Half of pilots fall asleep
More than half of Britain’s airline pilots have fallen asleep in the cockpit and a third have woken up to find their co-pilot asleep, according to a survey. The poll of 500 pilots commissioned by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) also found that 43 percent believed that tiredness had compromised their ability to fly a plane at least once a month for the last six months. About 56 percent admitted they had fallen asleep during a flight and 29 percent said they had woken up to find the other pilot had also dozed off, according to the ComRes poll. The survey comes after it emerged that both the captain and co-pilot of an Airbus A330 plane fell asleep at the same time while on autopilot during a flight by an unnamed British operator on Aug. 13. The Civil Aviation Authority said one of the pilots had reported that the pair had only five hours’ sleep each for the previous two nights. Nearly half of the pilots questioned, 49 percent, identified tiredness as the biggest threat to flight safety, while a third said their airline’s culture discouraged them from reporting their tiredness.
Police seek owner of gold
Attention all passengers: could the person who left a stash of gold bars and a pile of banknotes in the luggage deposit at Cologne’s main railway station kindly contact the police? That was the appeal that police issued on Friday for information to track down the owner of the several kilos of gold and a six-figure sum of euros in cash. The stash was found in April in a luggage locker at the station, a major European transport hub. Police said they are going public after being unable to link the haul to any crime and hearing nothing from any legitimate owner. Whoever the owner is should not leave it too much longer. Police say that if nobody comes forward, the stash will be sold.
Police arrest senior Tory
A top member of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party has been arrested on suspicion of raping a teenage girl, police said yesterday. Party vice-chairman Alan Lewis, 75, was arrested in London on Friday after a woman claimed he raped her in the 1960s, police said. Lewis, a self-made tycoon who has earned millions through his luxury clothing chain Crombie, was appointed vice-chairman by Cameron in 2010 and has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to British business. “A 75-year-old man was arrested following a complaint received earlier this year of an historic rape that occurred in the Manchester area in the late 60s,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said.
Jail holds beauty pageant
In Bogota’s Buen Pastor prison, age is not an obstacle to a beauty queen crown. Maria Cristina Villareal, 56, was among six women competing on Friday in this year’s pageant for the title of Reina Madre or “Queen Mother.” There is a separate category for unmarried women. The 2,222-inmate women’s prison has hosted pageants for 18 years, with TV and musical celebrities serving as judges. Most of the inmates have been convicted of drug trafficking or are awaiting trial. They include 50 foreigners, none of whom took part in this year’s pageant. Villareal, a mother of three with nine grandchildren, is serving time for drug trafficking. “Even though they are in prison, they have not lost the essence of being women,” said prisons bureau employee Maria Virginia Camacho, who organized this year’s pageant.