October 13, 2014

A World War II aircraft unofficially known as a "Flying Coffin" has been found in Italy.

The heavy bomber Consolidated B-24 Liberator earned its nickname when crew members found it difficult to fly, thanks to its "stiff and heavy controls," Discovery News reports. Since Liberators had just one exit per plane, it was "almost impossible to reach the rear from the flight deck when wearing a parachute," hence the "Flying Coffin" designation.

The wreck was found in Selva del Lamone's forests outside of Farnese, Viterbo, in central Italy. Historian Mario Di Sorte told Discovery News that the plane was a B-24 "H" model, and the scientists were able to "fully reconstruct its last flight," from San Giovanni to the Canino airport. The plane was a member of an 18-bomber formation that dropped roughly 25 tons of bombs on the airport.

After the "Flying Coffin" was attacked by German fighters, only two members of its 10-man crew were able to parachute out of the plane. The plane exploded before it crashed, leaving bodies "scattered around the wreckage" in the forest. It will be displayed in the Selva del Lamone natural reserve later this year. Meghan DeMaria

12:49 p.m.

What seems like a subtle statement of support for Defense Secretary Mark Esper is actually a bit bigger deal for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

It's rare for McConnell to criticize or even offer much advice to President Trump, including when it comes to the many people Trump has fired throughout his term. But that changed on Thursday as Trump reportedly weighs firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with McConnell burying a compliment for the secretary alongside one for Attorney General William Barr.

In a tweet, McConnell declared Trump and Americans "are very well-served by the expert advice and principled leadership" of Barr and Esper. "I appreciate their dedicated work at this difficult time for our nation," he continued.

The message comes after Esper broke with Trump's threat to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, which would bring the military into cities to forcefully end protests. Still, Esper did reverse his decision to send troops out of Washington, D.C., Wednesday night after reportedly angering the White House. The American Conservative's Curt Mills reported that Esper may be fired "as soon as today," though Trump has often dragged out the removal of even Cabinet members he openly despised. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:54 a.m.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) knows a thing or two about protests, and today's are like nothing he's ever seen before.

Lewis, a civil rights leader and longtime congressmember, appeared on CBS This Morning on Thursday to discuss the killing of George Floyd in police custody and the protests incited by years of police brutality against black people. While the video of Floyd crying out "I can't breathe" "made me so sad" and "made me cry," Lewis told host Gayle King, this ongoing movement gives him "hope that we're on our way to greater change."

King then asked Lewis if today's protests "look and feel different to you," given that he was a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. "This feels and looks so different. It is so much more massive and all inclusive," Lewis said, noting that "people from all over the world [are] taking to the streets o the roadways, to stand up, to speak up, to speak out, to do what I call getting in trouble."

Lewis also gave an update on his health after undergoing treatment for stage IV pancreatic cancer. "My health is improving. I have a wonderful doctor and nurse, and everybody taking good care of me. I'm very hopeful and very optimistic," Lewis said. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:45 a.m.

Rudy Giuliani just made an appearance on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan, and to say it went off the rails would be an understatement.

President Trump's personal lawyer participated in what turned out to be a completely bonkers interview on the show on Thursday, which started somewhat normally only to get heated as Morgan grilled Giuliani on Trump tweeting that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Giuliani claimed Trump didn't quote a "nutty, horrible racist" on "purpose," but Morgan wasn't buying it, repeatedly calling Giuliani out and asking him why Trump is using "inflammatory language" on Twitter.

After many minutes going back and forth on this, the interview finally went fully out of control as Giuliani screamed over Morgan's news coverage and the two traded insults, with Giuliani blasting Morgan as a "liar" and a "failed journalist" after Morgan asked him, "What happened to you, Rudy?" Morgan proceeded to label Giuliani "deranged," "unhinged," and "completely barking mad."

As if the whole thing wasn't chaotic enough, they then spent the end of the interview litigating whether Giuliani dropped an F-bomb during the conversation; Giuliani claimed he didn't say live on the air that Morgan "f--ed up," but considering a bleep was added to the Twitter clip posted by Good Morning Britain, the network obviously wasn't convinced.

Watch just a small piece of the wild journey below, with more on YouTube. Brendan Morrow

9:30 a.m.

Drew Brees has issued an apology for comments he now says "missed the mark."

The New Orleans Saints quarterback faced criticism this week after saying, while discussing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America." His remarks immediately sparked backlash especially amid the ongoing George Floyd protests, with LeBron James questioning how Brees still doesn't "understand why [Colin Kaepernick] was kneeling on one knee," adding it has "nothing to do with the disrespect" of the flag.

Brees has now apologized on Instagram to "anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday."

"In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country," he said. "They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."

Brees wrote that he stands "with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality" and insisted he has "ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." He concluded by saying he recognizes he "should do less talking and more listening ... and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen."

New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis on CNN praised Brees' apology, calling it a "model for all of America." Brendan Morrow

9:30 a.m.

Around 1.88 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to numbers released Thursday by the Department of Labor.

The number, in line with economists' expectations, brings the total number of people who've filed new jobless claims to 42.6 million over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also continues a downward trend that could signify the worst of the coronavirus economic crash is over. At the unemployment boom's peak in late March, 6.9 million people filed claims.

Still, 21.5 million people filed continuing claims — unemployment claims filed for at least two weeks in a row — in a sign that many people aren't getting their jobs back even as parts of the economy reopen. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:03 a.m.

President Trump is now 7.8 percentage points behind Vice President Joe Biden in RealClearPolitics' polling average, and when you scratch deeper than the national head-to-head polling, his numbers have "turned from mixed to bleak," Axios reports. He and Biden are statistically tied in Texas, per a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday, and in Ohio, according to a new Fox News poll. Fox News' pollsters also have Trump losing badly in Wisconsin and modestly in Arizona, both states he needs to win.

Top Republicans say "Trump's handling of the nation's civil unrest, including his hasty photo op at St. John's Church after the violent clearing of Lafayette Park, make them much more worried about his chance of re-election than they were one week ago," Axios reported Thursday morning. And "yesterday, advisers admit, was inarguably brutal," with Defense Secretary Mark Esper dissenting from Trump's use of active-duty troops and Esper's predecessor, James Mattis, excoriating Trump as divisive, immature, and a violator of the Constitution who must be held to account.

Trump is sending a clear, consistent signal "that in the five months remaining between now and Election Day he will be singularly focused on his core supporters — and whatever energizes them most," Gabby Orr writes at Politico. "The base-only strategy is a gamble for Trump, whose campaign spent much of the past year trying to build up good will with suburban swing voters — knowing their disapproval alone could cost him re-election. But the base is also his safe space." And given his slumping poll numbers with independents, senior citizens, suburban woman, and even his core white evangelical base, it may be his best option. Peter Weber

8:04 a.m.

Meghan Markle has spoken out about the killing of George Floyd and other "senseless" acts of racism in an emotional message to graduating seniors.

The Duchess of Sussex this week remotely delivered a commencement speech to graduates of Los Angeles' Immaculate Heart High School, which she attended, and spoke on the "absolutely devastating" recent events amid the unrest over the death of Floyd in police custody. At the top, she noted that she was "really nervous" about saying the right thing.

"And I realized, the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing," Markle said. "Because George Floyd's life mattered, and Breonna Taylor's life mattered, and Philando Castile's life mattered, and Tamir Rice's life mattered."

After recalling advice from her high school teacher to "always remember to put other's needs above your own fears," Markle told graduates she's "so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present." She went on to reflect on her memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which were similarly "triggered by a senseless act of racism."

"That's something that you should have an understanding of, but an understanding of as a history lesson, not as your reality," she said. "So I am sorry that, in a way, we have not gotten the world to the place that you deserve it to be."

She added, however, that she remembers the way "people came together" at that time, which is also the case now. Markle concluded by calling on graduates to help "rebuild" our "broken" foundation, adding, "I know you know that black lives matter." Watch her full address below. Brendan Morrow

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