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Crash landing rips engine off

A plane from China veered off a runway at Manila's airport while landing in a downpour near midnight then got stuck in a muddy field with one engine and wheel ripped off before the 165 people on board scrambled out through an emergency slide, officials said Friday.

Only four passengers sustained scratches and all the rest including eight crewmembers aboard Xiamen Air Flight 8667 were safe and taken to an airport terminal, where they were given blankets and food before going to a hotel, airport general manager Ed Monreal told a news conference.

The Boeing 737 from China's coastal city of Xiamen at first attempted but failed to land apparently due to poor visibility that may have hindered the pilots' view of the runway, Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Jim Sydiongco told reporters.

The plane circled before landing on its second attempt but lost contact with the airport tower, Sydiongco said.

"We think that when (it) landed, the plane swerved to the left and veered off the runway," said Monreal, expressing relief that a disaster had been avoided. "With God's blessing all passengers and the crew were able to evacuate safely and no injuries except for about four who had some superficial scratches."

The aircraft appeared to have "bounced" in a hard landing then veered off the runway and rolled toward a rain-soaked grassy area with its lights off, Eric Apolonio, spokesman of the civil aviation agency said, citing an initial report about the incident.

Investigators retrieved the plane's flight recorder and will get the cockpit voice recorder once the aircraft has been lifted to determine the cause of the accident, Sydiongco said.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila's main international gateway, will be closed most of Friday while emergency crews remove excess fuel then try to lift the aircraft, its belly resting on the muddy ground, away from the main runway, which was being cleared of debris, officials said.

A smaller runway for domestic flights remained open, they said.

TV footage showed the plane slightly tilting to the left, its left badly damaged wing touching the ground and its landing wheels not readily visible as emergency personnel, many in orange overalls, examined and surrounded the aircraft. One of the detached engines and landing wheels lay a few metres away.

A Xiamen Air representative, Lin Hua Gun, said the airline will send another plane to Manila to resume the flight.

Several international and domestic flights have been cancelled or diverted due to the closure of the airport, which lies in a densely populated residential and commercial section of metropolitan Manila. Airline officials initially said the airport could be opened by noon but later extended it to four more hours.

Hundreds of stranded passengers jammed one of three airport terminals due to flight cancellations and diversions. Dozens of international flights were cancelled or either returned or were diverted elsewhere in the region, officials said.



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Remains are missing boy's

Forensic investigators said Thursday they identified the remains of a Georgia boy whose father is accused of abducting him and performing purification rituals on the child as he died at a remote New Mexico desert compound. The cause of the child's death remained unknown.

The body of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj was found Aug. 6 in an underground tunnel. It was so severely decomposed that investigators could not yet determine how the severely disabled boy reported missing in December had died, New Mexico's Office of the Medical Ivestigator said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the office said it will be examining both the body and where the remains were located to seek to determine a cause and manner of death. A prosecutor said no charges regarding the death are imminent because officials don't yet know how the boy died.

"All we have is a positive ID," Donald Gallegos, the district attorney for Taos County in northern New Mexico, said in an interview. "We'll need something else, actual cause of death, manner of death."

Authorities have said they believe Abdul-ghani died in February, when he was 3.

The boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, was among five people arrested on suspicion of child abuse at the compound near the Colorado state line, where authorities say 11 hungry children were found living in filth during a raid earlier this month. A search a few days later turned up the body in a tunnel.

Prosecutors seeking to keep Sirah Ibn Wahhaj and four members of his extended family behind bars said in court on Monday that he had been training some children at the compound to use firearms and carry out attacks on an anti-government mission that might target schools.

An FBI agent, citing interviews with two children from the compound, said Abdul-ghani died as relatives performed a ritual on the boy to cast out demonic spirits while reading from the Qur’an.

State District Court Judge Sarah Backus on Monday said the evidence provided by prosecutors was troubling but did not indicate any clear threat to public safety from the defendants, who have no criminal records.

She admonished prosecutors for apparently expecting her to take the defendants' Muslim faith into account in her decision.

Defence attorneys disputed accusations of neglect and said guns on the property were legally owned.

The judge's order cleared the way for the release of three defendants — two women and one man — on house arrest with ankle monitors.



Cop was 'trigger happy'

A former Texas police officer accused of killing a black teenager was angry, out of control and "trigger happy" when he fired at a car full of teenagers while responding to a house party, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday during the ex-officer's murder trial.

Ex-Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver's actions were unreasonable on the night he fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards last year, said Michael Snipes, a Dallas County assistant district attorney. Snipes said Edwards was an "innocent child" and that his last words were "duck, get down."

Oliver, who is white, fired his gun into a moving car carrying five black teenagers while responding to a report of underage drinking at the party. Oliver has said he and his partner feared for their lives as the car sped toward them.

But Oliver's partner, Tyler Gross, testified Thursday that he did not fear for his life as the vehicle went by and that he never felt the need to fire his weapon. During opening statements, Snipes told jurors Oliver fired at the car after it passed Gross and that Gross was in no danger.

Snipes said the prosecution will also show that Edwards and others in the car had nothing to do with shots that were heard outside the house. No guns were found inside the teens' car.

Defence attorneys did not make an opening statement on Thursday. They have previously said Edwards' death was a tragedy but evidence would show Oliver "reacted properly."

Oliver, 38, joined the Balch Springs department in 2011 but was fired after the fatal shooting, which was thrust into a national conversation about police killings of African Americans.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks and highlights the heightened role video evidence plays in high-profile police shootings that have stirred discourse and protests nationwide over issues of race and law enforcement.

Its importance was on display Thursday as jurors saw footage captured by body cameras worn by Oliver and Gross the night of the shooting. Footage shows the two officers breaking up a house party, with high-school age kids streaming away from the residence and attempting to avoid mud outside.

Police were having a friendly conversation with the party's host when gunfire, later found to be fired near a nursing home, cut the exchange short.

Footage shows people screaming outside. Video shows Oliver getting a rifle from his patrol car and going toward Gross, who was trying to get the vehicle to stop.

Police footage played for jurors shows the car slowly backing up before driving forward. After firing on the car containing Edwards and the other teens, Oliver can be heard asking Gross if he's all right. Oliver then says the driver of the vehicle tried to hit Gross.

Gross testified Thursday that he didn't feel like the vehicle was trying to hit him.

Following the shooting, the Balch Springs police chief reported that police video had contradicted his agency's original statement on the incident. Police first said the vehicle backed up toward officers "in an aggressive manner," but police later said video showed the vehicle was moving forward as officers approached.

Gross estimates there were dozens of kids coming out of the residence. Gross testified he saw no drunk teens and only saw one beer bottle. He also said there were no indications of violence.



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Vatican's shame and sorrow

The Vatican expressed "shame and sorrow" Thursday over a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report about clergy who raped and molested children in six dioceses in that state, calling the abuse "criminally and morally reprehensible" and says Pope Francis wants to eradicate "this tragic horror."

In a written statement using uncharacteristically strong language for the Holy See even in matters like the long-running abuse scandals staining the U.S. church, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke sought to assure victims that "the pope is on their side."

Pope Francis himself wasn't quoted in the statement, and there was no mention of demands in the United States among some Roman Catholics for the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington.

The grand jury report made public this week accused the cardinal of helping to protect some molester priests while he was bishop of the Pennsylvania city of Pittsburgh.

Burke said the incidents of abuse graphically documented in the report were "betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith."

"The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur," he said.

Victims and their advocates for decades have lamented that top Catholic churchmen repeatedly put the reputation of the church ahead of obligations to protect children from harm from pedophile priests.

In a sign that Pope Francis wants to end that pervasive mind set among church hierachy, including bishops and cardinals, he recently accepted the resignation from cardinal's rank of former Washington archbishop Theodore McCarrick amid allegations that the American prelate had engaged in sexual misconduct.

Resignations by cardinals are extremely rare, and McCarrick's was the first time a prelate lost his cardinal's rank in a sexual abuse scandal.

Burke said Francis "understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the church and in all of society."

The grand jury report documented how pedophile priests were often protected by church hierarchy or moved to other postings without the faithful being told of the priests' sexual predatory history.

The long-awaited grand jury report was full of vivid examples of horrendous abuse. In one such example, a young girl was raped by a priest visiting her while she was in a hospital following surgery to remove her tonsils. In another, a priest tied up a victim with a rope in a confessional booth, and when the victim refused to perform sex, the priest assaulted him with a crucifix.

Speaking about Francis, Burke said: "Those who have suffered are his priority, and the church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent."

Even before the report was released, a series of scandals over the last few decades involving pedophile priests and systematic attempts by pastors and bishops to cover up the abuse by shuttling offenders to new parishes had rocked the faith of many Catholics in the United States.

Similar abuse and determination by protect abusers had also stained the reputation of the Catholic Church in many other countries.



'Dr. Bumbum' charged

Brazilian prosecutors have filed a murder charge against celebrity plastic surgeon Denis Cesar Barros Furtado over the death of a patient who was given injections to enlarge her buttocks.

Furtado was widely known in Brazil "Dr. Bumbum" — Brazilian slang for backside. He was arrested last month in Rio de Janeiro.

Authorities announced late Wednesday that the charge was filed against Furtado, his mother and his girlfriend. Furtado has denied any wrongdoing.

Police have said Furtado performed the buttock procedure on bank manager Lilian Calixto at his home. Calixto fell ill during the procedure and Furtado rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she died hours later.

Prosecutors say Furtado engaged in a "risky manoeuvre" by injecting a larger than acceptable dose of a substance called polymethylmethacrylate during the procedure.



Mooning case wanes

The moon over Virginia was half-visible that May evening, as was the one on the softball field, authorities say.

The Roanoke Times reports 57-year-old Debbie L. McCulley is accused of mooning the stands, but a judge Thursday said the indecent exposure charge could be dropped.

McCulley's husband coaches Glenvar High School junior varsity softball. A Floyd County sheriff's deputy's report says McCulley took the field after a loss to Floyd County High School and exposed her right butt cheek. McCulley said she thought the other coach was going to attack her husband, so she refocused attention.

Prosecutor Eric Branscom says McCulley has written an apology and will perform community service. Branscom says McCulley will likely have the charge dismissed or receive a suspended sentence at a February administrative hearing.



9 earthquakes in 2 hours

At least nine earthquakes have rocked southern Italy in two hours, prompting frightened residents to sleep outdoors.

Italy's national seismology agency INGV says the strongest quake measured 5.1 and struck at 8:19 p.m. Thursday. That jolt was followed in rapid succession by eight more tremors, with the strongest measuring at 4.4.

Epicenter of the quakes was Montecilfone, a small town in Campobasso province in the south-central region of Molise.

Civil protection officials say a boy was slightly hurt after leaping off a balcony in fear, but no injuries are blamed directly on the quakes. Molise Gov. Donato Toma says some buildings suffered cracks but no major damage occurred.

The biggest jolt was felt in much of Italy's south, including in Rome and Naples.



Omarosa: Oh, God no

Omarosa Manigault Newman has released another secret audio tape that she says proves President Donald Trump wanted to silence her after firing her from the White House.

In the tape played on MSNBC, Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, offers Manigault Newman a job earning $15,000 a month. The job wouldn't require her to report to any particular office, but enable her to speak positively on Trump's behalf as part of his re-election campaign.

Lara Trump, married to Eric Trump, can be heard on the tape saying: "It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you've got in the back pocket to pull out. Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can't have, we got to ... "

Manigault Newman interjects: "Oh, God no."



Murder confession

UPDATE 8:11 a.m.

Chris Watts is now facing three counts of murder after his pregnant wife and two young daughters disappeared this week, according to jail records obtained by CNN, Thursday.

Watts was taken into custody Wednesday night and is being held in the Weld County jail, north of Denver, the Frederick Police Department said in a statement. He'll appear in court Thursday afternoon.
 


ORIGINAL 7:42 a.m.

Authorities say a Colorado man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of his pregnant wife and their two young children.

Television news reports also indicate Chris Watts confessed Wednesday to killing his pregnant wife and their two young daughters, a day after authorities launched an investigation into their mysterious disappearance, reports said.

Police in the town of Frederick said Chris Watts was taken into custody Wednesday. His 34-year-old wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were reported missing Monday.

The police said on Twitter early Thursday that Chris Watts will be held at the Weld County Jail. He has not yet been charged. It wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Chris Watts spoke previously with The Denver TV Channel and pleaded for his family's safe return.

Police say they plan to release more information at a morning news conference.



'Queen of Soul' passes

UPDATE 7:23 a.m.

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed "Queen of Soul" who sang with matchless style on such classics as "Think," ''I Say a Little Prayer" and her signature song, "Respect," and stood as a cultural icon around the globe, has died at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer.

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn tells The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin died Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit. The statement said "Franklin's official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin's oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute" in Detroit.

The family added: "In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds."

The statement continued:

"We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.


ORIGINAL 7:07 a.m.

Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning "Queen of Soul" who sang with matchless style on such classics as "Think" and her signature song, "Respect," died Thursday at age 76, said her representative, Gwendolyn Quinn.

The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer.



Former Indian PM dies

Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a Hindu nationalist who set off a nuclear arms race with rival Pakistan but later reached across the border to begin a groundbreaking peace process, died on Thursday after a prolonged illness. He was 93.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where Vajpayee had been hospitalized for more than two months for treatment of a kidney infection and chest congestion, announced his death.

Vajpayee, a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, had suffered a stroke in 2009.

A onetime journalist, Vajpayee was in many ways a political contradiction: He was the moderate leader of an often-strident Hindu nationalist movement. He was a lifelong poet who revered nature but who oversaw India's growth into a swaggering regional economic power. He was the prime minister who ordered nuclear tests in 1998, stoking fears of atomic war between India and Pakistan. Then, a few years later, it was Vajpayee who made the first moves toward peace.

Vajpayee's supporters saw him as a skilled politician who managed to avoid fanaticism, a man who refused to see the world in black and white.

But his critics considered him the leader of a fanatic movement — a movement partially rooted in European fascism — that sought power by stoking public fears of India's large Muslim minority.

The one thing both sides could agree on was his honesty. Vajpayee was that rare thing in Indian politics: a man untainted by corruption scandals.

One of seven children of a schoolteacher in central India, Vajpayee joined India's Hindu revivalist political movement in his late 20s. Elected to Parliament in 1957, he became the best-known figure in its moderate wing, and helped the Bharatiya Janata Party become one of India's few national political parties.

One of India's longest-serving lawmakers, Vajpayee was elected nine times to the powerful Lok Sabha, or lower house of Parliament. He also served two terms in the Rajya Sabha, or upper house.

He led the party to its first national electoral victory in 1996, but lasted just 13 days as prime minister before he resigned in the face of a no-confidence motion. He returned to power in 1998 for 13 months after forging an alliance of 22 parties, mostly regional power brokers with disparate local appeal. He again served as India's prime minister from 1999 to 2004.



Cop on trial for murder

A murder trial for a former Texas police officer who killed a black teenager highlights the heightened role video evidence plays in high-profile police shootings that have stirred discourse and triggered protests nationwide over issues of race and law enforcement.

Former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver, who is white, opened fire last year into a moving car filled with five black teens, killing 15-year-old high school freshman Jordan Edwards.

Oliver, 38, joined the department in 2011 but was fired after the fatal shooting, which was thrust into a national conversation about police killings of African Americans.

The jury trial is scheduled to begin Thursday in Dallas, though Oliver's defence attorneys on Wednesday filed an emergency stay to delay its start. A spokesperson for the Dallas County district attorney's office said the trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Following the shooting, the Balch Springs police chief reported that police video had contradicted his agency's original statement on the incident. Police first said the vehicle backed up toward officers "in an aggressive manner," but police later reported video showed the vehicle was moving forward as officers, after responding to a report of underage drinking at a house party, approached.

Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio who tracks police shootings, said officers can testify they were in fear for their life, and jurors are often reluctant to second-guess the decisions of an officer faced with an intense street encounter.

By Stinson's count, there have been 93 non-federal law enforcement officers since 2005 arrested for murder or manslaughter in on-duty fatal shootings as of Monday.

Even when armed with video evidence, attorneys can fail to deliver a conviction against an officer, he said.

"Video alone is not (going to) win the case for prosecutors," he said.

In the Balch Springs criminal case, Oliver's attorneys have said Edwards' death was a tragedy, but that evidence will show Oliver "reacted properly." According to court records, Oliver said he and his partner feared for their lives when the car carrying the teens sped past them.

Oliver's legal troubles extend beyond the murder trial. A lawsuit has been filed over the shooting, and Oliver has been indicted in a separate 2017 incident in which police said he drew a weapon after he was rear-ended while off duty.



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