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.
Charges over ‘virgin’ offer
A Salt Lake City woman has been charged with offering her 13-year-old daughter’s virginity to a man in exchange for US$10,000. The woman was charged on Monday in Utah’s 3rd District Court with two counts of aggravated sex abuse and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. KTVX Channel 4 reports that court documents claim she made the offer after the man asked about oral sex with the girl. Police say the woman and the daughter would model lingerie for the man. The offer was discovered by the woman’s boyfriend, who found multiple text messages discussing the proposal.
DNA match reported
Evidence from the clothing of a hotel maid matched DNA samples submitted by former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been charged with sexually assaulting her, newspapers reported on Monday. The test results were consistent with what law enforcement officials have said about the account provided by the woman, the New York Times reported, citing a person briefed in the matter. The Wall Street Journal also reported that tests matched Strauss-Khan’s DNA sample and semen found on the woman’s shirt, citing law enforcement officials. In a letter to IMF staff circulated on Monday, Strauss-Kahn strongly denied charges against him and called the events around his arrest “a personal nightmare.” He apologized for the pain his case had caused the IMF and said he was confident he would be exonerated.
Chaplains seek leeway
A group of 21 organizations that provide chaplains to the military is asking the Department of Defense or Congress to guarantee that troops will not be punished if they openly discuss their objections to homosexuality with their chaplains. The joint letter was sent on Monday to the chaplain chiefs of the Navy, Army, and Air Force. The group says service members might not confide in chaplains if there’s no guarantee they won’t be punished for opposing a military policy.
No more ‘free’ passes
Authorities have detained 16 policemen who allegedly took bribes to protect members of a drug gang who carried specially marked cards to avoid detention. Authorities said some of the officers from a town on the outskirts of Mexico City were paid to warn members of a gang known as “The Hand with Eyes” about impending raids. “In some cases, the suspect police acknowledged that the gang, in order not to be detained or taken to jail, would show a card that had an exclusive design and that identified them as members of the drug distribution network,” said Alfredo Castillo, chief prosecutor for Mexico State.