Archive for category Foreign

Classified data shows plane may have crashed in Bay of Bengal or Indian Ocean

The Malaysian Insider
March 15, 2014

Classified intelligence analysis of electronic and satellite data has indicated that the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight 370 likely crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or somewhere in the Indian Ocean, an exclusive report by the CNN said.

If this information is true, it would offer the first glimpse of concrete details about what happened to the Beijing-bound flight which went off the radar early last Saturday.

It had enough credibility for the United States to move its guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, into the Indian Ocean, and Indian officials to expand its search effort into the Bay of Bengal.

An aviation industry source told CNN that the flight’s automated communications system appeared to be intact for up to five hours, because “pings” from the system were received after the transponder last emitted a signal.

The CNN report said taken together, the data points toward speculation in a dark scenario in which someone took the plane for some unknown purpose, perhaps terrorism.

That theory is buoyed by a New York Times (NYT) report that the MAS plane made several significant altitude changes after losing transponder contact.

The paper said MH370 altered its course more than once as though it was still under the command of a pilot. Read the rest of this entry »

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US ship, plane to search Bay of Bengal for missing jet

The Malay Mail Online
March 15, 2014

WASHINGTON, March 15 ― A US naval ship and surveillance plane are heading to the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal to search for a missing Malaysian airliner that vanished a week ago, officials said yesterday.

US media reports, meanwhile, suggested the plane experienced marked changes in altitude after it lost contact with ground control, and altered its course more than once as if still under the command of a pilot.

A P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, were due to aid the international hunt for the jet as the search effort extended further west, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.

“At Malaysia’s request, the USS Kidd is north of the Straits of Malacca in what we’re calling the western search area,” Warren told reporters in Washington.

The Kidd was preparing to search the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal for the Malaysia Airlines plane. Read the rest of this entry »

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Could MH370 have landed?

The Malay Mail Online
March 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 ― With new evidence suggesting the possibility that missing jetliner MH370 had been deliberately piloted towards the Andaman Islands, another theory has now emerged out of the woodwork ― could someone have landed aircraft?

Reuters cited two sources yesterday as saying that investigators believe the plane had been directed between navigational waypoints after it lost contact with ground control, which indicated it was being flown by someone with aviation training.

It cited another source as saying that investigations are now looking at the possibility of foul play, with signs pointing increasingly to the likelihood that a person who knew how to fly a plane had deliberately swung the aircraft hundred of miles off its original course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, towards the Andaman Islands.

“What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” Reuters had quoted a “a senior Malaysian police official” as saying.

Although this is at best just conjecture for now, it may be one of the few working theories that could finally expose more conclusive leads to what experts have described as the most baffling of mysteries in aviation history.

But if the Malaysia Airlines aircraft had truly made the air turn-back as suspected, if it had headed to the Andaman Islands as satellite data and US officials have suggested, and if it indeed had landed, where in the remote Indian archipelago could it have parked itself so stealthily out of sight? Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 hijack theory includes intent to use plane for ‘nefarious purposes’, say US officials

The Malaysian Insider
March 15, 2014

With evidence showing a missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200ER could still be intact, US officials have not ruled out that flight MH370 was flown to a secret site so that it could be used at a later date.

There has been no trace or debris field on land or sea that is linked to the plane carrying 239 people, which vanished while on a red-eye flight to Beijing last Saturday.

“I am keenly interested in resolving this mystery so we can discard the possibility, however remote, that the airplane can be used for nefarious purposes against us in the future,” ABC News quoted a US official as saying.

The official added that “all our intelligence assets” are being used to try to figure this out.

Investigators searching for the missing MAS passenger jet said that they could not rule out hijacking and are looking at whether one of the plane’s pilots or crew could have been involved. Read the rest of this entry »

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Satellites scour earth for clues as missing jet mystery deepens

The Malaysian Insider
March 15, 2014

An unprecedented international effort is under way from space to track the missing Malaysia passenger jet as satellite operators, government agencies and rival nations sweep their gaze across two oceans in search of elusive debris or data.

Six days after the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing with 239 people on board, the search has widened to the Andaman Sea, northwest of the Malay Peninsula, with only one precious clue – an ephemeral “ping” detected five or six times after the plane lost contact – picked up in orbit.

Disaster relief agencies and governments are co-operating across political divides, and in the absence of a formal probe are finding informal ways to share information, including via China’s weather agency, a person involved in the search said.

“I haven’t seen this sort of level of involvement of satellites in accident investigation before,” said Matthew Greaves, head of the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre at Cranfield University in Bedford, England. “It is only going to get more important until they find some wreckage.”

Several governments are using imagery satellites – platforms that take high definition photos – while data from private sector communications satellites is also being examined. Read the rest of this entry »

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India scours uninhabited jungle islands for lost MH370 jetliner

The Malaysian Insider
March 14, 2014

Indian aircraft combed Andaman and Nicobar, made up of more than 500 mostly uninhabited islands, for signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner that evidence suggests was last headed towards the heavily forested archipelago.

Popular with tourists and anthropologists alike, the islands form India’s most isolated state. They are best known for dense rainforests, coral reefs and hunter-gatherer tribes who have long resisted contact with outsiders.

The search for flight MH370 turned west toward the islands after Malaysia’s air force chief said military radar had detected an unidentified aircraft suspected to be the lost Boeing 777 to the west of Malaysia early on Saturday.

Two sources yesterday told Reuters the unidentified aircraft appeared to be following a commonly used navigational route that would take it over the islands.

The Indian navy has deployed two Dornier planes to fly across the island chain, a total area of 720 km by 52 km, Indian military spokesman Harmeet Singh said in the state capital, Port Blair. So far the planes, and a helicopter searching the coast, had found nothing.

“This operation is like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Singh, who is the spokesman for joint air force, navy and army command in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Read the rest of this entry »

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Radar data suggests MH370 plane flown deliberately toward Andaman Islands

The Malaysian Insider
March 14, 2014

Military radar-tracking evidence suggests that the Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula toward the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters today.

Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints – indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training – when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast.

The last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said.

Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors.

A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were focusing increasingly on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

“What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” said that source, a senior Malaysian police official.

All three sources declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media and due to the sensitivity of the investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seismic event turns focus back to Vietnam waters

Malaysiakini
Mar 14, 2014

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 appears to be shifting back and forth between east and west of peninsula Malaysia, with latest information from scientists in China suggesting that the plane may have triggered a seismic event when it impacted the sea some 150km off the southern tip of Vietnam.

A team of seismologists at a top China research university said they detected a slight seismic event on the sea floor between Vietnam and Malaysia on March 8 which could be a result of an impact.

“It was a non-seismic zone, therefore judging from the time and location of the event, it might be related to the missing MH370 flight,” said a statement posted on the University of Science and Technology of China website.

This was also reported by the South China Morning Post. Read the rest of this entry »

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Long haul ahead for answers to missing MH370

by Joseph Sipalan
The Malay Mail Online
March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — While investigators have doubled efforts in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the chances of a swift recovery and more pertinently, answers to its sudden disappearance midflight, are looking more remote with each passing day.

US officials, who are aiding Malaysia in a multi-nation hunt for the Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people, are pursuing a new lead west to the Indian Ocean, after its satellites picked up electronic pulses that signalled the plane remained airborne hours after it flitted off radar.

If proven true, it could make an already daunting operation even more difficult to conduct and coordinate as the sheer size of the Indian Ocean would increase the search area exponentially.

But the chances of finding the plane intact—seven days after flight MH370 was to hand landed in Beijing—in the world’s third largest water body are looking slim.

The Indian Ocean has an average depth of 13,002 feet (3,963 m) while its deepest point, the Java Trench is believed to be at -23,812 feet (-7,258 m), according to information in the CIA World Factbook.

The Boeing 777 aircraft had enough fuel to fly up to 8.30am on March 8, leaving it with some seven hours of fuel in its tanks when it lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control (ATC). Read the rest of this entry »

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India Looking for Malaysian Jet as U.S. Sees Air Piracy

By Alan Levin, Kartikay Mehrotra and Anurag Kotoky
Bloomberg News
Mar 14, 2014

India’s navy set up a search zone for the missing Malaysian airliner in the Andaman Sea, hundreds of miles off the course of Flight 370, as evidence mounted that the plane may have flown long after controllers lost contact.

India has sent five ships and four aircraft to search for the plane, V.S.R. Murthy, commander for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indian Coast Guard, said by phone today. Aviation investigators are compiling signs the Boeing Co. (BA) 777-200 veered off its route and traveled west over Malaysia (MAS), beyond the limits of the country’s radars, according to two people who asked not to be identified with the probe active.

A satellite transmitter on the plane was active for about five hours, indicating the plane was operational after its transponder shut down less than an hour after takeoff, said three U.S. government officials. The 777 can cruise at 500 miles (805 kilometers) an hour or more, meaning it may have flown for as far as 2,500 miles beyond its last point of contact if it was intact and had enough fuel.

The information adds to the mystery surrounding the March 8 disappearance of the Malaysian Airline System Bhd. plane carrying 239 people. With no evidence of a mechanical failure or pilot error, U.S. investigators are treating the disappearance as a case of air piracy, though it remains unclear by whom, one person said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Controversy as shaman performs ritual to help find missing Malaysia Airlines plane

Lindsay Murdoch
Sydney Morning Herald
March 14, 2014

Kuala Lumpur: As Malaysia’s government struggled to defend its handling of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, controversy has erupted over a witch doctor who carried out a ritual at the capital’s international airport, who claimed he was trying to find it.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said the government had never before embarrassed itself to this extent on the international stage by allowing Ibrahim Mat Zin, the witch doctor or shaman, to perform a ritual in public that was an affront to Islam. Read the rest of this entry »

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US experts: MH370’s last ‘ping’ sent over water

The Malay Mail Online
March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Flight MH370 had sent a series of “pings” or electronic pulses, with the last transmitted from a location over water at a cruising altitude, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported today as searchers cast their eyes further west towards the Indian Ocean in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) passenger plane.

Citing several unnamed US military and space industry officials who had been briefed on the investigation, the US daily reported that the satellites had also received speed and altitude information about the aircraft from the five or six “pings” before the pulses disappeared, which the experts believe could help them decipher its route and location.

But the people involved in the matter had declined to divulge the specific flight path the plane had transmitted, WSJ reported.

According to the report, an industry official said it was possible that the system sending them had been turned off by someone onboard the plane.

The report follows new evidence showing the Boeing 777-200 jumbo jet carrying 239 people had continued its flight hours after it supposedly left radar detection. Read the rest of this entry »

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US: Search may extend to Indian Ocean

Malaysiakini/Reuters
Mar 14, 2014

A new search area for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 may be opened in the Indian Ocean, the White House said, significantly broadening the potential location of the plane, which disappeared nearly a week ago with 239 people on board.

Expanding the search area to the Indian Ocean would be consistent with the theory that the Boeing 777 may have detoured to the west about an hour after take-off from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

“It’s my understanding that based on some new information that’s not necessarily conclusive – but new information – an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean,” White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters in Washington.

Carney did not specify the nature of the new information and Malaysian officials were not immediately available to comment.

The disappearance of the MAS plane is one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation. There has been no trace of the plane nor any sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of more than a dozen countries across Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rare but sometimes, plane crash sites are not found, says aviation expert

The Malaysian Insider
March 14, 2014

If efforts to find the missing flight MH370 fail as the search enters its first week, it might be that the crash site simply cannot be found, says a former aviation safety and security writer.

Citing a 1972 crash involving a Pan Alaska Airways flight, Sylvia Adcock, writing in CNN’s website, said a Cessna took off from Anchorage bound for Juneau in bad weather. The plane never arrived.

The search for the missing aircraft was intense and covered an area of 325,000 square miles, with up to 3,600 flight hours involved in the search for the wreckage. It was never found and the search was called off 39 days later. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pentagon convinced of ‘manual intervention’ in MH370 transponder, communications shutdown

The Malay Mail Online
March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Seven days since flight MH370 fell off the radar, two senior US defence officials are now convinced there was “manual intervention” that led to the shutdown of two communication systems aboard the jumbo jet that happened separately.

US broadcasting network ABC News cited one of the military officials as saying the information indicates the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane did not fall out of the sky due to a catastrophic failure of its systems, a theory that had been previously floated after the Boeing 777-200 vanished without a trace.

The report also cited US investigators saying the two modes of communication were “systematically shut down”.

That means the US team “is convinced that there was manual intervention”, ABC News reported on its website this morning, citing anonymous sources—bolstering speculation of a hijack. Read the rest of this entry »

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US says lost MH370 flew on for hours, flight data given by Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider
March 14, 2014

Evidence that flight MH370 flew on for another four hours after vanishing early Saturday morning came from data shared by Malaysian authorities, not from engine maker Rolls-Royce, Washington Post reported today.

As a result of unspecified “new information,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said authorities searching for the Boeing 777-200ER may expand the hunt into the Indian Ocean, which extends hundreds of kilometres further west.

Obama administration officials later said the new information was that the plane’s engines remained running for approximately four hours after it vanished from radar early Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 239 people on board.

One senior administration official said the data showing the plane engines running hours after contact was lost came from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, a way that planes maintain contact with ground stations through radio or satellite signals.

The official said Malaysian authorities shared the flight data with the administration. Read the rest of this entry »

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Distrust adding to Malaysian jet confusion, say analysts

The Malaysian Insider
March 13, 2014

Deep distrust between Asian neighbours and sensitive security issues are jamming essential communication lines in the chaotic hunt for a Malaysia Airlines plane, analysts said today.

Bickering between Malaysia, China and others involved in trying to solve the baffling weekend disappearance of the jet has exposed longstanding tensions and prevented a coordinated response, they said.

“There clearly are communication problems on multiple levels. There is an underlying lack of trust in these matters,” Bridget Welsh, an associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University, told AFP.

“The issues of protecting territory, security intelligence and interests are starting to win over the common goal of finding the plane and closure.” Read the rest of this entry »

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David Cameron says Sri Lanka need to go ‘further and faster’ in answering human rights concerns

The Telegraph
AFP
16 Nov 2013

David Cameron put Sri Lanka on notice on Saturday to address allegations of war crimes within months or else he would lead a push for action at the United Nations.

Speaking at a troubled Commonwealth summit in Colombo, the British Prime Minister warned his hosts that pressure over alleged abuses at the end of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict was not about to go away.

He also told of how he had “frank” exchanges with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa after he returned from a historic visit to the war-torn Jaffna region. Read the rest of this entry »

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British PM David Cameron meets Tamils in Jaffna; Sri Lanka fumes at CHOGM

The Times of India
AFP | Nov 15, 2013

COLOMBO: Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron made an historic visit Friday to Sri Lanka’s former warzone, stealing the spotlight from a Commonwealth summit after the host, President Mahinda Rajapakse, warned against passing judgment on his country’s past.

Only hours after the summit opened in Colombo, Cameron flew into the northern Jaffna region where some 100,000 people lost their lives in fighting between Tamil rebels and troops from the majority Sinhalese government.

Several women who lost relatives during the war tried to hurl themselves in front of Cameron’s motorcade as he became the first foreign leader to visit Jaffna since the former British colony gained independence in 1948.

Clutching photos of their missing loved ones, they screamed “We Want Justice” before the premier sped away.

He later toured the offices of a Tamil newspaper whose printing presses have been torched several times, including in April this year, and which has lost five staff in attacks since Rajapakse came to power in 2005.

“This is going to make a very lasting impression on me. That is something you don’t forget,” Cameron told journalists at “Uthayan” (Sun) daily where the portraits of slain staff line the walls.

“But it’s only when you see it with your own eyes, it really brings home just how much you’re suffering.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Singapore authorities to give Malaysians who have violated the Singapore laws a second chance like former Johor Mentri Besar Ghani Othman

I call on the Singapore authorities to give Malaysians who have violated the Singapore laws for activities in the island republic in connection with the Malaysian 13GE a second chance like they have given to former Johor Mentri Besar, Datuk Ghani Othman.

It has been reported that the Singapore authorities have initiated the revocation of the work pass of one of the 21 Malaysians involved in the May 8 and 11 illegal gatherings at Merlion Park in Singapore and that the authorities had also cancelle3d the visit passes of another two of them.

As for the remaining 18 persons, a Singapore Police Force (SPF) statement said their work passes would be reviewed upon completion of further investigations.

The Singapore authorities have also said that Datuk Seri Ghani Othman had not campaigned and had therefore committed no offence when visiting Singapore in the final days of the 13GE campaign period.

I commend the Singapore authorities for bending backwards to accommodate Ghani, saying that the former Johor Mentri Besar was not campaigning in Singapore although it was obvious to all that the very objective of Ghani’s visit to Singapore was to canvass for votes from Malaysians either working or staying in Singapore – believed to number some 400,000.
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