While 7 planes landed, air traffic controller napped on comfy cushions

WASHINGTON

Controller at airport made bed for nap

An air traffic controller who the Federal Aviation Administration says slept for five hours while seven planes landed at the McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tenn., on Feb. 19 made a bed out of couch cushions and took a blanket into the control tower so he could nap comfortably. The Washington Post said it was told by an official that another federal employee, alarmed by the silence, several times woke up the controller, who returned to his makeshift bed and resumed sleeping when the colleague departed. The incident came to light Wednesday in testimony by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt before a House transportation subcommittee. The FAA is moving to fire the controller.

MADISON, Wis.

Wis. governor's appointee resigns

The 27-year-old son of a lobbyist whose appointment to an $81,500 job in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's administration drew accusations of cronyism has resigned. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie confirmed Thursday that Brian Deschane resigned Wednesday. Walker demoted Deschane this week from his higher paying job back to the post he was originally given. That post pays $65,000 a year. Deschane's father, Jerry Deschane, is the Wisconsin Builders Association lobbyist. The group's political action arm donated $29,000 to Walker and his running mate during the campaign.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Extremists attack police, killing 6

Suicide attackers stormed a police compound with AK-47s, grenades and an explosives-rigged ambulance in southern Afghanistan Thursday in an escalation of fighting that coincides with sometimes violent demonstrations over the burning of a Koran in Florida. Six Afghan security troopers died in the attack in Kandahar province. Riots in the same province incited by the Koran burning killed 10 people on Saturday, part of a wave of protests. More protests are expected today after weekly prayer services.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Gbagbo vows not to surrender

An armed group trying to install Alassane Ouattara as Ivory Coast's internationally recognized president has surrounded a bunker the country's strongman refuses to leave, saying they will wait for him to come out. Entrenched incumbent Laurent Gbagbo remained defiant on Thursday, even after airstrikes hammered his military bases and his residence, where he is holed up with his wife inside a tunnel. Via a spokesman in Europe, Gbagbo stressed he would not leave the country he has ruled for the past 10 years.

Elsewhere

Hungary: The postal service issued a commemorative envelope and postmark honoring the centenary of the birth of the late Ronald Reagan, and Hungarian officials on Thursday hailed the former U.S. president for his efforts to help end the communist system.

Israel: An antitank missile fired from the Gaza Strip struck a school bus in southern Israel Thursday, wounding two people, one of them critically, and prompting fierce Israeli retaliation that killed five Palestinians.

France: Paris-based UNESCO awarded its World Press Freedom Prize to jailed journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi, who has been convicted of spreading propaganda against the ruling Islamic establishment and is serving a six-year sentence in Iran.

Times wires

While 7 planes landed, air traffic controller napped on comfy cushions 04/07/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 7, 2011 11:24pm]

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