TIME Saudi Arabia

New Saudi King Moves Fast to Name Second-in-Line to Throne

Saudi King Salman gives a speech following the death of King Abdullah in Riyadh, Jan. 23, 2015.
Saudi King Salman gives a speech following the death of King Abdullah in Riyadh, Jan. 23, 2015. Reuters

King Abdullah died early Friday at the age of 90 after nearly two decades in power

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s new king moved swiftly Friday to name the country’s interior minister as deputy crown prince, making him the second-in-line to the throne, as he promised to continue the policies of his predecessors in a nationally televised speech.

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s actions came as the oil-rich, Sunni-ruled kingdom began mourning King Abdullah, who died early Friday at the age of 90 after nearly two decades in power.

Salman’s royal decree puts Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in line to ascend to the throne after his designated successor, Crown Prince Muqrin. Mohammed is the son of late King Abdullah’s half brother Nayef.

“We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” Salman said in the speech aired on the state-run Saudi 2 television station.

Salman also made an oblique reference to the chaos gripping the greater Middle East as the extremist Islamic State group now holds a third of both Iraq and Syria.

“The Arab and the Islamic nations are in dire need of solidarity and cohesion,” the king said.

Salman, 79, had increasingly taken on the duties of the king over the past year as his ailing predecessor and half brother, Abdullah, became more incapacitated.

Abdullah is expected to be buried Friday afternoon following a funeral at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in the capital, Riyadh.

Leaders from around the world expressed their condolences.

U.S. President Barack Obama described the late Saudi king as a candid leader who had the courage of his convictions, including “his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond.”

The president of the neighboring United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said in a statement that Abdullah “generously gave a lot to his people and his nation,” while Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said “the Saudi kingdom and the Arab nation have lost a leader of its best sons.”

Salman has served as defense minister since 2011. That made him the head of the military as Saudi Arabia joined the United States and other Arab countries in carrying out airstrikes in Syria in 2014 against the Islamic State group, the Sunni militant group that the kingdom began to see as a threat to its own stability. He is expected to relinquish that post now that he is king.

He takes the helm at a time when the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom and oil powerhouse is trying to navigate social pressures from a burgeoning youth population — over half the population of 20 million is under 25 — seeking jobs and increasingly testing boundaries of speech on the Internet, where criticism of the royal family is rife.

Salman’s health has been a question of concern. He suffered at least one stroke that has left him with limited movement on his left arm.

TIME Ukraine

Ukraine Rebels Say 24 Fighters Killed By Rockets at Airport

A Russian backed separatist rebel takes cover in a shelter from shelling in the Kievsky district, 2 miles from the airport, in Donetsk, Jan. 22, 2015.
A Russian backed separatist rebel takes cover in a shelter from shelling in the Kievsky district, 2 miles from the airport, in Donetsk, Jan. 22, 2015. Manu Brabo—AP

The loss of the airport after months of fighting represents a major setback for pro-Kiev forces

DONETSK, Ukraine — Russian-backed separatists in east Ukraine say 24 of their fighters have been killed in a rocket attack on the recently captured airport outside their main stronghold city of Donetsk.

Rebel defense spokesman Eduard Basurin said the terminal was targeted by Ukrainian government forces Friday with Uragan multiple rocket launchers.

The separatist seizure of the virtually obliterated airport this week after months of bitter battles was a major blow for beleaguered Ukrainian offensives in the east.

Diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met this week to thrash out a tentative dividing line from which the warring sides would pull back their heavy weapons.

Separatists have warned, however, that they intend to continue their advances and take more territory.

TIME Japan

ISIS Say Countdown for Japan’s Hostages Has Begun

A TV news program reports on the two ISIS held Japanese hostages in Tokyo, Jan. 23, 2015.
A TV news program reports on the two ISIS held Japanese hostages in Tokyo, Jan. 23, 2015. Eugene Hoshiko—AP

Japanese officials have not said whether they are considering paying any ransom

TOKYO — Militants affiliated with the Islamic State group have posted an online warning that the “countdown has begun” for the group to kill a pair of Japanese hostages.

The posting which appeared Friday shows a clock counting down to zero along with gruesome images of other hostages who have been beheaded by the Islamic State group.

The militant group gave Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a 72-hour deadline — which expired Friday — to pay a $200 million ransom for the two hostages. The posting on a forum popular among Islamic State militants and sympathizers did not show any images of the Japanese hostages.

In the past the website has posted Islamic State group videos very quickly, sometimes before anyone else. Nippon Television Network first reported the message in Japan.

The status of efforts to free the two men was unclear. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, when asked about the latest message, said Japan was analyzing it.

“The situation remains severe but we are doing everything we can to win the release of the two Japanese hostages,” Suga said. He said Japan is using every channel it can find, including local tribal chiefs, to try to reach the captors.

He said there has been no direct contact from the hostage takers.

At Tokyo’s largest mosque, worshippers included the hostages in their Friday prayers.

“All Muslims in Japan, we want the Japanese hostages to be saved as soon as possible,” said Sandar Basara, a worker from Turkey.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened his National Security Council to discuss how to handle the crisis, as the mother of one of the captives appealed for her son’s rescue.

“Time is running out. Please, Japanese government, save my son’s life,” said Junko Ishido, the mother of 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto.

“My son is not an enemy of the Islamic State,” she said in a tearful appearance in Tokyo.

Ishido said she was astonished and angered to learn from her daughter-in-law that Goto had left less than two weeks after his child was born, in October, to go to Syria to try to rescue the other hostage, 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa.

In very Japanese fashion, Ishido apologized repeatedly for “all the trouble my son has caused.” She said she had not had any contact with the government.

Lacking clout and diplomatic reach in the Middle East, Japan has scrambled for a way to secure the release of the two men, one a journalist, the other an adventurer fascinated by war. Japanese diplomats left Syria as the civil war there escalated, adding to the difficulty of contacting the group holding the hostages.

Yasuhide Nakayama, a deputy foreign minister sent to Amman, Jordan, to coordinate efforts to save the hostages, told reporters he had no new information.

“We want to work until the very end, with all our power, to secure their release,” he said.

Suga, the government spokesman in Tokyo, said Thursday that the government had confirmed the identity of the two hostages, despite discrepancies in shadows and other details in the ransom video that suggest it may have been altered.

Japanese officials have not directly said whether they are considering paying any ransom. Japan has joined other major industrial nations in the Group of Seven in opposing ransom payments, and U.S. and British officials said they advised against paying.

Two Japanese who said they have contacts with a leader in the Islamic State group offered Thursday to try to negotiate, but it was unclear if the government was receptive to the idea.

Ko Nakata, an expert on Islamic law and former professor at Kyoto’s Doshisha University, and freelance journalist Kousuke Tsuneoka are both converts to Islam. They said they have a contact in the Islamic State group and are prepared to go.

TIME obituary

Shoe Designer Vince Camuto, Nine West Co-Founder, Dies at 78

2014 Father Of The Year Awards
Vince Camuto attends the 2014 Father Of The Year Awards at the New York Hilton on June 4, 2014 Slaven Vlasic—Getty Images

Camuto had been battling cancer

Legendary women’s footwear designer Vince Camuto, who co-founded shoe company Nine West Group, has died in Connecticut at age 78.

Camuto died Wednesday at his home in Greenwich, said Matthew Murphy, director of the Fred D. Knapp & Son Funeral Home, which is handling the arrangements. Camuto had been battling cancer.

The designer is best known for co-founding Nine West Group in 1978. He served as creative director there for two decades and was named CEO in 1993. Nine West was sold in 1999 to Jones Apparel Group.

Camuto founded the Camuto Group, which owns his namesake footwear line, in 2001. The company also licensed products for Tory Burch, BCBG and others.

The privately held company, based in Greenwich, did not respond to multiple calls and emails seeking comment on Thursday.

The designer, whose products are sold at the company’s own stores and other retailers, expanded his fashion empire to include clothing, accessories and fragrances.

TIME real estate

Monthly U.S. Rents Keep Climbing, Especially in San Francisco

Rents increased 3.3% countrywide, climbing 15.4% in San Francisco alone

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — U.S. home rental prices continued to climb at a modest pace in December, but rapidly escalating costs in cities such as San Francisco and Denver suggest that apartment dwellers are facing more financial pressure.

Real estate data firm Zillow says prices increased 3.3 percent in December compared with 12 months earlier. That’s less than the recent appreciation in home values. But a surge in apartment costs in several of the hottest markets suggests that there will be financial challenges for renters who hope to eventually buy homes of their own.

Rents jumped 15.4 percent in the San Francisco area and 10.5 percent in Denver. Tenants elsewhere are catching a break. In Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC, rents rose by less than 2.2 percent over the past 12 months.

TIME Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Abdullah Dies at 90

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah receives U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the king's Riyadh Palace on April 6, 2011 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah receives U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the king's Riyadh Palace on April 6, 2011 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

Powerful U.S. ally joined the fight against al-Qaeda and sought to modernize the ultraconservative kingdom

(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudging open greater opportunities for women, has died, according to Saudi state TV. He was 90.

More than his guarded and hidebound predecessors, Abdullah assertively threw his oil-rich nation’s weight behind trying to shape the Middle East. His priority was to counter the influence of rival, mainly Shiite Iran wherever it tried to make advances. He and fellow Sunni Arab monarchs also staunchly opposed the Middle East’s wave of pro-democracy uprisings, seeing them as a threat to stability and their own rule.

He backed Sunni Muslim factions against Tehran’s allies in several countries, but in Lebanon for example, the policy failed to stop Iranian-backed Hezbollah from gaining the upper hand. And Tehran and Riyadh’s colliding ambitions stoked proxy conflicts around the region that enflamed Sunni-Shiite hatreds — most horrifically in Syria’s civil war, where the two countries backed opposing sides. Those conflicts in turn hiked Sunni militancy that returned to threaten Saudi Arabia.

And while the king maintained the historically close alliance with Washington, there were frictions as he sought to put those relations on Saudi Arabia’s terms. He was constantly frustrated by Washington’s failure to broker a settlement to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He also pushed the Obama administration to take a tougher stand against Iran and to more strongly back the mainly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Abdullah’s death was announced on Saudi state TV by a presenter who said the king died at 1 a.m. on Friday. His successor was announced as 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman, according to a Royal Court statement carried on the Saudi Press Agency. Salman was Abdullah’s crown prince and had recently taken on some of the ailing king’s responsibilities.

Abdullah was born in Riyadh in 1924, one of the dozens of sons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Like all Abdul-Aziz’s sons, Abdullah had only rudimentary education. Tall and heavyset, he felt more at home in the Nejd, the kingdom’s desert heartland, riding stallions and hunting with falcons. His strict upbringing was exemplified by three days he spent in prison as a young man as punishment by his father for failing to give his seat to a visitor, a violation of Bedouin hospitality.

Abdullah was selected as crown prince in 1982 on the day his half-brother Fahd ascended to the throne. The decision was challenged by a full brother of Fahd, Prince Sultan, who wanted the title for himself. But the family eventually closed ranks behind Abdullah to prevent splits.

Abdullah became de facto ruler in 1995 when a stroke incapacitated Fahd. Abdullah was believed to have long rankled at the closeness of the alliance with the United States, and as regent he pressed Washington to withdraw the troops it had deployed in the kingdom since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. finally did so in 2003.

When President George W. Bush came to office, Abdullah again showed his readiness to push against his U.S. allies.

In 2000, Abdullah convinced the Arab League to approve an unprecedented offer that all Arab states would agree to peace with Israel if it withdrew from lands it captured in 1967. The next year, he sent his ambassador in Washington to tell the Bush administration that it was too unquestioningly biased in favor of Israel and that the kingdom would from now on pursue its own interests apart from Washington’s. Alarmed by the prospect of a rift, Bush soon after advocated for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The next month, the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks took place in the United States, and Abdullah had to steer the alliance through the resulting criticism. The kingdom was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers, and many pointed out that the baseline ideology for al-Qaida and other groups stemmed from Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

When al-Qaida militants in 2003 began a wave of violence in the kingdom aimed at toppling the monarchy, Abdullah cracked down hard. For the next three years, security forces battled militants, finally forcing them to flee to neighboring Yemen. There, they created a new al-Qaida branch, and Saudi Arabia has played a behind-the-scenes role in fighting it.

The tougher line helped affirm Abdullah’s commitment to fighting al-Qaida. He paid two visits to Bush — in 2002 and 2005 — at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

When Fahd died in 2005, Abdullah officially rose to the throne. He then began to more openly push his agenda.

His aim at home was to modernize the kingdom to face the future. One of the world’s largest oil exporters, Saudi Arabia is fabulously wealthy, but there are deep disparities in wealth and a burgeoning youth population in need of jobs, housing and education. More than half the current population of 20 million is under the age of 25. For Abdullah, that meant building a more skilled workforce and opening up greater room for women to participate. He was a strong supporter of education, building universities at home and increasing scholarships abroad for Saudi students.

Abdullah for the first time gave women seats on the Shura Council, an unelected body that advises the king and government. He promised women would be able to vote and run in 2015 elections for municipal councils, the only elections held in the country. He appointed the first female deputy minister in a 2009. Two Saudi female athletes competed in the Olympics for the first time in 2012, and a small handful of women were granted licenses to work as lawyers during his rule.

One of his most ambitious projects was a Western-style university that bears his name, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which opened in 2009. Men and women share classrooms and study together inside the campus, a major departure in a country where even small talk between the sexes in public can bring a warning from the morality police.

The changes seemed small from the outside but had a powerful resonance. Small splashes of variety opened in the kingdom — color and flash crept into the all-black abayas women must wear in public; state-run TV started playing music, forbidden for decades; book fairs opened their doors to women writers and some banned books.

But he treaded carefully in the face of the ultraconservative Wahhabi clerics who hold near total sway over society and, in return, give the Al Saud family’s rule religious legitimacy.

Senior cleric Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan warned against changes that could snap the “thread between a leader and his people.” In some cases, Abdullah pushed back: He fired one prominent government cleric who criticized the mixed-gender university. But the king balked at going too far too fast. For example, beyond allowing debate in newspapers, Abdullah did nothing to respond to demands to allow women to drive.

“He has presided over a country that has inched forward, either on its own or with his leadership,” said Karen Elliot House, author of “On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines.”

“I don’t think he’s had as much impact as one would hope on trying to create a more moderate version of Islam,” she said. “To me, it has not taken inside the country as much as one would hope.”

And any change was strictly on the royal family’s terms. After the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in particular, Saudi Arabia clamped down on any dissent. Riot police crushed street demonstrations by Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority. Dozens of activists were detained, many of them tried under a sweeping counterterrorism law by an anti-terrorism court Abdullah created. Authorities more closely monitored social media, where anger over corruption and unemployment — and jokes about the aging monarchy — are rife.

Regionally, perhaps Abdullah’s biggest priority was to confront Iran, the Shiite powerhouse across the Gulf.

Worried about Tehran’s nuclear program, Abdullah told the United States in 2008 to consider military action to “cut off the head of the snake” and prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon, according to a leaked U.S. diplomatic memo.

In Lebanon, Abdullah backed Sunni allies against the Iranian-backed Shiite guerrilla group Hezbollah in a proxy conflict that flared repeatedly into potentially destabilizing violence. Saudi Arabia was also deeply opposed to longtime Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom it considered a tool of Iran oppressing Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority.

In Syria, Abdullah stepped indirectly indirectly into the civil war that emerged after 2011. He supported and armed rebels battling to overthrow President Bashar Assad, Iran’s top Arab ally, and pressed the Obama administration to do the same. Iran’s allies Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias rushed to back Assad, and the resulting conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead and driven millions of Syrians from their homes.

From the multiple conflicts, Sunni-Shiite hatreds around the region took on a life of their own, fueling Sunni militancy. Syria’s war helped give birth to the Islamic State group, which burst out to take over large parts of Syria and Iraq. Fears of the growing militancy prompted Abdullah to commit Saudi airpower to a U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremists.

Toby Matthiesen, author of “Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring That Wasn’t,” said Abdullah was not “particularly sectarian in a way that he hated Shiites for religious reasons. … There are other senior members of the ruling family much more sectarian.” But, he said, “Saudi Arabia plays a huge role in fueling sectarian conflict.”

Abdullah had more than 30 children from around a dozen wives.

____

Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

TIME Crime

Prince Andrew Denies Underage Sex Allegations

Britain's Prince Andrew the Duke of York, during the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22, 2015.
Britain's Prince Andrew the Duke of York, during the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22, 2015. Jean-Christophe Bott—EPA

"I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements which have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace"

(DAVOS, Switzerland) — Britain’s Prince Andrew on Thursday publicly denied allegations he had sex with an underage teenager.

He made the denial during a visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was his first public appearance since the charges.

U.S. lawyers representing a woman who claims she was forced to have underage sex with Prince Andrew have filed papers requesting that he respond to her claims under oath.

Buckingham Palace officials have strongly denied that Andrew had any sexual involvement with the woman, who is identified only as Jane Doe No. 3 in court papers.

“I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements which have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace,” Prince Andrew said Thursday.

He went on to say: “My focus is on my work.”

The royal has faced increasing pressure to speak about the allegations since they first emerged earlier this month.

The woman behind the charges says in court papers the prince’s denials are false.

“I hope my attorneys can interview Prince Andrew under oath about the contacts and that he will tell the truth,” she says in the papers.

TIME

2-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Self With Father’s Gun in Florida

Kaleb Ahles was in the car while his parents Kevin Ahles and Christina Nigro loaded boxes

(TARPON SPRINGS, Fla.) — A Tampa Bay area toddler is dead after finding his father’s .380-caliber handgun in the family’s car Wednesday afternoon and shooting himself, officials said.

Kaleb Ahles, 2, was in the car while his parents Kevin Ahles and Christina Nigro, both 23, loaded boxes as they prepared to move, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies. Somehow, the boy opened the glove compartment, where his father had stored the gun.

The child lifted the gun, turned it so that it faced his chest and squeezed the trigger, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

His parents told deputies they heard a loud pop and ran to the car. The mother performed CPR, and the boy was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“He probably barely got the trigger pulled,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. He described the gun as a lightweight weapon usually carried in a pocket or on a hip.

Gualtieri called the incident a “tragic situation.”

“It’s just one of those things that happens where everything happens the wrong way,” he said.

The sheriff said the parents won’t face criminal charges — no one could punish them more than they’ll punish themselves, he said.

The child’s grandfather, a retired Tampa police detective who is also named Kevin Ahles, stood near the police tape outside the house Wednesday evening. “A great little kid was killed today,” he said. “That’s all there is to say.”

TIME Egypt

Egypt’s King Tutankhamun’s Beard Knocked Off by Cleaners

King Tutankhamun
The mask of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo seen in 1996. Mohamed El-Dakhakhny—AP

The pharoah's beard was then glued back on with epoxy

CAIRO — The blue and gold braided beard on the burial mask of famed pharaoh Tutankhamun was hastily glued back on with epoxy, damaging the relic after it was knocked during cleaning, conservators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo said Wednesday.

The museum is one of the city’s main tourist sites, but in some areas, ancient wooden sarcophagi lay unprotected from the public, while pharaonic burial shrouds, mounted on walls, crumble from behind open panels of glass. Tutankhamun’s mask, over 3,300 years old, and other contents of his tomb are its top exhibits.

MORE The Tomb of a Previously Unknown Queen Has Been Unearthed in Egypt

Three of the museum’s conservators reached by telephone gave differing accounts of when the incident occurred last year, and whether the beard was knocked off by accident while the mask’s case was being cleaned, or was removed because it was loose.

They agree however that orders came from above to fix it quickly and that an inappropriate adhesive was used. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of professional reprisals.

“Unfortunately he used a very irreversible material — epoxy has a very high property for attaching and is used on metal or stone but I think it wasn’t suitable for an outstanding object like Tutankhamun’s golden mask,” one conservator said.

“The mask should have been taken to the conservation lab but they were in a rush to get it displayed quickly again and used this quick drying, irreversible material,” the conservator added.

The conservator said that the mask now shows a gap between the face and the beard, whereas before it was directly attached: “Now you can see a layer of transparent yellow.”

Another museum conservator, who was present at the time of the repair, said that epoxy had dried on the face of the boy king’s mask and that a colleague used a spatula to remove it, leaving scratches. The first conservator, who inspects the artifact regularly, confirmed the scratches and said it was clear that they had been made by a tool used to scrape off the epoxy.

MORE Chilean Students Discover 7,000-Year-Old Mummy

Egypt’s tourist industry, once a pillar of the economy, has yet to recover from three years of tumult following a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Museums and the opening of new tombs are part of plans to revive the industry. But authorities have made no significant improvements to the Egyptian Museum since its construction in 1902, and plans to move the Tutankhamun exhibit to its new home in the Grand Egyptian Museum scheduled to open in 2018 have yet to be divulged.

Neither the Antiquities Ministry nor the museum administration could be reached for comment Wednesday evening. One of the conservators said an investigation was underway and that a meeting had been held on the subject earlier in the day.

The burial mask, discovered by British archeologists Howard Carter and George Herbert in 1922, sparked worldwide interest in archaeology and ancient Egypt when it was unearthed along with Tutankhamun’s nearly intact tomb.

“From the photos circulating among restorers I can see that the mask has been repaired, but you can’t tell with what,” Egyptologist Tom Hardwick said. “Everything of that age needs a bit more attention, so such a repair will be highly scrutinized.”

Read next: Exploring the Mawlids of Egypt

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME indonesia

Indonesian Divers Recover 6 More Bodies From AirAsia Crash

Indonesia Plane
Members of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency unload the body of a victim aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 from a helicopter upon arrival at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, on Jan. 9, 2015. Achmad Ibrahim—AP

So far, 59 bodies have been recovered from AirAsia Flight 8501

(PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia) — Indonesian divers retrieved Thursday six more bodies from waters around the sunken fuselage of the AirAsia jetliner that crashed last month.

Divers were struggling against strong current and poor visibility to lift the fuselage and what appears to be the plane’s cockpit from the seabed at a depth of 30 meters (100 feet).

So far, 59 bodies have been recovered from AirAsia Flight 8501, which plunged into the Java Sea with 162 people while en route from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, to Singapore. Officials believed the rest are still inside the main fuselage.

National Transportation Safety Committee head Tatang Kurniadi on Wednesday ruled out sabotage, as investigators downloaded and began analyzing data from the aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders with advisers from Airbus, the plane’s manufacturer.

Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan told Parliament earlier this week that radar data showed that the plane was climbing at an abnormally high rate — about 6,000 feet a minute — then dropped rapidly and disappeared. He did not say what caused the plane to climb so rapidly, but the pilots asked to climb from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid threatening clouds and were denied permission because of heavy air traffic. No distress signal was received.

An excessively rapid ascent is likely to cause an airplane to go into an aerodynamic stall. In 2009, an Air France Airbus A330 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean in bad weather while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Investigators determined from the jet’s black boxes that it began a steep climb and then went into a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said that it was too early to comment on possible similarities between the two crashes.

A preliminary report on the AirAsia accident is expected to be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization next week, in line with a requirement that it be filed within 30 days of a crash, Kurniadi said, adding that a full analysis of what went wrong with the plane could take up to a year.

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