Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace


Monday, July 27, 2015

Miracle motorbike that goes 500km… on a liter of water! (VIDEO)

RT.com, 25 Jul, 2015

A Brazilian man, Ricardo Azevedo from Sao Paulo, has shown off his wonder bike to the world. The magic machine can travel up to 500 kilometers on a liter of water.

The so-called “T Power H20” vehicle is powered by water and an external car battery to produce electricity and split the hydrogen from the water molecules.

As a result, combustion is created giving the motorbike the impetus to move.

READ MORE: World has 10 years to combat climate change, prevent health catastrophe – scientists  

In the video, Azevedo first drinks from the bottle, proving that it’s indeed water and not some kind of other fuel. Then he fills the canister and rides off. 

Azevedo also demonstrates how the bike works. The inventor shows that even polluted waters from the Tiete River can be used to fuel the vehicle.

READ MORE: Bioengineers invent engine powered by water vapor, artificial muscles 

The Brazilian is promoting his creation as an environment-friendly machine. 

“The advantage of this motorcycle, which works with the hydrogen that comes from the water, is that the result that comes out of the exhaust is water vapor. This is different from gasoline, which [produces] carbon monoxide," he told RT.

Related Article:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Guizhou radio telescope may pick up signs of alien life

Want China Times, Chuang Shu-chung and Staff Reporter 2015-07-23

The radio telescope under construction in Guizhou, July 16, 2014. (Photo/Xinhua)

A 500-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST) is currently being constructed on top of a Karst landscape in Pingtang county in the Qiannan Buyei and Miao autonomous prefecture of Guizhou. Once complete, the radio telescope will be the most likely avenue for China to make first contact with aliens, according to our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

On July 22 the installation of the first set of 1000 panels began. The telescope will incorporate 4,450 panels on completion, forming a 250,000-square-meter reflecting surface, roughly the size of 30 football pitches, which will give it the largest diameter of any telescope of its kind in the world at 500 meters.

The cable net is capable of moving along with celestial bodies, according to Zheng Yuanpeng, the technician responsible for the panels. The net automatically adjusts the 4,450 reflective panels which will lie on top of it, allowing the telescope to observe every corner of the sky. The telescope will reportedly be ten-times more agile than the Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope in the Ahrgebirge in Germany.

The head of production for China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), Yang Dingjiang, stated that possible contact with aliens is only one of the aims of the radio telescope. Yang said that the telescope was also aimed at exploring the origins of the universe, the structure of the interstellar medium, dim pulsars and dim radio sources, as well as searching for signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Related Articles:

Hawking launches biggest-ever search for alien life (UK/Russia)

"... Question Three: Is there life on other planets?

Are you kidding? There's life everywhere. Everywhere! Right now, your scientists are searching for microbial life on all the planets and their moons in your solar system, and they will eventually find it. They expect to find it. They will eventually understand that the seeds of life are everywhere.

How much life might there be? How long has it been "out there"? When science starts to realize the scope of how long life has been in your galaxy, they will begin to see something counterintuitive to evolution - their own Human history. How old is your Universe? Ask your scientists and they will say about 13 billion years. That's OK. Let's use their numbers. How old is your own planet - 4 or 5 billion, perhaps? Correct. But how old is humanity? Why weren't you here with the dinosaurs? You think the earth wasn't ready? Do you think that perhaps that which controls evolution was a little too stupid to make a Human sooner, but the process could make a dinosaur? Have you ever thought about these things?

If you put the earth's entire history into a 24-hour clock, life itself only started in the last hour and humanity, all of civilization, happened the last few seconds. Isn't that odd to you? Therefore, in a Universe that may be 13 billion years old, you arrived in the last few seconds. Did you ever think maybe you're the newest ones on the block? Well, you'd be right.

If the Universe is really that old, do you think perhaps there are civilizations in your galaxy that might be a billion or more years older than you? If that's the case, do you think perhaps they have gone through anything you're going through? Do you think any of them might have had your DNA attributes? Perhaps they also went through what you are going through spiritually? Perhaps they even went into a quantum ascension status? The answer is dozens of them.

You already know them and you've listed them in your publications. The ones who directly seeded you are called Pleiadians. The ones who seeded them might be Octurian and the ones who seeded them may be even Orion. They're everywhere, and they're all here as well. They're looking at you, for you are the ones who are next, and you are passing this marker of the shift

Oh, dear ones, it's going to be a long time before you really know any of these things to be your reality. The first step is peace on Earth. The next is a new kind of Human evolution that is going to increase your DNA efficiency to 100% and you're going to live a long time. Every time I say that, there are Humans in their intellectual mind saying, "Well, there is a geometric birth rate going on. We're not going to make it. It's going to over-crowd and we are going to run out of food. So what you're saying, Kryon, can't be a good thing. We're all going to be suffering and killing each other for food."

Let me address this, for if that is your thought, Human, you are assuming Humans are stupid and haven't figured out what's going on and why there's so much birth. You assume they can't control it because they haven't figured it out? I want to tell you, you're going to see something you didn't expect. You're going to see a decline in birth rate because Humans are smart and they're getting smarter. They're going to see that quality of life is linked to the number of children they have, and they're going to figure out the solution. It won't be how many children their church says they should have. They are going to do it intuitively. You're going to see it sooner than not.

You are going to see wisdom on the planet in many areas that no sociologist would ever have predicted. You will surprise them all, and it's going to happen without a government program. It's going to happen because you decide you want it. It's going to happen collectively, and you may even see it soon. Look for negative birth rates in first-world countries. Where Humans are able to see a larger picture and have freedom of information, the situation will not be what you have predicted.

Is there life on other planets? The scientists are saying, "It's going to be a long time before we get to the stars, you know? We have to get in this little metal can and put air in it, and then travel in it for years and years before we ever get to the next star." Meanwhile, a Pleiadian can do it in the blink of an eye! What do you think is going on there? Do you even believe me?

Not long ago, if you wanted to communicate to someone far away, you sent a letter. It was carried by a horse. It took a month to get a response. Now you communicate instantly!  Why is this so unbelievable to you about travel?

I will tell you, as long as you stay in 3D, you'll still be getting in little metal cans and air suits and going to planets. As soon as you begin the quantum age, however, you will simply wish yourself there, because you will be entangled with everything and can go with intent. If you don't believe this now, you will later, for what I give you is true. It may be lifetimes and lifetimes from now, but the group that is before me is the group that is going to come back over and over and over. The difference is that you're done coming back in an old energy. This is a new energy. ..”

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Germany already feeling the love from China's Belt and Road

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-07-19

The Sino-Europe rail linking Chongqing and Duisburg, March 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

The eight international rail freight routes linking China and Europe together conducted 308 trips last year, up 285% from a year earlier, as the "New Silk Road" runs its course, reports the Shanghai-based China Business News.

China's promotion of the international rail freight routes is chiefly aimed at developing its central and northwest economy. The only way to effectively boost these regions is by integrating Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, said Zhou Yun, research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

Hans-Jorg Schimdt-Trenz, CEO of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, welcomed China's construction of bridges, roads and rails linking its neighbors, saying it will contribute to the economic development of neighboring countries, benefiting both China and the world.

The Sino-Europe rail began from the route linking with China's Chongqing and Duisburg of Germany in 2011, and now four freight trains make the trip every week.

The Chongqing-Europe rail is helping Chinese enterprises export their products to the European market. In fact, North Rhine-Westphalia, where Duisburg is based, is the most concentrated area for Chinese investors, having received investments from more than 800 Chinese enterprises.

The international rail freight is faster than by sea and costs lower than air transport, a double bonus for inland countries and areas. When the Sino-Europe rails began operations, transport volume was low and less frequent. Now most trains are usually full when they start out from China, and empty when they return.

Schimdt-Trenz attributed the imbalanced freight to China's 'world factory' status, which makes it a largely export-oriented country. China should further expand imports and adjust its economic structure to achieve a balance, said the report.

Although rail freight is becoming more popular now, it still cannot replace cargo by sea, said experts.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dutch students win electric car competition in the UK

24 Oranges, Orangemaster, 16 July 2015 

Engineering students from the Delft University of Technology have done it again, winning this year’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Formula Student competition for the second time in a row.

The Formula Student competition requires engineering students to design, build and race a single seat racing car in just one year. Cars are assess on their acceleration, endurance, fuel economy, design and business cases.

Thousands of the world’s best young engineers were at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England on 8-12 July. There were 135 teams in total, with 49 from the UK and teams from as far as Australia, Turkey and Ukraine. Team Delft claimed the prize at Silverstone this weekend with a total score of 909.3 out of a total score of 1,000 points. Germany’s UAS Zwickau claimed second place with 792.5 points, University of Stuttgart came third with 750.8 and the University of Bath was the top UK team, coming fourth with 748.4 points.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of the unrelated Forze IV hydrogen-based formula race car by Richard van het Hof)

Related Articles:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Toyota recalls 625,000 Prius cars, other hybrids globally

Yahoo – AFP, 15 July 2015

The Prius was one of the first hybrid cars to go mainstream and was quickly
adopted as a symbol of green technology (AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Tokyo (AFP) - Toyota on Wednesday recalled 625,000 hybrid vehicles globally, mostly the Prius model favoured by the eco-conscious including Hollywood celebrities, over a defect that can bring the car to an unexpected stop.

The Japanese automaker said the problem was linked to software that controls a power converter, similar to an issue last year that led to the recall of 1.9 million Prius cars -- Toyota's biggest ever for its signature petrol-electric vehicle.

Toyota, the world's biggest car maker, added that no accidents or injuries had been reported.

"In limited instances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power, bringing the vehicle to stop," it said.

The latest call back affected the Prius V, which is also sold as the Prius Alpha and Prius+, as well as some Auris hybrid vehicles.

More than half the recalled vehicles were sold in Japan with most of the others in North America and Europe between May 2010 and November 2014.

The Prius was one of the first hybrid cars to go mainstream and was quickly adopted as a symbol of green technology, with the likes of actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz snapped behind the wheel.

Toyota has sold more than seven million hybrid cars globally since the debut of its Prius hybrid in 1997 in the first mass production of green cars.

It has roughly 30 hybrid models sold in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Garuda Indonesia to Spend $1.85b for 24 New Planes

Jakarta Globe, Farid Firdaus,  Jul 13, 2015

Garuda Indonesia is set for massive expansion after a series of plane purchases.
(Antara Photo/Yusran Uccang)

Jakarta. Garuda Indonesia, the national flag air carrier, will spend as much as $1.85 billion to acquire 24 new planes over the next three years.

The new fleet includes 11 Airbus A330s, nine ATR turboprop planes, three Boeing 777-300s and one 737-Max. The state-controlled carrier has started the purchase this year, ordering up to 15 new aircraft.

I Gusti Ngurah Akshara, director of finance and risk management at Garuda Indonesia, said that the aircraft began arriving in Indonesia starting from June this year and keep coming through December 2017.

About 80 percent of the order will be financed through an operating lease, while the remaining 20 percent will be through a financial lease, according to the director. Still, he pointed out that the scheme may change in the next three year “depending on market condition and internal management.”

The new order follows Garuda Indonesia’s $20 billion deal with Airbus in Paris last month in which the airline is slated to acquire 30 787-900 Dreamliners aircraft and 30 737-Max jets.

“The initial agreement in Paris is estimated to supply aircraft until 2025. We’re still evaluating the next process,” the finance director said.

Garuda Indonesia is planning to add nine more units of wide-body aircraft to its fleet — which currently has 22 wide-body aircrafts — in a target to operate as much as 53 units of wide-body aircrafts by 2025, according to the company’s president director Arif Wibowo.

Last month Arif was quoted by local media saying the State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno asked the airline to grow its fleet to 450 aircraft in the next five years from its current fleet of 136 aircraft as of the first quarter, according to Reuters.

Improving financial performance

After reversing last year’s losses to a $11.4 million net profit in the first three months of the year, Akshara said that the airline’s first-half performance is slated to improve on the back of Garuda Indonesia’s $62 million efficiency efforts.

“The growth of revenue and net profit for the second quarter of the year is better than the quarter before. Up until June, we’ve lowered costs by more than 14 percent,” he said, adding that Garuda Indonesia aims to trim up to $212 million of cost by year-end.

Akshara also said that Garuda Indonesia’s improving financial performance is backed by the positive performance of subsidiaries, such as the aircraft maintenance and facility unit Garuda Maintenance Facility and low-cost unit Citilink.

Garuda Indonesia is aiming for $4.4 billion in revenue this year, up 12 percent from last year’s revenue of $3.93 billion.

Friday, July 3, 2015

North Korea opens new showcase airport terminal

Yahoo – AFP, Park Chan-Kyong, 2 July 2015

The opening ceremony for the new airport terminal for Pyongyang International
Airport takes place in the North Korean capital on July 1, 2015 (AFP Photo)

North Korea has opened a sleek new airport terminal, hailing it as a showcase of leader Kim Jong-Un's achievement after its construction had to be stopped halfway and redone at his whim.

Terminal 2 of Pyongyang International Airport, which is reserved for international civilian flights, opened for service on Wednesday, state media said.

"The terminal was built in a modern way from the gatepost to the airport to departure lounge, entry formalities hall, service halls, etc.," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

A general view of the new terminal at 
Pyongyang International Airport, seen 
on July 1, 2015 (AFP Photo)
Late last year, the country's supreme leader ordered workers to demolish and rebuild portions of the new terminal, after they failed to execute the leadership's architectural vision for the building.

Pictures released by KCNA showed a glass-fronted, marble-floored terminal, a far cry from the old, drab socialist-style building.

One of the most outstanding differences was the presence of elevated passenger boarding walkways. In the past, travellers had to walk or drive across the tarmac to board their aircraft.

The terminal also appears to be fitted out with a coffee bar and a duty-free store stocked with chocolate Mars bars, Werther's Original candy and bottled beers.

During the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Pak Pong-Ju credited Kim's "ardent patriotic will and unremitting efforts" for putting the country's aviation sector on "a world level", according to KCNA.

Aviation enthusiast

Kim took power in 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il, who was afraid of flying and travelled everywhere by train.

But his son, who studied in Switzerland as a teenager, has shown a keen interest in aviation, flying a North Korean-made light plane himself in March, according to a video released by the North.

He has issued directives to improve the nation's inflight services and redesign Koryo Air's flight attendant uniforms, after the country's sole civilian airline came in for international mockery.

In July 2012, Kim ordered construction of the new terminal because the existing facility was considered too small and shabby compared with foreign rivals.

But in November last year, Kim stopped work on the project after inspecting the site.

The new terminal had to be partly demolished on Kim's order after he said the layout looked like "a copy" of a foreign facility.

He reproached workers for failing to carry out an earlier order from July that the project should reflect North Korea's "Juche" (self-reliance) philosophy and national identify.

Kim said there were "deviations in the interior layout including halls for check-in and departure", KCNA reported last November. Parts of these facilities had to be rebuilt as a result.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-Ju, inspects
 the new terminal at Pyongyang International Airport, on June 25, 2015 (AFP Photo)

North Korean architecture is characterised by its monumental but sombre, socialist style that incorporates propaganda symbols of the communist state.

With the new terminal in place, the airport's other existing terminal is expected to be used only for the country's few domestic routes.

But the facility risks being virtually empty as Pyongyang receives few foreign flights, which mostly originate from Beijing and Moscow.

The new terminal is six times larger than the old one, but it remains unclear how North Korea will be able to generate the passenger numbers that would justify its construction.

However, the young leader has a penchant for showpiece construction projects.

Under his direction, a ski resort, water park and equestrian course have been built, but they are beyond the reach of the average citizen in the impoverished Stalinist state.

Since taking power, Kim has mobilised twice as many soldiers as his father, deploying some 200,000 soldiers -- one out of every five active servicemen -- to construction sites nationwide, including the airport terminal, resorts, public buildings and apartments.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

141 Bodies Retrieved from Hercules C-130 Crash Site

Medan. Search and rescue workers have retrieved 141 bodies from the wreckage of a military plane that crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, on Tuesday, with many more feared dead and still trapped beneath the debris.

Forensics experts have identified 23 military personnel out of the 141 bodies pulled from the site, where a Hercules C-130 military transport aircraft crashed into a residential area shortly after takeoff on Tuesday.

“The bodies have been evacuated to Adam Malik General Hospital in Medan,” Sr. Comr. Setyo, the forensics chief at the North Sumatra Police, said on Wednesday.

“There were identity cards and names on the victims’ uniforms so they were recognized quickly,” he said of the 23 bodies identified so far, adding that four of the bodies had already been handed over to their families.

The Indonesian Military (TNI) has launched an investigation to determine whether the aircraft had been used for civilian transport purposes, a rent-seeking practice common in areas underserved by commercial air links.

An initial probe suggests the plane’s operators had indeed been ferrying passengers for money.

“We can confirm that soldiers’ family members were on board; their wives and children, but if there were other people who paid for the trip we will seek responsibility from the unit’s commander,” a military official said.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transportation plane carrying 12 crew members and 109 passengers, crashed two minutes after taking off from the Soewondo air base on Tuesday afternoon, killing everyone on board as well as people on the ground.

Beijing to earmark RMB500bn for Belt and Road aviation projects

Want Chine Times, Staff Reporter 2015-06-30

Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport in Gansu province. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will earmark up to 500 billion yuan (US$80 billion) for 193 large and medium aviation development projects by the end of this year to improve air connectivity with economies covered by the government's "Belt and Road" initiatives, Guangzhou's 21st Century Business Herald reports, citing CAAC director Li Jiaxiang.

At the opening session of the China Civil Aviation Development Forum held June 24-25 in Beijing, Li said that in addition to enhancing the development of international aviation hubs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the government will move to build regional air hubs in Xi'an, Urumqi, Nanning, Kunming and Xiamen in line with the Belt and Road plans. There are now a total of 15 new airports under construction or set to be built in provinces or regions along the New Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, in addition to another 28 airports under expansion, Li added.

The 500 billion yuan civil aviation investment for 2015 represents a drastic increase over the corresponding figures of 68.77 billion yuan (US$11.06 billion) in 2011, 146.46 billion yuan (US$23.57 billion) in 2012, and 145.22 billion yuan (US$23.37 billion) in 2013, due mainly to a total budget of 200 billion yuan (US$32.19 billion) to support 51 strategic investment projects directly serving the Belt and Road initiatives, including airports, airlines and air traffic control facilities, according to CAAC statistics.

Although Li didn't reveal details of how the huge investment fund will be used, the paper said that construction of new airports and the expansion of existing airports will account for the lion's share of the investment fund. This year, the National Development and Reform Commission has approved a budget of 80 billion yuan (US$12.87 billion) for a new airport in Beijing, Beijing Daxing International Airport, and another 69.2 billion yuan (US$9.52 billion) for a new international airport in Chengdu in Sichuan province. These two projects will account for 30% of the 500 billion yuan budget.

In addition, airports in Guangzhou, Chongqing, Haikou, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Changsha and Qingdao are undertaking expansion projects each costing billions of yuan, mainly for the construction of new runways or new terminal buildings, the paper said.

Construction of new minor regional airports is also underway, including in Shache and Ruoqiang in Xinjiang autonomous region, Wudalianchi in Helongjiang province, Ulanqab in Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Longnan in Gansu province, Renhuai in Guizhou province, Lancang in Yunnan province, and Guoluo in Qinghai province, estimated to cost over 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) in total.

Besides fueling investment in aviation infrastructure projects, the Belt and Road initiatives will also expand business opportunities for the aviation industry, according to Li. He said that China now boasts the world's second-largest air transportation system, as it has 52 airlines, 202 airports and 533 international flight routes linking 48 cities in China, laying a solid foundation for the country's aviation industry to further internationalize.

CAAC statistics indicated that China's international airline firms launched 131 new international routes in 2014 and plan to add 83 more this summer and autumn. On another front, countries along the Belt and Road initiatives will open 24 new flight routes to China this year, with four countries to operate flights to China for the first time ever.

Europe Lifts Ban on Four Indonesian Airlines

Jakarta Globe, Laila Ramdhini, Jun 30, 2015

Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is among four Indonesian airlines to pass an
audit allowing them to provide flights into the Eropean Union. (Antara Photo/
Dewi Fajriani)

Jakarta. Four Indonesian airlines have passed the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program administered by the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, which now allows the companies’ aircrafts to enter European Union territory, a Transportation Ministry official announced on Monday.

“Garuda [Indonesia], Indonesia AirAsia, Premi Air and Airfast passed the audit after we sent the corrective action plan to Montreal [Canada],” said Muzaffar Ismail, director of airworthiness and flight operations at the Transportation Ministry.

Indonesian commercial aircrafts have been banned from entering the European Union territory since 2014 after failing to comply with a previous audit conducted by ICAO. The EU also based its ban on the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assessment, which placed the archipelago in Category II. The rating prohibits carriers from transporting passengers to and from the United states.

“The European Union was concerned about whether [Indonesia] could pass the ICAO’s audit. In fact, we could, with four airlines,” he said, adding that Indonesia complied with 81.5 percent of the requirements needed to fulfill the aviation agency’s corrective action plan.

The ministry will appeal for the lift of a similar ban on Citilink Indonesia, Lion Air and Indonesia Air Asia X at a European Aviation Safety Agency event in November.

“We are confident making this request to the European Union. Even though not every Indonesian airline offers flights to Europe, but the right to land in Europe will have a great impact on Indonesia’s image to the international public,” he added.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kualanamu International Airport Gets Four-Star Rating From Skytrax

Jakarta Globe, Eko Adityo, Jun 21, 2015

Kualanamu International Airport at Kuala Namu, Deli Serdang, North Sumatra,
opened in March. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta. Kualanamu International Airport at Kuala Namu, in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, has been rated four stars by Skytrax World Airport Star Rating, a global quality benchmarking assessor that evaluates standards of service quality for airports worldwide.

The rating from Skytrax puts Kualanamu airport on the same level as other more well-known four-star aviation facilities, including the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands and Heathrow Airport in England, said president director of state airport operator Angkasa Pura II, Budi Karya Sumadi.

Skytrax’s assessment include facilities at terminals, comfort at terminals, transit services, shopping and food areas, immigration services, security checks, services for departure and arrival, as well as supporting land transportation.

Kualanamu, inaugurated on March 27, is now the most modern airport in Indonesia, beating the busiest airport in the country, Soekarno-Hatta in Cengkareng, Banten. One of its most competitive features is the integrated baggage handling screening system, which gives the highest security level for baggage screening.

Kualanamu  is also the only airport in Indonesia  integrated with train networks to ease access for travelers.

Investor Daily

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Uber Is ‘Stealing Money’ Through Unregulated Operations, Basuki Says

Uber is not welcome in Jakarta unless it sets up a proper office in the country and
 abides by prevailing public transportation regulations, the governor say. (Reuters
Photo/Charles Platiau)

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said he would have a meeting with representatives from California-based ride-sharing app Uber only if the company promised to set up an office in the country.

“If they had wanted to meet me [to seek permission] from the beginning, then I would have done it. But now, if they wish to have a meeting with me, they must establish a company [here],” Basuki said at City Hall on Friday.

He added that representatives from the parent company, Uber Technologies, had spoken to him in person inquiring why they were banned from operating in the city.

Uber’s Jakarta operations currently run from a rented office space at the Pacific Place mall in the Sudirman Central Business District, South Jakarta.

Basuki claimed that Uber reaped profits of up to 20 percent from its operations in the city but did not pay any tax.

“They are stealing money in my area,” he said.

Shortly after its launch in Jakarta last August, Basuki branded Uber “illegal.”

Last week, the Jakarta Police arrested five drivers using the Uber app after receiving reports from the city’s transportation agency and the Organization of Land Transport Operators, or Organda.

The police said the five drivers would only be questioned as witnesses not as suspects.

The arrests mark the latest in a series of legal and regulatory speedbumps for Uber Technologies, which is already facing multiple lawsuits around the globe for bypassing industry regulations.

Friday, June 26, 2015

More stops planned for China to Spain railway

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-06-25

The first Spain-China freight train arriving in Yiwu, Zhejiang, Feb. 22
 (File photo/Xinhua)

The longest freight train in the world, linking Yiwu in eastern China's Zhejiang province to Madrid, will stop in Warsaw, Berlin, Duisburg and Paris on a journey of over 13,000 kilometers set to begin June 28, reports Shanghai's China Business News.

The first freight train to link China directly with Spain passed through the western Chinese region of Xinjiang and on to Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France on its 21-day maiden journey in late 2014.

Since then, four trains have made the journey from China to Spain and two have traveled in the opposite direction, transporting 304 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) shipping containers.

There are direct freight trains linking cities in Europe with Chongqing and Chengdu in southwest China, Zhengzhou and Wuhan in central China, and Hefei and Suzhou in eastern China.

Some 76 freight trains traveled between China and Europe in 2013, and the number jumped to 227 in 2014, said the report.

Lin Beizhan, secretary-general of the International Land-Bridge Transportation Board, said that if the Yiwu-Madrid freight train were to be rerouted through Manzhouli in northeast China, Russia and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, the transportation cost might be cheaper.

He made the statement in an international forum on the Silk Road Economic Belt in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, from June 18-19.

Feng Xubin, chairman of the freight train operator Tianmeng Investment Group, said if Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus can simplify their customs clearance procedures, the transportation time could be shorter and saving some cost.

Wu Jingyu, director of the Coordination Center-Landbridge Branch of China Communications and Transportation Association, said that in terms of transportation expense, the China Railway Group charges US$0.60 per kilometer for each shipping container, while Russian Railways charges US$0.30 and each European country has different charges.

Wu suggested that the current Yiwu-Madrid train could consider rerouting though Manzhouli and connecting to the Trans-Siberian railway to save costs.

If the cost of freight shipping could be reduced to US$0.50 per kilometer for each container and the journey time shortened to 10-12 days, the silk railway would be competitive with the cost of marine shipping, Wu added.

Some countries, including Kazakhstan and Poland, would like to promote more cooperation with China through the freight train.

The Yiwu-Madrid train is the longest rail route in the world, longer than Russia's famous Trans-Siberian railway linking Moscow with Vladivostok, an APF report said.

The journey time is more than 10 days shorter than if the goods are shipped by sea, according to Spain's Public Works Ministry as saying. China is the European Union's biggest source of imports, according to the AFP report.

Roughly 80% of global trade is carried by ship, however, as freight train services face several technical and bureaucratic hurdles.

EU takes Philippine airlines off safety blacklist

Philippine planes are to be allowed back into Europe, the European Union announced on Thursday. The EU transport commissioner said that Philippine airlines will be removed from its safety blacklist.

Deutsche Welle, 25 June 2015

"After 5 years of hard work we are finally able to clear the airlines certified in the Philippines from the European Air Safety List," EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a statement.

"The Philippines is an important country with a sizeable and rapidly growing aviation sector," she added. "Today's result can serve as an example for other countries which have difficulty to match their safety oversight capabilities with the growth of their industry."

Philippine airlines were blacklisted by the EU in 2010 after the United Nations and US aviation authorities found "serious safety deficiencies."

The EU had already lifted the safety ban on flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) in July 2013, and last year also released Cebu Pacific, the country's largest airline.

"This is truly breaking news since it is the first time that the entire aviation sector of one country is removed from the European Air Safety List," said Lubomir Frebort, the EU charge d'affaires in the Philippines.

While the seven carriers mostly serve routes inside Asia, Eric Apolonio, a spokesman for the Philippine civil aviation authority said the EU decision would still benefit them, since it would give them the option of flying to Europe.

Previously, European insurance companies would not cover people who flew on airlines on the EU Air Safety List.

"European tourists will be encouraged to use low-cost carriers in the Philippines now," boosting the number of visitors who will want to fly around the archipelago, Apolonio told news agency AFP.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Express rail link to boost China-Russia e-commerce

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-06-24

Vladimir Putin speaks at the St Petersburg International
 Economic Forum, June, 19. (Photo/China News)

Russia is going to launch a China-Russia express rail line for postal services to shorten the package delivery time between the two countries, reports China's state newswire Xinhua.

This new project was announced by the deputy director-general of Russian Post, Aleksey Skatin, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Skatin said China and Russia are major partners in e-commerce and that a faster rail link connecting the two countries would be desirable. Russian Post said Russians last year made 80 million online purchases, 80% of which were from China.

Dmitry Strashnov, CEO of Russian Post, suggested the creation of an online mechanism for people to report the contents of their packages instead of physically taking them to the post office, which will reduce delivery time to just 14 days. If this can happen, Strashnov said cross-border postal services will increase tenfold.

Russia has great potential for e-commerce as 70% of the public use the internet but the internet only accounts for 2%-3% of retail sales.

Some local specialists said sales in Russia will grow sharply as Chinese businesses make everything very cheap, enabling more people in the country, especially those in rural areas, to buy them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Europe launches satellite to boost color vision of Earth

Europe's space program has launched one of its new generation of satellites aimed at giving scientists a better view of Earth. Sentinel-2A is equipped with new equipment that will allow it to pick out more colors.

Deutsche Welle, 23 June 2015

The European Space Agency confirmed early on Tuesday that Sentinel-2A, the latest in its array of satellite aimed at monitoring environmental change, was safely in orbit.

The announcement came soon after the agency confirmed the satellite had successfully deployed its solar panels.

From an orbital spot 488 miles (786 kilometers) above Earth, the satellite will collect data to document environmental changes and help shape reaction to natural disasters.

The satellite was lifted into position by an unmanned Vega rocket that blasted off late on Monday from the Guiana Space Center at Kourou, French Guinana.

Sentinel-2A adds a high resolution capability to the EU's Copernicus monitoring system. It is the latest part of the 4.3-billion-euro ($4.85-billion) Sentinel program to upgrade Copernicus and will operate in tandem with another satellite, to be launched in 2016.

Sentinel-2A was developed with the
 intention of revisiting areas of interest
more frequently than before
It will provide high-resolution imaging of vegetation, soil and freshwater to a resolution of 10 meters (32.5 feet), looping the world every 100 minutes. Equipped with the capability to scrutinize vegetation, Sentinal-2A could assist in improving food security and forest monitoring.

"By frequently revisiting areas, it will allow a new generation of operational products, from land cover and change detection maps, disaster maps and leaf area index to chlorophyll content and other bio-geophysical variables," said Volker Liebig, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programmes.

The latest satellite's predecessor, Sentinel-1A, was launched in April 2014 to scan the Earth's surface with cloud-penetrating radar.

As one of the EU's flagship space initiatives, Copernicus monitors the world's land surfaces, oceans and atmosphere for evidence of environmental change and damage.

The European Remote Sensing Satellite, launched in 1995, was the first spacecraft to contribute to Copernicus. Initially known as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, the initiative was renamed in 2013 after the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who determined that the Earth orbited the Sun.

rc/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Accidents involving drones on the rise

DutchNews.nl, June 23, 2015

A burning drone on a country road
Transport ministry inspectors received 27 reports of accidents involving small unmanned aircraft, or drones, last year, according to a new report

In 2013 there were 15 accidents and in 2012 just eight, the ministry says. Most of the incidents were reported by manned aircraft and professional drone users. 

The true figure is likely to be far higher because not all incidents are reported, the NRC points out. 

In total, 11 incidents last year involved a crash landing close to people or buildings 


New rules governing the use of drones come into effect later this year. A mini drone will not be allowed to fly higher than 50 metres or 100 metres from the controller. 

Drones will also have to keep a distance of 50 metres from people, buildings and other unmanned aircraft. Nor can drones be flown within five kilometres of airports.