News / Europe

Poland Mourns President, Leaders Killed in Plane Crash

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Russian and Polish officials are working together to determine the cause of the plane crash in western Russia that killed Poland's president and other top officials.  

Russian and Polish investigators are working side by side to analyze the flight recorders and evidence from Saturday's crash in Smolensk.  Russian news agencies are quoting the transport ministry spokesman as saying the voice and data recorders are being analyzed at a special laboratory in the presence of Russian and Polish officials

On Saturday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said it was absolutely necessary to determine why the Tupelov jet crashed in thick fog, killing all of the passengers on board, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other top Polish officials.

Here is Mr. Putin speaking to reporters at the crash site in western Russia.

He says within the framework of a government commission, set up by a government decree, we have to do everything so that in the shortest time we find out the cause of the tragedy, this is first, and second, we must do all we can to help the relatives of those who died, those who will come to Moscow for identification, to do all we can to help them in this difficult situation.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has also assigned a special committee to investigate the accident.

As officials try to determine the cause of the accident, Poles mourn the loss of their leaders.

Dawid Koawlski gathered outside the presidential palace in Warsaw to pay tribute.  He says although the situation is tragic, there is a lesson to learn.

He says it will definitely be a different country.  Possibly richer in experience, possibly paying more attention to what is important. It is hard to think about it, but I would like people to take something from this experience.  People, not only politicians.

Mourner Paulina Zdiech says despite the tragedy the country will move forward.

She says our prime minister is strong enough to straighten everything out.  And everything will continue.  Of course it will be difficult, there will be chaos, it is obvious.  But I think that with time it will all be ... the structures will be rebuilt and everything will start to function.

Also killed in the crash were Poland's national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, Olympic Committee head, civil rights commissioner and Mr. Kaczyinski's wife, Maria.

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Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
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Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
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