Chatter: Fatal plane crash in Siberia




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Need to know:
A Russian plane crashed in Siberia today shortly after take-off
. At least 31 people were killed. Twelve survived and have been taken to hospital, where several are said to be in critical condition.

The flight, operated by Russia's UTair, had been en route from the western Siberian city Tyumen to Surgut, an oil town to the north, with 39 passengers and four crew members on board.

The cause of the crash is not yet clear. Rescuers reportedly found the plane's cabin on fire when they arrived at the crash site. Investigators hope to get more information from the data recorders, which they have already located.

Want to know:
Aung San Suu Kyi says she hopes for a "new era" in Myanmar after yesterday's by-elections.

Official results won't be known for a week or more, but the iconic pro-democracy campaigner and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), are claiming a landslide victory.

The vote was designed to prove Myanmar's democratic credentials to the countries that sanction it. Suu Kyi herself, ahead of Sunday's ballot, said the elections would not be free or fair; and the NLD lodged several complaints of vote rigging. European Union election observers, however, suggested it may have been "the first really authentic election held in this country for some time."

Dull but important:
Western African countries will hold an emergency meeting today to discuss their response to the "accidental coup" in Mali.

The regional power bloc, the 15-nation Economic Organization of West African States (ECOWAS), had threatened to impose crippling border closures and sanctions if Mali's new military junta did not leave power by today. Junta leaders yesterday promised to restore the country's constitution and hold democratic elections, but ECOWAS has not yet said whether it will accept the pledge.

Meanwhile Tuareg rebels yesterday seized control of the ancient city of Timbuktu, consolidating their gains of the past week in the key northern towns of Kidal and Gao. The army revolted against the government because they wanted to strengthen the military's fight against the Tuareg, but the confusion created by the coup has only strengthened the rebels' drive.

Just because:
George Zimmerman, the man who shot dead 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida last month, was not the one screaming for help on the 911 tapes of the incident, according to two forensic experts who analyzed the recordings.

Martin's family has insisted from the beginning that it was his cries you could hear, though Zimmerman's family disagreed. Zimmerman told police he called for help as Martin violently beat him. A Florida newspaper asked two forensic consultants their opinion; neither had much doubt that those were not George Zimmerman's screams.

Find GlobalPost's full coverage of the case here.

Strange but true:
For those returning to their desks this Monday morning, just imagine what office life would be like if your colleague opposite had a tail.

A new study has found that bringing dogs to work seems to reduce stress on the job, and could be an effective, low-cost way to maintain employee health.

But wait: this is according to researchers led by one Professor Randolph Barker. GlobalPost smells a rat (terrier).

In PoliticsMiscellaneousChatter.

Tagged: Russia.