Thursday, July 24, 2014
TAIWAN - More than 47 people were killed in a plane crash in Taiwan on Wednesday, officials said, with local television reporting the flight had smashed into two houses after an aborted landing.
Authorities said Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways flight GE222, with 58 on board, crashed near Magong airport on the outlying Penghu island after having requested a second attempt to land.
Television images showed firefighters working at site of the mangled wreckage and soldiers on the scene.
There were conflicting reports of the death toll from officials and local media.
"Fifty-one people are feared dead and seven people injured," Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration Shen Chi told reporters.
The island's local fire chief put the death toll at 45 while media reports said 47 were killed.
"The control tower lost contact with the aircraft soon after they requested a go-around (second attempt to land)," Chen told reporters.
  • The commercial domestic flight was carrying 54 passengers and four crew, officials said.
  • It was flying from Kaohsiung and had been delayed due to bad weather, according to Shen.
  • Typhoon Matmo pounded Taiwan with fierce winds and downpours Wednesday, leaving at least nine people injured.
  • As many as 51 passengers of a TransAsia Airways flight died as it made an emergency landing in Penghu on Wednesday evening, Taiwan officials reported.
  • There were conflicting figures of the death toll from the news reports, but Taiwan's Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said as many as 47 passengers might have died while 11 people survived, said Taiwan News
  • Flight GE222 was carrying 54 passengers and four crew members on a flight from Kaohsiung to Makung in the midst of Typhoon Matmo.
  • Reports said the aircraft was scheduled to leave Kaohsiung at 4pm. but was delayed till 5.43pm because of the bad weather. The pilot was reportedly asked to wait until 7.06pm before being allowed to land in Penghu.
Apparently, his first attempt at landing failed, and he requested to make a second landing. But the control tower reportedly lost contact with the plane, reported Taiwan News.
The plane was reported to have had a 'hard' landing, crashing into the township of Huhsi, setting off a fire which burnt two houses.
The pilot was identified by Taiwan media as Lee Yi-liang, 60, and his co-pilot as Chiang Kuan-Hsing, 39.
Makung Airport was shut down after the incident.

Source: Agency
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two Americans who were fighting for the Israeli army have been killed during the Tel Aviv regime’s ground offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip, US authorities and family members say. 
Stuart Steinberg, whose family lives in California, said his 24-year-old son, Max Steinberg, was one of the 13 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza on Sunday. 
The Israeli army also confirmed that Palestinian fighters also killed a 21-year-old American citizen, Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, from Texas, during the invasion of Gaza by the Israeli forces. 
The US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki in a statement confirmed “the deaths of US citizens Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli in Gaza.” 
The Israeli military said on Sunday that 13 Israeli troops were killed in Gaza on the third day of its ground operation, bringing to 18 the number of soldiers killed since Thursday. 
The Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, however, says Palestinian resistance fighters have killed at least 32 Israeli soldiers since Saturday. 
Late on Sunday, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades said its fighters had captured an Israeli soldier, identified as Shaul Aron(pic), during Tel Aviv’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. 
Israel has denied the statement. Meanwhile, according to figures provided by Palestinian emergency services, the total number of Gazans killed since the beginning of the Israeli military operations against Gaza on July 8 stands at 504. 
More than 3,000 people have also been injured in the attacks. 

Source: Agencies
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Venezuelan authorities have begun moving residents out of the Tower of David, a skyscraper notorious as a haven for squatters and gangs in the capital, Caracas.
More than 100 families have been relocated from the unfinished 45-storey building, the start of an operation by military authorities to clear a longtime symbol of festering poverty and lawlessness in the heart of the Venezuelan capital.
The Tower of David, which was remade into a forbidding warren of makeshift shelters with armed guards - and has been called the world's tallest shantytown, has been home to about 3,000 people.
On Tuesday morning, several dozen residents were seen exiting the building with their belongings, and boarding government vehicles to be taken to new homes outside the city.

Source: Agency
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Real Madrid have completed the signing the Colombia World Cup star James Rodriguez with a transfer  fee thought to be in the region of £63m.
He has agreed a six-year contract with Madrid and underwent his medical with the club this morning.
The fourth most expensive player of all time (after Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez) will be presented at the Bernabeu later tonight.
The Spanish side moved quickly after the World Cup to tie up a deal after the 22-year-old impressed hugely at the tournament. Whilst he wasn't the official player of the tournament (that accolade went to Lionel Messi) he was by most people's estimation the revelation of the World Cup.
  • The former Porto player scored in all five of Colombia's World Cup games and ended the tournament with the Golden Boot thanks to his total of six goals. He also collected two assists in Brazil.
  • Rodriguez had only been at Monaco for a single season after he left Porto in a £38.5m deal. However the French side quickly made it clear they were ready to sell the 22-year-old at the right price.
 Source: Agency
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Malaysia Airlines re-routed a Kuala Lumpur-to-London flight over Syrian airspace on Sunday after its usual route over Ukraine was closed, flight tracking data showed on Monday. 
Flightradar24 posted a flight map on its Twitter account on Monday showing the change in the flight's route. 
Flight tracking data showed this flight had previously crossed over eastern Ukraine. 
Malaysia Airlines' Flight MH17 was shot down last Thursday by a ground-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine.
Hundreds of flights routinely crossed over Ukraine before Thursday's incident, and it is not unusual for international airlines to overfly war zones such as Syria or Afghanistan.
The US Federal Aviation Administration, whose regulations are among the world's strictest, "strongly discourages" US operators from flying to, from or over Syria, according to a May 2013 notice on its website.
A statement from Malaysia Airlines acknowledged that it was flying over Syrian airspace. 

Source: Agency
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
US President Barack Obama called for an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas on Sunday, after the bloodiest day of fighting in Gaza raised the number of Palestinians killed to 476.
While 13 Israeli  soldiers had been killed inside Gaza on Sunday, raising to 18 the number of soldiers killed since the ground operation began late on Thursday.
It was the largest number of Israeli soldiers killed in combat since the 2006 Lebanon war.
In their second call in three days, Obama “reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself” and called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.
Late Sunday, the armed wing of Hamas claimed it had kidnapped an Israeli soldier, prompting celebrations in the streets of Gaza City and West Bank cities.
“The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades,” a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address. A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said they were investigating the claim.
The United Nations Security Council opened urgent talks on efforts to strike a ceasefire deal as Israel ramped up a major military offensive with fresh strikes Monday in the Palestinian territory.
So far, truce efforts have been rejected by Hamas which has pressed on with its own attacks, undaunted by the Israeli bombardment by land, sea and air.
  • The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has opened 61 of its schools to shelter more than 81,000 people who have fled their homes.

Source: AFP( Yahoo News)
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Monday, July 21, 2014
Philippine lost billions of pesos every year due to typhoons and other weather disturbance.
The most destructive weather disturbance so far in recent years was typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which arrived on November 8, 2013 and cost the lives of some 6,300 people. 
Most of the fatalities were in the coastal areas of Eastern, as well as Western Visayas.
Last week’s onslaught of typhoon Rammasun in the Philippines has left 94 people dead and 317 injured as the country prepares for the arrival of a new weather disturbance, Matmo.
Sixty seven people who died due to Rammasun (Glenda) were in the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon Region while the rest were in Central Luzon (8), Bicol (6), Mimaropa (5), Eastern Visayas (5) National Capital Region 2 and Western Visayas (1).
Quezon suffered the most fatalities among the most battered provinces. The causes for the deaths were mostly getting pinned down by trees felled by the strong winds or getting hit by debris such as falling coconuts and collapsed concrete walls.
Quezon is a region where most of the country’s coconut plantations are located. In this particular province alone, there were 26 fatalities.
In a Sunday interview aired over government-run dzRB radio, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the total damage to infrastructure and agriculture by Rammasun was estimated at to P7.6 billion.
As officials continue to account for the damages caused by Rammasun, Coloma said the Philippines is preparing for the arrival of another typhoon Matmo known locally as Henry.
“The new typhoon will have winds reaching 120km/h at the centre and gusts of 150km/h. It will bring heavy rains to Eastern Samar, the island of Siargao and the province of Surigao del Norte,” said Coloma.
According to the Philippine Atmosheric, Geophysical and Astronomic Services Administration (Pagasa) the new typhoon is not expected to make a landfall in any part of the country although its presence would boost the southwest monsoons.

Source: Agencies
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Monday, July 21, 2014
While Israel’s army plans to  expand its ground offensive against the Gaza Strip, as the bloodiest conflict since 2009 entered its 13th day with a death toll of over 350, parts of central London were brought to a standstill as thousands of pro-Palestinians marched in protest against Israel’s offensive in Gaza, while in Paris a banned demonstration descended into violence.
Organisers of the London rally claimed that “tens of thousands” of people joined the march from Prime Minister David Cameron’s office to the Israeli embassy, many of them chanting “Israel is a terror state”.
Police refused to give an estimate for the number present but several roads through the centre of the capital were closed during the 4.8-kilometre march, which passed off peacefully.
In Paris, by contrast, clashes broke out after hundreds gathered in defiance of a ban on their demonstration, with crowds throwing stones and bottles at riot police, who responded with tear gas.
Some 33 people were arrested by early evening, a police source said, while three police officers were injured in the disorder near Montmartre in the north of the French capital.
Protests were permitted in other French cities, where thousands turned out including in Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg, while several thousand also rallied in solidarity with the Palestinians in Brussels.

Source: AFP
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Monday, July 21, 2014
WASHINGTON, USA - Top US diplomat John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Saturday that Washington was “deeply concerned” that international investigators were being denied access to a passenger jet’s crash site in Ukraine.
President Barack Obama and other world leaders have expressed outrage and demanded Russia’s full cooperation with what is becoming a monumentally challenging probe into the shooting down of Kuala Lumpur-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam with 298 people from a dozen countries on board.
In a telephone call, Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that “the United States remains deeply concerned that for the second day in a row, OSCE monitors and international investigators were denied proper access to the crash site,” the State Department said.
  • “The United States is also very concerned about reports that the remains of some victims and debris from the site are being tampered with or inappropriately removed from the site.”
  • Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States condemns “unacceptable” insecurity at the crash site, calling it an “affront to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity the victims deserve.”
  • She said monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe were only allowed 75 minutes at the site on Friday, and less than three hours on Saturday.
  • OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said earlier that the Vienna-based group’s monitoring team on the ground had been “unable today, for the second day, to gain any answers” about the fate of the plane’s critical black box flight data recorders.
In Moscow’s account of the Kerry-Lavrov conversation, it said it had demanded that “material evidence, including black boxes” must be immediately handed over to inspectors.
Gunmen backed up by muscular diplomatic support from the Kremlin have shown few signs of being ready to cooperate with an investigation that could blame them for blowing apart the Boeing 777 jet.
  • Kiev said armed fighters were hours away from loading vital clues aboard trucks that would be rushed across the Russian border before a full team of experts inspected the expansive site where remains of flight MH17 hit the ground.
  • In his call with Lavrov, Kerry urged Russia to take “immediate and clear actions” to reduce tensions in neighbouring Ukraine that have pushed the country into an escalating civil war and East-West standoff.
  • Kerry particularly stressed the international call for investigators to receive full, immediate and unfettered access to the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crash site.
  • Psaki, Kerry’s spokeswoman, said Washington urges “Russia to honour its commitments and to publicly call on the separatists to do the same” in terms of allowing full access to the site.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, whose country lost 192 citizens aboard flight MH17.
The pair stressed “the difficulty investigators are experiencing in gaining unimpeded and secure access to the crash site,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
Hennis-Plasschaert “highlighted the Netherlands’ desire to have the victims returned to their families as soon as possible, balanced with the need to support and complete a credible investigation,” Kirby added
Source:  AFP, Agencies
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