Co-pilot named as Andreas Lubitz, a 28-year-old German citizen
Villagers in Alps prepare for arrival of families
The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing 150 people, appears to have deliberately flown it into a mountain after locking the flight captain out of the cockpit.
During the last eight minutes of the flight, the co-pilot “voluntarily” carried out actions that led to the destruction of the aircraft, Brice Robin, a French public prosecutor, said at a press conference in Marseille.
Citing evidence from a cockpit voice recorder recovered from the Airbus A320, Robin outlined the last moments of the doomed plane in a chilling account of the actions of the co-pilot, whom he named as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz………………..
Will Biden run against Clinton? Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
‘Draft Biden’ political action committee has grown tenfold amid grassroots enthusiasm for a progressive challenge to the former secretary of state
Joe Biden may come under pressure to decide whether he will challenge Hillary Clinton for the White House sooner than anticipated, as liberal anxiety has prompted multiplying grassroots supporters to wonder if the vice-president might be knocked from his perch of studied neutrality and into a presidential bid.
A third-party political action committee urging Biden to challenge Clinton from the left in the smoldering controversy over her email arrangements has ballooned tenfold in the past week alone, the Guardian has learned, even as advisers close to the vice-president insist that he will wait and see about a 2016 run they say he is still “seriously considering”.
Hints that the Democratic search for alternatives to Clinton may be more heartfelt than previously thought – an earnest progressive case for an Al Gore candidacy emerged last week, and the email controversy has created air pockets in Clinton’s popularity ahead of her expected run – has some eyes wandering anew in the direction of the current White House.
Now, with Republican candidates launching formal campaigns and the Clinton machine not far behind, Biden supporters are for the first time displaying organizational structure: a Draft Biden web site last week that has gone from a list of 2,000 supporters to 20,000 backers nationwide, director Will Pierce told the Guardian………………..
Ruling overturns government attempt to block release of ‘black spider memos’ to ministers after decade-long battle between the Guardian and Whitehall
The UK supreme court has cleared the way for the publication of secret letters written by Prince Charles to British government ministers, declaring that an attempt by the state to keep them concealed was unlawful.
The verdict – the culmination of a 10-year legal fight by the Guardian – is a significant blow for the government, which has been battling to protect the Prince of Wales from scrutiny over his “particularly frank” interventions on public policy.
In 2012, Dominic Grieve, then attorney general, said the correspondence contained the prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” and disclosure might undermine his “position of political neutrality”, which he might not easily be able to recover when king.
The 27 letters were sent between Charles and ministers in seven government departments in 2004 and 2005. Five of the seven judges in the supreme court ruled in favour of the Guardian’s case to see the letters. The verdict was delivered on Thursday by Lord Neuberger, the president of the court.
The judges concluded that Grieve did not have the legal power to veto a freedom of information tribunal, which had decided the memos should be published.
In a statement read out in court one of the supreme court in Westminster, Neuberger said: “We dismiss the attorney general’s appeal and the decision of the upper tribunal that the advocacy correspondence should be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act … stands.”
The prime minister and a spokeswoman for Charles said they were disappointed that the ruling had challenged the principle that senior members of the royal family were able to express their views to government confidentially.
The anti-monarchy campaign group Republic predicted that the eventual publication of the letters might swell republican support by revealing the royals “as a serious political force rather than as apolitical and harmless”…………………
Ben Affleck, left, actor, film-maker and founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, testifies next to Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates before a Senate subcommittee. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters
The Batman star reported on his work with the coffee industry in eastern Congo while the Microsoft billionaire stressed the need to support African agriculture
Ben Affleck and Bill Gates testified before the Senate on Thursday, with the actor plugging his new Batman movie, joking about sitting next to “the greatest and most important philanthropist in the history of the world”, praising Starbucks – and describing how coffee could remake the economy of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was Affleck’s fourth time before the Senate. He had been summoned to discuss the importance of US foreign aid in Congo, where an organization he founded, the Eastern Congo Initiative, is trying to rebuild the country’s coffee industry.
Testifying alongside Affleck was Gates, the Microsoft founder and richest man in the world, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has set a goal of helping to end African dependence on food imports within 15 years.
“Thanks for having me follow the greatest and most important philanthropist in the history of the world,” Affleck told the appropriations subcommittee panel. “I’m sure I’m going to come off great.”……………………….
In this photo provided by Bryan Beaubrun, Martese Johnson is held down by an officer during his violent arrest on March in Charlottesville. Photograph: Bryan Beaubrun/AP
Virginia governor orders retraining for law enforcement after student’s arrest
Johnson, 20, was left bloodied following detention in Charlottesville
Supporters of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson packed the district court in Charlottesville on Thursday morning for his first appearance to face charges since a violent arrest that left him bloodied a week ago.
More friends and supporters gathered outside to greet the 20-year-old as he arrived to make a very brief appearance in court, during which his next court date was set for 28 May.
Up to 150 supporters, dressed in black, crowded into Charlottesville general district court to bolster Johnson, according to a local report.
Prosecutors had indicated they would seek a delay in the case until the state police completed the investigation they are conducting into Johnson’s arrest at the request of Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe.
Johnson appeared at the courthouse in a dark suit and red tie and accompanied by his lawyer, Daniel Watkins. The injuries from his arrest in the early hours of last Wednesday were still visible, though much healed from their swollen and bruised appearance the day after he was detained and needed 10 stitches to his head as a result……………………