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National and world news in brief

Hot air balloon crashes in Egypt

LUXOR, Egypt (AP) — A hot air balloon flying over Egypt’s ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world’s deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt’s ailing tourism industry.

The balloon, which was carrying 20 tourists and a pilot, was landing after a flight over the southern town, when a landing cable got caught around a helium tube and a fire erupted, according to an investigator with the state prosecutor’s office.

The balloon then shot up in the air, the investigator said. The fire set off an explosion of a gas canister and the balloon plunged some 300 meters (1,000 feet) to the ground, according to an Egyptian security official. It crashed in a sugar cane field outside al-Dhabaa village just west of Luxor, 320 miles south of Cairo, the official said.

Eagle on the lam returns to zoo

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — A radio transmitter and then a feast of quail and mice led to the capture of a California zoo’s bald eagle after three days on the lam.

The Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo’s tame 24-year-old bald eagle Sequoia was enjoying her daily exercise Saturday at a park when strong winds spooked her. Instead of returning to handlers, she flew north and roosted in Menlo Park.

The San Jose Mercury News reports Sequoia was tracked Monday to a Redwood City tree. The famished bird finally dropped from her perch to the arm of trainer John Flynn, who rewarded her with a quail and mouse feast.

Wall St. bonuses set to rise

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s state comptroller says Wall Street cash bonuses for 2012 are expected to rise 8 percent to $20 billion, partly driven by deferred payments from prior years.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says his analysis shows the securities industry is still restructuring since the 2008 financial crisis, with almost 20,000 — or 10 percent — fewer jobs in New York City. He says to expect continued downsizing.

DiNapoli says profits for broker/dealer operations of some 200 New York Stock Exchange members totaled nearly $24 billion last year, triple their 2011 earnings.

According to DiNapoli’s report, other activities of the large bank holding companies were less profitable last year.

The average salary, including bonuses, rose slightly to almost $362,900 in 2011.

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