Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. One Germanwings pilot locked out of cockpit during crash: report
As investigators continue to piece together what caused Flight 4U9525 to slam into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board, a New York Times report suggests that one of the pilots had left the cockpit — and was unable to return before the jetliner went down. "The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer," an unnamed investigator told the Times. "And then he hits the door stronger and no answer." French officials have declined to comment on any early conclusions. Meanwhile, search teams recovered the frame of a second black box on Wednesday, and the identities of two of the three Americans killed in the crash were identified as a mother and daughter from Virginia. Read more in NEWS.
2. Tornado tears through Oklahoma, killing at least one
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A series of "extremely dangerous" tornadoes targeted the Tulsa area, knocking out power and leaving a massive trail of destruction. At least one person was killed and several others were injured. Part of a gymnasium with 60 to 70 people inside collapsed in Sand Springs, but no injuries were reported, emergency officials said. Utilities companies said that more than 79,000 customers were without power across the state as of late Wednesday night. At least 10 Tulsa public schools were without power, prompting the city to cancel classes for Thursday. Read more in NEWS.
3. Army charges Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion
Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years after leaving his Afghanistan post in 2009, was charged Wednesday with desertion and endangering fellow soldiers, commanders said. He faces life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious charge: misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place. He could also see five years behind bars for the second charge: desertion with intent to shirk Important or hazardous duty. NBC News first reported in January that Bergdahl was likely to be charged with desertion. The Army also had the option of filing the lesser charge of going absent without leave, or AWOL. Read more in NEWS.
4. U.S. launches airstrikes in Saddam’s hometown
U.S. warplanes are aiding in the fight led by Iraqi and Kurdish forces to take back Tikrit from ISIS, the U.S. military said Wednesday. The U.S. military got involved in the offensive to take control of Saddam Hussein's hometown at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, the military added. "These strikes are intended to destroy ISIS strongholds with precision, thereby saving innocent Iraqi lives while minimizing collateral damage to infrastructure," said Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, commanding general of a U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. Read more in NEWS.
5. Saudi Arabia masses troops on Yemen border
Saudi Arabia has mobilized 150,000 troops and some 100 fighter jets to rout Iran-linked fighters that have taken over swathes of neighboring Yemen, a security adviser to the kingdom told NBC News on Thursday. The adviser did not say whether any of Saudi troops had crossed the border into Yemen as part of the kingdom's military intervention to arrest Yemen's rapidly deteriorating crisis. But he said Saudi Arabia was in "complete control" of Yemeni airspace after launching airstrikes overnight and started implementing a no-fly zone. Read more in NEWS.
6. Ex-OU student in center of racist fraternity chant apologizes
Levi Pettit, 20, came forward publicly to say sorry and that he was "deeply ashamed" for being caught on video singing a racist song with other Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter members at the University of Oklahoma earlier this month. The video went viral online and led university officials to boot the chapter from the school and expel Pettit and another student, Parker Rice. Pettit, who was joined by black politicians and leaders on Wednesday, would not answer questions about where he and other members of the SAE chapter learned the song. Read more in NEWS.
And now this news ...
This gas-free giant can carry twice as many passengers as China's regular buses and has already hit the roads of Beijing.