Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Malaysia Airline Flight 370 Mystery - Day 27 , April 3 , 2014 -- Does Acting Transportation Minister Hussein truly believe Flight 370 tragedy " was a blessing in disguise " - and if so , please explain how ? Malaysia Prime Minister touring RAAF Air Base and giving PR Speech & Photo Opportunities with Aussie PM Tony Abbott and Defence Minister David Johnston - does the PM also think Flight 370 tragedy was a blessing in disguise ? .... WAS A BOMB SMUGGLED ONTO MH370: M'sian cops interview farm workers who handled plane's fruit cargo - with the tragic incompetence of the Malaysian Authorities on daily display and the constant back-tracking ( two major back tracks just today from Inspector General Baker regarding the flight simulator not being cleared and the crew members not being cleared - despite statements to the contrary ) , false leads , misstatements and the absence after 27 days of any debris or seemingly the slightest clue as to what the heck happened , conspiracy theories will be clutched by the families of the victims and the suspicious and cynical minds of many !
03 April 2014| last updated at 11:18PM
MH370 Tragedy: No sighting of any object today - JACC
KUALA LUMPUR: There has been no sighting of any object in the search area today, said the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
JACC in a statement today said the search area is being continually adjusted, and today it moved north, whereby at the end of the day, ten aircraft and nine ships were involved in search activities.
"Three aircraft searched in the southern search area of 248,000 square kilometres, 1700km west north west of Perth.
"The Royal Navy hydrographic ship, HMS Echo, also operated in the northern area, searching for sonic transmissions from the flight data recorder.
"One alert was experienced, but discounted. False alerts may be experienced from biological sources, such as whales or interference from shipping noise," said the statement.
According to the statement, the weather in the search area was fair, with visibility of approximately 10 kilometres.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Boeing 777-200 aircraft, that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". - BERNAMA
03 April 2014| last updated at 11:43AM
MH370 Tragedy: Malaysia 'will not rest' until closure
PERTH: Malaysia will not rest until it can give answers to the distraught families of those on board missing Flight MH370, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said, admitting the search was a “gargantuan” challenge.
International efforts to find any sign of the Malaysia Airlines plane which vanished on March 8 have so far failed, but search coordinator Australia says there are no imminent plans to abandon the operation.
“We owe it to the grieving families to ... give them comfort and closure to this rather tragic event and the world expects us to do our level best,” Najib said as he toured the search base in Perth.
“We want to find answers. We want to provide comfort to the families and we will not rest until answers are indeed found.”
Najib said the hunt for the Boeing 777 was probably the largest mission to locate an aircraft ever staged and he was confident it would provide answers to the baffling mystery.
“I am very confident with the level of professionalism... that indeed in due time we will provide a closure to this event, on this tragedy,” he said as he thanked those involved in “this gargantuan task”.
“I know it is a daunting task in very inclement weather, in very challenging circumstances and Malaysia is indeed grateful for your courage and your commitment.”
Malaysia believes the jet carrying 239 people went down in the southern Indian Ocean off Perth. Despite extensive scouring of the remote area, no debris that would indicate a crash site has so far been found.
Kuala Lumpur’s handling of the crisis has been widely criticised, especially by relatives of the 153 Chinese nationals aboard.--AFP
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrive for a briefing on the continuing search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Pearce Airbase, Perth. AFP PHOTO
03 April 2014| last updated at 11:44AM
MH370 Tragedy: All nations involved are fully committed: Najib
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says all nations involved in the search of the missing plane are fuly committed to the efforts.
Tweeting from Pearce Air Base in Perth, Najib said he had a bilateral meeting with Australian prime minister Tony Abbott on the search and recovery (SAR) mission.
In his posting at 9.43am, he posted - “Discussing w/ @TonyAbbotMHR in Perth this morning. All nations involved are fully committed to the #MH370 search”.
A picture of him, Abott and other officials in the discussion was attached in the tweet as they discussed the commitments of each nation for the search of the missing Malaysian Airline.
On Najib’s official Facebook page, he uploaded five pictures at 9.41am, including the picture he tweeted, with the album titled “PM Dato' Sri Najib Razak At Pearce Air Force Base in Perth”.
The note on the Facebook album read - “Discussing with my Australian counterpart, Tony Abbot and several MH370 search chiefs at Pearce Air Force Base, Perth. All nations involved are fully committed to the search for MH370. We will continue to work closely together”.
Accompanying Najib are Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Advisor in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, Malaysia High Commissioner to Australia Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Chief Tan Sri Rodzali Daud.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (L) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (R) attend a briefing on the continuing search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Pearce Airbase in Bullsbrook, 35km north of Perth. Reuters
03 April 2014| last updated at 01:29PM
MH370 Tragedy: Najib's press conference remarks in Perth
PERTH: Following is the statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
I would like to start by thanking the men and women who are giving their all to find MH370.
Over the past three weeks, hundreds of people have journeyed thousands of kilometres to help. They have searched through stormy seas and freezing fog. They have sailed through cyclones to find the plane. We owe them each a debt of gratitude.
This has been a remarkable effort, bringing together nations from around the world. When MH370 went missing, dozens of countries answered the call for help. Their commitment will not be forgotten.
In a time of great tragedy – for the countries with citizens on board, and the families whose loved ones are missing – this co-operation has given us all heart. Differences have been set aside, as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent; so too is the search.
This morning I met with sailors and aircrew at Peace Air Force Base. I also spoke to the commanders of the seven nations who are here to search for MH370. They told me of the difficulties of a search like this; of distance, and weather, and of maintaining morale amidst so many false sightings.
As we speak, 10 aircraft and 9 ships are searching the Indian Ocean for any sign of the missing plane. The search area is vast, and the conditions are not easy. But the courage of the crews is more than equal to the task. Once again, I thank them all for what they are doing.
I would also like to thank Prime Minister Abbott for hosting us here in Perth; for agreeing to lead the search operations in the southern Indian Ocean; and for accepting our invitation for Australia to participate as an Accredited Representative in the investigation. We will continue to work closely with the Australian government to draw up a comprehensive agreement on the search.
At this difficult time, Australia has proven an invaluable friend. The Australian authorities, like so many others, have offered their assistance without hesitation or delay. I would like to sincerely thank Australia for all they have done, and are doing, to find the plane.
We are also grateful to all those who have brought their expertise to bear on what Prime Minister Abbott rightly called ‘one of the great mysteries of our time’.
The disappearance of MH370 has tested our collective resolve. Faced with so little evidence, and such a difficult task, investigators from Malaysia, the US, the UK, China, Australia and France have worked without pause to reveal the aircraft’s movements. Their collective efforts have led us here.
We are here today, but our thoughts are thousands of kilometres away. In the cities and countries around the world, where families of those on board wait desperately for news. And in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, where MH370 awaits.
I know that until we find the plane, many families cannot start to grieve. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. But I can promise them that we will not give up.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at a breakfast with crew members from different countries involved in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Pearce Airbase in Bullsbrook
Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:21
WRONG AGAIN HISHAM! Lost flight MH370 'a blessing in disguise' - M'sian minister
THE public face of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has made another public relations faux pas, agreeing with a Tweet that described the tragedy as a “blessing in disguise”.
Kuala Lumpur-based journalist Ismail Amsyar tweeted: “MH370 is a blessing in disguise for all of us. I understand now the beauty of unity, the sweetness of having each other..”
Six minutes later Malaysia’s Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shocked followers when he replied: “Right u are:)”
Followers were quick to question the appropriateness of the tweet, with many suggesting it was insulting to the families of MH370 passengers.
The original Tweeter, Ismail Amsyar, attempted to clarify his position, and then apologised.
Hishammuddin, a prolific tweeter, has since deleted the comment from Twitter.
The journalist has also removed the original tweet.
MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN PERTH
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived in Perth last night.
Mr Najib is set to tour the RAAF’s Pearce air base near Perth today to thank those searching for Flight MH370, which vanished on its way to Beijing more than three weeks ago.
He’s expected to be accompanied by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Defence Minister David Johnston.
Not feeling blessed ... Chinese relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 wait for new information at a hotel in Beijing.Source: AFP
MH370 TRAGEDY A ‘CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION’
The disappearance of MH370 was classified as a criminal investigation, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal citing Malaysia’s police chief.
As the search for the missing Boeing 777-200ER continued into its 25th day, a series of updates linked to The Wall Street Journal’s Twitter feed quoted police chief Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar as saying police had taken more than 170 statements for the ongoing probe, and would interview more people.
“Investigations may go on and on and on. We have to clear every little thing,’’ Abu Bakar told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
“At the end of the investigations, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the reason for this incident.
As the so-far fruitless search for the missing plane continues, the aviation industry has announced it will create a taskforce to make recommendations for continuously tracking commercial airliners because “we cannot let another aircraft simply vanish’’.
Nine planes headed out to the search zone about 1500km west of Perth on Wednesday and another nine ships continue to scour the area, with authorities warning the already 25-day hunt for the Malaysia Airlines plane “could drag on for a long time”.
Seeking the truth ... a ground crew member from the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force signals to a P3 Orion pilot for engine start-up at RAAF base Pearce.Source: Getty Images
Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:38
WAS A BOMB SMUGGLED ONTO MH370: M'sian cops interview farm workers who handled plane's fruit cargo
Malaysia’s police chief confirmed today that detectives probing the disappearance of flight MH370 have been to a farm to interview everyone who handled a cargo of mangosteens, an exotic fruit.
Supporting an exclusive report in the Daily Mail last month which raised the question of whether an explosive device could have been planted in the cargo of four tons of mangosteens, Inspector-General Tan Sir Khalid Abu Bakar said the cargo was under investigation.
Revealing that police ‘have clues’ to the disappearance of the aircraft - without saying what they were - he did reveal that one aspect of the widespread investigation involved the purple-coloured fruit, about the size of a tangerine.
Malaysia¿s police chief confirmed today that detectives probing the disappearance of flight MH370 have been to a farm to interview everyone who handled a cargo of mangosteens, an exotic fruit, pictured
Supporting an exclusive report in the Daily Mail last month which raised the question of whether an explosive device could have been planted in the cargo of four tons of mangosteens, Inspector-General Tan Sir Khalid Abu Bakar (pictured) said the cargo was under investigation
'We are very thorough in our probe,’ said Mr Bakar.
‘Even the four tons of mangosteens in the aircraft hold is being investigated.
‘Investigators are looking into who ordered them, paid for them and plucked and packed them from an orchard in Muar (a town 93 miles south east of Kuala Lumpur).
‘That is how in-depth this probe is going.’
But Inspector-General Bakar said that he did not discount the possibility that the cause of the aircraft’s disappearance might never be known.
HMAS Success searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, at sea in the southern Indian Ocean
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Rory Dow making signals of the sighting of a floating object while deployed on HMAS Success
Malaysian police chief Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar said the investigation into what happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet may never be solved
However, in at least two extraordinary revelations he went against two official lines that had been given to the international media in the weeks since the aircraft disappeared.
Speaking at a police college in Kuala Lumpur today, Inspector-General Bakar said the Chief Pilot’s flight simulator had not been ‘cleared’, despite official comments last week stating that it had been, reported the SunDaily of Malaysia.
And despite other claims that all passengers and crew had been cleared of suspicion, Inspector-General Bakar said that while the 227 passengers had been vindicated, the jet’s crew members were still under investigation.
On the list of investigations involving police, he confirmed, four possibilities remained - hijacking, sabotage, the psychological state of all crew members and their personal issues.
Steve Wang, right, a representative from the committee for relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 talks to journalists
A relative of Chinese passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 covers his face while waiting for news inside a room at a hotel in Beijing
A relative of Chinese passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stands at the entrance to a meeting room wearing a t-shirt which reads 'Pray for MH370 safe return' in Beijing
But while tantalisingly stating that police have ‘clues’, to the disappearance, he said nothing could be revealed ‘as it may affect prosecution or a trial if there is any in the future.’
His comments and the continuing four areas of investigation suggested that the police were still considering a human element in the fate of the Boeing 777, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished on March 8.
In a shock comment, he denied that pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home-based flight simulator, which his own Minister of Defence, Hishimmuddin Hussein, had declared to be free of suspicion, had in fact been cleared.
The simulator, which had been removed from Zaharie’s home by police, following which the hard drive had been sent to FBI technical experts, had come under suspicion because all data before early February had been wiped from it by the Captain.
Then last week Mr Hishimmuddin said that the FBI’s scrutiny on the data log had showed nothing sinister.
But now the police chief, speaking at a press conference at the Police Officers’ College in Kuala Lumpur has gone against those comments, declaring: ‘It may be cleared on one aspect, but we have to look into other areas as well.
‘No, it has not been cleared.’
After giving his views on the police angle of investigation, he said that the mechanical aspect or airworthiness of the Boeing jet was being investigated by the Department of Civil Aviation and Malaysian Airlines.
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airborne Electronics Analyst Sergeant Patrick Manser looks out of an observation window aboard a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft during the search in the southern Indian Ocean
A Royal Australian Navy S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter is unloaded from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 Globemaster at RAAF Base Pearce, located north of Perth
Royal Australian Air Force and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force P-3C Orion detachment during a pre-flight briefing at RAAF Base Pearce
Thursday, 03 April 2014 11:03
Families in China feel LET DOWN down by latest MH370 briefing
BEIJING - Families of Chinese passengers aboard the missing MH370 flight here say they were dissatisfied with the briefing given by the authorities and experts.
On the official Weibo account of the families committee, they claimed no new information was released and their queries were not addressed.
"We were told that information and materials, which could only be shown to the next-of-kin, would be announced during the meeting, and so we refused media presence.
"But what happened was really disappointing," the statement titled "We are fooled once again!" read.
Earlier, the committee posted a list of 15 questions on Weibo which they had prepared to raise during the meeting.
The questions included the formula used to determine the conclusion that the aircraft has ended in the southern Indian Ocean; and whether the recent fire at the Malaysia Airlines avionics work-shop would hamper the pending investigations.
The families also demanded to be given records of all communication systems onboard the aircraft such as the satellite phone and ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System), and the communication records between the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the military.
They also wanted a three-dimensional flight path of MH370 with a comparison with the diagram of the Doppler Effect analysis.
The closed-door meeting, which was held yesterday, was arranged following the request of the Chinese families who wanted to find out the "truth" from the higher authority. -Asiaone
Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:33
Search for flight MH370 now moves CLOSER to Western Australia coast
Authorities have shifted the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 300 kilometres closer to the Western Australia coast, as a British nuclear submarine and survey vessel were deployed to join the hunt.
Twenty-five days after the passenger jet disappeared with 239 occupants on board, 10 aircraft and nine vessels are yet to find any debris from the plane.
Even so, the search effort is expanding, with a British survey ship HMS Echo to be deployed along with a nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Tireless.
The submarine arrived in the search area on Wednesday tasked specifically with locating the aircraft's black box.
It will join a specialist US navy team on board ADV Ocean Shield with a black box locator and underwater drone.
But the head of the agency co-ordinating the search said on Wednesday that the black box search was near impossible without finding debris first.
''What's really vital here is to find some wreckage, some debris on the surface of the ocean,'' Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (retired) said. ''It's only through that we will then be able to narrowly focus the search area so that we can start to exploit the underwater technology devices that will hopefully lead to where the aircraft is on the bottom of the ocean.''
The beacon on the black box is expected to run out of batteries in between five and 20 days.
The Australian Air Force P3 Orion returned to the Pearce RAAF base on Wednesday without any news.
"Today the weather was pretty good, the cloud base wasn't too low. The sea state was pretty good but unfortunately we didn't see anything of interest," said Captain Flight Lieutenant Dave O'Brien from the Australian P3 Orion. "We'll be back out tomorrow and we'll hopefully find something of interest".
He said crews are finding the lack of positively identified wreckage "frustrating".
Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak is scheduled to meet MH370 search crews at Pearce RAAF base near Perth on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
"We want to get out there and find something just like everyone else," Captain O'Brien said.
On Tuesday, Air Chief Marshal Houston said the analysis of satellite and radar data that had underpinned the location of the search area was a ''very inexact science'', and raised the possibility that no wreckage may be found.
He said on Wednesday that the search would continue for more than two weeks as additional resources were thrown at it.
The ongoing frustrations with the search came as Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak was due to arrive in Perth late on Wednesday.
He will meet Air Chief Marshal Houston and Prime Minister Tony Abbott, as well as some of the military personnel devoted to the search.
Mr Najib is also likely to be pressed about allowing Australia to be the base of the formal investigation into the crash, which will begin once the debris is located.
The Wall Street Journal suggested there was little or no flow of information between the international experts contributing to the analysis of where the plane could have crashed.
This, the newspaper said, led to a delay in identifying the new search area about 1000 kilometres north-east of the first search zone deep in the southern ocean. In other developments, it emerged that the top of the line, long-range Gulfstream jet owned by film director Peter Jackson had been used as the airborne communications hub for the search effort.
It was replaced on Wednesday by an RAAF Wedgetail command and control plane.
Air Chief Marshal Houston said he was expecting to meet with the families of those on board MH370 in the near future.
''Now already we've had contact with estranged families,'' he told ABC Radio. ''And we will give them whatever support they need in these very demanding and emotionally charged times.''
On Thursday search crews at Pearce RAAF base will begin the day with a visit from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who is expected to arrive in Perth on Wednesday evening. -www.brisbanetimes.com.au