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. …

Thursday, February 26, 2015

MH370 steered off course toward Antarctica: expert

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-02-25

A family member of missing passengers from the MH370 adjusts lit candles
in a vigil for the vanished airliner, April 8, 2014. (File photo/ CNS)

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 6 last year on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, may have been deliberately flown off course towards Antarctica, according to an aviation disaster expert cited in the UK's Daily Mail.

Satellite data suggests the plane made three turns to the south towards Antarctica after its last radio contact and experts believe that it had stayed in the air for hours after losing contact with air traffic control, said the report.

In a National Geographic production to be aired in March to mark the first anniversary of the disappearance of the airliner, aviation disaster expert Malcolm Brenner says the turns "strongly suggest" that someone had deliberately directed the Boeing 777-200 with 239 passengers on board off course. Brenner has led a team to investigate the disappearance of the airliner and is seen as one of the world's leading aviation disaster experts.

MH370 was first believed to have crashed in the Gulf of Thailand. Later, the search turned to the southern Indian Ocean but no physical evidence of the plane's fate has been found.

"This accident has caught the attention of the world in a way I have not seen in a forty-year career in aviation," Brenner said.

Malaysia's civil aviation authority said in January that one-third of the underwater search for MH370 is complete and the rest will be completed by May. Malaysia believes that MH370 is located within the region scheduled to be searched, but they will look for alternative solutions based on the data they have if nothing is found by then.

The Malaysian government will announce an investigation report on the missing flight on March 7, a day before the first anniversary of its disappearance.

Related Articles:




....SB: That’s very good, Lord. Thank you. I’m going to move quickly to Flight 370, and then hopefully a short talk on global citizenry.

Ashira said that Flight 370 had exploded, but he didn’t say what the cause of the explosion was. Others have said that a secret naval weapon was used to cause it to disintegrate. And recently a prominent channel said the plane was suffering from hydraulic failure, was in an uncontrolled state, at risk of imminent destruction; whisked out of the air in mid-flight, was taken aboard an enormous spaceship from Sirius claimed to be part of the Federation fleet under the Ashtar Command whose full report is available from a certain website.

Now, Ashira said they took a few people up who still wanted to remain in form, but the rest — they passed on. What is the truth, Lord?

AAM: This is not an action — let us put it this way — this is not an action that your star brothers and sisters have been deeply involved in. This is an action of what we would refer to, or Gabrielle would refer to, as of violence, of sabotage, of subterfuge. And it has continued.

So there are lies upon lies upon lies. And what is occurring … this is a terrible situation. And it is painful to so many. But what it is also doing for humanity, it is bringing up what we would call shared compassion and grief. Because if you were to look at the grief and the confusion and the compassion component of what is being felt and emanating from the hearts of the collective, individuals all over the planet, it is out of alignment with the situation even including those who have been on the plane and who have suffered and the families that are left suffering the loss of their loved ones.

So it has amplified and shown the global community, in a time when there has been much strife and conflict on the ground, the other side of the scale, where you are seeing the global community coming together in compassion and sending healing for many. It is also bringing together the global community in saying, “We require, we demand truth.” Because there have been such significant untruths, every step of the way. And now what is occurring, among what you think are responsible agencies of many countries, is that they are looking for scapegoats. They are looking for situations to hang this on.

The truth will come out, but the function of this act of violence has been hijacked in many ways not by your star brothers and sisters but by the Company of Heaven to teach several very important, critical, timely lessons. The ship has not been taken on board a mothership elsewhere. That is false hope.

SB: Where is the ship, Lord? Is it blown to smithereens, or is it at the bottom of the ocean?

AAM: For all intents and purposes, it is not intact. We cannot give you the totality because that would be breaking our agreement.

SB: And then of course you couldn’t tell us what nation did it, either?

AAM: It is not so much a nation as individuals acting independently.

SB: All right. I’m not sure whether I should go further in trying to get more details, or…. whether….

AAM: Please do not.....


Message from Matthew and Ashtar via Suzy Ward: March 20, 2014 – Missing Malaysian Airlines Plane


Ashira on Malaysian Flight 370 and the Ukraine - The Golden Age of GaiaSteve Beckow, March 11, 2014

On Heavenly Blessings today, Suzi Maresca asked Ashira, Commander of the Neptune, what caused the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and Ashira replied:

 “It was not interdimensional slippage and they were not taken by us. So let us be very clear. We would not do that. Not at this point because from our perspective that would be seen as an act of war or an act of terrorism. We would not break that many hearts.

“So what happened was that there was an explosion and the ship went down. Could we have saved it? There are certain things that we are not permitted to interfere with. But let us also …. now this is what we can say … on that ship [everyone?] was taken care of. …

“There were many upon that ship who as a collective had agreed to leave together … and this is something that often happens … there is a group soul, whether you believe it or not. Now those who did not want to pass from their form were beamed up.”


"THE THREE WINDS" – Feb 23-24, 2013 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Humanity, Home - other side of the veil, Wind of Birth - Birth, Wind of Existence - Life, Wind of Transition - Death) (Text version)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tesla Tops US Best Car List for 2nd Year

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Feb 25, 2015

(Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors)

Washington. Consumer Reports named the luxury electric Tesla S its top car for the second straight year, calling the market-shaking sedan a “technological tour de force.”

The annual top-10 ranking, based on independent road performance, reliability and crash tests, also gave top category honors to three Subaru models, a landmark sweep for the small Japanese maker.

But the Japanese overall won only six slots, their lowest tally since the influential consumer ratings magazine began the list 19 years ago.

Instead, three American brands — the Tesla, the Buick Regal and the Chevrolet Impala — held their own in the top 10.

“Detroit vehicles are breaking through in new categories,” said Mark Rechtin of Consumer Reports’ car ratings team.

“Many have come a long way in performance, technology, and improved reliability.”

“These are the cars that ignite the gasoline in our veins. That we trust. Respect. And love,” the magazine said.

“They also happen to score high in our reliability ratings and shine in automotive crash tests.”

The $80,000-plus plug-in Tesla again captured the magazine’s fancy as its overall top pick, and not just for the car’s market-beating 426 kilometer range without a charge.

Consumer Reports praised the ability to update the Tesla’s software over the Internet, and that the company surmounted early technical problems, including a handful of fires that started from objects on the road surface kicking into its underside battery pack.

With those problems aside, Consumer Reports lauded the Tesla S’s “magnificence and sheer technological arrogance.”

Subaru, whose all-wheel-drive models are popular with both sport driving fans and outdoorists, led three categories of the 10.

The Impreza led the compact car group as a “strong value,” and the Legacy was the best midsized sedan (it “exceeds those drab, rental-car expectations … also has the best ride among its peers”).

And the Forester grabbed one of the hottest market segments, the small sport-utility vehicles.

“Subaru has nailed the recipe of combining practicality, safety, fuel economy, value, and interior accommodations,” said the magazine.

The Audi A6 came in tops for a luxury car, and, unsurprisingly, on the green car side Toyota’s hybrid Prius took the honors for the 12th straight year.

Toyota’s Highlander was best mid-sized SUV and the Honda Odyssey the winner among minivans.

But the surprise was the inclusion of the Chevrolet Impala as the best large car, beating out the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES 350.

Only slightly less surprising was the Buick Regal as the leading sports sedan. It is better known elsewhere as the Opel Insignia, with its German roots emphasized by Consumer Reports.

“Close your eyes, and you’ll think you’re driving an Audi — a very good Audi at that,” it gushed.

Agence France-Presse

New-energy cars: China could overtake US in one to two years

Want China Times, Hsu Chang-ping and Staff Reporter 2015-02-25

Mechanics examine a JAC Motors electric car at a factory in Hefei,
Anhui province, July 15, 2014. (File photo/Xinhua)

China's government has made it policy to encourage people to use new-energy cars, with the goal of building a complete industry chain and putting 5 million new vehicles on the country's roads by 2020.

China is expected to surpass the United States as the world's biggest market for new-energy vehicles in the next one or two years, despite low interest in second- to fourth-tier cities, where only small or no government subsidies for green cars are offered, experts say.

Figures compiled by the official China News Service indicate 6,599 new-energy vehicles were produced in China in January, an almost fivefold increase compared to 2014.

Although 40,000 more new-energy vehicles were sold in the United States than in China in 2014, Beijing's green car push with accompanying incentives could enable China to overtake the US as the world's biggest new-energy vehicle market in just one to two years, industry insiders said.

China News Service said the government provides large subsidies for new-energy cars in the largest cities like Beijing and Shanghai, where infrastructure such as charging stations and after-sales services are relatively well established.

In lower-tier cities like Jinan and Baotou, however, subsidies are small or non-existent. This has hampered the local takeup of new-energy vehicles, given their higher price compared to conventional cars that run on gasoline, the report said.

In addition, potential buyers in lower-tier cities feel they have better air quality than in top-tier cities and have less need to worry about pollution. The lack of charging infrastructure also makes it impractical to own an electric vehicle.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Airlines looking to bank on in-flight WiFi in China

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-02-21

A user connects to the internet with a tablet on a China Southern Airlines
aircraft, June 2014. (Photo/CNS)

China Eastern Airline's in-flight WiFi package for passengers flying from Shanghai to Beijing has spread through China's other major airlines, including Air China, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, reports online news portal Yicai.

China's civil airlines on average transport close to 400 million passengers a year, and together have clocked nearly one billion hours of flight time and 2.5 flight hours per person on average. The majority of China's passengers are now frequent flyers, and as such demand better services. Whichever airline can eliminate the problem of information isolation during flight stands to gain a host of these clients.

To offer in-flight WiFi services, airlines need to rewire their aircraft, which costs somewhere in the hundreds of thousands for just one plane, said Zhang Chi, deputy director of China Eastern Airlines transformation division.

According to market researcher In-Stat, in 2010, about 8% of international airlines had equipped WiFi services. In 2015, the service is expected to generate a total income of US$1.5 billion a year. It is no surprise that airlines are throwing their money at installing WiFi services, said one unnamed executive of China Southern Airlines.

As of 2014, more than 1,800 aircraft outside of China had installed WiFi services. Business models for the new service include charging passengers an access fee, charging advertisers or information providers, or sharing income.

Cooperating with e-commerce firms is another option to reel in bored passengers looking to blow some money on in-flight shopping, according to the report.

In the near-term, turning a profit will not be easy for domestic airlines because the service is still in the early stage of development in China and there are still policy restrictions as well as technological issues needing resolution, said several industry insiders.

China still forbids passengers to turn on their mobile phones in-flight, restricting electronics to personal computers when the aircraft is above 3,000 meters in altitude.

Nonetheless, China's in-flight WiFi service will be a gold mine, said experts.

China's internet industry is globally competitive, a fact that should help divert losses from lack of development. The country's civil aviation industry transported 350 million passengers in 2013 and traffic is rising more than 10% a year, according to a 2014 report by the Shanghai-based National Business Daily.

Related Article:


Flood Warnings and Clean-Up as Australia Recovers From Twin Cyclones

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Feb 21, 2015

This image obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 (NOAA) shows VIIRS infrared imagery from Tropical Storm Marcia as it approaches
the eastern coast of Australia on Feb. 19, 2015. (AFP Photo/NOAA/NASA/RAMMB/CIRA)

Australia was Saturday assessing the damage from two severe cyclones that left a trail of destruction, wrecking hundreds of homes and cutting electricity to thousands as authorities warned of more flooding and gusty winds.

Tropical Cyclone Marcia barrelled through the northeastern state of Queensland Friday at the highest-rated category five, ripping apart houses, uprooting trees and bringing down power lines.

The severe system hit hours after category four Tropical Cyclone Lam slammed into the Northern Territory, causing extensive damage to remote Aboriginal communities near Elcho Island, some 500 kilometers east of the capital Darwin.

Despite the destruction, authorities have so far not received reports of serious injuries, missing people, or deaths.

“Everyone is breathing a deep sigh of relief that there has been, to this date, no loss of life,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters Saturday.

Both cyclones have since eased to tropical lows, but the Bureau of Meteorology warned of flooding, heavy rains, damaging wind gusts and dangerous surf.

Parts of southeast Queensland, which has already been saturated by a separate weather system bringing hundreds of millimetres of rain to the region since Thursday, could be hit by flooding as Marcia tracks south before moving out to sea later Saturday.

Residents in the small towns of Jambin and Goovigen south of Rockhampton in central Queensland were evacuated from their homes as the Callide river flooded.

Flood warnings have also been issued for northeast New South Wales state just below Queensland.

Palaszczuk said preliminary reports showed “a couple of hundred homes” in Yeppoon and Rockhampton had structural damage.

“The biggest issue that we are currently facing is power outages,” she said.

“We have around 60,000 homes without power.”

The Australian military is assisting with the damage assessment and clean-up, with two aircraft set to be deployed to central Queensland Saturday, weather permitting.

In the Northern Territory, a state of emergency has been declared for areas hardest hit by Lam.

The territory’s Police and Emergency Services Minister Peter Chandler said the measure would help communities that have suffered from power, telecommunications and water outages.

Queensland has been smashed by several major storms and cyclones over the past few years with Cyclone Oswald, also a category five, flooding parts of the state in 2013, racking up insurance claims of some Aus$977 million (US$765 million).

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Huawei, Orange present Car-Wi-Fi system in Spain

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-02-17

A Huawei ad on the street in Xiamen, Fujian province. (File photo/CNS)

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and French mobile network provider Orange on Monday jointly presented a new system Car-Wi-Fi, which allows users to connect a total of 10 different terminals, smartphones, tablets in the same vehicle to Wi-Fi.

Huawei's Car-WiFi system allows 4G connectivity, while weighing just 50 grams and with dimensions of just 59x49x88 millimeters and weight of just 50 grams and has an accessible price of just €99 (US$110).

Javier Palacios, the Director of Marketing at Huawei Device Spain said that "the connected car is an important opportunity for growth and with Huawei Car-WiFI, we are not only maintaining our promise to make a better connected world possible, but also to enter into another segment of the market, which has a promising future."

The Director of Residential Mobile Marketing of Orange, Spain, Mickael Faure explained that "with Car Wi-Fi, we once again show that we are the first to offer an exclusive and innovative solution to our clients. The question 'are we there yet?' that children always ask on journeys, will end with Car WiFi."

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chinese-built railway in Angola opens

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-02-15

A train at Lobito station in Benguela, Angola, Feb. 11. (Photo/Xinhua)

A 1,344-kilometer railway built by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) for Angola was completed and open to traffic on Saturday, the company told Xinhua.

The railway linking the coastal city of Lobito in the west and Luau bordering DR Congo is the second longest railway built by a Chinese company for Africa, after the Tanzania-Zambia railway.

The Tanzania-Zambia railway was built in the 1970s.

The railway, built since 2004, will be linked with the Angola-Zambian railway and the Tanzania-Zambia railway in the future, according to the company.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

An Apple car? Computer firm hires automotive engineers

Reports suggest Apple employees are designing and building a car

The Guardian, Rebecca Ratcliffe, Saturday 14 February 2015

Dozens of Apple employees are researching automotive products.
Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Apple is reportedly hiring automotive engineers to work at a top-secret lab in Silicon Valley, fuelling rumours that the company may be designing a car.

Dozens of Apple employees led by managers from its iPhone unit are researching automotive products, according to the Financial Times. It reports that the company has poached the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley research and development unit, while Sir Jonathan Ive, senior vice-president of design at Apple, has held regular meetings with automotive executives and engineers.

Designing and building a car would mark a huge change of direction for the computer maker, which researches and discards plenty of projects but has so far mainly stuck to its core expertise in mobile and electronic devices.

Apple, much like its closest rival Google, is trying to incorporate its software into cars. It may be hiring extra staff to shore up its CarPlay project, which lets drivers access contacts on their iPhones, make calls or listen to voicemails without taking their hands off the steering wheel. But the background and seniority of the executives it is recruiting have prompted speculation that Apple may be trying to move into car design.

The Wall Street Journal reports that sources with knowledge of the company say it is working on an electric car. The newspaper quotes one person as saying a vehicle that looks like a minivan has been designed.

Apple commentator Bryan Chaffin, of the Mac Observer website, speculated earlier this month that Apple had entered a hiring war with electric car maker Tesla, recruiting staff with an expertise in cars.

“Three months ago, I would have said it was CarPlay,” the FT quoted a person who has worked closely with Apple for many years as saying. “Today, I think it’s a car.”

It is unlikely that any resulting product would be released soon because the research lab was only set up late last year and Apple lacks a manufacturing facility.

Google released the latest prototype of its driverless car last May, after spending years developing the vehicle.

Related Article:


Shanghai tech firm gives Tesla cars to employees as year-end bonus

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-02-14

A customer admires a Tesla car at a car showroom in Beijing,
Feb. 11, 2014. (Photo/CFP
)

Chinese internet company Zhangmen Technology rewarded its employees with Tesla cars for year-end bonuses, reports Shanghai-based online media outlet The Paper.

Brother of leading entertainment company Shanda Interactive Entertainment founder and CEO Chen Tianqiao, Chen Danian, became CEO of Zhangmen, a subsidiary of Shanda that focuses on mobile internet software and hardware development.

Zhangmen turned profitable with a smartphone app named WiFi Omnipotent Key after reported losses of 100 million yuan (US$16 million) at the beginning of 2014. The Android-based app allows users to find WiFi hot spots near them and has active users of more than 500 million and 230 million monthly active users.

There has been speculation online that 36 out of around 50 employees received Tesla Model S cars for year-end bonuses. Chen Danian said more than 36 employees received cars as a reward for their hard work for the company. Talent is what is most needed in the Shanghai industry, as there is no dearth of money or ideas, Chen said.

Related Article:


Friday, February 13, 2015

Tesla Set to Ride Into Indonesian Market in Model S

Jakarta Globe, Vanesha Manuturi & Tabita Diela, Feb 13, 2015

The Tesla Model S electric car is now available to Indonesian drivers through
 the Jakarta-based Prestige Motorcars dealership with a generous price tag
of between $140,000 and $190,000. (Photo courtesy of Prestige Motorcars)

Jakarta. Tesla’s Model S, a line of premium electric cars from Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors, officially made its way to Indonesia on Friday, marking the brand’s entrance into Southeast Asia.

Launched three years ago in the United States, Tesla’s Model S will be available in Indonesia through Jakarta-based premium car dealership Prestige Motorcars.

“We believe Indonesia is ready for a high-technology car,” Rudy Salim, the president director of Prestige Motorcars, said in Jakarta on Friday.

“The demand for premium cars here is still high, and the [Tesla Model S] provides an alternative for people seeking an environmentally friendlier option.”

Rudy added that the electric car, which can travel up to 400 kilometers on a single charge, would be sold in Indonesia for between $140,000 and $190,000, double the manufacturer’s suggested retail price in the United States.

“We’ll also install a charging station in the buyers’ home,” Rudy added.

The cars will not be readily available at the dealership, he conceded, but will be imported with each customized order. The first batch of deliveries are scheduled for April.

The dealership started taking orders on Friday and has already seen requests coming from Jakarta and Surabaya.

Prestige Motorcars is, so far, the only car dealerships in Southeast Asia to offer the Tesla Model S, the brainchild of engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk. The 43-year-old is also chief executive of Tesla Motors and space technology company SpaceX.

Tesla Motors made its first official foray into the Southeast Asian market by opening a branch office in Singapore in 2010 and offering the Tesla Roadster. However, the lack of a green technology tax break and subsidies from the government forced the company close up shop 10 months later, according to a report from AutoEvolution.

Despite its popularity in the United States, the brand has experienced trouble gaining traction on the global stage. Last year’s sales figures for China, where Tesla  set up a branch in 2013, was weaker than previously expected, reportedly triggering a tirade from Musk threatening to fire top executives in the country.

Nevertheless, Prestige Motorcars’ Rudy said he was confident that Indonesians would embrace the brand.

“The [sales] decline in China was due to the country’s slowing economy, not a lack of interest. In Hong Kong, for example, demand is high. It will be similar in Indonesia,” he said.

Tesla’s Model S will compete with other premium car brands that have already made their mark on the local market, including Italy’s Ferrari and Germany’s Mercedes-Benz.

The former has sold 473 units in Indonesia so far, according to Ferrari Indonesia chief executive Arie Christopher. The Italian brand now sells an average of  40 cars per year here.

GlobeAsia

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chinese Families Protest MH370 Deaths Statement in Malaysia

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Feb 12, 2015

A Chinese relative of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 passengers sits
outside a Malaysia Airlines complex in Subang, Selangor, Malaysia on Feb. 12,
2015. (EPA Photo/Azhar Rahim)

Kuala Lumpur. Chinese relatives of those on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 protested outside the carrier’s office on Thursday, demanding Malaysia withdraw a statement declaring all the passengers dead.

The Malaysian government last month officially listed the disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 as an accident and said all 239 people on board had perished in a move it said would pave the way for compensation claims.

However, the announcement immediately sparked outrage among distraught family members who have shunned offers of compensation as some cling to hope that their loved ones may still be alive.

About 15 people gathered outside the airline’s gates under a hot sun on Thursday wearing white caps and red T-shirts bearing the words: “Pray for MH370.”

They held placards in English reading: “Who can tell us what happened”, “Come back MH370” and “Today it is us, Tomorrow it could be you.”

“My husband was on the flight. We want the Malaysia government to cancel the declaration that they made,” Kelly Wen, wife of a Chinese passenger who was only identified as Li, told AFP.

“My daughter is still alive!” cried 56-year-old Zhang Hui Jun, while being comforted by another woman from the group.

Malaysia Airlines officials then transported the protesters to the nearby Subang Airport and gave them lunch.

Reject declaration

Later, three representatives of the Chinese group were ushered away in a van to meet Malaysia Airlines group chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

One of the representatives, 63-year-old Wen Wan Shen, whose only son Yung Sheng was on the plane, told reporters that the meeting lasted for 30 minutes.

Wen said they handed a letter to Ahmad Jauhari demanding that the declaration of accident be overturned as there is no credible evidence.

Wen said Malaysia Airlines should pay the families who are struggling with their livelihoods after losing their loved ones, and that they will escalate their demands to other officials including prime minister Najib Razak.

The Chinese families have also demanded for more regular details on search operations.

Malaysia Airlines said it will respond to the relatives’ demands within the next few days.

But the airline said “it is in no position to provide any further clarification or technical information on the fate of MH370 other than what is already available in the public domain”.

The protestors said they are here for the long haul and will stay as long as possible.

More Chinese families of MH370 victims are expected to arrive in Malaysia this week ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 after inexplicably diverting from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course.

The airliner is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off western Australia but no trace has been found. Australia has been spearheading the hunt for the plane.

Chinese passengers accounted for about two-thirds of the 239 people who were aboard the Boeing 777.

Korean Air heiress jailed in 'nut rage' case

Yahoo – AFP, Jung Ha-Won, 12 Feb 2015

Cameramen take images of a prison bus carrying Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-Ah
as she arrives at a court for her trial in Seoul on February 12, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Jung Yeon-Je)

The daughter of Korean Air's chairman was jailed for one year Thursday over a now notorious "nut rage" incident that triggered an uproar over the behaviour of South Korea's elite business families.

The district court in Seoul convicted Cho Hyun-Ah of violating aviation safety law by forcing a taxiing New York-Seoul KAL flight to return to its departure gate on December 5.

Cho, who was the airline's executive vice president at the time, had insisted on expelling the chief purser from the plane after taking exception to being served macadamia nuts in a bag, rather than a bowl.

Cho Hyun-Ah, the daughter of Korean Air's
 chief executive, has been found guilty of 
violating aviation safety law in a now
notorious on-board "nut rage" incident
(AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-Je)
The 40-year-old had treated the flight "as if it was her own private plane", Justice Oh Sung-Woo said, adding that the case had become the object of international ridicule and "damaged the dignity" of the country.

"It is doubtful that the way the nuts were served was so wrong," Oh added.

Cho was also convicted of assault on the cabin crew.

The chief steward, Park Chang-Jin, had testified that Cho had made him kneel and beg for forgiveness while jabbing him with a service manual.

Prosecutors in the trial had asked for a three-year sentence, but Oh said he had taken into account that no lives had been jeopardised in the incident, as well as the fact that Cho had two young children and that her personal and professional reputation had been shattered.

Dismissing defence arguments to the contrary, the court ruled that an aircraft should be deemed "in flight" from the moment it begins to move and that Cho was therefore guilty of illegally altering the course of a plane.

Spoilt and arrogant

She was acquitted of obstruction of justice charges related to allegations that she had pressured KAL staff to lie about the incident.

Another defendant, also a KAL executive was convicted of forcing the flight crew to give false testimony and was jailed for eight months.

Although Cho had submitted letters to the court expressing repentance for her behaviour, Oh questioned whether she was truly remorseful.

Cho, who has been in custody since her arrest on December 30 and attended the court in a green prison outfit, stood silently throughout the ruling, her head bowed.

The case triggered a huge public backlash.

Cho was seen as emblematic of a generation of spoilt and arrogant offspring of owners of the giant family-run conglomerates, or "chaebols," that dominate the South Korean economy.

Like Cho, many are given senior positions in the family business, sometimes after a token period "learning the trade".

In the past, chaebol owners have appeared to be above the law. Those convicted of gross fraud have either received lenient sentences or been granted pardons after just a short time in jail.

Cho resigned from all her posts and publicly apologised for her behaviour, which her father and KAL chairman Cho Yang-Ho also criticised as a "foolish act".


South Korea's Korean Air plane, center, sits on the tarmac at 
Gimpo airport in Seoul on Dec. 9, 2014. (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-je)

Related Articles:


Britain Greenlights Driverless Cars on Public Roads

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Feb 12, 2015

A driverless 'Lutz Pathfinder' pod vehicle in London, Britain, 11 February 2015.
Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable and Transport
Minister Claire Perry unveiled driverless vehicles in Greenwich. (EPA Photo/Andy Rain)

London. Britain gave the green light on Wednesday for the testing of futuristic driverless cars on public roads in a multi-million-pound government scheme, with officials saying it would help boost safety.

”We are launching officially four trials of semi-autonomous vehicles, the first step on the route to driverless technology,” Transport Minister Claire Perry told AFP at the unveiling of a prototype driverless car in Greenwich, southeast London.

”It’s very good for road safety. Right now 93 percent of accidents are caused by driver error. It also has the opportunity to free up people’s time, to give us extra time in our days. And the other opportunity is to use the road capacity better.”

Under the project, the government has appointed three consortia to develop four prototype driverless vehicles.

Greenwich is one of three driverless car project centres funded by the £19-million ($28.9-million, 25.6-million-euro) scheme. The other projects are in Coventry and Milton Keynes in central England, and in Bristol in the southwest.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the initiative would seek to ensure Britain is a world leader in what was expected to be a £900-billion industry by 2025.

”In order for this to work, there has to be public acceptance, people to have complete confidence that they’re safe and the regulation and the insurance principles operates and so that is happening in parallel with technological development,” Cable told AFP.

European space plane splashes down on schedule: ESA

Yahoo – AFP, February 11, 2015

Europe set for launch of space plane prototype

Paris (AFP) - Europe's prototype space plane splashed down in the Pacific on schedule Wednesday after a 100-minute flight to test key re-entry technologies, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

"The mission has come to an end according to plan... it couldn't have been better," ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said in a live webcast.

Mission officials cheered and hugged each other at the success.

Dubbed the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), the craft marks the first step in Europe's strategy to join an elite club of nations able to launch spacecraft and return them safely to Earth.

It is an innovative wingless wedge shape, designed to cope with the stress of re-entry and glide to a pre-determined site.

The maiden mission saw the car-sized IXV launched from ESA's base in French Guiana and head eastwards on a sub-orbital path before splashing down about 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) west of the Galapagos Island.

It was to be picked up by crane by a recovery ship.

"The mission is not yet over because now it's going to be necessary to analyse all of the data that was collected throughout the flight," said Dordain.

"The data analysis part of the work is to begin soon. It will be hard work, but it will move the frontiers of knowledge further back concerning aerodynamics, thermal issues, guidance and navigation."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jakarta Floods Force PLN to Shut Down Over 400 Electrical Relays

Jakarta Globe, Rangga Prakoso, Feb 09, 2015

Residents try to cross a street in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, on Monday.
 (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)

Jakarta. State utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has shut down more than 400 electrical relays in the Greater Jakarta area on Monday due to floods that inundated parts of the capital.

PLN spokesman Mambang Hertadi said that as of 3:35 p.m the company had shut down 428 electrical relays in flood-hit areas to prevent people from being electrocuted.

“The area affected by the floods is getting bigger so we have to cut off the electricity supply to more consumers’ houses,” Mambang said.

Mambang added that people whose house was inundated should immediately turn off their electricity and unplug all electronic devices.

He urged people to follow this advice and stay alert to prevent accidents.

Last month, two people died of electrocution when their house in West Pademangan, North Jakarta, was inundated by water and they forgot to unplug their refrigerator.

Jakartans woke up to a partially flooded city on Monday after a night of heavy rains. Many roads were impassable, leading to massive traffic problems in all part of the city.


A policeman helps a motorist on flooded street outside the Presidential Palace
 after heavy seasonal rains flooded parts of Jakarta Feb. 9, 2015. (Reuters Photo/
Darren Whiteside)


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Indonesia’s First Privately Run Airport to Be Built in Riau Islands Province

Jakarta Globe, Denverino Dante, Feb 08, 2015

Renderings of Bintan Airport, Indonesia's first privately owned airport, set to
open in the end of 2016 (Photo courtesy of Bintan Aviation Investments)

From Jakarta to Jambi and Pontianak to Pangkalpinang, Indonesian cities have experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Unfortunately the airports of these and other cities in the archipelago have been slow to keep up with demand, and are now suffering from overcapacity.

This is not just due to local demand. The introduction of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Open Skies policy is certain to trigger more passenger traffic within the region. This issue must be addressed as airports not only serve to move people, but also contribute to growth.

An example is New Zealand’s Auckland Airport, which served 14 million passengers in 2013 and contributed close to $15 billion, or 19 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Virtually all of Indonesia’s airports are government-owned. But a law governing aviation, passed in January 2009, sets out how the private sector can participate in the development of airports in Indonesia. In May last year, airports were taken off the “negative investment list,” allowing foreign companies to own up to 49 percent of airport ventures.

Theoretically, the government has opened the door for the private sector to participate in airport development. Unfortunately these changes are yet to stimulate interest from the private sector.

Each proposed airport project has its own specific challenges, ranging from return on investment issues to land acquisition problems. Lion Air has set out plans to build its own airport in Banten province but no specifics have been announced.

However, one company is set to take on the challenge. Bintan Aviation Investments (BAI), a subsidiary of Singapore-based publicly listed Gallant Venture, which in turn is backed by the Salim Group and Singapore’s Sembcorp, will create Indonesia’s first privately owned airport.

Once completed, the new airport will be able to accommodate wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and Boeing’s 747 and 777 models.

Located in the Bintan Industrial Estate on Bintan Island, Riau Islands province, the first phase of the airport will include three hangars, a three-kilometer runway and a terminal. The company has set aside $135 million for this first phase.

The airport is set to open at the end of next year, with plans to serve a million passengers in its first year of operation. The company has ambitiously also set aside land for future developments, capable of serving up to 60 million passengers per year, roughly the number handled annually by Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Situated next to the airport is the company’s 177-hectare aerospace industrial park. In December GMF-AeroAsia — a subsidiary of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia — and BAI signed a joint-venture agreement to establish a company specializing in aircraft maintenance.

This joint venture is a follow-up to a memorandum of understanding signed by both parties in early 2014, which plans to turn Bintan into a new regional hub and maintenance facility center for Garuda Indonesia in order to better tap the Southeast Asian market.

According to Richard Budihadianto, chief executive of GMF AeroAsia, the first phase will see two single-bay hangars, each capable of handling heavy maintenance on wide-body aircraft, plus a third specialized wide-body painting hangar.

He explained that Bintan is the perfect location for the operation as it is near Singapore, where several regional offices of major aviation industry players are located.

The airport is also integrated with a seaport so the movement of aircraft components will be easy and efficient. Aside from already owning several Boeing 747s, Garuda Indonesia will soon receive 10 Boeing 777 jets, while its fleet of Airbus A330s is projected to grow to 30. The total Asia-Pacific market for aircraft maintenance reached $16.4 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow to $26.5 billion by 2022.

The joint venture will handle manufacturing and assembly of aircraft engines and components, aviation training and research and development centers.

There will be a dedicated township, including residential areas for employees, dormitories, a health center, sports center and convenience stores to cater to management and staff at the aerospace industrial park.

“There must be a bundling of several activities in the area to trigger the required base traffic at the airport in order to justify the investment,” BAI managing director Michael Wudy said.

“The Bintan airport comes from the necessity to open access for tourists to Bintan and to provide landing and take-off facilities for aircraft using the heavy maintenance facility.”

The story was first published on GlobeAsia’s February edition