Sunday, 28 December 2014

AirAsia Flight From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic Control

An AirAsia flight traveling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore with 162 people on board lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday morning, the airline confirmed. Indonesia quickly launched a search to locate the missing plane, but by Sunday night, most search and rescue operations were halted for the day, the plane still unaccounted for.
Flight QZ 8501 -- an Airbus 320-200 -- lost communication with Indonesia's Surabaya Juanda International Airport at 7:24 Singapore time on Sunday morning, the airline said. The plane "was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost," AirAsia said in a statement.
"The weather was not good -- it was bad -- at the estimated location the plane lost contact," Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustafa said.
Mustafa said the plane lost contact somewhere between Kalimantan on Borneo island and Belitung island, about 42 minutes after the jet took off.
AirAsia Indonesia CEO Sunu Widyatmoko said that the airline is "deeply shocked and saddened" by the disappearance.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident," he said in a Facebook post. "We are cooperating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. In the meantime, our main priority is keeping the families of our passengers and colleagues informed on the latest developments.”
The ministry's air transportation director Joko Muryo Atmodjo said no distress signal had been sent, adding, "Therefore we cannot assume anything yet." "We are coordinating with [the] rescue team and looking for its position. We believe it is somewhere between Tanjung Pandan, a town on Belitung island, and Kalimantan," Atmodjo said . The plane took off at 5:20 a.m. local time in Surabaya and was scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m. in Singapore, according to AFP.
155 passengers, two pilots and five crew members were on board the flight, AirAsia said in a statement. The passengers and crew included 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one French citizen and one British. The captain was Indonesian, the co-captain French. 16 children and one infant were among the passengers, AirAsia said.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, one woman present at a crisis center at the Changi Airport had seven family members on the flight, including her mother and brother.Malaysia, Singapore and Australia offered to assist the search for the plane. AirAsia said it was "cooperating fully" with the efforts, and set up a call center for relatives of those aboard the plane . AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.
Indonesia's Transport Ministry said six ships and two helicopters were deployed to search for the missing flight. Malaysia contributed three navy ships and three aircraft to help in the search. Singapore sent a C130 aircraft, officials said. Despite the coalition of countries looking for Flight QZ 8501, Sunday night fell with the plane still missing, prompting Indonesia to call off the search for the day. By 8:30 p.m. local time, all air search efforts were halted, though several boats continued the hunt. The full search was expected to resume around 6 a.m.
The U.S. also offered support for the search. Spokespersons for the National Transportation Safety Board and the State Department said that the agencies are monitoring the situation and "ready to assist" the rescue team if needed.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore released a statement early Sunday saying "a waiting area, and all necessary facilities and support have been set up for relatives and friends of the affected passengers" at Changi Airport. By Sunday evening, dozens of those connected to the passengers had registered at the waiting area. Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia, announced he would go to Surabaya where most of the passengers were from. "This is my worst nightmare," he wrote on Twitter.
The A320 is Airbus’s best-selling jet family, with more than 6,000 planes in operation. In a statement, Airbus said that the plane that went missing came off the production line in 2008, and had conducted approximately 13,600 flights, for a total of about 23,000 flight hours. Airbus announced it would provide its full assistance to the investigation, and said the "thoughts of the Airbus management and staff are with all those affected by Flight QZ 8501."
As news of the missing flight unfolded, AirAsia changed the color of the logos on their social media channels from red to grey. AirAsia, which is headquartered in Malaysia, is one of the fastest growing low-cost carriers in Asia. It has never lost a plane before, according to the Associated Press. The disappearance of the AirAsia flight is the third air incident of 2014 that involves Malaysia, the Associated Press notes. Malaysia's national carrier, Malaysia Airlines, suffered two disasters in 2014. In March, the airline lost contact with flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard. It remains missing. In July, flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people. Following the news of Flight 8501's disappearance, Malaysia Airlines offered its support on Twitter.
According to a White House pool report, U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed on the missing flight, and "White House officials will continue to monitor the situation." Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on Twitter that he was "saddened" to hear about the missing plane. "My thoughts are with the passengers and their families," he said. Malaysia's Prime Minister Mohammad Najib Razak said his country "stands ready to help."
"Our hearts and hopes are with the passengers and families of AirAsia QZ8501," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Synonym for Excellence Made in Tuscany Italy

Architecture Sonora developed something totally exclusive, completely designed, developed and hand-built in Tuscany, Italy. The synchronization characterizing the Tuscan landscape reveals a balanced relationship between people and their territory: numerous interventions over time have shaped and structured the landscape we know today on the basis of human needs and respect for the territory, reconnecting what is essential and what is natural. Invention and landscape, craftsmanship and materiality, from the Impruneta terracotta to the white marble from the Apuan Alps; from landscape to landscape this is our way to attain a distinct and spatial relationship with landscape.

Made in Tuscany from Architettura Sonora on Vimeo.

Friday, 19 December 2014

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium? Well, this is a thin layer of tissue that covers most of our internal organs. In many cases, the tissue surrounding the lungs is affected. Nevertheless, cases have been reported in which other body organs are affected with this condition. This form of cancer is very belligerent and frequently proves fatal if it is malignant Mesothelioma.

You Should Know the Risk Factors
Though numerous materials can possibly cause this disease, mesothelioma is primarily attributed to exposure to asbestos as reported by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the CDC. Furthermore, Asbestos has been classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a human carcinogen. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing malignant Mesothelioma. The latency period for the disease is reported to be around twenty to forty years. So exposure to asbestos can go unnoticed for decades. Hence, mesothelioma cases are diagnosed years after the first exposure to asbestos occurs. In a study conducted by the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), annual multiple-cause-of-death records were analyzed for the period from 1999 to 2005. It was found that huge numbers of 18,068 deaths were reported because of malignant Mesothelioma.

Who should be concerned?
Hence; Asbestos is imported into the United States and was even mined in the country during the 20th century. However in the United States, the use of asbestos peaked in 1973 when it was amounted to 803,000 metric tons before declining to 1,700 metric tons in year 2007. Industrial workers employed in settings such as manufacturing, construction and shipbuilding prior to 1980’s are the ones who’re at most menace, as federal safety regulation was not in place at the that time. Exposure lasts to occur nowadays because of the flattening of buildings in which asbestos was used during construction. 

What Steps to Take in Case Of Asbestos-Exposure Related Mesothelioma
Well, after taking into consideration a number of research findings, exposure to asbestos has been singled out as the main cause of Mesothelioma in most cases. Therefore this exposure affects individuals differently. Several factors are involved, including concentration, frequency and duration of exposure as well as the shape, size and chemical makeup of the fibers that define your chances of contracting Mesothelioma. 

It is natural to sense to concern about Mesothelioma if you’ve experienced chronic exposure to asbestos. Doctors suggest that such people should get regular CT scans or chest x-rays. They should also get lung function tests as these tests can perceive problems caused by asbestos fibers. If any problems are detected, you should consult with professional Mesothelioma diagnosis. In the unlucky event of being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you’ve the grounds for filing a lawsuit. A Mesothelioma law suit can support you claim compensation for the extra costs borne in dealing with this disease as well as for the resulting emotional distress and trauma.

Why choose a Mesothelioma Law firm
It is notable, that the risks associated with asbestos exposure have been recognized to the Asbestos manufacturers for years. Therefore victims of the disease exactly feel that they should have been informed about these perils and so undue hardships both for the victims and their relatives could have been avoided. Hence; treatment plans are often tailored to the patient's needs so the medical expenses incurred because of the disease vary from person to person and are often considerable. 

If you undergo or your loved one’s has established mesothelioma and have also been bare to asbestos fibers during their lives, you’ll typically be eligible for filing a lawsuit and claim compensation for any treatment related expenses, as well as for the pain and suffering caused by this disease. The litigation process involved is quite complex. So it is better to hire the services of a Mesothelioma law firm that has the time as well as the resources to tackle investigations specific to your case.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

U.S. and Cuba Move to Thaw Relations After Prisoner Exchange

The U.S. will begin efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and will open an embassy on the island nation following the release of an American government subcontractor and a swap of intelligence assets, President Barack Obama said Wednesday. It marks the most significant change in the U.S.-Cuba relationship since the Cuban revolution. “Neither the American nor Cuban people are served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said in a televised address. “I believe we can do more to support the Cuban people and our values through engagement. After all, these 50 years have shown the isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.”

Following a year of secret back-channel talks in Canada and at the Vatican, and culminating with a historic nearly hour-long call between Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro on Tuesday, the Cuban government released 65-year-old Alan Gross on Wednesday on humanitarian grounds. His release clears the way for a broad relaxation of the 53-year U.S. embargo on Cuba.

In a prisoner swap, Cuba released an unnamed U.S. intelligence asset who has been imprisoned for 20 years, while the U.S. government released the final three members of the spy ring known as the Cuban Five remaining in federal prison.A senior Administration official said the U.S. embassy would open “as soon as possible” in Havana.

Gross departed Cuba on Wednesday morning on a U.S. government plane, and arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C., shortly after 11 a.m., accompanied by members of Congress and his wife who had traveled to retrieve him aboard a U.S. Air Force plane. A Cuban court convicted Gross of espionage in 2011 and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for carrying communications devices into Cuba while working as as a subcontractor for U.S. Agency for International Development setting up Internet access in local communities. According to his attorney, Gross had been in deteriorating health while in prison. Speaking at a news conference, Gross thanked Obama, said he supports the President’s policy shift and stressed he harbors no ill will toward the Cuban people.

“It pains me to see them treated so unjustly as a consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies,” Gross said. “Five and a half decades of history shows us that such belligerence inhibits better judgment. Two wrongs don’t make a right. “This is a game-changer which I fully support,” Gross added. “I truly hope we can get beyond these mutually belligerent policies.”The Obama Administration is maximizing the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba within the limits of the American travel ban, the President is “doing everything in his authority to facilitate travel within the limits of the law,” an official said, adding that Obama would support congressional efforts to lift the ban. Obama also announced that his Administration is easing economic and financial restrictions on Cuba, including increasing permitted American exports, as well as raising the cap on remittances. U.S. financial institutions will also be allowed to open accounts at Cuban banks to process permitted transactions, and U.S. credit and debit cards will be permitted for use in Cuba for the first time. Obama is also directing Secretary of State John Kerry to launch an immediate review of the 1982 designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, in consultation with intelligence agencies.

“I do not expect the changes I’m announcing today to bring about a transformation of Cuban society overnight,” Obama said.

Obama cannot unilaterally lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. “I look forward to engaging Congress in an honest and serious debate about lifting the embargo,” he said. In an address that took place while Obama was speaking, Castro said he welcomes the cooling of relations between the two countries, but that differences remain that the countries need to learn to live with “in a civilized manner.Obama has twice previously relaxed restrictions on Cuba, in 2009 and 2011, opening the door for Americans to visit family members in Cuba and allowing travel for religious, educational and cultural endeavors. Authorized American travelers will now be able to import up to $400 in Cuban goods into the U.S., including $100 in tobacco and alcohol products. But senior Administration officials said there would be no immediate change to the ban on imports of Cuban cigars and other products for retail purposes.

Obama’s announcement was quickly criticized by Republicans and Democratic lawmakers who have long defended the embargo. Outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) blasted Obama’s decision as having “vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”

“This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba’s opposition movement and the hardening of the government’s dictatorial hold on its people,” Menendez said. American officials contend that the U.S. policy toward Cuba was antiquated and ineffective, failing to bring down the Castro regime after more than 50 years. Obama said he respects the “passion” of those who may disagree with his decision, but said he believes now is the time for a change. “I do not believe that we can do the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result,” he said.

In coordination with the American announcements, the Cuban government will announce that it will free 53 prisoners deemed by the U.S. to be political prisoners, American officials said. Additionally, the Cuban government has told the U.S. it intends to expand Internet connectivity for its citizens. But despite objections by the Cuban government, the U.S. will continue to fund so-called democracy programming in Cuba, meant to promote human rights and support the free flow of information into the communist country.

American officials praised the role of Canada and the Vatican, particularly Pope Francis, in helping bring about the agreement. “Pope Francis personally issued an appeal in a letter that he sent to President Obama and to President Raúl Castro calling on them to resolve the case of Alan Gross and the cases of the three Cubans who have been imprisoned here in the United States, and also encouraging the United States and Cuba to pursue a closer relationship,” an official said, calling the papal letter “very rare … The Vatican then hosted the U.S. and Cuban delegations where we were able to review the commitments that we are making today.”

In a statement earlier this month marking the five-year anniversary of Gross’s arrest, Obama said that if the Castro-led Cuban government released him it would set the stage for other reconciliation efforts. “The Cuban Government’s release of Alan on humanitarian grounds would remove an impediment to more constructive relations between the United States and Cuba,” Obama said. Source:

Bobby Shmurda, Rap Artist, Is Arrested in Manhattan

Bobby Shmurda was arrested on Wednesday near Times Square as part of an investigation into street violence, shootings and drug trafficking in Brooklyn, the authorities said on Wednesday. Investigators arrested Mr. Shmurda, whose real name is Ackquille Pollard, as he sat in a car outside Quad Recording Studios, at 723 Seventh Avenue, near 48th Street, where the rapper Tupac Shakur was robbed and shot in 1994 as he walked through the lobby.

More than a dozen people have been arrested. Details of the investigation, and charges, were expected to be unsealed on Thursday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, said Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City. The agency, along with the New York Police Department’s newly created Brooklyn South Violence Reduction Task Force, carried out a long-term investigation that “centered on shooting and narcotics trafficking,” Ms. Cornell said.

Officials said that multiple shootings had been linked to the inquiry and that several guns were recovered as the arrests of 13 people were carried out on Wednesday in the city. Two others are being extradited from out of state and other suspects are still being sought, officials said. Officials said they could not offer more specific details about the case, or the charges against the individual defendants, until Thursday.

Last month, Mr. Shmurda’s song “Hot Boy” reached No. 8 in the country, according to Billboard. Earlier this year, someone distilled a little-watched video of the song into a six-second Vine Video, which became popular online. Fans moved to the beat in a so-called Schmoney Dance. But over the same period, Mr. Shmurda, 20, was becoming increasingly entangled with law enforcement. He was arrested in June in Brooklyn, and indicted on a charge of possessing a loaded 9-millimeter Glock handgun, according to court papers. In October, officers in Brooklyn arrested him again on marijuana possession charges, the papers said. On Tuesday, Mr. Shmurda posted a note on Twitter promoting his “special performance” on Wednesday afternoon a performance he did not make. Is Arrested in Manhattan.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Wassily Kandinsky at 148: a revolutionary Google Doodle star

The fascinating thing about Wassily Kandinsky, whose 148th birthday has got him a Google Doodle today, is how seriously and carefully he evolved from figurative painting to abstract art. Kandinsky did not become an abstract painter lightly. He reached abstraction in a strenuous, thoughtful way that gives his art huge authority.
In his early expressionist paintings villages glow in radiant colours. These landscapes pulse with wild chromatic splendour that resembles the freedom of the fauves. In fact Kandinsky’s expressive landscapes are already partly abstract, in their use of colour. This innovation, that started with the French fauves and was rapidly adopted by the German expressionists, was the first, huge step towards abstraction in 20th-century art. But the wild colours enflaming art in the early years of the century still portray a very recognisable world. Kandinsky took it a revolutionary step further by reaching a logical conclusion – what if painting were pure colour? What if it created its own imaginary world, like the world of a symphony?
Like symphonies, Kandinsky’s great abstract paintings speak directly to our senses and feelings. Their constellations of mysterious marks are like waves of sound that trigger emotions. For him, the world they pointed towards was a spiritual realm, a hidden truth.
Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian both build cathedrals of the mind in their abstract art – silent cities of spiritual calm. That mystical impulse is connected to mathematics, and in Kandinsky this means a deep consciousness of structure. If his paintings have the expressive colour of Van Gogh’s Starry Night they also have the classical clarity of Poussin.
There is a true grandeur to his concept of painting, and a sense of truth. Whatever we think about his spiritualist beliefs, the result is an art that is at once purely abstract and plainly rooted in a deep feel for the nature of things. A profound, paradoxical and rich achievement. Kandinsky intuits the cosmic complexity of modern physics. His art can be set alongside today’s images of the fabric of the universe.

Militant siege of Peshawar school over, at least 141 killed

Pakistani officials say the siege at an army-run school on Warsak road school is over, and authorities are now sweeping the area.At least 141 people, most of them children (132), died when Taliban gunmen attacked the school in the morning. The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10.Condemnations poured in from across the globe including all major political leaders and notables in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif also condemned the assault and rushed to Peshawar to show their support for the victims and the troops partaking in the operation to clear the school of terrorists. Three-day mourning was also announced by the federal government. As darkness fell on the area, officials said they had cleared the school of militants. “The operation is completed,” said Bilal Ahmad Faizi, the head of the state-run rescue organisation, speaking to reporters after leaving the school area. 

According to a tweet by DG ISPR Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa, Pakistan’s military on actionable intelligence has carried out several raids including 10 airstrikes in Khyber Agency today. US President Barack Obama condemned the deadly Taliban raid on a Pakistani school Tuesday and promised that America would stand by the country in its struggle against violent extremism. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity,” he said, after the attack on the army-run facility in Peshawar left at 130 people dead. “We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned on Tuesday a Taliban attack on a Pakistani school that left at least 141 dead, most of them students.
“It is an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn,” Ban said at the start of a UN Security Council meeting.
“The hearts of the world go out to the parents and families who have lost loved ones.”
Speaking in a solemn tone, Ban began his address to a council meeting on peacekeeping with the statement condemning what he termed the “blood-curdling attack” in Pakistan.“I condemn this heinous attack in the strongest possible terms,” he said.“No cause can justify such brutality. No grievance can excuse such horror. Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces. Getting an education is every child's right. Going to school should not be an act of bravery.”
Police sources said that at least six terrorists entered the school after scaling its walls. A heavy contingent of police and security forces have reached the spot and cordoned off the area as an operation continues. Read Full Story here