US Says Got “Notification” From Iran To Probe Ukrainian Plane Crash

The US National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday it’ll join the probe into the Ukrainian Boeing airliner which went down in Iran.
In a statement posted on its Twitter account, the agency said it had “received formal notification” from Iran of the crash which occurred on Wednesday.

The plane, a US-made Boeing 737, went down minutes after takeoff from Tehran, and shortly after Iran had fired missiles at military bases in Iraq housing US troops.

“The NTSB has designated an accredited representative to the investigation of the crash,” said the US agency which probes transport accidents.
“The NTSB continues to watch things surrounding the crash and evaluate its level of participation within the investigation,” which can be led by Iran, the statement said.

“As with any investigation during which the NTSB is involved, the agency won’t speculate about the explanation for the crash.”

Report Says Prince Harry, Meghan To Be Punished For Parting As Senior Royals

The British monarchy scrambled Thursday to seek out urgent “workable solutions” for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan after their bombshell decision to quit front-line duties caught the royalty off guard.
Queen Elizabeth , heir to the throne Charles and his eldest son Prince William, Harry’s brother, have ordered their aides to figure with Harry’s household and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to return up with swift answers to the royal crisis.

“The Queen, the Prince of Wales and therefore the refore the Duke of Cambridge have directed their teams to figure together at pace with government and the Sussex household to seek out workable solutions,” a Buckingham Palace source said, consistent with multiple British media outlets.

This process is “expected to require days, not weeks”, the source added.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, rocked the monarchy on Wednesday with an announcement made without consulting any senior royals from the sovereign downwards.

The couple said they might now “balance” their time between Britain and North America, shred long-established relations with the press, and seek financial independence.

They released their shock statement on a pre-prepared new website, their Instagram account and thru Buckingham Palace’s email communications system.

An hour and 40 minutes later, the palace, seemingly rattled, issued a quick statement of its own, saying discussions were at an early stage and involved “complicated issues”.

The mood within the palace was understood to be one among disappointment and even “hurt”, consistent with the BBC, while Thursday’s newspapers were filled with reports of a family “split” and therefore the queen’s “dismay”.

London’s Evening Standard newspaper said that they had “defied clear instructions from the queen” to not go public about any future plans at this point .

It added senior courtiers had warned the couple “will be punished for this”.

Meanwhile Madame Tussauds London said it had been moving its waxworks of the pair faraway from other top family figures “to reflect the upcoming change within the royal line-up”.

‘Going Rogue’

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said Harry and Meghan announcing this step without the 93-year-old monarch’s blessing was “extraordinary”.

“This is symptomatic, clearly, of the very fact that they’re unhappy with royal roles and feel deeply pressurised,” he told AFP.

“They’ve chosen to… go rogue. The result, therefore, could have very serious consequences.”

The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year, during which they admitted to struggling within the spotlight, and growing aside from William.

They have also lashed out at negative news coverage and brought several papers to court — another unusual move.

“We shall step back as ‘senior’ members of the royalty and work to become financially independent, while continuing to completely support Her Majesty The Queen,” they said.

“We have chosen to form a transition this year in beginning to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”

Meanwhile on their new website, they said they might not work with the royal rota — a well-established system whereby media access is facilitated and therefore the press alternate covering events and share the coverage.

Instead the pair will plan to invite only “specialist”, “grassroots”, “credible” and “young, up-and-coming” media to events.

Royal analysts said the changes were unprecedented for senior relations .

“We would have them as members of the royalty completing some official duties but also operating privately also , and there’s not really a precedent for that,” said expert Victoria Murphy.

Britons passing Buckingham Palace on Thursday appeared surprised at the news.

“They both knew what they were stepping into and that i think that they have to satisfy that challenge,” said Roger Sainsbury, a member of the soldiers .

‘Different Paths’

Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, are among the core members of the royalty and — along side William and his wife Kate — are seen as embodying the monarchy’s future.

They spent six weeks over Christmas in Canada after speaking of the pressure of being within the spotlight following their fairytale wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and son Archie’s birth 12 months later.

They skipped the royal family’s traditional Christmas at Sandringham, the sovereign’s private estate in eastern England, spending the festive season instead with Meghan’s US mother Doria Ragland.

Rumours that each one wasn’t well with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex surfaced in October when Harry — sixth in line to the throne — admitted that he and William were “on different paths” and had good and bad days in their relationship.

Asked whether she was “not really OK” and if life had “really been a struggle” after becoming a mother and living under intense media scrutiny, Meghan appeared emotional and replied simply: “Yes.”

After Weinstein Lawyers Claim Bias, Judge Refuses To Remove Himself

Denying he was biased, the judge in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial on Thursday refused to get rid of himself from the high-profile case, rejecting an accusation by the previous film producers’ lawyers.
“I have in no way prejudged this case,” Justice James Burke told Weinstein’s lawyers. “I am getting to great lengths to afford your client a good trial.”

Sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein by dozens of girls helped fuel the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to travel public with misconduct allegations against powerful men.

In the ny case, Weinstein, 67, has pleaded acquitted to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the foremost serious charge, predatory sexual abuse . His trial began on Monday and will last up to 2 months.
Since 2017, quite 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Weinstein has denied all the allegations, saying any sexual encounters he had were consensual.

One of his lawyers, Arthur Aidala, filed a motion on Wednesday urging Burke to recuse himself.

As evidence of judicial bias, Aidala cited a comment Burke made Tuesday when he threatened to revoke Weinstein’s bail after catching him using his cellphone in court.

“Is this really the way you would like to finish up in jail for the remainder of your life, by texting and violating a court order?” the judge said at the time.

Burke on Thursday said that albeit the comments were “hyperbolic,” they weren’t evidence of prejudice.

“I certainly never actually meant that i used to be getting to put your client in jail for all times , nor did I mean, because I even have not, that I even have prejudged whether he’s guilty or innocent of the fees ,” the judge said.

Burke also denied Aidala’s request to delay the trial for a “cooling-off period.”

“There is not any time just like the present to travel forward,” the judge said. “All sides are ready.”

Thursday was the third day of jury selection within the case, with 120 potential jurors called certain pre-screening. A murmur went through the courtroom when Burke announced the name of the defendant before delivering instructions about jury service.

Burke cut the proceedings short before noon because the lead prosecutor, Assistant DA Joan Illuzzi, had a medical issue. The 120 potential jurors are expected to return on Friday morning.

Weinstein, once one among Hollywood’s most powerful producers, made his mark with critically acclaimed films like “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare crazy .”

New Virus May Have Caused China Pneumonia Outbreak UN Health Body Says

A cluster of quite 50 pneumonia cases in China’s city center of Wuhan could also be thanks to a newly emerging member of the family of viruses that caused the deadly SARS and MERS outbreaks, World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
While the United Nations health agency said it needed more comprehensive information to verify precisely the sort of pathogen causing the infections, it said a replacement coronavirus was an opportunity .

On Thursday, China’s official Xinhua press agency said preliminary lab results conducted by a team of experts showed a replacement sort of coronavirus caused the outbreak that began in December.

Xu Jianguo, a tutorial at the Chinese Academy of Engineering who led the team, told Xinhua that tests on samples from patients found 15 positive results of the new coronavirus. Fifty nine cases of the pneumonia are reported as of Sunday.

“It may take years for researchers to develop medicines and vaccines,” the Xinhua report said.

The outbreak comes before the Lunar New Year holidays in late January, when many of China’s 1.4 billion people are going to be traveling to their home towns or abroad. The Chinese government expects passengers to form 440 million trips via rail and another 79 million trips via airplanes, officials said during an appointment on Thursday.

Wang Yang, the Chinese transport ministry’s chief engineer, said at the briefing that authorities will intensify efforts to stop the pneumonia outbreak from spreading further during the vacation period, including ensuring proper disinfection in major public transportation hubs.

Coronaviruses are an outsized family of viruses which will cause infections starting from the cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). a number of the virus types cause less severe disease, while some – just like the one that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) – are much more severe.
The WHO noted that coronaviruses emerge periodically – including in 2002 to cause SARS and in 2012 to cause MERS.

It said that consistent with Chinese authorities, the virus behind the Wuhan cases can cause severe illness in some patients and doesn’t appear to pass easily from person to person.

“More comprehensive information is required to verify the pathogen, also on better understand the epidemiology of the outbreak, the clinical picture, the investigations to work out the source, modes of transmission, extent of infection, and therefore the countermeasures implemented,” the WHO said.

In 2003, Chinese officials covered up a SARS outbreak for weeks before a growing price and rumors forced the govt to reveal the epidemic. The disease spread rapidly to other cities and countries. quite 8,000 people were infected and 775 died.

Missile Strikes Start A Series Of Attacks Iranian Commander Says

A senior Iranian commander said Iran’s missile attacks on US targets in Iraq didn’t aim to kill American soldiers but sought to wreck Washington’s “military machine” and were the beginning of a series of attacks across the region, state television reported.
Amirali Hajizadeh, the top of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force, also said the “appropriate revenge” for the US killing of prominent Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was to expel US forces from the center East, state TV said.
He also said Iran had many missiles at the ready and when Tehran launched missiles on Wednesday it had used “cyber attacks to disable (US) plane and drone navigation systems.”

Finally Historic Brexit Deal Approved By British Lawmakers

Britain’s parliament finally approved Brexit on Thursday, allowing it to become the primary country to go away the ecu Union by the top of this month, ending years of arguments that toppled two governments and divided a nation.
The House of Commons erupted in cheers after MPs ratified Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s divorce affect Brussels 330 votes to 231, drawing a line under a unprecedented era of political drama and chaos.

For much of the time since the 2016 Brexit referendum, lawmakers are at each others’ throats over how, when or maybe if Britain should leave its closest trading partners after nearly 50 years.

Some viewed Brexit with horror, fearing that it stripped them of their European identities and turned Britain into an insular, smaller nation.

Others embraced it with fervour, viewing it as an opportunity to “take back control” from officials in Brussels and see Britain regain a number of its past might.
Businesses and governments in Europe, puzzled by Britain’s struggles over what they viewed as a self-inflicted wound, hoped that Brexit could still somehow be undone.

But Johnson’s comprehensive victory in last month’s election brought an abrupt end to the turmoil, giving his Conservatives a parliamentary majority with which to push it through.

MPs gave their initial blessing to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Christmas, and therefore the government put aside just three days in the week for detailed scrutiny of the complex text.

But few MPs even bothered to show abreast of Tuesday and Wednesday, with both sessions ending early, while the govt easily saw off opposition attempts to amend the text.

The momentous day on which Johnson effectively gets permission to abandon the ecu integration project was about ignored in Thursday’s media.

Instead, it became a footnote to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s decision to quit royal front-line duties — christened “Megxit” and shaping up to be equally complicated and divisive.

“We are going to be leaving the EU on January 31. we’ll have delivered on the PM’s commitment to urge Brexit done,” a government spokesman said, echoing Johnson’s election mantra.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party , bruised by its worst beating at the polls since 1935, voted against Brexit on Thursday knowing the battle had been lost.

We “may not win many votes in parliament just , but we will win the moral argument”, said Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer, a possible successor to Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

“Whatever (Johnson) says about the broader issues, he must know the govt have gotten this wrong.”

The Brexit bill must still be gone by the unelected House of Lords and therefore the European Parliament, which is seen as a formality.

All eyes are now on another major challenge: the negotiation of a replacement relationship between Britain and therefore the remaining 27 EU nations, which form the world’s largest single market.

The Brexit deal covers separation issues like EU citizens’ rights and Britain’s financial settlement, and sets out an 11-month transition period during which to agree a wider partnership.

Brussels warns the present deadline of New Year’s Eve this year is extremely tight, and has given London the choice to invite longer .

But Johnson insists there’ll be no extension of the transition period, saying that Britain must be freed from EU rules as soon as possible.

Ahead of talks with Johnson on Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it might be “basically impossible” to agree everything within London’s timeframe.

“We will need to prioritise,” she said during a speech to the London School of Economics university, warning of “tough talks ahead”.

In response, Johnson’s office indicated that it could accept a partial trade deal.

London didn’t want the EU’s long-standing policy that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” — intended to prevent one side cherry-picking bits of a deal they like — to define the approaching negotiations, a spokesman said.

“We are very clear we would like to urge on in terms of negotiating a deal,” he said.

In Mali Mortar Attack 18 UN Soldiery, 2 Civilians Injured

Eighteen UN troops and two civilians were wounded Thursday during a mortar attack on a military base in northern Mali, a UN official said, in fresh violence within the war-torn West African country .
Olivier Salgado, the spokesperson for the UN mission in Mali, said the toll was “preliminary.”

Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted within the north in 2012, and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since.

An internal UN report seen by AFP said 15 mortar rounds landed “inside and around” the military base in Tessalit, in northern Mali, on the brink of the border with Algeria.

Camp personnel took shelter during a bunker, the report said, adding that two Malian civilians were wounded within the section of camp harbouring French soldiers.

Some 4,500 French troops are deployed within the Sahel region, while the UN features a 13,000-strong peacekeeping force in Mali.

The Tessalit camp hosts a battalion of troops from Chad, also French troops.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh Resigns

Global airline titan IAG on Thursday said its chief executive Willie Walsh has quit, after an extended stint that saw him oversee the group’s creation and rapid expansion, and would get replaced by Luis Gallego, head of Spanish division Iberia.
Walsh stands down on March 26 before retirement, the owner of British Airways said during a statement.

The announcement brings down the curtain on Walsh’s 15-year career with BA and IAG. Starting as BA chief executive, he went on to oversee the 2011 merger of British Airways and Iberia.

IAG has since expanded to incorporate Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling.

The Irishman also spearheaded a cost-cutting drive to compete with budget airlines, despite criticism from some quarters that this cheapened the brand of BA — which once called itself the world’s favourite airline.

Walsh, 58, was originally a pilot at Ireland’s Aer Lingus but rose to become chief executive, before taking over an equivalent role at BA in 2005.

‘Unique’ Leadership

“Willie has led the merger and successful integration of British Airways and Iberia,” IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez said in Thursday’s statement.

“Under Willie’s leadership IAG has become one among the leading global airline groups.”

But British Airways suffered major disruption in September when for the primary time in its 100-year history pilots employed by the airline went on strike during a long-running pay dispute.

“It has been a privilege to possess been instrumental within the creation and development of IAG,” Walsh said within the statement.

“I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptional people over the past 15 years at British Airways and at IAG.

“Luis has been a core member of the team and has shown true leadership over the years and that i haven’t any doubt he are going to be an excellent CEO of IAG,” Walsh added.

In London midday trading, IAG shares gained 1.0 percent to 624.8 pence on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was up half a decimal point overall.

‘Difficult Times’

“Willie Walsh leaving BA has been alright telegraphed therefore the modest rise in IAG shares probably better reflects the general market mood,” said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler.

“Iberia has been considerably an equal partner within the group with BA in recent years so it is sensible that the Iberia chief Luis Gallego takes the reins.”

Lawler added that Walsh had navigated other “difficult times, including fuel prices spikes and cut-throat competition from budget airlines”.

Iberia has yet to announce Gallego’s replacement.

“It may be a huge honour to steer this great company. it’s an exciting time at IAG and that i am confident that we will repose on the strong foundations created by Willie,” Gallego said.

As Iberia chief since 2013, Gallego managed to return the airline to profitability after years of losses. He began his professional career within the Spanish Air Force before joining the commercial sector.

For Possible Missile Attack Ukraine Wants To Search Iran Plane Crash Site

Ukraine outlined four potential scenarios on Thursday to explain the deadly crash of one of its airliners in Iran, including a missile strike and terrorism, as Iranian investigators said the plane was on fire before it fell to the ground.
Kiev said its investigators wanted to search the site of Wednesday’s crash southwest of Tehran for possible debris of a Russian-made missile used by Iran’s military. An initial report by Iran’s civil aviation organisation said the plane had experienced an unspecified technical problem.

The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, killing all 176 people on board.

The Iranian report cited witnesses on the ground and in a passing aircraft flying at a high altitude as saying the plane was on fire while in the air.

It said that the three-year-old airliner, which had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday, encountered a technical problem shortly after take-off and started to head toward a nearby airport before it crashed.

The report said there was no radio communication from the pilot and that the aircraft disappeared from radar at 8,000 feet (2,440 m).

It is so far unclear if any technical issue could be related to a maintenance fault or defective part.

The disaster puts a renewed spotlight on Boeing, which faces a safety crisis over a different type of 737, though the plane that crashed in Iran does not have the feature thought to have caused crashes of the grounded 737 MAX.

The Iranian report referred to the crash as an accident.

Investigations into airliner crashes are complex, requiring regulators, experts and companies across several international jurisdictions to work together. It can take months to fully determine the cause and issuing an initial report within 24 hours is rare.

A Canadian security source told Reuters there was evidence one of the engines had overheated.

The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, leading some to speculate that the plane may have been hit.

The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile, five security sources – three Americans, one European and the Canadian – who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Ukranian Theories

Ukraine Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danylov said the country’s investigators wanted to search for possible Russian missile debris after seeing information on the internet.

He referred to an unverified image circulated on Iranian social media purportedly showing the debris of a Russian-made Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile of the kind used by the Iranian military.

Ukrainian investigators into the crash include experts who participated in the investigation into the 2014 shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, Danylov said.

The Malaysian airliner was shot down on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.

In a televised statement, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier asked people to refrain from speculation, conspiracy theories and hasty evaluations regarding the crash. He declared Thursday a day of national mourning.

Zelenskiy said he would speak by telephone with the Iranian president to step up cooperation in investigating the crash.

Ukraine is looking at various possible causes, including a missile attack, a collision, an engine explosion or terrorism.

Countries recognised under a UN-administered convention as participants should nominate who they wish to be involved in the Iran-led investigation, the Iranian report said.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called his Iranian counterpart to stress the need for Canadian officials “to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash”, a Canadian statement said.

“Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered.”

Britain wants a transparent investigation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Thursday following a call between the British leader and Zelenskiy.

“The prime minister said that there needed to be a full credible and transparent investigation into what happened,” the spokesman said.

As the country where the plane was designed and built, the United States would usually be allowed to be accredited but neither side has said whether U.S. investigators will be dispatched to Iran.

Iran’s aviation body could not be reached for comment to clarify its position.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen with the United States’ killing of a top Iranian general on Friday. Tehran retaliated with a missile strike on U.S. targets in Iraq.

The Ukrainian airliner took off at 6:12 a.m. local time and was given permission to climb to 26,000 feet, the report said. It crashed six minutes later near the town of Sabashahr.

Bodies and body parts recovered from the site of the crash have been taken to the coroner’s office for identification, the report said.

Smouldering debris, including shoes and clothes, was strewn across a field where the plane crashed on Wednesday. Rescue workers in face masks laid out scores of body bags.

Onboard were 146 Iranians, 10 Afghans, 11 Ukrainians, five Canadians and four Swedes, the report said, but said some may have held citizenship of other countries.

Ukrainian authorities have said those on board included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians.

The Tehran-Toronto via Kiev route was a popular for Canadians of Iranian descent visiting Iran in the absence of direct flights.

Prince Harry And Meghan The ‘Half Royals’

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have announced they’re going to step back from senior roles within the royalty – a move that raises questions on how they’re going to earn an income, who can pay for his or her security, and what their new positions will involve.
Exactly how they’re going to combine private work and royal duties remains unclear.

The couple in an initial statement said they hoped to become financially independent and found out a replacement charity, while continuing some royal duties.

Who Pays?

Harry and Meghan said during a question-and-answer section of their new website that they’re seeking financial independence from the monarchy’s funding, referred to as the “Sovereign Grant”. this is often a government handout that covers the running costs of the royal household and travel expenses.

The couple said the grant was like 5% of their income towards running their office.

They didn’t say if they’re going to hand over the remaining 95 percent which comes from Prince Charles’s centuries-old private estate.

By foregoing money from the taxpayer, the couple indicated they’re going to seek some sort of private income.

“They value the power to earn knowledgeable income, which within the current structure they’re prohibited from doing,” the statement said. “For this reason they need made the selection to become members of the royalty with financial independence.”
Where Will They Live?

They said they now decide to divide their time between the uk and North America.

They will still base themselves at Frogmore Cottage within the grounds of the queen’s Windsor Castle when within the uk . The property was recently renovated at a price of two .4 million pounds ($3.13 million) by taxpayers.

Meghan was born in l. a. and she or he grew up in Hollywood. Harry and Meghan spent the last six weeks of 2019 in Canada and their first official appearance of 2020 was a visit to Canada House in London, home of Canada’s deputation to Britain.

Who Pays For Security?

The couple made clear that they expected the govt to still finance their security costs as mandated by the house Office, which is liable for the safety of the royalty . the value of the safety isn’t made public, but it’s estimated to cost many thousands of pounds a year.

How Will They Earn Money?

The couple’s new website Sussex Royal doesn’t outline how they shall fund themselves in future. a number of the Queen’s other grandchildren work, including Prince Andrew’s daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, who add business and therefore the arts.

Last year, it had been reported that Harry would be executive producer of a documentary on psychological state with US television mogul Oprah Winfrey for Apple’s video streaming service.

Royal biographer Penny Junor suggested Meghan, who starred in TV legal drama “Suits”, might revive her acting career, given the demand and costs she could command.

Six months ago Harry and Meghan applied to the united kingdom property Office to trademark the phrases Sussex Royal and Sussex Royal Foundation to be used on books, stationery, clothing like pyjamas and socks, charity campaigns and therefore the provision of coaching , sport and social care.

What About The Media?

The couple announced they’re to transform media access to their official engagements, and can not participate within the traditional “royal rota” system, which is an agreement providing access for royal correspondents.

The royal rota system allows access to their engagements by accredited correspondents, who pool photographs and video, to make sure minimum interference with the engagement itself.

Now the couple said their intention is to talk on to the general public through social media, and that they would deny automatic access to some royal correspondents.

This means that they might be the target of more paparazzi photographers, who will not worry about losing access to official events if they’re already excluded.

What Will Happen To Their Titles?

The couple made no mention of abandoning their royal titles. Instead, they stated on their website that other royalty members retain their titles while earning an income.

“There is precedent for this structure and it applies to other current members of the royalty who support the monarch and even have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy,” the statement said.