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A Lufthansa flight bound for Ger­many from Texas was di­verted to New York City on Mon­day due to a bomb threat, but a sub­se­quent search of the air­craft found no ex­plo­sive de­vice, of­fi­cials said. Flight 441 des­tined for Frank­furt from Hous­ton landed safely at John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tional Air­port at about 8:30 pm lo­cal time, said Steve Cole­man, a spokesman for the Port Author­ity of New York and New Jersey. The bomb threat was phoned into the air­line’s head­quar­ters. But a search of the plane was neg­a­tive, the author­ity said on Twit­ter. Calls to the Port Author­ity and the New York City Po­lice Depart­ment re­mained unan­swered. All pas­sen­gers had left the air­plane and were put up at ho­tels, Lufthansa spokesman Jo­erg Waber said yes­ter­day morn­ing in Ger­many. He nei­ther con­firmed nor de­nied the bomb threat. A pas­sen­ger who was on the plane, who asked to re­main anony­mous said the pi­lot an­nounced two to three hours af­ter take­off that the flight had to be can­celled and di­verted to New York due to a bomb threat.

Mace­do­nia’s op­po­si­tion re­fused to ac­knowl­edge yes­ter­day the nar­row vic­tory of con­ser­va­tives in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, de­nounc­ing “ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties” for the first time. Sun­day’s vote was part of a Euro­pean Union-bro­kered deal be­tween Mace­do­nia’s four main po­lit­i­cal par­ties af­ter a mass wire­tap­ping scan­dal erupted in Fe­bru­ary 2015 and sparked street protests. Late Mon­day, the elec­toral com­mis­sion an­nounced that the VMRO-DPMNE party of long­time ruler Nikola Gruevski would have 51 MPs, two more than the So­cial Democrats (SDSM), hav­ing edged the vote 38.06 per­cent to 36.69 per­cent. But the SDSM, who ini­tially claimed vic­tory, said Tues­day that “power has been de­feated and cit­i­zens have cho­sen life and change,” cit­ing “a num­ber of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the pre- and post­elec­tion pe­riod”. Th­ese “in­flu­enced the fi­nal re­sult of the vote,” the party said. Of­fi­cial poll mon­i­tor the OSCE (Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe), which had 340 ob­servers, did not speak of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties but said there had been prob­lems be­fore the poll.

Is­rael of­fi­cials snub Swedish For­eign Min­is­ter af­ter row

No Is­raeli of­fi­cials will meet Swe­den’s For­eign Min­is­ter dur­ing her trip to the re­gion, a spokesman said yes­ter­day, af­ter she called for a probe into the killings of Pales­tinian as­sailants. Erik Wiken­strom, spokesman for Swedish for­eign min­is­ter Mar­got Wall­strom said she had wanted to meet both Is­raeli and Pales­tinian of­fi­cials dur­ing her visit from Thurs­day to Satur­day. “This time it was not pos­si­ble to visit Is­rael,” Wiken­strom said. Asked why there were no meet­ings planned, he said such ques­tions must be “asked to the Is­raelis”. Is­raeli for­eign min­istry spokesman Em­manuel Nahshon blamed “sched­ule prob­lems” and de­clined to pro­vide fur­ther de­tails. Ear­lier, Wall­strom told Swedish news agency TT: “I would have gladly seen my­self travel to Is­rael as well, but un­for­tu­nately they do not wel­come it.” There is no in­ter­na­tional air­port in the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries. Wiken­strom de­clined to com­ment on whether Wall­strom would fly to an Is­raeli air­port and then travel to the oc­cu­pied West Bank or go via Jor­dan.

Opus Dei leader Bishop Echevar­ria dies at 84

Bishop Javier Echevar­ria, leader of the con­tro­ver­sial Ro­man Catholic or­ga­ni­za­tion Opus Dei, has died af­ter treat­ment in hospi­tal for a lung in­fec­tion, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial state­ment posted on Twit­ter. Echevar­ria, who was 84, died in Rome on Mon­day, it said, not­ing that he had been re­ceiv­ing an­tibi­otics to tackle the in­fec­tion but it had wors­ened, re­sult­ing in fa­tal breath­ing prob­lems. He was born in Madrid and be­came the third per­son to lead Opus Dei when in 1994 he suc­ceeded Al­varo Del Por­tillo-who had taken over from the move­ment’s founder, Jose­maria Escriva. Present in many Euro­pean coun­tries but also in Latin Amer­ica, Opus Dei is widely con­sid­ered a se­cre­tive in­sti­tu­tion with politi­cians and mem­bers of the fi­nan­cial world said to be among its mem­bers.

SKOPJE: Sup­port­ers of the rul­ing con­ser­va­tive VMRO-DPMNE party cel­e­brate the vic­tory in gen­eral elec­tions while driv­ing through a street in Skopje, Mace­do­nia. —AP

Mace­do­nian op­po­si­tion re­jects elec­tion re­sult

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