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Air France CEO: Device Found on Flight Was Fake Bomb Made of Cardboard and Timer

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Air France CEO: Device Found on Flight Was Fake Bomb Made of Cardboard and Timer

NAIROBI, Kenya — The latest developments on an Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris that was diverted to Kenya after a suspected bomb was found on it.

5:50 p.m.

The CEO of Air France says a device discovered in the bathroom of an Air France flight was a fake bomb.

The Boeing 777 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from Mauritius when its pilots requested an emergency landing at early Sunday in the Kenyan city of Mombasa.

Frederic Gagey, the head of the airline, said the device was made of cardboard, paper and a household timer. In a news conference in Paris, Gagey congratulated the crew for their cool-headed reaction to divert the plane.

He says “this object did not contain explosives.”

Gagey says a safety check was carried out in the bathroom before the flight. He says passengers are checked, and sometimes double-checked on flights, and denied any security failure in the flight Sunday.

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4:55 p.m.

The Kenya Airports Authority has edited its announcement on Facebook regarding an explosive device aboard Air France Flight 463, which was diverted while en route to Paris.

The authority now says the Air France Boeing 777 made an emergency landing in Mombasa due to “a suspicious object.” Earlier Sunday, the post said security forces had foiled “a bombing attempt.”

The updated Facebook post indicated questions about whether the device, described by a security official as a box with a timer on top, was some kind of hoax.

France has been under a state of emergency since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. The attacks were claimed by Islamic State militants.

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3:30 p.m.

A Kenyan police official says no explosives have been found yet in a suspicious device left on an Air France flight that caused the plane to be diverted to Mombasa, Kenya.

The police official, who is part of the investigation and who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said during the flight to Paris a passenger noticed something in one of the plane’s lavatories that looked like “a stopwatch mounted on a box.”

The passenger reported the suspicious device to the cabin crew and pilots requested an emergency landing.

The police official said the box has been taken apart and no explosives have been found but the digital watch has not yet been analyzed.

— by Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya

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3:15 p.m.

A Kenyan police official says six passengers are being questioned over a suspected bomb found on an Air France plane that forced the jet flying to Paris from Mauritius to make an emergency landing in Kenya.

The police official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said during the flight a passenger noticed something in a lavatory that looked like “a stopwatch mounted on a box.”

The passenger reported the device to the cabin crew, who informed the pilots, leading to an emergency landing at the airport in the Kenyan city of Mombasa.

The official said one of those being interrogated is the man who reported the package.

— by Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya

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1:55 p.m.

Flight 463 is Air France’s third plane to be diverted in recent weeks.

The plane flying from Mauritius to Paris was diverted early Sunday to the Kenyan city of Mombasa after a suspicious package was found. Bomb experts are examining it.

Two other Air France flights from the U.S. to Paris were diverted on Nov. 18 after bomb threats were received but no bombs were found.

France has been under a state of emergency since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Islamic State extremists have claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris as well as for the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian passenger plane in the Sinai desert that killed all 224 people aboard. Moscow says that crash was caused by a bomb on the plane and has demanded that Egypt increase security at all its airports.

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1:05 p.m.

Kenya’s interior minister says several people who were on Air France Flight 463 are being questioned in Mombasa.

Minister Joseph Nkaissery spoke at a news conference at the Mombasa airport, where the flight from Mauritius to Paris was diverted early Sunday at the request of its pilots. Authorities say a suspicious package was found in one of the plane’s lavatories and experts in Mombasa were examining it.

Air France says the plane was carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members. Nkaissery did not say how many are being questioned or if they were passengers or crew.

The minister said another Air France plane will pick up the passengers once the interrogations are done. He did not say how long that would take.

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11:30 a.m.

Air France says investigators are working to confirm whether the package found on Flight 463 contained explosives.

The Boeing 777 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from Mauritius when its pilots requested an emergency landing at 12:37 a.m. Sunday in the Kenyan city of Mombasa.

Kenyan authorities said the suspected device was found in one of the plane’s lavatories.

The Air France spokeswoman, who could not be named to discuss the ongoing investigation, said local authorities were also interviewing passengers. The airline has sent a substitute plane to pick up the passengers.

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11:05 a.m.

A passenger on Air France Flight 463 says everything was calm and passengers thought there was simply a technical problem as their flight to Paris was being diverted to the Kenyan city of Mombasa.

Passenger Benoit Lucchini says “the plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly. So we just realized probably something was wrong, but the personnel of Air France were just great. They were just wonderful. So they kept everybody calm. We did not know what was happening.”

He spoke to journalists in Mombasa after getting off the plane.

Kenyan police say the flight from Mauritius was diverted after pilots requested an emergency landing at 12:37 a.m. on Sunday. The Kenyan Airports Authority says a suspected explosive device was found in the plane’s lavatory.

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10:15 a.m.

The Kenya Airports Authority says what is “believed to be an explosive device has successfully been retrieved” from an Air France flight.

Police say Air France Flight 463 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from Mauritius when the pilots requested an emergency landing at the Moi International Airport in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa at 12:37 a.m. Sunday.

Police spokesman Charles Owino says the device was discovered in a lavatory of the Boeing 777. He says all of the plane’s 459 passengers and 14 crew were safely evacuated and bomb experts are studying the device.

The Airports Authority, in a Twitter post, says normal flight operations have resumed at Mombasa.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

disney-world

McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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