TIME viral

Watch Driving Instructors Get Pranked by a Pro Racer

They think she doesn't know how to drive

Driving tests are supposed to be nerve-racking for new students, but one Malaysian driving school flipped the script and absolutely terrified their rookie instructors.

To prank employees on their first day of work, the school hired Leona Chin, a professional rally-racing driver, to be the unlucky tutors’ first pupil.

Chin, dressed up in a nerdy-looking outfit, spends the first half of the video pretending she’s a hopeless learner. Then, just as instructors are getting frustrated, Chin reveals her true talents—and the reactions are priceless.

“The 3 employees you saw at the end loved it and laughed it off, but the guy in the blue shirt was not too happy. That’s why we didn’t have footage of him smiling,” Izmir Mujab, CEO of the media company behind the video, told TIME.

TIME Aviation

Here’s What We Know About the Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz

Investigators are scrambling to understand why he intentionally crashed Flight 9525 in the French Alps

Andreas Lubitz liked pop music, jogging and, of course, flying.

On Thursday, French prosecutors claimed that Lubitz, who friends say was “rather quiet,” “polite” and “fun,” intentionally crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 on Tuesday, killing himself and the 149 other individuals onboard.

Investigators raided Lubitz’s apartment along with his parents’ home in Montabaur, Germany, this week, as they clamored to shed some light on why or what drove the 27-year-old co-pilot to commit mass murder.

Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there is no evidence to suggest that the co-pilot had any links to a terrorist organization.

“According to the current state of knowledge and after comparing information that we have, he does not have a terrorist background,” said Maiziere.

Officials from Germanwings’ parent company, Lufthansa, said Lubitz had completed all the criteria required to pilot a commercial aircraft and appeared to be both mentally and physically fit. A security probe last vetted Lubitz in January; however, nothing unusual appears to have come up during the routine inquiry, reports the Associated Press.

“The pilot has passed all his tests, all his medical exams, “ said Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa’s CEO. “All the safety nets we’re so proud of here, have not worked in this case.”

Lubitz, a lifelong aviation enthusiast, first enrolled in the Lufthansa’s pilot program in 2008 and trained in Germany and Arizona. The 27-year-old later joined Germanwings as a pilot in 2013 and logged 630 flight hours on the A320 before this week’s crash.

On Thursday, Lufthansa confirmed that the co-pilot had briefly interrupted his training course about six years ago. The airline said they are still investigating what may have led to that brief hiatus.

German tabloids have inferred that Lubitz might have suffered from some type of psychological breakdown during that time. Other reports have suggested that Lubitz might have recently been reeling from relationship problems with his girlfriend.

Regardless, aviation experts say pilots are thoroughly tested and other crew members are supposed to remain vigilant when it comes to making sure their fellow pilots are fit to fly.

“Every time they fly, there’s always another pilot doing an assessment. So if one pilot thinks another pilot is going weird, that pilot has a responsibility to report that,” Jason Middleton, an aviation professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, tells TIME. “Weirdos and people with mental illnesses are pretty well filtered out.”

TIME health

Watch a Monsanto Lobbyist Claim a Weed Killer Is Safe to Drink but Then Refuse to Drink It

"I'm not stupid"

A lobbyist for Monsanto, who claimed the company’s Roundup weed killer was safe for humans to drink a large quantity of, refused to consume some himself when offered it during a television interview with French cable channel Canal+.

Patrick Moore told the journalist that the active ingredient in the herbicide, glyphosate, was not causing cancer rates in Argentina to increase.

“You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” he said.

But when the reporter told him that they had prepared a glass and invited Moore to drink it, he refused, saying “I’m not stupid.”

“So, it’s dangerous?” the interviewer asked.

“It’s not dangerous to humans,” Moore replied.

He insisted that people “try to commit suicide” by drinking Roundup but “fail regularly.” Moore then walked out of the interview.

Last Friday, the World Health Organization’s cancer-research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified the widely used herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

TIME Television

Watch President Obama Interview The Wire Creator David Simon

“Omar, by the way, is my favorite character”

A television writer couldn’t have scripted it better.

President Barack Obama, a longtime fan of the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire, sat down with the show’s creator David Simon this week to speak frankly about America’s war on drugs and the perils of law enforcement.

Simon, a vociferous critic of the federal government’s drug policies, pulled no punches as he spoke with the President.

“What the drugs don’t destroy, the war against them tears apart,” said Simon.

Obama appeared receptive to Simon’s criticism and insisted that things were slowly improving in the country.

“The fact that we’ve got people talking about it in a smarter way, gives me a little [encouragement],” he said.

TIME Aviation

What We Know So Far About the Germanwings Plane Crash

'I would say that if one person kills himself and also 149 people another word should be used, not suicide'

Officials said Thursday that the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 appears to be a deliberate act by a co-pilot who locked himself in the cockpit and flew the plane into a mountain. All 150 people aboard were killed when the jet crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday.

Here’s everything we know so far about the unfolding tragedy:

What exactly happened on the day of the flight?

Germanwings Flight 9525, an Airbus A320, departed Barcelona en route to Dusseldorf on Tuesday morning. Around 30 minutes into the flight, the plane had reached a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet when it began to descend rapidly at a rate of 3,000 feet per minute. Ten minutes later, the plane crashed in a remote area of the French Alps. Initially thought to be a tragic accident, investigators now suspect the crash was a “deliberate” act by the co-pilot.

How did investigators reach that conclusion?

The plane’s black box audio recording, recovered from the wreckage, documents the pilot knocking loudly on the cockpit door as the plane descended. The co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, can reportedly be heard breathing on the recording but did nothing to open the door. Screams can reportedly also be heard on the recording in the moments before the impact. Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, who has played a key role in the investigation, said Thursday that the incident was due to the “voluntary action of the co-pilot.” It remains unclear whether the pilot tried to reenter the cockpit using a security code, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said at a news conference.

Who was the co-pilot?

Andreas Lubitz from Montabaur, Germany, had control of the plane at the time of the crash. The 28-year-old was a lifelong aviation enthusiast who joined a local flying club as a teenager, where he would eventually receive his flying license. He signed up with German carrier Lufthansa’s pilot program in 2008 and trained in Germany and Arizona. Spohr said Lubitz took a several-month-long break from training, an unusual occurrence, but re-entered the program without issue.

Lubitz joined Germanwings as a pilot in 2013 and temporarily worked as a flight attendant while waiting for an opening as a co-pilot. He had 630 flight hours on the A320 under his belt at the time of the crash, making him a relative rookie.

Was it suicide, terrorism or something else?

Investigators have said unambiguously that they believe the crash to be “deliberate,” but have declined to go much further — and have avoided calling an act that killed 149 others a suicide. But Lubitz had no known link to terrorism, Robin said. None of the passengers had connections to terrorist organizations either, according German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. And not everyone is holding the co-pilot responsible just yet; German pilots told TIME that it’s premature to blame Lubitz before a full inquiry has been completed. Even though the investigators said the crash was intentional, they admitted having no idea about a potential motive. “We have no indication what could have led the co-pilot to commit this terrible act,” Spohr said.

Do regulations exist to prevent a pilot doing this?

On U.S. airlines, a flight attendant must enter the cockpit when either the pilot or co-pilot leaves for whatever reason. Since Tuesday’s crash, at least four airliners elsewhere—low-cost European carriers Easyjet and Norwegian Air among them—have announced they would adopt new rules for cockpits.

Does the airline have a decent safety record?

Germanwings, a low-cost carrier wholly owned by German airline Lufthansa, operates throughout Europe and has maintained a clean safety record since its founding in 1997. None of its airplanes had been involved in a crash prior to this week, the company said.

And what about the aircraft?

The A320 has a reputation as a workhorse for commercial airlines, carrying passengers around the world on medium-range routes. Crashes are not unknown; an A320 operated by AirAsia crashed into the Java Sea in January, and a U.S. Airways A320 made the famous “miracle on the Hudson” crash landing in 2009. But before you read too much into that, aviation experts say the A320 is among the safest planes in the sky. Only 11 of the model’s nearly 80 million flights since it entered service in the 1980s have been fatal, according to Air Safe. That’s six times fewer than the Boeing 747, for example.

Who was aboard?

The flight carried 144 passengers and 6 crew members. About half of the people aboard were German, and 25% of the passengers were Spanish. At least 13 other countries are represented in the remaining passengers, including three Americans—mother and daughter Yvonne and Emily Selke from Virginia, and Robert Oliver Calvo, an American citizen born in Barcelona. Also among the dead were 16 German high schoolers, a newlywed couple, and a pair of renowned opera singers. Death was instantaneous for the passengers aboard, Robin, the Marseille prosecutor, said on Thursday.

What might happen next?

There are still plenty of questions to be answered; it’s unclear whether the pilot locked outside the cockpit entered a code to get back in or whether Lubitz manually prevented him from entering. FBI investigators have joined the inquiry into the crash, alongside German, French and Spanish officials. Late Thursday night, a team of investigators searched the co-pilot’s Montabaur home and emerged with several bags, a large cardboard box and what appeared to be a computer. Meanwhile, the search goes on, high in the French Alps, for a second “black box” flight data recorder that might be able to reveal more about the plane’s final moments.

Read next: How Pilots Are Screened for Depression and Suicide

TIME Aviation

Third American Victim Identified in Germanwings Plane Crash

Robert Oliver lived in Barcelona

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke identified Robert Oliver as the third American citizen killed in the Germanwings plane crash.

He provided no further details Thursday, but Oliver’s parents told Spain’s La Sexta television channel their son lived in Barcelona and worked for the Desigual clothing company based in Spain’s second-largest city.

The elder Robert Oliver, who is retired, and his wife also live in Barcelona and decided against joining other relatives of victims who traveled to the crash zone.

The other American victims were Yvonne Selke of Nokesville, Virginia, an employee for 23 years at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her daughter, Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia.

TIME Accident

Watch the Building Collapse in Manhattan’s East Village

In a video provided to TIME by Dan Bowens, a Fox5 reporter, a building in New York’s East Village neighborhood collapsed Thursday after witnesses reported hearing an explosion, sparking a fire that spread to several other buildings. At least 12 people were hurt.

Read next: A Dozen Injured in Manhattan Building Explosion


How the Germanwings Co-Pilot Was Able to Lock Himself In

Safety measures brought in after 9/11 may have helped the co-pilot barricade himself in the cockpit

The fatal crash of a German airliner in the French Alps, apparently a deliberate act by the plane’s co-pilot, seems to have been made possible by security measures brought in following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks intended to make air travel safer.

On Thursday, French officials said it appeared as if co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had deliberately downed Germanwings Flight 9525 by locking the cockpit door and refusing to allow the captain back inside. The crash killed all 150 on board.

If that is what happened, it would be an indirect result of tightened security measures implemented by airlines in the U.S. and around the world in the aftermath of 9/11, when 19 hijackers overcame crew and passengers and flew the planes into buildings in New York and Washington D.C.

In 2002, the FAA announced higher standards to protect pilots. Cockpit doors in airliners were made stronger while remaining locked throughout the flight. The FAA also mandated internal locking devices inside the cockpit to preventing someone from entering. But those restrictions, meant to prevent similar hijackings, may also have allowed Lubitz to prevent someone else from entering the flight deck as he piloted the jet into a mountainside.

“The procedures put in place to prevent one bad thing from happening facilitated another bad thing happening,” says Jeff Price, an aviation management professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

On an Airbus A320, a locked cockpit door can be opened through a nearby keypad—as shown in this Airbus video—but that can be overridden by an individual still inside the cockpit via a switch that can keep the cockpit door locked. “That act of fully locking the system down has made this event possible,” says aviation expert Chris Yates. “Pilots use that access keypad to wander into the cockpit anytime they choose, but it can be overridden from inside, and that seems to be the problem.”

Yates says one way to potentially avoid a similar situation would be to take out the locking mechanism altogether. But a simpler fix might be for all airlines to do as the U.S. has done since 9/11 and require a flight attendant to be inside the cockpit if one of the pilots is away. While some carriers have already begun doing this since the crash, many in Europe and across the world still don’t mandate it.

“U.S. airlines have been doing this since 9/11,” Price says. “And if the pilot decides to commit mass murder, there’s somebody else up there to open a door or notify somebody or take some sort of action.”

MORE How Pilots Are Screened for Depression and Suicide

Thomas Anthony, the director of the University of Southern California Aviation Safety and Security program, says there’s no one fix that would help prevent a similar incident. For any aviation mishap, he says, there are always four or five contributing factors, citing the Airbus’s strengthened cockpit doors as well as less interchange between the cabin crew and the flight crew, which he says has created a more isolated environment inside the cockpit. And he thinks any investigation into the downing of the German airliner will attempt to address this sort of insider threat.

“Every security measure that is taken has a price and often an unintended consequence,” Anthony says. “But I expect this will be a watershed event.”

Read next: Germanwings Plane Crash: We Could Be Doing Much More To Prevent Pilot Suicide

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Aviation

Germanwings Faces Legal Fallout from Plane Crash

And an expert tells TIME that new revelations could make matters worse for the airline

In the minutes before their plane slammed into a mountainside in the French Alps this week, many of the passengers on Germanwings Flight 9525 witnessed a terrifying scene at the front of the aircraft. The captain of the plane found himself locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, as the plane lost altitude at alarming speeds, officials said Thursday. After banging on the door and beseeching Lubitz to open it, the captain tried to break through its armor plating. Until the final moments, the screams of the passengers could be heard on the flight recorder later found at the crash site, French prosecutor Brice Robin said.

Under the aviation laws that apply in this case, these final moments of terror could be part of the airline’s liability, said Peter Urwantschky, a leading German aviation lawyer who has represented the victims of commercial airplane crashes. “What you could have here is pre-death pain and suffering,” he said. “If a court concludes that the passengers knew what would happen, you would have to assess the fear of death in those final minutes.”

The broader question of liability for the crash, he added, seems clear in this case. “If you have a pilot with intent to bring down this plane, then you can forget about the liability limit,” he said. “You can say there is no limitation of liability.”

Such limitations could apply if the causes of a crash are outside the control of the airline and its staff—for instance, if a missile strikes the plane, like it did with Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over Ukraine last year. But such cases are extremely rare. Typically, the laws enshrined in the Montreal Convention, the international treaty that governs compensation for the victims of an air disaster, places the responsibility for an accident with the airline. That tends to encourage airlines to settle such claims out of court.

But because most of the claims in the case of the Germanwings plane would fall under the jurisdiction of German courts, the compensation available to the families would “not be very generous,” Urwantschky said. Unless a family can prove that it lost its breadwinner in the disaster, a claim for moral damages in Germany could be expected to bring about $20,000 to $40,000, far less than a similar claim in the United States, he said.

Speaking at a news briefing on Thursday in Frankfurt, the chief executives of Germanwings and its parent company, Lufthansa, declined to discuss issues of liability payments at this stage in the investigation.

Read next: Germanwings Plane Crash: We Could Be Doing Much More To Prevent Pilot Suicide

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Accident

19 Injured in New York City as Apparent Gas Explosion Results in Multiple Building Collapse

Four civilians are reportedly in critical condition

Three buildings in a heavily residential area of New York City collapsed as a fire broke out in a fourth, leaving 19 injured in what is suspected to be a gas-related explosion.

Four of the injured are in a critical condition, a spokesman for the city’s fire department told reporters late Thursday.

The blast took place just after 3 p.m. in the highly residential East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, and about 250 firefighters and EMS workers responded to the scene around 3:20 p.m., local time. Firefighters searched the buildings before the first one collapsed 15 minutes later, forcing them out.

The fourth building “is still involved with some pockets of fire, it’s still an active scene,” he said. “Investigation is still ongoing.”

In a news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said preliminary reports suggest that plumbing or gas work was being done in a building on Second Avenue before the explosion took place.

The buildings near the corner of Second Avenue and 7th Street contain both residences and businesses, including a sushi restaurant and a popular late-night Belgian fry shop called Pommes Frites.

Ben Mackinnon, 28, heard an explosion while sitting in a cafe across the street from the buildings. He then reportedly saw several men covered in blood emerge from the sushi restaurant, and said one of them fell onto the sidewalk.

“The explosion was big enough that the door of the cafe blew open,” Mackinnon told Reuters.

Other eyewitnesses corroborated his account, with nearby bakery-owner Moishe Perl saying he saw the lower floors of a building starting to crumble after hearing the explosion.

Consolidated Edison is shutting down the gas in the impacted area and has sent a team to investigate the cause of the explosion, according to a Con Ed spokesman. The company’s president said at the news conference that Con Ed workers who had visited the building earlier in the afternoon to inspect work being done by a private company found that work unacceptable and recommended not introducing gas. The explosion happened about an hour later.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management sent out an alert telling people in the area to close their windows and stay away from the smoke. The smell of smoke spread at least as far as midtown Manhattan, a couple miles away.

A spokesperson for the Red Cross said a temporary shelter for displaced residents of the 49 units in the buildings has been set up at an elementary school in the area.

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

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