Pilots confused by alarms
Pilots aboard an Air France plane whose plunge into the Atlantic killed 228 people were confused by a series of flight control alarms and possibly reacted in error before the crash, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. It said sources familiar with the preliminary findings of the investigation found the pilots failed to follow standard procedures as they wrestled to figure out what was happening. The Airbus A330 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009, ran into heavy turbulence and icing that could have generated erroneous airspeed data and warnings, distracting the three pilots as the aircraft lost engine thrust. The crew struggled to make sense of the different warning messages and chimes while also monitoring key indicators of the plane’s trajectory and engine power, the Journal said.
Cultured people more happy
People who go to museums and concerts or create art or play an instrument are more satisfied with their lives, regardless of how educated or rich they are, according to a study released on Tuesday. However, the link between culture and feeling good about oneself is not quite the same in both sexes, according to the study, published in the British Medical Association’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. For men, passive activities such as taking in a concert or museum exhibition are associated with an upbeat mood and better health, it found. For women, though, the link is active, in that they were less likely to feel anxious, depressed or feel unwell if they played music or created art. Researchers led by Koenraad Cuypers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyzed information culled from 50,797 adults living in Norway’s Nord-Trondelag County.
Pro-pedophile priest probed
The Dutch Catholic Church and the Salesian order say they will investigate revelations one of the order’s priests served on the board of an organization that promotes pedophilia — with the knowledge of the order’s top official in Amsterdam. The official, delegate Herman Spronck, confirmed in a statement that the priest identified as “Father Van B” served on the board of the “Martijn” organization, which advocates adult-child sex. However, Spronck’s own superior in Belgium says he will investigate both Spronck and Van B, after Spronck was quoted by RTL Nieuws as saying such relationships aren’t always harmful. Church spokesman Pieter Kohnen said on Saturday that even with sex abuse scandals rocking Catholicism, this case was “unbelievable.”
TV stations fined for bias
The communications regulator in Rome on Monday slapped fines on several television programs for giving Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi airtime to rally supporters ahead of a second round of local voting. In a string of interviews delivered on Friday on state television channels and his own private ones, Berlusconi tried to galvanize center-right voters and quash speculation that his government may not last to the end of its term in 2013. Regulator Agcom said it would fine news programs on the public RAI network as well as Berlusconi’s Mediaset channels for airing the interviews without including opposing views, saying they had violated electoral rules.
Presidential limo gets stuck
One of US President Barack Obama’s presidential limousines on Monday became stuck on a ramp at the US embassy in Dublin, but US officials denied it was the one carrying the president. A Secret Service spokesman said “it was a spare limo carrying staff and support personnel only.” The first cars in the presidential motorcade emerged up the ramp from the car park beneath the embassy complex and passed through the gates without incident, but one of the low-slung limos quickly ran into trouble when it became jammed. “There was a loud kind of bang, metal-on-metal, grinding, crunching noise and the car was stuck,” an RTE reporter said.