at South Korean border towns if Seoul continued to allow activists to launch propaganda leaflets toward the communist country, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said. KCNA accused South Korean activists and lawmakers of flying balloons carrying hundreds of thousands of leaflets critical of North Korea's government on the North's most important national holiday, an apparent reference to leader Kim Jong Il's 69th birthday, which fell on Feb. 16.

KINGSTON, N.Y.

Vintage jet crashes in Hudson River

A vintage, British-made BAC 167 Strikemaster military jet, now privately owned and flown in air shows, crashed into the Hudson River on Saturday as it came in for a landing at an airport in Kingston, authorities said. The pilot was missing and feared dead. The accident happened at about 1:30 p.m. on an ice-covered stretch of the Hudson near the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, which spans the river midway between Albany and New York City. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker said the aircraft was partially submerged after the crash and the pilot was unaccounted for. Only one person was known to be aboard the plane when it went down.

Elsewhere

San Francisco: As a Pacific storm coincided with a blast of cold Canadian air, residents here saw light snow late Friday, a long-absent visitor for a city accustomed to fog, sweater-weather and other nearly bone-chilling accoutrements.

Seattle: John and Patricia Norvell, of Vancouver, Wash., rescued Friday, four days after their SUV slid off a secluded road near Mount St. Helens, said they survived by playing cribbage, melting snow for water, and running the engine just a few minutes at a time to stay warm.

Charlotte, N.C.: Police said SWAT Officer Fred Thornton, 50, was securing a stun grenade known as a "flash-bang" at his home on Friday when it exploded, killing him.

Times wires

Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail party on verge of defeat 02/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 26, 2011 10:49pm]
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