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Showing posts from April, 2009

U.S. and Bermuda Agree on General Aviation Preclearance Security

This week DHS Secretary Napolitano signed an agreement with Bermuda that paves the way for general aviation flights to be prescreened before leaving Bermuda so that they can be treated as domestic flights upon arrival in the U.S. Not only will the passengers and crew be screened before departure, but also aircraft will be checked for radiological and nuclear threats. According to DHS, preclearance of general aviation flights from Bermuda will start once the appropriate facilities and equipment are in place.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Flight to Israel Diverted to Boston

Friday night a Delta Airlines flight from JFK to Tel Aviv was diverted to Boston's Logan Airport after an "unruly" passenger tried to enter the cockpit. It is being reported that the Israeli national, who was subdued by fellow passengers, seemed to be suffering some sort of panic or anxiety attack.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Presidential Plane Flight Causes Scare in New York City

This morning people in lower Manhattan, Staten Island and across the Hudson River in New Jersey got a scare when a Presidential 747 and an F-16 fighter made an unannounced flight over the region. The low-flying airplanes set-off a panic that led to the evacuation of dozens of offices. Fortunately the incident was nothing more than a Defense Department-staged photo opportunity over the Statue of Liberty. However, many people including NYC Mayor Bloomberg are very upset they weren't told about the flyover in advance.
While the Mayor was in the dark prior to this morning, Newsday reports that the FAA says the NYPD, the city's 311 and 911 operation centers, the New Jersey State Police and some other agencies, were all told in advance about the photo op.Read more
By Planet Data

SAFRAN Buying Majority Stake in GE Homeland Protection

Anonymous let us know that Europe's SAFRAN is going to acquire 81% of GE Security's Homeland Protection business for $580 million. Both BODs have approved the sale, which is now subject to regulatory approval. SAFRAN decided to make this move in order to become a global player in airport security solutions.
The Homeland Protection business will become part of SAFRAN's Defense Security division, and its headquarters will stay in Newark, CA.Read more
By Planet Data

Swine Flu Pandemic Declared a Public Health Emergency

DHS Secretary Napolitano announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will declare a Public Health Emergency today in response to the growing outbreak of Swine Flu in the United States. As of today there are 20 confirmed cases of Swine Flu in the U.S.Read more
By Planet Data

FAA Puts Airplane/Bird Strike Data Online

United States — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally made its Bird Strike Database available to the public. The records include data on airplane/bird collisions from 1990 through 2007. The online database is accessible from the FAA's Airport Wildlife Hazard Mitigation home page.Read more
By Planet Data

U.S. and Bermuda Agree on General Aviation Preclearance Security

This week DHS Secretary Napolitano signed an agreement with Bermuda that paves the way for general aviation flights to be prescreend before leaving Bermuda so that they can be treated as domestic flights upon arrival in the U.S. Not only will the passengers and crew be screened before departure, but also aircraft will be checked for radiological and nuclear threats.
According to DHS, preclearance of general aviation flights from Bermuda will start once the appropriate facilities and equipment are in place.Read more
By Planet Data

Customs Agency Seminar for International Trade Community

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is holding a seminar on the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Tuesday, April 28 in El Paso, Texas.
ACE is the commercial trade processing system developed by CBP to facilitate trade while strengthening border security.
CBP says that the target audiences for the ACE information seminar includes importers, customs brokers, service providers, and international sea, rail, air and truck carriers.Read more
By Planet Data

Will the Island of Love reunite?

Greetings from the the Republic of Cyprus where clear signs of summer are in the air and I have already reverted to wearing short sleeve shirts.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the divide in Northern Cyprus last weekend elections were held. The resounding winners were the UBP, spearheaded by Dervis Eroglu, who was actually a former Turkish Cypriot ‘Prime Minister’. His party won 44.06% of the vote, giving them an outright majority in the 50-seat parliament. With contrasting fortunes, the ruling Republican Turkish Party (CTP) who are aligned with the current Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, took just 29.25% of the vote, thus becoming an early Political consequence of public discontentment due to a weakend economy in addition to the perception of ongoing international isolation.

Subsequently, this vote was nothing short of significant defeat for the CTP and also personally for the credibility of Talat, who only last year proactively started peace talks with the Cypriot Republic …

HEATHROW: UK’s worst Airport

London Heathrow is the busiest airport in the world and the letters LHR are instantly recognizable to any frequent traveller. Yet, as often is the case in life, the busiest does not mean the best! A recent survey by consumer Watchdogs has branded Heathrow along with Gatwick and Stansted as the worst in the United Kingdom.

Interestingly all these airports have one significant thing in common, they are operated by the best described as shameful BAA; so much for the monopoly! Dissatisfaction with BAA run airports has been common knowledge amongst the British and the poor international frequent transit passengers for some years now. However, now there is proof for this general feeling, following a customer satisfaction survey involving 9,000 people that was carried out by the consumer watchdog Which? Subsequently the findings are not surprising, with complaints varying from the dreaded “Long Queues” at security to “long waiting times” for flights, poor food quality, not enough time for s…

India Launches All-Weather Imaging Satellite

India successfully launched two satellites Monday aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). One of which, the ANUSAT, is an experimental communication micro-satellite built by India's Anna University. The second satellite is the Israeli-built RISAT-2. And while some reports (here, here) peg this as a "spy satellite", Madhavan Nair, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has denied the device would be used to monitor borders and fight terrorism.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Marine Arrested at Airport with Gun, Ammo, Bomb Materials

A U.S. Marine Corporal was arrested at Boston's Logan Airport on Sunday after an undeclared semiautomatic handgun, ammunition and "bomb-making materials" were discovered in his checked luggage during a layover from Las Vegas. The gun would have been legal had it been stored properly and the Marine declared it when he checked in at McCarran Airport, but he didn't do this. However, the various items being described as "bomb-making materials" cannot be taken on a commercial airplane.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Jamaica Plane Hijacking Over, Everyone Safe

On Sunday a gunman took the crew and passengers of a CanJet airliner hostage at Jamaica's Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The suspect surrendered Monday morning and was arrested. The gunman is being described as a "mentally challenged" 20-year-old. He initially boarded the plane, took everyone hostage, and then demanded money and trip a to Cuba. He eventually released the passengers and continued to hold 5 or 6 crewmembers until this morning.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Australia: Not Kidding, Snakes on a Plane!

On Tuesday (4/14) a Qantas jet had to be grounded in Melbourne because four baby Stimson's Pythons went missing. The reptiles escaped from a container in the Boeing 737-800's cargo hold. The snakes were not found so the plane was fumigated and put back in service.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Peru: Peruvian Indians Seize Airport Over Land Protest

EFE reports that Peruvian Indians have occupied the airport in Atalaya and vowed not to leave until President Alan Garcia hears their demands about water and land regulations. The police claim the number of protesters is about 350, while a group representing the Indian community tells EFE it is more like 2000.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Mexico: Anti-Aircraft Weapon Seized by Police Near U.S. Border

According to an AFP report, Mexican police have seized what is described as an "anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on a van" and other heavy weaponry from a house on the Mexican side of the border with Arizona.
Read moreBy Planet Data

France: Basque Terrorists Planned to Shoot Down Spanish King's Aircraft

The Basque separatist group ETA had plans in 2004 to shoot down a plane or helicopter carrying Spain's King Juan Carlos with a surface-to-air missile. French counterterror forces discovered a number of CD's that year which detailed elements of the plot, which also had Spanish ministers as potential targets. Also discovered was a spent missile casing that may have been used in a test firing.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Somalia: Mortars Fired at U.S. Congressman's Plane in Mogadishu

U.S. Rep Donald Payne (D-NJ) was in Mogadishu, Somalia today on the first visit by a high-ranking U.S. official in years. While his plane was leaving the airport militants fired a number of mortars. The incident is being described as an attack targeting the Congressman.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Uganda: Navy Divers Find Plane Wreckage in Lake Victoria

Service members from the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) have located the wreckage of a Ilyshin II 76 aircraft that crashed in Lake Victoria on March 9. The Soviet-era aircraft was carrying tents and water purification units to Mogadishu from Entebbe International Airport when it went down with 11 people onboard. There were no survivors.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Israeli Fighters Intercept Delta Jet Approaching Israel

Israeli fighter jets were scrambled on Saturday to intercept an incoming Delta Airlines jet from NYC that failed to respond to air traffic controllers at Ben-Gurion Airport. The fighter pilots were able to communicate with the Delta pilot using visual signals and determined that there was a problem with the Delta jet's communication system. The Delta airplane landed without incident.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Greetings from the West coast of Cyprus

Greetings from the West coast of Cyprus in the town of Paphos, which by all reports is feeling the effects of the global recession more than anywhere else on the Island of love.

Firstly the Real Estate situation is nothing short of drastic here. During the boom time over the last 5 - 10 years the property market was fueled by overseas residents (predominantly English) that purchased mainly for an investment or holiday home. This gave traction to the market and the established property Developers were joined with fly by night Developers that jumped on the bandwagon. Everyone thought that the boom would last forever! Some investors purchased to flip properties before they were even built and it appears that such over-confident risk taking has now taken its toll in the light of the global recession. Today, Paphos is full of empty Real Estate offices, there a number of small developers in financial trouble, many of the economicly beleaguered British either cannot afford to make payments or…

Fjording Around

From Oslo to Svalbard, a magic tour on the heels of the Vikings, in between huge glaciers and Swiss-style villages .One Norway,many Norways. There’s a land covered with conifers and birches, endless woods reaching far into the Northern wastes, and countless streams and waterfalls. And there’s the famous land of fjords, dramatic and spectacular, thanks to impressive clefts cutting in the coast like wounds,sheer rocks plunging straight into the sea,covered in green forests and moss. Fjords are a marvel of nature,and serve as a kind of brand logo for the country even though in fact they are only to be found in the southwestern region,between Stavanger and Ålesund.The word fjord, however, is used to describe the whole of Norway’s coast, which is just as majestic and marked by gulfs and bights which are just as impressive. The best way to discover the magic of the fjords is by sea, starting from the capital, Oslo, which is itself on a 100-km long fjord (Oslofjord) and has many attractions:…

Authorities Uncover Plot to Export Aircraft Parts to Iran

The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday that an Iranian national, who is a legal U.S. resident, has been arrested and charged, along with ten other defendants, with participating in a conspiracy to illegally export U.S.-made military aircraft parts to Iran.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Canadian Plane Thief Wanted to Die

Late last night (4/6) police apprehended the Canadian man who stole a Cessna 172 in Ontario, flew it across several U.S. states and landed in Missouri. According to a Missouri State Trooper who appeared on "Good Morning America" this morning, the thief, Yavuz Berke, 31, wanted the F-16s following him to shoot him down. The guy wanted to commit suicide but didn't have the "courage" to do it himself.
Read moreBy Planet Data

United Kingdom: Fuel Problem Forces Super Puma Landing on Offshore Rig

A helicopter transporting offshore oil workers over the North Sea had to make an emergency landing Monday (4/6). The BBC reports that a Super Puma operated by CHC made a "precautionary landing" on the Safe Caledonia rig after reporting a fuel problem. Last Wednesday a Super Puma flown by Bond Offshore crashed off the coast of Scotland killing all 16 people on board.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Indonesia: 24 Dead in Indonesian Military Plane Crash

An Indonesian military airplane crashed into a hanger today (4/6) killing all 24 people on board. The plane, a Fokker 27, was trying to land at an airport in Bandung in West Java during a heavy rainstorm.
Read moreBy Planet Data

North Korea Claims Rocket Launch Successful

North Korea followed through on its threat to launch a rocket Sunday (4/5). The secretive communist state claims it was successful and that the payload, a communications satellite, is now orbiting Earth. However, both the U.S. and South Korean militaries say this is simply not true and that all three stages of the rocket fell into the ocean.
Read moreBy Planet Data

North Korea Claims Rocket Launch Successful

North Korea — North Korea followed through on its threat to launch a rocket Sunday (4/5). The secretive communist state claims it was successful and that the payload, a communications satellite, is now orbiting Earth. However, both the U.S. and South Korean militaries say this is simply not true and that all three stages of the rocket fell into the ocean.Read more
By Planet Data

Japan Gov't Issues False Statement About North Korea Launch

Japan — As if tensions over North Korea's imminent rocket launch/missile test aren't high enough, the Japanese government inaccurately released a statement earlier today that North Korea had in fact launched a rocket. The error was the result of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force being confused about radar information, a Defense Ministry official said.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told the media "We caused a great deal of trouble to the Japanese people. This was a mistake in the transmission of information by the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces."
Kyodo News agency reports that the government released the information at 12:16 p.m. local time via its email-based Em-Net emergency information system. And then retracted the statement 5-minutes later.Read more
By Planet Data

Spy Satellite Battle - Pentagon vs. Intel Community

United States — The White House will soon be briefed on the options the U.S. has for pursing future secret intelligence-gathering satellite technology. And it should come as little surprise there are two camps with decidedly different opinions, with the Pentagon on one side and the Intelligence Community (IC) on the other.
Sources tell AviationWeek that the White House could be briefed as early as next week about the IC's desire to acquire "high-end technology and larger satellites for the electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) collection mission", and the Pentagon's push for "medium-class satellites in a lower orbit".Read more
By Planet Data

Air Force Chooses New Nuclear Command HQ

United States — After a series of nuclear weapons-related mishaps in 2007 and 2008 the U.S. Air Force decided to create one command to be responsible for the Air Force's nuclear assets. Called the Global Strike Command, it provisionally stood up in January 2009, and now it has a likely home - Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. 
On April 2, the Air Force informed Congress that Barksdale had been selected as the preferred choice for the AFGSC's home base. An environmental impact study must be completed next, before the final decision is made.
AFGSC is scheduled to stand up this September.Read more
By Planet Data

German Firms Admit Spying on Workers

The German unit of aircraft manufacturer Airbus has admitted to spying on its employees between 2005 and 2007. Former management at Airbus ordered that the banking details of the entire German staff (about 20,000 people) be reviewed and compared to those of Airbus suppliers. No irregularities were found.
This revelation comes on the heels of another case of corporate surveillance in Germany. The head of Deutsche Bahn, the country's national rail operator, resigned this week amidst a scandal that finds the company snooped through thousands of employees' emails looking for leaks of sensitive information, as well as workers being critical of Deutsche Bahn.Read more
By Planet Data

No Survivors from North Sea Helicopter Crash

United Kingdom — Yesterday a Super Puma helicopter operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters crashed into the North Sea. There were no survivors. The helicopter was returning to Scotland from a BP oil platform when it went down with 2 pilots and 14 oil workers. Eight bodies have been recovered.
From Telegraph.co.uk:
"Divers are now trying to locate the wreck of the chopper to recover other bodies which are likely to be trapped inside and to locate the black box flight data recorder which will provide essential evidence to air accident investigators."Read more
By Planet Data

TOP TEN EVENTS IN APRIL 2009

Spring is in the air and love is all around or is it? Despite some encouraging rhetoric from the G20, the onset of spring is about the best news we are likely to hear from the mainstream media. There is more to life however than financial markets, terrorists, the credit crunch and the G20 talks that seems to dominate the international news. 

All around the world there are wonderful events taking place, so if you still have a job, there could never be a better time to travel or buy a car for that matter, as one never knows what is around the corner, so enjoy life whilst you can. 

Having said that, certain annual Events are in some places at least is in question. Take the small town of Manzanares el Real for example, where the residents in this small town of central Spain voted in a referendum to cancel their annual bullfighting Festival, because of the economic crisis. The move was actually proposed by the Mayor on the grounds that the event would divert resources from other important mu…

Greetings from Exotic Manila

Exotic greetings from Manila, otherwise known as the American capital of Asia. Its here in the Philippines that the greatest national export is actually people, which is not surprising with their excellent service attitude and work ethic. There are approximately 3 million overseas workers, however thousands of Philippino's are returning home after in their droves after being laid off in the Middle East (especially Dubai), Macao and other parts of the world. The demand from the Cruise Industry is lowering too and once again its becoming a recruiters market. By Government law, each Philppino is required to send home at least 80% of their salary. This ruling, along with Visa processing. Documentation, airport taxes, Certification on necessary training and tax on recruitment / handling agencies helps to drive the national economy. Subsequently the country feels this global recession in different ways to us in the west.
Meanwhile, according to IATA, the Airline Industry is in serious c…