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Phuket Gazette World News: Russian plane crash leaves 50 dead; Bachelet leads in Chile; Tornadoes rip Midwest

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Phuket Gazette World News: Russian plane crash leaves 50 dead; Bachelet leads in Chile; Tornadoes rip Midwest | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Boeing airliner crashes in Russian city of Kazan, 50 killed
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A Boeing 737 airliner crashed on Sunday in the Russian city of Kazan, killing all 50 people on board and spotlighting the poor safety record of regional airlines that ply internal routes across the world’s largest nation.

The son of the president of the oil-rich province of Tatarstan and the regional head of the FSB intelligence service were named among those killed when the plane exploded in a ball of fire on hitting the runway.

Pictures showed charred wreckage scattered over a wide area, apparently taken after firefighters had extinguished the fire. Russian television broadcast a blurred video showing a bright flash of light. It also published a photo of the plane’s gaping fuselage with firefighters in the foreground.

The Tatarstan airlines flight from Moscow had been trying to abort its landing in order to make a second approach when it crashed, killing all 44 passengers and six crew on board, emergency officials said.

Flight U363 took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport at 6:25 pm (1425 GMT) and crashed just over an hour later, emergency officials said. The leased plane was 23 years old.

According to local reports, the Boeing lost altitude quickly and its fuel tank exploded on impact.

There were high winds and above-zero temperatures over the airport in central Russia. Flights to and from the airport were halted until midday on Monday.

Kazan, which is 800 km (500 miles) east of Moscow, is the capital of the largely-Muslim, oil-rich region of Tatarstan. A new runway was built at the airport ahead of the World Student Games, held in the city earlier this year.

Russia will host the Winter Olympics in the southern city of Sochi early next year.

The son of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Irek, was among those killed in the crash, as was the head of the regional Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Antonov, according to a passenger list whose authenticity was confirmed by the regional government.

Russia and the former Soviet republics combined have one of the world’s worst air-traffic safety records, with a total accident rate almost three times the world average in 2011, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the disaster “a frightening tragedy”, offering his condolences to the relatives of the victims in a Tweet on Sunday.

State television showed images of a woman scanning a list of passenger names posted outside the airport and crumbling into tears as she apparently recognised one.

Boeing officials had no immediate comment on the circumstances of the crash, but issued a statement.

“Boeing’s thoughts are with those affected by the crash of the Tartarstan air company flight. Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the investigating authority as it investigates the accident.”

Sprawling country

Russia spans nine time zones, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific across large areas of largely uninhabited land, making efficient air and train links especially important to the country’s economy.

In Soviet times, flag carrier Aeroflot had a virtual monopoly of the airline industry, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a multitude of small private companies emerged.

A spokesman for state aviation oversight agency Rosaviatsia said authorities would search for the flight recorders.

“The plane touched the ground and burst into flame,” Sergei Izvolsky said. “The cause of the crash as of now is unknown.”

The plane had been forced to make an emergency landing a year earlier on November 26 due to problems with “cabin depressurisation” shortly after take off, a law enforcement source told Interfax news agency. No one was hurt.

IATA said last year that global airline safety had improved but that accident rates had risen in Russia and the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States.

In April 2012, at least 31 people were killed when a Russian passenger plane crashed after take-off in Siberia.

In September 2011, a Yak-42 passenger jet carrying members of a major league ice hockey team came down shortly after takeoff and burst into flames near the Russian city of Yaroslavl, killing 44 people.

The Boeing 737 is the world’s most popular passenger jet in commercial use today. There have been 170 crashes involving this model of aircraft since it came into use.

In the Russian city of Perm in 2008, a Boeing 737 exploded a kilometre above the ground, killing 88 people.

Bachelet has big lead in Chile election but will face runoff
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Leftist candidate Michelle Bachelet was the clear winner in Chile’s presidential election on Sunday, although she will have to wait until a second round runoff next month to seal her victory.

With nine candidates running, the vote was fractured and Bachelet, seeking her second term as president, fell short of the 50 percent she needed for an outright first-round victory.

Bachelet, who led Chile between 2006 and 2010 as its first female president, had just over 46 percent support with 83 percent of votes counted on Sunday night. Evelyn Matthei of the ruling right-wing coalition was second with around 25 percent.

The two women will go head to head in a runoff on December 15. Bachelet is expected to win by a wide margin, and she is promising an ambitious program of tax and education reform to tackle inequality in the top copper exporting country.

Backers of the largely anti-establishment minor candidates likely will throw their support to Bachelet in the second round, or else abstain, so her eventual victory looks assured.

The result will be disappointing for Bachelet, who had campaigned hard to get the strong mandate that an outright win would have implied, but she put a brave face on it as she spoke to supporters at her temporary headquarters in central Santiago on Sunday night.

“The country has mostly voted for the proposal that we have made for Chile, so that Chile will be once and for all the modern and fair country that we want,” she said to cheers.

“We won tonight and we will work to win by an ample margin in December.”

A physician by training and moderate socialist by conviction, Bachelet has promised 50 reforms in her first 100 days if she returns to power.

Her flagship policy is an increase in corporate taxes to 25 percent from 20 percent to pay for education reforms that include a gradual move to free higher education.

“I voted for Bachelet,” said pensioner Fernando Forttes as he left the polling station on Sunday. “I hope the model will change … with more social justice and through that more opportunities. Her program is a European social democrat program. It’s nothing from another world. Here there will be no revolution.”

Bachelet also needs control of Congress to push through the changes she wants.

Final results from congressional elections were expected later on Sunday, although early indications were that Bachelet’s bloc would have at least the simple majority it needs to carry out tax reform.

However, under the Chilean system, the governing coalition needs more than a simple majority to pass some kinds of legislation, making it easier for the opposition to blo

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

World

Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age

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Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age | The Thaiger

Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90. The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of British spy 007 “Bond… James Bond”, doing his first Bond movie in 1962 in “Dr. No”. According to his son, Jason Connery, he died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas.

He was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in 2000. He also received the Kennedy Centre Honour, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald called him “The Greatest Living Scot” while People Magazine didn’t just vote him “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 but “Sexiest Man of the Century” a decade later.

He was the first to bring the role of James Bond to the big screen , appearing in 7 of the Bond franchise films, and the first of 7 actors that have played the role. Sir Sean was often voted the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise in many polls.

His acting career spanned 5 decades and he eventually won an Oscar in 1988 playing an Irish cop in “The Untouchables”.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander (a Thaiger favourite), Entrapment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

Jason Connery said many of his family were with him and around when he died peacefully in his sleep.

“We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.”

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Sir Sean was also a long-time supporter of Scottish independence, saying in interviews in the run-up to the 2014 referendum that he might return from his Bahamas home to live in Scotland if it voted to break away from the rest of the UK.

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Weather

This year’s most powerful typhoon will hit Philippines tomorrow

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This year’s most powerful typhoon will hit Philippines tomorrow | The Thaiger

Typhoon Goni continues to bear down on The Philippines in one of the South China Sea’s busiest storm years. 220,000 people have now been evacuated as of today.The typhoon, packing “destructive winds’, is expected to reach the south-east of the Philippine’s main island of Luzon tomorrow morning with the eye of the storm passing over during Sunday afternoon. Forecasters are expecting wind speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour.

Typhoon Goni is known locally as “Rolly”.

A warning has been issued “moderate to high risk” of storm surges up to 3 metres high along the east coast over the next 2 days.

On Wednesday this week Typhoon Molave smashed into Vietnam’s central coast, killing up to 35 people and flooding low-lying villages and then dropping heavy rain on southern Laos and Central Thailand. Molave killed 20 people as it passed over The Philippines.
This year's most powerful typhoon will hit Philippines tomorrow | News by The Thaiger
GRAPHIC: Typhoon Goni will reach Philippine’s island of Luzon tomorrow.

Schools are being used as emergency shelters as well as government-co-ordinated evacuation centres and gymnasiums. Authorities are ramping up preparations in the Bicol region southeast of Philippine capital Manila, readying rescue vehicles, emergency response teams and relief goods ahead of the storm.

The Philippines averages around 20 storms and typhoons every year, wiping out harvests, infrastructure and homes. The deadliest storm on record for The Philippines was Typhoon Haiyan, which dumped huge wave surges on the central city of Tacloban killing over 7,300 people in 2013.

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Economy

Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down

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Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down | The Thaiger

US stocks closed lower yesterday to end an ugly week downbeat with ‘uncertainty’ remaining the overwhelming sentiment. Tech stocks led the march downwards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped in its biggest monthly collapse since March with investors reacting to rising Covid-19 cases in the US and Europe, peppered by nervousness ahead of next Tuesday’s US presidential election. The increased volatility forced all three major indexes seeing their biggest weekly declines since the worst of the coronavirus-inspired selloff 8 months ago.

The Dow fell around 157 points, to end near 26,502, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 lost around 40 points, or 1.2%, to finish near 3,270. The Nasdaq Composite gave up around 274 points, or 2.4%, closing near 10,912. The Dow had a 6.5% weekly fall and a 4.6% monthly drop. Friday’s decline saw the Nasdaq negative for the month of October, falling 2.3%. The Nasdaq was down 5.5% for the week.

The Dow dropped more than 500 points at its session low with tech stocks – primarily Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook – leading the market decline.

A number of stocks were on the move, down, following a slew of earnings, including from the tech giants. Twitter sank more than 20% on slowing growth, while Exxon reported its 3rd straight quarter of losses.

Key moments yesterday…

  • Dow closed down 0.59% for its 5th negative day out of 6
  • S&P 500 closed down 1.21% for its 4th negative day in 5
  • Dow closed down 6.47% this week for its worst week since March 20
  • S&P closed down 5.64% this week for its worst week since March 20 when the S&P lost 14.98%
  • S&P closed down 2.77% this month for its second-straight negative month
  • Nasdaq closed down 5.51% this week for its worst week since March 20 when the Nasdaq lost 12.64%

Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down | News by The Thaiger

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