Every few hours today an ambulance or a refrigerated lorry left the Alpine field which has become the ad hoc marshalling yard for the vast operation to reach the wreckage of flight 4U 9525. Inside each vehicle, carefully concealed under layers of polythene wrapping, were some of the remains of the 150 people who perished on board.


A senior military official, reportedly working on the extracted cockpit voice recordings from one of the black boxes of the Airbus plane that smashed into the Alps, has told the New York Times  that one of the pilots left the cockpit and was unable to return before the plane went down.

Mar 212015

* Today in 1800, Barnaba Chiaramonti was crowned Pope Pius VII. It was a time of upheaval in Italy; Napoleon’s soldiers had taken Pius VI prisoner, destroying or looting the Holy See’s papal tiaras in the process, and after the Pope’s death in exile in 1799, it took months of stalemate to elect a new one. When the cardinals finally did so, there was a problem. They had no papal tiara to crown him with.