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EgyptAir jet sent smoke-alarm warnings before crash

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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EgyptAir jet sent smoke-alarm warnings before crash | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

EgyptAir jet sent smoke-alarm warnings before crash
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PARIS/CAIRO: The EgyptAir jet that crashed in the Mediterranean on Thursday sent a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board, shortly before it disappeared off radar screens, French investigators said on Saturday.

A spokesman for France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said the signals did not indicate what caused the smoke or fire on board the plane, which plunged into the sea with 66 people on board as it was heading from Paris to Cairo.

But they offered the first clues as to what unfolded in the moments before the crash.

One aviation source said that a fire on board would likely have generated multiple warning signals, while a sudden explosion may not have generated any – though officials stress that no scenario, including explosion, is being ruled out.

Egypt said its navy had found human remains, wreckage and the personal belongings of passengers floating in the Mediterranean about 290km (180 miles) north of Alexandria.

The army published pictures on Saturday on its official Facebook page of the recovered items, which included blue and white debris with EgyptAir markings, seat fabric with designs in the airline’s colors, and a yellow lifejacket.

Analysis of the debris and recovery of the plane’s twin flight recorders are likely to be key to determining the cause of the crash – the third blow since October to Egypt’s travel industry, still reeling from political unrest following the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

A suspected Islamic State bombing brought down a Russian airliner after it took off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport in late October, killing all 224 people on board, and an EgyptAir plane was hijacked in March by a man wearing a fake suicide belt.

A message purporting to come from Islamic State urged attacks on the United States and Europe in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan beginning in early June. “Ramadan, the month of conquest. Get prepared…so that you make it a month of calamity on the non-believers anywhere,” said the message posted on Twitter accounts that usually publish Islamic State statements.

It made no claim of responsibility for the Egyptair crash.

The October crash devastated Egyptian tourism, a main source of foreign exchange for a country of 80 million people, and another similar incident would crush hopes of it recovering.

Egypt’s tourism revenue in the first three months of the year plunged by two thirds to $500 million from a year earlier.

HUNT FOR BLACK BOXES

The signals from the plane “do not allow in any way to say what may have caused smoke or fire on board the aircraft”, said a spokesman for the French BEA agency, which is assisting an official Egyptian investigation.

He added that the priority now was to find the two flight recorders, known as black boxes, containing cockpit voice recordings and data readings, from the Airbus A320 that vanished from radar early on Thursday.

The head of the Egyptian investigation team was quoted by Egypt’s state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper as saying a preliminary report into the crash would be presented in a month.

Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi told reporters an additional challenge in the hunt for the black boxes was the depth of the Mediterranean in the area under search. “What I understand is that it is 3,000 (meters),” he said.

That would place the black box locator beacons, which last for 30 days, on the edge of their detectable range from the surface based on the type of acoustic equipment typically used during the first stages of a search, according to a report into the 2009 crash of an Air France jet in the Atlantic.

“No important devices from the plane have been retrieved so far,” Fathi said.

The flight data transmitted before the crash was sent through an automatic system called the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which routinely downloads maintenance and fault data to the airline operator.

Aviation Herald, a respected Austria-based website specializing in air accidents, first published a burst of seven messages broadcast over the space of three minutes. These included alarms about smoke in the lavatory as well as the aircraft’s avionics area, which sits under the cockpit.

While suggesting a possible fire, the relatively short sequence of data gives no insight into pilot efforts to control the aircraft, nor does it show whether it fell in one piece or disintegrated in mid-air, two aviation safety experts said.

The data fragments also included alarms related to cockpit window heating and two flight control computers, both of which have backups.

“The question now is whether the fire that caused the smoke was the result of an electrical fault – for example a short-circuit caused by damaged wiring – or whether some form of explosive or incendiary device was used – for example by a terrorist – to generate a fire or other damage,” aviation safety expert David Learmont said.

The ACARS data suggested the fire had spread quickly and “that might explain the fact that there was no distress call”, Learmont wrote in a blog.

“ALL SCENARIOS” POSSIBLE

The aircraft was carrying 56 passengers, including a child and two infants, and 10 crew. They included 30 Egyptian and 15 French nationals, along with citizens of 10 other countries.

Egyptair said officials met family members and told them the process of gathering body parts and information would take time, while DNA testing to identify victims would require weeks.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who met relatives of crash victims in Paris on Saturday, said there were several possible causes. “At this very moment all scenarios are being examined and none is being given greater emphasis,” he said.

France sent a plane and navy ship to help the search, centered on an area just south of where the signal from the plane was lost early on Thursday.

EgyptAir Chairman Safwat Moslem said the radius of the search zone was 40 nautical miles, but could be expanded. The radius is equivalent to an area of 5,000 square miles (17,000 square km), the same expanse covered in the initial hunt for the Air France jet in 2009.

The large area reflects the fact that neither jet could be accounted for in the last few minutes of flying time.

A European satellite spotted a 2km-long oil slick in the Mediterranean, about 40km (20 nautical miles) southeast of the aircraft’s last known position, the European Space Agency said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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World

Is this the next big change in pop music? The winners of the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award, BTS

The Thaiger

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Is this the next big change in pop music? The winners of the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award, BTS | The Thaiger

2020 IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award. In the past 8 years the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award has been given to Ed Sheeran, Adele, One Direction, and Taylor Swift and Drake. BTS are backed up by ARMY, their huge fanbase.

The power of ARMY. The IFPI represents the recorded music industry worldwide. It’s not a Grammy or a popularity vote. The award is calculated according to an artist’s or group’s worldwide performance across digital and physical music formats during the past year. Everything from streams to vinyl, CDs and downloads…. and covers their entire body of work. The award was announced last week at the culmination of the IFPI Global Artist Chart, which counted down the top 10 best-selling artists of the past year.

And it’s certainly been a great year for music… not so much for going to live concerts but we’ve certainly had a lot more time to listen to our favourite artists and stream their clips on YouTube.

The group that won this year, based on their pure sales, actually came second in 2018 and 7th in 2019, so it isn’t some statistical blip on the music radar.

The win also represents somewhat of a quantum shift in world music… the sort of thing that only happens once in a generation. Rather than the popular cross-over style shift represented by the George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, the brith of rock with Bill Haley in 1955 or the rise of British pop in the 1960s, personified by The Beatles, this year’s IFPI signals another generational milestone in tastes, method, world reach and engagement with fans.

In all the right-hand turns of the popular music genre, there has usually been a technological breakthrough that has accompanied them, or at least been a key aspect of their success.

In the case of the the Great American Songbook, the foundations of the pop music genre, it was the recorded record and the start of radio-as-entertainment in the 1920s that provided a method to reach a huge audience with the new sounds and tunes for the first time.

Then it was the 7” single that made music cheaper and easier to play, that revolutionised the radio music formats of the 1960s and provided the perfect vehicle of the British pop revolution to spread around the world.

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Myanmar

38 people die “bloodiest day” since Myanmar coup – United Nations

Caitlin Ashworth

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38 people die “bloodiest day” since Myanmar coup – United Nations | The Thaiger
Anti-coup protest in Myanmar on February 14 / Photo by Htin Linn Aye via Wikimedia Commons

38 people died during Myanmar’s anti-coup protests yesterday in what the United Nations is calling the “bloodiest day” in the country since the February 1 military takeover. UN special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said the death toll is “shocking” and that the situation in the Southeast Asian country could lead to a “real war.”

Since last month’s coup, more than 50 people have died while many others have been wounded in protests against military rule. Witnesses say police and soldiers have opened fire with little warning. In a virtual briefing, the UN envoy said experts believe the Burmese police are using 9mm sub-machine guns to fire shots at civilians.

“I saw today very disturbing video clips. One was police beating a volunteer medical crew. They were not armed… Another video clip showed a protester was taken away from police and they shot him from very near, maybe one metre. He didn’t resist his arrest and it seems he died on the street.”

Burmese troops seized power of the civilian government last month, citing what they say was a fraudulent election, although the election commission said the vote was fair. A number of civilian politicians were arrested including democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who had won the November election for state counsellor in a landslide.

Christine says more than 1,200 people are now under detention and many do not know where their loved ones are.

SOURCE: UN News | Aljazeera

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World

Muay Thai added to European Games 2023

Caitlin Ashworth

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Muay Thai added to European Games 2023 | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia

Thailand’s national sport Muay Thai has been added to the European Games 2023, set to be held in Poland. While Asia has been leading the sport for decades, many recent Muay Thai champions are from Europe, according to Sakchye Tapsuwan, president of the International Federation of Muaythai Associations, the governing body for the sport.

“Europe has grown in strength, evidenced at the last two World Championships, where the overall winners were teams from Europe.”

Held by the European Olympic Commission, the European Games is considered a staging post to the Olympics. Thousands of elite athletes from 50 participating nations have the opportunity to compete in one of the 15 sports. Now Muay Thai, an ancient martial art dating back 1,000 years with ties to centuries-old traditions, is included on the list.

The format of the European Games is in line with the Olympic Movement standards for gender equality. The categories are equal for men and women with 7 male and female divisions and 2 coed teams. Creating equal opportunities for men and women fighters is a “vision” both the federation and the European Olympic Committee share, according to director of the federation, Charissa Tynan.

“For IFMA, gender equality is not about ticking the box, it is about ensuring that women and men have the same opportunities to shine together on one stage as one family.”

SOURCES: IFMA | EOC

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