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Ailing former president out of intensive care

– Former President George H.W. Bush’s condition continued to improve Saturday, prompting doctors to move him out of intensive care, a spokesman said.

“President Bush’s condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said Saturday. “The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes.”

Bush was hospitalized Nov. 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough. He was moved to intensive care at the Houston hospital Dec. 23 after he developed a fever.

On Friday, McGrath said Bush had improved since arriving in the ICU. He said he was alert and in good spirits and was even doing some singing.

McGrath said Saturday morning that future updates on Bush’s condition would be made as warranted.

Bush, 88, is the country’s oldest living former president by a few months.

4 die in Moscow airplane disaster

A passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia’s third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing at least four people.

Officials said there were eight people aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings. The airliner was flying back from the Czech Republic without passengers to its home at Vnukovo Airport.

Emergency officials said in a televised news conference that four people were killed and another four severely injured when the plane rolled off the runway into a snowy field and partly onto an adjacent highway, then disintegrated.

No collisions with vehicles on the major, multilane highway were reported by Russian authorities.

SUV plunges into creek; 6 drown

Five young siblings and one adult died early Saturday when a sport utility vehicle went off an eastern Mississippi road and plunged into a rain-swollen creek, authorities said.

Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said the victims appear to have drowned after their Dodge Durango left a county road just after midnight Saturday. Divers from a local fire department had to be called to find the submerged vehicle.

The sheriff said all were members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and lived in the Pearl River community east of the site where the tribe operates a large casino complex.

The father of the children, who was driving, escaped the vehicle along with the children’s mother.

Waddell said he has been tested to see whether he was under the influence of alcohol, though official results aren’t in.

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