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Video – Jewel Changi Airport Open

Singapore

Four years after work started to transform an open-air carpark into a 10-storey complex with shops, restaurants, leisure attractions and facilities for travellers, Jewel Changi Airport is ready for its public unveiling.

Over the next six days, from 1pm on Thursday (April 11) to 10pm next Tuesday, about half a million people who had signed up for free preview tickets are expected to visit.

Jewel will open its doors to all from next Wednesday. Located next to Terminal 1, it is connected to T2 and T3 via air-conditioned travelators.

The $1.7 billion complex is an investment in Changi Airport’s future and Singapore’s continued success as an aviation and tourism hub in an increasingly competitive environment.

Mr Lee Seow Hiang, chairman of Jewel Changi Airport and Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday: “Jewel Changi Airport is a valuable addition to Singapore’s world-class tourism attractions and aviation facilities.

“We look forward to welcoming the world to Jewel, whether they are travelling to or through Singapore.”

Jewel’s highlights include a 40m-tall indoor waterfall and a five-storey garden with 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs.

There are more than 280 shops and food and beverage outlets, including famous New York burger chain Shake Shack (to open next Wednesday) and American fast-food chain A&W, which will re-enter the Singapore market after more than 10 years.

The first Pokemon Centre outside of Japan is located at Jewel, a joint venture between CAG and CapitaLand.

The 135,700 sq m complex will also offer play attractions as well as a hotel and aviation facilities.

To be available from June 10, the attractions include a 50m-long suspended bridge, with a glass floor that will allow visitors to look down at the greenery below; a 250m-long bouncing net, which at its highest point will be suspended 8m or three storeys above the ground; and other highlights such as mazes and slides.

When Jewel opens, travellers will be able to access an early check-in lounge serving passengers of 26 airlines, including Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot.

This will cover 60 per cent of all traffic at the airport and will be open from 6am to midnight daily. There will also be facilities for all travellers to store their hand luggage round-the-clock.

This will allow travellers to have a worry-free experience while they shop, dine, relax and play to make the most of their time before flying out of Singapore, said Jewel Changi Airport.

Those flying through Singapore will have to exit the transit area to visit Jewel and check in again before their next flight.

They don’t need to check in their bags again if their airlines offer the early check-in service.

Otherwise, they can deposit their bags while they tour Jewel and pick them up when they are done.

Ms Hung Jean, chief executive of Jewel Changi Airport, said: “The unique proposition of world-class shopping and dining, seamlessly integrated with lush greenery, fulfils the needs of increasingly discerning travellers for a meaningful and experiential journey, even for brief layovers.”

Jewel will also house the first YotelAir property in Asia, with 130 cabins that can be booked for a minimum of four hours; for short daytime layovers or overnight stays.

Mr Lee Chee Koon, president and group chief executive officer of CapitaLand Group, said: “The combined catchment of residents and Changi Airport’s growing passenger traffic makes Jewel a compelling proposition to draw international brands to Singapore and empower homegrown retailers to connect with a global audience.”

Jewel is designed by a consortium led by Safdie Architects, helmed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who also came up with Marina Bay Sands.

Mr Safdie said: “Jewel Changi Airport juxtaposes the centre of being in nature and enjoying a vibrant marketplace, dramatically extending the concept of airport to serve as an urban centre, engaging travellers, visitors, and residents, echoing Singapore’s reputation as ‘The City in the Garden’.”

Traffic ‘big brother’ uses humor to discipline motorists | The Jakarta Post

Indonesia


“Good evening, welcome to the Pasteur Crossroad. To akang, who is carrying a helmet-less passenger, if you love her please give her a helmet. To teteh, please just leave the vehicle if you don’t have a helmet with you. Please look for a person who cares more about you.”

The voice of an officer at the Area Traffic Control System (ATCS) of the Bandung Transportation Agency reverberated around the Pasteur Crossroad in Bandung, West Java. Two motorists on a blue vespa scooter immediately knew that they were the ones being spoken to by the officer. The teteh, Sundanese for sister, then left the akang, Sundanese for brother, and took an ojek (motorcycle taxi), who gave her a proper and safe helmet.

The officer was not on the street but rather was watching road users via CCTV cameras installed at the intersection. Remotely, some officers would reprimand people with humor, to remind them of good traffic etiquette and safety.

Several cities have installed CCTV cameras to monitor traffic behavior, a concept sometimes called “big brother”, a term for remote surveillance from George Orwell’s novel 1984.

The scene was recorded and uploaded on the official Instagram account of the agency @atcs.kotabandung. Paired with a sad oldie number, “Hati yang Luka” from famous singer Betharia Sonata, the video has gained more than 16,000 likes from amused internet users.

The post, which was uploaded on recently, gained many comments, mostly praising the comedic manner in which the officers disciplined the motorists.

Instagram account @nafis_mahmudi said “Honey, this is why I told you to always use a helmet whether we drive near or far, because I love you and care about your safety on the road, my beloved wife @novyparwati20.

Another user, @ichalmu1n asked West Java Governor Ridwan “Emil” Kamil to give the social media admin a raise.

The same account uploaded a video of an ATCS officer telling a motorcycle passenger, who was not wearing a standardized helmet, to leave the vehicle.

“You are not wearing an SNI (Indonesia National Standard) helmet, Sir. You are wearing a PUBG helmet!” the officer said on the speaker, making the other motorists laugh.

Outside of Bandung, the transportation agency in Medan, North Sumatra, has also made a humorous contribution, uploading funny videos of officers telling personal life lessons over the speakers to encourage violators to change their behavior — either by putting on their helmets or stopping at crosswalks.

In one video, an officer from the Medan Transportation Agency tells motorists to stop before the crosswalk, and also addresses a man who is eating an ice cream while driving his motorbike. “Finish your ice cream first before continuing your journey. We don’t want anything bad to happen to you,” she said in a caring manner.

The video, which was uploaded on Mar. 16 has gained more than 29,000 likes and many supportive replies.

Instagram user @malaysian_and_proud said “The CCTV operator is so sweet. I love her voice. She should do more videos!”

via Traffic ‘big brother’ uses humor to discipline motorists – National – The Jakarta Post

Deadly blaze at Bangkok shopping complex – BBC News

Bankock

At least two people have died after a fire broke out at a major Bangkok shopping centre complex on Wednesday.

The fire, which has now been brought under control, reportedly started on the building’s eighth floor at about 17:40 local time (10:40 GMT).

At least one of those who died had fallen from the building, local reports and witnesses say.

Videos on social media showed hundreds of Thais evacuating from the large shopping complex.

Other clips showed emergency services struggling to get through gridlocked rush-hour traffic to get to the scene.

At least 17 people have also been also injured, the Erawan Medical Emergency centre told AFP.

The cause of the fire has not been confirmed.

Bangkok’s governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, told a Wednesday night news conference that an investigation into the blaze would start on Thursday.

He also said the building would remain closed until deemed safe by officials.

On their Facebook page, CentralWorld said (in Thai) that the fire was brought under control about 30 minutes after it started.

The shopping centre’s website describes it as the largest lifestyle shopping destination in Bangkok.

It is also said to be as the 11th largest complex of its kind in the world.

via CentralWorld: Deadly blaze at Bangkok shopping complex – BBC News

Rolls-Royce agrees to early inspection of problematic Trent engines

Rolls Royce

(Reuters) – Rolls-Royce has agreed to an early inspection of some Trent 1000 TEN engines by regulatory authorities, a week after Singapore Airlines Ltd grounded two Boeing Co 787-10 jets fitted with the units.

The latest version of the Trent engine has been dogged by problems since entering service at the end of 2017. According to Rolls-Royce, by late February 35 787s had been grounded globally due to engine blades corroding or cracking prematurely.

“This blade deterioration is a known issue but it is occurring faster than we expected on some engines,” Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce President for Civil Aerospace, said on Wednesday.

The accelerated inspection regime will allow Rolls-Royce to confirm the health of the more than 180 engines in service over the next few months.

Shares in Rolls-Royce were trading down 0.5 percent by 0751 GMT, underperforming the wider FTSE 100 index.

Singapore Airlines grounded its two jets last week after engine checks showed premature blade deterioration.

Jefferies analysts said the affected engines were being operated on routes to Japan, Korea and Thailand, meaning they had a relatively high take-off and landing cycle.

In February, Rolls-Royce allocated another 100 million pounds to fix the engine problems and raised a related accounting charge to 790 million pounds ($1.03 billion) from 554 million pounds six months earlier, contributing to a full-year operating loss of 1.16 billion pounds.

However, on Wednesday, the company reiterated its current guidance for in-service cash costs on the Trent 1000 in 2019 and 2020.

Rolls-Royce engineers have been developing and testing an enhanced version of the engine blades, which the company said it expects to start incorporating in the engines early next year.

The company said an airworthiness directive would be issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Rolls-Royce, which makes engines for large civil aircraft and military planes, is keen to avoid further problems with its Trent 1000 engine and last month dropped out of the race to power Boeing’s planned mid-market aircraft.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Kirsten Donovan

B-52 Bombers Conduct ‘Training ‘Mission’ With Japan Over East China Sea  | Zero Hedge

East China Sea 

Two Boeing B-52 long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bombers recently conducted an “integration training” mission with the U.S. Navy and the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) over the East China Sea. 
statement issued by the U.S. Pacific Air Force (PACAF) last month indicated that two B-52s departed from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, linked up with McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagles assigned to the Kadena Air Base in Japan. The mission was conducted on March 20. 
“Training missions and patrols of the contested waters are not unheard of, having become a regular exercise by American forces. The US’ use of bombers in the region has been going on for more than 10 years as part of its Continuous Bomber Presence, a mission Washington says is “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

In response to the U.S. led military exercise, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAF) conducted an exercise of their own, on March 30, with six Xian H-6 bombers, additional reconnaissance aircraft, and fighter jets, across the Miyako Strait, a waterway which lies between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island. 
The U.S. and Japan have routinely carried out air defense training missions in the East China Sea, home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. 


An estimated $5 trillion worth of global trade passes through the South China Sea annually. Beijing has repeatedly stressed that it’s willing to escalate war drills in the region to defend its territory. The threat has mostly be ignored by American forces, who continue to conduct military exercises in some of the world’s most disputed waters. 
Washington and Beijing have frequently unleashed a war of words over the militarization of the South China Sea, where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines all have competing economic claims.

B-52 Bombers Conduct ‘Training ‘Mission’ With Japan Over East China Sea  | Zero Hedge

ASEAN local currency deals – Editorial – The Jakarta Post

Indonesia and Philippines

The Philippines agreed last week to join the local currency settlement (LCS) framework — which Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia have operated over the past two years — in a bid to expand intra-ASEAN trade and investment as well as to strengthen the region’s economic integration.

The agreement between Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Bank Indonesia (BI), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) was signed on the sidelines of the ASEAN finance ministers and central bank governors meetings in Thailand last Friday. These initiatives are part of continuous efforts to promote the wider use of local currencies to facilitate and boost trade as well as investment in these countries.

But BSP has yet to appoint banks from the Philippines to join the six others in Indonesia, including three state-owned banks, as well as five each in Malaysia and Thailand to facilitate the easier implementation of trade transactions through the LCS framework.

Deep Markets

It is worth pointing out that promoting the use of local currencies will only work if the transaction costs involved in changing one local currency to another are low enough to be worthwhile. This involves setting up direct exchange markets between various major currencies, as well as ensuring that there is sufficient liquidity and turnover.

Most importantly is that an efficient currency exchange market among the four currencies has to be developed to encourage businesses to use the LCS framework.

The 10 ASEAN countries have been integrating more in terms of trade and as the share of inter regional trade has steadily increased the region is, however, still heavily reliant on the US dollar for trade and investment transactions. It is the dominant currency not only for invoicing and settlements in inter regional transactions, but also as the reference currency for exchange rate policies and as a reserve currency. This is because ASEAN does not have a common currency such as the euro.

Which is fantastic -Ed

But the dominance of the dollar is not because people are forced to denominate their transactions in the greenback, but because it has lower risks and low transaction costs. Yet more noteworthy are the much lower exchange rate spreads for bank transfers between the dollar and most local currencies in the region.

But recent financial crises, however, have highlighted the risks of such an over dependence on the US dollar, because a sudden shortage in its liquidity can affect ASEAN economies irrespective of their creditworthiness. In addition, ASEAN currencies’ asymmetric response to dollar fluctuations, which has been observed during crisis periods in the past, can have a negative impact on production networks looking to expand in the region.

Therefore, promoting the use of local currencies can be a first step in enhancing the role of ASEAN currencies and in reducing the risks of over reliance on the dollar.

The availability and reliability of data related to invoice/settlement currencies in the region also need to be improved. Such data disclosures make for good information, particularly for small and medium enterprises, which are starting to participate in cross-border transactions.

via ASEAN local currency deals – Editorial – The Jakarta Post

Asia doesn’t need a common currency like the Euro as it could lead to the same problems like in the European Union with debtor nations being held hostage like Greece was during its financial turmoil, just, a reliable way to benchmark rates of exchange with each others currency based on real world economics and capital flows outside of USD settlement .

However, I cant help but think the IMF and the World Bank will come out with an Instrument based on a basket of ASEAN currency’s under the BASIL 3. This hypothetical instrument could then be used not only as reserve for central banks but also facilitate the deepening of the existing markets through external participation  

I did have a look at a research paper which tackles BASIL 3 and ASEAN capital requirements from moodys but its from way back in 2014. It is interesting how they view the different countries and worth a read if your that way inclined. 

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Basel-III-capital-requirements-in-ASEAN-and-India-are–PR_296108

 

Boeing sued by shareholders over 737 MAX crashes, disclosure | Reuters

Reuters

Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew on Tuesday as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg and Chief Financial Officer Gregory Smith were also named as defendants.

Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers had no immediate comment.

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE , while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

Richard Seeks, the lead plaintiff, said Boeing’s compromises began to emerge after the Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 onboard, five months after the Lion Air crash killed 189.

Seeks said he bought 300 Boeing shares in early March, and sold them at a loss within the last two weeks. The lawsuit seeks damages for Boeing stock investors from Jan. 8 to March 21.

Shareholders often file lawsuits accusing companies of securities fraud for concealing material negative information that causes the stock price to decline upon becoming public.

Chicago-based Boeing faces many other lawsuits over the crashes, including by victims’ families and by participants in its employee retirement plans.

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

The case is Seeks v Boeing Co et al, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 19-02394.

via Boeing shareholders sue over 737 MAX crashes, disclosures – Business – The Jakarta Post

Deadly Super-fungus Candida auris kills in Spore

SINGAPORE

At least three people in Singapore were found to be infected with Candida auris, a deadly drug-resistant fungus that has been spreading worldwide.

bed in hospital ward

One patient recovered, another left Singapore against medical advice, and the last died.

Last July, Dr Tan Yen Ee and Associate Professor Tan Ai Ling from the Singapore General Hospital’s department of microbiology reported the cases in a letter to local medical journal Annals.

C. auris is resistant to major anti-fungal medications and is especially deadly for patients with compromised immune systems, the New York Times reported.

According to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, it kills about half of all patients who contract it within 90 days.

The first case in Singapore was detected in a 52-year-old Singapore-born woman who suffered several limb fractures following a traffic accident in India in 2012.

She was treated at an Indian hospital and later transferred to a hospital here for further treatment.

The fungus and other organisms were detected in her fractured right thigh bone, or femur. She was given several medications, including antibiotics and an antifungal medication called fluconazole.

The fungus was later found to be resistant to fluconazole, but the patient was not given other antifungal drugs as she was recovering well and was later discharged.

The second case involved a 24-year-old Bangladeshi man who came to Singapore for medical treatment in 2016. He had been admitted to three hospitals in Bangladesh for a metastatic carcinoma, a type of cancer. He was given chemotherapy in Singapore but was later found to have fluconazole-resistant C. auris in his bloodstream.

Another antifungal called anidulafungin, which was effective against the fungus, was prescribed. However, the man later returned to Bangladesh against medical advice after just 10 days of treatment here.

The last case involved a 69-year-old American man who suffered an infection that exacerbated his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung disease) while touring Bangladesh in late 2016.

The man was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Bangladesh, where he was treated with antibiotics, and was transferred to Singapore in early 2017. He suffered further complications, including cardiac arrest. C. auris was later found in his blood.

No anti fungal treatment was given following discussions with the patient’s family. He was given palliative care and eventually died.

According to another report on 9th by the straits times….

There were 11 isolated cases of Candida auris infections at public hospitals here since 2012 but no outbreak was reported, a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman said on Tuesday (April 9) in response to queries.

Two of the patients found to be infected with the antifungal-resistant germ died while the other nine recovered.

Three patients, including one of the two patients who died, were treated at the Singapore General Hospital between 2012 and 2017, it said on Monday.

The MOH spokesman said: “The cases were immediately isolated and contact tracing conducted by the hospitals had not identified any disease spread. The patients’ rooms were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to remove the fungus.”

Healthcare institutions here have measures in place to prevent and control healthcare-related infections, including C. auris, and are required to report any outbreaks, but no outbreak was reported, the spokesman said.

The spokesman added that public hospitals are also required to isolate infected patients when necessary and to adequately disinfect equipment and the environment of the infected patients.

Although C. auris infection is not a legally notifiable disease here, it has been included in an updated list of pathogens for the public health laboratory surveillance programme since last year.

This was done to “enable a coordinated and broad-based response to infectious threats of public health importance,” the spokesman said.

C. auris infects individuals who are severely ill, or have compromised immunity, said the spokesman.

“As such individuals are typically hospitalised, it is unsurprising that C. auris cases have been found in hospital settings.”

The spokesman added that the risk of infection among healthy individuals is “very low”.

The New York Times, in a front page report on Sunday on C. auris, quoted the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that nearly half of the patients who contract the infection die within 90 days.

The fungus can spread through direct contact with an infected person, or through contact with a contaminated environment, equipment or other surfaces.

While C. auris is resistant to some antifungal drugs, it is susceptible to others that can be used to treat it.

The cases seen at SGH were treated with a class of antifungal drugs known as echinocandin and the contaminated environments were disinfected with ultraviolet C rays and hydrogen peroxide vapour.

“Early detection of patients infected with C. auris, as well as good infection prevention and control practices, such as meticulous hand hygiene and environmental disinfection, can prevent its spread,” the spokesman said.

Initial reports were picked up on Asia One and you can find them here 

How Brexit Plays Into China’s Hands | Bad Brexit Deal | China Uncensored

China Uncensored

Brexit is nigh. And like your standard divorce, Britain splitting up with the European Union is bound to be partly painful. But one country that’s looking forward to spinning all that hurt in its favor is China. That’s because the CCP’s strategy in Europe is all about divide and conquer, and undercutting Europe’s ability to resist Chinese infiltration with a united front. And Huawei 5G might be at the forefront.

Landslide kills five diamond miners in South Kalimantan – National – The Jakarta Post

Indonesia

South Kalimantan

A joint search and rescue team has rescued two miners and recovered five dead bodies after a landslide hit an artisanal diamond mine in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the incident happened on Monday afternoon in Sei Pumpung village. The landslide was caused by unstable soil conditions mixed with sand and gravel, due to heavy rain that has been pouring down since Monday morning.

When the landslide hit, seven miners were working at the site, with two being in the upper section of the mine and the remainder in the lower section.

“The two survivors, identified as Ardi and Ipul, were working in the upper section, while the five dead miners were in the lower part of the mine. They all come from nearby villages,” Sutopo said in a statement on Tuesday.

The joint rescue and search team immediately conducted a rescue operation after the landslide hit. The operation ended at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, despite it being hindered by heavy rain and wind as well as the muddy ground.

The bodies of the dead miners have been handed over to their respective families to be buried, Sutopo said.

He added that similar incidents were a common occurrence, which had claimed the lives of many local residents. “This might be caused by the way residents mine the diamond.”

“Banjarbaru should address the issue by preparing mitigation efforts, which includes development planning in the area. The administration initially planned to turn the area into a tourist destination, but the plan was hindered by land acquisition from residents,” Sutopo said.

via Landslide kills five diamond miners in South Kalimantan – National – The Jakarta Post

Just so you have an idea of whats involved…

Protesters warn of Chinese ‘invasion’ of Philippines – SE Asia – The Jakarta Post

Philippines

Protesters descended on the Chinese embassy in Manila on Tuesday to oppose the Asian superpower’s growing sway in the Philippines and as tensions rise over Beijing’s presence in the disputed South China Sea.

Filipino flag-waving marchers chanted “China out” and brandished a banner saying “Defend our sovereign rights”, referring to Beijing’s expansive claims to the resource-rich waterway.

“The government headed by President (Rodrigo) Duterte is not responding. What China is doing is almost an invasion,” marcher Alex Legaspi, a 53-year-old teacher, told AFP.

While Duterte has largely set aside the once-heated territorial standoff over the sea, tensions have flared since hundreds of Chinese vessels appeared recently near the Manila-held Pag-asa (Thitu) island.

The Philippines called the boats’ presence “illegal” and Duterte has threatened China with possible military action if it touches the island.

However, the president has repeatedly said war with China would be futile and he has no intention of getting into a conflict with the rising power he has courted for trade and investment.

Duterte has been criticised at home as being too eager to grow ties with Beijing, and giving up too much leverage on the South China Sea issue.

Meanwhile, the United States has moved to boost its relationship with long-time ally and former colony the Philippines.

A small group of policemen monitored the protesters, who numbered around 1,000 according to journalists on the scene. The marchers dispersed peacefully after the demonstration.

Protesters also voiced simmering unease over the terms Chinese loans for infrastructure in the Philippines, including a massive dam-building project.

China is poised to loan some $210 million toward the construction of the Kaliwa Dam, a project that has been delayed for years and would fill gaps in the Philippines’ chronic need for infrastructure.

“We cannot allow… China to control Filipinos and the Philippines’ sovereignty,” Wilma Quierrez, 53, member of indigenous rights group told AFP.

“The loan agreement signed by (Chinese President) Xi Jinping and President Duterte will send us into debt trap,” she added.

via Protesters warn of Chinese ‘invasion’ of Philippines – SE Asia – The Jakarta Post

Japan Grounds F-35 Fleet After Jet Disappears From Radar Over Pacific

JAPAN

It appears that its ‘s turn to bask in the aviation spotlight for a little while

Earlier today, a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter jet with one pilot on board unexpectedly disappeared from radar while on a training mission over the Pacific on Tuesday night, Kyodo reported citing the defense ministry. The fighter jet went missing at around 7:27 p.m. (1027 GMT) as it was flying 135 km (84 miles) east of Misawa in northeastern Japan, a ministry spokeswoman said.

It was not immediately clear if it had crashed, the spokesperson said, adding: “We are still trying to search for the aircraft.”

The fate of the pilot was also not immediately clear.

According to Japan’s NHK, the plane lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from Misawa Air Base, and added that the Self-Defence Forces and coastguard dispatched vessels to carry out rescue operations, NHK added.

What is embarrassing, is that according to the Defense Report, Japan’s first F-35A fighter squadron based at Misawa became operational on March 29.

As a result of the unexplained, and first ever, disappearance of the stealth fighter, Kyodo also reports that Japan will ground its entire fleet of F-35s until there is more clarity on what happened today.

via Japan Grounds F-35 Fleet After Jet Disappears From Radar Over Pacific | Zero Hedge

Immigration lockdown at Bali airport after IT struggles

A reported IT glitch at the immigration department has sent Bali’s international airport into chaos, with commuters saying they have been stranded for hours on end while the situation is resolved.

Nine News said that hundreds of Australians, and possibly up to 2000 people in total, had been caught in long delays, with some waiting for up to five hours.

Reports from Indonesian news publications say the airport’s traffic has increased nearly 5 per cent since this time last year. With almost 24 million passengers last year, it is the second busiest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

One passenger interviewed by Nine said she had spent as much time waiting at the airport as she had travelling to Bali from Perth.

A spokeswoman from Qantas said their flight arrivals had not been affected by the delays.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said there were “no dramas” with their most recent flights, and they did not expect any issues with their next flights into Bali, which were expected to land at midnight (AEST).

via Immigration lockdown at Bali airport after IT struggles

Computer apparently said Tidak  -Ed

Malaysia firm on repeal of Anti-Fake News Act, Dr Mahathir – AsiaOne

Malaysia

Malaysia stands firm over repeal of Anti-Fake News Act: Mahathir – ASIA ONE

Malaysia will stick by its decision to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act and will not follow its neighbor Singapore in bid to tackle “online falsehoods”.

While acknowledging that fake news can be damaging, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the onus is on the country and its people to manage the spread of such material.

“We made a promise to the people that we would do away with the Anti-Fake News law. That is what the people wanted and we respect the people who voted us into power.

“We understand how social media can be abused. For us, that means we have to learn how to handle fake news,”

said Dr Mahathir in a question-and-answer session during a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong here Tuesday (April 9).

The press conference was held following Lee’s visit to Putrajaya as part of the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Annual Retreat.

Both leaders were asked for their comments on Singapore’s proposed Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (Pofma).

Dr Mahathir added that having such a law would open it for abuse by the government.

“When you have a law to prevent people from airing views, then we are afraid that the government itself may abuse it, as has happened in the past.

“We do not want any government, whether this or the next one, to abuse such law.

“It (fake news) may be difficult to handle, but we can accept the challenge and will handle it,” said Dr Mahathir.

Lee defended his government’s decision to introduce the Bill, despite criticisms from groups such as Reporters Without Borders.

“It is not just Singapore who is legislating this. France and Germany have done it. Australia introduced something similar and very draconian. Singapore has had to do it, and we have deliberated it for almost two years.

“I am not surprised Reporters Without Borders have criticized it, as they have criticized many things about Singapore’s media management.

“But what we have done has worked in Singapore, and it is our objective to continue to do things which will work for Singapore,” said Lee.

The Anti-Fake News Act was passed in April during the previous administration.

The present Pakatan Harapan government then pushed for a repeal for the Act in Parliament.

Although the repeal was passed in the Dewan Rakyat, it was rejected by the Dewan Negara in September.

MAZWIN NIK ANIS & JOSEPH KAOS JR

via Malaysia stands firm over repeal of Anti-Fake News Act: Mahathir, Malaysia News – AsiaOne

Mild correction to some published typos….Very promising to see this type of maturity in policy  – Ed

China’s Special Forces To Station In Zimbabwe, Build Secret Underground Base To Protect Natural Resource Claims | Zero Hedge

Zimbabwe

Spotlight Zimbabwe has reported that China is preparing to station elite special forces in Zimbabwe, as Beijing increases military cooperation with Harare, amid concerns that the Asian powerhouse is set to construct a secret underground military base in the country.

The new report comes one year after Spotlight Zimbabwe revealed that China installed next-generation surface-to-air missiles (SAM) in the country, the same ones that are deployed to the South China Sea on Woody Island.

China’s new military base is set to protect its large diamond claims and gold mines across the country, where some of its SAM launchers are already located.

According to a former minister of ex-leader President Robert Mugabe’s administration, China has been planning on sending their special forces to the country since 2014 “to offer technical assistance and support” to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). However, Mugabe called off the plan several years ago, after accusing the Chinese of corruption, and the plunder of natural resources in Marange.

“They (China) have been itching to set a permanent military presence in this country, to protect their vast economic interests here but Mugabe was resisting the overtures,” said the former cabinet minister. “Although the cover argument was around offering technical assistance and support to our armed forces, it later became clear that Mnangagwa had his own agreement and arrangements with China. This infuriated Mugabe, and it was also during the same period Mnangagwa had first traveled to China as vice president, holding high-level meetings which his boss had not fully been briefed on. The incident increased Mugabe’s political mistrust for Mnangagwa, whom he suspected was presenting himself to President Xi Jinping, as the best political actor to secure China’s investments in Zimbabwe after he steps down. The rest is history. Mnangagwa has since invited China back to mine diamonds in Marange, and their special force has received the greenlight from vice president Rtd General, Constatino Chiwenga, to find a station in the country. Now there is every reason to believe that Mugabe’s November 2017 ouster, could have been a result of China viewing his stay in power as a threat to their economic investments, especially after having stripped them of diamond mining rights.”

Zimbabwe has seen billions of dollars of Chinese investments over the last few years, mainly in critical economic sectors of mining, agriculture, and telecommunications. The investments are part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious effort to improve regional economies on a trans-continental scale. It aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment between China and 65 other countries that collectively account for 30% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 62% of world population and 75% of known global energy reserves.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said last month that BRI is a significant improvement of the old Silk Road.

“In the past, there was the Silk Road, and that to a greater extent did not embrace the entire continent. Zimbabwe was only lucky to the extent that 800 to 1000 years ago there was trade between the Munhumutapa Kingdom and China when we imported porcelain and silk from here and in turn you got our ivory.

“But today the Road and Belt Initiative has taken everybody on board so that our economies can talk to each other, so that our economies can help each other modernize and mechanize. We are getting connected and benefiting from each other.

“If you look at the current FOCAC meeting, there are 10 issues that we are going to deal with and these issues are really primary issues that show developing countries like Zimbabwe.

“The issue of transportation, the issue of infrastructure development in our countries . . . we believe that with this relationship under FOCAC where the rest of Africa is making conversations with China, and China helping Zimbabwe and Africa to go up. And when that happens it creates the integration of marketing in China and Africa so we are happy that we are part of this global vision,” he said.

China has indicated that it will invest in Africa with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, as well as the development strategies of individual African countries.

However, in Zimbabwe’s case, Chinese BRI investments have been followed by a permanent military presence. Now, allegedly, a secret underground military base for special forces is set to be constructed, a move that will certainly anger Washington.

via China’s Special Forces To Station In Zimbab

we, Build Secret Underground Base To Protect Natural Resource Claims | Zero Hedge