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Result of the Manufactured Volcano Crisis: Europe to Fast-Track Single Sky, Compensate Airlines

Image
© Ian Britton / FreeFoto.com
The closure of European airspace due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland has cost the aviation industry between 1.5 billion and 2.5 billion euros (about US$1.7 billion), the European commissioner responsible for transport said Tuesday.

Vice-President Siim Kallas said, "The Commission considers that the exceptional circumstances of recent days may justify support measures to offset losses incurred," as long as compensation is granted on the basis of uniform criteria established at European level.

The International Air Transport Association applauded the announcement. "Airlines lost revenues of US$1.7 billion in just six days, with the greatest impact on European carriers," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and CEO. "These urgent measures will provide much needed assistance to airlines at a time when their financial resources are stretched."

Question

Another man stabs more children at another Chinese nursery school

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© China Daily/Reuters
Chinese residents stand outside the kindergarten where a man injured 25 children and two adults in a knife attack in Taixing, Jiangsu province.
25 pupils injured in knife attack in Jiangsu province, the third targeting children in just over a month

Two young children and three adults are critically ill and 23 other pupils injured after a man burst into a nursery in east China and stabbed them this morning in the third such attack in just over a month.

Most of the victims were only four years old, said officials in Jiangsu province. A security guard was badly hurt as he attempted to stop the man and two teachers were injured.

Police detained a 47-year-old suspect, Xu Yuyuan, officials in Taixing city said. They told a press conference that his motive was unclear.

The assault came one day after a knife-wielding man injured 16 pupils and a teacher at a southern Chinese primary school in Leizhou city, Guangdong. The suspect being held is a teacher from another school who was reportedly on sick leave due to mental health problems. A hospital official has told Xinhua that five of his victims were seriously injured but stable. There are fears that reports are sparking copycat attacks.

Nuke

Iran a Threat? I Mean, Really?

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With all the current hype about the "threat" from Iran, it is time to review the record -- and especially the significant bits and pieces that find neither ink nor air in our Israel-friendly, Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).

First, on the chance you missed it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said publicly that Iran "doesn't directly threaten the United States." Her momentary lapse came while answering a question at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 14.

Fortunately for her, most of her FCM fellow travelers must have been either jet-lagged or sunning themselves poolside when she made her unusual admission. And those who were present did Clinton the favor of disappearing her gaffe and ignoring its significance. (All one happy traveling family, you know.)

USA

The Scandal of PG&E's New Meters

PG&E has been installing what they call "Smartmeters", which broadcast readings of a residence's power usage to PG&E, so that they won't need meter-readers any more. This will give them hourly information on private electric power usage. PG&E has not said why they need this kind of information, except to suggest it is for its customers own good (self-monitoring). But these new meters are a total scandal.

The scandal first emerged in the form of billing increases. Some people's bills came back double, triple, even quadruple their normal charges after the meters were installed. This has been so upsetting that, to date, four cities have instituted or are formulating moratoriums on the installation of these meters until their many problems can be resolved. What are these problems?

These meters have never been tested for accuracy.

They have not been tested for accuracy by either PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Both simply took the manufacturer's word for it. Because of the uproar, the PUC has actually contracted with the "Structure Group" (a utility consultant in Houston, Texas) to test the meters. Though this should have halted their installation, it didn't. It is the variability in the inaccuracies that points to the problem. If the inaccuracy had been uniform, it could have been corrected centrally by PG&E. But some report usage that is double or triple a house's average, resulting in grossly elevated billing charges, while others report usage that accords with former averages. It signifies that the problem is in the manufacture of the meters.

Funding for these meters is coming from federal economic recovery moneys.

One of the benefits that PG&E will receive from these meters is that they can then dispense with all their meter-readers. They are receiving subsidies from the federal government for this meter replacement program as part of its economic recovery program. But recovery means giving people jobs so that they can earn an income, not laying more people off. PG&E is receiving recovery funds and using them against recovery.

Bizarro Earth

Airlines, European officials urge end to flight restrictions as global transport chaos grows

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© Marco Fulle
London - Civil aviation authorities in Europe came under heavy pressure Sunday to ease flight restrictions as airlines and government officials sought to limit the economic fallout from a crisis that is disrupting the global trade in goods as varied as precious gems and tropical fruit.

Airlines, which have suffered billions of dollars in uninsured losses, said test flights over Europe indicated that the ash emanating from an Icelandic volcano had cleared in some areas and suggested that aviation officials overreacted to the threat posed to jet engines. The European Union's transportation commissioner, meanwhile, called for an easing of the travel bans, which have grounded an estimated 63,000 flights since Thursday.

Despite such pleas, the decision on when to reopen the skies rests with national aviation authorities, and some -- including those in Britain -- extended near-absolute flight restrictions until at least late Monday.

Padlock

Airlines say Eurocontrol is over-reacting to Icelandic volcano eruption, "not an unprecendented event"

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© Marco Fulle, courtesy of Stromboli Online
This plane clearly had no problem circling the eruption
Europe's air industry has called for an urgent review of flight bans imposed because of volcanic ash from Iceland.

The bodies representing most European airlines and airports have questioned the need for the unprecedented curbs, which affect millions of travellers.

Airlines that have carried out test flights say planes showed no obvious damage after flying through the ash.

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said he hoped 50% of Europe's airspace would be risk-free on Monday.

He said the current situation was "not sustainable" and European authorities were working to find a solution that did not compromise safety.

"We cannot just wait until this ash cloud dissipates," he added.

Mr Kallas also said EU transport ministers would hold a video teleconference on Monday to assess the situation. About 17 European countries have closed their airspace.

The flight bans came amid fears that the ash - a mixture of glass, sand and rock particles - can seriously damage aircraft engines. Airlines are estimated to be losing some £130m ($200m) a day.

Bad Guys

Airport Security is a Racket: The Naked Scanner Industrial Complex

Airport security is a racket
© SOTT.net
Airport Security is a Racket!
}We are a world at war. Not wars against nations as US Major General Smedley Darlington Butler was referring to when he wrote War is a Racket in 1935. Our war is a never-ending perpetual War Against Terror™, a phrase repeated ad nauseum by the Bush administration since 9/11, where you were either with the Neocons or "you were with the terrorists". Stasi-like draconian surveillance has merged with cutting edge technology to watch, catalog, record the movements, interactions, behavior, communications and interests of every citizen. In this world of precrime we are now treated as if we are potential terrorists. Whether it be a domestic extremist or a radicalized dissenter, there is a phantom enemy in our midst that is only revealed to the world when it enters the duty-free zone at airports. Where trenches marked the front-lines of wars in the past, the front-line in today's perpetual war is the airport boarding gate.

A multi-billion dollar industry has spawned surveillance and security systems with a supporting army of guards, agents, supervisors and security personnel. They keep us in line and keep us safe from the omnipresent threat of an ubiquitous, all-pervasive mythical terror. Thrust at us by a compliant media are over-hyped and sensationalized reports, hysterical speeches and horrifying attacks that almost very nearly happen or, as we are told, WILL happen, sometime soon, and are all so big and so scary that you must place your water bottle in the bin and take your shoes off to survive. It's all designed to paralyze our senses and reduce us to strip-searched carcasses as we sleepwalk along the travelators through naked scanners...

Airport security is a racket. It always has been.

Propaganda

Media Lies by Omission: Biased survey over-inflates public support for airport scanners

Unisys
© Unisys
Imagine it, make it up, publish it, sell it. Done.
"Deception by an omission of the truth is as bad as a lie."
Jennifer Chiaverini
The mainstream media was quick to publicise the findings of a survey that showed widespread public support for the global drive to install 'naked' full-body scanners at airports.

Articles such as Sky News: UK Holidaymakers Back Use Of Full-Body Scanners and Agence France-Presse: Opinion poll: US anti-terror too lax, uncritically repeated the report's findings without questioning the reliability of the survey or mentioning the conflict of interests held by those in the security industry who stand to profit from rolling out these dangerous machines.

There is one glaring omission from these and the many media reports that published 'news' articles based on the Unisys press release. That is who Unisys is, their connections with government, military, Homeland security, the Transportation Services Authority (TSA) and how they profit from airport security technologies. The failure of the mainstream media to report the true source and motives behind this survey is a clear example of how they lie by omitting the most important facts.

Comment: Update: One of our forum members provided some further information:
The poll was actually done by Newspoll (in Australia) at least which is partly owned by Murdoch's News Corp. The survey results were touted far and wide through Fox, News etc.

It appears Unisys collated the numbers. Only 8360 people were interviewed in 9 countries, 1200 were polled in Australia.

the US survey was done by International Communications research. One other Unisys survey was done by Lieberman Worldwide whose CEO Arnold Fishman sits on the AeroVironment corp which manufactures small drone aircraft.

Unisys I would say gets an undergrad to throw the numbers in a small database and "Voila" instant news through the News network.

The Australian Privacy Foundation has come to the same conclusions.



Attention

"Russia Engineered Plane Crash that Killed President Kaczynski," Claims Polish MP

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© EPA
Memorial: The coffin of Polish president Lech Kaczynski is laid out at the Presidential Palace chapel in Warsaw, Poland.
The Russian government prevented the Polish president's plane from landing four times to divert him from a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, according to an MP.

Artur Gorski said the Russians 'came up with some dubious reasons' that the aircraft couldn't land because they feared President Leck Kaczynski's presence would overshadow a similar event hosted by the Russian prime minister a few days before.

And their alleged plan ended in disaster when the Polish pilots made one final and disastrous attempt to land, killing Mr Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others on board the plane.

'One version of events says that the plane approached the airport four times, because every time the Russians refused it permission to land - they wanted to send the plane with the president to an airport in Moscow or Minsk,' Mr Gorski claimed in an interview published in the newspaper Nasz Dziennik.

'They came up with some dubious reasons: that there was fog over the airport, and that the navigation system didn't work as it was under renovation, and that airport had a short landing strip.'

Attention

A dramatic end to a divided era in modern Poland's history

Coffin
© Kacper Pempel/Reuters
Jaroslaw Kaczynski kneels before his twin brother's coffin at the Warsaw airport on Sunday, April, 11. Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president, was killed in a plane crash on Saturday.
For the second time in 60 years, Poles around the world have been horrified to learn that their country's best-known leaders have been killed, suddenly and tragically, in a forest outside the western Russian city of Smolensk.

Saturday's crash of an aging Tupolev 154 jet during a fog-blinded landing was a cosmic insult to the Polish imagination, a catastrophe that wiped out a generation of leaders and placed a stark punctuation mark on the political drama that has defined Polish affairs since the defeat of communism in 1989.

It occurs at a moment of glory for Poland, as the formerly poor country, almost alone in Europe, has managed to avoid recession. It is often said by Poles that they are a people who are punished for their triumphs; Saturday seemed to confirm this belief.

It was also, as every Pole knows, a freakish repeat of history. It was outside Smolensk, in Katyn forest in March of 1940, that Joseph Stalin's agents machine-gunned as many as 22,000 of Poland's top military, intellectual and civil-service leaders to death and dumped their bodies in mass graves, terminating the country's independence for half a century.

"Seventy years ago, the Soviets murdered the political elite in Katyn," Lech Walesa, the Solidarity hero and former president, said yesterday. "Now, again, the political elite has been killed on its way to the same place."