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

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

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, June 30, 2022

EU approves end of combustion engine sales by 2035

Rfi – AFP, 29 June 2022 

EU approves plan for a complete shift to electric engines in the European
Union from 2035 RONNY HARTMANN AFP/File

 Luxembourg (AFP) – The European Union approved a plan to end the sale of vehicles with combustion engines by 2035 in Europe, the 27-member bloc announced early Wednesday, in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions to zero. 

The measure, first proposed in July 2021, will mean a de facto halt to sales of petrol and diesel cars as well as light commercial vehicles and a complete shift to electric engines in the European Union from 2035. 

The plan is intended to help achieve the continent's climate objectives, in particular, carbon neutrality by 2050. 

At the request of countries including Germany and Italy, the EU-27 also agreed to consider a future green light for the use of alternative technologies such as synthetic fuels or plug-in hybrids. 

While approval would be tied to achieving the complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, the technologies have been contested by environmental NGOs. 

Environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg also approved a five-year extension of the exemption from CO2 obligations granted to so-called "niche" manufacturers, or those producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year, until the end of 2035. 

The clause, sometimes referred to as the "Ferrari amendment", will benefit luxury brands in particular. 

These measures must now be negotiated with members of the European Parliament. 

"This is a big challenge for our automotive industry," acknowledged French Minister of Ecological Transition Agnes Pannier-Runacher, who chaired Tuesday night's meeting. 

But she said it was a "necessity" in the face of competition from China and the United States, which have bet heavily on electric vehicles seen as the future of the industry. 

These decisions will "allow a planned and accompanied transition", the minister said. 

Openness to synthetic fuels

Europe's automotive industry, which is already investing heavily in the move to electric vehicles, fears the social impact of a too-rapid transition. 

"The overwhelming majority of car manufacturers have chosen electric cars," said Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission Vice President in charge of the European Green Deal, at a press conference. 

He affirmed the EU body's willingness to be open-minded to other technologies -- like synthetic fuels, which are also referred to as e-fuels. 

"We are technology neutral. What we want are zero-emission cars," he explained. 

"At the moment, e-fuels do not seem a realistic solution, but if manufacturers can prove otherwise in the future, we will be open." 

The technology of synthetic fuels, currently under study, consists of producing fuel from CO2 from industrial activities using low-carbon electricity, in a circular economy approach. 

Like the oil industry, the automotive sector has high hopes for these new fuels, which would extend the use of internal combustion engines now threatened by the emergence of completely electric vehicles. 

But environmental organisations object to the use of this technology in cars, as it is considered both expensive and energy-consuming. 

The synthetic-fuelled engines also emit as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) as their fossil fuel equivalents, they say. 

Cars are the main mode of transport for Europeans and account for just under 15 percent of total CO2 emissions in the EU. It is also one of the main gases responsible for global warming.

In response to manufacturers' concerns about insufficient consumer demand for 100 percent electric cars, the Commission has recommended a major expansion of charging stations. 

"Along the main roads in Europe, there must be charging points every 60 kilometres (37 miles)," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last year. 

Manufacturers regularly complain about the lack of such infrastructure, especially in southern and eastern European countries.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Elon Musk hands over first 'made in Germany' Teslas

Yahoo – AFP, Florian CAZERES, March 22, 2022

Elon Musk tweeted "Danke Deutschland!" (Thank you, Germany) after inaugurating
Tesla's first production site in Europe (AFP/Patrick Pleul)


Tesla CEO Elon Musk danced for joy at the inauguration of his "gigafactory" electric car plant near Berlin on Tuesday, shrugging off two years of bureaucracy and delays to watch customers drive off with the first Model Y vehicles made in Europe. 

"Danke Deutschland!" (Thank you, Germany) Musk tweeted after the red ribbon ceremony, where he joined workers in applauding the first 30 drivers to get behind the wheel of their new cars. 

The US billionaire even broke into a little dance during the handovers, reviving memories of the slightly awkward jig he did at a launch event in Shanghai in 2020 that lit up the internet. 

The factory opening caps an arduous two-year approval and construction process that saw Tesla run into a series of administrative and legal hurdles, including complaints from locals about the site's environmental impact. 

Having started construction at its own risk, Tesla finally won the formal go-ahead from regional authorities to begin production earlier this month. 

The "gigafactory" in Gruenheide, in Germany's eastern state of Brandenburg, is Tesla's first production site in Europe and local officials are hoping it will help the region position itself as a hub for electric vehicle production. 

The Californian company aims eventually to employ some 12,000 workers at the site who will churn out around 500,000 Model Y cars annually, the firm's all-electric, compact SUVs. 

"We are extremely confident that the world can transition to a sustainable energy future with the combination of solar, wind, plus battery storage and electric vehicles," Musk said in a speech at the ceremony. 

"I really want to assure everyone that you can have hope in the future, you should have hope in the future," he added. 

'New era' 

Tesla's arrival is expected to jolt Germany's flagship car industry, setting the stage for fierce competition with rivals Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz as they pivot from traditional engines to cleaner electric vehicles. 

"The new era in the auto industry has now arrived in Germany," said analyst Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from the Center for Automotive Research. 

Tesla's focus on Europe comes as the continent grapples with sky-high energy costs that have sent petrol prices soaring, prompting some drivers to take a closer look at electric alternatives. 

The "Giga Berlin-Brandenburg" is "one of the biggest strategic endeavours for Tesla over the last decade and should further vault its market share within Europe over the coming years as more consumers aggressively head down the EV path," analysts at investment firm Wedbush said. 

But Tesla has not been spared the pain from shortages of key materials and supply chain disruptions, linked in part to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, that are also plaguing other carmakers. 

Musk tweeted last week that the company was seeing "significant recent inflation pressure" in raw materials and logistics. 

Away from Russian oil 

Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who attended Tuesday's inauguration along with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said it was "a special day for Germany's mobility transformation". 

In a nod to efforts to reduce reliance on Russian energy, Habeck said electric cars took Germany "one step further away from oil imports". 

He also called for more "Tesla speed" in other infrastructure projects, including the expansion of renewable energies. 

Although Musk was frequently frustrated by the red tape that slowed down his Gruenheide plans, by German standards the factory was up and running in record time. 

The inauguration was not universally welcomed, however, with environmental campaigners protesting near the site. 

Among their demands was a call for better and free public transport instead of "yet more cars", said spokeswoman Lou Winters from the Sand in the Gears environmental group.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hertz orders 100,000 Tesla electric autos

 Yahoo – AFP, October 25, 2021

Hertz announced it will buy 100,000 autos from Tesla by the end of 2022
(AFP/SCOTT OLSON)

Hertz announced Monday an order to buy 100,000 autos from Tesla by the end of 2022 in the latest embrace of electric car technology by the auto industry. 

The car rental giant, which emerged from a bankruptcy reorganization earlier this year, said the electric vehicles (EV) would be available "in US major markets and select cities in Europe" beginning in early November, according to a Hertz press release. 

Hertz is also installing EV charging stations at its locations. 

"Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we've only just begun to see rising global demand and interest," said interim Hertz Chief Executive Mark Fields. 

"The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet." 

Hertz exited the US Chapter 11 bankruptcy process in June, a little more than a year after filing to reorganize its finances as the coronavirus pandemic devastated the travel industry. 

However, with the global economy reopening in the wake of Covid-19 vaccines, the car rental market has revived and rental companies are renewing their fleets. 

Led by Elon Musk, Tesla has been ramping up production rapidly by increasing output at existing factories and building new plants in Germany and the US state of Texas. 

In the last year, conventional automakers like General Motors and Volkswagen have also announced significant new EV plans. 

With the current order, EVs will comprise 20 percent of Hertz's global fleet. The company will have EV chargers in around 65 markets by the end of 2022 and more than 100 markets by the end of 2023, Hertz said.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

“Coming Discoveries” – (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll)

Kryon.com, August 25, 2021 

Live Kryon Channelling. Healing Wednesday livestream 

Lee Carroll
Greetings, dear ones, I am Kryon of Magnetic Service 

This is the fourth channel of the month regarding change. The past three weeks, we’ve discussed several attributes of change that are beginning to happen on this planet. The changes are mostly consciousness, and we have given you some examples which show that many of these were expected, and they coordinate with the messages of the indigenous. They revolve around the cycle of our time, the precession of the equinox, and the 2012 shift. 

So, here you sit in a time of expected change, and the first thing that happens is COVID. You have to ask, “Is it related?” And we’ve given the answer now many times. Indeed (it is related)! More than related, it is the catalyst to what follows next. This virus has almost stopped the normal operational attributes of this planet, and I told you that this is like stopping a large factory so that it can retool. 

We have discussed the metaphor of a factory that cannot stop. After some time, it starts to be dysfunctional, and those operating it start a process of greed and lack of integrity. It becomes so bad that it becomes badly inefficient, yet, nobody can stop it. It’s too big. However, COVID stopped it! This gives a space, does it not? It’s a space that no one expected, given in order to see the inefficiencies of the factory (the systems of Earth). It’s a time to retool and clearly see the dark things that have grown in the dark corners where you never were able to look before. It’s a chance to see more light than ever and identify those who are keeping you from seeing it. 

Dear ones, that’s just the beginning of what we discussed. We’ve given you some messages of change in the past and said, “watch for this,” or “look for that.” These things are coming. There are some things coming that would surprise you, that are truly sensational and filled with great things, and when I tell you about some of these things, you may ask, “How soon, Kryon, how soon?” Every single one of these things that I’m going to give you now actually already exists. They already exist in some form or are being developed. Let me be clear: Some of these things lay on humanity, waiting for the aha experience. “Kryon, what are you talking about?” 

Inventions are Given when They are Needed 

Let me go back and revisit some messages you may have heard before: Major inventions that have changed the culture of this planet often seem to happen all at once, all over the globe, almost like they were delivered to consciousness all at once from somewhere else. 

Seldom do you have just one individual with an idea that then changes the planet. That may be the story they tell you in history, but these profound inventions and discoveries usually happen simultaneously, and the first individual to manifest it is the one who gets the credit. 

Electricity: Some of the inventions that manifest themselves on the planet seem odd in their timing. You might look back and ask, “Why did it take so long? How is this possible?” If you start looking at the facts, the discovery of electricity is one. How long has this energy been obvious to mankind in so many ways? Whether it’s static (electricity), like the sparks you make when you move your feet on certain substances, or whether it’s lightning in the sky … why did it take until only a couple of hundred years ago for it really to be looked at, or the question asked: “I wonder if this is energy we could use?” As to who actually invented it, you knew it was Michael Faraday, right (or did you get another story)? And – that it wasn’t actually electricity – but rather, electromagnetic induction (magnetics)? 

Flight is another one. The Chinese have been flying kites and have known about wind currents for 3,000 years. Why weren’t there men in the sky, using kites and updrafts with the profound understanding that humanity already had of these things? What took so long? Even today, you see those who leap off mountain tops without powered flight – with a kite strapped to them. Where was that? It should have been intuitive and should have occurred a thousand years ago. You had watched the birds, you flew kites, yet, for thousands of years, nobody did it. Does this make sense? It took until the Wright brothers gave it to you using powered engines. That wasn’t that long ago, dear ones, and they only beat the French with their famous first flight by two weeks! Do you see what I’m saying? This invention was “delivered to the Field” when it was ready – and all over the Earth at the same time. 

Inventions that change the Earth profoundly in this way happen when it’s time. You may disagree. You may say, “Oh, we can think of these things any time we want.” This is not true or many inventions that were completely “there and ready and intuitive” would have happened even sooner than they did. 

There are some things coming that are already here, dear ones, in certain ways. They are already in the Field, waiting to be plucked out. I want to tell you about them. Some have heard this before. 

The Best Coming Inventions Will Not Be High Technology 

Don’t be surprised if the most advanced discoveries that you’re going to make, which are going to change this planet profoundly, have nothing to do with artificial intelligence or massive amounts of computing. You might say, it’s “back to basics” because some of the best inventions will be using patterns and basic physics that were always there, but which you just haven’t thought of yet. 

“Kryon, what are you talking about?” 

THE END OF BATTERIES – AND THE GRID 

Let me talk about the magnetic energy wheel. It might be two, or even three wheels, but there is a simple pattern, an array of magnets that, when placed correctly, can keep a wheel spinning – forever. 

Using the simple push/pull energy of small or large magnets together in a specific array, you can keep this wheel going forever. You’re aware, are you not, that natural magnets are very powerful, and they push and they pull with a great deal of force, with no rest or refresh time, and no side effects, and no fuel. This is a huge secret! Why have you not seen this before? Put them together in an array where they will push and pull against each other and spin whatever size wheel you wish – until the end of time! All you have to do is oil the bearings occasionally. Have you thought of that? Dear ones, listen: If you can make something spin, you can connect it to an electric generator. Electricity, in any quantity, forever! 

I want you to think of what this means. Imagine: No batteries. “Kryon, what are you talking about. You’ve got to have batteries.” Dear ones, that statement is soooo yesterday! Imagine your favorite device. A phone, perhaps? What if, instead of a battery, it had a tiny, miniature, spinning magnetic motor that powered the device in real-time – forever! Not only are there no batteries in the future, but no charging anything. Every electronic thing you have has its own tiny, spinning generator built-in. 

“Kryon, how big can this wheel be?” Well, let’s think: Everything I have said can be enlarged. So, instead of a battery in an electric car, there is a larger spinning electric engine underneath, always supplying electricity to what we will now call super capacitance (something we have only briefly discussed). You will always have enough electricity to go for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles without ever stopping. And even while you sleep, electricity is still being generated to the “super cap.” It never stops. 

“Kryon, I still don’t understand how all this is going to change the entire planet.” 

Dear ones, I’m talking about individual power for every single building that exists on the planet – without being connected to any grid. NO WIRES AND NO OUTSIDE SOURCE. No weather pattern will ever shut down a city again or cause those to die because they can’t get electricity – because it’s right outside in a little spinning motor that never stops and always is running, to power whatever is needed. Magnetics is the answer. It’s free, instant, and mobile electricity for all. 

Every continent on this planet could have as much electricity as they wanted or needed to instantly power villages, hospitals, communications, teaching through the internet, and more. The internet would work, no matter what. Can you imagine when everybody could talk to everybody? Cultures and continents would start healing themselves and would finally start to be educated. 

All of this can happen from one undiscovered pattern – a magnetic array. Putting those magnets together so they will push and pull in a way that they will spin forever, can be customizable to any size – miniaturized or massive. They can power ships and cars – and they go forever. There is no resource that is easier and safer to use to power this planet than magnetics. No natural resources are burned, no pollution, and entirely safe. 

Kryon – This Can’t Work 

“Kryon: If I had this invention, there are forces out there who would never let it be developed. I would be afraid to have it! The power companies of the planet will buy it and pocket it because they want to sell what they’ve got. They will never let this happen.” 

Let’s stop for a moment. Dear ones, this is not your father’s world. What have I told you about change for the past 30 years? DO NOT POSTULATE THE FUTURE ON WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST. The shift is changing the consciousness of the planet. 

Right now, the power companies all over your land are in trouble. Fossil fuel is in trouble, if you haven’t noticed. Nuclear power, the former Holy Grail of power, has shown itself clearly to be exceptionally dangerous! Every one of the accepted mass power generation systems is failing. 

I will tell you that the power companies of this land (USA), even if they are using steam or wind or sunlight, are all anxious for this invention! It’s simple, efficient, no huge investment needed, and (ready?) THEY will then be the ones to manufacture and sell the units, improving them and finding more and more uses to free all of you from any kind of power grid. So I’m telling you, it’s a new world, and those in the “power business” will be the first to want to use this. 

The Highest and Most Powerful Force of Humanity 

Let me give you my favorite one: There are things that this body of yours does, which has only to do with consciousness, nothing else. In the last twenty years, there has been a revelation of proof. Consciousness is energy. It can alter physics. 

This realization was not always thought to be the case. In the past, consciousness was something esoteric, not well definable, and it didn’t belong in physics. Now it does. There is now a slow awareness that consciousness absolutely must be considered energy. 

Think: If consciousness is energy, then, like all other physical energies, there must be rules or axioms. It becomes predictive science. When you start to figure that out and you understand what those are, you will have some profound answers to some of the greatest mysteries of health: The energy of consciousness is the reason for the placebo effect! Someone takes a sugar-coated pill, and they are told that the pill is going to create a cure – and then it does! What is the process? How is that possible? 

Someone takes a homeopathic tincture, a chemistry that is too small to create a chemical reaction. Yet, it cures! What is happening? How does that work? The answer is the energy and the physics of consciousness combined with something called mirror neurons: What the body sees and expects, it often creates by itself. Perhaps, you see someone else eating a meal and you salivate. That’s consciousness over chemistry, dear ones. 

Have you ever wondered if mirror neurons could play a powerful and larger part in a coming system of healing? What if you could convince your body that it was healing? Mirror neurons can’t tell the difference between what you believe or what is happening chemically. Therefore, consciousness instructs the body to heal itself, and it does! Now you understand how spontaneous remission may work. When you convince the body that a healing is occurring, it believes it so completely that it heals itself. This will be a new healing process. It will be the best of any that ever existed – using the energy of consciousness in new, measurable, scientific ways. 

No artificial intelligence – no super hi-tech advancements 

Instead, this becomes the revelation of what you as Humans have always had. Powerful! 

I want you to ponder these changes because they are in the Field. Do you think when science discovered that consciousness is energy, they just left that alone? No. They wanted to find out more about what it is. The first thing they realized is that they are dealing with a multidimensional energy. Indeed, science may not think immediately about the self-healing potentials that exist, but eventually, they will 

How long will it take? That’s up to you. How many of you believe these things? For the belief itself, you might say, is a transmitter of reality, because when you believe something, you can make it happen. 

Changes are coming to this planet, dear ones, and I have told you this. We continue to tell you about the ones that will enhance humanity, and there will come a time when the last thing you will ever want to do to each other is to kill one another. There is precedent for this in other places that I have talked about, so I have seen it. I have seen it. 

I am Kryon, in love with humanity. 

And so it is 

KRYON

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Uber barred from sacking 10 staff who refused to take redundancy

DutchNews, November 23, 2020 

Online taxi agency Uber has been refused permission to sack workers at its international headquarters in Amsterdam, the NRC has reported

State jobs agency UWV, which has to assess all formal applications for redundancy, has ruled that there were no valid grounds for dismissal because the company could not demonstrate that the downturn in the workload was structural. 

The UWV also referred to comments made by Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who told a staff meeting on September 1 that the job cuts, first announced in May, were more severe than strictly necessary. 

The decision is being seen as a vindication for some 10 Uber workers who refused to leave when the company pressured almost 200 staff in Amsterdam into leaving before the redundancies had been approved by the UVW. 

Uber announced in May that it would sack 25% of its 27,000 global workforce as the coronavirus pandemic has led to an 80% drop in its revenue. Some 1,000 people work for Uber in Amsterdam, mainly in app development, design, marketing and sales. 

The company applied to the UWV for approval for the redundancies, as required by Dutch redundancy law, but before the agency could rule, nearly all the workers who were being let go had already signed the relevant paperwork and been paid off, the NRC said earlier this month. 

Systems 

‘The workers who were affected were shut out of all the company’s systems the day after they were told they had to leave,’ the paper said. ‘They were also given a daily reminder about signing the agreement and told that their job would cease to exist.’ 

Many were expats from outside the EU with little knowledge of Dutch labour law, the paper said. 

Uber has not yet commented on the UWV’s findings. However, the FNV union’s spokesman on taxi platforms, Amrit Sewgobind, told the NRC he was very pleased with the UWV’s decision.

‘This shows a powerful company like Uber has to comply with Dutch redundancy law if it wants to sack staff,’ he said.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Liberty flying car cleared for road use, talks ongoing for aviation permit

DutchNews, October 28, 2020 

Photo: Pal-V

A flying car developed by Dutch company Pal-V has been cleared for use on the Dutch roads by vehicle licensing agency RDW. 

Work started on designing the Liberty in 2012 and it has now passed stringent road admission tests allowing a prototype to drive on public roads for further trials.

‘We have been cooperating with the road authorities for many years to reach this milestone,’ chief technical officer Mike Stekelenburg said. 

‘The excitement you feel in the team is huge. It was very challenging to make a “folded aircraft” pass all road admission tests. The trick in successfully making a flying car is to ensure that the design complies with both air and road regulations.’ 

Work on winning aviation certification with the European safety agency Easa started in 2015 and the company expects to get the green light in 2022. 

‘Over 1200 test reports need to be completed before the final 150 hours of flight testing can take place. After this the deliveries to customers will start,’ the company said in a statement

The Liberty is a two-seater vehicle which converts in five to 10 minutes into a gyrocopter, which can land and take off vertically in a small space. 

According to the Financieele Dagblad, some 30 people in the Netherlands have already ordered and paid for a flying car, at a cost of €499,000 each. Owners must also pass their flying certificate to be able to use the vehicle in the air.

Qatar faces scrutiny after women 'forcibly examined'

Yahoo – AFP, Gregory Walton, October 27, 2020 

Qatar Airways crew prepare to enter Sydney international airport to fly a repatriation
flight back to France on April 2, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

Qatar Airways crew prepare to enter Sydney international airport to fly a repatriation flight back to France on April 2, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

Revelations that passengers flying through Doha were forced to endure vaginal inspections have upended Qatar's efforts to boost its reputation before the Gulf state hosts World Cup 2022, experts say. 

Officers marched women off a Sydney-bound Qatar Airways flight earlier this month and forced them to undergo intimate examinations after a newborn baby was found abandoned in an airport bathroom. 

The incident sparked a diplomatic row between Australia and Qatar and comes as a setback for the gas-rich emirate, which has worked extensively to grow its soft power. 

Doha has invested heavily in its airline, Al-Jazeera broadcaster and social projects that include women's health and educational initiatives. 

But the conservative Muslim monarchy, where sex and childbirth out of wedlock are still punishable by jail, has struggled to reassure critics that its promises on women's rights, labour relations and democracy are credible. 

Mark Gell, founder of Sydney-based consultancy Reputation Edge, said "it could get out of hand from a reputational point of view for the airline", the state-run Qatar Airways. 

"Was it the airline's responsibility? We don't know. But absolutely it could impact their business," he told AFP. 

"If I shared this with my wife, I'm sure she'd turn around and say 'I'm never going through there again'." 

Adverts packed with top-flight footballers including Neymar have aired worldwide, touting Qatar Airways' extensive network, ultra-modern aircraft and glitzy Doha airport hub. 

World Cup 2022 host Qatar has struggled to reassure critics that its promises
on women's rights, labour relations and democracy are credible

Australia is a particularly important market for the carrier, which before the coronavirus pandemic served six cities Down Under and promoted repatriation flights for stranded nationals when other airlines grounded their fleets. 

'Avoid Qatar Airways' 

Alex Oliver of Sydney-based think tank the Lowy Institute said Australians -- especially women -- would "avoid Qatar Airways like the plague" after the October 2 incident. 

"It's a shocking move from a country that has spent billions of state funds on attempting to convey perceptions of a more liberal Gulf state," she said. 

But it is sport on which Qatar has staked its reputation, winning not just the 2022 World Cup and bidding for summer Olympics but also pouring cash into developing sport in poorer countries. 

Qatar has nonetheless had to contain several public relations crises in recent years linked to its shock victory in the competition to host the 2022 football tournament. 

As it began to ramp up construction, rights groups condemned Qatar's treatment of the hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers recruited from South Asia and other developing countries. 

Activists have long called on Qatar to decriminalise "love cases", women who become pregnant outside of marriage and give birth without the help of medics who are required to report such cases. 

Human Rights Watch told AFP Qatar should "examine the policy that led to the event in the first place".

Doha has invested heavily in its airline, Al-Jazeera broadcaster and social
projects to boost its image

'Betrayed' 

The ultra-wealthy country of 2.75 million people has also faced scrutiny over LGBT rights, jihadist fundraising, and its overseas military interventions since its 2010 victory in the battle to host the global soccer spectacle. 

Qatar's government has yet to address the airport allegations, despite a furious rebuke by Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne who called the incident "grossly disturbing, offensive (and) concerning". 

Late on Sunday, airport management released a statement claiming that "individuals who had access to the specific area of the airport where the newborn infant was found were asked to assist in the query". 

It gave no details about the procedures they were required to undergo and made no apology for the incident, but said the child was still alive and being cared for. 

Gell said it would not be enough for the airport management to downplay the allegations and suggest the women had merely been asked to help trace the abandoned baby's mother. 

"That's not going to hold up. In fact, that'll probably inflame it, to suggest that these women have voluntarily done this. I would find that difficult to believe," he said. 

Oliver said she was surprised the response "was so hardline and intransigent". 

"With the World Cup now getting very close, you would expect it to be back-pedalling madly." 

Expatriate women in Doha have reacted with shock and fear to the disclosures. 

"I can't help but think of my daughters if they had been on that plane," said one expatriate woman living in Doha who declined to be named for fear of retribution. 

"It makes me sick. I feel betrayed by the country I call home," said another.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

It is not just pensioners who are using electric bikes, new study shows

DutchNews, October 13, 2020 

Photo: Depositphotos.com


More people in the Netherlands are using electric bikes and they are growing in popularity among the young as well as pensioners, figures from the government mobility institute KiM have shown. 

In 2019 18% of all bike trips were made on electric bikes, compared to only 8% in 2013. Almost 10% of cycle trips made by the under-35s are now on an electric bike, which their use by 35 to 65-year-olds has more than doubled in six years. 

The KiM said electric bikes are increasingly used to travel to and from work although recreational use had doubled as well. Initially electric bikes were popular among the elderly but use among the under 65s is growing fast, the KiM said. 

Electric bike sales have been superseding the sale of ordinary bikes since 2017 and demand exploded earlier in the coronavirus crisis when people were wary of using public transport. In May the sale of electric bikes went up some 38% compared to the same month the year before. 

At the same time, the theft of electric bikes went up as well, by almost 40% in the last year. ‘Ordinary bikes are targeted by opportunists, but e-bikes are being stolen by organised gangs,’ a spokesman for bike insurer Enra said at the time.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Dutch minister says survival of Air France-KLM 'not a given'

Yahoo – AFP, September 13, 2020

Many Air France-KLM planes have been grounded for months because of
the coronavirus

The survival of the Air France-KLM group is not guaranteed if the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues, Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra warned Sunday.

France and the Netherlands, each with a 14-percent share of the group, have poured out billions of euros in aid to help national carriers that virtually came to a standstill in the first half of 2020.

"It's not a given," Hoekstra said in an interview with Dutch public television NPO, stressing the need to cut costs.

In the spring, Paris gave Air France seven billion euros ($8.3 billion) in loans, and The Hague granted KLM similar aid worth 3.4 billion euros.

The bailout for KLM must be accompanied by "a comprehensive restructuring plan" as well as commitments to reestablish performance and competitiveness.

Hoekstra said he had insisted in talks with KLM on the importance of changing direction.

Dutch press agency ANP said KLM has to develop a restructuring plan by October 1.

Air France-KLM suffered a loss of 2.6 billion euros in the second quarter as air traffic virtually shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This followed a loss of 1.8 billion euros in the first quarter.

Air France said it would cut almost 7,600 jobs by the end of 2022 and KLM up to 5,000 jobs.

Realted Article:


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Virgin seeks to revive supersonic commercial flight -- but faster

France24 – AFP, 3 August 2020

Virgin Galactic unveiled its design for a supersonic aircraft and announced a
partnership with Rolls-Royce to build the engine Handout Virgin Galactic/
The Spaceship Company/AFP

Washington (AFP) - Space tourism company Virgin Galactic on Monday announced a partnership with engine-maker Rolls-Royce to build a supersonic commercial airplane that flies at three times the speed of sound.

The aircraft would travel at Mach 3 -- rather than the Mach 2 speed of Concorde, the pioneering jet that operated from 1976 to 2003.

Any new supersonic plane would have to solve the problems that doomed Concorde, in particular noise and fuel consumption.

"We are excited to... unveil this initial design concept of a high speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience," said George Whitesides, chief space officer at Virgin Galactic.

The aircraft's draft design showed a plane with a triangular "delta wing" carrying between nine and 19 passengers at an altitude of more than 60,000 feet, or 18,000 meters -- about twice as high as normal commercial flight.

The plane would take off and land at existing airport runways.

Virgin Galactic said its team would "work to address key challenges in thermal management, maintenance, noise, emissions, and economics that routine high speed commercial flights would entail."

The company signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce to develop an engine for the aircraft.

Virgin Galactic's main focus this far has been its part-plane, part-rocket craft that is being developed to carry tourists to the edge of space.

It is awaiting more test flights, and no launch date for commercial journeys has been set.

The company, which was listed on the stock exchange last year, is seeking to diversify and in May it announced an agreement with NASA to develop high-speed technology.

NASA has also been working for decades on a silent supersonic experimental aircraft, the X-59. A first prototype is being built by Lockheed-Martin in California.

The project hopes to make the supersonic boom -- the explosion caused by crossing the sound barrier -- almost inaudible on the ground.

Monday, August 3, 2020

America's first crewed spaceship in decade splashes down off Florida

Yahoo – AFP, Issam AHMED, August 2, 2020

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley seen carrying out final preparations in
the SpaceX "Endeavour" which should land off the coast of Pensacola at
2:48 pm (1848 GMT) (AFP Photo/Handout)

Washington (AFP) - America's first crewed spaceship to achieve orbit since the Space Shuttle era splashed down safely in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour's four main parachutes gently floated down after the vessel landed off the coast of Pensacola at 2:48 pm (1848 GMT).

Pilot Doug Hurley, one of the two astronauts on board, said: "It's truly our honor and privilege" as radio communications became choppy and cut out.

A recovery boat speeded to collect Hurley and commander Bob Behnken, who spent two months on board the International Space Station.

The successful mission demonstrated that the United States once again has the capacity to send its astronauts to space and bring them back.

President Donald Trump -- who had travelled to Florida for the capsule's launch two months ago -- hailed its safe return.

"Thank you to all!" he tweeted. "Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after very successful two month mission."

The United States has had to rely on Russia for this purpose since the last Space Shuttle flew in 2011.

In this file photo taken on May 30, 2020 NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (R) and Doug 
Hurley prepare for lift-off to the International Space Station (AFP Photo/JOE RAEDLE)

Tropical Storm Isaias, which had scuppered Endeavour's original landing site in the Atlantic, was nearing Florida's east coast Sunday morning, hundreds of miles away.

The mission is also a major win for Elon Musk's SpaceX, which was founded in only 2002 but has leap-frogged its way past Boeing, its main competitor in the commercial space race.

The US has paid the two companies a total of about $7 billion for their "space taxi" contracts, though aerospace giant Boeing's efforts have badly floundered.

Atmospheric re-entry

The Crew Dragon capsule performed several precise procedures in order to return home safely.

At 1:51 pm (1751 GMT), it jettisoned its "trunk" that contains its power, heat and other systems, which will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up.

Endeavour then fired its thrusters to maneuver itself into the proper orbit and trajectory for splashdown.

At 2:32 pm (1832 GMT) re-entered the atmosphere at a speed of around 17,500 mph (28,000 kph).

NASA's first crewed mission since 2011 (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU)

The ship's heat shield needed to withstand temperatures of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1900 degrees Celsius), which caused a communications blackout for a few minutes.

Endeavour then deployed two sets of parachutes on its descent, bringing its speed down to a mere 15 mph (24 kph) as it hits the water.

Over the next few minutes, two astronauts will be brought on board a recovery ship for a medical checkup before being taken ashore.

Astro dads

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft set off from the ISS Saturday evening.

Footage showed the capsule drifting slowly away from the ISS in the darkness of space, ending a two month stay for the crewmates.

During a farewell ceremony on the station, Behnken said that "the hardest part was getting us launched. But the most important part is bringing us home."

Addressing his son and Hurley's son, he held up a toy dinosaur that the children chose to send on the mission and said: "Tremor The Apatosaurus is headed home soon and he'll be with your dads."

This NASA video frame grab image shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft with 
NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken watching an infrared view of the 
International Space Station on their screens after undocking from it (AFP Photo/Handout)

Behnken and Hurley's return marks only the beginning for the Crew Dragon as SpaceX and NASA look ahead to future missions.

Endeavor will be brought back to the SpaceX Dragon Lair in Florida where it will undergo a six-weeks-long inspection process, as teams pore over its data and performance in order to certify the vessel as worthy of future low-Earth orbit missions.

The next mission -- dubbed "Crew-1" -- will involve a four member team: commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker of NASA, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi.

Take-off is set for late September and the crew are due to spend six months on the space station.