Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Malaysia Airline flight 370 Mystery May 27 -28 , 2014 -- Officially back to square one ( Pings not related to flight 370 black boxes which are now dead ........ Malaysia Prime Minister declines to meet family members during China visit ( think those families were made before ? ) ......... MH370 FAMILIES FURY: Satellite data released 'INCOMPLETE' & ‘MAKES NO SENSE’ ( Why are we not surprised by this ? )
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will not meet the families of missing passengers, about two-thirds of whom were Chinese during his visit to China. ― Reuters picBEIJING, May 28 ― Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will not meet with the families of Chinese passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 when he visits Beijing for the first time since the plane disappeared.
Najib will meet President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and head of parliament Zhang Dejiang during a six-day visit ending Sunday to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties, a Malaysian foreign ministry official told Reuters.
But Najib will not meet the families of missing passengers, about two-thirds of whom were Chinese. A spokesman for Najib's China delegation told Reuters today he could not immediately comment on why there would be no meeting.
“We've asked [Najib's office] today, we asked yesterday and the day before that. We've been demanding it for a month now with no response,” said a family member surnamed Xu. “It's not right, he has an obligation to meet with us.”
The Boeing Co 777 plane carrying 239 passengers and crew disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing almost three months ago.
Satellite data showed the flight likely ended in a remote area of the Indian Ocean west of Australia, but the most extensive search in aviation history has so far failed to find any trace of the plane.
Passengers' families have grown increasingly frustrated with the search and have complained that Malaysian authorities have not provided enough information.
Malaysia, for its part, has said it has repeatedly briefed next of kin and made great efforts to determine the plane's fate.
Aid and comfort
During his first visit to China since the incident, Najib will also speak about Malay language education at a university, view a cultural performance and meet entrepreneurs, said the Malaysian foreign ministry official.
“If he was in Malaysia we wouldn't ask him to come [and meet us],” said a family member surnamed Wang. “But since he has the opportunity to come here, why won't he meet with us?”
Qin Gang, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a regular press briefing he had no information of any arrangement for Najib to meet with the families.
“China has provided assistance and urged Malaysia Airlines to appropriately provide aid and comfort to the families of Chinese passengers, and we will continue to do so,” Qin said. ― Reuters
Four acoustic pings emanating from the Indian Ocean thought to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 came from some other man-made source unrelated to the plane, a U.S. Navy official told CNN on Wednesday.
"Our best theory at this point is that (the pings were) likely some sound produced by the ship ... or within the electronics of the Towed Pinger Locator," Michael Dean, the Navy's deputy director of ocean engineering, told CNN.
With searchers pinning their hopes on signals they were "very confident" were from the plane's black box, the revelation is a huge setback, especially considering the battery life of the black box has long since expired.
So far, searchers have scanned 329 square miles of ocean floor with no sign of wreckage, according to CNN.
Searching in the Indian Ocean, Australian Navy vessels had picked up on a number of signals it detected in April, leading officials to believe they were getting closer to finding the plane.
"Despite the lack of further detections, the four signals previously acquired taken together constitute the most promising lead we have in the search for MH370," Angus Houston, the Australian search chief, told Reuters at the time.
The plane, which was carrying 239 people, disappeared on Mar. 8 after losing contact about two hours after takeoff, according to The Mirror.
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 18:57
MH370 FAMILIES FURY: Satellite data released 'INCOMPLETE' & ‘MAKES NO SENSE’
The raw data used in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has been released following mounting calls from passengers' relatives for greater transparency.
But the data has left their families bewildered and they have complained that the report is missing data, as well as comparable records from previous flights on MH370's route that the families had requested.
The data from satellite communications with the plane, which runs to 47 pages in a report prepared by Inmarsat, features hourly 'handshakes' - or network log-on confirmations - after the aircraft disappeared from civilian radar screens on March 8.
Malaysia's acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced the data that helped track MH370 (pictured) will be released to the public tomorrow
Airlines committed to real-time aircraft tracking after missing...
Families of passengers are hoping that opening up the data to analysis by a wider range of experts can help verify the plane's last location, nearly three months after the Boeing 777 with 239 passengers and crew disappeared.
'When we first asked for the data it was more than two months ago. I never dreamed it would be such an obstacle to overcome,' Sarah Bajc, the American partner of a passenger, said from Beijing.
Bajc said experts on flight tracking who have been advising the families would now be able to analyse the data to see if the search area could be refined and determine if Inmarsat and other officials had missed anything.
The Inmarsat control room. The British satellite firm's data helped track MH370
But she complained the report released on Tuesday was missing data removed to improve readability, as well as comparable records from previous flights on MH370's route that the families had requested.
'Why couldn't they have submitted that?' she said. 'It only makes sense if they are hiding something.'
The data's release had become a rallying cry for many of the families, who have accused the Malaysian government of holding back information.
Based on Inmarsat's and other investigators' analysis of the data, the aircraft is believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean, off western Australia.
Malaysian investigators suspect someone shut off MH370's data links making the plane impossible to track, but investigators have so far turned up nothing suspicious about the crew or passengers.
In the hours after the aircraft disappeared, an Inmarsat satellite picked up a handful of handshake 'pings', indicating the plane continued flying for hours after leaving radar and helping narrow the search to an area of the Indian Ocean.
The dense technical data released on Tuesday details satellite communications from before MH370's take-off on a Saturday morning at 12:41 a.m. local time (1641 GMT) to a final, 'partial handshake' transmitted by the plane at 8:19 a.m. (0019 GMT).
Unprecedented: Twenty-six nations have been involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 since it disappeared
Pings may not have been from MH370 after all
The data includes a final transmission from the plane 8 seconds later, after which there was no further response.
The data also featured two 'telephony calls' initiated from the ground at 1839 GMT and 2313 GMT that went unanswered by the plane.
Malaysian officials were not immediately available to answer questions on the data.
Calculations based on the pings and the plane's speed showed the jetliner likely went down in the remote ocean 7 to 8 hours after its normal communications were apparently cut off as it headed to Beijing on its routine flight.
The time of the last satellite contact was consistent with the plane's fuel capacity.
The search in an area around 1,550 km (960 miles) northwest of Perth was further narrowed on the basis of acoustic signals believed to have come from the aircraft's 'black box' data recorders before their batteries ran out.
After the most extensive search in aviation history failed to turn up any trace of the plane, however, officials have said that it could take a year to search the 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq mile) area where it could have come down.
Malaysia, China and Australia said in mid-May they had agreed to re-examine all data related to the missing plane to better determine the search area as the hunt enters a new, deep-sea phase.
Malaysia is also leading an official international investigation under United Nations rules to probe the causes of the baffling incident. -Dailymail
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 19:03
M'SIA CAUGHT LYING AGAIN? MH370 data release ‘DISAPPOINTS’ - key data MISSING
MALAYSIAN authorities have released the raw satellite data used to track the missing MH370 jetliner to what they believe is its final resting place in the depths of the southern Indian Ocean.
The data was released as authorities announced that the next phase of the underwater search for the plane will not begin for several months, will cover an area of up to 60,000 square kilometres and could take up to a year to complete.
MH370 disappeared in the early hours of March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Not one piece of debris has since been found, despite extensive searches across vast swathes of land and ocean.
Independent experts said the newly released communication logs didn’t include key assumptions, algorithms and metadata needed to validate the investigation team’s conclusions that the plane flew south and crashed in the remote Indian Ocean.
”It’s a whole lot of stuff that is not very important to know,’’ said Michael Exner, a satellite engineer who has been intensively researching the calculations. ``There are probably two or three pages of important stuff, the rest is just noise. It doesn’t add any value to our understanding.’’
The 47 pages of Inmarsat data comprised dates, times and figures and was released at the request of grieving family members of those on board, frustrated by 81 days of searching and no sign whatsoever of the plane or any debris.
The ATSB also released a series of data and analysis, showing the plane’s last attempt to communicate with the satellite probably came as it ran out of fuel, which was consistent with expert analysis of the plane’s fuel consumption.
Empty hearts ... Intan Maizura Othman and baby Muhammad in hospital in Kuala Lumpur last month. She is the wife of a flight attendant on board MH370 called Muhammad Nasrin. Source: Supplied
Selamat Osman, whose son was on board the plane, said he had received the satellite data by email but there was no explanation and it did little to satisfy or convince him.
“The data is not enough without an independent expert to analyse it,” Mr Osman said.
And Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood was on the plane, described the data as “anti-climatic”, given families had first requested it two months ago. She said it was still not released in its true original form, containing “logfile data”.
Ms Bajc told News Corporation that experts, helping the families, are currently conducting their own independent analysis of the satellite data.
“This report is anti-climatic. Our original request for the data was over two months ago … I and a few other family members had solicited input form some reputable experts in the industry who were willing to take a crack at cross-validating the formulas, assumptions and analysis. I never dreamt that the ‘raw data’ would become such a rallying cry,” Ms Bajc said.
Destination unknown ... This picture from March 8 shows Chinese police standing beside the arrival board showing flight MH370 (top-red) at the Beijing Airport after news of the Boeing 777-200 plane disappearing. Source: AFP
The new data also reveals, for the first time, that authorities are considering whether the plane was on a published north-south flight path in the south-eastern Indian Ocean, known as air route M641, which connects the Cocos Island to Perth.
This air route crosses the area where the four pings, which could have come from the plane’s black box, were heard in the early part of April.
It is not known if this suggests the plane could have been flying on a known air route, on its own, with the crew unconscious or dead, and run out of fuel.
“Comparison of possible flight paths with tracks using waypoints is also under consideration,” the ATSB says in a document published about the search area.
The ATSB says that MH370 made seven “handshakes” with the Inmarsat satellite ground station after it disappeared from civilian and military radar at 2.22am. After this point it continued to fly for another six hours, making seven more communications with the satellite — at 2.28am, 3.41am, 4.41am, 5.41am, 6.41am, 8.11am and finally at 8.19am
Long search ... A South Korean P3 Orion at RAAF Pearce Air Base in Bullsbrook, some 35km north of Perth, after returning from a mission hunting wreckage from the missing airliner. Source: AFP
Authorities believe the last communications, which deviated from the early hourly handshakes, are consistent with MH370 running out of fuel.
This is known as the seventh arc and this information formed the basis of the massive search undertaken off the coast of Perth, which is due to enter a new phase and could last a year.
“The 8.19am signalling message (7th arc) was a logon request from the aircraft. This is consistent with the satellite communication equipment on the aircraft powering up following a power interruption. The interruption in electrical supply may have been caused by fuel exhaustion,” the ATSB says.
Estimates of the plane’s fuel consumption, based on flight paths and speeds were “consistent with fuel exhaustion occurring close to the seventh arc”.
“At the time MH370 reached the seventh arc the aircraft is considered to have been descending.”
The ATSB has also revealed that it is analysing low frequency signals in the Indian Ocean, recorded by hydrophones as part of a United Nations nuclear test ban and which monitor nuclear explosions, to see if they can help to refine the search area.
Candles of hope ... The Lawton family held a memorial to celebrate the lives of Cathy Lawton and Bob Lawton, who were aboard flight MH370, on Friday May 23, in Brisbane. Source: News Corp Australia
Family members of those on board MH370 have formed support groups and now intend taking the raw satellite data for independent analysis in a bid to be satisfied that the search is indeed in the right place.
To the lay person the 47 pages means little and Inmarsat has said that experts from many different fields were used to reach the conclusion about the seven arcs and the plane’s probable end.
End of the line ... Technicians tie down the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater drone prior to the ADV Ocean Shield. The vessel and its drone are due to end the current phase of the search this week. Source: Getty Images
CNN is reporting the underwater search for the missing Malasia Airlines aircraft — based on several now disputed signals detected by Australian search authorities — will be suspended within days.
Once the current search using the Bluefin-21 drone wraps up, Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield will return to port for “several months”.
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said the Australian government will soon request tenders from private contractors to conduct the new underwater phase of the operation.
The successful tender will be announced within two months. It is expected to cost up to $60 million.
A bathymetric survey or mapping of the ocean floor has started, from a Chinese ship, and will take about three months. After this the next phase of the search, using underwater equipment, will begin.
“The search will be a major undertaking. The complexities and challenges involved are immense but not impossible. The best minds from around the world have been reviewing, refining and localising the most likely area where the aircraft entered the water, which is why we remain confident of finding the aircraft,” ATSB chief Martin Dolan said.
DEBRIS PHOTOS ‘JUST JUNK’
Satellite images of floating objects raised international anticipation in the early days of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft.
Long since dismissed as irrelevant, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has revealed the only items found were marine and fishing debris.
While the world speculated on whether the objects could be sections of fuselage, surfacing after the fateful flight entered the southern Indian Ocean on March 8, authorities remained sceptical.
``There was always a question mark around whether they were actually seeing anything at all,’’ Australian Maritime Safety Authority boss Mick Kinley told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra.
And while he conceded some items were located in the search area, they were quickly deemed to have no link to the missing plane.
``A lot of marine debris, a lot of fishing debris (was) out there from fishing vessels,’’ Mr Kinley said.
He also indicated there was little satellite information to go on, because there was ``usually very little of interest’’ that would attract operators to focus on the southern Indian Ocean.
Earlier today, John Doherty from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said any risk of losing an Australian domestic flight from radar or satellite was less thanks to recent developments.
``We now have very good coverage of the Australian mainland and close waters for aircraft,’’ he said.
However gaps still existed elsewhere in the world, Mr Doherty said. -News.com.au