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, April 22, 2010

Volkswagen’s electric Milano Taxi concept is very cool, bY DANNY TAN, APRIL 21, 2010 AT 12:16 PM BY DANNY

This is the taxi of the future, according to Volkswagen. VW, which will launch its first production electric vehicles in 2013 has shown this electric driven taxi at the Hanover Trade Show. Called the Milano Taxi concept, it is a city MPV tailored to the needs of taxi drivers and passengers with innovative details such as a swivel-sliding door that opens in a forward direction and customisable taxi touchscreens.

The green and black paint of the concept cab is a tribute to the fashion capital of Milan, where taxis were once painted like this. VW says that the Milano’s styling bears similarities to the iconic Volkswagen Samba Bus of the 1950s, and this plus its emissions-free drive and practicality could “make it a highly coveted vehicle in cities like New York and Tokyo”.

“One door less is all the more for a taxi,” said Walter de Silva, VW Group’s Head of Design. The safest way to enter and exit a taxi is on the sidewalk side, which explains why the LHD Milano’s single swivel-sliding door opens on the right side. The door also extends well into the roof, so the opening is very tall. The Milano’s dimensions is 1.60 m tall, 3.73 m long and 1.66 m wide. Like the Samba Bus, the outer roof areas are transparent; combined with a panoramic glass roof, passengers get a spacious feel and great views of the cityscape above.

Also, the need for passengers to always have to gaze at the taximeter in front to see the current charges is now a thing of the past (the meter in our Proton Iswara cabs are always conveniently shielded by the gear stick!). An 8-inch touchscreen in the Milano’s rear not only displays charges, but incorporates a credit card reader as well!

This cute cab has a top speed of 120 km/h and is driven by an electric motor with 85 kW (50 kW continuous power) powered by a lithium-ion battery located underfloor. VW says that the battery’s storage capacity of 45 Kilowatt-hours (kWh) and the Milano’s relatively low weight (1,500 kg) allows it to cover distances of up to 300 km. The battery can be recharged to 80% capacity in just over one hour.

More pictures .....

Cargo plane crashes in the Philippines; 3 dead

The Washington Post

By JIM GOMEZ, The Associated Press , Wednesday, April 21, 2010; 2:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A Russian-made cargo plane crashed and burst into flames in a rice field north of the Philippine capital Wednesday as it attempted a landing. Three crew were killed and three pulled out alive from the burning wreckage.

The Antonov 12 aircraft was flying from Mactan in the central Philippines and crashed about 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of Clark airport, the former U.S. Air Base near Manila, said Alfonso Cusi, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Firefighters struggled into the night to put out the flames that engulfed the aircraft after it exploded on impact, ripping the plane into two sections, said police Chief Inspector Carlito Fabro.

Villagers managed to rescue three crew members - two Russians and an Uzbek, who suffered bruises and were brought to a police station to rest, police said.

Three other crew were found dead near the cockpit, Cusi said, adding investigators were trying to identify the badly burned bodies.

The Antonov 12 plane was leased by a Manila-based airline company for domestic use, Cusi said. Clark's tower lost communication with the aircraft at about 8:50 p.m. (1250 GMT).

"Their communication signal suddenly got garbled then the plane disappeared in the radar," Cusi told The Associated Press.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Airport Security Under Fire After Plane Hits Motorcycle

Jakarta Globe, Putri Prameshwari, April 20, 2010

Aviation investigators have started looking into a runway accident that killed two people on Monday after an aircraft collided with a motorcycle at an airfield in Tangerang.

National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) spokesman JA Barata said a team of five investigators had been sent to Curug, Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, where two people on a motor cycle were killed when they were hit by a training plane coming in to land at Budiarto Airport.

“We’ve sent a team to the scene, headed by lead investigator Toos Sanityoso,” he said. “This is a serious accident.”

Two men, identified as Azumar, 24, and Yopie Hermawan, 16, a student at Bhakti Vocational Senior High School, were killed on impact at about 8:30 a.m. after illegally entering the grounds of the airport, used by the Indonesian Aviation Institute (STPI), in an apparent attempt to take a shortcut across the runway.

Coincidentally, the men crossed the runway at the same time a single-engine Socata TB-10 Tobago training aircraft was landing. The two people aboard the plane were also seriously injured in the accident. They were taken to Siloam Hospital in Karawaci for treatment after the unusual accident.

“It’s illegal for motorcycles to be on the runway,” said STPI chairman Darwis Amini.

He added that management of Budiarto Airport was not the responsibility of the flight school, and lambasted the lax security measures that had failed to keep unauthorized people out of the restricted zone.

Ministry of Transportation spokesman Bambang Ervan said it was not unusual for motor cyclists to use the runway as a shortcut, despite it being illegal.

“There are wire fences and gutters installed all around the airport,” he said, “but people still manage to find ways to break in.”

He said the airport’s operator, working under the auspices of the ministry, was unable to maintain around-the-clock monitoring of every airport in the country.

“Tight monitoring 24 hours a day, day in and day out, is impossible,” he said. “There’s just not enough people to carry it out.”

Danang Parikesit, chairman of the Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI), an industry watchdog, called the accident “an indication of poor airport security.”

He said all airports must strictly enforce their no-trespass zones, even if they only served as training airports.

“While universal transportation safety would be ideal, airports are expected to have much higher security standards than other transportation hubs,” Da nang said, adding that the airport operator must be held responsible for Monday’s breach.

He called on the Transportation Ministry to re-evaluate its policies on airport security, saying that the accident should never have happened.

Related Articles:

Ill-fated flight instructor whose plane hit two motorists to dead passes away

Flight instructor loses both legs after accident

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Airlines Demand Compensation as Losses Soar to $1b

Jakarta Globe, April 20, 2010

Geneva. Airline losses from the volcanic ash cloud have climbed above $1 billion, and the industry has demanded compensation from the European Union.

Airlines say they are losing as much as $300 million a day, with European companies like British Airways suffering the most.

An umbrella group for the airline industry has criticized European leaders’ handling of the disruption, which has grounded thousands of flights to and from Europe days.

“It’s embarrassing, and a European mess,” said Giovanni Bisignani, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association. The group complained that it saw “no leadership” from government officials.

“It took days to organize a conference call with the ministers of transport, and we are losing $200 million a day and passengers are stranded all over. Does it make sense?” Bisignani said.

Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, the No 2 executive at Air France-KLM, said: “There isn’t a real risk. Precautions that have been taken are certainly too restrictive.”

Air transport officials said losses could run as high as $300 million a day, although most analysts expect the effect on US airlines will be limited.

The disruptions caused by the ash cloud happened just as airlines were seeing demand pick up, particularly in the more lucrative business travel segment.

Last year the recession suppressed leisure and business travel, causing the industry to lose an estimated $9.4 billion.

British Airways said airlines had asked the EU for compensation for the closure of airspace, which began last Wednesday. BA’s London hub was among the first airports shut down.

“This is an unprecedented situation that is having a huge impact on customers and airlines alike,” BA chief executive Willie Walsh said.

“We continue to offer as much support as we can to our customers. But these are extraordinary circumstances that are beyond all airlines’ control.”

The airline industry has racked up $50 billion in losses over the past decade. The 9/11 attacks, epidemics of SARS and bird flu, increased security requirements and the economic crisis have all been cited as causes for decreased revenues.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the US Congress gave US airlines $15 billion in aid and loan guarantees, which may provide an example for European governments dealing with the volcano.

The prospect of continued losses and flight cancellations have dragged down the share prices of many airlines.

Associated Press

Steam and ash floating out to the northern Atlantic from the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland on Monday.

Related Article:

Asian Business Counts the Costs From Air Chaos

Monday, April 19, 2010

RI, US begin airlift exercise

Antara News, Monday, April 19, 2010 20:31 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian and US air forces began a five-day tactical airlift exercise code-named Cope West 10 at the city`s Halim Perdanakusuma air base on Monday.

The exercise involved one Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules and three similar planes from the 374th Airlift Wing at the US air base in Yokota, Japan, wing commander I of the Halim Perdanakusuma air base Col. Djoko Senoputro said.

"Cope West is a bilateral tactical airlift exercise involving the Indonesian and US air forces. The exercise is designed to advance interoperability between the two air forces," he said.

The exercise also allowed for the exchange of techniques related to airlift, air land and air drop delivery specific to Indonesian and US aircraft, he said.

"In the exercise this time, we are also introduced to a new dropping system (ICDS) conducted from an altitude of 5,000 feet," he said.

"This exercise is very helpful for military operations and non -military operations, such as at the time when a natural disaster affects a region in which a wide-bodied plane can not land," he said.

Meanwhile, 374th airlift wing commander Col. Dave Kincaid said besides the new dropping system the US air force also introduced a number of airlift techniques in the exercise.

He said the exercise also covered tactical low level cargo drop and personnel drop involving all operating elements of Hercules plane. "In essence, it is designed to improve interoperability between the two air forces."

Two Dead After Plane Hits Motorcycle

Jakarata Globe, Putri Prameshwari, April 19, 2010

The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation launched an investigation on Monday after a training aircraft landing at the Curug Airport in Tangerang hit a motorcycle and killed its two passengers who may have been using the runway as a short-cut.

The two occupants of the Socata TB-10 Tobago training aircraft were injured and have been rushed to Siloam Hospital in Karawaci for treatment.

Darwis Amini, chairman of the Indonesian Aviation Institute (STPI) in Curug, said that the single-engine plane was landing when the motorcycle drove across the runway.

“It is illegal for motorcycles to enter the runway,” he said.

The driver and his passenger were killed instantly, he said.

Ministry of Transportation spokesman Bambang Ervan said that bikers often used the runway as a shortcut, even though it was illegal to do so.

“There are wire fences and gutters installed around the airport,” Bambang said, “but people still manage to find ways to break in.”

Hydrogen Still in The Eco-Car Race

Kompas, Sunday, 18 April 2010 | 08:47 WIB

A model leans on the side of a Dodge Challenger at the Lebanon Motor Show 2010 in Beirut on April 8. The show, which runs to April 18, is one of the years largest in the Middle East with some 400 models are on display, from cost-friendly Kias and Toyotas to ultimate luxury by Maserati and Bentley.

BERLIN, – Hydrogen, one of Earth's most abundant elements, once was seen as green energy's answer to the petroleum-driven car: easy to produce, available everywhere and nonpolluting when burned.

Hydrogen energy was defeated by a mountain of obstacles — the fear of explosion by the highly flammable gas, the difficulty of carrying the fuel in large, heavy tanks in the vehicle, and the lack of a refueling network. Automakers turned to biofuels, electricity or the gas-electric hybrid.

But hydrogen, it turns out, never was completely out of the race. Now Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs claim to have brought hydrogen energy a step closer by putting it in much smaller, lighter containers.

Rather than using metal or composite cylinders of compressed gas that look like bulky scuba gear, hydrogen is packed into glass filaments which, once out of the lab, will be only slightly thicker than a human hair.

These 370 glass capillaries are bundled into a glass tube called a capillary array, about the width of a drinking straw. The scientists say 11,000 such arrays will fuel a car for 400 kilometers (240 miles), take less than half the space and weight of tanks currently installed in the few hydrogen cars now available.

"We have shown new materials that can store more hydrogen than any other system," says Dan Eliezer, chief scientist of C.En Ltd., the company based in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Israelis are developing their invention.

The scientists make no attempt to improve the standard fuel cell, which is not much different today from when it was invented more than 150 years ago. A fuel cell makes electricity from chemical reactions involving hydrogen and oxygen, producing only water vapor as a byproduct. The fuel cell can be compared with a standard car's engine, while the capillary arrays would be comparable to the gasoline tank.

The system was unveiled in Berlin at a demonstration for The Associated Press at the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, known as BAM, which has been testing the materials since 2008 and has pronounced the system safe. Also attending was a representative of Italian-based Generali Insurance, which has invested $10 million in the project.

While its backers call the technology a breakthrough, it is unlikely to gain traction without a large injection of capital to scale up development. It also would need a distribution system and the support of major car companies, which have poured billions of dollars into their own closely guarded research programs.

Auto companies "are still investing significant amounts of money in hydrogen and fuel cells," and have hundreds of researchers working on the technology, said David Hart, director of E4tech, a business and energy consultancy in London. Automakers refuse to disclose details of their research or funding.

Hart said the glass capillaries appear to be an "interesting" technology that would be "very significant" if it were to provide the energy claimed by the company. But if it means creating a new refueling infrastructure, "it may still not be the right answer for cars," he said.

Like electric cars, the driving force behind hydrogen research is the need to break away from oil and rein in emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, especially carbon dioxide from industry and transport. Transportation adds about 13 percent of manmade carbon to the atmosphere.

Hydrogen boasts zero emissions. It can be produced from water through electrolysis, or harvested as the waste product of nuclear reactors and chemical plants.

"In terms of saving carbon dioxide, you do a great deal more with renewable hydrogen," said Danny Dicks, a biofuels expert from the British consultancy group Innovation Observatory. "So ultimately, hydrogen is where things ought to be driving toward."

Automakers, for now, still are focused on battery power. At the Geneva Motor Show last month, nearly all major manufacturers displayed their latest electric vehicles or plans to produce them. The few hydrogen vehicles on the floor attracted little attention.

It was not always that way.

U.S. President George W. Bush allocated $1.2 billion for hydrogen research and said in his 2003 State of the Union address: "The first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen and pollution free." The Obama administration largely scrapped the program.

In Europe, too, hydrogen is low-priority. The Dutch government, for example, recently announced a euro5 million ($6.75 million) subsidy for hydrogen, but gave eight times more for electric cars. Buyers of plug-ins get tax breaks and rebates, and cities like London and Amsterdam are planting charge-up pillars on their streets.

"Electricity is taking all the subsidy schemes. It's taking it away from hydrogen," said Robert van den Hoed of Ecofys, an independent Dutch consultancy on renewable energy.

The main reason is cost. Electric cars are road-ready and in production, while hydrogen vehicles are still experimental. Nissan's new electric car, the Leaf, will go on sale for about $25,000 in the United States, including a government rebate.

Honda has produced a roadworthy hydrogen vehicle, the FCX Clarity, but it is not for sale. Only 50 of them are available for lease in the United States at $600 per month; Honda says it intends to increase the fleet to 200 this year. Honda declines to put a sales tag on the Clarity, but some experts say the market price would be $1 million each. Toyota, a leader in electric car technology, plans to put its first hydrogen vehicle on the road in 2015.

In December, the German luxury carmaker BMW ended an experimental run of 100 hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines and retreated back into the laboratory for more research. "We learned everything we wanted to learn from this huge field test," said spokesman Tobias Hahn, and BMW is now working on the next generation.

"We are still committed to hydrogen as the long-term alternative for switching to sustainable mobility," Hahn said, speaking from Munich, adding that the biggest problem is on-board storage.

Among U.S. carmakers, General Motors produced a test fleet of 100 Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell cars and let 5,000 people test them over a 25 month period. Like BMW, Chevrolet is withdrawing the vehicles to upgrade the technology.

A combination of plug-in electric and hydrogen may emerge as the most eco-friendly solution. "A fuel cell hybrid looks like a good long-term option," said Hart. "It's not an either-or. It's both, most likely."

Public transport also is experimenting with hydrogen. The Vancouver Winter Olympics deployed 20 fuel cell buses. The European Union and 31 industries teamed up to run a four-year trial of hydrogen buses on regular passenger routes in 10 cities ending last year, and a new generation of buses will begin operating later this year, said Frits van Drunen, who runs the project for the Dutch public transport network GVB.

"We predict that by 2017 these buses will be priced per kilometer at the same level as diesel buses," said van Drunen, interviewed at GVB's hydrogen refueling station in Amsterdam.

At BAM, the Berlin testing site, researchers guided a remote-controlled model truck around the laboratory floor powered by a fuel cell and three hydrogen-filled arrays bound together, about the thickness of a thumb. A similar device lit up a panel with 20 LED bulbs. The researchers say such devices can be built into power packs for laptop computers and even mobile phones.

BAM's research director, Kai Holtapples, said the C.En system can be on the road within two to five years if it can be developed as a replaceable rack that can be swapped at filling stations. Eventually, cars will be able to refuel with nozzles, like gas pumps today, he said. "Both systems will need some engineering, of course, but some ideas already exist."

BAM has no financial stake in the capillary array project, he said.

Moshe Stern, C.En's chief executive, said the electric car will dominate the market for years to come, but the cheap and unlimited supply of hydrogen will make it the power source of the future.

Within a few years, perhaps a decade, hydrogen fuel will shift the world's energy balance away from oil, he said.

"The real revolution is not the technical revolution, it is the political revolution," said Stern.

"We are Israelis. We know what it means to be blackmailed by oil," he said.


Related Article:

Hydrogen Production

Holdups at Indonesian Immigration Will Ease Up: Officials

Jakarta Globe, Ary Adji, Dessy Sagita, Candra Malik & Made Arya Kencana, April 19, 2010

More than two weeks since the introduction of new immigration security measures at Indonesian airports, officials say they are pleased with progress, despite waiting times for incoming passengers of often longer than 90 minutes.

“Security checks will be done as humanely as possible,” Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. Indonesia is the first Southeast Asian nation to apply sophisticated fingerprint and biometric scanners, he said.

Patrialis said documenting everyone coming into the country was necessary to identify known or potential criminals, adding that similar systems had long been in use in countries such as the United States, France and Japan.

The system, which reads the fingerprints of travelers with visitor visas and crosschecks them against a database of international fugitives and foreigners with deportation records, is initially being used at four airports. Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Adi Sumarmo in Solo and Adisucipto in Yogyakarta installed theirs two weeks ago, while Ngurah Rai in Bali will introduce the system this Thursday.

Maroloan Barimbing, spokesman for the ministry’s Directorate General of Immigration, said that within three years there would be 130 fingerprint and biometric scanners at the country’s international border points, including its 27 international airports.

Maroloan acknowledged that the unintended consequences included longer lines at immigration counters.

“In the first few weeks or even months after the system is applied, some adjustments will still be needed, and the officers in charge of the devices also need some time to adapt,” he said, adding that processing was getting better and faster.

In the system’s first few days at Soekarno-Hatta, arriving passengers reported waiting times in the stuffy arrivals hall of up to two hours, with officials observed pulling families with distressed babies or children out of lines into empty express channels after more than an hour.

But waiting times in the past week have apparently lessened and passengers are being understanding, said a spokesman for state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II. It had received no formal complaints, he added.

“It only took me few minutes, so it wasn’t an issue,” David Cheetam, a British tourist, said at Soekarno-Hatta on Sunday.

Belgian businessman Gregoir Francis said he also didn’t mind. “I know it’s for security,” he said.

Adi Sumarmo duty manager Edy Martono said each officer “only needs three minutes” to fingerprint a visitor. “Nothing to lose, and this need not be politicized,” he told the Globe.

But with lines often stretching to 50 or more people, an extra three minutes for many would add up to a long wait for those at the back.

Maroloan called for patience.

“By next year we will be able to perform faster and more professionally,” he said.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Iceland ash cloud chokes Asian airports

Reuters, Saeed Azhar, SINGAPORE. Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:08am EDT

Flights across Europe were cancelled because of a cloud of ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. (Photograph: David Jones/PA) -

(Reuters) - The air travel chaos caused by a huge ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano has blown through to Asia, with hotels from Beijing to Singapore straining to accommodate thousands of stranded passengers.

Dozens of Europe-bound flights were canceled from Sydney to Tokyo and New Delhi, costing airlines millions of dollars in lost revenues and mounting hotel bills as distraught passengers braced for enforced stopovers of more than a week in Asia.

In Singapore, a major transit route for Europe-bound flights, 22 flights were canceled on early Saturday, Ivan Tan a spokesman for Changi Airport told Reuters, with more than 40 canceled since the disruption began.

"We don't know where to stay," said Dirk Kronewald, a German citizen. "Singapore hotels are full."

Singapore Airlines' said they were giving priority to elderly passengers and those with young children for hotel accommodation, but right now there were some shortages in Singapore hotels.

The airline was paying for two nights of hotel accommodation for affected passengers, for as much as S$300 per room a night, according to a pamphlet being distributed to passengers.

Mirjam, a Dutch national who was queuing at an airline counter with her husband Jules Vandamme and two dozen passengers, said the couple had to sleep at the airport late on Wednesday night before shifting to the nearby Crowne Hotel.

"One thousand people had to spend the night in the transit area" airline officials had told her, she said.


Cathay Pacific had canceled 29 flights so far since Thursday and said it would not be accepting new bookings to London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam for next the new few days.

"We encourage passengers not to go to the airport. For some passengers, who have already checked in, we have provided accommodation," a Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said.

"So far the situation seems to be OK. It's a global issue so passengers seems to be understanding," she added.

At least 70 flights out of India, most of them headed for various European destinations were canceled on Friday and authorities said they are staring at similar cancellations at the weekend as volcanic ash continued to cover many parts of Europe.

"We might be here for another week. We don't know," a tourist told Times Now news channel in Mumbai airport on Saturday.

Aviation industry officials reported a loss of at least $1 billion in revenues due to cancellation of flights to Europe, an AAI official told Reuters.

Chinese newspapers reported long lines at Beijing airport as passengers lined up to change their tickets, and airlines struggled to find enough hotel rooms for stranded customers.

"I will just go and try my luck," Ka Ka, a young local woman and office worker, who was scheduled to board a flight to Frankfurt to begin a long-planned European trip, told the Shanghai Daily in China.

"It's hard to imagine something like this, taking place thousands of miles away from your place, could actually disrupt your life and plans," she said.

Some foreign tourists had more pressing problems.

"Accommodation is an issue, but what's worse is that in a few days this group's visas will have expired," a guide for a group of Russian visitors told the newspaper. "They risk having to stay here illegally. I don't know what to do."

(Additional reporting by Harry Suhartono in Singapore, Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Jacqueline Wong in Shanghai, Bappa Majumdar in New Dehli; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Public Order Agency head suspended

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 04/16/2010 10:55 PM

Governor Fauzi Bowo has decided to suspend Public Order Agency head Harianto Badjoeri following Wednesday’s clash involving agency officers in Koja, North Jakarta which claimed three lives and injured 128 others.

Fauzi said Friday the suspension was aimed at facilitating an investigation into the incident.

“For the sake of an independent investigation, I have suspended the head of the Public Order Agency,” Fauzi told a plenary meeting at the provincial legislative council held to demand the governor’s explanation of the fatal clash.

During the plenary session, some of 87 councilors at present asked the governor of officials responsible for the violence. They also questioned why the Public Order Agency did not withdraw the officers despite tension and request from councilors who happened to mediate a negotiation between local residents and the officers.

A councilor questioned the finding of alcoholic drinks inside public order official vehicles.

Data from the administration said the clash cost the city administration Rp 22.9 billion as as 24 trucks, 36 cars, 14 pick-up trucks, two commander cars, one motorcycle were set ablaze or damaged during the uprising.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Volcanic ash cloud 'spreading towards London': forecast, by Alastair Jamieson, 8:39AM BST 15 Apr 2010

The cloud of ash caused by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland is forecast to spread south towards London today, adding to disruption of flights across the country.

The Met Office ash cloud forecast for 6pm local time on Thursday 15 April, issued at 6.35am. The area inside the red line is affected by volcanic ash.

A set of charts issued by the Met Office shows how the cloud is set to drift southwards across Britain, mostly at three and three-quarter miles (6km) above ground.

The maps show the estimated location of the ash cloud at 6pm and midnight tonight.

The red areas show the risk of ash at lower levels between ground and 20,000ft - marked in "flight levels" as FL200 - while green areas show the risk of ash between 20,000ft and 35,000ft - marked as FL200/FL350.

Blue areas show the cloud between 35,000ft and 55,000ft - marked as FL350/FL550.

The spread of all three layers over southern England suggests even more disruption to flights is expected later today, as controllers extend air space closures, currently affecting every UK air traffic 'sector' north of London.

A spokesman for the Met Office said it was not immediately clear how long the flight disruption could be expected to last.

He added that the cloud was thinly dispersed at high altitudes and that there was little risk of Britain being dusted with ash, although it is possible many will enjoy a bright red sunset.

Hundreds of flights have already been cancelled at airports in Scotland and northern England, and air traffic controllers in Brussels in charge of strategic management of flights across Europe have issued warnings to pilots that many flights into Britain can expect to be diverted to other countries or cancelled.

Flights in Norway and other parts of northern Europe have also been disrupted.

Volcanic ash is extremely dangerous in airspace, as it causes engines to malfunction, restricts vision and even cause severe damage to the metal 'skin' of the aircraft.

Because of the threat to aviation, a global early warning system, known as theInternational Airways Volcano Watch, has been established. Iceland is considered as particularly vulnerable to volcanic disruption.

Authorities on Tuesday evacuated 800 residents from around the Eyjafjallajokull glacier as water gushed down the mountainside and rivers rose by up to 10 feet (3 meters).

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted for the first time in 200 years on March 20, in a dramatic display that sent fountains of lava spewing into the air.

The first eruption did not trigger any major flooding, as was initially feared, because the active vents were in a mainly ice-free part of the volcano.

But Tuesday's eruption came from a different vent beneath a 650-ft (200m) thick block of ice, unleashing a torrent of glacial meltwater.

Smoke billows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull April 14, 2010. (Credit: Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson)

Related Articles:

Volcanic ash disrupts northern Europe air traffic

Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cargo aircraft crashes in northern Mexico; 5 dead

Reuters, Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:12am EDT

(Reuters) - A cargo aircraft crashed late Tuesday near the airport in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, killing five people, Mexican emergency authorities reported.

The aircraft, operated by privately held AeroUnion, crashed near a major road leading to the airport, killing as many as two people on board the aircraft and three on the ground, Mexican media reported.

Emergency officials were unable to confirm the number of fatalities.

Mexican security forces blocked off the area around the crash site as firefighters battled a blaze on the ground, according to a Reuters witness.

(Reporting by Armando Tovar in Mexico City and Tomas Bravo in Monterrey; editing by Todd Eastham)

Garuda to phase out old Boeings

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 04/13/2010 9:48 PM

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia plans to phase out 16 old Boeing planes as part of rejuvenation of its fleet.

Garuda, however, will buy or lease 24 new planes to increase its fleet to 116.

"As of today we operate 72 planes. This year Garuda will receive 24 new planes, but actually we will only have 8 more planes, because 16 classic units will be phased out,"

Garuda president director Emirsyah Satar was quoted by Antara on Tuesday.

The arrival of 23 units of Boeing 737 New Generation and one unit of Airbus 330-200 will help the company improve efficiency and safety, he added.

He said the lease of some of the 16 planes had expired and therefore they would be returned to their owner in France.

By 2014 the company will operate 116 planes consisting of 90 Boeing 737 NG and 26 A330-200s.

Garuda spokesman Pujobroto said all classic Boeing 737 300, 400 and 500 would be phased out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cathay Pacific Flight from Indonesia Makes Emergency Landing in Hong Kong, Five Injured

Jakarta Globe, April 13, 2010

Five people were injured Tuesday when a Cathay Pacific Airbus flight from Indonesia made an emergency landing at Hong Kong airport due to an engine failure, the government said. (AFP Photo)

Five people were injured Tuesday when a Cathay Pacific Airbus flight from Indonesia made an emergency landing at Hong Kong airport due to an engine failure, the government said.

The more than 300 passengers and 14 crew members on board the CX 780 flight from Surabaya, Indonesia were evacuated, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department told AFP.

“The plane made an emergency landing after discovering a problem with one of its engines,” he said.

“Five people were injured after the landing and all of them were sent to hospital.”

The spokesman was unable to confirm media reports that the engine had caught fire.


Related Article:

Pilots hailed as Heroes for Averting Hong Kong Air Disaster

Merpati Plane Overshoots Runway, 20 Injured

Jakarta Globe, April 13, 2010

Children watching technicians attempting to remove a Merpati Nusantara Airlines plane from the tarmac of Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar after its right rear tire blew out during an attempted take off recently. This morning, a Merpati flight overshot the runway in at Manokwari Airport in West Papua, injuring at least 20 people. (Antara Photo/Yusran Uccang)

A PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines 737-300 overshot the runway at Manokwari Airport in West Papua and crashed into a river on Tuesday morning, injuring at least 20 people, the Ministry of Transportation is saying.

Ministry spokesman Bambang Erfan told the Jakarta Globe that the plane, which had departed from Sorong, also in West Papua, was carrying 103 passengers and crew.

There are no reported deaths, he said.

The injured have been taken to the Navy Hospital and are receiving treatment.

The plane has been removed from the river and the airport has since reopened.

The airline has had its fair share of problems.

Just last month, the government said it would force the ailing carrier to resolve its Rp 1.5 trillion ($163.5 million) debt dispute with state energy producer PT Pertamina, as a part of a restructuring plan after years of mismanagement.

“We already called Merpati to present their 2010 and 2011 business plan,” said Said Didu, the secretary for the State Enterprises Ministry. “One of the main issues is the debt restructuring plan.”

He added that a Rp 250 billion debt to PT Bank Mandiri has already been settled.

In August last year, a Merpati Twin Otter flight between Jayapura and Oksibil 300 disappeared on August 2, 2009. Its wreckage was found two days later. All 13 passengers and 3 crew were killed.

In July last year, just days after the European Union agreed to partially lift its ban on Indonesian carriers, a Boeing 737 operated by Merpati ost a front wheel shortly after taking off on Monday from Biak, Papua.

None of the 110 passengers and six crew members on board the flight for Makassar, South Sulawesi, were injured in the incident, though the timing of the incident was an embarrassment to the government.

The incident happened just four days after the EU’s Air Safety Commission met in Brussels and decided to recommend lifting the ban on four Indonesian airlines.

Merpati was not among the four airlines affected by the commission’s decision. The four are flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines and charter airlines Premi Air and Airfast.

Indonesian soldiers and police examine a Merpati airline 737 plane after it overrun the runway on landing in Manokwari this morning. (AFP Photo)

Related Article:

Indonesia plane breaks up after overshooting runway

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jakarta Police to hold routine traffic inspections

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 04/11/2010 5:13 PM

Jakarta Police’s traffic unit will hold routine inspections of disordered public transportation, motorcyclists using non-SNI (Indonesian National Standard) helmets and unlicensed minivans, starting Monday.

“We will give tickets to violators on the spot,” head of the traffic unit Sr. Comr. Condro Kirono told on Sunday.

Around 2,300 police personnel will be deployed in Jakarta's worst traffic spots, said Condro. “For example, in Slipi and Grogol, West Jakarta, as well as Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta,” he added.

Condro promised that officers would maintain police protocol during the inspections, which are scheduled to end May 1.

Related Article:

Police Launch Crackdown On Traffic, Safety Violations

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish president's plane crashes in western Russia 2010-04-10 16:28:18

Polish President Lech Kaczynski speaks in front of a Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft at Krakow airport in this August 8, 2008 file photo. Kaczynski was feared dead after his plane crashed on approach to a Russian airport on Saturday. (Xinhua/Reuters)

MOSCOW/WARSAW, April 10 (Xinhua) -- A plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed near the Smolensk airport in western Russia Saturday, killing all people on board, said Russian officals.

The Polish Foreign Ministry confirmed that the president and his wife were on the plane. Full story

This TV grab taken on April 10, 2010 shows the crash site of a Tupolev Tu-154 plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski near the Smolensk airport in western Russia. The plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed near the Smolensk airport Saturday, killing the president and all 132 people on board, said Russian officials. (Xinhua)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Singapore Airlines on the top 50 list of 2010's most admired companies

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 04/08/2010 11:55 AM

Singapore Airlines has once again stepped into the limelight as one of the world's most admired companies.

According to a survey conducted by Fortune Magazine participated in by business practitioners around the world, Singapore Airlines has confirmed its place as the only international airline, which made it onto Fortune's top 50 list of the most admired companies of 2010.

"In another industry pummeled by the recession, airlines continue to face daunting challenges - and yet Singapore Airlines managed to impress its peers, moving up from No. 33 to No. 27 and to take the No. 1 spot in the airline industry rankings," Singapore Airlines said in a statement.

Meanwhile, CEO Chew Choon Seng said the company had not compromised on what mattered. "Even as we scaled back supply to match the impact of the global financial crisis on demand, we made it a point not to touch spending on safety and security, nor on staff training and skills development," he said. - JP

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jet rehearsal

The Jakarta Post, Antara, Wed, 04/07/2010 1:38 PM

Four Air Force's jet fighters display a flying formation as they pass over Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Base in Jakarta on Wednesday during a rehearsal for the Air Force anniversary ceremony, to be held Friday. Military chief Gen. Djoko Santoso is slated to lead the anniversary ceremony. Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf

Indonesia Orders New Trains From Bombardier

Tempo Interactive, Tuesday, 06 April, 2010 | 19:18 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Transport Department has handed Swedish vehicle producer Bombardier Inc. a 32-million euro contract to build ten sets of electric trains for Indonesian railway company PT Kereta Api.

The departement said the trains will reinforce Jakarta's commuter railway network and Bombardier is expected to complete the trains in 2011.

Safety and Technical Director of the Transport Department's railway directorate Hermanto Dwiatmoko said on Tuesday, german KfW banking Group provided soft loan for the trains through a deal signed with the Finance Department in 2008.

International tender was part of the requirements by KfW Bank for the order, which then held in europe and won by Bombardier which teamed up with PT Kereta Api.

“Bombardier will produce motor traction and control system while PT Kereta Api will assemble an install the system,” Hermanto said.

The project also involve order for two 5,000-kilowatt railway substations, won by Siemens – PT LEN Industri.

The railway directorate said to inspect production of the traction motor and control system in Bombardier's facility in Sweden, next week, although production is scheduled to begin later this year.


EU visa deal will ease travel for millions

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 6 April 2010 - 4:20pm, by Vanessa Mock

The long bureaucratic nightmare of applying for a visa to travel to the European Union became a thing of the past over the weekend. From now on, millions of travellers will be able to get in and around the 22 EU countries that are part of the Schengen zone a lot more easily.

No borders

Just one visa is now required to travel within the Schengen Area, a zone with no internal borders that also includes non-EU members Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Previously, foreigners encountered problems with many of the new EU member states such as Poland, Latvia and Slovakia, all of which required a separate visa.

The European Commission says the changes are designed to make life "simpler and fairer" for travellers, though they will not apply to anyone looking to stay longer than 90 days. In 2008, around ten million visa requests were received for Schengen Area countries.

Truckers and traders

Life should also become simpler for people such as lorry drivers and small traders who need to weave in and out of the EU on a regular basis, as they will be granted multiple-entry permits more easily. The waiting time for the document should also, in theory, go down to a maximum of four weeks.

However, there are limits: The United Kingdom and Ireland have both opted out of Schengen and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania are not yet part of it. All these countries therefore still require separate visas.

Activists go free

Although many non-EU countries, such as Macedonia and Russia, already have visa arrangements in place with the EU, the new code will make a big difference to countries such as Belarus, which is frozen out due to its autocratic regime. In the past, this has made it hard for traders and pro-democracy activists to visit the EU, especially as the visa fee of 60 euros was the same as a month's salary.

People taking part in NGO-sponsored events and people aged 25 or under will now pay nothing, while children will pay 35 euros instead of the standard 60 euro fee.