Airline chief blames mid-air blow-out on engine failure

Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said the mid-air blow-out on one of its A380 jetliners was most likely caused by a material failure or faulty design in one of the plane's Rolls Royce engines.

Mr Joyce said it was too early to say exactly what caused the engine blow-out shortly after the plane took off yesterday from Singapore and that a thorough investigation was under way.

However, he said the blow-out "is an engine issue" and not one of maintenance on the two-year-old plane. He said Qantas believes the blow-out "is most likely a material failure or some type of design issue".

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Meanwhile, it was reported today that aviation safety officials issued warnings about potential problems in Rolls-Royce jet engines less than three months ago. The European Aviation Safety Authority issued an airworthiness directive on August 4 this year concerning "wear beyond engine manual limits" on the powerful Trent 900 engines. The directive said the wear could lead to "loss of engine performance with potential for in-flight shut down" and "potential unsafe conditions".

Rolls-Royce has completed "a number of basic engine checks" on 20 A380 planes currently in service

Suu Kyi's son flies to Bangkok

One of Aung San Suu Kyi's two sons travelled from Britain to Bangkok and is seeking a visa to see his mother for the first time in a decade, amid speculation Burma's junta will soon free the detained opposition leader. Kim Aris last saw his mother in December 2000.

Coral dying near oil well

Scientists have found damage to deep sea corals and other marine life several miles from where BP's blown-out well spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Surveys using remotely operated vehicles roughly seven miles from the BP well, found dead and dying corals.

20 killed in landslide

A HILLSIDE collapsed on homes in a suburb of Costa Rica's capital, killing at least 20 people, many as they slept. At least 14 people were missing.

Dozens of rescuers, some using dogs, searched throughout the day for survivors and the missing. But they found only corpses, including the body of a child, said Hector Blanco of the Red Cross.

Red Cross rescue crews suspended the search yesterday evening because more rain made conditions dangerous.

'I won't run again' says Clinton

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has slapped down speculation that she harbours ambitions for another presidential run. In New Zealand today, Mrs Clinton told interviewers she will not run for president, even in the aftermath of the big Democrat losses in this week's congressional midterms.

China: Plans were launched today to build a Disney theme park in Shanghai.

The Walt Disney Corporation and the city government inaugurated a new company to manage the $3.6 billion project.

Indonesia: Blistering gas from the Mount Merapi volcano spewed farther than expected today, incinerating houses at the edge of the danger zone and pushing the death toll in more than a week to nearly 100.