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Last Qantas 747 flight draws kangaroo logo in the sky to mark final voyage – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Airline Geeks/William Derrickson

The Qantas Boeing 747 has taken to the skies for the last time, marking its final journey by drawing the airline’s famous kangaroo logo in the sky. The design could be seen on flight radar maps as the aircraft, affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies, ascended out of Sydney for the last time. It flew over the Harbour Bridge, the city’s Central Business District, the beaches of the northern and southern suburbs, and the museum of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, just south of the city.

Last Qantas 747 flight draws kangaroo logo in the sky to mark final voyage - VIDEO | News by Thaiger

The aircraft has been part of the Qantas fleet for 50 years, with the carrier acquiring its first jumbo in 1971, thereby opening up the world to millions of Australian travellers. Three years later, the 747 was used to rescue nearly 700 people from the devastation of Cyclone Tracy in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin. By 1979, Qantas was the first airline running an all Boeing 747 fleet. More recently, the aircraft was put to work ferrying hundreds of stranded Australians out of Wuhan, when the Covid-19 crisis erupted.

The aircraft will now be retired to California’s Mojave Desert, where it will join other planes that are stripped for parts in what is known as the aircraft graveyard. The co-pilot on the last flight, Greg Fitzgerald, says it’s the end of an era.

“Everybody in Australia, everybody in the world, knows the shape of the 747. It’s like Aeroplane Jelly and Vegemite, it’s always been there. We don’t know life without the 747.”

Adding to that, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the 747 changed the world of travel for countless Australians but, while its demise has come early due to the Covid pandemic, it will eventually be replaced by an alternative, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact that the 747 had on aviation and a country as far away as Australia. It replaced the 707, which was a huge leap forward in itself but didn’t have the sheer size and scale to lower airfares the way the 747 did. Time has overtaken the 747 and we now have a much more fuel-efficient aircraft with an even better range in our fleet, such as the 787 Dreamliner that we use on Perth to London and hopefully before too long, the Airbus A350 for our Project Sunrise flights non-stop to New York and London.”

The retirement of the 747 from the Qantas fleet comes as British Airways announces that it too is scrapping the iconic jumbo. A BA spokesperson adds that while this was always the plan, the shutdown in world travel due to Covid-19 has brought it forward a number of years.

“We are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect. It is unlikely our magnificent ‘Queen of the Skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic.”

It’s understood there are now fewer than 100 Boeing 747 aircraft still operating around the world.

SOURCE: News.com.au

 

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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Today’s Chinese rocket debris not expected to hit land

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO China's Long March 5B Rocket's debris will be crashing down to earth this weekend. (via CBS)

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has assured the public that the debris from a large rocket re-entering the atmosphere today is not likely to do any harm. They said the majority of the Chinese rocket will mostly be burned up on re-entry. The Long March 5B rocket left the Earth on April 29th, launching from Hainan island in China.

This launch was the first part of an 11 part mission to construct China’s own space station in Earth orbit. The Long March 5B rocket was carrying an unmanned Tianhe module as its payload, the first part of many to be constructed together in space. When attached as part of a permanent Chinese space station, it will serve as living quarters for future astronauts.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson reassured that China is monitoring The rocket’s journey very closely and that most parts of the spacecraft would burn up on re-entry. Any debris looks likely to land in international oceans, and the chances of damage being done on dry land is considered to be extremely low.

The re-entry is scheduled for today but the exact path of the rocket debris could not be completely determined in advance. The US military announced earlier in the week that the rocket would be tracked by US Space Command, calling it an uncontrolled re-entry. Statistically speaking, the debris is most likely to fall into an ocean somewhere as the Earth is 70% covered by water, but an astrophysicist at Harvard commented to Reuters that there is a chance that pieces would not burn up completely and would land on solid ground.

As the rocket tears at hypersonic speed into the Earth’s atmosphere, most debris would be quickly incinerated by the heat generated from the re-entry. But another Chinese Long March 5B rocket fell to Earth last year in May 2020 and some parts did hit land, doing damage to some buildings in the Ivory Coast.

Projections based on the current orbit path yielded very broad results, with debris possibly landing anywhere in between Northern cities like Beijing, Madrid, or New York, to cities as far south as Wellington New Zealand or southern Chile. For now, Thailand seems safe from Chinese debris as they prepare for their own space programs.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Like Songkran, Sri Lanka New Year’s brings Covid-19 wave

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Sri Lanka is now being hard hit by Covid-19. (via Wikimedia)

Sri Lanka has seen a huge wave of new Covid-19 infections in part due to large New Year’s celebrations in mid-April at the same time as Thailand’s Songkran Festival. From the beginning of April until now, the island nation has experienced a fivefold increase in daily cases, with 1,895 infections reported yesterday. February had previously been the worst month in Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 history, but figures are much worse now.

On April 13 and 14, large gatherings crowded the street to celebrate Sri Lanka’s New Year’s holiday. The day before, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa address the nation with hope, saying that after cancelling festivities the previous year, everyone working together to reduce Covid-19 had allowed New Year’s activities to take place this year. Authorities felt that Covid-19 was contained in Sri Lanka and, while they did stress health and safety guidelines, the president encouraged the celebration of the holiday.

“It is my hope and expectation that all citizens without any discrimination will join the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations with fresh hopes, determination, and righteous thoughts.”

But the celebration was too soon, and by April 27, Sri Lanka was recording 1,000 Covid-19 infections per day, the first time this milestone had been reached since the Covid-19 first appeared. Lockdowns in more than 100 areas began, with private functions banned and school shuttered, but it was too little too late. 13 of the 25 administrative regions of Sri Lanka are now in lockdown, as the nation fights to rein in this Covid-19 wave.

As of now, the deadly Indian variant has not been found just across the water in Sri Lanka, but the B.1.1.7 variant has been prevalent in the recent quick spread of infections. Now Sri Lanka looks towards mass Covid-19 vaccination as the only solution, but jabs are in short supply. An order of 600,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from India’s Serum Institute did not arrive and only 1 million out of 21 million Sri Lankans have been fully vaccinated. 5 jabs have been given per 100 people, less than half that of India, which has inoculated 12 out of every 100 people.

Sri Lanka has now isolated itself from neighbouring India, sealing its border. The Navy is patrolling the waters to keep Indian fishing boats away from their shores. All flights from India have been cancelled and banned as well. Sri Lanka has followed in the footsteps of Nepal and Bangladesh before them in closing itself off from their Covid-19 infested neighbour in hopes of limiting the spread and not reaching the levels of catastrophe that India has.

Read about the current Covid-19 situation in countries around South and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, The Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

SOURCE: CNN

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

With Indian neighbours sealing borders, Maldives welcomes tourists

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 descends on the previously Covid-19 safe Maldives

Tuesday saw a new Daily Record for Covid-19 cases in the 26 islands of the Maldives, with 601 new infections. The tiny nation’s Health Emergency Operations Centre reported this week that hospitalisations due to Covid-19 had tripled in a few days and they suspect that a new variant may now be present in the country.

The capital city of Malé and the areas around it are by far the most densely populated part of the sparse country and has now enacted a curfew from 9 pm to 4 am. People can go out only for essential reasons, and delivery services are allowed to operate only with a permit from the police.

At just 298 square kilometres, the Maldives is Asia’s smallest nation by land and its population of just over 557,000 people is the second smallest, bigger than only Brunei. The Maldives is doing better than neighbouring countries on its Covid-19 vaccination process, with more than 400,000 doses already administered. That’s 76 vaccines per 100 people as compared to India’s 12 jabs per 100. But still, only 21% of the Maldivians population has been fully vaccinated.

But the Maldives is a country extremely reliant on tourism and they were the first to triumphantly reopen their borders after 3 months of lockdown last July. Just last month, government officials had announced vaccines on arrival for travellers, in an effort to attract the so-called vaccine tourism market, where people from countries unable to provide vaccines have looked to go abroad to get their jab. The plan was to be implemented only after the citizens of the Maldives were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 though and has not taken effect yet.

Their biggest tourism problem though is that 23% of their visitors are from the Covid-19 plagued nation of India. According to the Maldives Ministry of Tourism, the neighbouring country has received 70,000 Indian visitors just in the first 3 months of 2021, more than double the total number of tourists from India in 2020. Even now, as all of India’s neighbours rushed to seal their borders, the Maldives still has no restrictions from India, welcoming wealthy and elite travellers, including many Bollywood stars.

Read about the current Covid-19 situation in countries around South and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, The Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

SOURCE: CNN

 

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