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Germanwings Crash Co-Pilot Seemed Like a ‘Normal Guy,’ Fellow Pilot Says

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images(DÜSSELDORF, Germany) — A German pilot who recently flew with the co-pilot accused by French prosecutors of deliberately crashing a Germanwings plane said he seemed like a “normal guy,” and he “had plans for the future.”

French prosecutors have said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately slammed the passenger plane into a mountain on Tuesday. Authorities have since said he hid evidence of an illness from his employers, including a sick note that was found torn up inside his apartment in Dusseldorf dated from the day of the crash.

Frank Woiton, a Germanwings pilot, told German TV station WDR that he saw nothing unusual about Lubitz when he flew with him less than a month ago.

“The impression that I got was that he was a normal guy,” Woiton said. “He had plans for the future. He wanted to fly long distance flights for Lufthansa.”

German State Prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said on Friday that “a torn-up current sick note … valid for the day of the incident” had been found inside Lubitz’s apartment in Dusseldorf, adding that it “would — according to preliminary evaluation — support the assumption that the [pilot] had concealed his illness towards his employer and his occupational environment.”

Kumpa said the note found indicated Lubitz, 27, “was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work.”

The disclosure of torn medical documents at the co-pilot’s home came shortly before Germanwings’ parent company, Lufthansa, announced that it would be changing company policy to require two “authorized persons” remain in the cockpit at all times during the flight, in light of the finding that Lubitz apparently stopped the captain from re-entering the cockpit and forced the plane to crash.

In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city’s prosecutor announced that there was no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.

The New York Times reported that Lubitz sought treatment for vision problems that may have put his future as a pilot at risk, two officials with knowledge of the investigation told the newspaper.

It’s unclear how severe the eye problems were but one official with knowledge of the investigation hadn’t ruled out that it was caused or enhanced by psychological factors, the Times reported.

ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.

Dusseldorf University Hospital said Lubitz was a patient there and his last visit was two weeks before the crash. The hospital denied that the treatment was related to depression, but they have handed over all of his medical records to German investigators.

During a news conference on Thursday, the Lufthansa CEO said that Lubitz had undergone a medical examination that included a psychological evaluation before being hired in 2013 but, unlike physicals, mental evaluations are not required annually.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Crusin In Cruces

6.0-Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Northern Chile

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Tomislav Zivkovic/iStock/Thinkstock(SANTIAGO, Chile) – Parts of Northern Chile were rocked by a 6.0-magnitude earthquake on Saturday.

The quake struck 25 miles northeast of Calama at 12:35 p.m. local time, near Chile’s border with Bolivia, according to the United States Geological Survey. It had a depth of just over 65 miles.

So far, there have been reports of injuries or damage as a result of the quake.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



British Police Taser Knife-wielding Robber in Harrowing Surveillance Video

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Wiltshire Police(WILTSHIRE, England) — Harrowing surveillance video shows police tasering a knife-wielding man as he tried to rob a British supermarket.

Wiltshire Police released the video Friday, the same day they said James Lewis was sentenced to three years in prison. Police said he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery on Tuesday.

In the video from Feb. 1, a man identified by police as Lewis enters the supermarket wielding a large knife. He quickly heads toward the cashier and tries grabbing him.

The cashier manages to avoid his grasp and runs away when he jumps over the counter.

Officers arrive at the same time as Lewis, 22, because his father had called them saying he was concerned about his son, police said.

Lewis turns his knife on the officers trying to apprehend him, the video shows. One of the officers uses a shopping basket as a shield.

An officer then enters the supermarket and tasers Lewis, who falls to the floor, drops the knife, and grabs his head in agony. Police said he had refused to drop the knife when told to do so.

“Wiltshire police are very proud of all our officers, doing their part to protect the public,” read a statement from police.



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Double Your Dollars

Amanda Knox ‘Grateful’ Conviction Overturned

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

ABC News(SEATTLE) — After Italy’s highest court decided to overturn Amanda Knox’s reconviction in connection with her roommate’s slaying, Knox said late Friday she was still processing the court’s decision.

“I just wanted to say that I am incredibly grateful for what has happened, for the justice I’ve received, for the support that I’ve had from everyone,” Knox told reporters. “What comes to mind is my gratitude for that life that has been given to me.”

Knox, 27, was initially convicted by an Italian court of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but that decision was overturned on appeal in October 2011 after she had spent four years in prison.

She was then reconvicted last year and an appeal of the reconviction began this month. There is no possibility of any further appeals after Friday’s ruling.

“Meredith was my friend and she deserved so much in this life,” Knox told reporters.

Knox has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Seattle, writing freelance theater reviews for a local paper and working at a bookstore. In February, her family said that she was engaged to Colin Sutherland, a friend whom she has known since middle school.

Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito faced the same appeal and was also annulled. While he has been present in the Rome court throughout the week, Knox has remained in America.

“I will never go willingly back,” she told ABC News in January 2014.



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Deadly Hotel Siege Ends in Somalia

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

alexis84/iStock/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU, Somalia) — A deadly attack at a hotel in Somali’s capital has ended after 12 hours.

Government officials said on Saturday they have taken back control of the hotel where gunman were held up for more than 12 hours in an attack that left at least 17 people dead.

The government had occupied the third and fourth floors of the hotel.

The terror group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Never Submitted Sick Note, Airline Says

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Getty Images(DUSSELORF, Germany) — The airline whose plane crashed in the French Alps never received the sick note that investigators found torn up in the apartment of the co-pilot who allegedly hid an illness from his employers before allegedly causing the fatal crash, it was revealed Friday.

Germanwings said in a statement Friday that they never received a sick note for co-pilot Andreas Lubitz that the senior prosecutor in Dusseldorf announced they had found torn up in his apartment.

Prosecutor Christoph Kumpa had said earlier in the day that “a torn-up current sick note … valid for the day of the incident” had been found, adding that it “would — according to preliminary evaluation — support the assumption that the [pilot] had concealed his illness towards his employer and his occupational environment.”

Kumpa said the note found indicated the pilot deemed unwell by a medical doctor.

The disclosure of torn medical documents at the co-pilot’s home came shortly before Germanwings’ parent company, Lufthansa, announced that it would be changing company policy to require two “authorized persons” remain in the cockpit at all times during the flight, in light of the finding that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz apparently stopped the captain from re-entering the cockpit and forced the plane to crash.

In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city’s prosecutor announced that there is no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.

The Wall Street Journal cited a friend of Lubitz who said that he suffered from depression and was worried that his employer would find out about his diagnosis. ABC News has not independently confirmed this account.

Dusseldorf University Hospital confirmed Lubitz was a patient there and his last visit was two weeks before the crash. They denied that the treatment was related to depression, but they have handed over all of his medical records to German investigators.

During a news conference on Thursday, the Lufthansa CEO said that the 27-year-old co-pilot had undergone a medical examination that included a psychological evaluation before being hired in 2013 but, unlike physicals, mental evaluations are not required annually.

The Germanwings plane crashed this past Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. French President Francois Hollande said there were “apparently no survivors.”

Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, France, said in a news conference Thursday that Lubitz appeared to want to “destroy the plane,” purposefully locking the captain out of the Airbus A320’s cockpit and accelerating the descent manually.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



US Helicopter Recovers Pair of Saudi Pilots After Fighter Jet Crash

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(DJIBOUTI) — A U.S. helicopter recovered a pair of Saudi pilots whose fighter jet had crashed in the Gulf of Aden on Friday.

A U.S. official confirmed that the Saudi plane, a F-15, had gone down due to mechanical issues while participating in Saudi airstrikes within Yemen. A U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter based in nearby Djibouti was set to rescue the pilots, who had ejected into the water.

The U.S. is not taking part in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, but is providing logistical and intelligence support.



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Loyal Listeners Club

Amanda Knox’s Conviction Overturned by Italy’s Highest Court

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

ABC(ROME) — Italy’s highest court decided Friday to overturn Amanda Knox’s reconviction in connection with her roommate’s slaying, meaning that she will not be sent back to prison.

Knox’s mother confirmed to ABC News that her daughter’s conviction has been annulled.

Knox was initially convicted by an Italian court of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but that decision was overturned on appeal in October 2011 after she had spent four years in prison.

She was then reconvicted last year and an appeal of the reconviction began this month. There is no possibility of further appeals after Friday’s ruling.

Knox said in a statement that she is “tremendously relieved and grateful for the deicison of the Supreme Court of Italy.”

“The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal,” Knox says. Her family also released a statement saying they were “thrilled with” and “grateful for” Friday’s decision.

“This is a big mistake that has to be rectified,” Knox’s defense attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova told ABC News before this latest appeal case began. “It has been done before.”

Knox has previously told ABC News that while she maintains her innocence, she will not be traveling to Italy for the new appeal because if found guilty, she would then be sent back to jail for up to 28 years.

“I did not expect this to happen,” Knox told ABC News in January 2014. “I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent once before.”

Knox has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Seattle, writing freelance theater reviews for a local paper and working at a bookstore. In February, her family confirmed that she is now engaged to Colin Sutherland, a friend whom she has known since middle school.

Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is facing the same appeal and while he has been present in the Rome court throughout the week, Knox has remained in America.

“I will never go willingly back,” she said in January 2014.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



US Embassy in Iraq Denies Reports of Coalition Airstrike Mistakenly Hitting Iraqi Troops

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — The U.S. embassy in Iraq on Friday denied Iraqi media reports that a coalition airstrike mistakenly struck Iraqi troops in Tikrit.

“We are aware of Iraqi media reports of casualties among Iraqi Security Forces in the vicinity of Tikrit University this morning,” the embassy’s statement reads. “No coalition airstrikes took place during the time or in the vicinity of these alleged casualties.”

The embassy referred further questions to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

U.S. and coalition forces had begun to conduct airstrikes and offer additional support in the vicinity of Tikrit as Iraqi Security Forces attempt to retake the city from ISIS militants.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Song of The Day

European Aviation Regulator, Lufthansa Look into Two-Person Rule for Cockpits

Friday, March 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the wake of the Germanwings plane crash earlier this week, both the European Aviation Safety Agency and Lufthansa are looking into mandating two people be in a plane’s cockpit at all times.

The Germanwings plane crashed Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. French President Francois Hollande said there were “apparently no survivors.”

Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, France, said in a news conference Thursday that Lubitz appeared to want to “destroy the plane,” purposefully locking the captain out of the Airbus A320’s cockpit and accelerating the descent manually.

The EASA said in a press release Friday that it would make a temporary recommendation for airlines to ensure that two crew members — including at least one qualified pilot — are in the cockpit at all times.

In the Germanwings crash, one pilot had reportedly left the cockpit to use the restroom, and Lubitz was left alone.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said that “while we are still mourning the victims, all our efforts focus on improving the safety and security of passengers and crews.”

While the EASA makes that recommendation, individual states will still have to require their airlines to follow the two-person protocol.

German airliner group Lufthansa released a statement on Friday saying that its group member airlines would adopt the “rule of two.” The move is termed a “precautionary measure.”


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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