Page One Today / June-December 2009

December 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Detroit Free Press:

Feds: Terror Foiled on Flight to Detroit
Nigerian Man Is Accused of Trying to Blow Up Airliner

By JOE SWICKARD AND NAOMI R. PATTON

A terror suspect who claimed to have al-Qaida connections could face charges as soon as today for attempting to blow up a Delta-Northwest flight as it was landing at Detroit Metro Airport on Friday, law enforcement officials said.

Officials identified the suspect as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, 23, a Nigerian national. It was unclear Friday why he allegedly wanted to attack the flight, arriving from Amsterdam. Passengers subdued him as he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive device that failed.
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December 4, 2009: An excerpt from a story in Stars and Stripes:

Analysis: Afghanistan timeline provokes concerns

By LEO SHANE III and KEVIN BARON 

WASHINGTON — From Capitol Hill to Kabul, the question about President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy was the same on Wednesday: How can the United States be all-in in Afghanistan while simultaneously preparing to get out?

In his speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday evening, Obama simultaneously declared that he will speed 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan over the next six months but also begin to withdraw U.S. forces from the embattled nation by July 2011.

That left many critics to interpret the president’s Afghan plan less as a troop buildup and more as an exit plan for the war there, and fueled questions about whether the White House is committed to the fight or already looking for a way out.
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December 3, 2009: An excerpt from a story in USA Today:

Woods finds privacy elusive with ‘transgressions’ admission

By ERIK BRADY and STEVE DIMEGLIO 

When a grateful nation sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Tiger Woods was known simply as the greatest golfer on the planet — a brand name in golf shoes with a public image as neatly manicured as the greens at Augusta National.

A week later, Woods finds himself at the center of that whirling vortex where privacy and celebrity intersect. And he has discovered if you make $1 billion, about 90% from endorsements, there is a terrible level on which your private life becomes public property.

And so it was that one of the world’s most private public figures issued a statement on his website Wednesday that was at once a plea for privacy and a public admission of “transgressions” that “let my family down.”

Woods, 33, pledged to be a better husband to his wife, Elin, 29, and father to their two small children. And he offered a profound apology.
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November 20, 2009: An excerpt from a story in RedEye:

Oprah Winfrey: ‘This show has been my life’

By CURT WAGNER 

An emotional Oprah Winfrey closed her Friday show by announcing the end of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

“After much prayer and months of careful thought, I have decided that next season, Season 25, will be the last season of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’” she told her studio audience, some of whom gasped.

Winfrey went on to explain her decision, in order to stop speculation about why she is making the decision:

“I love this show. This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it’s time to say good-bye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and right in spirit. It’s the perfect number; the exact right time.”
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November 11, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Austin American-Statesman:

Obama leads memorial service for 13 slain at Fort Hood

By MARTY TOOHEY

FORT HOOD — The rows of faces looked on stoically, save for a head bowed here and there, as President Barack Obama led a memorial Tuesday for the 13 people slain in last week’s mass shooting.

“For those families who have lost a loved one, no words can fill the void that has been left,” Obama told a crowd of 15,000. “But here is what you must also know: Your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. … Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“That is their legacy.”
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November 6, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the San Antonio Express-News:

Death Toll Rises to 13

By SIG CHRISTENSON and SCOTT HUDDLESTON 

FORT HOOD — An Army psychiatrist about to be deployed to a combat zone overseas shouted a religious slogan in Arabic before fatally shooting 13 people — including 12 soldiers — and injuring 28 others at this sprawling Central Texas military post on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the base commander at Fort Hood, said on NBC’s Today Show that witnesses heard Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shout “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire. The phrase means “God is great!” in Arabic.

The death toll rose by one overnight when one of the wounded died. Today, Col. John Rossi said all the wounded were in stable condition, including the suspect and the policewoman who shot him.
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November 5, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the New York Post:

Game 6: Matsui, Pettitte Carry Yankees to Series title

By GEORGE A. KING III

Baseball’s penthouse is again decorated with hand-painted silk Yankees pinstripe wallpaper.

Nine years after their last World Series title, the Yankees earned No. 27 last night when they spanked the defending champion Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium before a record crowd of 50,315 that didn’t include George Steinbrenner.

Tomorrow morning the Yankees will celebrate with a ticker-tape parade up lower Broadway.

“Right where we belong,” Derek Jeter bellowed from a stage in the middle of the $1.5 billion Stadium.

And they looked very comfortable. Alex Rodriguez, who doesn’t have to answer any more questions about choking in the postseason, let loose with a river of victory tears and promised the parade will be a huge party.
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October 16, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The Denver Post:

“Balloon boy” Falcon Heene found safe in attic of Fort Collins home
A 6-year-old thought to be aboard a fast-moving balloon was instead in his home’s attic

By KEVIN SIMPSON, JOHN INGOLD and KEVIN VAUGHAN

FORT COLLINS — For 2 1/2 hours Thursday, the bizarre image of a homemade, helium-filled flying saucer — thought to be carrying a 6-year-old boy — transfixed a global television audience as it blew for 50 miles across the Colorado sky.

But the tale of a boy’s unplanned flight from his Fort Collins backyard aboard his father’s experimental aircraft took two jarring turns: first when the craft settled to earth with no sign of the boy; and later, when young Falcon Heene reappeared, frightened but safe, from his hiding place in the family’s garage attic.

Along the way, rescue workers from several jurisdictions mobilized, helicopters filled the air, Denver International Airport rerouted planes and perhaps millions of television viewers watched with reactions ranging from horror to disbelief.
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October 2, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The New Zealand Herald:

Tsunami: Death toll near 200 amid grim reality

APIA, Samoa – Convoys of military vehicles brought food, water and medicine to the tsunami-stricken Samoas today, as victims wandered through what was left of their villages with tales of being trapped underwater, watching young children drown and hoisting elderly parents above the waves.

The death toll rose to 189 as grim-faced islanders gathered under a traditional meetinghouse to hear a Samoan government minister discuss a plan for a mass funeral and burial next Tuesday. Samoans traditionally bury their loved ones near their homes, but that could be impractical because many of their villages have been wiped out.
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August 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Boston Globe:

Kennedy dead at 77
Liberal lion of the Senate, symbol of family dynasty succumbs to brain cancer

By MARTIN F. NOLAN

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,” his family said in a statement. “We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness, and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
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August 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Boston Herald:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy dies at age 77

By DAVE WEDGE 

Iconic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the last surviving brother of the storied political clan, has died, ending his heartbreaking brain cancer battle and bringing to a close a pivotal and historic era of state and national politics.

“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,” the senior senator’s family said early today in a statement.

The state’s longest-serving Washington, D.C. lawmaker, Kennedy, 77, continued working diligently until his last days, pushing fellow legislators and President Obama to pass a landmark national health care plan expected to be the senator’s lasting legacy.

Sworn into Senate in 1962, Kennedy rose through the ranks to become one of the most powerful and influential legislators in Washington and arguably the most accomplished in Massachusetts history.
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August 24, 2009: Page One from the Athens, Greece newspaper, Ethnos. Here is a story excerpt from the BBC News Web site:

Fighting the flames north of Athens

By KATE FORBES 

It’s midnight and in the central square of Anoixi, a suburb of northern Athens it’s like the rush hour.

It’s hot and the air is thick. Fire engines reverse up to be refuelled, army lorries move supplies and Red Cross vehicles tip out small bunches of yawning, dirty-faced doctors.

This is a re-fuelling stop for the fire and rescue services which are battling the forest fires that are now within 19km (12 miles) of the centre of the Greek capital, Athens.

So far it’s estimated that 30,000 acres of land, including houses, have been destroyed.
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August 12, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The Boston Globe:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, trailblazer who improved lives of disabled, dies

By BRYAN MARQUARD 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who planted the seeds for the Special Olympics when she launched Camp Shriver on the lawn of her Maryland home, and then with force of will and the clout of her family name spread her vision of lifting the developmentally disabled “into the sunlight of useful living,” died yesterday.

Mrs. Shriver, 88, had suffered a series of strokes in recent years. Her family said in a statement that she died at 2 a.m. at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

“Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, she worked without ceasing – searching, pushing, demanding, hoping for change,” the family said. “She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more.”

When the Special Olympics Mrs. Shriver founded in 1968 held its inaugural Summer Games at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the 1,000 athletes outnumbered spectators more than 10 to 1. By its 40th anniversary last year, 3 million athletes in 181 countries competed, and uncounted millions more gathered to watch, cheer, and encourage.
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August 5, 2009:
Page One from the South Korea newspaper, The Chosun Ilbo. Here is an excerpt from a story on the BBC News Web site:

Two freed US reporters head home

Former US President Bill Clinton has left North Korea with two US reporters whose release he has helped to secure.

His spokesman said they were flying to Los Angeles where the journalists would be reunited with their families.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il issued a special pardon to the journalists after meeting Mr Clinton on Tuesday.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee had been found guilty of entering illegally in March. Mr Clinton offered no apology for the reporters’ conduct, a US official said.

The senior US administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the two reporters were in “very good health” and that the North Korean government had agreed in advance that Mr Clinton’s mission would not touch on the question of its nuclear programme.
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July 31, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the New York Daily News:

President Obama shares beer with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Sgt. James Crowley… and Biden, too
By KENNETH R. BAZINET, THOMAS M. DEFRANK and MICHAEL MCAULIFF

WASHINGTON — President Obama tried a little alcoholic lubrication Thursday to soothe anger over a black professor’s arrest by a white cop – and his own poorly chosen words that police “acted stupidly.”

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. joined Obama and Vice President Biden around a white table off the Rose Garden last night.

Each got a frosted mug, but Crowley said later no apologies were offered and he and the professor still didn’t see eye to eye.

Obama had pledged to have a “teachable moment,” but with all the froth around the most ballyhooed beer since the end of Prohibition, the event played flat.
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July 27, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Anchorage Daily News:

Parnell takes reins of government from Palin

By SEAN COCKERHAM

FAIRBANKS — Sarah Palin blamed the news media and declared government spending can destroy “everything that is free,” as she ended her brief but dramatic run as Alaska governor on Sunday.

Palin’s resignation became official in front of a sun-baked crowd of thousands at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks as Sean Parnell was sworn in as governor to finish the 16 months remaining in her term.

Parnell, who has been Palin’s lieutenant governor and her loyal ally during her two-and-half-years in office, gave a speech praising Palin and saying he would continue her course on major issues like the proposed natural gas pipeline.
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July 20, 2009: Page One from the Brussels, Belgium newspaper, De Standaard. Here is an excerpt from a CBS News/AP story:

Apollo’s “Giant Leap for Mankind” Honored
40 Years Later, Moon Landing Remains Benchmark of American Achievement

The measure of what humanity can accomplish is a size 9 1/2 bootprint.

It belongs to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. It will stay on the moon for millions of years with nothing to wipe it away, serving as an almost eternal testament to a can-do mankind.

Apollo 11 is the glimmering success that failures of society are contrasted against: “If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we …”

What put man on the moon 40 years ago was an audacious and public effort that the world hasn’t seen before or since. It required rocketry that hadn’t been built, or even designed, in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy declared the challenge. It needed an advance in computerization that had not happened yet. NASA would have to learn how to dock separate spaceships, how to teach astronauts to walk in space, even how to keep them alive in space – all tasks so difficult experts weren’t sure they were possible.

Forty years later, the moon landing is talked about as a generic human achievement, not an American one. But Apollo at the time was more about U.S. commitment and ingenuity.

(See also: 1969 CBS video of Walter Cronkite talking about Apollo 11)
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July 18, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The New York Times:

Walter Cronkite, Voice of TV News, Dies

By DOUGLAS MARTIN

Walter Cronkite, who pioneered and then mastered the role of television news anchorman with such plain-spoken grace that he was called the most trusted man in America, died Friday at his home in New York. He was 92.

The cause was complications of dementia, said Chip Cronkite, his son.

From 1962 to 1981, Mr. Cronkite was a nightly presence in American homes and always a reassuring one, guiding viewers through national triumphs and tragedies alike, from moonwalks to war, in an era when network news was central to many people’s lives.

He became something of a national institution, with an unflappable delivery, a distinctively avuncular voice and a daily benediction: “And that’s the way it is.”
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The New York Daily News

(For additional front pages see also –
Page One Today Collection: Walter Cronkite Front Pages)
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July 15, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The Washington Post:

Sotomayor Emphasizes Objectivity

By AMY GOLDSTEIN, ROBERT BARNES and PAUL KANE 

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor sought yesterday to reframe critics’ portrayal of her as a judge swayed by her gender and ethnicity. On the second day of her confirmation hearings, she stressed the primacy of legal precedents and distanced herself from her most controversial public remark, saying her line that a “wise Latina” judge might reach better decisions than a white man was “a rhetorical flourish that fell flat.”

Throughout the long day of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sotomayor proclaimed her neutrality and objectivity, even suggesting at points that she does not share the view of President Obama, who chose her to fill his first vacancy on the nation’s highest court, that empathy is an essential trait for a judge.
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June 30, 2009: An excerpt from a story in The Wall Street Journal:

‘Evil’ Madoff Gets 150 Years in Epic Fraud
Victims Cheer Tough Sentence; Judge Slams Financier for Stonewalling Investigators; True Size of Losses Still a Mystery

By ROBERT FRANK and AMIR EFRATI

Bernard Madoff, the self-confessed author of the biggest financial swindle in history, was sentenced to the maximum 150 years behind bars for what his judge called an “extraordinarily evil” fraud that shook the nation’s faith in its financial and legal systems and took “a staggering toll” on rich and poor alike.

The landmark sentence, one of the stiffest ever given for a white-collar crime, came just six months after Mr. Madoff, a pioneer on Wall Street, allegedly told his sons that his entire business was a massive Ponzi scheme. The penalty sparked a burst of applause in a courtroom packed with victims of the fraud.
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June 26, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Los Angeles Times:

Michael Jackson’s life was infused with fantasy and tragedy

By GEOFF BOUCHER and ELAINE WOO 

Michael Jackson was fascinated by celebrity tragedy. He had a statue of Marilyn Monroe in his home and studied the sad Hollywood exile of Charlie Chaplin. He married the daughter of Elvis Presley.

Jackson met his own untimely death Thursday at age 50, and more than any of those past icons, he left a complicated legacy. As a child star, he was so talented he seemed lit from within; as a middle-aged man, he was viewed as something akin to a visiting alien who, like Tinkerbell, would cease to exist if the applause ever stopped.

(For additional front pages see also –
Page One Today Collection: Michael Jackson Dies at 50)
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June 25, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Columbia, South Carolina newspaper, The State:

Sanford admits affair: ‘I’ve let down a lot of people’

By CLIF LeBLANC and JOHN O’CONNOR

Gov. Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday to an extramarital affair with a woman living in Argentina and to lying to South Carolinians to cover up his tryst — then asked everyone, including his family, for forgiveness.

The two-term S.C. Republican, a rising GOP star, fought tears during a news conference hours after a reporter from The State newspaper surprised him at the Atlanta airport on his way back from seeing the mother of two during Father’s Day weekend.

Sanford did not respond in the State House rotunda when asked whether he would resign his office. Spokesman Joel Sawyer later said the governor had no plans to step down.
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June 21, 2009: Page One from the Tel-Aviv, Israel newspaper, Maariv. Here is a story excerpt from the CNN Special Report, Iran Election Fallout:

‘Neda’ becomes rallying cry for Iranian protests

(CNN) — “RIP NEDA, The World cries seeing your last breath, you didn’t die in vain. We remember you.”

That Twitter post was from a man who said he is a guitarist from Nashville, Tennessee.

Amid the hundreds of images of Saturday’s crackdown on protesters in Iran that were distributed to the world over the Internet, it was the graphic video showing the dying moments of a young woman shot in the heart that touched a nerve for many people around the world.

(See also: Iconic Video from Tehran Demands New Skills of Journalists, Bill Mitchell, Poynter Online, Jun. 22, 2009)
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June 16, 2009: Page One from the Beirut, Lebanon newspaper, An-Nahar. Here is an excerpt from a BBC News story:

Iran ‘to hold election recount’

By JIM MUIR  

On the face of it, the disturbances currently shaking Tehran in the wake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election look very similar to the street clashes that erupted there in July 1999 and June 2003.

As happened then, thousands of angry and disillusioned people, their hopes for change frustrated, have taken to the streets, clashing with security forces and hardline vigilantes who roam the city on motorcycles.

Buses and banks have been burnt, and student dormitories raided by police or irregulars, as happened on those earlier occasions.

The 1999 and 2003 disturbances involved thousands of protesters, rather than the millions it would take to shake the Islamic regime seriously.

They petered out after about 10 days, and achieved nothing, in the face of stern repression.

Will that be the fate of the current protests, too?
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June 15, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Los Angeles Daily News:

Tinseltown turns into Titletown

By KEVIN MODESTI

The Lakers carried Los Angeles back to the top of the basketball world Sunday night, the ease of the championship-clinching victory belying the difficulty of the seven-year round trip.

Pulling away to beat the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Florida, the Lakers took the NBA Finals by 4 games to 1, capping off the 10th championship for L.A. and a milestone achievement for series Most Valuable Player Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson. It’s the 15th NBA title in franchise history.

Players and coaches began to celebrate with grins and hugs during a timeout with 40.4 seconds on the clock and let loose at the buzzer, Bryant leaping and throwing his right fist in the air. A downtown victory parade is scheduled for Wednesday.

“To go from the top to the bottom and back to the top, you can’t describe how it feels,” Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. “This is the best.”
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June 8, 2009: An excerpt from a story in the Honolulu newspaper, the Star Bulletin:

N. Korea sentences US reporters to 12 years labor

By VIJAY JOSHI (Associated Press)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea convicted two American journalists and sentenced them Monday to 12 years of hard labor, intensifying the reclusive nation’s confrontation with the United States.

Washington said it would “engage in all possible channels” to win the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore’s San Francisco-based Current TV media venture.

There are fears Pyongyang is using the women as bargaining chips as the U.N. debates a new resolution to punish the country for its defiant May 25 atomic test and as North Korea seeks to draw Washington into direct negotiations.
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June 4, 2009: Page One from the Abha, Saudi Arabia newspaper, Al Watan. Here is an excerpt from an updated BBC News story about President Obama’s speech in Cairo:

Obama reaches out to Muslim world

US President Barack Obama has said the “cycle of suspicion and discord” between the United States and the Muslim world must end.

In a keynote speech in Cairo, Mr Obama called for a “new beginning” in ties.

He admitted there had been “years of distrust” and said both sides needed to make a “sustained effort… to respect one another and seek common ground”.

Mr Obama made a number of references to the Koran and called on all faiths to live together in peace.

The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Cairo says Barack Obama wants to give a message of respect to a region which has often felt ignored, misunderstood or patronised by the US.

White House officials said the speech was intended to start a process to “re-energise the dialogue with the Muslim world”.
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June 3, 2009: Page One from Correio do Povo, a newspaper from Porto Alegre, Brazil, a city in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. Here is an excerpt from a BBC News story about the recent Air France crash:

Lost jet data ‘may not be found’

French aviation officials have said they may never find the flight data recorders of an Air France jet that went missing over the Atlantic.

The officials promised a thorough investigation but said the circumstances were very difficult.

Flight AF 447 was heading from Rio to Paris with 228 people on board on Monday when it was lost over the ocean.

Debris has been spotted 650km (400 miles) off Brazil’s coast and navy vessels are converging on the area.

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