More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

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

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mozambique Airlines passenger plane goes missing in Namibia

Deutsche Welle, 30 November 2013

A Mozambique Airlines flight with 34 people on board has been reported missing over northeast Namibia. Authorities have been searching a game park for signs of the aircraft.


The Mozambique Airlines (LAM) flight TM 479 was bound for the Angolan capital, Luanda, after setting off from Maputo in Mozambique.

The airline said in a statement that 28 passengers and six crew members were on board the plane when it lost contact with air traffic controllers on Friday afternoon.

Namibian Police Force Deputy Commissioner Willy Bampton told the Namibia Press Agency on Saturday that a search was oingoing in the Bwabwata National Park in the Kavango East region.

The thick jungle terrain and heavy rains were complicating search efforts, he said.

Namibian police were informed by Botswanan officials that smoke was seen and explosions heard near the countries's common border on Friday afternoon.

Like all airlines in Mozambique, LAM is banned from flying in European Union airspace as it does not comply with EU safety standards.

tj/jr (Reuters, dpa)
Related Article:


Rescuers battle to free Glasgow helicopter pub crash victims

Google – AFP, Andy Buchanan (AFP), 30 November 2013

Emergency services inspect the roof of a pub in central Glasgow, Scotland, shortly
 after midnight on November 30, 2013 where a police helicopter crashed earlier (AFP, 
Andy Buchanan)

Glasgow — Scottish emergency services battled Saturday to rescue people trapped in the wreckage of a Glasgow pub after a police helicopter crashed into the building, causing dozens of casualties including probable fatalities.

The chopper smashed through the roof of The Clutha pub, where more than 100 revellers had crowded in to see a band play on Friday night ahead of St. Andrew's Day, which celebrates Scotland's patron saint.

Police said 32 people had been taken to hospitals across Scotland's biggest city after the helicopter plunged into the riverside bar at 10:25 pm (2225 GMT).

Emergency services gather shortly after 
midnight on November 30, 2013 at the
 site where a police helicopter crashed 
into a pub in central Glasgow (AFP,
Andy Buchanan)
Emergency services worked through the night in a bid to recover people from the scene.

Witnesses said the helicopter, with two police officers and a civilian pilot on board, dropped like a stone, while people inside the pub heard a whoosh before the roof caved in and the air filled with dust and screams.

Firefighters said they had made "some contact" with an unknown number of people in the wreckage of the one-storey building, which was "very unstable".

"It's a case of working hard within the building to try and determine how many casualties are there," fire brigade officer Lewis Ramsay told reporters.

"We are determined that we are going to get the building stable and we will be in there to carry out those rescued."

Ramsay said the 125 firefighters at the scene had "rescued numerous casualties" who had "multiple types of injuries".

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond -- who just days earlier was celebrating the release of a legal blueprint for independence -- confirmed that a police helicopter had been involved in the "tragic accident".

"Given an incident of this scale we must all prepare ourselves for the likelihood of fatalities," he said.

He was to visit the command centre co-ordinating the emergency response later Saturday for an update on the situation.


Emergency services inspect the
roof of the Clutha pub in central
Glasgow, Scotland, shortly after
midnight on November 30, 2013
where a police helicopter crashed
earlier in the evening (AFP, Andy
Buchanan)
An AFP photographer at the scene said the helicopter appeared to have smashed through the top of the bar on the banks of the River Clyde, with a rotor blade sticking out of the roof.

The site had been cordoned off, with emergency service workers visible on the roof after dawn.

Police officer Rose Fitzgerald said it was too early to say why the Eurocopter EC135 T2 helicopter crashed.

"A full investigation is now underway however at this early stage it is too early to provide details on why the helicopter came down," she said.

"We are working hard to recover people still inside the building."

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has sent a team to the scene.

Witnesses told of confusion, terror and then bravery after the accident.

Grace MacLean, who was inside the pub at the time of the crash, told the BBC that the revellers were listening to a ska band at the time.

"We were all just having a nice time and then there was like a 'whoosh' noise -- there was no bang, there was no explosion," she said.

"And then there was some smoke, what seemed like smoke. The band were laughing and we were all joking that the band had made the roof come down.

"They carried on playing and then it started to come down more and someone started screaming and then the whole pub just filled with dust. You couldn't see anything, you couldn't breathe."

The band, Esperanza, later said on their Facebook page that they were all well.

Jim Murphy, a member of parliament and the opposition Labour Party's spokesman for international development, told the BBC he was driving through the area shortly after the incident.

Emergency services inspect the roof of the 
Clutha pub in central Glasgow, Scotland
 shortly after midnight on November 30, 2013
 where a police helicopter crashed (AFP, 
Andy Buchanan)
"I jumped out and tried to help. There were people with injuries. Bad gashes to the head. Some were unconscious. I don't know how many," he said.

He said he and other people formed a human chain to get survivors out of the pub.

"The helicopter was inside the pub. It's a mess. I could only get a yard or two inside. I helped carry people out."

Gordon Smart, who edits the Scottish edition of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper The Sun, said he saw the helicopter coming down.

"It was just such a surreal moment. It looked like it was dropping from a great height at a great speed," he told Sky News television.

"There was no fireball and I did not hear an explosion. It fell like a stone. The engine seemed to be spluttering."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "My thoughts are with everyone affected by the helicopter crash in Glasgow -- and the emergency services."


Wreckage of the Eurocopter EC135 lifted from the roof of
 the Clutha pub in Glasgow. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/
Getty Images


Monday, November 25, 2013

France's Renault, Peugeot seen to profit from Iran deal

Google – AFP, Romain Fonsegrives (AFP), 25 November 2013

Iran's state-owned car manufacturer Iran Khodro unveils a Peugeot 207i, a locally-built
 version of the French automobile giant's 207 model, in Tehran on February 20, 2010
(AFP/File, Atta Kenare)

Paris — French carmakers Peugeot and Renault look to be among the clearest beneficiaries of the interim deal that lifts some sanctions on Iran, with both hoping to leap back into the Middle East's biggest auto market.

One of the explicit concessions world powers made in the accord signed Sunday in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear programme was the promise to "suspend US sanctions on Iran's auto industry".

For Peugeot and Renault, which had to pull out of Iran in 2011 and 2012 respectively, those words are worth big money -- especially as both are struggling in a languishing European climate.

PSA Peugeot Citroen was the top car manufacturer in Iran before the sanctions, selling 458,000 vehicles in 2011 in what used to be its second-biggest market worldwide after France. 

A picture taken on December 18, 2012 in 
Pont-l'Abbe, western France, shows French
 carmaker Renault's former chief operating
 officer Carlos Tavares (AFP/File, Fred
Tanneau)
Its cars, most of them assembled by an Iranian partner firm and rebranded, are ubiquitous on Tehran roads.

Renault sold 103,000 vehicles there last year before leaving.

Iran itself counts car manufacturing as its second-biggest industry after oil, accounting for 10 percent of its gross domestic product.

Before the sanctions, there were 1.4 million new cars entering its market. After the sanctions, that number fell by more than a third -- but it still remains the biggest market in the Middle East, more than twice as big as Saudi Arabia.

PSA Peugeot Citroen "is closely following the development of the situation concerning Iran, but we are not about to resume our sales activities tomorrow," a company spokesman told AFP in Paris.

The effects of the Iran deal "are still unclear," he said. "The day when the sanctions no longer exist, we could look at how to return to our activities."

The caution shown by PSA Peugeot Citroen stemmed in part by the fact that it has US group General Motors as a partner. That relationship was seen as instrumental in it having to quit Iran despite the heavy operating loss of around a hundred million euros ($135 million) it represented between 2011 and 2012.

Also to factor in is the temporary and "reversible" nature of the deal with Iran, which is to apply for a six month period during which the Islamic republic and world powers will try to reach a permanent and comprehensive pact.

'Good news'

Renault, though, which counted Iran as its 8th biggest market by volume before the sanctions, was more enthusiastic.

"Renault is satisfied by the signing of this accord, which should allow the sanctions to be lifted. If the sanctions are lifted, our activity which is currently slowed could return to its normal course," a company spokeswoman said.

"It's good news for us because the Iranian market is important for us," she added.

On Monday, shares in PSA Peugeot Citroen soared 4.45 percent to 10.68 euros in afternoon trade, while Renault shares rose by 1.15 percent.

That reflected what Tangui Le Liboux, an analyst at the Aurel BGC brokerage, said was the "good news" the Iran deal brought the companies.

"The two French carmakers were the best placed among all their European rivals before the imposition of the embargo in recent years," he said.

The two companies will have the opportunity this week to renew their Iranian connections this week.

The French industry ministry has organised a conference on Saturday in Tehran bringing together all of Iran's car makers. Renault has confirmed to AFP it will attend. PSA Peugeot Citroen declined to comment.

Singapore Airlines stops world's longest non-stop flight

Google – AFP, 25 November 2013

Undated photo shows a Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 used to
 complete the longest non-stop commercial flight, between Singapore and
Los Angeles (AFP/File)

Singapore — The world's longest non-stop commercial flight ended without fanfare Monday after Singapore Airlines (SIA) flew its last nearly 19-hour service from New York.

Flight SQ 21 landed early Monday in Changi Airport, bringing an end to a nine-year run. A direct service to Los Angeles has also been cancelled as part of a fleet renewal.

"Food and refreshments were served to customers at the airport gate hold rooms in Singapore and Newark. Customers were also presented with commemorative gift sets and certificates," an SIA spokesman added.

Analysts said the rise in fuel prices since 2004, when the 15,335-kilometre (9,529-mile)service was launched to cater to business travellers, made it economically unsustainable.

The cancellation of the service was first announced a year ago.

Five Airbus A340-500s used by SIA for the service to New York -- through neighbouring Newark -- are being swapped for Airbus A380 superjumbos, a larger but more fuel-efficient model that is not designed for such distances.

The 100-seat, all business-class service to New York was pricey but passengers flew in comfort and saved hours of travel time by not having to make stopovers.

A Singapore travel agency said the last list price for the New York direct service was Sg$14,000 ($11,180).

"Ultra long-range routes have proven to be uneconomical, making it unlikely there will be a return of flights over 17 hours, which can only be flown by the niche A340-500 or (Boeing) 777-200LR," the Sydney-based Centre for Aviation said in a commentary in September.

Following the withdrawal of the two direct US services by SIA, three routes will share the distinction of being the longest in terms of duration ?- Dubai-Houston, Dubai-Los Angeles and Johannesburg-Atlanta -- at 16 hours and 20 minutes, the centre said.

In terms of distance, a Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas will be the longest, but tailwinds enable it to be completed in 15 hours and 20 minutes, it added.

In a statement in October 2012 announcing the shift in its US services, SIA said it was disappointed that it was cancelling the direct flights to Los Angeles and New York but remained committed to the US market.

It now serves New York with a stop in Frankfurt.

A spokesman for Airbus said it was in negotiations "with a number of potential new operators" for the five A340-500 aircraft previously flown by SIA.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Qingdao oil pipeline blast kills 22

Want China Times, Xinhua 2013-11-22

A road in Qingdao after the explosion. (Photo/Xinhua)

At least 22 people were killed after a leaking pipeline caught fire and exploded on Friday morning in the coastal city of Qingdao in east China's Shandong province, local authorities said.

The number of injured people have not yet been confirmed. They are being treated in local hospitals.

The accident happened around 10:30am in Huangdao district when workers were repairing the petroleum pipeline, which began leaking oil at around 3am, according to the Qingdao government's publicity office.

Oil flow through the pipeline was shut down at about 3:15am. The fire has been put out and barricades have been set up to stop the oil from entering the sea, according to a comment posted on Friday afternoon on the official microblog of the Qingdao municipal environmental protection bureau on Sina Weibo.

The 176-km pipeline, which links oil depots in Huangdao to Weifang, home to a few petrochemical plants, is owned by Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner.

Pieces of cement and debris were scattered around the explosion site, which is close to the coast.

An oil belt with a length of two to three meters could be seen in waters around the explosion spot as of 2:40pm. No new oil leakage from the pipeline had been found, according to a Xinhua reporter at the scene.

While sources with the city's maritime safety administration told Xinhua that they had not received any report on blast-related pollution in the sea so far, they have strengthened patrolling around the coastal areas close to the blast site.

Photographs posted on Sina Weibo showed the blast caused a large trench in the ground and that car windows nearby were cracked.

Environmental monitoring showed that the concentration of toxic materials in the air is under the national standard. The local government has told citizens to stay calm.

Huangdao district is connected with the city proper by the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Bridge.

Xinhua reporters said the exit on the bridge leading to Huangdao has been temporarily closed and only emergency vehicles are allowed to enter. Local traffic authorities have told drivers to allow rescue vehicles to pass.

Related Articles:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Defence ministry buys four large unmanned aircraft for foreign roles

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 21 November 2013

The drone in action. Photo: ministry of defence

The Dutch defence ministry is buying four unmanned aircraft from an American company at a cost of up to €250m.

The MQ-9 Reaper drones are being bought ‘off the shelf’ and must be fully operational by the end of 2017, defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told parliament in a statement on Thursday.

The drones can also carry weapons but the Netherlands does not need that capacity at present, a ministry spokesman told Nos television later. ‘That is not the intention but it can change in the future,’ the broadcaster quoted the spokesman as saying.

Soldiers

The US uses the MQ-9 Reaper in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Netherlands will use it in areas where Dutch troops are operating. The ground equipment and four aircraft will cost between €100m and €250m but the price is being kept secret out of commercial considerations, Nos said.

The Netherlands already has smaller drones and the defence ministry said in 2011 it planned to buy larger ones. In the Netherlands itself they have been used for some time to spot marijuana plantations.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Million-dollar gold stash found in aircraft toilet

Google – AFP, 20 November 2013

Illustration. Cleaners working on a Jet Airways plane in eastern India have found
24 gold bars worth more than $1 million stuffed into a toilet compartment (AFP/File,
Raveendran)

Kolkata — Cleaners working on a commercial plane in eastern India have found 24 gold bars worth more than $1 million stuffed into a toilet compartment, officials said Wednesday.

India, which rivals China as the world's biggest gold consumer, has witnessed a spike in smuggling after import duties were hiked three times this year to try to dampen demand for the precious metal.

The plane belonging to Jet Airways was being cleaned at Kolkata airport on Tuesday after a trip from the eastern city of Patna. It had previously been flying on international routes.

"The cleaning staff of the airport were going though their routine duties and found two bags in the toilets of the plane," director of the airport B.P. Mishra told AFP.

The one-kilogram gold bars "have not been claimed by anyone. No arrest has been made as yet".

Senior customs official R.S. Meena estimated the value of the haul at about 70 million rupees, or $1.1 million.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Iran unveils attack drone 'with 2,000 km range'

Google – AFP, 18 November 2013

Iran unveils its new "Fotros" drone at a ceremony in Tehran, on
November 18, 2013 (Isna News Agency/AFP/File, Isna)

Tehran — Iran on Monday unveiled a missile-equipped drone with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles), the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The Fotros drone has an operational range of 2,000 kilometres and can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet, with a flight time of 16 to 30 hours," Defence Minister Mohammad Dehgan was quoted as saying.

Dehgan said the new drone could carry out reconnaissance missions or launch air-to-surface missile strikes.

The aircraft was tested "successfully" and "shows that sanctions imposed by the enemies are not an obstacle to the progress of the defence industry," the minister told the unveiling ceremony.

In recent years, Iran has launched an ambitious drone programme, causing worry in the United States and the West.

In late September, the elite Revolutionary Guards announced the mass production of the "Shahed 129" drone, which it said has a range of 1,700 kilometres, is capable of carrying eight missiles and can fly for 24 hours.

In the same month, Iran unveiled a reconnaissance drone named "Yasseer," which was said to be capable of flying for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometres and at an altitude of 4,500 meters.

Yasseer was based on the US ScanEagle drone, a model of which Tehran claimed to have captured in December 2012 and reproduced since then.

The Iranian army also recently boasted that it was producing a series of drones called Rad-85.

Gulf carriers place £100bn aircraft order

Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways together order over 200 of new Boeing 777X, a more fuel-efficient version of the 777 jumbo

The Guardian, Gwyn Topham, Sunday 17 November 2013

Boeing aircraft models on display at the Dubai Airshow. Photograph: Marwan
Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

Middle Eastern airlines underlined their rapid ascendancy to the forefront of the global aviation market by announcing aircraft orders worth around £100bn at the Dubai Airshow – including over 200 of a newly launched Boeing model.

Dubai-based Emirates, already the world's biggest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, placed an order for 50 more of the doubledecker planes, giving a total of 140.

Its smaller UAE rival from Abu Dhabi, Etihad, ordered 50 of Airbus's latest plane, the smaller A350, for delivery from 2020. As well as 37 other Airbus planes, Etihad ordered 30 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners, making it the largest customer for the pioneering model. Despite a troubled start that saw the entire 787 fleet grounded earlier this year, the Dubai deal took total orders for Dreamliner past the 1,000 mark. Boeing said the milestone made its 787 the fastest selling wide-bodied plane in avaiation history.

But Boeing's biggest coup was the announcement of agreements to buy 259 of its upcoming 777X plane, the majority by Gulf carriers. On the day of the official product launch of a new, more fuel-efficient version of the popular 777 jumbo, Boeing said it had secured agreements worth up to $95bn (£59bn) at list prices. Boeing said the commitments – for 150 planes from Emirates, 50 from Qatar Airways, 25 from Etihad, as well as 34 from German airline Lufthansa – would provide a strong foundation for development and production of the airplane.

Meanwhile, low-cost carrier flydubai made a commitment for up to 111 Boeing 737s, worth up to $11.4bn, the largest deal the American aircraft manufacturer has yet secured in the Middle East for single-aisle planes.

Qatar Airways also added 13 Airbus planes to its 50 from Boeing.

Etihad's 50 Airbus A350s will be powered by engines produced and maintained by Rolls Royce, the British engineering firm announced, in a deal worth up to $5bn.

Boeing passenger jet crashes in Russia, killing 50

Google – AFP, Anna Maplas (AFP), 17 November 2013

This handout picture taken and released by Russia's Emergency Ministry on
 November 17, 2013 shows a firefighter walking at the crash site of a Boeing 737
 airplane at the airport of Kazan, western Tatarstan (RUSSIA'S EMERGENCY
MINISTRY/AFP)

Moscow — A Boeing 737 operated by a Russian airline crashed on Sunday while attempting to land in the city of Kazan, killing all 50 on board, Russia's emergency situations ministry said.

"According to preliminary information, all the people on board the flight, 44 passengers and six crew members, were killed," a ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

"The Boeing 737 that flew out of Moscow's Domodedovo airport with 44 passengers crashed onto the runway at Kazan airport on landing and burst into flames," Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes serious incidents, said in a statement.

The emergency situations ministry posted photographs of fragments of the plane scattered across the runway outside Kazan, which is around 720 kilometres (450 miles) east of Moscow in the Tatarstan region.

The 23-year-old plane, owned by Tatarstan Airlines, was making a second attempt to land, the spokesman for Russia's civil aviation authority, Sergei Izvolsky, told the Interfax news agency.

"We know for sure that when the plane made a second attempt at landing, for some reason, the plane hit the surface of the runway near the air traffic control tower, as a result of which the plane crashed and burnt."

The plane's black boxes have not yet been found, Izvolsky said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his "deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those who died in the plane crash at Kazan airport," the Kremlin said in a statement.

"After receiving a report on the air crash, the head of state ordered the government to urgently form a commission to investigate the reasons and circumstances of what happened."

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Twitter: "With all my heart I grieve for the relatives, friends and loved ones of the victims. A terrible tragedy."

The emergency ministry named 44 victims, saying that six were still being identified. The airline named the chief pilot as 47-year-old Rustem Salikhov.

This handout picture taken and released by Russia's Emergency Ministry on
 November 17, 2013 shows the crash site of a Boeing 737 airplane at the airport
of Kazan, western Tatarstan (RUSSIA'S EMERGENCY MINISTRY/AFP)

Among the dead was the 24-year-old son of the leader of the Tatarstan region, Irek Minnikhanov, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing the region's deputy prime minister.

The airline named two girls aged 11 and 15, as among those on the flight.

The head of the region's FSB security service, General-Lieutenant Alexander Antonov, also died in the crash, a member of the disaster management team told RIA Novosti.

Emergency landing last year

The Investigative Committee said an inquiry had been opened to determine whether there had been any "violation of aviation security rules" and added that several inspectors had been sent to the scene of the crash.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Rossiya 24 television that "we are looking at a technical failure, crew error, weather conditions or poor quality fuel."

The plane's crew told air traffic control as the plane was 500 metres from the runway that "it was not in landing position," a source in the disaster investigation told Interfax.

The plane, which had been flying since 1990, last year made an emergency landing shortly after taking off at the same airport, Interfax also reported.

The airline, founded in 2000, has a fleet of eight planes, including two Boeing-737s, according to its website.

The Life News website reported that the plane had originally been flown by Air France before being operated by airlines in Uganda, Brazil, Romania and Bulgaria.

The plane underwent repairs after making a rough landing in Brazil in 2001, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Tatarstan Airlines bought the plane in 2008, Life News said.

Russia has experienced a string of deadly air crashes, usually involving small and poorly regulated regional airlines that sprang up across Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Kazan is the capital city of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, which has a large Muslim population. Muslim and Christian clerics arrived to comfort relatives, Rossiya 24 television reported.

Tatarstan announced a day of mourning on Monday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Boeing needs '6 months' to make Dreamliner as reliable as 777

Google – AFP, 16 November 2013

A Boeing B787 Dreamliner takes part in a flying display at the Farnborough
 International Airshow in Hampshire, southern England on July 9, 2012
(AFP/File, Carl Court)

Dubai — Boeing said Saturday it needs another six months to make its long-awaited 787 Dreamliner, which has been beset by a series of incidents, as reliable as its bestselling 777 airliner.

Marty Bentrott, a regional sales chief for Boeing, said the company was "making good progress" in resolving the problems with the Dreamliner, adding the aircraft's "reliability is improving".

"Do we have additional work ahead of us? Yes. When do we think those problems will be behind us and the plane will be reliable? I think it's probably another six months or so," Bentrott said at a press conference ahead of the Dubai Airshow, which opens on Sunday.

He acknowledged that Qatar Airways, one of the US giant's main customers in the Middle East, had had difficulties with the Dreamliner but said Boeing was providing support teams.

Qatar Airways has ordered 30 Dreamliners for its fleet, of which nine are operational.
Bentrott said that technical difficulties were normal after the launch of any new aircraft.

The 787 Dreamliner has encountered several serious difficulties since entering operation two years ago, especially with its batteries, causing the entire fleet to be grounded for about four months earlier this year.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New uniforms for North Korean airline attendants

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-11-15

A flight attendant sporting the new uniform. (Internet Photo)

Air Koryo, North Korea's state-owned airline, has changed the uniforms of their flight attendants, according to the Facebook page of a Beijing-based travel agency that specializes in offering tours to the country, reports the Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper that operates under the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.

The Facebook page of Koryo Tours shows Air Koryo flight attendants wearing collar-less uniforms that feature a deeper neckline and caps with gold lining. The color of the uniforms was changed from red to navy blue and the skirts are shorter and stop above the knees.

Each attendant is wearing a badge bearing the image of the country's late leader Kim Jong-il. The flight attendants in the new uniforms are associated with the Moranbong Band, an all-female music group formed by the country's new leader Kim Jong-un, according to experts.

The change was reportedly an order given by Kim Jong-un to "meet the demands of the new century."

Friday, November 15, 2013

Garuda Bans Shark Fin Transport on Flights: WWF-Indonesia

The Jakarta Globe, November 15, 2013

In this file picture taken on January 2, 2013 shark fins drying in the sun cover
the roof of a factory building in Hong Kong. (AFP Photo/Antony Dickson)

The World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia praised the nation’s flagship carrier Garuda-Indonesia on Friday for banning the transportation of shark fins aboard all flights.

The blanket embargo, effective on Oct. 8, has Garuda joining a growing list of international airlines taking a stance against the destructive practice. Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates Airlines, Fiji Airways and Korean Air are among the carriers to ban the transport of shark fins, the statement read.

“WWF-Indonesia commends this move by Garuda Indonesia,” Nazir Foead, conservation director for WWF-Indonesia, said. “Their policy to cease transporting shark fin products is a positive step that should generate further momentum in the shark conservation movement.”

The airline’s commitment represents a major step in curbing the global trade of shark fins. Garuda previously transported some 36 tons of shark fins a year, WWF-Indonesia said. Indonesia is the world’s leading source of shark fins — which are used as the main ingredient in a popular, and expensive, Chinese soup.

The practice has grabbed the attention of conservations as global shark populations decline.

WWF-Indonesia has launched a “Save Our Sharks,” campaign and is working with the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries to work on drafting a national shark conservation plan.

Related Articles:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

200,000 electric cars on Beijing's roads by 2017: official

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-11-14

An electric car rental station in Beijing. (Photo/CNS)

To help clean up the city's notorious air pollution, Beijing plans to have 200,000 electric cars on the roads by 2017, of which 150,000 will be privately owned, said Yan Yaoshuang, director of the Beijing Committee on Science and Technology.

In an interview with local television, Yan revealed that the city's plan for new energy vehicles, scheduled for release by the end of the year, will put 30,000-40,000 new electric cars in public use for transportation, environmental protection, hygiene and logistics. The plan requires newly built communities to install 10%-15% of their parking spaces with charging posts for electric cars. For older communities, charging posts can be installed in separate locations.

Public charging posts will be set up every five kilometers on roads in downtown Beijing by 2017, Yan said.

"I will try my best to bring more electric cars to the road, a rather difficult task in view of the city's traffic jams," said Yan. Exemption of new electric cars from existing restrictions on auto use in the city is still under discussion, with the final results expected to be out by the end of the year.

According to the country's Ministry of Environmental Protection, of the 74 cities monitored by the ministry in 2013, the 10 cities with the worst air pollution are Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and their surrounding areas. The Beijing city government recently announced plans to invest 200-300 billion yuan (US$32-$65 billion) in combating the problem over a period of five years.

In principle, electric cars can be exempt from restrictions related to poor smog conditions. Currently the city has create the red-level grading mark for air pollution levels, which indicates heavy smog conditions for at least three consecutive days. Following a 12-hour notice, at this point cars would be placed on a daily rotation for road use.

"According to our plan, electric cars will be given a special quota for auto licenses, separate from gasoline vehicles whose licenses are subject to an annual quota distributed according to lot drawing," said Yan.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

EU follows US in allowing portable electronics in-flight

Google – AFP, 13 November 2013

A woman watches a video on an iPhone as her plane lands at Denver International
 Airport in Denver, Colorado on October 23, 2012 (Getty Images/AFP/File, Justin
 Sullivan)

Frankfurt — The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Wednesday it will allow passengers to use a range of mobile electronic devices in flight with very few restrictions.

Just two weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States said it would similarly relax its rules, EASA said that personal electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and mp3 players could be used in all phases of flight in the near future.

The devices must, however, be used only when the "flight mode" or "airplane mode" is switched on, it added in a statement. That mode disables cellular service, so passengers will still not be able to make phone calls.

Current EASA guidance allows the use of personal electronic devices on aircraft except during taxiing, take-off and landing.

EASA would issue the new guidance "by the end of November" and the changes would apply to aircraft operated by European airlines.

"This is a major step in the process of expanding the freedom to use personal electronic devices on-board aircraft without compromise in safety," said EASA executive director Patrick Ky.

EASA said that in the long term it is looking at new ways to certify the use of mobile phones on-board aircraft to make phone calls.

"EASA recognises the wide proliferation of personal electronic devices and the wish of the travelling public to use them everywhere," it said.

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