Friday, June 19, 2009

Found: Galley kitchen from doomed Air France flight discovered floating intact in middle of Atlantic


Floating in the middle of the Atlantic, this galley kitchen is the latest piece of Air France Flight 447 to be recovered by salvage crews.

The wreckage is extraordinarily intact despite being part of an plane that experts believe broke apart in midair.

Even some of the drawers, containing a selection of ready-meals for passengers, remained wedged securely inside the unit
Enlarge A piece of debris of the Air France Flight 447 floats in the Atlantic Ocean. Autopsies revealed fractures in the legs, hips and arms of crash victims, suggesting the plane broke up in the air.

Autopsies on victims of Flight 447 and debris from the plane strongly suggest the plane broke up in the air, experts have said.

Fractures in the legs, hips and arms of the Air France disaster victims recovered from the Atlantic suggest the Airbus broke up midfight.

Brazil's navy have recovered 50 bodies from the 228 who perished during the flight bound for Pairs.

Investigators have also collected more than 400 bits of debris from the ocean's surface, including large pieces which have remained intact. Experts said this would also indicate the aircraft broke up in flight.

Last night. the top French investigator said he was optimistic about discovering what brought down Flight 447, but he also called the conditions - far from land in very deep waters - 'one of the worst situations ever known in an accident investigation.'

Paul-Louis Arslanian, who runs the French air accident investigation agency BEA, said added they were beginning to form 'an image that is progressively less fuzzy'.
Enlarge The galley is secured with string: Once back on land it will be examined by investigators

'We are in a situation that is a bit more favorable than the first days.

'We can say there is a little less uncertainty, so there is a little more optimism. ... (but) it is premature for the time being to say what happened.'

He said the debris came from 'all zones' of the plane, but did not describe them in detail or say what proportion of the entire Airbus A330 has been retrieved.

He spoke as it was revealed an Air France jet bound for Paris was sabotaged in Germany just three days after the Flight 447's crash.

Technicians inspecting the plane discovered wires to a smoke detector in the luggage hold had been severed with a cutter in what Air France has described as a 'malicious act'.

Crash investigators have not ruled out an act of terrorism or similar acts, but are focusing on the flurry of automatic messages sent out before the plane was lost from radar during thunderstorms.
Enlarge Debris from the Air France plane: 400 pieces have now been recovered but investigators have not established a cause for the crash

Last night a source for Brazilian medical examiners said that fractures indicating a mid-air break up were found during autopsies on an undisclosed number of the bodies recovered so far.

A Brazilian newspaper reported yesterday that some victims were found with little or no clothing, and had no signs of burns.

Former accident investigator, Jack Casey, an aviation safety consultant in Washington, D.C. said: 'In an in-air break up like we are supposing here, the clothes are just torn away.'

He said multiple fractures are consistent with a midair breakup of the plane, which was cruising at about 34,500 feet when it went down on May 31.

'Getting ejected into that kind of windstream is like hitting a brick wall - even if they stay in their seats, it is a crushing effect,' he said. 'Most of them were long dead before they hit the water would be my guess.'

Frank Ciacco, a former forensic expert at the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said that when a jet crashes into water mostly intact - such as the Egypt Air plane that hit the ocean after taking off from New York in 1999 - debris and bodies are generally broken into small pieces.
Enlarge Salvage operation: Military officers stand guard as workers unload debris at the port of Recife, in Brazil

Investigators from Brazil, France, the United States and other countries are still scanning the surface and depths of the Atlantic for the plane's flight data and voice recorders, thought to be deep under water.

French-chartered ships are trolling a search area with a radius of 50 miles and pulling U.S. Navy underwater listening devices. The black boxes send out an electronic tapping sound that can be heard up to 1.25 miles away, but these beacons will begin to fade within two weeks.

The French are leading the crash investigation, while the Brazilians are leading the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the aborted take off in Dusseldorf is continuing by Air France.

The pilot abandoned take-off from the German airport after finding a fault with a smoke detector. When technicians inspected the plane, they discovered wires to the device in the luggage hold had been severed with a cutter in what Air France has described as a 'malicious act'.

The Airbus A318 jet was later cleared for take-off because the fault was not enough to ground the plane.

The airline said yesterday it had referred the 'suspected sabotage' to France's air transport police for investigation.
By Mail Foreign Service

Officials: US tracking suspicious ship from NKorea

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military is tracking a ship from North Korea that may be carrying illicit weapons, the first vessel monitored under tougher new United Nations rules meant to rein in and punish the communist government following a nuclear test, officials said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he has ordered additional protections for Hawaii just in case North Korea launches a long-range missile over the Pacific Ocean.

The suspect ship could become a test case for interception of the North's ships at sea, something the North has said it would consider an act of war.

Officials said the U.S. is monitoring the voyage of the North Korean-flagged Kang Nam, which left port in North Korea on Wednesday. On Thursday, it was traveling in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of China, two officials said on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

What the Kang Nam was carrying was not known, but the ship has been involved in weapons proliferation, one of the officials said.

The ship is among a group that is watched regularly but is the only one believed to have cargo that could potentially violate the U.N. resolution, the official said.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen did not specifically confirm that the U.S. was monitoring the ship when he was asked about it at a Pentagon news conference Thursday.

"We intend to vigorously enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 to include options, to include, certainly, hail and query," Mullen said. "If a vessel like this is queried and doesn't allow a permissive search," he noted, it can be directed into port.

The Security Council resolution calls on all 192 U.N. member states to inspect vessels on the high seas "if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo" contains banned weapons or material to make them, and if approval is given by the country whose flag the ship sails under.

If the country refuses to give approval, it must direct the vessel "to an appropriate and convenient port for the required inspection by the local authorities."

The resolution does not authorize the use of force. But if a country refuses to order a vessel to a port for inspection, it would be in violation of the resolution and the country licensing the vessel would face possible sanctions by the Security Council.

Gates, speaking at the same news conference, said the Pentagon is concerned about the possibility of a North Korean missile launch "in the direction of Hawaii."

Gates told reporters at the Pentagon he has sent the military's ground-based mobile missile system to Hawaii, and positioned a radar system nearby. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their last stage of flight.

"We are in a good position, should it become necessary, to protect Americans and American territory," Gates said.

A Japanese newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea might fire its most advanced ballistic missile toward Hawaii around the Fourth of July holiday.

A new missile launch — though not expected to reach U.S. territory — would be a brazen slap in the face of the international community, which punished North Korea with new U.N. sanctions for conducting a second nuclear test on May 25 in defiance of a U.N. ban.

North Korea spurned the U.N. Security Council resolution with threats of war and pledges to expand its nuclear bomb-making program.

The missile now being readied in the North is believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles and would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, the Yomiuri newspaper said. It cited an analysis by Japan's Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.

By ANNE GEARAN and PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writers

Japan warns that North Korea may fire missile at U.S. on Independence Day

By Mail Foreign Service

North Korea may launch a long-range ballistic missile towards Hawaii on American Independence Day, according to Japanese intelligence officials.

The missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles, would be launched in early July from the Dongchang-ni site on the north-western coast of the secretive country.

Intelligence analysts do not believe the device would be capable of hitting Hawaii's main islands, which are 4,500 miles from North Korea.

Details of the launch came from the Japan's best-selling newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun.

Both Japanese intelligence and U.S. reconnaissance satellites have collated information pointing to the launch, according to the report.
North Korea issued this image of a Taepodong-2 missile: It has a range of 4,000 miles

It is understood the communist state is likely to fire the missile between July 4 and 8. A launch on July 4 would coincide with Independence Day in the States.It would also be the 15th anniversary of North Korean president Kim Il-Sung's death.

The Japanese newspaper also noted that North Korea had fired its first Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 2006.

Officials had initially believed that North Korea might attempt to launch a similar device towards either Japan's Okinawa island, Guam or Hawaii.

But the ministry concluded launches toward Okinawa or Guam were 'extremely unlikely' because the first-stage booster could drop into waters off China, agitating Beijing, or hit western Japanese territory.

If the missile were fired in the direction of Hawaii, the booster could drop in the Sea of Japan.

News of the launch would put 'enormous military pressure on the United States,' the Yomiuri said, citing the ministry report.

A missile fired from North Korea would have to travel 4,500 miles before it reached the U.S. state of Hawaii

A spokesman for the Japanese Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report.

South Korea's Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service - the country's main spy agency - said they could not confirm it.

Tension on the divided Korean peninsula has risen markedly since the North, led by Kim Jong-il, conducted two nuclear tests this year in defiance of repeated international warnings

The first rocket, fired in April, was widely seen as a disguised long-range missile test. A second launch came on May 25.

U.S. satellite intelligence has shown that a missile launch pad had been erected at Dongchang-ri on North Korea's north-west coast.

General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the U.S. west coast.

The UN Security Council last week authorized member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, requiring them to seize and destroy goods shipped that violate the sanctions against arms export.

On Saturday, in response to this declaration Pyongyang said it would bolster its nuclear programs and threatened war.

Growing tensions come as arms-watchdog the International Crisis Group (ICG) claimed North Korea has several thousand tonnes of chemical weapons it could mount on missiles.

The report from the non-government organization said they believed the North's army have about 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes of chemical weapons which include mustard gas, sarin and other deadly nerve agents.

ICG also also warned South Korea may become a target.

'If there is an escalation of conflict and if military hostilities break out, there is a risk that they could be used. In conventional terms, North Korea is weak and they feel they might have to resort to using those,' said Daniel Pinkston, the ICG's representative in Seoul.

The North has been working on chemical weapons for decades and can deliver them through long-range artillery directed on Seoul which is home to about half of South Korea's 49 million people and via missiles that could hit all of the country.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bush takes swipes at Obama policies!

ERIE, Pa.| Former President George W. Bush fired a salvo at President Obama on Wednesday, asserting his administration's interrogation policies were within the law, declaring the private sector not government will fix the economy and rejecting the nationalization of health care.

"I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in," the former president said to applause from members of a local business group. "You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money."

Repeatedly in his hourlong speech and question-and-answer session, Mr. Bush said he would not directly criticize the new president, who has moved to take over financial institutions and several large corporations. Several times, however, he took direct aim at Obama policies as he defended his own during eight years in office.

"Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States," he said to huge cheers.

Mr. Bush weighed in on some of the most pressing issues of the day: the election in Iran, the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, and his administration's interrogation policies of terrorists held there and elsewhere. The former president has not commented on Mr. Obama's decision to ban "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding, which the current president has called "off course" and "based on fear."

"The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again," he said, adding that the country needs to stay on offense, not defense. On Guantanamo, which while in office Mr. Bush said he wanted to close, the former president was diplomatic.

"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."

The Obama administration has started to clear out some of the more than 200 detainees at the facility.

Repeating a mantra from his presidency, he called the current war against terrorism an "ideological conflict," asserting that in the long term, the United States needs to press freedom and democracy in corners across the world.

Mr. Bush did not directly address Mr. Obama's response to the election in Iran, which some critics have called tepid, but he did make clear that the outcome is very much in dispute. For a fifth straight day, as the Obama administration walks a tightrope by issuing little criticism, protesters gathered in Tehran to demand a new election.

The Washington Times

New iPhone 3G S - first review


On the outside, it looks no different to the last model but under the bonnet the US tech giant has focused firmly on the engine.

It has been tuned to run twice as fast as before, the S does stand for SPEED after all.

And after a few days playing with it, I'm certain it's going to win over a whole new set of fans.

Even I'm convinced, and I'm permanently attached to my BlackBerry.

The speed does help, applications open faster, web-browsing is less clunky, games seem quicker and the gizmo effortlessly copes with a few tasks at once.

I was able to have several web pages open at that same time in its Safari browser and simply flick between them in an instant as if I was at my PC.

Speed isn't everything though and the 3G S does have new tricks up its sleeve.

The camera has been upgraded to three megapixels in quality, but still lags far behind most of its rivals which have five or eight. Samsung is even bringing one out that has 12MP.

There's still no flash which means the camera won't work too well in lowlight conditions.

But it's saved by amazing new autofocus technology. As you go to shoot, a square appears. Tap it to make certain faces or objects appear clearer than the rest of the frame.

You can really produce some stunning shots, especially close-up.

The biggest change is video recording on-board for the first time, turning anyone into a would-be Steven Spielberg.

It's far from cinema or broadcast quality but is brilliant for posting on social networks like Facebook - and most importantly makes life so much fun when you can instantly capture the moving world around you.

It will change the whole nature of making home movies, especially as these can be sent to YouTube at the touch of a button.

Soon we'll be recording everything that happens in our lives rather than just taking a still image to keep that memory alive.

When you have the 3G S in your pocket you are constantly looking for a reason to shout Lights, Camera, ACTION.

There's a nifty editing function that works using the touchscreen, so you can trim those epics first and not bore your mates.

And the display is now oleophobic, which means it doesn't like the oil on your hands and so won't smudge with fingerprints as much.

I'm confused by the new compass, although it is handy I guess if you're lost in the fields at Glastonbury.

But it does also means Google Maps will point you in the right direction so you know which way to face when finding your way on foot.

New to this handset is voice control to dial numbers and ring those in your address book.

It works perfectly, which is great for driving, but make sure you say zero though not 0, otherwise nothing will happen.

Your tones can even change tracks and suggest better music to listen to. Tell it to play The Killers and it will, assuming you have it in your iTunes library.

Want more songs like your Amy Winehouse collection, it'll load up the closest you have, like Joss Stone for example.

It wasn't that easy though with my mumbling voice, so be sure to speak loud and clear.

Since the 3G S was unveiled in San Francisco last week, some have moaned about the cost of upgrading.

It's sold through Carphone Warehouse and direct from O2, the only mobile phone network it will work on.

A new 16GB model costs up to £184.98 while the new 32GB memory size is up to £274.23 on a contract that will set you back from £30 a month.

But many of the superb 3G S features are actually in its new 3.0 operating system, the software brain behind it all.

So if you can manage without video and voice, the FREE 3.0 download for all previous iPhone owners is all you need.

It brings 100 fresh additions to the handset and effectively gives you a new exciting mobile to mess around with.

Many right the wrongs iPhone fans have complained about since it launched.

You can finally send MMS picture messages to your mates and you'll be able to cut, copy and paste text in emails with a clever double tap on the screen.

There's also a landscape keyboard for those with more stubby fingers, voice memo recording that you can email to yourself and the ability to quickly search through all the files and applications on the whole device.

Through iTunes you can instantly download movies to watch now as well as music, parents can set controls blocking certain websites and it's a phone that can't even be lost!

I loved this! You can look up its location on Google Maps and even make it beep to find it under the sofa.

If nowhere to be found, send it a message direct to the screen to alert someone or if stolen, remotely wipe all the information.

Allowing customers to take advantage of the new features by upgrading only their software and not their expensive hardware is the way forward meaning less waste on the techno scrapheap.

iPod touch owners can pay £5.99 to get 3.0 on their music player.

And of course, there's still the fabulous App Store where some weird and wonderful bits of software we never knew we needed are sold - it's had more than ONE BILLION downloads so far.

Andrew Harrison, of Carphone Warehouse, told us: "The pre-orders for the iPhone 3G S have outnumbered any other handset we've ever sold and over the next 24 hours we're expecting a final surge pushing the total number of orders even further into the thousands."

In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and changed the way we would communicate forever.

Fast forward 133 years and Apple has yet again reinvented the way we will share what happens in our daily lives.

By JONATHAN WEINBERG of The Sun

NKorea may fire missile toward Hawaii!

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea may launch a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese news report said Thursday, as Russia and China urged the regime to return to international disarmament talks on its rogue nuclear program.

The missile, believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2, would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. It cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.

The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said.

While the newspaper speculated the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, it said the missile would not be able to hit Hawaii's main islands, which are about 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) from the Korean peninsula.

A spokesman for the Japanese Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report. South Korea's Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service—the country's main spy agency—said they could not confirm it.

Tension on the divided Korean peninsula has spiked since the North conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 in defiance of repeated international warnings. The regime declared Saturday it would bolster its nuclear programs and threatened war in protest of U.N. sanctions taken for the nuclear test.

U.S. officials have said the North has been preparing to fire a long-range missile capable of striking the western U.S. In Washington on Tuesday, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the U.S. west coast.

President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met in Washington on Tuesday for a landmark summit in which they agreed to build a regional and global "strategic alliance" to persuade North Korea to dismantle all its nuclear weapons. Obama declared North Korea a "grave threat" to the world and pledged that the new U.N. sanctions on the communist regime will be aggressively enforced.

The independent International Crisis Group think tank, meanwhile, said the North's massive stockpile of chemical weapons is no less serious a threat to the region than its nuclear arsenal.

It said the North is believed to have between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas, phosgene, blood agents and sarin. These weapons can be delivered with ballistic missiles and long-range artillery and are "sufficient to inflict massive civilian casualties on South Korea."

"If progress is made on rolling back Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, there could be opportunities to construct a cooperative diplomatic solution for chemical weapons and the suspected biological weapons program," the think tank said in a report released Wednesday night.

It also called on the U.S. to engage the North in dialogue to defuse the nuclear crisis, saying "diplomacy is the least bad option." It said sanctions won't resolve the problem on their own, and military force is not an option.

In a rare move, leaders of Russia and China used their meetings in Moscow on Wednesday to pressure the North to return to the nuclear talks and expressed "serious concerns" about tension on the Korean peninsula.

The joint appeal appeared to be a signal that Moscow and Beijing are growing impatient with Pyongyang's stubbornness. Northeastern China and Russia's Far East both border North Korea, and Pyongyang's unpredictable actions have raised concern in both countries.

After meetings at the Kremlin, Chinese President Hu Jintao joined Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in urging a peaceful resolution of the Korean standoff and the "swiftest renewal" of the now-frozen talks involving their countries as well as North and South Korea, Japan and the United States.

"Russia and China are ready to foster the lowering of tension in Northeast Asia and call for the continuation of efforts by all sides to resolve disagreements through peaceful means, through dialogue and consultations," their statement said.

The comments—contained in a lengthy statement that discussed other global issues—included no new initiatives, but it appeared to be carefully worded to avoid provoking Pyongyang. In remarks after their meetings, Medvedev made only a brief reference to North Korea, and Hu did not mention it.

Jun 18 01:15 AM US/Eastern
By HYUNG-JIN KIM
Associated Press Writer

Back again!

Well I haven't updated this page in awhile. I've been busy with my son who is almost 9 months old. So what does everyone think happened with David Carradine here in Bangkok?