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In our news wrap Thursday, investigators announced they found the second black box recorder of the Germanwings flight that crashed into the French Alps. German prosecutors announced that the co-pilot accused of the crash apparently researched suicide methods and cockpit door security. Also, Islamist militants staged deadly attacks in Egypt, killing at least 15 soldiers, as well as three civilians.
In other news this day, investigators in the Germanwings air disaster announced they have found the second black box. The flight data recorder was discovered more than a week after the plane smashed into the French Alps.
The prosecutor overseeing the recovery operation spoke in Marseille.
BRICE ROBIN, Marseille Prosecutor (through interpreter):
This box is the same color as the mountain rocks. It was on the left side of a gully which had been explored several times before, but it was totally buried. But, when digging, an officer found it. Apparently, it was exposed to flames, because it is completely blackened.
Its general state let us reasonably hope that it will be possible to exploit it.
Meanwhile, German prosecutors said the co-pilot accused of crashing the plane apparently researched suicide methods and cockpit door security. They found evidence of the searches on a tablet computer at his apartment.
Islamist militants in Egypt staged deadly new attacks in the Northern Sinai today. Gunmen killed at least 15 soldiers at one checkpoint. Three civilians died in other attacks in the same area at about the same time. The attackers also seized two armored vehicles and may have taken soldiers hostage.
In Eastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber killed 16 people and wounded up to 60 at an anti-corruption protest. TV footage showed the moment the bomb went off in the midst of the marchers in Khost. Ambulances raced from the scene carrying dozens of injured bystanders.
At least 56 people are dead after a fishing trawler capsized off Russia's far east coast early this morning. The ship sank within 15 minutes in the Sea of Okhotsk. Investigators said it likely hit drifting ice. Fishing boats rescued 63 of the 132 people on board. The crew of one boat also had to be winched to safety when they veered too close to the rocky coastline.
Back in this country, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. He's accused of taking $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from a longtime friend in exchange for political favors. After a hearing in Newark, the veteran Democrat said he will show the charges are false.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), New Jersey: For nearly three years, the Justice Department has pursued allegations based on smears launched by political opponents trying to silence me. Now they have laid out their case. We will finally have an opportunity to respond on the record in court with the facts.
Menendez is staying in the Senate, but has stepped down as ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Fourteen state attorneys general asked Congress today to investigate the herbal supplements industry. They're also pushing for stronger regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. New York State has alleged that the testing of some supplements found none of the herbs listed on the labels.
Food prices around the world have reached their lowest point in almost five years. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported the news today. It's due in part to rising production and the falling cost of crude oil.
On Wall Street, the Iran nuclear deal sent oil down a dollar to $49 a barrel. And stocks made up a little ground. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 65 points to close at 17760. The Nasdaq rose six and the S&P 500 added seven.
A pioneering televangelist, the Reverend Robert H. Schuller, died early today in Artesia, California. For years in many households, his weekly program was Sunday morning appointment viewing.
REV. ROBERT H. SCHULLER:
If you're going to become everything you're meant to be, you better start dreaming bigger dreams than you have. You have to make your dreams big enough for God to fit in.
Radiating optimism and energy, Schuller became one of the country's best known religious figures in the second half of the 20th century. He was ordained in the Reformed Church in America, and began with a drive-in ministry in Southern California that reached members indoors and those outside in their cars.
In 1970, Schuller went national with his "Hour of Power" television program. By 1980, he had built his $20 million Crystal Cathedral, one of the first mega-churches.
We invite you to rejoice with us now.
Schuller's broadcast reached 20 million viewers in 180 different countries at their peak, offering an upbeat theology without fire or brimstone or politics. REV. ROBERT H. SCHULLER: Lord we thank you for 30 years of bringing hope into hurting hearts, for giving new inspiration to live.
But it didn't last. After the turn of the century, Schuller and his children feuded over control of the church, as attendance and donations fell. In 2010, Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy, and Schuller quit the church in 2012.
A year later, he was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer, and died today at a care facility in Southern California.
The Reverend Robert H. Schuller was 88 years old.
And, finally, new research shows Islam is rapidly gaining on Christianity in believers worldwide. The Pew Research Center reports that, if current trends hold, the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians by 2050, at just under three billion each. The survey cites differing birth rates and other factors.
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