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Posts made in December, 2014

No victim from crashed AirAsia plane was wearing life jacket, Indonesian official …

By on Dec 31, 2014 in Press Release | 0 comments

An Indonesian search and rescue official said today that none of the bodies recovered so far from the crashed AirAsia jet had been wearing a life jacket. “There is no victim that has been found wearing a life jacket,” said Tatang Zaenudin, deputy head of operations at the national search and rescue agency. “We found a body at 8.20 a.m. and a life jacket at 10.32 a.m. so there was a time difference. This is the latest information we have,” he added. The same official said earlier that one of the recovered bodies had been wearing a life jacket, prompting speculations that those on board had at least some time before the aircraft hit the water, or after it hit the water and before it sank. The pilots did not issue a distress signal before the plane disappeared. The flight had failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather because of heavy air traffic. Rescuers believe they have found the plane on the ocean floor off Borneo, after sonar detected a large, dark object about 30 to 50 metres beneath the water’s surface, near where debris and bodies were found. But bad weather and strong currents were sending wreckage drifting far from the crash site and hampering search efforts. National Search and Rescue Agency chief Vice Marshall Bambang Soelistyo said that so far, the fuselage had not been found despite the sonar images indicating a bulky object on the sea floor. The commander of the Bung Tomo warship which recovered some debris said they lifted 28 items from the water. “There were snacks, instant porridge, and three umbrellas,” Colonel Yayan said in a local TV interview. “It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometres from yesterday’s location,” said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island, the closest town to the site. “We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches.” Soelistyo also told a press conference that of the total seven bodies – four men and three women – one of them was wearing a flight attendant’s uniform. The first two corpses, placed in simple wooden boxes topped with flowers, were unloaded in Pangkalan...

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Palestinians look to expand international voice after failed UN bid on peace …

By on Dec 31, 2014 in Press Release | 0 comments

JERUSALEM — Palestinian leaders regrouped Wednesday over proposals to expand their international voice after falling just one vote short in a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Israel step up peace efforts and withdraw from occupied lands. The U.N. measure sought to increase pressure on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and mark another step toward possible Palestinian statehood. But Tuesday’s vote was strongly opposed by the Obama administration, which favors a negotiated agreement rather than a forced pact or unilateral action by the Palestinians frustrated by the stalled peace process. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said top officials in the West Bank planned talks that could include setting a timetable to join more groups with global reach such as the International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians could pursue charges against Israel for alleged war crimes. “There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation, no more slowdown,” Erekat said. “We are going to meet and make decisions.” In Israel, the government released a statement Wednesday that called the unsuccessful resolution “completely one-sided” and said it lacked “the components that would advance a future agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.” “The failure of the Palestinian resolution must teach the Palestinians that provocation and attempts to impose unilateral measures on Israel will not achieve anything — to the contrary,” said Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The resolution called for Israelis and Palestinians to strike a peace deal within a year and for Israel to withdraw within three years to its borders before the 1967 war — in which Israel won control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It also declared that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state, a more hard-line stance than an earlier version that described Jerusalem as a shared capital. It also demanded an end to Israeli settlement building. The resolution fell one vote short of the nine necessary for passage, sparing the United States the need to wield its veto power as one of the council’s five permanent members. In the days before the vote, Secretary of State John F. Kerry made a flurry of calls to 13 foreign ministers and leaders to express concern that a resolution would...

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AirAsia: Bodies Retrieved in Search for Missing Jet

By on Dec 30, 2014 in Press Release | 0 comments

Wreckage that was spotted floating in Indonesian waters today is connected to the missing AirAsia jetliner that crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday with 162 people on board, according to the airline. In a statement, the airline said, “AirAsia Indonesia regrets to inform that The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) today confirmed that the debris found earlier today is indeed from QZ8501, the flight that had lost contact with air traffic control on the morning of 28th December 2014.” Six bodies, meanwhile, were recovered and taken to an Indonesian navy ship, said First Adm. Sigit Setiayanta, the Naval Aviation Center commander at the Surabaya air force base. PHOTOS: Search for AirAsia Flight 8501 Earlier today, Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, said a shadow in the shape of a plane had also been spotted in the water. The items were spotted in the Java Sea, near the site where air traffic control lost contact with the plane. The water is less than 100 feet deep in the area where the objects were found, officials said. The recovered bodies were not wearing life jackets, officials said. Relatives of the plane passengers — gathered at Indonesia’s Surabaya Airport — cried and wailed upon hearing the news, with one man fainting. AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes expressed sorrow, saying, “My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501. Words cannot express how sorry I am.” Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post that within the past few hours, three of the country’s ships “have been asked to proceed towards the area where bodies and debris were found” and that an additional ship will “set sail this evening to join the operation.” Today’s search included 12 helicopter units, 11 fixed-wing units, and 32 ship units with assistance from neighboring countries Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea during a flight to Singapore Sunday morning, shortly after the pilots requested a change of flight plan because of weather. There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on...

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Norman Atlantic ferry fire: Four UK passengers rescued

By on Dec 29, 2014 in Press Release | 0 comments

29 December 2014 Last updated at 10:59 Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. Susan Daltas has spoken to the BBC about her family’s plight Four Britons have now been rescued from a ferry which caught fire near Greece on Sunday, the Foreign Office has said. A British family of four and an engaged couple were on the Norman Atlantic, which was travelling from Greece to Italy, when fire broke out. Dottie Channing-Williams, from Berkshire, said her son Nick, 37, had been taken off and was now on land. And Susan Daltas said her daughter and two grandchildren had been rescued but that her son-in-law remained on board. The family of Nick Channing-Williams, who is a showjumper, said they were “extremely relieved” to hear of his rescue. The Italian car ferry was travelling from Patras, in Greece, to Ancona, in Italy with 422 passengers and 56 crew members on board when a fire broke out on its car deck, north-west of Corfu. Ships and helicopters are taking part in a major rescue operation and a spokesman for the Italian Navy told the BBC they are confident all the passengers and crew will be rescued by nightfall. Alessandro Lentini said 340 people had already been rescued and 138 remained on board. He also said the fire which disabled the Norman Atlantic was still burning. One person has died after jumping from the ship and another has been injured, officials said. Images of the fire have been released by Italian coastguards Rescue teams worked through the night to take people off the ferry The Italian Navy released this image of the stricken Norman Atlantic Mrs Daltas, who lives in Corfu, said four members of her family had been on the stricken boat. She told BBC Breakfast she believed that women and children had been taken off first. Her son-in-law, Marcus, spoke to Mrs Daltas from the ferry on Sunday evening after her daughter, Mia, and her two granddaughters had been airlifted to safety. Her youngest granddaughter had been taken to hospital in the city of Brindisi, in southern Italy, Mrs Dalta said. “She was suffering from hypothermia because they didn’t even manage to get a coat out of the...

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