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Aussie PM's plane has mechanical problem

Dec. 1, 2009 at 2:25 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's flight home was delayed Monday when his plane had to turn around because of a mechanical problem, his spokesman said.

The Australian leader's spokesman said shortly after takeoff, Rudd's plane experienced a "minor mechanical problem" that forced the pilot to land at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The malfunction extended Rudd's visit until Tuesday, the broadcaster said.

Rudd had met with President Barack Obama and announced Australia would send more federal police, along with civilian aid personnel, to bolster the war effort in Afghanistan. The ABC also reported Obama told Rudd he hopes to travel to India, Indonesia and Australia next year.

"All Australians would make the president and (first lady) Michelle (Obama) and the family, if they happen to be with them, really welcome," Rudd said.

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