| 16.7°C Dublin

In Brief: Putin victory in councils vote

Russia President Vladimir Putin's loyalists appear likely to retain their hold in thousands of local elections --but the opposition claims widespread vote fraud.

The Kremlin eased stiff election laws in response to major protests against Mr Putin's rule last winter, but introduced new restrictions after the demonstrations abated.

Kremlin-approved governors and most of the incumbent mayors appeared poised to preserve their seats and the Kremlin's main United Russia party will likely keep dominating local legislatures and municipal councils.

Passengers die in plane crash

A small plane has crashed in central Florida killing two passengers.

The ultralight plane crashed at an airport about 40 miles south west of Orlando.

Police said a woman passenger died in the crash and a man was pronounced dead at hospital.

Officers said the pilot of the experimental aircraft was performing touch-and-go manoeuvres when the plane hit the ground, flipped over and slid almost 200 feet.

Flemish gain big poll boost

The leader of a Belgium separatist party has won the race to become mayor of Antwerp and has vowed to seek wider autonomy for Belgium's wealthy Dutch-speaking region of Flanders.

Bart De Wever's NV-A party made sweeping gains throughout northern Flanders and immediately called on French-speaking prime minister Elio Di Rupo to give more rights of self-rule to Flanders.

Mr De Wever said: "We want to give Flemings the government they want at all levels."

Lithuanian No to nuclear plant

Nearly two-thirds of Lithuanian voters have rejected the idea of building a new nuclear power plant.

The Central Election Commission said that with 45pc of precincts counted, 64pc of votes cast in the referendum were against the new plant, while 36pc were in support.

The commission added that the vote proportion is unlikely to change.