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Phuket Gazette World News: Cyclone Mahasen crosses Bangladesh coast, two dead; one million evacuated

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Phuket Gazette World News: Cyclone Mahasen crosses Bangladesh coast, two dead; one million evacuated | The Thaiger

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

Cyclone Mahasen crosses Bangladesh coast, two dead; one million evacuated
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Cyclone Mahasen started crossing Bangladesh’s low-lying coast earlier today, bearing down on the ports of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar, as tens of thousands of people huddled in shelters from a storm which the United Nations says threatens 4.1 million people.

Winds up to 100 kph (60 mph) lashed the coast and whipped up waves, with an expected 2.1 metres (seven feet) storm surge and heavy rain expected to cause widespread flooding.

“It started to cross and is approaching towards Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar coasts,” said a Bangladesh meteorological department official.

The storm first hit Khepupara on Bangladesh’s southern coast and was tracking northeast towards the two ports on the eastern coastline near Myanmar.

Eyewitnesses said low-lying coastal areas were covered in waist-deep water as the storm crossed and trees were uprooted and houses damaged. Two people were reported killed, one crushed by a falling tree and another as he made his way to a shelter.

Bangladesh began evacuating one million people as Cyclone Mahasen approached yesterday. The storm warning was raised to seven, on a scale with a maximum of 10, as Mahasen approached one of the poorest countries in Asia.

The storm killed at least seven people and displaced 3,881 in Sri Lanka as it tracked across the Bay of Bengal towards Bangladesh.

A boat carrying Rohingya Muslims in neighbouring Myanmar capsized at around midnight on Monday after hitting rocks off Pauktaw in Rakhine State while evacuating ahead of the storm. Official media said 42 people were rescued, but 58 were missing.

“The government has ordered the evacuation of about one million people from 15 coastal districts,” said the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“As per the latest storm trajectory, 4.1 million people have been identified as living in at risk areas in the districts of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar,” it said in its latest update.

The port in Chittagong, which has a population of about three million, and the airport in Cox’s Bazar were closed on Wednesday.

Meteorologists said Mahasen should weaken quickly into a tropical rain depression over land.

“Mudslides will also be a concern as the heavy rain spreads farther north and east on Thursday night and Friday into easternmost India and northern Myanmar,” said meteorologists at Accuweather.com storm forecasters.

Myanmar at risk

Bangladesh has more than 1,400 cyclone-proof buildings on standby, but across its eastern border in Myanmar tens of thousands of people on the coast were sheltering in makeshift camps and huts made of timber and palm fronds.

In 2008, Cyclone Nargis killed up to 140,000 people in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta, south of the main city, Yangon.

The U.S.-based Tropical Storm Risk said Mahasen should track northeast after hitting Chittagong, missing Myanmar.

The Myanmar government had planned to move 38,000 internally displaced people, most of them Rohingya Muslims, by Tuesday but many have refused to relocate from camps in Rakhine State in the west of the country, afraid of the authorities’ intentions.

At least 192 people were killed in June and October last year in violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingyas, who are denied citizenship by the government in Myanmar and considered by many Buddhists to be immigrants from Bangladesh.

At a camp near the sea on the outskirts of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, several people told Reuters on Wednesday they would rather perish in the storm than evacuate.

“We arrived here last year because of the clashes between Rakhine and Muslims. I lost everything. Both my mother and my two young daughters died,” said Hla Maung, 38, a Muslim. “If the cyclone hits here, I will pray to Allah. Everyone here wants to die in the storm because we lost everything last year.”

Myanmar is a mainly Buddhist country but about 5 percent of its 60 million people are Muslims. They face a growing anti-Muslim campaign led by radical Buddhist monks. A Reuters Special Report found apartheid-like policies were segregating Muslims from Buddhists in Rakhine State.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis.

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People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis. | The Thaiger

If history is anything to go on people’s current fears about the Boeing 737 MAX jets will be short-lived.

The make0ver of the venerable 737 plane, the most popular passenger jet in history, was supposed to set Boeing on a path to success. Airlines said it was the plane they wanted – perfect for short-haul, cheap to run, new efficient engines.

Boeing didn’t go down the path of coming up with a new single-aisle jet to compete with the new Airbus 320 Neo series, instead they decided to come up with a revised 737. The revised plane has slightly larger and more powerful engines, is a little higher off the ground, features some new hi-tech construction materials making it lighter, upgraded avionics and, importantly, new software that was meant to make it even safer.

You can identify a 737 MAX because of the two-spoke winglets at the end of the wings.

Now two of the new series 737 MAX have crashed within six months with investigators speaking about ‘similarities’ in the early days of the crash investigation.

Travel site Kayak even added an option to screen out flights using the 737 Max jets.

If panic persisted, the media kept writing stories about it and airlines were unwilling to buy it, the future of Boeing would be in jeopardy.

That’s the current situation. But it also reflects a similar time during a four-month period in late 1965 and early 1966 when four new Boeing 727 jets crashed. Three of the crashes occurred while the planes were attempting to land at US airports. Two of them happened within three days of each other in November 1965. The 727 was the first commercial jet to fly with less than four jet engines.

Like the 737 MAX crashes, the US regulator, the FAA, defended the planes’ safety and refused to ground the 727s at the time. It issued a statement the day after the third fatal 727 crash, saying that it could find no pattern in the crashes. It declined to ground the jet.

At the time Boeing was still riding on its reputation built around the Boeing 707 jet, the first successful commercial passenger jet (the British Comet was the first commercial passenger jet in 1952 but had a series of catastrophic crashes from which it never recovered profitable sales).

Eventually the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was created in the wake of the crashes, cleared the 727 and blamed pilot error for the accidents. Pilots were not prepared to fly the 727, and that led to the crashes. The new wings of the revolutionary (for the time) 727 made the plane descend much faster than was possible in the past, giving pilots the chance to slow the planes down faster and land on much shorter runways than the jets of the time, a big selling point.

But the pilots at the controls of the four doomed jets in the 60s were apparently unprepared for how quickly the planes would descend with the new wings.

But Boeing did get past the 727 crisis. Increased training led to safer operation of the plane, and these kinds of crashes ended. Customers soon forgot.

The 727 went on to become the bestselling jet of its time for Boeing. It eventually sold 1,831 of the jets, a lot when flying in jets was still mostly reserved for the ‘jet set’ and people able to afford the expensive ticket prices of the time.

“I don’t know that people will care that much for very long,” says Shem Malmquist, a Boeing 727 and 777 Captain.

“They only worry about the price of the ticket.”

People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis. | News by The Thaiger

The Boeing 727 suffered four high-profile crashes in the mid 60s and went on to become a flying favourite.

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Preliminary data suggests ‘similarities’ to Lion Air incident – Ethiopian Airlines crash

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Preliminary data suggests ‘similarities’ to Lion Air incident – Ethiopian Airlines crash | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The ‘black box’ data recorder arrived in Paris last week

Preliminary data analysis from the black boxes of last week’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash has revealed “similarities” to last October’s Lion Air incident.

Ethiopian Minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges, says that investigators recovered all relevant data from the data recorders on board the fateful final flight of the Boeing 737 MAX jet.

He did not provide additional details about the alleged “similarities” between the two crashes saying they were “subject to additional investigation. The black box recorders are being evaluated in France after the Ethiopian aviation authorities said they didn’t have the facilities to analyze the data. The recovered recorders were sent to Paris last Thursday.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. It mimics characteristics of the other Boeing 737 MAX crash six months ago in Jakarta where the pilot and crew reported problems with the flight controls before plummeting to the ground (or the sea in the case of the Jakarta crash).

Similarities between the two incidents, both of which remain under investigation, led aviation authorities around the world to ban the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 model aircraft.

Investigators suspect the Lion Air crash may have been caused by a combination of software, pilot education of new flight systems (introduced by Boeing), and a faulty angle-of-attack sensor on the outside of the plane that could have transmitted incorrect data.

Boeing’s new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, special software designed for the new MAX model jets, may have been responsible for forcing the plane’s nose down, over0riding the pilot’s corrections.

The Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a statement saying the company “continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available.”

He added the company is “finalising its development of a previously announced software update that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.

Boeing may apply for special permits to flight-test modifications of newly assembled 737 MAX aircraft in U.S. airspace during the worldwide commercial-flight ban of all 737 MAX-family jets.

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World

Accused Australian killer appears in Christchurch court charged with murder

The Thaiger

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Accused Australian killer appears in Christchurch court charged with murder | The Thaiger

A 28 year old Australian man smirked as he walked into the Christchurch District Court in New Zealand’s South Island this morning, charged with murder after a carefully planned mass shooting at lunchtime prayers at two mosques.

The public was banned from the courtroom for the proceedings, but an angry crowd waited outside the court building.

Brenton Tarrant was brought to court by armed prison officers into the heavily secured central city courtroom, packed with local and international journalists.

According to reporters, the man kept turning towards the media and ‘smiling’. They report the man was ‘eerily calm’ during his appearance.

He has initially appeared on one charge of murder but is expected to face further charges. In New Zealand a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Press from all over the world gathered in the courtroom, but the general public was banned.

Meanwhile, 18 year old Daniel John Burrough of Christchurch has been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons on the ground of the colour, race or ethnic or national origins.

The alleged mass slaughter of Muslim worshippers at Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, in central Christchurch, left 49 dead and more than 20 injured.

41 people died at Al Noor Mosque, seven at the Linwood Mosque and another died after being rushed to hospital.

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