FBI joins criminal probe into Boeing 737 safety certification

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

FBI joins criminal probe into Boeing 737 Max 8 safety certification in wake of crashes

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The FBI has joined the widening criminal probe into how Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets were deemed as safe in the months before two of them crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, leading to a worldwide grounding of the vaunted planes amid scrutiny of U.S. certification standards.

A person familiar with the inquiry told USA TODAY on Wednesday that the FBI is assisting federal transportation authorities in their investigation into the jet’s certification process, which has come under criticism for possible cozy relationships between Boeing and FAA inspectors.

The two crashes killed more than 300 people since October. Transportation Department officials are leading the investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration approval of the passenger jet, while the FBI is providing needed resources, said the person, who is not authorized to comment publicly.

The FBI’s role in the inquiry was first reported by the Seattle Times.

It’s the latest revelation in the Boeing case, with a federal grand jury also looking into safety approvals for the planes and a key congressional panel scheduled next Wednesday to delve into the Max 8 and aviation safety in general.

“In light of the recent tragedy in Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, this hearing will examine challenges to the state of commercial aviation safety, including any specific concerns highlighted by recent accidents,” according to a statement from the committee, to be chaired by Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. “The committee will hear from a panel of government witnesses on ways to improve the safety of the commercial air transportation system”

News of the FBI’s involvement also comes after Wednesday’s  decision by Europe and Canada to break with U.S. air-safety regulators. The Europeans and Canadians vow to conduct their own reviews of Boeing’s changes to a key flight-control system, not to simply take the Federal Aviation Administration’s word that the alterations are safe.

Those reviews scramble an ambitious schedule set by Boeing and could undercut the FAA’s reputation around the world. It could also mean a likely delay in the resumption of Max 8 flights around the globe. Hundreds of Max 8s are ground and production of more than 4,000 others have been halted amid safety concerns.

Boeing hopes by Monday to finish its update to critical software that can automatically point the nose of the plane sharply downward in some circumstances to avoid an aerodynamic stall, according to two people briefed on FAA presentations to congressional committees.

The FAA expects to certify Boeing’s modifications and plans for pilot training in April or May, one of the people told the Associated Press. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the briefings.

But there are doubts about meeting that timetable. Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1 and suspend some routes that it flew with the plane before it was grounded around the world last week.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, which are slightly less dependent on the Max than Air Canada, are juggling their fleets to fill in for grounded planes, but have still canceled some flights.

By international agreement, planes must be certified in the country where they are built. Regulators around the world have almost always accepted that country’s decision.

As a result, European airlines have flown Boeing jets with little independent review by the European Aviation Safety Agency, and U.S. airlines operate Airbus jets without a separate, lengthy certification process by the FAA.

That practice is being frayed, however, in the face of growing questions about the FAA’s certification of the Max. Critics question whether the FAA relied too much on Boeing to vouch for critical safety matters and whether it understood the significance of a new automated flight-control system on the Max.

CONTRIBUTING: Ledyard King, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why Erratic motion of north magnetic pole

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENCE)

 

NEWS

Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why

Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation.

Update, 9 January: The release of the World Magnetic Model has been postponed to 30 January due to the ongoing US government shutdown.

Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

On 15 January, they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet’s magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.

The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.

The problem lies partly with the moving pole and partly with other shifts deep within the planet. Liquid churning in Earth’s core generates most of the magnetic field, which varies over time as the deep flows change. In 2016, for instance, part of the magnetic field temporarily accelerated deep under northern South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Satellites such as the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission tracked the shift.

By early 2018, the World Magnetic Model was in trouble. Researchers from NOAA and the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh had been doing their annual check of how well the model was capturing all the variations in Earth’s magnetic field. They realized that it was so inaccurate that it was about to exceed the acceptable limit for navigational errors.

Wandering pole

“That was an interesting situation we found ourselves in,” says Chulliat. “What’s happening?” The answer is twofold, he reported last month at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington DC.

First, that 2016 geomagnetic pulse beneath South America came at the worst possible time, just after the 2015 update to the World Magnetic Model. This meant that the magnetic field had lurched just after the latest update, in ways that planners had not anticipated.

Source: World Data Center for Geomagnetism/Kyoto Univ.

Second, the motion of the north magnetic pole made the problem worse. The pole wanders in unpredictable ways that have fascinated explorers and scientists since James Clark Ross first measured it in 1831 in the Canadian Arctic. In the mid-1990s it picked up speed, from around 15 kilometres per year to around 55 kilometres per year. By 2001, it had entered the Arctic Ocean — where, in 2007, a team including Chulliat landed an aeroplane on the sea ice in an attempt to locate the pole.

In 2018, the pole crossed the International Date Line into the Eastern Hemisphere. It is currently making a beeline for Siberia.

The geometry of Earth’s magnetic field magnifies the model’s errors in places where the field is changing quickly, such as the North Pole. “The fact that the pole is going fast makes this region more prone to large errors,” says Chulliat.

To fix the World Magnetic Model, he and his colleagues fed it three years of recent data, which included the 2016 geomagnetic pulse. The new version should remain accurate, he says, until the next regularly scheduled update in 2020.

Core questions

In the meantime, scientists are working to understand why the magnetic field is changing so dramatically. Geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, might be traced back to ‘hydromagnetic’ waves arising from deep in the core1. And the fast motion of the north magnetic pole could be linked to a high-speed jet of liquid iron beneath Canada2.

The jet seems to be smearing out and weakening the magnetic field beneath Canada, Phil Livermore, a geomagnetist at the University of Leeds, UK, said at the American Geophysical Union meeting. And that means that Canada is essentially losing a magnetic tug-of-war with Siberia.

“The location of the north magnetic pole appears to be governed by two large-scale patches of magnetic field, one beneath Canada and one beneath Siberia,” Livermore says. “The Siberian patch is winning the competition.”

Which means that the world’s geomagnetists will have a lot to keep them busy for the foreseeable future.

Nature 565, 143-144 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-00007-1

Brazil: Plane Carrying 7 Indigenous People Disappear In Amazon

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

A plane carrying seven indigenous people disappeared in the Amazon rainforest, but few in Brazil are talking about it

Area where the plane disappeared in Amapá, northern Brazil | Image: Reproduction/Google Maps

On December 2nd, a small plane took off around Matawaré village, deep in the Amazon rainforest, in the northern state of Amapá. On board was an indigenous woman of the Akuriyó group, her son-in-law, and a family of the Tiriyó group – a teacher, his wife, and three small children. The pilot was Jeziel Barbosa de Moura, 61, who is experienced in the region.

The region’s indigenous people frequently fly from the most remote villages to the town of Laranjal do Jari, located 265 km away from the state capital, Macapá (the journey by car from one to the other takes around four hours). A one-hour chartered flight costs around 3000 Brazilian reais (around 770 USD).

Twenty-five minutes after takeoff, Jeziel sent a radio message saying that he needed to make an emergency landing. Radar contact with the plane was lost after that. According to information from the news outlet G1, he was flying clandestinely without having previously disclosed a flight plan.

Fifteen days after the plane went missing, the Brazilian Air Force announced they were suspending searches for survivors. The mission amounted to 128 hours of flight in total. Two planes and a helicopter searched an area of 12,000 km2, roughly equivalent to 12,000 football pitches. However, the thick forest made the work difficult.

According to state news agency Agência Brasil, friends of the pilot and indigenous people from four groups – Apalai, Akuriyó, Tiriyó and Waiana – continued the search on their own, on the ground, until a month after the disappeareance, in January 2. The Association of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Amapá State and Northern Pará published a message condemning the Air Force’s decision to suspend the search.

The group recalled that the improvement of landing strips for indigenous communities is a longstanding issue. This negligence could have hindered rescue searches. G1 reports that there are 49 landing strips yet to be brought up to official standards in indigenous territories across Brazil, according to the Federal Prosecution’s Office. In Amapá state alone, “there are 17 irregular strips, which are used for the transport of health and education professionals, and indigenous people themselves”.

This case, although noted by some national websites and newspapers, has not made to the main headlines in Brazil. Eight people disappeared in the world’s largest rainforest and most of the country has not even heard about it.

The families

G1, a large mainstream online news site in Brazil that has been following the case, talked to relatives of passengers and the pilot. All of them said they were in “despair” and that they were waiting for help from the Army to search for the disappeared in the thick forest. The fear is heightened because it is a race against time.

The pilot’s daughter, Flávia Moura, said:

My father knows the region, he has been flying for a long time, so we know that he tried to land somewhere, but that in the forest it is difficult to find. We know the difficulty of air rescue, but we want to find him, and so we gathered some miners and indigenous friends of my father, who are in the forest. But we want help from the Army which is prepared for this.

Sataraki Akuriyó, son of the oldest passenger on board told the website:

My mother I won’t see again, and so I wanted to find at least the plane or her body. Since they fell I have been suffering a lot.

Silence

On the same day the Air Forced announced the end of the searches, then president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1st, declared his intention to revise the demarcation of the indigenous reserve Raposa Terra do Sol, so that it can be exploited it in a “rational way”.

Within the reserve’s 1.7 million hectares, there are around 17,000 indigenous people from five groups – Macuxi, Wapixana, Ingarikó, Taurepang and Patamona. In an article, lawyer Lucio Augusto Villela da Costa recalled that the area is “known for being rich in minerals such as tin, diamonds, gold, niobium, zinc, caulim, amethyst, copper, diatomite, barytes, molybdenum, titanium, limestone, as well as having the second largest reserve of uranium on the planet.”

The idea of exploiting the lands, according to specialists, is “unconstitutional” under Brazilian law. His plan would go against the article of Brazil’s 1988 Constitution which provides the right for indigenous people to “maintain lands, way of life, and traditions”.

The website De Olho nos Ruralistas (“eye on the ruralists”, in English) which reports on conflicts over land and politics in Brazil, interviewed the anthropologist Denise Fajardo, researcher at the Institute for Research and Training in Indigenous Education, about the case of the disappeared plane. For her, the current political approach and the way that the case has been reported are not isolated:

The matter is not being discussed because the lives of indigenous people is not important at the moment, we are living through an anti-indigenous time and they are considered to be an obstacle to the country’s development. We can draw parallels even with the children lost in a cave in Thailand, which has had more attention from the press.

She added that indigenous people from the region often leave their villages to deal with personal matters and that there they feel isolated.

The Tumucumaque National Park is a small area which belongs to them and was where the state put them, or rather where the state isolated them. The region is difficult to access and no means of transport are provided to this population, who stay confined there to the village.

The village Mataware, where the disappeared plane left from, is only accessible bycanoe or plane. In the night of 17 December, another plane carrying indigenous passengers had an accident in the Amazon. This time, near the border with Peru. The three passengers were rescued alive by the Air Force.

Wilfred DeFour, 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, dies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Wilfred DeFour, 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, dies

Tuskegee Airman Wilfred DeFour with Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel, in New York in 2012.

(CNN) Wilfred DeFour, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, was found dead Saturday in New York. He was 100.

New York police said officers responded to a 911 call to a residence in Harlem and found a man identified as DeFour unconscious and unresponsive. There were no obvious signs of trauma, police said, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
DeFour attended a ceremony last month for the renaming of a Harlem post office in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, CNN affiliate WABC reported.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the US service corps. They trained at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Macon County, Alabama.
“I regret so many of my comrades are no longer here with us,” DeFour said, according to WABC. “It will mean there’s recognition for Tuskegee Airmen and that’s very important.”
The group was generally said to include pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff who went through a US Army Air Corps training program to bring African-Americans into the war effort, according to Tuskegee Airmen Inc., a group devoted to the history of the airmen.
DeFour was an aircraft technician during World War II, WABC said. After the war, he worked for the US Postal Service for 33 years.

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas): Truth, Knowledge And The Known History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Introduction Although first sighted by an English navigator in 1592, the first landing (English) did not occur until almost a century later in 1690, and the first settlement (French) was not established until 1764. The colony was turned over to Spain two years later and the islands have since been the subject of a territorial dispute, first between Britain and Spain, then between Britain and Argentina. The UK asserted its claim to the islands by establishing a naval garrison there in 1833. Argentina invaded the islands on 2 April 1982. The British responded with an expeditionary force that landed seven weeks later and after fierce fighting forced an Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982.
History The islands are referred to in the English language as “[The] Falkland Islands”. This name dates from an expedition led by John Strong in 1690, who named the islands after his patron, Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland. The Spanish name for the islands, “Islas Malvinas”, is derived from the French name “Îles Malouines”, bestowed in 1764 by Louis Antoine de Bougainville, after the mariners and fishermen from the Breton port of Saint-Malo who became the island’s first known settlers. The ISO designation is “Falkland Islands (Malvinas)”.

As a result of the continuing sovereignty dispute, the use of many Spanish names is considered offensive in the Falkland Islands, particularly those associated with the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands.[7] General Sir Jeremy Moore would not allow the use of Islas Malvinas in the surrender document, dismissing it as a propaganda term.

Geography Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina
Geographic coordinates: 51 45 S, 59 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 12,173 sq km
land: 12,173 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of East and West Falkland and about 200 small islands
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,288 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: cold marine; strong westerly winds, cloudy, humid; rain occurs on more than half of days in year; average annual rainfall is 24 inches in Stanley; occasional snow all year, except in January and February, but does not accumulate
Terrain: rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m
Natural resources: fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: strong winds persist throughout the year
Environment – current issues: overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; reindeer were introduced to the islands in 2001 for commercial reasons; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster
Geography – note: deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season
People Population: 3,105 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate: 2.44% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: NA
Death rate: NA
Net migration rate: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Falkland Islander(s)
adjective: Falkland Island
Ethnic groups: British
Religions: primarily Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, Evangelist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist
Languages: English

Lion Air crash: Body of Indian pilot identified

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

 

Lion Air crash: Body of Indian pilot identified

Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja’s body was cremated in Indonesia on Friday.

INDIA Updated: Nov 25, 2018 08:28 IST

Lion Air crash,Lion Air,Indonesia Plane crash
Lion Air investigators examine part of the landing gear of the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 at the port in northern Jakarta on November 5.(AFP Photo)

Indonesian authorities have identified the body of Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja who captained the ill-fated plane that crashed into the sea on October 29. He was cremated on Friday.

“Indonesian authorities have confirmed identification of body of Capt.Bhavya Suneja. The remains will be handed over to the family in presence of @IndianEmbJkt today. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” tweeted external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

His body was cremated in Indonesia on Friday. “His parents, wife and in-laws are there. The body was handed over to the family Friday and cremated the same day,” said Rohit Dhingra, cousin of Bhavya’s wife.

The Lion Air flight, with 188 fliers and crew on board, crashed into the sea off Java, minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

First Published: Nov 25, 2018 00:08 IST

French Southern and Antarctic Lands: The Truth, Knowledge And History Of Them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Introduction In February 2007, the Iles Eparses became an integral part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). The Southern Lands are now divided into five administrative districts, two of which are archipelagos, Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen; the third is a district composed of two volcanic islands, Ile Saint-Paul and Ile Amsterdam; the fourth, Iles Eparses, consists of five scattered tropical islands around Madagascar. They contain no permanent inhabitants and are visited only by researchers studying the native fauna, scientists at the various scientific stations, fishermen, and military personnel. The fifth district is the Antarctic portion, which consists of “Adelie Land,” a thin slice of the Antarctic continent discovered and claimed by the French in 1840.
Ile Amsterdam: Discovered but not named in 1522 by the Spanish, the island subsequently received the appellation of Nieuw Amsterdam from a Dutchman; it was claimed by France in 1843. A short-lived attempt at cattle farming began in 1871. A French meteorological station established on the island in 1949 is still in use.
Ile Saint Paul: Claimed by France since 1893, the island was a fishing industry center from 1843 to 1914. In 1928, a spiny lobster cannery was established, but when the company went bankrupt in 1931, seven workers were abandoned. Only two survived till 1934 when rescue finally arrived.
Iles Crozet: A large archipelago formed from the Crozet Plateau, Iles Crozet is divided into two main groups: L’Occidental (the West), which includes Ile aux Cochons, Ilots des Apotres, Ile des Pingouins, and the reefs Brisants de l’Heroine; and L’Oriental (the east), which includes Ile d’Est and Ile de la Possession (the largest island of the Crozets). Discovered and claimed by France in 1772, the islands were used for seal hunting and as a base for whaling. Originally administered as a dependency of Madagascar, they became part of the TAAF in 1955.
Iles Kerguelen: This island group, discovered in 1772, is made up of one large island (Ile Kerguelen) and about 300 smaller islands. A permanent group of 50 to 100 scientists resides at the main base at Port-aux-Francais.
Adelie Land: The only non-insular district of the TAAF is the Antarctic claim known as “Adelie Land.” The US Government does not recognize it as a French dependency.
Bassas da India: A French possession since 1897, this atoll is a volcanic rock surrounded by reefs and is awash at high tide.
Europa Island: This heavily wooded island has been a French possession since 1897; it is the site of a small military garrison that staffs a weather station.
Glorioso Islands: A French possession since 1892, the Glorioso Islands are composed of two lushly vegetated coral islands (Ile Glorieuse and Ile du Lys) and three rock islets. A military garrison operates a weather and radio station on Ile Glorieuse.
Juan de Nova Island: Named after a famous 15th century Spanish navigator and explorer, the island has been a French possession since 1897. It has been exploited for its guano and phosphate. Presently a small military garrison oversees a meteorological station.
Tromelin Island: First explored by the French in 1776, the island came under the jurisdiction of Reunion in 1814. At present, it serves as a sea turtle sanctuary and is the site of an important meteorological station.
History The French Southern and Antarctic Lands have formed a territoire d’outre-mer (an overseas territory) of France since 1955. Formerly, they were administered from Paris by an administrateur supérieur assisted by a secretary-general; since December 2004, however, their administrator has been a préfet, currently Éric Pilloton, with headquarters in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.
Geography Location: southeast and east of Africa, islands in the southern Indian Ocean, some near Madagascar and others about equidistant between Africa, Antarctica, and Australia; note – French Southern and Antarctic Lands include Ile Amsterdam, Ile Saint-Paul, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen, and Iles Eparses in the southern Indian Ocean, along with the French-claimed sector of Antarctica, “Adelie Land”; the US does not recognize the French claim to “Adelie Land”
Geographic coordinates: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): 37 50 S, 77 32 E
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): 38 72 S, 77 53 E
Iles Crozet: 46 25 S, 51 00 E
Iles Kerguelen: 49 15 S, 69 35 E
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): 21 30 S, 39 50 E
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): 22 20 S, 40 22 E
Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses): 11 30 S, 47 20 E
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): 17 03 S, 42 45 E
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): 15 52 S, 54 25 E
Map references: Antarctic Region, Africa
Area: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): total – 55 sq km; land – 55 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): total – 7 sq km; land – 7 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Iles Crozet: total – 352 sq km; land – 352 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Iles Kerguelen: total – 7,215 sq km; land – 7,215 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): total – 80 sq km; land – 0.2 sq km; water – 79.8 sq km (lagoon)
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): total – 28 sq km; land – 28 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Gloriosos Islands (Iles Eparses): total – 5 sq km; land – 5 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): total – 4.4 sq km; land – 4.4 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): total – 1 sq km; land – 1 sq km; water – 0 sq km
note: excludes “Adelie Land” claim of about 500,000 sq km in Antarctica that is not recognized by the US
Area – comparative: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): less than one-half the size of Washington, DC
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): more than 10 times the size of the Mall in Washington, DC
Iles Crozet: about twice the size of Washington, DC
Iles Kerguelen: a little larger than Delaware
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): land area about one-third the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): about one-sixth the size of Washington, DC
Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses): about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): about seven times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): about 1.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): 28 km
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul):
Iles Kerguelen: 2,800 km
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): 35.2 km
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): 22.2 km
Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses): 35.2 km
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): 24.1 km
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): 3.7 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm from Iles Kerguelen and Iles Eparses (does not include the rest of French Southern and Antarctic Lands); Juan de Nova Island and Tromelin Island claim a continental shelf of 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul: oceanic with persistent westerly winds and high humidity
Iles Crozet: windy, cold, wet, and cloudy
Iles Kerguelen: oceanic, cold, overcast, windy
Iles Eparses: tropical
Terrain: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): a volcanic island with steep coastal cliffs; the center floor of the volcano is a large plateau
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): triangular in shape, the island is the top of a volcano, rocky with steep cliffs on the eastern side; has active thermal springs
Iles Crozet: a large archipelago formed from the Crozet Plateau is divided into two groups of islands
Iles Kerguelen: the interior of the large island of Ile Kerguelen is composed of rugged terrain of high mountains, hills, valleys, and plains with a number of peninsulas stretching off its coasts
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): atoll, awash at high tide; shallow (15 m) lagoon
Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island: low, flat, and sandy
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): low, flat, sandy; likely volcanic seamount
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont de la Dives on Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) 867 m; unnamed location on Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) 272 m; Pic Marion-Dufresne in Iles Crozet 1,090 m; Mont Ross in Iles Kerguelen 1,850 m; unnamed location on Bassas de India (Iles Eparses) 2.4 m; unnamed location on Europa Island (Iles Eparses) 24 m; unnamed location on Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses) 12 m; unnamed location on Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses) 10 m; unnamed location on Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) 7 m
Natural resources: fish, crayfish
note: Glorioso Islands and Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) have guano, phosphates, and coconuts
Land use: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) – 100% trees, grasses, ferns, and moss; Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) – 100% grass, ferns, and moss; Iles Crozet – 100% tossock grass, heath, and fern; Iles Kerguelen – 100% tossock grass and Kerguelen cabbage; Bassas da India (Iles Eparses) – 100% rock, coral reef, and sand; Europa Island (Iles Eparses) – 100% mangrove swamp and dry woodlands; Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses) – 100% lush vegetation and coconut palms; Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses) – 90% forest, 10% other; Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) – 100% grasses and scattered brush (2005)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km
Natural hazards: Ile Amsterdam and Ile Saint-Paul are inactive volcanoes; Iles Eparses subject to periodic cyclones; Bassas da India is a maritime hazard since it is under water for a period of three hours prior to and following the high tide and surrounded by reefs
Environment – current issues: introduction of foreign species on Iles Crozet has caused severe damage to the original ecosystem; overfishing of Patagonian Toothfish around Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen
Geography – note: islands component is widely scattered across remote locations in the southern Indian Ocean
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): the atoll is a circular reef that sits atop a long-extinct, submerged volcano
Europa Island and Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): wildlife sanctuary for seabirds and sea turtles
Glorioso Island (Iles Eparses): the islands and rocks are surrounded by an extensive reef system
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): climatologically important location for forecasting cyclones in the western Indian Ocean; wildlife sanctuary (seabirds, tortoises)
Miscellany The French Southern Territories (i.e. excluding Adélie Land) is given the following country codes: FS (FIPS) and TF (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2).
People Population: no indigenous inhabitants
Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): has no permanent residents but has a meteorological station
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): is uninhabited but is frequently visited by fishermen and has a scientific research cabin for short stays
Iles Crozet: are uninhabited except for 18 to 30 people staffing the Alfred Faure research station on Ile del la Possession
Iles Kerguelen: 50 to 100 scientists are located at the main base at Port-aux-Francais on Ile Kerguelen
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): uninhabitable
Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): a small French military garrison and a few meteorologists on each possession; visited by scientists
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): uninhabited, except for visits by scientists
Government Country name: conventional long form: Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands
conventional short form: French Southern and Antarctic Lands
local long form: Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises
local short form: Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises
abbreviation: TAAF
Dependency status: overseas territory of France since 1955; administered from Paris by Administrateur Superieur Eric PILLOTON (since 10 April 2007)
Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are five administrative districts named Iles Crozet, Iles Eparses, Iles Kerguelen, Ile Saint-Paul et Ile Amsterdam; the fifth district is the “Adelie Land” claim in Antarctica that is not recognized by the US
Legal system: the laws of France, where applicable, apply
Executive branch: chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by Senior Administrator Eric PILLOTON (10 April 2007)
International organization participation: UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of France)
Flag description: the flag of France is used
Economy The territory’s natural resources are limited to fish and crustaceans; economic activity is limited to servicing meteorological and geophysical research stations and French and other fishing fleets.

The main fish resources are Patagonian toothfish and spiny lobster. Both are poached by foreign fleets; because of this, the French Navy and occasionally other services patrol the zone and arrest poaching vessels. Such arrests can result in heavy fines and/or the seizure of the ship.

France used to sell licences to fish the Patagonian toothfish to foreign fisheries; because of overfishing, it is now restricted to a small number of fisheries from Réunion Island.

The territory takes in revenues of about $18 million a year.

Marion Dufresne can host a limited number of fee-paying tourists, who will be able to visit the islands as the ship calls.

Communications Internet country code: .tf
Internet hosts: 33 (2007)
Communications – note: one or more metorological stations on each possession; note – meteorological station on Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) is important for forecasting cyclones
Transportation Airports: 4 (one each on Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island in the Iles Eparses district) (2006)
Ports and terminals: none; offshore anchorage only
Transportation – note: aids to navigation – lighthouses: Europa Island 18m; Juan de Nova Island (W side) 37m; Tromelin Island (NW point) 11m (all in the Iles Eparses district)
Military Military – note: defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues French claim to “Adelie Land” in Antarctica is not recognized by the US
Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): claimed by Madagascar
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): claimed by Mauritius

Norwegian warship sinks in fjord after rescue blunder

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INDEPENDENT NEWS AGENCY)

 

Norwegian warship sinks in fjord after rescue blunder

$500m vessel now mostly underwater

A $500 m (£385 m) warship has almost completely sunk to the bottom of a Norwegian fjord after smashing into an oil tanker off the coast of the Scandinavian country.

KNM Helge Ingstad, a 5,290 ton frigate, was on an exercise in Hjeltefjord near Bergen when it collided with a Maltese flagged oil tanker in the early hours of 8 November.

Eight people were injured in the crash.

A large hole was also torn into the side of the vessel, which is under Nato command, according to CNN.

The ship is under NATO command (AFP/Getty)

The ship is armed with missiles, torpedoes and depth-charges.

“Due to the damage to the frigate, it was moved to a safe place,” Nato’s Allied Maritime Command said in a statement issued after the accident.

But the cables holding the wrecked vessel snapped this week, dramatically ending efforts to secure the ship.

Now only the top of the vessel remains above water, in a major blow to Norway’s navy.

The vessel is one of only five owned by the institution, part of a class of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates which were launched in 2007.

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The warship is designed to hunt enemy submarines.

Sola TS, the oil tanker, has returned to port for inspection. It is understood to have been UK-bound at the time of the accident.

A joint Norwegian and Maltese investigation into the cause of the crash is now underway.

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From U.N. Right Now

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From The U.N. Right Now 

 

This article to you tonight is one I have been thinking about writing for a couple of weeks but because of the length I knew it would be I have avoided taking the time to write it. First I want to let you know that I got a lot of the information for this article from the New York Times so I want to make sure to credit them. Also, a lot of this information is simply garnered from all of the years of taking history classes in high school and in college. There is another point that I want to make clear to folks about how I feel/believe about the “People’s Republic of China” or the ‘PRC.’ for the purpose of this article I will refer to the Communists murderers in Beijing as the rulers of the Mainland. My personal opinion and belief is that Taiwan’s government, the “Republic of China” is the real legal government of all of China, not just the Taiwan Island.

 

The PRC is a leading member of the U.N., they also sit as one of the 5 permanent member seats of the Security Council. Up until 1950 the ROC was a founding member of the U.N. and had a seat on the Security Council. In 1950 the balless wonders at the U.N. not only removed the rightful government of the Chinese people from the Council they removed them as a member State and they demoted them to an “Observer State.” If you are a person who has not been paying attention to the blatant aggression of the PRC government through their President Xi Jinping, you need to, everyone on the planet does. The following is information on some of the reasons that I made that statement and is some of the reasons that I have decided to take the time to write this article to you.

 

July 12th of 2016, the Communist government of Mainland China totally told the U.N. and the rest of the world to go  F–k themselves. On that day the World Court which is through the U.N. made a ruling concerning the PRC’s blatant aggression in the South China Sea. The PRC was told to quit their activities of aggression toward their neighbors and the rest of the world. The Communist government of the Mainland told the U.N. and the World Court that they “did not recognize the authority of the U.N or of the World Court.” So, the question I have for you, and to the U.N. is, if they refuse to recognize the authority of the World Court and the U.N. then why in the bleep has the U.N. not removed these murderers both from the Security Council and from the U.N. itself? Why on earth would the balless wonders who run the U.N. allow the PRC to remain on the Security Council where they have Veto Power to cancel out all of the good things that the rest of the world is trying to accomplish? This makes no sense, it is totally stupid. The only thing that I can think of is, they are cowards! If the U.N. cared about the world in general they would remove the PRC from the Council, and reinstate the ROC (Republic Of China/Taiwan) to its rightful position in the U.N. and on the Security Council. Also, they should lower the PRC to the position that the ROC has now, only as an Observer State and if the PRC chooses to balk at that then they should be removed from the U.N. all together.

 

July 12th, 2016. The International Tribunal at the Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke of the PRC and their actions in the South China Sea which includes the construction of artificial islands. The Court also ruled that their expansive claim to sovereignty over the air and sea has no legal basis. The PRC could have been and should have been named as an “International Outlaw.” This was the first time that the PRC has ever been summoned before the International Justice System. The PRC claims that they have “Historical rights over almost all of the South China Sea,” basically about 90% of it. The International Court disagrees and they sided with their neighbors who brought the suit against them. The International Court also said that the PRC violated International Law by causing “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine oil exploration. Globally the rulings of the International Court are binding but the problem is that there is no system in place to physically enforce the law. At the very least the U.N. does have the authority to require all UN member nations to totally and completely boycott all imports and exports into and out of the PRC Mainland. The PRC obviously knew that they were going to lose this court battle so they didn’t even bother to send a low-level representative to the Court. They also made it very clear to the U.N. before the litigation began that they would not abide by the Court’s ruling.  The countries that brought the complaint to the Court were the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 

Speaking at a meeting of European Leaders the PRC President Mr. Xi Jingping was defiant in his claims about them having sovereignty over the South China Sea since “Ancient Times.” Since the ruling the PRC has accelerated their aggression in the South China Sea trade routes, fishing waters as well as stealing the oil and other mineral rights of their neighboring. The PRC has built a large artificial island upon an atoll known as Mischief Reef. They have built a large military airstrip and Naval births there even thought the World Court ruled that this was in Philippine National waters. The PRC claims what they call the “nine-dash-line” which encircles 90% of the South China Sea, the area we are talking about here is equivalent to the size of Mexico. The Philippines had asked the International Court to rule against the PRC because the PRC is in violation of the U.N. Convention on the “Law Of The Sea” which both the PRC and the Philippines signed and ratified as being valid.

 

The International Court also ruled that several disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea were too small to claim control of economic activities in the waters around them. As a result the Court ruled that the PRC was engaging in unlawful behaviour in the Philippines waters including activities that have made the dispute worse. This is no light matter, think about what the PRC is trying to do. They say they control all shipments of goods into and out of all of these Nations. They are saying that they control all air routes into and out of all of these Nations that would go into or over the South China Sea. If these illegal actions are not forcibly stopped right now the PRC will be able to totally control and or totally tank every Nation’s economy not just in the region but in the world. At the very least the PRC is quickly becoming capable of charging every ship and every plane a toll of their own chosen level, they can do anything they choose to any nation or people. The whole world, the U.N. must grow a set of Balls and stand up against the PRC in every possible way, right now, for if not, we will all soon be needing to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese. If you have paid any attention the Communist PRC isn’t even the Legal Government Of China, the Legal Government is the ROC (Republic of China) which at this time resides on the Island of Taiwan. These mass murderers killed ten of millions of China’s people when they forced themselves onto the Mainland population. The first Leader of the PRC was Chairman Mao and during the 1950’s he murdered tens of millions if not a few hundred million of the Chinese people via starvation. You may ask, what that has to do with now and that is a fair question. The answer is that the President for life of the PRC, Mr. Xi Jinping is a devout student, believer and follower of Chairman Mao. Wake up world, grow some Balls U.N. or soon you will not exist any longer.

 

 

 

It Is The Communist Government Of China That Is “Confused” Not The Whole World

(This article is courtesy of the Reuters News Agency)

China says Japan trying to ‘confuse’ South China Sea situation

China on Monday accused Japan of trying to “confuse” the situation in the South China Sea, after its neighbor said it would step up activity in the contested waters, through joint training patrols with the United States.

Ties between Asia’s two largest economies have long been overshadowed by arguments over their painful wartime history and a territorial spat in the East China Sea, among other issues.

China has repeatedly denounced what it views as interference by the United States and its ally Japan in the South China Sea.

Japan will also help build the capacity of coastal states in the busy waterway, its defense minister said last week during a visit to Washington.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said countries in the region had reached a consensus that the South China Sea issue should be resolved through talks between the parties directly involved, and that China and Southeast Asian countries should jointly maintain peace and stability there.

“Let’s have a look at the results of Japan’s throwing things into disorder over this same time period … trying to confuse the South China Sea situation under the pretense of (acting for) the international community,” Lu told a daily news briefing, when asked about Japan’s announcement.

Japan’s actions have simply pushed other countries away from it, and it has failed to compel other nations to see its point of view, he added.

“China is resolute in its determination to protect its sovereignty and maritime interests,” Lu said.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which ships carrying about $5 trillion in trade pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims in the sea, which is also believed to be rich in energy resources and fish stocks.

In July, an arbitration court in the Hague said China’s claims to the waterway were invalid, after a case was brought by the Philippines. Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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