Polish president among those dead in crash
MOSCOW, April 10 (UPI) -- Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and top government officials were among scores killed in a Saturday plane crash in western Russia, officials said.
Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Petr Paszkowski said the Russian-made plane went down less than 435 yards from the runway at Smolensk's airport in thick fog after apparently hitting trees, RIA Novosti reported.
The BBC said Poland's army chief, central bank governor, other top government officials and leading historians also were killed.
Those aboard the plane were flying to Warsaw to mark 70 years since the Katyn massacre of thousands of Poles by Soviet forces.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called an emergency meeting of all government ministers. Parliament Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski has become the acting president in Poland, RIA Novosti said.
"We still cannot fully understand the scope of this tragedy and what it means for us in the future," Paszkowski said. "Nothing like this has ever happened in Poland."
Russian investigators said 132 people were aboard the plane, but local officials put the number at 96, the BBC said.
Russia's emergencies ministry told ITAR-Tass news agency the Tupolev 154, a plane designed in the 1960s, crashed at 10:56 a.m. Moscow time.
"As it was preparing for landing, the Polish president's aircraft did not make it to the landing strip," Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufiev told Russian TV.
Russian media reported claims the plane's crew were at fault for the crash.
Last four W.Va. miners dead
MONTCOAL, W.Va., April 10 (UPI) -- Four miners missing since Monday at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine were found dead Saturday, bringing the final death toll to 29, Gov. Joe Manchin said.
"We did not receive the miracle we prayed for," Manchin said at a news conference at Marsh Fork Elementary School in Montcoal, W.Va., The Charleston Gazette reported.
Rescue workers reached a second refuge chamber on their fourth attempt Friday and found it was not deployed. An earlier search had found the first chamber undeployed.
The violent explosion of methane gas and coal dust is the worst mine disaster in the United States in 40 years.
The Upper Big Branch mine and its owner, Massey Energy, have received numerous citations for safety violations including improper ventilation.
State and federal officials have ordered an immediate investigation into what went wrong, and President Obama has commissioned a report on "what went wrong and why it went wrong so badly, so that we can take the steps necessary to prevent such accidents in the future."
Thousands mourn Kyrgyzstan victims
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, April 10 (UPI) -- Thousands of mourners turned out Saturday for funerals for 15 of the people killed during the violent uprising in Kyrgyzstan.
Meantime, the provisional Health Ministry said the death toll from the Kyrgyzstan unrest had reached 79, while 45 others remained hospitalized, seven in critical condition, RIA Novosti reported.
The country's flag draped the 15 coffins as they were carried through the burial ground outside the capital, Bishkek, the Russian news agency said.
The victims died in clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in Bishkek and other towns. The security forces fired on crowds as they overtook the headquarters of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who has fled south.
Roza Otunbayeva, the opposition leader, called the victims heroes.
As the Central Asian country began its second day of mourning, the BBC reported tensions remained high.
The United States has suspended troop flights to Afghanistan from its airbase in Kyrgyzstan indefinitely. U.S. forces will be transported to Afghanistan via Kuwait, U.S. Central Command spokesman Maj. John Redfield said.
Some 50,000 coalition troops passed through the U.S. base in March, the BBC said. Russia also has an airbase in Kyrgyzstan.
The violence erupted after mounting unrest over rising prices and allegations of corruption in Kyrgyzstan.
Bakiyev, speaking from a secret location, told the BBC he still viewed himself as president but feared he'd be killed if he returned to Bishkek.
Obama touts tax cuts in stimulus package
WASHINGTON, April 10 (UPI) -- With Tax Day looming, U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday touted tax credits included in the economic stimulus measure.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said the tax breaks in the $787 billion stimulus package passed by Congress last year would be available to more than 100 million Americans.
He said the average tax refund is up nearly 10 percent this year, to about $3,000, largely because of the stimulus measure.
Obama urged Americans to take advantage of tax credits for costs including first-time home purchases, college expenses, energy-efficient home projects and childcare.
"No one I've met is looking for a handout, and that's not what these tax cuts are," Obama said. "Instead, they're targeted relief to help middle-class families weather the storm, to jumpstart our economy and to bring the fundamentals of the American Dream -- making an honest living, earning an education, owning a home, and raising a family -- back within reach for millions of Americans."
He said the stimulus had already provided $160 billion in tax relief for families and businesses.
"I kept a promise I made when I campaigned for this office and cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans," Obama said. "One thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That's another promise we've kept."
The president also said a new interactive tool, the Recovery Act Tax Savings Tool, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/recovery/tax-saving-tool, would help people find out exactly what they're owed by the government.
"The big guys know how to find their tax breaks; it's time you did, too," Obama said.