Monday, 17 March 2014

Malaysia officials look at suicide theory

Malaysia officials look at suicide theory
The co-pilot of a missing Malaysian jetliner spoke the last words heard from the cockpit, the airline's chief executive said, as investigators consider suicide by the captain or first officer as one possible explanation for the disappearance.

No trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found since it vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

Investigators are increasingly convinced it was diverted perhaps thousands of miles off course by someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation, Reuters news agency reported.

A search of unprecedented scale involving 26 countries is under way, covering an area stretching from the shores of the Caspian Sea in the north to deep in the southern Indian Ocean.

Airline chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya also told a news conference on Monday that it was unclear exactly when one of the plane's automatic tracking systems had been disabled, appearing to contradict comments by government ministers at the weekend.

Suspicions of hijacking or sabotage had hardened further when officials said on Sunday that the last radio message from the plane - an informal "all right, good night" - was spoken after the tracking system, known as "ACARS", was shut down.

"Initial investigations indicate it was the co-pilot who basically spoke the last time it was recorded on tape," Ahmad Jauhari said on Monday.

That was a sign-off to air traffic controllers at 1:19 am local time, as the Beijing-bound plane left Malaysian airspace.

The last transmission from the ACARS system - a maintenance computer that relays data on the plane's status - was received at 1:07 am local time, as the plane crossed Malaysia's northeast coast.

"We don't know when the ACARS was switched off after that," Ahmad Jauhari said. "It was supposed to transmit 30 minutes from there, but that transmission did not come through."

Sophisticated knowledge

The plane vanished from civilian air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian authorities believe that someone on board shut off its communications systems.

Malaysian police are trawling through the backgrounds of the pilots, flight crew and ground staff for any clues to a possible motive in what is now being treated as a criminal investigation.

Asked if suicide by the pilot or co-pilot was a line of inquiry, Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said: "We are looking at it."

But it was only one of the possibilities under investigation, he said.

Intensive efforts by various governments to investigate the backgrounds of everyone on the airplane had not, as of Monday, turned up any information linking anyone to militant groups or anyone with a known political or criminal motive to crash or hijack the aircraft, US and European security sources said.

One source familiar with US inquiries into the disappearance said the pilots were being studied because of the technical knowledge needed to disable the ACARS system.

Many experts and officials say that, while the jet's transponder can be switched off by flicking a switch in the cockpit, turning off ACARS may have required someone to open a trap door outside the cockpit, climb down into the plane's belly and pull a fuse or circuit breaker.

Whoever did so had to have sophisticated knowledge of the systems on a 777, according to pilots and two current and former US officials close to the investigation.

Malaysian police searched the homes of the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, in middle-class suburbs of Kuala Lumpur close to the international airport on Saturday.
Source: Aljazeera

Epic discovery bolsters 'Big Bang' theory

Epic discovery bolsters 'Big Bang' theory
A United States-led team of astronomers have discovered what many consider the holy grail of their field: ripples in the fabric of space-time that are echoes of the massive expansion of the universe that took place just after the Big Bang.

Gravitational waves are feeble, primordial undulations that propagate across the cosmos at the speed of light. Astronomers have sought them for decades because they are the missing evidence for two theories.

US and EU put sanctions on Russia over Crimea

US and EU put sanctions on Russia over Crimea
The European Union and United States have agreed to impose sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for a contested independence referendum in Crimea, officials have said.

China dismisses UN report on N Korea 'crimes'

China dismisses UN report on N Korea 'crimes'
China has dismissed a UN report alleging that North Korea has committed crimes against humanity, raising fears among human rights activists that it will shield its ally Pyongyang from international prosecution.

Chen Chuandong, a member of China's mission in Geneva, told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday that the independent commission of inquiry made unfounded accusations and made recommendations that were "divorced from reality".

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Thailand's Moken Tribe

Thailand's Moken Tribe

On Thailand's tropical Surin Islands lies one of the world's fastest disappearing cultures.

The Moken, a nomadic sea tribe that has roamed the Andaman sea for centuries, are in a desperate fight to keep their traditions alive. Having survived the 2004 tsunami by recalling their ancestors' cautionary tales, the winds of modernity are now proving a greater threat to their way of life.

Monday, 24 February 2014

No plans to remove Borno governor by FG

No plans to remove Borno governor by FG - The Federal government yesterday debunked reports that the federal government plans to dissolve the democratic structure in Borno state and appoint a military administrator to over see the affairs of the state.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sanusi Suspended as CBN Governor by FG

Sanusi Suspended as CBN Governor by FG

The Federal Government Thursday suspended the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido  Sanusi. Special Adviser to  President  Goodluck Jonathan, the most senior Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr Sarah Alade,  has been named as the Acting  CBN  Governor.

The statement noted that  Sanusi’s tenure has been characterised by “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline”.

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