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Air Canada Plane Skids Off Halifax Runway; 23 Injured

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (HALIFAX, Nova Scotia) -- Twenty-three passengers and crew members on board an A320 Air Canada flight were hospitalized Sunday when the plane experienced a hard landing at the Halifax international airport.

The plane, incoming from Toronto, skidded off the runway upon landing early Sunday local time, said Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesman Peter Spurway. He said the pilots were in control of the plane up until the hard landing.

All but one of the injured passengers had been released from the hospital as of Sunday afternoon, according to Air Canada.

The cause has not been determined, an Air Canada spokesman said Sunday afternoon. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.

Spurway said there was snow on the runway but it hadn't yet been determined whether that was a factor in the hard landing. The airport also suffered a power interruption around the same time of the incident, but it was unclear whether the two events were related.

"It was safe to land in this weather," an An Air Canada spokesman said.

The pilots are 15-year veterans of Air Canada, the airline spokesman added, with "many years" of experience flying the A320.

He said that the plane was checked Saturday, which was its most recent scheduled maintenance check.

The airport was closed to all air traffic for several hours after the crash before reopening.


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US And Partners Announce Airstrikes in Syria, Iraq

Ivan Cholakov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new round of airstrikes was conducted in Iraq and Syria by U.S. and coalition forces on Saturday.

According to U.S. Central Command, there were 14 airstrikes in Iraq conducted by attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIS targets. Three airstrikes near Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul destroyed two tactical units and a building.

Six airstrikes near the Iraqi city of Tikrit destroyed several tactical units and anti-aircraft artillery weapons, according to Centcom.

Coalition aircraft also targeted fighter positions near the western town of Fallujah.

An additional strike was made in Syria near the border town of Kobani, where Centcom says an airstrike destroyed an ISIS tactical unit and vehicle.

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Netanyahu Voices Criticism of Iran Nuclear Talks

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty images(JERUSALEM) -- As the clock ticks down in Switzerland on a nuclear talks with Iran, the Israeli leader is again voicing criticism.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a strong warning on Sunday against negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu said “The Iran-Lausanne-Yeman axis” was very dangerous to humanity and must be stopped.

The comments were made in reference to the Swiss town where the talks are taking place and Yemen, a country where Shi-Houti rebels are said to be backed by Iran.

Netanyahu describes the possible deal as worse than he feared, and claims Iran is trying to conquer the Middle East while pursuing its nuclear ambitions.

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Pope Francis Prays for Germanwings Victims During Palm Sunday Mass

Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- As French salvage workers continue to retrieve bodies from the Germanwings crash in France, Pope Francis offered his prayers to the victims of the crash during Palm Sunday celebrations in St. Peter’s Square.

Under a clear blue sky, Pope Francis opened the Christian Holy Week with Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square and a payer for those who died in Tuesday’s Germanwing’s plane crash.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew plane into the mountains, killing 149 others.

Among the dead are 16 German high school students whom the pope made special mention of in his prayers.

Holding a simple wooden pastoral staff, the pope stressed humility and service to others, qualities he has tried to demonstrate as pope and encourage among his followers.

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Cities Around The World Mark Earth Hour

Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lights switched off across the world on Saturday as major cities marked World Earth Hour.

Places such as Berlin, Rome, Amman, Jordan, and New York City’s Empire State Building pulled the plug at 8:30 p.m. local time.

“This is not exclusive for the developed countries, or the developing countries so it’s affecting all,” said climate change researchers Hussein Al-Kiswani in Amman, Jordan.

Organizers estimate that more than 7,000 events were held around the globe.

“The event is resembling the fact that we are united together all over the world to fight this phenomenon,” said Al-Kiswani.

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Germanwings Crash Co-Pilot Seemed Like a 'Normal Guy,' Fellow Pilot Says

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images(DÜSSELDORF, Germany) -- A German pilot who recently flew with the co-pilot accused by French prosecutors of deliberately crashing a Germanwings plane said he seemed like a "normal guy," and he "had plans for the future."

French prosecutors have said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately slammed the passenger plane into a mountain on Tuesday. Authorities have since said he hid evidence of an illness from his employers, including a sick note that was found torn up inside his apartment in Dusseldorf dated from the day of the crash.

Frank Woiton, a Germanwings pilot, told German TV station WDR that he saw nothing unusual about Lubitz when he flew with him less than a month ago.

"The impression that I got was that he was a normal guy," Woiton said. "He had plans for the future. He wanted to fly long distance flights for Lufthansa."

German State Prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said on Friday that "a torn-up current sick note ... valid for the day of the incident" had been found inside Lubitz's apartment in Dusseldorf, adding that it "would -- according to preliminary evaluation -- support the assumption that the [pilot] had concealed his illness towards his employer and his occupational environment."

Kumpa said the note found indicated Lubitz, 27, "was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work."

The disclosure of torn medical documents at the co-pilot's home came shortly before Germanwings' parent company, Lufthansa, announced that it would be changing company policy to require two "authorized persons" remain in the cockpit at all times during the flight, in light of the finding that Lubitz apparently stopped the captain from re-entering the cockpit and forced the plane to crash.

In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city's prosecutor announced that there was no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.

The New York Times reported that Lubitz sought treatment for vision problems that may have put his future as a pilot at risk, two officials with knowledge of the investigation told the newspaper.

It's unclear how severe the eye problems were but one official with knowledge of the investigation hadn't ruled out that it was caused or enhanced by psychological factors, the Times reported.

ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.

Dusseldorf University Hospital said Lubitz was a patient there and his last visit was two weeks before the crash. The hospital denied that the treatment was related to depression, but they have handed over all of his medical records to German investigators.

During a news conference on Thursday, the Lufthansa CEO said that Lubitz had undergone a medical examination that included a psychological evaluation before being hired in 2013 but, unlike physicals, mental evaluations are not required annually.

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Amanda Knox 'Grateful' Conviction Overturned

ABC News(SEATTLE) -- After Italy's highest court decided to overturn Amanda Knox's reconviction in connection with her roommate's slaying, Knox said late Friday she was still processing the court's decision.

"I just wanted to say that I am incredibly grateful for what has happened, for the justice I've received, for the support that I've had from everyone," Knox told reporters. "What comes to mind is my gratitude for that life that has been given to me."

Knox, 27, was initially convicted by an Italian court of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but that decision was overturned on appeal in October 2011 after she had spent four years in prison.

She was then reconvicted last year and an appeal of the reconviction began this month. There is no possibility of any further appeals after Friday’s ruling.

"Meredith was my friend and she deserved so much in this life," Knox told reporters.

Knox has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Seattle, writing freelance theater reviews for a local paper and working at a bookstore. In February, her family said that she was engaged to Colin Sutherland, a friend whom she has known since middle school.

Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito faced the same appeal and was also annulled. While he has been present in the Rome court throughout the week, Knox has remained in America.

"I will never go willingly back," she told ABC News in January 2014.


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Yemen's President Describes Rebels As ‘Puppets of Iran’

Istimages/iStock/Thinkstock (SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt) -- The embattled President of Yemen described the Shiite rebels currently seizing large chunks of the country as “puppet of Iran” during a speech on Saturday at an Arab League summit in Egypt.

President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left Yemen on Thursday for refuge in Saudi Arabia amid the ongoing violence.

Hadi has directly blamed Iran for Yemen’s descent into chaos, and is demanding that airstrikes continue against rebel positions until they surrender.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia of Arab states is currently conducting an air campaign against the Shiite Houthi rebels.

Yemen’s foreign minister said on Saturday that Yemen's president will not return to Yemen until "the situation settles."

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6.0-Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Northern Chile

Tomislav Zivkovic/iStock/Thinkstock(SANTIAGO, Chile) – Parts of Northern Chile were rocked by a 6.0-magnitude earthquake on Saturday.

The quake struck 25 miles northeast of Calama at 12:35 p.m. local time, near Chile’s border with Bolivia, according to the United States Geological Survey. It had a depth of just over 65 miles.

So far, there have been reports of injuries or damage as a result of the quake.

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British Police Taser Knife-wielding Robber in Harrowing Surveillance Video

Wiltshire Police(WILTSHIRE, England) -- Harrowing surveillance video shows police tasering a knife-wielding man as he tried to rob a British supermarket.

Wiltshire Police released the video Friday, the same day they said James Lewis was sentenced to three years in prison. Police said he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery on Tuesday.

In the video from Feb. 1, a man identified by police as Lewis enters the supermarket wielding a large knife. He quickly heads toward the cashier and tries grabbing him.

The cashier manages to avoid his grasp and runs away when he jumps over the counter.

Officers arrive at the same time as Lewis, 22, because his father had called them saying he was concerned about his son, police said.

Lewis turns his knife on the officers trying to apprehend him, the video shows. One of the officers uses a shopping basket as a shield.

An officer then enters the supermarket and tasers Lewis, who falls to the floor, drops the knife, and grabs his head in agony. Police said he had refused to drop the knife when told to do so.

"Wiltshire police are very proud of all our officers, doing their part to protect the public," read a statement from police.


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Deadly Hotel Siege Ends in Somalia

alexis84/iStock/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU, Somalia) -- A deadly attack at a hotel in Somali’s capital has ended after 12 hours.

Government officials said on Saturday they have taken back control of the hotel where gunman were held up for more than 12 hours in an attack that left at least 17 people dead.

The government had occupied the third and fourth floors of the hotel.

The terror group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Amanda Knox's Conviction Overturned by Italy's Highest Court

ABC(ROME) -- Italy's highest court decided Friday to overturn Amanda Knox's reconviction in connection with her roommate's slaying, meaning that she will not be sent back to prison.

Knox's mother confirmed to ABC News that her daughter's conviction has been annulled.

Knox was initially convicted by an Italian court of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but that decision was overturned on appeal in October 2011 after she had spent four years in prison.

She was then reconvicted last year and an appeal of the reconviction began this month. There is no possibility of further appeals after Friday’s ruling.

Knox said in a statement that she is "tremendously relieved and grateful for the deicison of the Supreme Court of Italy."

"The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal," Knox says. Her family also released a statement saying they were "thrilled with" and "grateful for" Friday's decision.

"This is a big mistake that has to be rectified," Knox's defense attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova told ABC News before this latest appeal case began. "It has been done before."

Knox has previously told ABC News that while she maintains her innocence, she will not be traveling to Italy for the new appeal because if found guilty, she would then be sent back to jail for up to 28 years.

"I did not expect this to happen," Knox told ABC News in January 2014. "I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent once before."

Knox has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Seattle, writing freelance theater reviews for a local paper and working at a bookstore. In February, her family confirmed that she is now engaged to Colin Sutherland, a friend whom she has known since middle school.

Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is facing the same appeal and while he has been present in the Rome court throughout the week, Knox has remained in America.

"I will never go willingly back," she said in January 2014.

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Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Never Submitted Sick Note, Airline Says

Getty Images(DÜSSELDORF, Germany) -- The airline whose plane crashed in the French Alps never received the sick note that investigators found torn up in the apartment of the co-pilot who allegedly hid an illness from his employers before allegedly causing the fatal crash, it was revealed Friday.

Germanwings said in a statement Friday that they never received a sick note for co-pilot Andreas Lubitz that the senior prosecutor in Dusseldorf announced they had found torn up in his apartment.

Prosecutor Christoph Kumpa had said earlier in the day that "a torn-up current sick note ... valid for the day of the incident" had been found, adding that it "would -- according to preliminary evaluation -- support the assumption that the [pilot] had concealed his illness towards his employer and his occupational environment."

Kumpa said the note found indicated the pilot deemed unwell by a medical doctor.

The disclosure of torn medical documents at the co-pilot's home came shortly before Germanwings' parent company, Lufthansa, announced that it would be changing company policy to require two "authorized persons" remain in the cockpit at all times during the flight, in light of the finding that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz apparently stopped the captain from re-entering the cockpit and forced the plane to crash.

In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city's prosecutor announced that there is no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.

The Wall Street Journal cited a friend of Lubitz who said that he suffered from depression and was worried that his employer would find out about his diagnosis. ABC News has not independently confirmed this account.

Dusseldorf University Hospital confirmed Lubitz was a patient there and his last visit was two weeks before the crash. They denied that the treatment was related to depression, but they have handed over all of his medical records to German investigators.

During a news conference on Thursday, the Lufthansa CEO said that the 27-year-old co-pilot had undergone a medical examination that included a psychological evaluation before being hired in 2013 but, unlike physicals, mental evaluations are not required annually.

The Germanwings plane crashed this past Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. French President Francois Hollande said there were "apparently no survivors."

Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, France, said in a news conference Thursday that Lubitz appeared to want to "destroy the plane," purposefully locking the captain out of the Airbus A320's cockpit and accelerating the descent manually.

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US Helicopter Recovers Pair of Saudi Pilots After Fighter Jet Crash

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(DJIBOUTI) -- A U.S. helicopter recovered a pair of Saudi pilots whose fighter jet had crashed in the Gulf of Aden on Friday.

A U.S. official confirmed that the Saudi plane, a F-15, had gone down due to mechanical issues while participating in Saudi airstrikes within Yemen. A U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter based in nearby Djibouti was set to rescue the pilots, who had ejected into the water.

The U.S. is not taking part in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, but is providing logistical and intelligence support.

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US Embassy in Iraq Denies Reports of Coalition Airstrike Mistakenly Hitting Iraqi Troops

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- The U.S. embassy in Iraq on Friday denied Iraqi media reports that a coalition airstrike mistakenly struck Iraqi troops in Tikrit.

"We are aware of Iraqi media reports of casualties among Iraqi Security Forces in the vicinity of Tikrit University this morning," the embassy's statement reads. "No coalition airstrikes took place during the time or in the vicinity of these alleged casualties."

The embassy referred further questions to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

U.S. and coalition forces had begun to conduct airstrikes and offer additional support in the vicinity of Tikrit as Iraqi Security Forces attempt to retake the city from ISIS militants.

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