International news: plane crash in French Alps, yearlong space trip to International Space Station, abandoned prisoners in Ukraine


Evidence suggests co-pilot intentionally crashed plane into French Alps

The BBC reports that a Germanwings flight headed from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany crashed into the mountainous terrain of the French Alps, killing all 150 people onboard. The “black box” voice recorder found at the crash site indicated the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit at the moment of descent. Loud bangs and yelling heard on the recording suggested the pilot was locked out. Air traffic control repeatedly attempted to contact the aircraft, but the co-pilot remained silent. Police investigations found that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, suffered from a “psychosomatic illness” and was being treated by a psychiatrist. Investigations are still pending.

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Yearlong space trip to International Space Station begins for two astronauts

Two astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station to test the ability of humans to withstand long periods in microgravity. Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly will spend a year in orbit, longer than any other previous continuous stay aboard the Space Station. Most individuals stay for six months, and even this amount of time seems to have adverse effects on the human body. According to the BBC, the tour is also significant because it is the first mission with individuals from the two countries working together.

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Prisoners in Ukraine abandoned by prison guards

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reported that guards abandoned prisoners in eastern Ukraine when Russian militants captured the area. The prisoners were left unguarded and to fend for themselves. Some chose to escape, but nearly 400 chose to stay. Of the prisoners who stayed, they said it felt safer for them to remain in the prison because of landmines and ongoing shooting. While trapped, they have lived off food at the prison and have even baked bread to share with needy individuals from a nearby village. It is unclear what will happen to them as they are unable to obtain documentation for serving their sentences.

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