Archive | December, 2014

LIVE: Indonesian sonar finds AirAsia`s Flight QZ8501 at bottom of Java sea

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LIVE: Indonesian sonar finds AirAsia`s Flight QZ8501 at bottom of Java sea

Posted on 31 December 2014 by GGS News

Indonesia, 31 Dec : Families of people aboard AirAsia Flight QZ8501 have been briefed by officials that sonar technology has “spotted the plane on sea floor,” a relative of some of the passengers told CNN on Wednesday. The man, who said he lost seven relatives and friends on the flight, told CNN that families are still wanting and expecting regular and full updates from authorities.
[Breaking news update 10:55 p.m. ET]
Indonesian searchers using sonar equipment have located wreckage from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 at the bottom of the Java Sea, a search and rescue official told CNN on Wednesday. At the moment, they still don’t know if it’s in one piece or broken up, said the official, Hernato, who goes by one name.
[Full story]
Indonesian searchers say sonar equipment has detected wreckage from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 at the bottom of the sea, a day after the first signs of debris were spotted.
It’s still unclear whether the aircraft is in one piece or broken up, said Hernato, a search and rescue official who goes by one name.
The grim discovery Tuesday of parts of the missing plane and several bodies on the surface of the sea dealt a heartbreaking blow to families whose loved ones were lost.Debris was found 100-200 kilometers (60-120 miles) from the aircraft’s last known location over the Java Sea, Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said.
Six bodies — three men and three women — have been recovered from the water so far, Indonesian search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said Wednesday. One of the females found was wearing a flight attendant’s uniform, Soelistyo said.Search teams are looking for other bodies and parts of the plane, including its so-called black boxes. Those could help investigators determine what went wrong on the flight, which lost contact with air traffic controllers on Sunday with 162 people aboard.
Sonar equipment has been searching the bottom of the sea, tens of meters below the water’s surface, according to SB Supriyadi, the search agency’s director of operations.
Dozens of ambulances were lined up in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, ready to carry any bodies recovered.
The search isn’t easy; heavy wind and rain, as well as big waves, are hampering efforts, officials said.
Families’ anguish
As families watched a live news conference Tuesday about the discovery of the debris and saw video of a helicopter lowering a diver to what appeared to be a floating body, some people fainted. Stretchers were brought into the room.
Family members burst into tears, dabbing their eyes as officials passed out tissues. Some sat with their eyes full of tears, hands covering their mouths or heads buried in their hands. Others had phones jammed against their ears.
“Everyone became hysterical, especially the mothers. One mother even blacked out,” said Maria Endang Wirasmi, whose daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were on the flight.Her husband, Imam Sampurno, said he was relieved the plane had been found.
“We hope that our children will be saved by a miracle,” he said.
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes told reporters he hoped there was “at least some closure” for families.
“My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501,” he tweeted. “On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am.”
Flight 8501 was operated by AirAsia’s Indonesian affiliate.
Military crew spotted an object’s shadow
Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, said the debris was discovered when a crew on a military aircraft spotted the shadow of an object that looked like a plane in the water off the coast of Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province on Borneo.
Further searching found floating objects believed to be the bodies of passengers, and then what appeared to be an emergency exit of the plane. Officials sent other search teams racing to the area.
Several nations are contributing resources to the effort, including the United States. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Sampson arrived Tuesday.
The USS Fort Worth is also being prepared to deploy from Singapore, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said. It “can be ready to sail in a day or two to get on station and can be there very quickly,” he said.
The United States is also preparing maritime patrol aircraft that could help, he said.
The flight, which was lost Sunday on its way to Singapore, was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members. The overwhelming majority were Indonesians. There were also citizens of Britain, France, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.
Search and rescue teams are diverting all their resources to where the debris is, in the Karimata Strait, about 110 nautical miles southwest of the Indonesian city of Pangkalan Bun, AirAsia said.Unanswered questions
Fernandes said the focus for now must remain on the recovery effort, and no sweeping changes were planned for the airline, which has 1,000 flights a day. “But rest assured,” he said, that once the investigation is done, if “there are things we need to change, that we will change it.”
The Airbus A320-200 lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday shortly after the pilot requested permission to turn and climb to a higher altitude because of bad weather, according to Indonesian officials.
Authorities mounted a huge effort to find the aircraft, mapping out a search zone covering 156,000 square kilometers.
Questions remain about why Flight 8501 lost contact with air traffic control and what happened afterward.
Some experts have said the aircraft might have experienced an aerodynamic stall because of a lack of speed or from flying at too sharp an angle to get enough lift.
Analysts have also suggested the pilots might not have been getting information from onboard systems about the plane’s position or that rain or hail from thunderstorms in the area could have damaged the engines.
The key to understanding what happened is likely to be contained in the aircraft’s flight recorders.
“Until we get the black boxes, we won’t know what’s going on with the engines,” said Bill Savage, a former pilot with 30 years of experience.

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Daily Hukamnama- 31 Dec 2014

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Daily Hukamnama- 31 Dec 2014

Posted on 31 December 2014 by GGS News

Soohee, Fourth Mehl, Seventh House: One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru: Which, which of Your Glorious Virtues should I sing and recount, Lord? You are my Lord and Master, the treasure of excellence. I cannot express Your Glorious Praises. You are my Lord and Master, lofty and benevolent. ||1|| The Name of the Lord, Har, Har, is my only support. If it pleases You, please save me, O my Lord and Master; without You, I have no other at all. ||1||Pause|| You alone are my strength, and my Court, O my Lord and Master; unto You alone I pray. There is no other place where I can offer my prayers; I can tell my pains and pleasures only to You. ||2|| Water is locked up in the earth, and fire is locked up in wood. The sheep and the lions are kept in one place; O mortal, meditate on the Lord, and your doubts and fears shall be removed. ||3|| So behold the glorious greatness of the Lord, O Saints; the Lord blesses the dishonored with honor. As dust rises from underfoot, O Nanak, so does the Lord make all people fall at the feet of the Holy.||4||1||12||

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘not a genius, not so smart’: Obama

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘not a genius, not so smart’: Obama

Posted on 30 December 2014 by GGS News

Washington, 30 DEC : (BBC) President Barack Obama has said Vladimir Putin made a “strategic mistake” when he annexed Crimea, in a move that was “not so smart”.Those thinking his Russian counterpart was a “genius” had been proven wrong by Russia’s economic crisis, he said.International sanctions had made Russia’s economy particularly vulnerable to changes in oil price, Mr Obama said.He also refused to rule out opening a US embassy in Iran soon.

“I never say never but I think these things have to go in steps” he told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in the Oval Office.’Reliant on oil’
Mr Obama was giving a wide-ranging interview with NPR shortly before leaving for Hawaii for his annual holiday.He criticised his political opponents who claimed he had been outdone by Russia’s president.

“You’ll recall that three or four months ago, everybody in Washington was convinced that President Putin was a genius and he had outmanoeuvred all of us and he had bullied and strategised his way into expanding Russian power,” he said.Today, I’d sense that at least outside of Russia, maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn’t so smart.”

Mr Obama argued that sanctions had made the Russian economy vulnerable to “inevitable” disruptions in oil price which, when they came, led to “enormous difficulties”.

“The big advantage we have with Russia is we’ve got a dynamic, vital economy, and they don’t,” he said. “They rely on oil. We rely on oil and iPads and movies and you name it.”

Following a disputed referendum in Crimea, Russia unilaterally annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in March. It did so weeks after a revolution ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych.

The US, EU and other countries then implemented a series of economic sanctions against Russia.

The Russian currency has since lost half its value against the dollar and the economy has begun to contract.

Mr Obama also said that sending US troops to fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria would be counter-productive.

“If we do for others what they need to do for themselves – if we come in and send the Marines in to fight ISIL [IS], and the Iraqis have no skin in the game, then it’s not going to last,” he said.

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Man booked for damaging posters of Dera Sacha Sauda head’s film

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Man booked for damaging posters of Dera Sacha Sauda head’s film

Posted on 30 December 2014 by GGS News

MOGA, 30 DEC : A case has been registered against a man for allegedly damaging posters of an upcoming film that features Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, police said on Monday.

A case under various sections of IPC was registered in this connection last night against Ranjit Singh of Thathibhal village for damaging posters of the film, they said.

The posters were pasted on the wall of a grocery store here, whose owner Sarbjit Singh is a Dera follower, they said.

According to the complaint given by Singh, the accused first tore the posters and then set them on fire.

No arrests have been made so far and the matter is being probed, they said, police said.

The sect head has played the lead role in the film ‘Messenger of God’ which will release next month.

A week ago, two followers of the Sirsa-headquartered sect Dera Sacha Sauda were injured after they were allegedly attacked by a group of unidentified persons here when they objected to tearing of the film’s posters by them.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been in the line of fire from different Sikh organisations, including the top temporal seat of the Sikhs Sri Akal Takht, over the film.

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Amritsar colder than Shimla

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Amritsar colder than Shimla

Posted on 30 December 2014 by GGS News

A Fog File Photo.

Amritser, 30 DEC : (IANS) It was yet another bone-chilling day across northern India Monday, and the entire region remained blanketed under dense fog. Temperatures in many places in Jammu and Kashmir went below the freezing point, while cities like Amritsar and Karnal in the plains proved colder than hilly Shimla. New Delhi saw a cold and foggy Monday morning, with visibility dropping to less than 100 metres. The minimum temperature settled at 4.8 degrees Celsius. Sunday was the season’s coldest day at 2.6 degrees Celsius.
The Northern Railway said 78 trains coming into the capital were delayed while 20 trains departing from Delhi were rescheduled. The intense cold continued across Jammu and Kashmir, as Srinagar saw the minimum temperature of 4.1 degrees Celsius below the freezing point, Gulmarg minus 3.4 and Pahalgam a whopping minus 7 degrees. Leh town in the Ladakh region recorded a minimum of minus 15.4 degrees Celsius, while Jammu saw a low of 4.3. In Srinagar, frost made roads slippery, preventing motorists and two-wheel riders from venturing out, while surfaces of the city’s famed lakes froze, causing hardship to fishermen and boatmen. In the plains of Punjab, Amritsar was the coldest city in the region with the minimum at the freezing point. Ludhiana and Patiala in Punjab saw lows of 4.1 and 3.4 degrees, respectively. Chandigarh saw a low of three degrees Celsius, while in Haryana, Karnal (2.6), Ambala (3.7) and Hisar (3.1) were in the grip of an intense cold wave. Dense fog continued to disrupt normal life in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Hill stations across Himachal Pradesh Monday saw partly cloudy skies, but temperatures in most places remained at sub-zero levels. Shimla meteorological office director Manmohan Singh told IANS there were chances of snowfall across the state from Jan 3. Shimla – located around 7,000 feet above sea level – and the areas close to it were ‘warmer’ Monday compared to places in the neighbouring plains. The Himachal Pradesh capital recorded a low of 3.1 degrees Celsius, while Amritsar in Punjab was the coldest in the region registering mercury at the freezing point. Haryana’s Karnal (2.6) was also colder than Shimla. “It’s pleasant in Shimla. As we entered the hills, the mellow sunshine greeted us. What a relief,” said Abhishek Nayyar, a tourist from Chandigarh. “The chill in the plains is literally sending shivers down your spine,” his wife Shallu added. The desert state of Rajasthan continued to shiver in the grip of a cold wave Monday as dense fog affected normal life and led to delays in train services. Mercury plummeted to a record low of 3.4 degrees Celsius in state capital Jaipur, while the city of lakes Udaipur was equally cold at 3.2 degrees. Churu was the coldest in the plains at 0.6 degree, while Mount Abu, the only hill station in the state, was shivering at 0.5 degree. Most parts of Uttar Pradesh were Monday blanketed by dense fog which crippled rail and air transport. At least 25 people died during the weekend, taking the toll due to the extreme cold to 125. With temperatures in New Delhi reaching freezing levels, Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung instructed the authorities to set up tents below flyovers for the homeless and also asked the Delhi Metro to provide space for setting up more night shelters. Jung has allocated a sum of Rs.7 crore to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board in addition to the Rs.5 crore allocated recently. However, homeless people lamented lack of assistance from the government, and said they feel ignored and hoped the inclement weather shows mercy on them soon. “We are not getting any assistance from the government, not even shelter. Due to this, we are forced to live on the streets. We don’t have woollen clothes, hence we spend our nights shivering. Nobody is doing anything to make our life comfortable,” Rajiv Kumar, a homeless man living near Vasant Kunj, told IANS. It is estimated that there are around 67,000 to 150,000 homeless in the capital. According to a survey by NGO Centre for Holistic Development, at least 248 people have died of cold since the beginning of December. Despite these shelters, many homeless are not even aware of their existence and are wondering where they can hide in the chilly winter. “We are not getting any help from the government and there is no authority available to complain about the issue. We also don’t have proper clothes. Please tell us what should we do,” pleaded Anuj, a rickshaw puller. IANS

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Indian youth’s company top seller of silicon wrist band in US

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Indian youth’s company top seller of silicon wrist band in US

Posted on 30 December 2014 by GGS News

Washington, 30 DEC : A technology company founded by an Indian-American at the age of 19 has emerged as the largest online seller of silicon wrist band in the US.Mumbai-born and Houston-raised Azim Makanojiya founded Wrist-Band.com when he was a full-time student attending the University of Houston and was also financially supporting his family.
After just one year in business, Wrist-Band.com pulled in over USD 6.9 million, a statement said.
It was at a trade show in China where the silicone bracelets caught the attention of Makanojiya.
“I was amazed by how much one could customise the product,” Makanojiya said in a statement.
“There was not a single site in the US where individuals could tailor bands online. So I created a site that gave the customer the freedom to decorate a band anyway they liked,” he added.
Take the popular LIVESTRONG wristbands idea, make them customisable and deliver them to the hands of consumers, he said.
From molding and tooling to identifying product demand through AdWords, Makanojiya thoroughly researched every anticipated aspect of the business.
Starting with a limited budget, Makanojiya was challenged with running a separate business and managing a new venture.
“At that time, it was just a startup. I still had to maintain my original business, which was a pretty good chunk of my family income,” Makanojiya explained.
“My family was not financially well and they relied on my income. That was the dilemma. Should I focus more on the startup or on what I was currently doing?” he said.
Before a platform was developed Makanojiya and his two-men team were taking orders over the phone, jotting them down on an order sheet that they created and submitting orders every night.
The small idea evolved into one of the fastest growing promotional product manufacturers in the industry.
“The only reason that this could happen at a very fast pace, from my point of view, was because we had the drive,” Makanojiya said.
In 2011, they were inducted into the prestigious elite inc 500 companies, coming in at number 31 and continues to be one of Houston’s fastest growing technology companies.
“The interesting part of our company is that we are not a manufacturing company. We tell everyone that we make wristbands but the beauty of our company is we are a technology company. We don’t have a single equipment that touches the product. If you order a product from us, we don’t touch it,” Makanojiya said.
“We’re a technology company and we’re basically providing that portal for you to place your order and get your products seamlessly,” he added.

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Rs 10 lakh reward for information on Bangalore blast, SIMI’s role being probed

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Rs 10 lakh reward for information on Bangalore blast, SIMI’s role being probed

Posted on 30 December 2014 by GGS News

Bengaluru, 30 DEC :Investigators are probing possible role of banned outfit SIMI in the terror attack outside a restaurant here that left a woman killed and three others injured, as NIA and police also explored different angles and government announced a raft of measures to beef up security, particularly in crowded areas like malls.
“There is a possibility,” said Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, when asked whether the men – said to be members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI – could have been involved in the blast in which one woman was killed.
As investigators pieced together the available leads on the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) triggered explosion, the National Investigation Agency began assisting the city police which sent out teams to Chennai and Pune where the bomb blasts had occurred in the past.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reviewed security situation with state Home Minister K J George and top police officials and announced further tightening of security, including installation of CCTVs in “vulnerable” places with dense movement of people such as malls, cinema halls and hotels.
Police on Monday also announced Rs 10 lakh reward for information about the person who planted the bomb that killed a woman and injured three others outside a restaurant here last night. “Yes, Rs 10 lakh reward has been announced for information  on the bomb planter,” DCP Central (Bengaluru) Sandeep Patil told PTI. 38-year old Bhavani, who was here from Chennai, was killed and her relative and two others injured when they were hit by shrapnels in the explosion of the IED hidden in a potted plant along the compound wall of the restaurant in the central business district that is teeming with people on weekends. “As you are aware, recently a few people belonging to SIMI had escaped from a jail in Madhya Pradesh and we have information that they had visited Karnataka, so police is looking at that angle also,” Siddaramaiah told reporters. Siddaramaiah said NIA and other central agencies were here and “we will keep constant contact with them and will seek all those assistance required, but investigation will be done by our police in coordination with them.”

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AirAsia LIVE: Jet hunt enters Day 3, Indonesia says smoke spotted

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AirAsia LIVE: Jet hunt enters Day 3, Indonesia says smoke spotted

Posted on 30 December 2014 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : 30 DEC : The news comes as international rescue teams resume the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501 on Tuesday morning, and families of those on board enter a third day of agony with little information to guide them.
A US official also confirmed earlier on Tuesday that America would be sending a USS Sampson destroyer to aid in the search for wreckage.
The plane, with 155 passengers and 7 crew on-board, has been missing since Sunday afternoon when it is believed to have flown into severe thunderstorms between Indonesia and its destination, Singapore.
Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said yesterday that the plane is most likely “at the bottom of the sea”.
However, the search is being extended onto land today, as well as in the Java Sea with Australia, along with Singapore and Malaysia, helping Indonesia with the search.
AirAsia’s fleet of jets were in the process of being upgraded with improved tracking technology, but the airline hadn’t yet modified the missing aircraft, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Herald Sun reports a Melbourne-based student was on-board the plane when it disappeared. Monash University student Kevin Alexander Soetjipto was travelling from Indonesia to Singapore with relatives when the plane vanished over the Java Sea.
Mr Soetjipto is from Malang in Indonesia and it is believed he was in Australia on a student visa.
The flight lost contact three minutes after a request to deviate from flight plan. Reports indicate there was no distress call from the flight.AS IT HAPPENED
AN AIRASIA jet with 162 people on board disappeared on Sunday while flying from western Indonesia to Singapore on a scheduled two-hour flight.
The last communication between the pilot of flight QZ8501 and Indonesian air traffic control was made at 6:12am.
Among the passengers were three South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and the UK. The rest were Indonesians. The co-pilot was French.
The pilot asked to turn left and climb to 11,582 metres to “avoid clouds”, according to Djoko Murjatmodjo, Indonesia’s acting director-general of transportation. Murjatmodjo said there was no distress signal from the cockpit.
The Jakarta Post reportsthe plane’s pilot, Captain Iriyanto, requested permission from air traffic control to turn left to avoid a storm.
The request was immediately granted. Iriyanto, 53, then requested to take the plane from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet.
According to AirNav safety and standard director Wisnu Darjono, Captain Iriyanto said: “Request to higher level”, to which the air traffic controller replied, “Intended to what level?”
The pilot stated he intended to rise to 38,000 feet but did not explain why he wished to fly higher, The Post reports.
Jakarta’s air traffic control contacted its counterpart at Changi International Airport to coordinate the request.
“It took us around two to three minutes to communicate with Singapore. We agreed to allow the plane to increase its height but only to 34,000 feet, because at that time AirAsia flight QZ8502 was flying at 38,000 feet,” Mr Darjono said.
“But when we informed the pilot of the approval at 6:14am, we received no reply.”
The plane was an Airbus A320-200. Mr Murjatmodjo said it is believed to have gone missing somewhere over the Java Sea between Tanjung Pandan on Belitung island and Pontianak, on Indonesia’s part of Borneo island.
Dense storm clouds were detected up to 13,400 metres in the same area at the time the plane was reported to have lost contact.
Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia are involved in the search and rescue operation.
Three Indonesian aircraft have been dispatched to the area, while Singapore’s air force and navy search with two C-130 planes.
Indonesia said 200 rescuers were deployed to the east side of Belitung island. The Australian Defence Force has deployed an AP-3C Orion Patrol Aircraft from Darwin to assist with the search.
STUDENT ON BOARDMelbourne-based student Kevin Alexander Soetjipto, is believed to have been travelling from Indonesia to Singapore when the plane vanished, according to The Herald Sun.
Mr Soetjipto is originally from Malang in Indonesia and it is believed he was in Australia on a student visa.
He is a student at Trinity College at the University of Melbourne on a foundation course and graduated in 2013 before embarking on a commerce course at Monash’s Clayton campus later that year. The course he is enrolled on at Monash is due to finish in 2015.
Posts on social media show Mr Soetjipto to be a fun-loving young man who had recently had a trip to New Zealand and enjoyed meals out with friends and trips to the beach.
“We are deeply saddened to learn this news in relation to one of our valued student community,” Monash spokeswoman Stacey Mair said last night.
“We will be offering counselling support to Kevin’s friends and fellow classmates.
“We offer our sincere thoughts and prayers to all of the families of those on-board the flight.”More details are emerging about the passengers and crew on-board the flight.
One of the flight attendants listed as being on the plane, Oscar Desano, had posted many eerie tweets earlier this year about the MH17 and MH370 disasters.
One read: “My deep condolences also for the (passengers’) family, may all the casualties rest in peace …”
In a post to his Twitter account on Christmas Eve, he wrote: “Merry Christmas to all my beautiful friends who celebrate it.”
Ari Putro Cahyono, a resident of Surabaya told media a misunderstanding forced him and nine family members to miss the flight.
Ari said that he and his family had arrived at Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, at 5:30am as the flight was originally scheduled to depart at 7:20am, but they later found out that the schedule had been changed to 5:20am.
“I did not read the email notifying the change of the departure schedule,” Ari reportedly told kompas.com.
They were offered a later flight but he refused when he learned of Flight QZ8501 had disappeared.
Another passenger, a bride-to-be, told reporters her fiance was on the flight and was meant to be enjoying his last holiday as a bachelor.
Louise Sidharta, 25, said Alain Oktavianus Siaun, 27, was on board with his parents and three brothers.
As concerned relatives began arriving at Surabaya Airport, officials posted a list of those on-board. Of the people on-board there were 138 adults, sixteen children and one infant.
AIR ASIA BOSS IN PAINThis morning, Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes thanked the people of Indonesia on Twitter for their support, and said today has been one of his “toughest days”.
Earlier, Mr Fernandes, thanked the Indonesia, Signapore and Malaysian governments for their support in the search.
“Our priority is looking after all the next of kin for my staff and passengers. We will do whatever we can,” he said. He conceded the airline had “no idea what went wrong” and described the incident as his “worst nightmare”.
The missing flight has come at a high price for the airline as shares in AirAsia slumped 12 per cent at the open but recovered slightly to close 8.5 per cent lower at 2.69 ringgit.
Meanwhile in Berlin, shares in Allianz have dropped 1.6 per cent after it emerged that Germany’s biggest insurance company was the lead reinsurer of the missing AirAsia airliner.On Sunday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had spoken to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and said Australia would do whatever “we humanly could” to assist.
The Australian Defence Force has deployed an AP-3C Orion Patrol Aircraft from Darwin to assist with the search.
Twelve navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and a number of warships are taking part in the search, along with ships and planes from Singapore and Malaysia, and Australia’s Orion.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade added anyone who had concerns about the welfare of their Australian family and friends should contact its 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135 (or +61 2 6261 3305 if calling from overseas).The disappearance of QZ8501 is the third major incident involving an Asian airline this year.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on March 8 with 239 passengers on board. It was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Despite an extensive search, no trace of the MH370 plane has yet been found.
Then in July, another Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over rebel-held Ukraine with 28 Australians among the 298 dead.
AirAsia is Malaysia’s low-cost airline based in Kuala Lumpur, however the missing jet is from the Indonesian subsidiary.
AirAsia changed its logos on social media from red to grey, after announcing the disappearance of QZ8501. Air Asia employs more than 15,000 people and, according to its website, carries 250 million passengers a year and operates 160 aircraft.
It has won the world’s best low cost airline award in the World Airline Survey by Skytrax since 2009.

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Chandigarh coldest at 2.3 C as cold wave continues in Punjab, Haryana

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Chandigarh coldest at 2.3 C as cold wave continues in Punjab, Haryana

Posted on 28 December 2014 by GGS News

Chandigarh, 28 Dec : (PTI) Union Territory Chandigarh recorded its coldest night of the season at 2.3 degrees Celsius as cold wave conditions continued to sweep most parts of Punjab and Haryana, MeT officials said today.

In Haryana, Hisar reeled under piercing chill at 3.1 deg C, down three notches than normal, while Ambala’s minimum settled at 3.5 deg C, also down three degrees than normal level, the MeT Department said.

Chandigarh recorded its coldest night of the season so far as temperature dipped four degrees below normal, officials said.

The temperature in Karnal settled at 4 deg C, two degrees below normal, they said.

Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala, which was covered by fog in the morning, also continued to be under the grip of biting cold recording respective below normal minimum temperatures of 3.6 deg C, 3.7 deg C and 3.6 deg C.

Ambala, Hisar, Karnal, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala were among other places in the two states which remained engulfed by fog early today.

For the past few days, foggy weather has adversely affected normal movement of road, rail and air traffic in the region.

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Airstrikes, gun battle kill 60 militants in Pakistan

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Airstrikes, gun battle kill 60 militants in Pakistan

Posted on 28 December 2014 by GGS News

Peshawar, 28 Dec :(PTI) About 60 militants were killed in airstrikes by Pakistan military and a gun battle that ensued after terrorists attacked army check posts in the volatile northwest tribal region, officials said today.

The militants attacked the check posts in Shindara and Khazana Kandao in Orakzai Agency near the Afghan border early this morning and Pakistani troops repulsed the assault, killing 20 militants and injuring 20 others.

At least four soldiers were also injured in the shootout. They have been brought to Peshawar for treatment.

Meanwhile, 39 militants, including two terrorist commanders, were killed in airstrikes by Pakistani fighter jets in the restive Dattakhel area.

“Yesterday Dattakhel strikes; Took out huge UG ammo depot, explosions heard even by pilots. Death toll rises to 39 incl 2 Terrorist comds,” military spokesman Asim Bajwa tweeted.

Also yesterday, hundreds of terror suspects were arrested across Pakistan while 10 unregistered religious seminaries were sealed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as the the government stepped up its offensive against militants.

Orakzai is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where militants linked to Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda are believed to have their stronghold.

The region was a hideout of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan in 2013.

Pakistani army in June launched a military campaign named ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ and Khyber-I against militants in the tribal regions of North Waziristan and Khyber respectively and intensified the operation after the recent Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 150 people, mostly children.

In the aftermath of the attack, Pakistan has decided to form a federal counter-terrorism force, directed financial bodies to check funding to militants and set up a panel for implementing the plan to deal with the scourge of militancy.

According to ISPR, the media wing of the army, it has killed over 1,200 militants since the start of operation Zerb-e-Azb in June against militants in North Waziristan.

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