Archive | December, 2014

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China’s stronger pollution law takes effect this week

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 31-12-2014

 

The revised Environmental Protection Law that takes effect on Thursday imposes more severe fines and even comes with the possibility of criminal charges against polluters.

In addition, supplementary regulations are on the way to make implementation more effective, the top environmental watchdog said on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has listed 54 projects to support the implementation of the new law. Five regulations covering the release of information and daily fines for pollution were released in 2014, said Zhai Qing, deputy minister.

“The new law will tackle problems such as light punishments of polluting companies,” Zhai said.

Under the revised law, polluters will pay daily fines for violations, with no limit. Also, environmental impact assessment agencies will be held jointly liable with the polluters if the reports they provide have been fabricated.

In addition to the severe penalties on polluters and other companies involved, the ministry will strengthen cooperation with judicial departments to manage pollution cases.

In the first three quarters, the ministry transferred 1곈 pollution cases to courts at all levels, and the total number of cases for the year is expected to double that of 2013, Zhai said.

Courts specializing in hearing environmental disputes have increased quickly since the Supreme People’s Court set up the so-called green tribunals in June. Cases reached 369 as of December 9, said Du Wanhua, a senior judge of the court.

“The ministry and the Supreme People’s Court have worked smoothly to develop judicial guidance for public welfare lawsuits,” said Zhai, the deputy minister.

Du added that some other guidance documents, dealing with damage compensation, for example, are also under discussion. These documents would be legally binding and support the implementation of the principles stipulated in the revised law.

There will be obvious improvements in environmental social organization if the judicial guidance documents are released, since most of the lawsuits involved with pollution are related to the public welfare, said Wang Canfa, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law who participated in drafting the documents.

“But there are some limits because of the high threshold on the non-governmental organizations,” he said, adding that NGOs should have no criminal record in five years.

But the revised law, together with the judicial guidance, can solve problems to some degree, he said.

Undergoing its first changes in ǹ years, the law passed review by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in April after four draft versions over nearly two years.

 

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AIRASIA QZ8501: S’pore was told of request to change altitude

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : ǿ-12-2014

 

Singapore air traffic control was informed by Jakarta when the pilot of Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 requested approval to take the plane up to 38,000 feet.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said that the communication was part of standard protocol.

“As the Singapore Flight Information Region was QZ8501′s onward destination, Jakarta air traffic control informed Singapore air traffic control of the change in altitude as part of normal procedure,” said the spokesman.

Singapore air traffic control “immediately acknowledged the receipt of information”, she added.

The exchange comprising Jakarta’s communication to Singapore and Singapore’s response took seven seconds, from 7:17.06 to 7:17.13 Singapore time on Sunday morning, she added.

The Jakarta Post had earlier reported that the communication lasted two to three minutes.

The director of air navigation operator AirNav Indonesia, Wisnu Darjono, was quoted as saying that the aircraft had requested permission from Soekarno-Hatta Airport’s air traffic control to turn left at 6.12am local time – an hour behind Singapore time – to avoid a storm.

The pilot of the Airbus 320 aircraft, which was flying from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 passengers and crew members, then requested to take the plane higher to 38,000 feet from its position at 32,000 feet.

“Request to higher level,” said the pilot, according to Wisnu, to which the air traffic control- ler replied: “Intended to what level?”

The pilot stated that he intended to rise to 38,000 feet, but did not explain why he wished to fly higher.

Jakarta’s air traffic control then contacted Singapore air traffic control.

Wisnu was quoted as saying: “It took us around two to three minutes to communicate with Singapore.

“We agreed to allow the plane to increase its height but only to 34,000 feet, because at that time (another) AirAsia flight… was flying at 38,000 feet.

“But when we informed the pilot of the approval at 6.14am, we received no reply.”

The Straits Times understands that the aircraft was about 35 minutes away from Singapore airspace.

- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/airasia-flight-qz8501-singapore-was-told-request-change-altitude-201#sthash.fmw4srrN.dpuf

 

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AIRASIA QZ8501: Unlikely that plane exploded in mid-air, say experts

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : ǿ-12-2014

 

It is unlikely that Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 exploded in mid-air, air crash experts say, as the first pieces of debris were spotted and some bodies recovered.

Chances are that the plane hit the Java Sea intact and broke up upon impact before plunging to the ocean floor.

The wreckage of the Airbus 320-200 was found more than 48 hours after the ill-fated flight, which left Surabaya for Singapore on Sunday morning with 162 people on board, went missing.

Search teams reported seeing some bodies intact.

An air force plane reportedly spotted a shadow of what looked like a plane on the seabed.

As the operations move from search and locate, to search and recovery, it would take weeks before enough pieces of wreckage and human remains are recovered for the authorities and investigators to determine how and why the crash happened.

Critical to this is finding the plane’s black boxes which record conversations in the cockpit and preserve data on the position and speed of the aircraft.

But looking at what is known so far, there are several possibilities on what could have happened.

Retired United States airline pilot John Cox, who runs his own consultancy, said: “I am now seeing doors and reports of a large section located on the sea floor which are indicators, but not conclusive evidence, that the plane was in one piece when it hit the ocean.

“If the wingtips, nose and tail are found in the same area, then it will be conclusive that the plane was intact upon impact with the water.”

Jacques Astre, president of industry consultancy International Aviation Safety Solution, said: “The fact that the debris field is relatively small would suggest the aircraft broke up upon impact with the sea and not in flight.”

If some bodies are found intact, it would suggest the same, said H.R. Mohandas, a former pilot and now programme head for the diploma in aviation management at Republic Polytechnic.

Astre added: “The close proximity of the debris field to its last known location also suggests the aircraft descended fairly quickly.”

The area is about 10km from the aircraft’s last known location over the Java Sea.

The first sign of trouble came aboutಭ minutes after the plane left Surabaya at 5.30am – an hour behind Singapore time – for the two-hour sector. At 6.12am, the cockpit requested permission from the Jakarta air traffic control to turn left to avoid a storm, which is common procedure when pilots encounter rough weather.

The pilot then asked to take the plane higher to 38,000 feet from its position at 32,000 feet, without explaining why.

The air traffic control decided to allow the plane to increase its height but only to 34,000 feet, because at that time another AirAsia flight was flying at 38,000 feet.

But when this was communicated to the pilot of QZ8501, there was no response from the cockpit.

Data from Indonesia’s meteorological agency showed slight rain in the Belitung and Pontianak areas when the plane was estimated to be flying through the vicinity, with thick cumulonimbus clouds as high as 45,000 feet.

Such clouds can produce lightning and other dangerous weather conditions, such as gusts, hail and occasional tornadoes.

Mark D. Martin, founder and chief executive officer of Martin Consulting, said: “In the unfortunate event of entering a cumulonimbus cloud at flight levels between 31,000 feet and 38,000 feet, it is common to see heavy updrafts and downdrafts, icing on control surfaces which can freeze corrective pilot actions, aggressive aircraft manoeuvres and the aircraft dramatically lose altitude in excess of 5,000 feet per minute.”

A similar incident had occurred in June 2009 when Air France Flight AF447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving no survivors, during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Official investigations concluded that the aircraft crashed after pilots failed to react correctly to temporary inconsistencies between air speed measurements.

This was likely due to ice crystals blocking the plane’s pitot tubes, which measure air speed.

Mohandas said: “It is possible that something similar happened to Flight QZ8501. In their attempt to avoid extreme weather conditions, the pilots could have taken some actions, including possibly initiating a climb which requires more power.

“This coupled with adverse weather conditions, including turbulence, and possibly the formation of ice on the surface of the aircraft at high altitude, could have disengaged the plane’s auto-pilot systems.”

He said: “With little or no visibility and without auto pilot, you don’t know what’s in front of you and the crew could have become disorientated. Under such circumstances, the plane could have gone into an uncontrolled descent.”

With the wreckage found, experts can start piecing together the final moments of Flight QZ8501.

To the relatives of those who perished, this may bring a sense of closure but, perhaps, no relief from the pain.

- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/airasia-flight-qz8501-unlikely-plane-exploded-mid-air-say-experts-20#sthash.sWhGoMw5.dpuf

 

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US rejects China involvement in Sony cyberattack

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

» Other News

 SINGAPORE: AIRASIA QZ8501: Unlikely that plane exploded in mid-air, say experts

�Â PESHAWAR: Another convict in Musharraf attack case executed

 JAKARTA: Indonesia to go ahead with New Year’s Eve celebrations

 BANGKOK: Regime tightening screws on critics of Thai monarchy

 BANGKOK: Thailand to shut down websites with lese majeste content

 JAKARTA: AIRASIA QZ8501: Hope fades as debris found

� KERDAU: Train rolls in with food for flood-affected villages in M’sia

 CEBU CITY: Storm ‘Seniang’ kills 31 in south Philippines

 SINGAPORE: AIRASIA QZ8501: more bodies found, including one dressed in air stewardess uniform

 HANOI: Administrative, legal reforms crucial for Vietnam

 NEW DELHI: India’s ruling BJP’s push for ban on religious conversion sparks fierce debate

â�� HANOI: Vietnam calls for vigilance to stop flu viruses

 JAKARTA: AIRASIA QZ8501: Huge waves hamper recovery after debris and bodies found

 MANILA: Manila braces itself for loud, violent parties to ring in the New Year

 TAIPEI: CEO declines offer to become deputy mayor in Taiwan

 

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 SEOUL: Korea becomes third most popular destination for Chinese tourists

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â—� PETALING JAYA: Floods to hit M’sian palm oil output

 


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Manila braces itself for loud, violent parties to ring in the New Year

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 31ᆠ-2014

 

Trauma units across the Philippines are bracing themselves for what will likely be another one of Asia’s most violent parties to welcome the new year.

Each year, an average of 536 injuries – related to firecrackers, gunfire, street brawls and car accidents – are treated in emergency rooms here in the hours marking the transition to a new year.

Patients are usually rolled in until the end of Jan 3.

Last year, the health ministry tallied 1,018 injuries.

Nineteen were caused by stray bullets and shrapnel, and included a two-month-old baby who later died. Two involved children who swallowed sparklers. The rest had to do with blast wounds, with dozens requiring amputations.

One senior health official pranced on stage to Psy’s Gangnam Style to raise awareness, but that did little to stem the tide.

So far this year, health officials have reported 162 injuries. One in three was a child under the age of 10. Six revellers have already lost their hands, including two boys aged five and nine.

A separate police report said a boy, 7, was hit by a stray bullet from a gun fired by a jail guard.

The running total had been half of last year’s, but the health ministry said on its Facebook page that it was “still unacceptable”.

“It may be lower this year, but what is disheartening is that we are still seeing injuries from fireworks,” said health ministry spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy.

President Benigno Aquino, in his New Year message yesterday, weighed in on the issue.

“Think about what firecrackers do to people and the environment,” he said. “Firecrackers present unnecessary dangers to everyone. Let’s just focus on our loved ones because they really are the reason why we are celebrating and thankful.”

But it is nearly impossible to wean Filipinos off their penchant for risky, high-volume New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The annual custom of bringing in the new year with as much noise as possible to drive away bad luck is a deeply entrenched custom borrowed from the Chinese. But here, it has been taken to extremes, involving mayhem, violence and high-powered explosives.

Firecrackers come with preposterous names like Atomic Bomb, Goodbye Philippines, El Diablo, Chinese Sawa (python) and Crying Bading (homosexual). But most pack so much explosive force they are essentially mini-grenades, minus the shrapnel.

One banned firecracker that is proving to be very deadly is the “piccolo”, a dynamite-shaped device that has accounted for seven in 10 injuries so far.

It is lethal even when not lit because it contains a hefty dose of poisonous yellow phosphorus, and it is wrapped in colourful packages that children can easily mistake for candies.

The government has tried to regulate the Philippines’ scrappy pyrotechnics industry, but it has failed to stop the smuggling of imported firecrackers that do not conform to safety specifications.

A local association of firecracker manufacturers says half the fireworks on sale are imported and nearly all are banned.

For now, all the government can do is to get hospitals ready for the annual wave of injuries that has been a hallmark of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country.

Hospitals have been on code white alert since December 20. That means all hands on deck for trauma personnel. Surgeons and specialists are on call, and they are adding more residents and nurses to man emergency rooms.

Bone saws have been sharpened and cleansed, power drills oiled, and hospitals have stocked up on blood, bandages, antibiotics, anti-tetanus medications, and even eggs to treat poison victims.

In a few hours, emergency rooms will look more like medical facilities in a war zone.

“January 1 is usually our bloodiest day. We expect blood on the floor, blood on tables and chairs, and a lot of crying and screaming,” Dr Mamerto Capero Jr, an emergency room supervisor at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Centre, one of Manila’s biggest public hospitals, told The Straits Times yesterday.

Since December 20, the hospital has seen 17 patients, down from 23 for the same period last year, he said, and he hopes the trend will hold.
“But we are still prepared for the worst,” said Dr Capero.

- See more at: http://www.stasiareport.com/the-big-story/asia-report/philippines/story/manila-braces-itself-loud-violent-parties-ring-the-new-y#sthash.6EUOtjuO.dpuf

 

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CEO declines offer to become deputy mayor in Taiwan

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

» Other News

 SINGAPORE: AIRASIA QZ8501: Unlikely that plane exploded in mid-air, say experts

�Â PESHAWAR: Another convict in Musharraf attack case executed

 JAKARTA: Indonesia to go ahead with New Year’s Eve celebrations

 BANGKOK: Regime tightening screws on critics of Thai monarchy

 BANGKOK: Thailand to shut down websites with lese majeste content

 JAKARTA: AIRASIA QZ8501: Hope fades as debris found

� KERDAU: Train rolls in with food for flood-affected villages in M’sia

 CEBU CITY: Storm ‘Seniang’ kills 31 in south Philippines

 SINGAPORE: AIRASIA QZ8501: more bodies found, including one dressed in air stewardess uniform

 HANOI: Administrative, legal reforms crucial for Vietnam

 NEW DELHI: India’s ruling BJP’s push for ban on religious conversion sparks fierce debate

â�� HANOI: Vietnam calls for vigilance to stop flu viruses

 JAKARTA: AIRASIA QZ8501: Huge waves hamper recovery after debris and bodies found

 MANILA: Manila braces itself for loud, violent parties to ring in the New Year

 

» Most Viewed

 KATHMANDU: Jet Airways aircraft makes emergency landing in Nepal

 SINGAPORE: MISSING AIRASIA FLIGHT: Was plane flying too slow for its altitude?

 JAKARTA: Concerns mount over delays in key Jakarta projects

● JAKARTA: MISSING AIRASIA FLIGHT:Hope persists that missing will be found

 KARACHI: Not every Afghan living in Pakistan is a refugee, says UNHCR

 PETALING JAYA: Slower consumer sector seen next year in M’sia on GST

 SEOUL: Korea becomes third most popular destination for Chinese tourists

 HONG KONG: Hong Kong loses ‘Christmassy’ spark as mainland visitors drift away

 SEOUL: Worries grow over safety of budget carriers

 JAKARTA: MISSING AIRASIA FLIGHT: ‘Search operation has no time limit’

 JAKARTA: Matahari opens new store

 PETALING JAYA: Respite for Asian markets, but rebound may attract fresh sellings

 SURABAYA: MISSING AIRASIA FLIGHT: Distraught relatives struggle to remain calm

 BANGKOK: Thailand to shut down websites with lese majeste content

 PETALING JAYA: Floods to hit M’sian palm oil output

 


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Taiwan’s Qian Hsin indicted for adding carcinogen

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 31-12-2ዎ

 

Owners of Qian Hsin Enterprise, a Tainan-based emulsifiers producer, were indicted by prosecutors on charges of fraud and violations against the act governing food safety and sanitation yesterday for adding chemical compounds harmful to the human body.

The Changhua District Prosecutors Office is seeking 20-year and 18-year prison terms for father and son, Lu Tian-rong and Lu Jia-qian, in addition to a 20 million new Taiwan dollar (US$631,054) fine. Prosecutors also request that they return illegal gains of 25.2 million new Taiwan dollar.

The two were accused of adding industrial dye dimethyl yellow and diethyl yellow, as well as sulfuric acid and surfactant, which are forbidden, into emulsifiers between 2008 and 2014.

The ingredient dimethyl yellow, which is considered a carcinogen, was added by the suspects to make food products such as tofu skin look nicer and more tasty.

Emulsifiers are used in the production for a variety of bean products, such as bean curds and soy milk. The latest food scandal is believed to have wide ramifications in the food industry.

The accused are well aware that bean products are widely consumed by the public as well as overseas consumers. Nevertheless, they added carcinogens to emulsifiers to reap higher profits, disregarding food regulations and the public’s health, prosecutors said.

The tainted emulsifiers have been used by reputable food companies, which are expected to suffer great monetary losses and damage to their brand image because of the incident, said lead prosecutor Huang Zhi-yong.

Since the suspects have not been straightforward during interrogation, and have denied any wrongdoing, prosecutors have sought heavier penalties.

The scandal surfaced after Te Chang Food’s pepper-flavored dried tofu was found to contain dimethyl yellow by the Center for Food Safety in Hong Kong. The Food and Drug Administration later traced the harmful chemical compound to Qian Hsin Enterprise.

In another food scandal, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office announced yesterday that it will not charge Tripod King, a very well-known spicy hotpot restaurant in Taiwan.

According to a Next Magazine’s report, Tripod King uses flavour enhancer MSG, bone powders and dozens of other food powders to prepare its base soup, instead of Chinese herbs, fruits and vegetables as claimed by the restaurant.

While Next Magazine believes that the restaurant’s false claim constitutes fraud, prosecutors consider it disingenuous advertisement, and decided not to charge Tripod King founder Chen Shu-ming.

Prosecutors explained that the restaurant has indeed cooked its base soup with Chinese herbs, fruits and vegetables. Although Tripod King has used artificial flavors, it never claimed that its ingredients are 100 per cent natural, said prosecutors.

 

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AIRASIA QZ8501: Tony Fernandes draws positive feedback with personal touch

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : ǿ-12-2014

 

As AirAsia  faces its most serious crisis to date, the man who built up the budget airline from scratch has put himself front and centre.

Chief executive Tony Fernandes has engaged the public, visited families and rallied his staff, even as search parties scoured the seas for two days to locate Flight QZ8501.

Soon after the authorities announced yesterday that they had most likely found debris from the ill-fated Airbus A320, he took to Twitter to deliver a personal apology. “My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501,” he wrote. “On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am.”

The social media platform has been a powerful tool for him in reaching out to important stakeholders, as he sought to stem the fallout from this tragedy.

Besides this apology, Fernandes, 50, had earlier tweeted that this was his “worst nightmare” and that his “heart bleeds” for the family of the affected crew and passengers, even as he thanked them for their continued “support and love for AirAsia”.

He also rallied his staff in Indonesia, praising them for being “strong, brave and committed”. As their group CEO, he said, “we will go through this terrible ordeal together and I will try to see as many of you”.

When contacted, AirAsia’s public relations team declined to give more information on what Fernandes has said to staff or relatives, asking The Straits Times to refer to the statements on social media.

But in all, he sent out at least 17 tweets regarding the missing plane in three days. He repeatedly talked about “strength” – how he gained strength from the outpouring of support and the importance of “staying strong” amid the crisis.

Fernandes also made sure that his actions matched his words. He rushed down to Surabaya on Sunday soon after Flight QZ8501 was reported missing, and did his rounds with families of the victims, speaking individually to them on consecutive days at the crisis centre set up at Juanda International Airport.

His positive tone may not have stopped AirAsia’s share price from plunging 8.5 per cent on Monday, the first day of trading after the disaster, but it has lent a human face to the airline and created an air of reassurance during a tough time, which has resulted in generally positive feedback among the public.

“Good luck with this difficult time,” Twitter user Vicki Rothman tweeted in reply to Fernandes yesterday. “And well done for being personally involved and ‘on the ground’. #goodboss”

Fernandes’ pro-active stance stands in contrast with the uncertainty displayed by Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya when MH370 went missing in March.

At the time, Malaysia’s national carrier and its leader were criticised for being slow with disclosing information and for releasing conflicting details.

Fernandes will be expected to continue the leadership he has been showing now in steadying AirAsia, the debt-laden airline he acquired for 1 ringgit in 2001.

As he headed back to Surabaya again yesterday, he sent out another tweet: “Whatever we can do at AirAsia we will be doing.”

- See more at: http://www.stasiareport.com/the-big-story/asia-report/indonesia/story/airasia-boss-tony-fernandes-draws-positive-feedback-person#sthash.HKHGawXp.dpuf

 

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AIRASIA QZ8501: Huge waves hamper recovery after debris and bodies found

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 31-12-2014

 

Massive swells halted recovery efforts as the Indonesian authorities fished out at least three bodies from the doomed Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 that ended in the Java Sea, causing relatives of those on board to break down as hopes of any survivors faded.

“Today we (retrieved) three bodies and they are now in the warship Bung Tomo,” Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia’s rescue agency Basarnas, said in Jakarta. Two of the bodies were female.

Relatives of the 162 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A-320 aircraft burst into tears and some fainted as the news was announced on TV shortly after lunchtime. Reports had suggested initially that as many as 40 bodies had been recovered.

“Based on the navy radio, it has been reported that the warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing,” Manahan Simorangkir, an Indonesian navy spokesman, had told Agence France-Presse. The navy later called it a miscommunication.

The red-and-white liveried twin-engine jet, flying at 32,000 feet, had vanished from the skies early on Sunday morning, minutes after it asked for permission to go higher to avoid monsoon- swollen clouds as it sped from Surabaya to Singapore. It has now been identified as a shadow on the seabed off Kalimantan island.

With the search joined by three nations, the Indonesian authorities located the first debris – life jackets and a floating part – yesterday morning. A short while later, the first bodies – some bloated – were spotted in the sea.

The water is not too deep in the area, raising hopes that the crucial flight data recorders of the plane can soon be recovered and offer clues to the reasons behind the crash.

“We thank our neighbours – Singapore, Malaysia, Australia – for helping in the search operations,” said Indonesian President Joko Widodo. “With families of victims, I share the feelings of loss. We all pray for the families of the victims to stay strong.”

The find brings an element of closure to relatives of those on board. But it raises fresh questions of aviation safety in a nation enjoying a massive boom in air travel. It also caps a horrible year for Malaysia-linked airlines, which have suffered three aircraft losses over the past 10 months, including the loss of two Boeing 777s owned by Malaysia Airlines.

Indonesia AirAsia is 49 per cent owned by Malaysia’s AirAsia Group, run by feisty entrepreneur Tony Fernandes. Yesterday, an AirAsia flight skidded off the runway in Kalibo, Philippines, causing the airport to suspend flights.

“My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ8501,” Mr Fernandes said on Twitter. “On behalf of AirAsia, my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am.”

Rescue agency Basarnas said the wreckage is located some 160km south-west of the town of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan. Three Indonesian vessels were on site and were soon to be joined by a frigate, corvette and landing ship tank sent by Singapore.

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the MV Swift Rescue will also set sail to join the operation, which was halted last night amid 3m high waves.

“We will resume the (recovery) process even if it is late at night once the waves subside,” said Soelistyo. “We will work with flare lights from the ships to illumine the area.”

The dead will be first ferried to Pangkalan Bun, then taken for identification in Surabaya before being handed to relatives.

With little chance of finding survivors, the loss of Flight QZ8501 could raise the tally of people who have died in air accidents this year to nearly 6Ȧ, the highest in four years.

In a Facebook post last night, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was deeply saddened to learn of the fate of the flight. “It is always difficult and painful when a disaster like this happens. More so when it is so close to home, with many of the passengers having ties to Singapore,” he wrote.

- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/top-the-news/story/huge-waves-hamper-recovery-after-debris-and-bodies-found-20141231#sthash.330IGJDR.dpuf

 

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Storm ‘Seniang’ kills 31 in south Philippines

Posted on 31 December 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 31-12-2014

 

Tropical Storm “Seniang” triggered floods and landslides in a two-day sweep across Mindanao and the Visayas, leaving at least 31 people dead, seven missing and more than 40,000 in evacuation centres.

Packing peak winds of 65 kilometers per hour, the storm, internationally called Jang-mi, toppled electric posts and washed away houses as it slammed into Surigao del Sur province on Monday and barreled west toward Palawan province, where it was expected Wednesday.

The highest death toll was reported from Barangay (village) Mercedes in Catbalogan, Samar province, where a landslide buried two vans on a mountainside highway, Mayor Stephanie Uy-Tan told radio station dzMM.

“The rains were really strong and people thought the storm won’t be too strong based on the news,” Tan said. “Rescuers reported hearing voices from the rubble,” she said. Tan feared that the toll of lives could still rise.

According to the Associated Press, flash floods and landslides triggered by Seniang left at least 31 people dead and seven missing, including in areas still recovering from last year’s Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan).

Inquirer bureaus reported 8 deaths in Rondo town in Cebu province; 5 in Tanauan and 4 in Mahaplag, both in Leyte province; 4 in Loon and Baclayon in Bohol province; 1 each in Tobias Fornier in Antique province and San Francisco in Cebu and 1 in Butuan City. Two fatalities were earlier reported in Monkayo, Compostela Valley, and in Compostela town.

However, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council put the death toll at only 21, its executive director, Alexander Palma, said.

At least 19 others were reported missing as of Tuesday afternoon, including a pump boat that disappeared en route from Barangay San Roque in the Southern Leyte coastal town of Macrohon to Limasawa.

The Philippine Coast Guard deployed search and rescue teams to look for a pump boat missing since Monday night, PCG Cmdr. Armand Balilo said in a text message.

The Coast Guard said nearly 15,600 passengers were stranded in various ports in the Visayas, Mindanao and the southern Luzon region.

Philippine Airlines Express and Cebu Pacific canceled 14 domestic flights on Tuesday to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Tagbilaran in Bohol, Masbate province, Roxas City, Legazpi and Kalibo, according to the Manila International Airport Authority. –With reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Niña P. Calleja, Jerry E. Esplanada, Riza T. Olchondra in Manila; Maricar Cinco and Shiena M. Barramada, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Carmel Loise Matus, Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Joey A. Gabieta, Jani Arnaiz, Carla P. Gomez, Romy Amarado and Chito Aragon, and Franklin Caliguid and Chris Panganiban, Inquirer Mindanao; AP and AFP

 

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