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Malaysia confirms wing part washed up on beach is from missing MH370

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Malaysia confirms wing part washed up on beach is from missing MH370 | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Malaysia confirms wing part washed up on beach is from missing MH370
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: A piece of a wing that washed up on an Indian Ocean island beach last week was part of
the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysia said on Thursday, confirming the discovery of the first trace of the plane since it vanished last year.

“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370,” Prime Minister Najib Razak said in an early morning televised address.

The announcement, by providing the first direct evidence that the plane crashed in the ocean, closes a chapter in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history but still gives families of the 239 victims little clue as to why.

“Although they found something, you know, it’s not the end,” said Jacquita Gonzales, whose husband Patrick Gomes was a flight attendant on the aircraft.

“They still need to find the whole plane and our spouses as well. We still want them back,” she said.

Sara Weeks, the sister of crash victim Paul Weeks, said she was “disgusted” to have been told by a reporter who called her.

“Any time anything happens, it takes you right back to the beginning, the same feelings, same everything, but again this time it has been a week of turmoil and that’s going to continue for some time,” she told Australia’s Fairfax Media.

The airline described the find as “a major breakthrough”.

“We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery,” it said in a statement.

The fragment of wing known as a flaperon was flown to mainland France after being found last week covered in barnacles on a beach on France’s Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

Despite the Malaysian confirmation, prosecutors in France stopped short of declaring they were certain, saying only that there was a “very strong presumption”.

Paris Prosecutor Serge Mackowiak said this was based on technical data supplied by both the manufacturer and airline but gave no indication that experts had discovered a serial number or unique markings that would put the link beyond doubt.

Boeing representatives confirmed that the flaperon came from a 777 jet, he said, and Malaysia Airlines provided documentation of the actual aircraft used on flight MH370.

“On this basis, it was possible for a connection to be made between the object examined by the experts and the flaperon of the Boeing 777 of MH370,” Mackowiak told reporters in Paris.

He said more analysis would be carried out on Thursday, and a fragment of luggage also found in Reunion would be examined by French police as soon as possible.

“A LOT TO BE TOLD”

Investigators looking at the wing flap are likely to start by putting thin slices of metal under a high-powered microscope, to see subtle clues in the metal’s crystal structure about how
it deformed on impact, said Hans Weber, president of TECOP International, Inc., an aerospace technology consulting firm.

Investigators would probably then clean it and “do a full physical examination, using ultrasonic analysis before they open it up to see if there’s any internal damage”, Weber said. “That might take quite a while. A month or months.”

John Goglia, a former board member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, told Reuters much could be learned from examining the metal and how the brackets that held the flaperon in place had broken.

“From that they can tell the direction and attitude of the airplane when it hit,” he said.

However, other experts cautioned that the cause of the disaster may remain beyond the reach of investigators until other debris or data and cockpit voice recorders are recovered.

Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at industry publication Flightglobal, said the amount of time that has elapsed and the dearth of recovered debris made it harder.

“The real key to finding out what, exactly, happened to MH370 is finding the debris field in the seas west of Australia Debris such as the flaperon can only increase our understanding of the last seconds of the flight,” he said.

Officials from Malaysia, the United States, Australia, China, Britain, Singapore, and manufacturer Boeing are on hand for the examination at an aeronautical test facility in the French city of Toulouse.

Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, about 3,700 km (2,300 miles) east of Reunion.

Investigators believe that someone may have deliberately switched off the aircraft’s transponder, diverted it off course and deliberately crashed into the ocean off Australia.

An initial search of a 60,000 sq km patch of sea floor has been extended to another 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq miles).

“The fact that this wreckage does now very much look like it is from MH370 does seem to confirm that it went down in the Indian Ocean, it does seem very consistent with the search pattern that we’ve been using for the last few months,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Tourism

From tourist heroes to zero – how the world’s former tourist magnets are coping

The Thaiger & The Nation

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From tourist heroes to zero – how the world’s former tourist magnets are coping | The Thaiger

If over-tourism became the buzzword in the travel industry in 2019, the opposite applies in 2020 when most of the world’s most popular tourist magnets are now facing a genuine economic crisis, forced on them by government closures and a risk-averse travel public, most of whom are prevented from travel beyond their own borders. We visit Dubrovnik, Santorini, Ibiza, Barcelona, Venice, Bali and Phuket.

Despite the perils of overtourism, and all sorts of plans to limit the rising foot-traffic, nothing could have prepared these bucket list locations for the challenge they now face. Travel bans, quarantines and nationwide lockdowns are forcing travellers to stay home and face their own domestic economic issues.

Travel is a long way down the list now for much of the world’s middle class who made up the vast majority of global travellers. More than most industries, Covid-19 has brought the world’s travel industry to its knees.

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Weather

At least 35 dead, 100s injured, 50+ missing in Vietnam typhoon Molave

The Thaiger

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At least 35 dead, 100s injured, 50+ missing in Vietnam typhoon Molave | The Thaiger

‘Molave’ has been the most powerful typhoon to hit Vietnam in 20 years. As it peters out into a harmless low pressure front making its way westwards in Thailand. Officials say the death toll across Vietnam may rise as some regions have been unable to report details of damage and casualties. This morning the remnants of Molave are sitting directly over central Thailand dumping rain but having lost its power.

A ‘typhoon’ is the Asian version of a hurricane or cyclone.

At least 35 dead, 100s injured, 50+ missing in Vietnam typhoon Molave | News by The Thaiger

Vietnam deployed soldiers and heavy machinery to search for survivors after landslides triggered by torrential rains from Typhoon Molave, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades. The main focus for rescue workers has been 3 villages in Vietnam’s central region where landslides killed at least 19 and are suspected of burying more than 40 others in thick mud. Rescue efforts are being hampered by bad weather at the tail end of the storm.

In Tra Leng village, about 45 kilometres from Tra Van, another landslide buried a community with several houses occupied by about 45 people. Rescuers say4 people escaped, while they recovered 8 bodies and later pulled out another 4 villagers alive, including 2 children, who were trapped in a buried house.

Tra Leng was initially cut off to rescue efforts as roads were washed away, flooding and other landslides. By late yesterday government rescue teams were able to open up a road with bulldozers and brought in more rescue teams and heavy equipment.

The Vietnamese government said Typhoon Molave had left millions of people without electricity and damaged at least 56,000 houses and caused a massive blackout in the Quang Ngai province, where 1.7 million people endured the onslaught of the typhoon in darkness.

Also among the dead are 12 fishermen whose boats sank Wednesday as Typhoon Molave approached with winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe

Maya Taylor

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France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas Selter on Unsplash

The leaders of France and Germany are once again having to introduce national lockdowns as the Covid-19 virus continues to surge across Europe. France is now recording over 36,000 (+36,437 yesterday) new cases a day, while Germany, which fared slightly better than other European countries during the first wave of the virus, is now seeing a dramatic rise in cases as winter approaches (+16,202 yesterday).

In announcing the new lockdown in France, President Emmanuel Macron warned that the country faces a second wave that could be worse than the first. Strict measures come into effect from tomorrow, with people not permitted to leave their homes unless it is to seek medical attention, purchase essential items, or to exercise for a maximum of an hour a day. However, schools remain open and people can still go to work if it is not possible for them to do their job from home.

“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated. Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus. We are all in the same position: overrun by a second wave which we know will be harder, more deadly than the first.”

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | News by The Thaiger

Over in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed that from next Monday, November 2, to the end of November, all bars, restaurants, and theatres will close. Schools will remain open and shops will be permitted to operate under strict conditions. The chancellor warns that the measures are vital to protect the country’s healthcare system.

“We need to take action now. Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections, it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks.”

Confirmation of lockdowns in Europe’s biggest economies caused stock markets around the world to plummet, with European markets closing at their lowest level since late May. The S&P 500, which measures the performance of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the US, was down 3%.

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, with just 5 days to go before the presidential election, the US continues to set records with its rising numbers of virus cases. President Trump, however, remains undeterred, as he continues to hold public rallies, with many supporters not wearing masks.

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: SBS News

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