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France Summons Ukraine Envoy over Tymoshenko Arrest

France on Thursday said it had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador in Paris to express its "serious concern" over the arrest of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The envoy was told that France would continue to follow very closely the developments in the case that saw Tymoshenko's arrest on Friday for contempt of court in her abuse of power trial, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

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26 Injured in Ukraine Coal Mine Blast

A methane gas explosion at a mine in eastern Ukraine injured 26 people Thursday less than a week after two accidents in the same area claimed the lives of 37 miners.

The blast occurred the Lugansk region's Krasnokutska mine at 11:40 am local time (08:40 GMT) at a depth of 155 meters while 224 miners were working, of whom 37 were in the impact zone.

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Toll of Ukraine Twin Mine Tragedies Rises

The death toll rose to 25 Saturday from two separate coal mining accidents on the same day in Ukraine's eastern industrial district, notorious for its poor safety standards.

The Ukrainian emergency ministry raised the toll from 16 to 18 from an explosion early Friday at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coal mine in the eastern Lugansk region.

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17 Killed in 2 Mine Accidents in Ukraine

A blast at one coal mine in eastern Ukraine and an elevator collapse at another killed at least 17 people and injured 11 on Friday, officials said. Nine miners are still missing following the blast.

The twin accidents in eastern mining regions shocked the country and highlighted the persistent dangers of the local mining industry, believed to be one of the world's most dangerous because of outdated equipment and widespread disregard for safety regulations.

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Two-Headed Snake on Display in Ukraine Zoo

A two-headed snake has gone on display at a zoo in southern Ukraine.

The "Skazka" (Fairy tale) zoo in the Crimean city of Yalta on the Black Sea said Wednesday that the albino California Kingsnake has two heads that think, react and eat separately, though one is more passive than the other.

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Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko Goes on Trial

Ukraine's ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Friday went on trial for alleged abuse of power, denouncing her rival President Viktor Yanukovych as a coward fearing political competition.

The former premier, known as the "Iron Lady", is accused of abuse of power in connection with a contract she signed with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after a brief interruption of gas deliveries from Russia in early 2009.

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Ukraine Denies Arresting ex-Premier Tymoshenko

Ukrainian prosecutors on Tuesday denied arresting former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko after the pro-Western leader's party said she had been taken into custody.

The 2005 Orange Revolution leader has been repeatedly summoned for questioning on charges that she defrauded the state out of millions while serving as head of ex-Soviet state's government.

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Ambiguity Over Kidnapping of 7 Estonians Amid Fears of Resumption of Civil War Abductions

The kidnapping of seven Estonians brought back fears about the resumption of abductions that were common during the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war amid reports that the men could have been snatched to be used as a bargaining chip for a Palestinian recently arrested in Ukraine.

The Estonian tourists cycling in the eastern Bekaa Valley were kidnapped on Wednesday by armed men.

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Gunmen Abduct Seven Estonian Tourists in Bekaa

Seven Estonian tourists biking in the eastern Bekaa Valley were kidnapped on Wednesday by armed men who bundled them into two vans and drove off, a security official told Agence France Presse.

He said the Estonians had crossed into Lebanon earlier from Syria and were intercepted at about 5:30 pm (1530 GMT) by two white vans and a dark Mercedes 300 with no license plates in the industrial part of Zahle.

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Ukraine Firm Offers Drinking Buddies

With the holidays approaching fast, are you in need of a drinking companion? Hire one, offers a group of entrepreneurial Ukrainians.

For just up to 150 Ukrainian hryvnias (18 dollars), an entertainment firm in eastern Ukraine will provide you with a drinking buddy with whom you can talk everything from politics to art to women or simply bemoan the condition of the world.

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