By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
quinta-feira, 15 de abril de 2010
Prince William is to be posted as an RAF search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in north Wales for up to three years, it has been announced
By John Bingham
The Prince, a flight lieutenant, will stay on at RAF Valley on Anglesey, where he has been learning to fly Sea King helicopters, if he passes his training in September, the Ministry of Defence confirmed.
Initially serving as a co-pilot, the 27-year-old would eventually become captain of an aircraft, in command of its crew, depending on his performance.
The announcement of a stable three-year posting is likely to further fuel speculation of a possible engagement to his girlfriend Kate Middleton.
Although required to live in quarters while on call for search and rescue operations, St James’s Palace confirmed that it would enable him to continue living off the base in a private cottage which he recently began renting.
The posting, with Number 22 Squadron, is expected to see him regularly assigned to take part in operations in Northern Ireland, making him the first member of the Royal family to serve in the Province since the outbreak of the Troubles in 1969.
The Prince chose the base alongside RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland when asked to submit two choices to his commanders who took the final decision.
He is said to have been attracted by the difficult flying conditions presented by mountainous terrain and open sea.
But, as a future Prince of Wales, the decision to live on Anglesey will also strengthen his ties to the area.
A spokeswoman for St James’s Palace said: “He loves the coast of north Wales as well as the variety of flying the posting will give him".
“He is looking forward to get to know the area better over the coming years”.
He completed his ground training last week and is now undergoing an intensive Sea King Operational Conversion Unit course involving flight simulators and eventually airborne sorties.
The Prince is following a long commitment of members of the Royal family to the Armed forces which has also seen his brother, Prince Harry serve with the Army in Afghanistan.
He is also following in the footsteps of his uncle, the Duke of York, who flew Sea King helicopters in the Falklands War in 1982.
Cancelled departures have left Stockholm-Arlanda airport thronged with disappointed passengers after a cloud of volcanic ash from caused aviation authorities to shut down airspace.
Air traffic will come to a halt at all airports one by 6pm on Thursday. Visby airport on the island of is to continue operating flights until 10pm.
Katarina was one of many passengers at Arlanda airport hit by cancellations.
"We were supposed to fly to at 11.10am but the flight was cancelled".
She and her friend were making a last gasp attempt to get out of the country before services ground to a complete halt and were hoping to secure tickets to.
"We're flexible and will go wherever the flights are going. We don't have any set destination; we're quite adventurous," she said.
Sören from had booked a flight to Iceland to see one of the country's volcanoes, little realising that it would reach him first.
"When I saw the first eruption on TV last week I thought: I have to see that," he said.
Though the plane he had hoped to travel with had not even left Iceland, he said he still harboured hopes of arriving in Iceland later in the evening.
Aviation authority () spokesperson said LFV was attempting to release information to the general public via the media and its own website. Lindqvust said he understood the frustration felt by many travellers who had complained about the of information.
"It's hard for us to forecast how air traffic is going to function. We're working on obtaining information from air traffic control, which has contact with meteorologists and others who are explaining the consequences this might have," he said.
Airlines are then informed of developments by LFV before passing on the latest information to their own passengers.
The Local | Sweden
By Adrian Krajewski and Noah Barkin
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland promised on Thursday to release details of the cockpit voice recorders from the plane crash that killed its president and dozens of other top officials in Russia to end speculation about who was to blame.
President Lech Kaczynski, Polish military leaders and senior opposition figures were traveling to mark the 70th anniversary of the massacre of over 20,000 Polish officers by Soviet secret police in Katyn forest last Saturday when their plane went down.
Russian air traffic controllers in Smolensk say they urged the pilot to divert to another airport because of thick fog, but say he ignored the advice and made four attempts to land before hitting tree-tops and crashing.
Some Polish media have speculated that Kaczynski, in his determination not to miss the Katyn event, may have ordered the pilot to try to land the plane.
"The conversations, their content, will be vital in terms of proving or disproving the various hypotheses. I will not oppose revealing the contents unless they are of an intimate nature," Andrzej Seremet, Poland's chief prosecutor, told Tok FM radio.
Interfax news agency quoted what it said was a source close to the investigation commission saying the pilots did not seem to have been under pressure from Kaczynski.
"So far there is no evidence that any of the high-ranking passengers demanded that the pilots land at Smolensk. The voice recorder, whose decoding has been completed, did not register any pressure on the crew from their conversation," it said.
Russian investigators are decoding two cockpit voice recorders recovered from the Russian-made plane and a third Polish-made "black box" with flight data in it was to be returned to Poland on Thursday, Polish agency PAP reported.
Russian and Polish officials have indicated that they should finish reviewing the flight information in the next few days.
Speculation that Kaczynski may have ordered the pilot to land in Smolensk is based in large part on an incident in 2008, when the president flew to Georgia to show his solidarity with that country during its brief war with Russia.
Kaczynski grew irate when his pilot refused to land in the capital Tbilisi because of safety concerns, later accusing him publicly of cowardice for diverting to Azerbaijan and even pushing for him to be fired.
Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has stormy relations with Warsaw after a crackdown on ethnic Poles, said Kaczynski, as president, had the "final say" and was thus responsible for the crash, according to Interfax.
Poland has been plunged into mourning and a presidential election brought forward to June from October.
About 70 of the 96 victims have been identified so far. The coffin of Ryszard Kaczorowski, 90, head of Poland's London-based government-in-exile during the communist period, was received on Thursday in a solemn ceremony at Warsaw airport. Kaczorowski fought in the battle of Monte Cassino in Italy in World War Two and lived in exile in Britain after the war.
Thousands of people were still queuing at the presidential palace for up to 9 hours to pay their respects to Kaczynski and his wife Maria, two days after their coffins arrived there.
Biel-Flag, a Polish flag-making company, said it was struggling to cope with a surge in demand for red-and-white national flags following the tragedy.
"We are running out of material ... and had to hire new people to keep up with the orders, which are even more numerous than after (Polish) Pope John Paul II died," Chief Executive Jadwiga Gorkiewicz said, according to Polish news agency PAP.
OBAMA, MEDVEDEV, MERKEL
U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are among world leaders expected for the funeral of Kaczynski and his wife on Sunday in Krakow.
Plans to bury the first couple at the Wawel Cathedral in the southern city, a place normally reserved for Poland's kings and national heroes, have sparked protests, with several hundred people gathering for a second night in Krakow on Wednesday to voice their displeasure.
Public support for Kaczynski, a polarizing nationalist and euroskeptic, had dwindled to just 20 percent before his death and polls showed he would have lost to Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centrist Civic Platform (PO), in the presidential vote.
Komorowski became acting president following Kaczynski's death and it is unclear who will now be his main rivals in an election now expected to take place on June 20.
Kaczynski had been the candidate of his twin brother Jaroslaw's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS). The candidate of the main leftist opposition party SLD also died in the crash.
Both parties are now under pressure to name new candidates.
Additional reporting by Karolina Slowikowska, Patryk Wasilewski, Chris Borowski in Warsaw, Conor Humphries and Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; writing by Noah Barkin
Four Bundeswehr soldiers were killed and up to six injured during a Taliban attack in northern on Thursday, German security sources said
The German declined to officially confirm the deaths, saying it must first notify soldiers’ next of kin.
According to the source, a patrol some six kilometres north of Baghlan came under attack around 2:30 pm local time, news magazine reported. A rocket propelled grenade reportedly struck an armoured vehicle near a bridge in the area, which is a known Taliban stronghold.
The attack came just a few weeks after three other Bundeswehr troops died in an attack on Good Friday.
The Bundeswehr paratroopers – aged 25, 28 and 35 – were shot during a fierce battle against insurgents in the district southwest of the city of Kunduz. Eight other soldiers were injured in the fight, four of them seriously.
The recent bloodshed in the country has renewed debate over military policy in Afghanistan and whether the Bundeswehr is being properly outfitted and trained for the NATO mission. It has also prompted 's government to break a long-standing taboo and call the conflict a “war”.
Germany has participated in the conflict in the Kunduz regions since 2002 as a member of NATO’s (ISAF). There are currently more than 4,500 troops serving in the mission. The bloodshed earlier this month brought the number of German soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 39 – a number that will rise to 43 if the Defence Ministry confirms Thursday’s casualties.
Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was reportedly informed of the attack just after landing in Uzbekistan following a two-day Afghan visit.
During his tour the minister had announced a speedy upgrade to Bundeswehr weaponry in response to escalating violence in the region – saying Germany had fast-tracked an order for 60 new Swiss-made Eagle IV armoured vehicles – the same vehicle involved in Thursday’s deadly attack.
Soldiers had reportedly claimed before the Good Friday ambush that they were short on armoured vehicles – and the latest attack is certain to add to the growing sense of urgency at the Defence Ministry for new hardware for Berlin's troops.
The Local | Germany