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 29, 2014

Rotterdam to tackle air pollution, ban old cars from city centre

DutchNews.nl, November 28, 2014

Rotterdam council plans to improve the city’s air quality and has drawn up a €12m package of measures which locals will be asked to approve, Dutch media report on Friday.

The plans include getting rid of polluting cars and slashing pollution levels. In addition, the council’s own fleet of vehicles will be overhauled to reduce its pollution rate by 25%. 

The council is also considering financially rewarding owners to get rid of polluting cars. In addition it suggests that no more parking permits will be given for diesel vehicles built before 2005 and petrol-driver cars predating 1992.

More charging stations will be built for electric vehicles and there will be better bike facilities. 

The council also wants to ban lorries from the ‘s Gravendijkwal, currently the city’s most polluted road and a major highway that leads to the Maas tunnel. Transport organisations have already criticised the lorry ban proposal, saying it will force freight firms to use longer, more expansive routes, the Financieele Dagblad reported.

Research shows Rotterdammers live three years less than the average Dutch national, which is partly due to road pollution.

Utrecht and Amsterdam have already taken steps to reduce the number of polluting cars in their city centres.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Super material has chink in its armour

Yahoo – AFP, 26 Nov 2014

Subatomic proton particles, as produced by this "Synergium" machine, can
penetrate super material graphene, it has been discovered (AFP File)

Scientists said Wednesday they had found a chink in the impermeable armour of graphene, the world's thinnest material, and one of the strongest.

The team said they were surprised to see the super material known to repel all gases and liquids, let through sub-atomic particles called protons.

And they hailed the unexpected finding as a potential breakthrough for fuel cells -- a non-polluting version of a traditional battery.

"The discovery could revolutionise fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons -- hydrogen atoms stripped of their electrons -- to pass through," said a statement from Manchester University, whose researchers took part in the work.

Protons, along with neutrons, make up the nuclei of atoms, the building blocks of matter.

At just one atom thick -- many times thinner than a human hair, graphene is stronger than steel and acts as a barrier to even the smallest of atoms, hydrogen -- making it a perfect ingredient for impermeable coatings and packaging materials.

Led by physicist Andre Geim, awarded the Nobel in 2010 for his work on graphene, a research team set out to test whether protons, like atoms and molecules, would also be repelled by graphene.

They "fully expected that protons would be blocked, as existing theory predicted as little proton permeation as for hydrogen," said the statement of the findings published in the journal Nature.

"Despite the pessimistic prognosis, the researchers found that protons pass through the ultra-thin crystals surprisingly easily, especially at elevated temperatures..."

This made graphene an excellent candidate for proton-conducting membranes key to efficient fuel cell technology, said the statement.

Fuel cells, a kind of battery used in some electric cars and backup power generators, for example, use oxygen and hydrogen as a fuel and convert chemical energy into electricity.

They require membranes that allow protons to pass through, but not other particles.

"It looks extremely simple and equally promising. Because graphene can be produced these days in square metre sheets, we hope that it will find its way to commercial fuel cells sooner rather than later," said study co-author Sheng Hu.

Graphene was aired as a theoretical substance in 1947. But for decades, physicists thought it would be impossible to isolate, as such thin crystalline sheets were bound to be unstable.

The problem was resolved in 2004 by Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who used ordinary sticky tape to lift a layer from a piece of graphite.

That layer was itself pulled apart using more tape, and the process repeated until just the thinnest of layers remained -- a graphene sheet.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New energy car batteries to be subsidized in China

Want China Times, Chen Chang-jui and Staff Reporter 2014-11-22

Workers inspecting new energy cars at a factory in Hefei, Anhui province,
Aug. 19. (Photo/Xinhua)

China plans to introduce subsidy policies on batteries used for electric vehicles as the high battery prices have become a roadblock to electric cars gaining popularity in China, our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily reports.

International car makers have been increasing their investments in the Chinese new energy vehicle market in recent years. The subsidy policies on batteries may be a turning point to its development in 2015, the report said.

US electric car manufacturer Tesla Motor, a major player in the Chinese new energy car market, has built 20 super-charging stations in eight cities nationwide and more than 400 destination-charging stations in 61 cities.

It is said that Tesla had approached the Shenzhen-based electric car and battery maker BYD for partnership in manufacturing, but hasn't received a response from BYD yet.

Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company, a joint venture between Japanese automaker Nissan and China's Dongfeng Motors, launched its first electric car in September.

Besides the battery subsidy policy, a draft aiming to promote new-energy vehicles in China has been released on Oct. 30 by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and eleven other government departments.

The draft details plans for improved infrastructure such as how new public parking lots should reserve sufficient space for electric cars and charging stations. Charging posts will be set up in current parking lots, highway toll stations and truck stops.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singapore Moves to Regulate Taxi Booking Apps

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Nov 21, 2014

The Uber App is shown in this Feb. 14, 2013,
 file photo in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo/
Paul J. Richards)

Singapore. Singapore on Friday announced new rules for mobile taxi booking apps, including US-based Uber, in the latest move by governments around the world to regulate the increasingly popular services.

Taxi-booking and ride-sharing apps like Uber, Hailo and Lyft have spread rapidly in recent years, drawing protests from cabbies in cities from London to San Francisco who say it has led to soaring competition from unlicensed drivers.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority said the apps will have to apply for a three-yearly “certificate of registration” starting from the second quarter of next year.

“Third-party taxi booking services facilitate more efficient matching of taxis with commuters and have become increasingly popular,” the LTA said, adding the new rules are designed to “safeguard commuter safety and interests”.

Apps operating in Singapore will need to agree to dispatch only licensed taxis and drivers, while information on fare rates and other fees payable for a ride must be disclosed to passengers.

The apps will be barred from requiring passengers to disclose their destinations when they make bookings due to concerns some taxi drivers may try to avoid certain routes, the LTA said.

Operators are also required to provide “basic customer support”, including lost and found services and a platform for customers to file complaints.

Passengers in Singapore can only use Uber to connect to registered taxis and limousines, unlike in some other cities around the world where the app is used to hire private cars and ride-share to cut fares.

Other similar apps operating in Singapore include Britain’s Hailo, regional player Easy Taxi and Malaysia-based GrabTaxi.

At present, these apps already comply with Singapore’s new requirement for the taxis to be licensed.

Michael Brown, Uber’s Southeast Asia general manager based in Singapore, on Friday welcomed the new rules.

“We appreciate that the LTA has acknowledged the benefits our technology brings, and like Uber, is putting the interest and safety of consumers and drivers first,” Brown said in a statement to AFP.

Uber has been battling scandal in recent days, scrambling to allay fears that its employees have spied on passengers through a “God View” feature that shows where riders are located at any given time.

Emil Michael, Uber’s executive vice president of business, also sparked anger by outlining a vision of spending $1 million on digging up dirt on journalists critical of the start-up.

Michael apologized for the comments and stressed neither he nor Uber would ever actually resort to the kind of tactic he suggested.

Agence France-Presse

Monday, November 17, 2014

Indonesia Raises Subsidized Fuel Prices by Rp 2,000 a Liter

Jakarta Globe, Dion Bisara, Nov 17, 2014

(Antara Photo/Fanny Octavianus)

Jakarta. Indonesia raised subsidized fuel prices by an average Rp 2,000 per liter, in an attempt to curb fuel usage and narrow the gaps in the current account and the state budget.

The price for low-octane gasoline, or Premium, will rise to Rp 8,500 per liter, from Rp 6,500. Subsidized diesel was raised to Rp 7,500 per liter from Rp 5,500. The prices would go into effect at midnight on Monday.

The move would also help to reduce state expenses on the subsidy and that money could be used for other programs such as education and health care.

President Joko Widodo announced the prices increases at around 9:10 p.m. on Monday in an address that was broadcast via television.

“The increase is moderate even by recent latest increases standard because we see a decline in global oil price trend,” said Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said before the announcement.

Sofyan Djalil, the coordinating minister for economic affairs, said in a press briefing on Monday that the government has so much infrastructure that needs to be built that “we need to save some of our budget for productive spending.”

Bambang Brodjonegoro, the finance minister, said that the increase will save Rp 120 trillion ($9.8 billion) in the 2015 state budget.

Indonesia’s current account deficit has narrowed to 3 percent of gross domestic product in the third quarter from 4.3 percent of GDP in the previous three-month period.

The government last raised subsidized fuel prices in June 2013 by an average Rp 3,000 a liter.

Friday, November 7, 2014

World's first solar cycle lane opening in the Netherlands

Solar panels embedded in the cycle path near Amsterdam could generate enough electricity to power three houses, with potential to extend scheme to roads

theguardian.com, Philip Oltermann in Berlin, Wednesday 5 November 2014

SolaRoad in Krommenie, the Netherlands, will be the world’s first cycle path
with embedded solar panels. Photograph: SolaRoad

The bike path that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer is popular with both school children and commuters: around 2,000 cyclists ride its two lanes on an average day.

But next week Krommenie’s cycle path promises to become even more useful: on 12 November a 70-metre stretch will become the world’s first public road with embedded solar panels.

Costing around €3m (£2.4m) and funded mostly by the local authority, the road is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, encased within concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass.

A non-adhesive finish and a slight tilt are meant to help the rain wash off dirt and thus keep the surface clean, guaranteeing maximum exposure to sunlight.

Since the path cannot be adjusted to the position of the sun, the panels produce roughly 30% less energy than those fixed on to roofs. Nonetheless, when the path is extended to 100 metres in 2016, its creators hope that it will produce enough energy to power three households.

The Netherlands’ TNO research institute, which developed the concept behind the solar bicycle path, think the potential of their idea doesn’t stop there. Sten de Wit of the institute told the Guardian that up to 20% of the Netherlands’ 140,000km of road could potentially be adapted, helping to power anything from traffic lights to electric cars. Tests have seen the solar panel units successfully carry the weight of heavy vehicles such as tractors.

While Krommenie will become the first community in the world with a publicly accessible stretch of solar road, the idea of using existing road infrastructure to harvest solar energy is gaining momentum across the globe.

Two US engineers, Idaho couple Julie and Scott Brusaw, have been developing solar panelling units for road use since 2006. In 2009, their company Solar Roadways received a contract from America’s Federal Highway Administration to build a prototype.

In March this year, the Brusaws replaced their own parking lot with solar-panelled units, and thanks to a popular viral video, they have raised $2.2m (£1.4m) to put their design into production.

If all the roads in the US were converted to solar roadways, the Solar Roadways website claims, the country would generate three times as much energy as it currently uses and cut greenhouse gases by 75%.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hyundai, Kia to pay $100 million over fuel economy suit

Yahoo – AFP, Kerry Sheridan, 3 Nov 2014

Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay $100 million on November 3, 2014, to settle a US 
government investigation into exaggerated fuel efficiency on 2012 and 2013 car 
models sold in the United States (AFP Photo)

Washington (AFP) - Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay $100 million Monday to settle a US government investigation into exaggerated fuel efficiency on 2012 and 2013 car models sold in the United States by the South Korean automakers.

The US Department of Justice said it marked the largest civil penalty ever secured under the four-decade-old Clean Air Act.

"This will send a strong message that cheating is not profitable, and that any company that violates the law will be held to account" said Attorney General Eric Holder.

The settlement involved the sale of nearly 1.2 million vehicles, many of which now need to reduce their stated fuel economy by one to two miles per gallon.

"Because they used inaccurately low numbers to demonstrate compliance with emissions standards -- cherry-picking data and conducting tests in ways that did not reflect good engineering judgment -– Hyundai and Kia calculated higher fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions than these vehicles actually have," Holder told reporters.

The result is that the six vehicle models implicated will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, above and beyond what the automakers certified with the Environmental Protection Agency.

As part of the settlement, Hyundai and Kia will "forfeit the greenhouse gas credits that the companies wrongly claimed based on their inaccurate reporting," Holder said.

Relinquishing those 4.75 million metric tons of credits could be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

The automakers also agreed to have an independent certification test group oversee its fuel economy testing, training, data management and reporting in the future.

"Businesses that play by the rules shouldn't have to compete with those breaking the law," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, describing the settlement as "historic."

The six vehicle models implicated will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of 
greenhouse gases, above and beyond what the automakers certified with the
Environmental Protection Agency (AFP Photo/Scott Olson)

"This settlement upholds the integrity of the nation's fuel economy and greenhouse gas programs and supports all Americans who want to save fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact."


Hyundai said in a statement that the agreement requires the company to adjust about a quarter of its 2011-13 model year vehicles, reducing their combined city/highway fuel economy by one to two miles per gallon.

In addition to paying a $56.8 million civil penalty, Hyundai agreed to forgo the use of approximately 2.7 million greenhouse gas (GHG) emission credits, representing the difference between the original emissions pledge and the newly adjusted one.

"Hyundai has acted transparently, reimbursed affected customers and fully cooperated with the EPA throughout the course of its investigation," said David Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

Hyundai said its adjusted fuel ratings are 27.2 miles per gallon for 2011, 28.3 mpg for 2012 and 29.0 mpg for 2013 model year vehicles.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thick Haze Returns to Central Kalimantan

Jakarta Globe, Nov 02, 2014

Haze at a airport in South Sulawesi, in this Oct. 6, 2014, file photo. (Antara
Photo/Herry Murdy Hermawan)

Jakarta. Thick haze, usually caused by forest fires, on Saturday made a comeback in parts of Central Kalimantan that had just experienced a smoke-free week.

The Sampit area East Kotawaringin district was blanketed in smoke so thick that flights had to be diverted.

“The air here in East Kotawaringin district was free of haze for a week, but since Saturday the haze has come back and blanketed Sampit,” Sumi, a resident, told state-run news agency Antara on Sunday.

Fadlian Noor, head of East Kotawaringin’s Communications and Informatics Office, said visibility was just 10 meters — a far cry from the minimum of 2,000 meters for safe flight movements.

“The haze seems to have gotten worse — so bad that flights coming here have had to be diverted,” he said, as quoted by Antara on Sunday.

“Yesterday there was even a flight from Jakarta [to Sampit] that had to be diverted all the way to Surabaya [in East Java] because of the haze,” he added.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pilot dead as Virgin spaceship crashes in US desert

Yahoo – AFP, Michael Thurston, 31 Oct 2014

This image obtained October 31, 2014, courtesy of NASA and Mars Scientific/Clay
 Center Observatory shows SpaceShipTwo as it completed its second powered
 flight on September 5, 2013 over the Mojave desert (AFP Photo/Handout)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Virgin Galactic's pioneering spacecraft designed to take tourists into space crashed Friday in California, killing one of the two pilots and scattering debris across the desert.

Television images showed the wreckage of SpaceShipTwo, a test vehicle that flies to the edge of space, amid brush east of Mojave, a few hours' drive northeast of Los Angeles.

The incident is second disaster involving a US spacecraft this week, after an unmanned Orbital Science rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded after launch on Tuesday.

A scale model of the Virgin Galactic
Spaceship Two is seen January 23, 2008
at the America Museum of Natural History
in New York (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)
It is also a huge blow to British tycoon Richard Branson's long-held dream of offering the first passenger space flights, which have been snapped up by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Virgin chief said he was heading straight to the site.

"Thoughts with all @virgingalactic ... I'm flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team," he wrote on Twitter. It was not clear where the globe-trotting tycoon was at the time of the crash.

"During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. Our first concern is the status of the pilots," the firm said in a tweet.

Virgin Galactic said the fate of the pilots was unknown but the California Highway Patrol confirmed reports that one pilot had died another was serious injured, and taken to hospital.

"We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so," Virgin said.

Reserved seats

The spaceship had been carried aloft on a bigger aircraft known as WhiteKnightTwo and then released for a test of its rocket engine above the Mojave desert, the latest in a series of tests.

"SpaceShipTwo has been released by WhiteKnightTwo, and is now flying freely," the firm wrote in a blow-by-blow account of the flight, adding: "Ignition! SpaceShipTwo is flying under rocket power again."

The next tweet announced the "anomaly" followed by a series confirming the crash. The company added that WhiteKnightTwo had landed safely after the accident.

The US air safety agency, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said it was sending a team to the site of the crash.

More than 500 people have already reserved seats -- and paid a deposit on the $250,000 ticket price -- for a minutes-long suborbital flight on SpaceShipTwo, which can carry six passengers.

It is the commercial version of SpaceShipOne, the first private spacecraft to reach the edge of space in 2004, and which is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Private companies are rushing to fill the gap left by NASA, which ended its 30-year shuttle program in July with the completion of the final Atlantis mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

DiCaprio and fellow actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are among those already reported to have booked their place.

Earlier this year, "Titanic" star DiCaprio auctioned off a trip with him into space, raising 700,000 euros.

Friday's incident is the second involving an American spacecraft this week, after the Orbital Science rocket exploded six seconds after launch on a resupply mission to the ISS.

Initial investigations into that explosion centered on the pair of rocket engines providing its thrust, which were made during the Soviet era and refurbished.

The Ukrainian-designed AJ-26 engines date back to the 1960s and 1970s, and Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, California has a stockpile that it refurbishes for Orbital Sciences.

The Virgin crash also raised questions over a reality TV show, "Space Race."

The show, which was commissioned last year, pits contenders against each other to win a flight on the Virgin Galactic spacecraft, according to entertainment industry journal Variety.

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