AP Top News at 2:52 a.m. EDT

Co-pilot deliberately slams plane in Alps; families ask why
PARIS (AP) - Passengers with moments to live screamed in terror and the pilot frantically pounded on the locked cockpit door as a 27-year-old German co-pilot deliberately and wordlessly smashed an Airbus carrying 150 people into an Alpine mountainside. The account Thursday of the final moments of Germanwings Flight 9525 prompted some airlines to immediately impose stricter cockpit rules - and raised haunting questions about the motive of the co-pilot, whose breathing never wavered as he destroyed the plane and the lives of those aboard.


Co-pilot was 'very happy' with Germanwings job
MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) - Andreas Lubitz never appeared anything but thrilled to have landed a pilot's job with Germanwings, according to those who helped him learn to fly as a teenager in this town in the forested hills of western Germany. On Thursday, French prosecutors said Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, "intentionally" crashed the jet into the side of a mountain Tuesday in the French Alps.


Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels
SANAA, Yemen (AP) - The turmoil in Yemen grew into a regional conflict Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and its allies bombing Shiite rebels allied with Iran, while Egyptian officials said a ground assault will follow the airstrikes. Iran denounced the Saudi-led air campaign, saying it "considers this action a dangerous step," and oil prices jumped in New York and London after the offensive.


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Arabs inch closer to old dream of joint Arab force
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) - Arab leaders meeting this weekend in this Egyptian Red Sea resort are moving closer than ever to creating a joint Arab military force, a sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or spreading Iranian power. Creation of such a force has been a longtime goal that has eluded Arab nations in the 65 years since they signed a rarely used joint defense pact. And there remains reluctance among some countries, particularly allies of Iran like Syria and Iraq - a reflection of the divisions in the region.


Critters found in Antarctic ice shows how tenacious life is
DECEPTION ISLAND, Antarctica (AP) - Deep below the ice, far from the playful penguins and other animals that bring tourists to Antarctica, is a cold and barren world that by all indications should be completely void of life. But recently, scientists researching melting ice watched a half-foot-long (15-centimeter) fish swim by. Not long after that, they saw shrimp-like creatures.


AP Exclusive: Iran may run centrifuges at fortified site
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press. The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway. In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.


Utility: Inspectors found faulty work before NYC blast
NEW YORK (AP) - An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. The blast on Thursday in the East Village caused the building's collapse, and largely destroyed another structure. It left four people in critical condition, more than a dozen others injured and one family searching for a loved one.


Senate pushes conservative budget toward approval
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans pushed a balanced-budget blueprint toward post-midnight Senate approval early Friday, laying down conservative markers for a likely veto struggle with President Barack Obama over their plans to end deficits, cut trillions in spending and repeal the health care law. Approval of the non-binding budget was a certainty, not long after a vote in the House on Wednesday that ratified a slightly different version on a party-line vote.


Lawyer: Woman talking to police, kidnapping wasn't hoax
VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) - The lawyer for a California woman whose disappearance is being investigated as a possible hoax says she has met with police and is cooperating with the probe. Attorney Doug Rappaport says his client Denis Huskins' kidnapping was not a staged as police have suggested.


Thai junta leader to fight forced labor in fish industry
BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand's junta leader has vowed to take legal action against companies using forced labor, after an Associated Press investigation revealed that fish caught by enslaved migrant workers was being exported from Thai ports to global markets. Speaking in an exclusive interview with the English-language Bangkok Post newspaper, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha acknowledged he had seen this week's AP article and said his government was stepping up efforts to combat the scourge and prosecute those responsible.