Music Icon Prince Dead at 57

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The artist known as Prince, who pioneered “the Minneapolis sound” and took on the music industry in his fight for creative freedom, died Thursday at age 57.

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” said his publicist Yvette Noel-Schure.

Earlier Thursday, police said they were investigating a death Paisley Park studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

There is a massive outpouring of grief on social media. Some are saying the icon’s death is what it sounds like when doves cry, a reference to his monster hit.

The ICONIC Singer, Songwriter, Musician will be sorely missed.

Co-Pilot Intentionally Crashed Germanwings Flight 9525

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The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 purposely crashed the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board, officials said

“We at Lufthansa are speechless that this aircraft has been deliberately crashed by the co-pilot,” said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said the co-pilot, 28-year-old German national Andreas Lubitz, apparently “wanted to destroy the aircraft.”

It’s unknown whether Lubitz planned his actions, Robin said. But he “took advantage” of a moment in which the pilot left the cockpit and “activated the descent,” which can only be done deliberately.

New details released Thursday appeared to support the startling revelation that someone set the plane on a crash course.

Transponder data shows that the autopilot was reprogrammed during the flight by someone inside the cockpit to change the plane’s altitude from 38,000 feet to 100 feet, according to Flightradar24, a website that tracks aviation data.

The plane’s cockpit audio recorder captured horrific sounds. The captain, somehow locked out of the cockpit, can be heard banging on the door, Robin said.

And screaming can be heard on the audio recording for the final few minutes of the flight.

Death was instantaneous for those on board when the plane plunged into the mountains, Robin said.

German authorities also say “that we have to assume” that Flight 9525 “was deliberately activated for a crash,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “This is hard to comprehend for most people. Nobody can imagine this.”

The French government has asked the FBI to help investigate the crash, a law enforcement official said.

A search is underway for the plane’s second “black box,” the flight data recorder, which could shed more light on the plane’s final minutes.

Plane Crashes In French Alps, Survivors Unlikely

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A German commercial jet for Germanwings Airlines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa carrying 150 people aboard into a sudden, steep and horrifying eight-minute descent Tuesday before slamming into the rugged terrain of the French Alps, authorities said.

French President Francois Hollande said there aren’t likely to be any survivors.

“It’s a tragedy on our soil,” he said. “I want to express all my solidarity to the families of the victims of this air accident. This is a bereavement, a tragedy.”

One of the black boxes have been found by the hundreds of search and rescue personnel that were dispatched to the area. The first responders were let down from helicopter cables into the crash zone.

“We saw an aircraft that had literally been ripped apart, the bodies are in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage,” Bruce Robin, prosecutor for the city of Marseille, told Reuters news service after flying over the area.

Germanwings Flight 9525 departed Barcelona, Spain, for a two-hour flight to Duesseldorf​ at 10:01 a.m. local time — more than 20 minutes late. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Airbus A320 at 10:53 a.m., airline CEO Thomas Winkelmann said.

A distress signal was issued after air traffic control lost contact with the plane and recognized the steep descent.

Winkelmann said 144 passengers — including two babies — and six crewmembers were aboard. Sixteen students and two teachers returning from an exchange program in Spain also were on board, Germany’s DPA news agency reported.

Winkelmann said the sudden descent lasted about eight minutes and that air-traffic controllers lost contact with the jet at about 6,000 feet. He added that the pilot had more than 10 years’ experience, and that the plane was inspected last summer.

“All employees of Germanwings and Lufthansa are deeply saddened,” Winkelmann said. “Their thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew.”

Our prayers go out to all the families as well that are involved in this tragic event.

12 People Dead In Paris Terrorist Shooting

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Twelve people were killed today in Paris when gunmen went into the offices of a popular French satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo. The Magazine is know for publishing a series of cartoons about the famous Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Two gunmen ran into the Magazine’s office today wielding AK-47’s and shouting out “Allahu Akbar”, which is the Muslim term for “God Is The Greatest”. Among the victims were two police officers and the Magazine’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier.

Since the attack earlier today, authorities have released the names of three suspects: Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both in their 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.

France has declared this day a national day of mourning and have raised the terror threat level. Security for media organizations, large stores and places of worship have been increased, and a manhunt for the killers with the assistance of the FBI was launched.

“We will find the people who did this,” French President Francois Hollande vowed. He later called for national unity.

“Freedom is always bigger than barbarism,” he said. “Vive la France.”

What a terrible day for the country of France. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims.

Air Asia Flight 8501 Has Been Found

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It’s a sad day for the families of the passengers and staff of Air Asia flight 8501. Debris and bodies were found in the water today about 6 miles from the planes last known location over the Java Sea, CNN reported this morning. Indonesian officials found the bodies of two women and one man. The bodies have not been identified and no names have been released as of yet.

“We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances,” said Sunu Widyatmoko, head of AirAsia Indonesia. “We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues.”

Hospitals in the Indonesian city of Surbaya are being prepped to receive any bodies that are recovered, so that they can be housed and identified.

Several nations are contributing resources to the effort, including the United States. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Sampson arrived Tuesday.

Our condolences go out to all of the families that are affected by this tragedy.

Connecticut School Shooting: 26 Killed, Gunman Dead

The suspect in the Connecticut school shootings that killed 26 people is 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, and his younger brother is being held for questioning as a possible second shooter, a law enforcement official said Friday. The law enforcement official says the boys’ mother, Nancy Lanza, worked at the school as a teacher and is presumed dead.

The official also said Ryan Lanza’s girlfriend and another friend are missing in New Jersey.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the suspect is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.

According to the official, the suspect drove to the scene of the shootings in his mother’s car. Three guns were found at the scene — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols — and a .223-caliber rifle. The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school. The two pistols were recovered from inside the school.

The dead included 20 children and six adults. The gunman was also dead.

President Barack Obama held a news conference in Washington this afternoon. “They had their entire lives ahead of them,” Obama said. The president ordered flags flown at half staff.

The shooting appeared to be the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
There were unconfirmed reports of a second shooter after witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots fired.

Sandy Hook Elementary School teaches children from kindergarten through fourth grade, roughly ages 5 to 10.

“It was horrendous,” said parent Brenda Lebinski, who rushed to the school where her daughter is in the third grade. “Everyone was in hysterics – parents, students. There were kids coming out of the school bloodied. I don’t know if they were shot, but they were bloodied.”

Television images showed police and ambulances at the scene, and parents rushing toward the school. Parents were seen reuniting with their children and taking them home.

“This is going to be bad,” a state official told Reuters, requesting anonymity because the scope of the tragedy remained uncertain.

The shooter, an adult, was dead and two handguns were recovered from the scene, NBC News reported without citing a source.

Lebinski said a mother who was at the school during the shooting told her a “masked man” entered the principal’s office and may have shot the principal. Lebinski, who is friends with the mother who was at the school, said the principal was “severely injured.”

Lebinski’s daughter’s teacher “immediately locked the door to the classroom and put all the kids in the corner of the room.”

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

“It’s alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America,” he said.

The superintendent’s office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.

State police said Newtown police called them around 9:40 a.m. A SWAT team was among the throngs of police to respond.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

“Everyone was just traumatized,” he said.

A girl interviewed by NBC Connecticut described hearing seven loud “booms” as she was in gym class. Other children began crying and teachers moved the students to a nearby office, she said.

“A police officer came in and told us to run outside and so we did,” the unidentified girl said on camera.

Connecticut State Police said its officers were at the scene with local police but provided no additional details. The emergency call to police occurred at 9:41 a.m., state police said.

Newtown, with a population about 27,000, is in northern Fairfield County, about 45 miles southwest of Hartford and 80 miles northeast of New York City.

Sandy Hook is one of four elementary schools in the district.