Ethiopian Airlines offers grieving plane crash victims soil to bury


Ethiopian Airlines offers grieving plane crash victims soil to bury

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian Airlines has offered the grieving families of 157 victims of last Sunday’s Boeing 737 Max plane crash sacks of earth to bury in place of their loved ones.

As per AP, officials have begun delivering bags of earth to the family of the victims of the crash instead of the remains of their loved ones as the identification will take such a long time. “The soil came as it became impossible to identify bodies and hand over remains to family members,” one family member said.

“We will not rest till we are given the real body or body parts of our loved ones.” Mean while, black box data indicate “clear similarities” between last week’s crash and the Oct crash of an Indonesian Lion Air plane, Ethiopia’s transport minister said.




NASA spacecraft explored edges of Martian sea 2 decades ago


NASA spacecraft explored edges of Martian sea 2 decades ago

Washington: NASA’s first rover mission to Mars, the Pathfinder, may have explored the edges of an early Martian sea in 1997, according to scientists who say that images from the probe could yield evidence of habitability on the Red Planet. The landing site is on the spillway of an ancient sea that experienced catastrophic floods released from the planet’s subsurface and its sediments.

Nearly half a century ago the Mariner 9 spacecraft returned images of some of the largest channels in the Solar System.
Orbital observations of the gigantic channels suggested they were formed approximately 3.4 billion years ago by cataclysmic floods, much larger than any known to have occurred on Earth.

The prospect that abundant flowing water once sculptured the Martian landscape ignited renewed interest in the possibility that life may have once thrived on the planet. To test the Martian mega-flood hypothesis, NASA deployed its first Martian rover; the Sojourner, on board the 1997 Mars Pathfinder spacecraft that journeyed to the Red Planet.

NASA spent a total of $280 million on the mission, including the launch vehicle and mission operations. The terrain within the rover’s visual range includes potential fluvial features suggestive of regionally extensive flooding. However, those features suggest floods that were at least 10 times shallower than those estimated using images obtained from orbit.

Hence, the mission was not able to exclude still disputed alternative views sustaining that debris or lavas flows could have in fact dominated the channels’ formational history without significant water discharges. “Our paper shows a basin, with roughly the surface area of California, that separates most of the gigantic Martian channels from the Pathfinder landing site,” said said Alexis Rodriguez, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

“Debris or lava flows would have filled the basin before reaching the Pathfinder landing site. The very existence of the basin requires cataclysmic floods as the channels’ primary formational mechanism,” he said. The basin is covered by sedimentary deposits with a distribution that precisely matches the inferred extent of inundation from potential catastrophic floods, which would have formed an inland sea,” Rodriguez said.

“This sea is approximately 250 kilometres upstream from the Pathfinder landing site, an observation that reframes its paleo-geographic setting as part of a marine spillway, which formed a land barrier separating the inland sea and a northern ocean,” he said. “Our simulation shows that the presence of the sea would have attenuated cataclysmic floods, leading to shallow spillovers that reached the Pathfinder landing site and produced the bedforms detected by the spacecraft,” Rodriguez said.

The team’s results indicate that marine spillover deposits contributed to the landscape that the spacecraft detected nearly 22 years ago, and reconcile the mission’s in situ geologic observations and decades of remote-sensing outflow channel investigations.

The sea bears an uncanny resemblance to the Aral Sea on Earth in that in both instances they lack distinct shoreline terraces.  Its rapid regression over shallow submerged slopes resulted in rates of shoreline front retreat too fast for the terraces to form. The same process could partly account for the long-recognised lack of northern plains shorelines.




Sources: JuD, FIF leaders have gone underground after Pakistan crackdown


Sources: JuD, FIF leaders have gone underground after Pakistan crackdown

Lahore: Except Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafeez Saeed, almost all leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) have gone underground after the Pakistan government placed the two outfits in the list of banned organisations, official sources said on Sunday.

Under immense international pressure, the Imran Khan-led government placed the Saeed-led JuD and its wing FIF in the list of proscribed organisations and arrested over 100 members of the outfits, including Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar’s son and his brother.

Pakistan also took control of the properties of the JeM, the JuD and the FIF, including seminaries and mosques, across the country. The government termed the action in accordance with the National Action Plan (NAP) and meeting the obligations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“Except the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack, Hafiz Saeed, almost all main leaders of the JuD and the FIF have gone underground and they will reappear once this dust settle,” an official source told PTI. He said JuD chief Saeed is keeping a low profile and currently living at his Lahore residence amid high security.

The JuD’s media team has also gone underground, as they are neither issuing any statement nor taking calls from the media persons. Even messages sent by PTI to JuD media team members Yahya Mujahid and Ahmed Nadeem asking if the JuD leadership has gone underground to escape arrests or waiting the dust to settle down, it remained unanswered.

For the first time in two decades Saeed was also not allowed to enter and deliver the weekly sermon at JuD headquarters in Lahore. “The Pakistan government is yet to take a decision on taking Azhar and Saeed into the protective custody,” the official said.

The government has upgraded a group of proscribed organisations to “high risk” and started monitoring and re-examining their activities and profiles under heightened security checks at all layers of legal, administrative, investigative and financial regimes to comply with the requirement of the FATF.

The Paris-based global watchdog against financial crimes had expressed dissatisfaction over considering these entities as “low” to “medium” risk by Islamabad, saying Pakistan did “not demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by Daesh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Jud Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), LeT, JeM, Haqqani network (HQN), and persons affiliated with the Taliban”.

According to the government, all the entities have now been described as “high-risk” and will be subjected to greater scrutiny by all agencies and institutions of the state, starting from their registration to operations and from their fund collection to bank accounts and issuance of suspicious transactions, information sharing and so on. These decisions are being taken to comply with the FATF obligations. Recently, the Dawn said that merely making an announcement about a group’s proscription was not enough.

“If the state has evidence of the outfit’s involvement in militancy it should present the facts and pursue the legal course so that JuD’s leadership can face justice,” it said.  “As has been witnessed for nearly two decades now, the state moves to ban militant outfits, but, in very little time they are back, up and running, with new names and the entire structure of violence intact,” it said.




Bangladesh cricket team escapes New Zealand mosque shooting: official


Bangladesh cricket team escapes New Zealand mosque shooting: official

Christchurch: Bangladesh’s cricket team escaped unscathed after a deadly shooting at a mosque in New Zealand, an official said on Friday. Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team were bussed to the mosque in Christchurch and were about to go inside when the incident happened.

“They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” he told AFP. Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal wrote on Twitter: “Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.” Local media said multiple people were killed in the incident. “Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque,” tweeted another player, Mushfiqur Rahim.

“We r extremely lucky…never want to see this things happen again….pray for us.” Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, the team’s high performance analyst, posted: “Just escaped active shooters!!! Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere!!” Mazhar Uddin, a reporter for Bangladesh’s Daily Star who is travelling with the team, said they were told a shooting was going on when they arrived at Christchurch’s Masjid Al Noor. “The distraught Bangladesh players got inside a bus and laid down on the floor after the warning,” he reported.




Boeing halts deliveries of 737 MAX after fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash


Boeing halts deliveries of 737 MAX after fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash

Chicago [USA]: US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, announced on Thursday that it has paused deliveries of its 737 MAX planes, after the jet model was grounded across the world in the wake of a deadly crash involving one of its planes in Ethiopia, which killed all 157 people on board.

While no time frame was announced on when the deliveries might resume, the production of the 737 MAX jets will still continue. “We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,” Russia Today quoted a Boeing spokesperson as saying. The decision came after the 737 MAX aircraft were grounded and banned from airspace of several countries, including the US, Canada, Singapore, UK, Ireland, France, India, Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands.

Ethiopian Air pilot ‘faced flight control’ issues before Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed
A host of carriers like Jet Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Aeromexico, and Turkish Airlines have also grounded their fleets containing the said aircraft, citing customer safety. An aircraft of the same make was also involved in the Lion Airlines plane crash in the Java Sea near Jakarta, Indonesia last year. Here too, the aircraft crashed a few minutes after taking off, claiming the lives of all 189 people on board.

Shares of Boeing have plunged more than 10 per cent since the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 jet crashed on March 10, wiping more than 25 billion dollars off the company’s market value. Boeing said it remains confident in the safety of the jets, but that it recommended the shutdown itself “out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety,” according to a statement from the company.




21-year-old woman passenger ordered to cover-up crop top she was wearing while boarding flight


21-year-old woman passenger ordered to cover-up crop top she was wearing while boarding flight

In a bizarre incident, a 21-year-old woman passenger was ordered to cover up or she will be removed from a plane. Thomas Cook Airlines staff had asked the passenger to cover-up and threatened with being kicked off a flight because of her “inappropriate” outfit.

According to reports, Emily O’Connor from Solihull, West Midlands, was flying with her family from Birmingham Airport to the Spanish island. Emily wrote on Twitter that while preparing to fly from Birmingham in the United Kingdom to the Canary Islands that she was informed by Thomas Cook staff that her outfit was “inappropriate” and “causing offense.”  Emily was wearing a cropped top with spaghetti straps and high-waist pants.

She tweeted about the incident, saying: “Thomas Cook told me that they were going to remove me from the flight if I didn’t ‘cover up’ as I was ‘causing offence’ and was ‘inappropriate’.”

 

Flying from Bham to Tenerife, Thomas Cook told me that they were going to remove me from the flight if I didn’t “cover up” as I was “causing offence” and was “inappropriate”. They had 4 flight staff around me to get my luggage to take me off the plane.

 
 

 

When O’Connor refused to change, she says a manager left to get her bag in order to remove her from the flight. In an interview with The Sun, a tabloid based in the UK, O’Connor called the incident “the most sexist, misogynistic, embarrassing experience of my life.” Emily says she then put on a jacket lent by her cousin, who was also on the flight. She says was left “shaking” and upset by the incident, as comments were made over the plane’s speakers about the situation.

In a statement to The Post Wednesday, a spokesman for the airline said Thomas Cooks’s cabin services director spoke with O’Connor personally to offer an apology. Thomas Cook in a statement said, “We are sorry that we upset Ms. O’Connor. It’s clear we could have handled the situation better. In common with most airlines, we have an appropriate attire policy. This applies equally to men and women of all ages without discrimination. Our crews have the difficult task of implementing that policy and don’t always get it right.”




Ethiopian Air pilot ‘faced flight control’ issues before Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed


Ethiopian Air pilot ‘faced flight control’ issues before Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed

Addis Ababa: The pilot of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 told air traffic controllers that he was having control problems before the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed, according to an account of cockpit voice recordings from the airlines Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam.

The pilot did not mention bird strikes or external problems, but requested permission to return to Bole Airport in Addis Ababa within minutes of takeoff on Sunday. The pilot “reported back to air traffic controllers that he was having flight control problems”, but cited no other issues, GebreMariam told the Wall Street Journal. The airline is planning to send the 737 Max 8 plane’s flight data recorder to Europe rather than the US for analysis, he said.

Flight 302 was bound for Nairobi when it plunged to the ground shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. It was the second crash involving the 737 Max 8 model in less than five months, after the Lion Air crash off Indonesia in which 189 people died in October. No evidence yet linked the crashes, but pilots on both planes reported problems moments after takeoff and sought permission to make emergency landings.

US issues emergency order to ground all Boeing 737 Max jets
European regulators have grounded the model, along with China, Australia, India and others around the world. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing and US airlines, however, maintain that the 737 Max is safe to fly. Pressure was growing in the US for regulators to act, with American and Canadian carriers now virtually alone in operating 737 Max flights, the Guardian reported. According to the Guardian, pilots on at least two US flights last year filed safety concerns about the aircraft after its nose tilted down suddenly when they engaged the autopilot. Their reports are part of database, compiled by NASA that does not reveal the airlines or locations.

The FAA said it was continuing to review all data from operators and pilots, but the review so far showed “no systematic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action”. In the US, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines operate the Max 8 and United Airlines flies a slightly larger version, the Max 9. All three carriers vouched for the safety of Max aircraft on Wednesday. US crew unions, however, called for the planes to be grounded. According to the daily, many airlines had schedules planned around deliveries of the 737 Max, which could be affected by a prolonged grounding.




India, US agree to build six nuclear power plants in India


India, US agree to build six nuclear power plants in India

Washington: India and the US said they have agreed to build six American nuclear power plants in India, in a boost to bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation.

The two countries said this in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US under secretary of state for arms control and international security, on Wednesday. “They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six U.S. nuclear power plants in India,” the joint statement said.

India and the US signed a historic agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear energy sector in October 2008. The deal gave a fillip to bilateral ties, which have been on an upswing since. A major aspect of the deal was the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries. Post-waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea.

On Wednesday, the United States also reaffirmed its strong support to India’s early membership in the 48-member NSG. Notably, China has blocked India’s pending membership to the elite grouping that seeks to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on a wide range of global security and non-proliferation challenges and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.

On March 12, Indra Mani Pandey, India’s additional secretary for disarmament and international security affairs, and Yleem D. S. Poblete, US assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, co-chaired the third round of India-US Space Dialogue. The two delegations discussed trends in space threats; respective national space priorities; and opportunities for cooperation bilaterally and in multilateral fora.




Six members of Indian family in Canada among 157 dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash


Six members of Indian family in Canada among 157 dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Ottawa: The “trip of a lifetime” to a safari park in Kenya turned into a nightmare for six members of a family from India in Canada who perished when the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

The Boeing 737 took-off from Bole International Airport on Sunday and lost contact six minutes later before coming down near Tulu Fara village outside the Ethiopian town of Bishoftu, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew on board, including tourists and business travellers. The victims included Pannagesh Vaidya, 73; his wife Hansini Vaidya, 67; their daughter Kosha Vaidya, 37; her husband Prerit Dixit, 45; and their two children – Anushka and Ashka – Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was quoted as saying by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

While the Surat-based Vaidya couple were Indian nationals, their daughter, husband and two children were Canadians of Indian-origin. The family who were living in Canada, heading for a safari vacation, were about to experience “the trip of a lifetime” in Kenya when the tragic loss happened. “This is an unbelievably tragic situation for this family,” Brown said in a statement.

US to take ‘immediate’ action on Boeing jet if needed: official

“As more details become known, I will provide a further update on how Brampton residents can assist this family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of sorrow and reflection.” The flags at city hall will remain at half-mast until further notice in honour of the family, Brown said in a message on Twitter. “It’s a huge tragedy,” Manant Vaidya, son of Pannagesh, said.

“I lost my parents, I lost my sister. I don’t have anyone else now.” Manant said his sister, who became a Canadian permanent resident in 2003, wanted to take her children to Kenya to visit her birthplace. “They thought March break was the perfect time for them to go over there, have fun,” he said. “It was going to be a really great trip for everybody.”

“I asked my dad why he wanted to go and he told me that in his life he wants to go one more time.” The Peel District School Board said Monday that two of our students  Ashka and Anushka Dixit along with their parents and grandparents were passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that was involved in a fatal crash over the weekend. This tragedy has brought great sadness to the students and staff at Centennial Sr. Public School and Chinguacousy Secondary School, the school board said.

“Tomorrow, the flags at @ChinguacousySS & @CentennialSrPS will be lowered to half-mast to remember and honour Anushka Dixit, Ashka Dixit, their parents and grandparents who lost their lives over the weekend,” the school board tweeted. Manant said he last saw his family Saturday morning when he dropped them off at Toronto Pearson International Airport for their 10 a.m. flight overseas.

Manant and his wife said they are currently speaking with consular officials overseas and waiting for more information on their family’s remains, the report said. People from 35 countries were reportedly on board the flight ET 302 when it ploughed into a field, 60-kilometer southeast of Addis Ababa. According to the Indian Embassy in Ethiopia, four Indian nationals were killed and they have been identified as Pannagesh Vaidya, Hansini Vaidya, Nukavarapu Manisha, a doctor based in the US,  and Shikha Garg, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant attached with the Environment Ministry.

Ethiopian Airlines said Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by Canada with 18, Ethiopia nine, then Italy, China, and the US with eight each. Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six, and Germany five. Twelve countries in Africa and 14 in Europe had citizens among the victims.




Won’t allow Bangladeshi soil to be used by any terror outfit: Sheikh Hasina assures PM Narendra Modi


Won’t allow Bangladeshi soil to be used by any terror outfit: Sheikh Hasina assures PM Narendra Modi

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday assured her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that her government would never allow the country’s soil to be used by any terrorist organisation under its “zero tolerance policy”.

Dhaka was firmly committed to stamp out terrorism from the South Asian region through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation, she said after jointly inaugurating four projects of associated to healthcare, drinking water supply, public transport in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Modi through video-conferencing. Terming the spread of radicalism as a “grave threat” not only to the two countries but to the entire region, India and Bangladesh last year resolved to step up anti-terror cooperation.

“We remain steadfast in our resolve to root out the scourge of terrorism from our region and beyond through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation,” Hasina said. The Bangladesh premier said her government would never allow Bangladesh soil to be used by any terrorist organisation under its “zero tolerance policy” against terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations”.

Bangladeshi man sentenced for altering photos of Sheikh Hasina, former Indian PM
Hasina also expressed her “utmost sympathy” for the family members of the Indian paramilitary police personnel who were killed in last month’s terror attack in Pulwama in Kashmir. “We reiterate our strong condemnation of this dastardly act,” she said. A suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, the incident led to flaring up of tensions between India and Pakistan.

Hasina said that the relations between Dhaka and New Delhi is now a “role model” of good neighbours for the rest of the world as a result of multi-faceted and multi-dimensional cooperation. “I strongly believe this momentum will continue,” she said. The Bangladesh premier said over the last decade, two countries have witnessed remarkable progress on cooperation in different conventional and unconventional areas like security, power, trade and commerce, energy, connectivity, infrastructure development, environment, renewable energy, education, culture, people-to-people contact and health.

She said at the same time, the two countries have expanded cooperation in new areas like blue economy and maritime cooperation, peaceful uses of the nuclear energy, cooperation in outer space, internet bandwidth sharing, cyber security etc. The two prime ministers joined the video-conferencing from their offices in Dhaka and New Delhi and jointly inaugurated the four projects by unveiling the e-plaques.

The four projects launched on Monday include, supply of Double Decker and Single Decker AC and Non-AC Buses and Trucks to Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (under the second Line of Credit); 36 Community Clinics in five north and northeastern Bangladesh districts bordering India with an aid from Indian government; setting up of 11 Water Treatment Plants in two southwestern cities and the extension of India’s National Knowledge Network (NKN) to Bangladesh.

The NKN is a multi-gigabit National Research and Education Network (NREN) which provides a unified high speed network backbone for educational institutions in India. Apart from Hasina and Modi, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and his Indian counterpart Sushama Swaraj also spoke through video-conferenceing. Swaraj said the four projects, inaugurated by the two prime ministers “symbolise the breadth and depth of our partnership” and also an reaffirmation of our “Neighbourhood  First Policy”. She said both the countries should set more ambitious targets which are aimed at preserving the special character of India-Bangladesh ties, as she had earlier said “Neighbours first, and among neighbours, Bangladesh first of all”.




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