Archive for March 26th, 2014

Malaysia’s credibility at stake in search for missing flight MH370, says report

The Malaysian Insider
March 26, 2014

Putrajaya’s handling of search efforts for flight MH370 has set the country on a long road to repair its reputation, The Wall Street Journal said, following a slew of criticism over disorganised search efforts besides the conflicting and opaque information released since the aircraft disappeared on March 8.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said that complaints have stung a government seldom used to such global scrutiny, and this week, authorities appeared to seek a new course.

The business daily cited Monday night’s press conference where Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had explained how foreign experts had concluded from new satellite data analysis that the plane had gone down in a remote portion of the southern Indian Ocean.

WSJ said that Najib’s statement was uncharacteristically forthright, and the new information was released unusually fast – and the backlash was just as intense. Read the rest of this entry »


Lessons from MH370: How can we never lose a plane again?

Alexander Trowbridge
CBS News
March 25, 2014

The heart-wrenching and costly search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues, even after Malaysian officials announced satellite evidence that the vessel plunged into the Indian Ocean with no survivors. What are the lessons from the tragedy? What can airlines and manufacturers do to prevent another prolonged and painful saga?

Mary Kirby, the founder and editor of the aviation news company Runway Girl Network says the key is connectivity.

“Nothing is ever going to be the same in aviation,” Kirby said in an interview with CBS News. “This is a pivotal moment, a watershed moment in the aviation industry where we are going to understand why it’s so important for connectivity to be core.”

By connectivity, she means the ability for those aboard a plane to send and receive information to the world outside the flight. For passengers, it’s the convenience of, say, logging onto the internet. For pilots, it’s essential cockpit communications. Kirby argues that one of basic steps to preventing another incident like MH370, in which the aircraft’s transponder and communication equipment were disabled, is making sure planes can’t disconnect in the first place.

“We need to not have the ability to simply switch off a transponder, and not know where an aircraft is at,” Kirby said. “If you allow the switch off of the transponder there needs to be an automatic backup.” Read the rest of this entry »


MH370 spent 23 minutes above maximum altitude, may have caused hypoxia, says expert

The Malaysian Insider
March 26, 2014

As investigators continue to analyse satellite data in the hope of finding answers on what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an industry expert said the plane spent 23 minutes at up to 45,000 feet – way above its maximum altitude – and rendered everyone unconscious from the lack of oxygen, said a report in British tabloid Daily Mail.

The plane’s maximum service ceiling is 43,100 feet, but military radar had tracked the aircraft flying at between 43,000 feet and 45,000 feet shortly after the last communication from its cockpit.

“It was tracked flying at this altitude for 23 minutes before descending. Oxygen would have run out in 12 minutes (in a depressurised cabin), rendering the passengers unconscious,” said the source.

An expert said although the 777-200ER Boeing aircraft has a maximum service ceiling of 43,000 feet, it can probably fly safely at even greater heights.

But at that altitude, where the atmosphere drastically thins, it would take mere minutes if not seconds for hypoxia – a lack of oxygen – to set in, said the Daily Mail report. Read the rest of this entry »


Election 2013 broke every rule in the book, Bersih panel finds

By Pathma Subramaniam
The Malay Mail Online
March 25, 2014

SUBANG JAYA, MARCH 25 — Every single principle governing the running of a free and fair election was breached during last year’s May 5 federal polls, Bersih’s People’s Tribunal concluded in its findings released today.

Panel member former United Nations Special Representative and constitutional law expert Yash Pal Ghai said Election 2013 had fallen short of every aspect of democracy and violated the standard of free and fair elections.

He agreed that the election had been free to some extent because those who were registered voters were not blocked from casting their ballots but said this freedom was more in a “narrow sense” of the word.

During Election 2013, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) retained federal power with 133 seats to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 89 seats despite losing the popular vote contest to the federal opposition, garnering just 49 per cent of the total votes cast.

“We have found ourselves compelled to reach a conclusion that there were multiple failings in the way GE13 was conducted and that virtually every tenet of free election was violated at some place and at some time,” said Yash Pal, who headed the tribunal. Read the rest of this entry »


19th Day of missing MH370 drowned by sea of confusion over fate of aircraft and 239 passengers and crew on board

Two events in the past 36 hours highlight the tragic development of the 19-day disaster of the missing MH370 Boeing 737-200 airliner, where a sea of confusion has swept over Malaysians and people worldwide concerned about the fate of the aircraft and the 239 passengers and crew on board, viz:

(1) The announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Monday, 25th March (17th Day) at 10 pm that “using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort”, the last position of the missing aircraft was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, and that “flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”. Bottom line – all 239 passengers and crew had perished in the crash with no survivors. However, more than 17 hours later, acting Transport Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein told Parliament yesterday afternoon that the SAR (search-and-rescue) operation would continue and that he would not give up so long as there are still hope for the 239 passengers and crew.

(2) Flags at government agencies, schools and the private sector in Johor and Perak flown at half-mast as mark of respect for the passengers and crew of MH370; but in Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the Malaysian Government would not declare a state of national mourning until more conclusive evidence was found to identify wreckage belonging to MH370.

This is the reason why families, relatives, friends and well-wishers of the 239 passengers and crew, who after 19 days of excruciating anguish, and who would want to have closure of their ordeal, reacted so emotionally and even hysterically to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a finality to the missing MH370 of having been lost in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors – when it is “a closure without a closure” as no piece of wreckage of the aircraft has yet been sighted. Read the rest of this entry »


Kajang polls reflect positively on Pakatan

By Ong Kian Ming | 7:50AM Mar 26, 2014

ANALYSIS To the casual political observer, two facts from the recent Kajang by-election would have stood out.

Firstly, the turnout decreased from 88 percent in GE13 to 72 percent. Secondly, the majority of victory decreased from 6,824 in GE13 to 5,379 – a drop of 1,445 votes.

On the surface, these results may seem like a negative reflection on Pakatan Rakyat’s and specifically PKR’s campaign as part of the ‘Kajang Move’. But a more careful analysis of the results reveals important findings that are positive for Pakatan, moving forward.

Pakatan increased its popular vote from 56.8 percent to 59.7 percent, a 2.9 percent increase. While this increase may not seem significant, one has to take into account that the lower turnout most likely decreased Pakatan’s popular vote.

Most of those who did not vote for a variety of reasons – did not return from outstation, it was the start of the school holidays, and thought that the outcome was already decided – would have been Pakatan voters, especially the younger voters whose turnout decreased more than the older voters (more on this later).

Secondly, Pakatan won in 14 out of 16 polling stations (not including postal and early votes) in the by-election compared with 12 out of 16 polling stations in GE13.
Read the rest of this entry »


Satellite hunters track jet’s flight

By Thomas Hale and Daniel Thomas
Financial Times
24th March 2014

Deep in the heart of Inmarsat’s London headquarters, just off Silicon Roundabout, screens illuminate the operations of 10 satellites, each 22,000 miles above the earth in geostationary orbit.

These screens provided the clues that helped unravel the mystery of where flight MH370 came down. They are inundated with daily updates – represented by pink and green lights – that were used by the company’s scientists and engineers to deduce a probable location for the crash.

Inmarsat moved into its present location in 1993, long before the area became synonymous with 21st century technological innovation.

Although technology is at its core, the origins of Inmarsat – short for International Maritime Satellite Organisation – differ greatly from the entrepreneurial tech start-ups that have come to dominate the neighbourhood’s offices and bars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Washington paper says MH370 saga shows Malaysia must be more open

The Malaysian Insider
March 25, 2014

Putrajaya’s last-ditch pivot for openness in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has not impressed its partners – be it Beijing that demands more information on satellite data or Washington bemused with contradictions in the hunt for the lost passenger jet.

A strongly-worded editorial from Washington Post today put the entire saga of the plane’s disappearance and Malaysia’s handling of the search as an unfolding disaster that reflects the country’s need for immediate change.

“It is entirely premature to say what happened to the airplane. But it is not too early for Malaysia’s leaders to draw lessons from their unsteady performance of recent weeks and commit themselves to transparency and openness.

“Their alternative is not working,” said the editorial headlined “Malaysia’s airliner response exposes a ruling malaise”. Read the rest of this entry »


Undersea volcanoes could complicate MH370 wreckage retrieval, geologist warns

The Malaysian Insider
March 26, 2014

The recovery of MH370 and its black box is going to be an extremely difficult task as geologists believe the debris from the Malaysian Airlines aircraft could be lying above a giant undersea chain of volcanoes whose complex terrain has barely been charted, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

To make matters worse, the only Australian vessel capable of charting depths of 3,000 metres, the RV Southern Surveyor, had been decommissioned in December, the daily said.

Robin Beaman, a marine geologist from James Cook University, told SMH that so little of the southern Indian Ocean sea floor, including the search zone, had been mapped in detail that any attempt to retrieve the wreckage would require extensive 3D mapping, possibly by ships with multibeam echo sounders.

“It’s bad timing really. Australia has no capability of mapping these depths,” he was quoted by SMH as saying. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Says Missing Plane Sent One Last Partial Signal

New York Times
MARCH 25, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Malaysian authorities released new details on Tuesday to buttress their conclusion that Flight 370 must have ended in a crash in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.

But with no physical evidence of the plane’s fate yet found, and the search suspended for a day because of treacherous weather, distraught relatives and friends of passengers mounted an angry protest in Beijing, breaking through police lines and marching to the Malaysian Embassy demanding more answers.

Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s defense minister and acting transportation minister, said at a news conference near Kuala Lumpur that the plane appeared to have sent one more partial signal eight minutes after the last of the previously disclosed electronic “handshakes” between the plane and a satellite, which engineers have analyzed to infer the plane’s probable path after it disappeared from radar screens early on March 8. Mr. Hishammuddin called the newly reported signal a “partial handshake.” Read the rest of this entry »

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How satellites tracked down flight MH370 – but why we still can’t find the plane

By Sebastian Anthony
March 25, 2014

Yesterday morning, the Malaysian prime minister confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight 370 crashed in the south Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people on board. Curiously, though, despite the PM’s confidence, this conclusion is based entirely on second-hand information provided by UK satellite company Inmarsat. There is still no sign of debris from MH370, and investigators still have absolutely no idea what happened after the final “All right, good night” message from the cockpit. If you’ve been following the news, you probably have two questions: How did Inmarsat narrow down MH370′s location from two very broad swaths across central Asia and the Indian Ocean, and furthermore, if we know where the plane crashed into the ocean, why haven’t we found it yet? Read the rest of this entry »

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