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WORLD IN BRIEF: Former IOC president dead at 89

Former IOC president dead at 89

BARCELONA, Spain -- Juan Antonio Samaranch, a reserved but shrewd dealmaker whose 21-year term as president of the International Olympic Committee was marked by the unprecedented growth of the games, died Wednesday at a hospital. He was 89.

Samaranch, a courtly former diplomat who served as Spanish ambassador in Moscow, led the IOC from 1980 to 2001. He was considered one of the defining presidents for building the IOC into a powerful global organization and firmly establishing the Olympics as a world force.

He considered stepping down after the 1992 Olympics in his home city of Barcelona and again after the centennial games in Atlanta in 1996. Each time, encouraged by his supporters, he chose to continue. Twice, he had the age limit changed to allow him to stay on.

Analysts say N. Korea hinting at 3rd nuke test

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea may be preparing to carry out a third nuclear test, analysts and a high-ranking defector said Wednesday, citing language in state media hinting of an impending crisis on the peninsula.

Speculation that communist North Korea might conduct another nuclear test, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, grew after the South Korean cable network YTN reported Tuesday that the North has been preparing since February to conduct a test in May or June. YTN cited an unidentified diplomatic source.

Airlines lose $1.7B; blame game begins

BERLIN -- Airlines lost at least $1.7 billion in revenue during the volcanic ash crisis, an industry group said Wednesday as the debate heated up over whether European governments were justified in shutting down their airspace for so long.

Planes were flying into all of Europe's top airports -- London's Heathrow, Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Germany's hub at Frankfurt. Still, experts predicted it could take days -- even more than a week -- to clear a backlog of stranded passengers after about 102,000 flights were canceled around the world.

Eurocontrol, the air traffic control agency in Brussels, said 21,000 of the continent's 28,000 scheduled flights were going ahead Wednesday. Air traffic controllers lifted all restrictions over German airspace, but some restrictions remained over parts of Britain, Ireland and France.