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Germanwings A320 Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane: Prosecutor


Andreas Lubitz, identified as the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 that crashed in the Alps on Tuesday morning, intentionally put the aircraft into a dive while the pilot was locked out of the cockpit, a Marseille prosecutor told reports today. Death was "sudden and immediate" for all aboard.

The Guardian reports on the press conference.

The co-pilot, a German citizen, was reportedly alive until the time of impact:

The first 20 minutes of conversation between the pilot and co-pilot was amicable, then the co-pilot took over when the pilot left to make a “natural call”.

At this point, the co-pilot accelerated the plane’s descent using the keys of the monitoring system. The prosecutor described it as a “voluntary” action.

In the remaining 10 minutes there are a number of appeals by the pilot to get access to the cockpit but there was no access, the prosecutor said. The pilot knocks on the door but there is not response. There is the sound of breathing from the co-pilot until impact.

 “The intention was to destroy this plane," said the prosecutor.

“He was breathing normally, he did not utter a single word...He had no reason to disable contact with other planes...We could hear the cries minutes before the plane crashed.”

“Absolute silence inside the cockpit. Nothing, no word during the last 10 minutes...I think he refused to open the door and turned the button to get down the plane. It was a voluntary action on the part of the co-pilot... He is not known as a terrorist, absolutely not...We do not have sentiment that there was panic (in cockpit) as he was breathing normally.”

The prosecutor declined to call the pilot's action a suicide. "When you commit suicide, you die alone. With 150 on the plane, I wouldn't call that suicide."

The most recent report from the BBC, AFTER THE JUMP...

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New PrEP Studies Show 86% Reduction In HIV Transmission Rates, Even As 'On-Demand' Treatment


Truvada taken as an HIV preventative is shown to be an incredibly effective way of stopping the spread of HIV. In 2014 the iPrEx OLE study showed that when taken between 3 and 7 times a week, seroconversions were close to 0%. A new study from Britain called PROUD has come out with some slightly different numbers, but numbers that are still encouraging: 86% of the men studied were protected by a Truvada regimen. Not as great as 99.99%, but still a good notch better than the 76% offered by condoms alone. Naturally, the best results are achieved when multiple prevention tools are used in tandem, and condoms plus PrEP make for an even more solid barrier.

Here's where things get interesting: the IPERGAY study out of Canada and France showed that the 86% efficacy can be achieved even when taken "on-demand", which is defined here as once 2 to 24 hours prior to sex and once after.

These "on-demand" results could completely change everything, as both cost and potential side effects are some of the biggest concerns voiced against Truvada. The cost per pill is still somewhere in the neighborhood of $50, unsubsidized, so it's still not within everyone's reach, but being able to drop $100 without insurance for a preventative measure broadens the reach far beyond the standard of uninsured or underinsured people going without because they can't pony up $3k+ for a month's supply. Also, while the side-effects of the pill are minimal and typically reversible, just two pills could provide the needed benefit without being enough to make most of those side effects kick in.

Stand by for Michael Weinstein to rehash his accusation that Truvada is a party drug...though if Truvada is a party drug, does that make condoms party balloons?

Ballsy French Ad Explains Why We Don't Have Unicorns Today: VIDEO


Ever thought to yourself, why aren't there unicorns? In a new bit of balls-out advertising for French TV channel Canal+, a man shares the very gay story of why unicorns no longer exist. The video, which is best appreciated spoiler-free, awaits you, AFTER THE JUMP...

Today is sure to be a big day for commercials in the U.S. How much queer and queer-baiting advertising will we see during today's Super Bowl?

Stay tuned to Towleroad for updates on all the advertising highlights from today's Super Bowl. 

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France Clears Binational Same-Sex Marriage For Franco-Moroccan Couple


The Cour de Cassation, the highest French appeals court, has decided to allow the marriage of a Moroccan-French gay couple in spite of current legislation barring binational unions. Though gay marriage was legalized in France in 2013, the French government made agreements with 11 other nations saying that France would block marriages for binational couples in which the non-French partner’s country of origin did not recognize gay marriage.

Dominique and Mohammed, who have asked to have their last names withheld, were initially denied a marriage license in Chambery, a city in the southeastern region of France. Two other courts, however, issued rulings arguing the opposite, which brought the couple’s case to the Cour de Cassation.

The Cour de Cassation cited a specific section of France’s agreement with Morocco that allows either country to ignore one another’s laws should the other country’s law be "obviously incompatible with public order.” In this instance the Cour de Cassation interpreted marriage as a fundamental right necessary to the public order, overriding Morocco’s legal stance on gay marriage for gays living in France.

French Courts Convict Three For 'Burn the Gays' Hate Tweets

Brûlonslesgayssurdu trendThree were convicted in a Paris court this week on anti-gay hate speech charges for tweeting "#brûlonslesgayssurdu", which approximately translates as, "let's burn the gays" in August 2013. Comité Idaho brought the case to court on grounds of inciting hatred and violence on basis of sexual orientation, and the three offenders have been punished with fines, one for €300 ($336.09) and the other two for €500 ($560.15) each.

There is mixed reaction to the verdict. On the one hand, French LGBT groups are calling it a "significant victory", while other LGBT rights groups consider the punishments to be light given that the maximum penalties for the crimes they committed are up to a year in prison and a €45,000 ($50,413.50) fine.

Regardless, president of Comité Idaho Alexandre Marcel remarked:

It's a small amount to pay for calling for the death of homosexuals.

Former Danish President Reflects On Protecting The Press' Right To Free Speech: WATCH

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Days before the religiously-motivated attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, former Danish President Anders Fogh Rasmussen sat down with Big Thing to reflect on his own struggles dealing with civil unrest sparked by controversial cartoons. In 2005 protests swept through the country after Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, published a number of cartoons that depicted the prophet Mohammed. Despite calls for the Danish government to step in and mitigate tensions within the country, Rasmussen and his cabinet elected not to become directly involved.

Though Rasmussen describes that time as “Denmark's worst international relations incident since the Second World War,” he still stands by his decision not to bend to the public’s will. In remaining uninvolved, he said, he was defending the Danish press’s right to free speech.

Similar sentiment has echoed through the French press as Charlie Hebdo prepares to release its largest print run in the publication’s history. Soon after the shooting, an outpouring of financial support to the newspaper came from across the globe, enabling the surviving editorial staff to publish some 1 million copies of this week’s forthcoming issue. Since announcing its intentions, Charlie Hebdo has upped its projected publication numbers to 3 million copies to be printed in 16 languages, including Arabic, and distributed throughout 18 countries.

"There is a future. But we don't know yet what it will resemble. There will be a newspaper," said Hebdo’s sitting editor-in-chief Gerard Briard. "For the time being we can't tell you anymore because we don't know ourselves."

Listen to former Danish President Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s reflections on dealing defending the press AFTER THE JUMP...

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