More concerns for the safety of all Thai airlines

first_imgThe Federal Aviation Administration in America announced Tuesday that it was downgrading Thailand’s aviation safety rating to Category 2 because the country did not comply with international standards. In stripping it of the Category 1 rating it received in 1997, the FAA said Thailand’s civil aviation authority failed to meet “minimum international standards.” Category 1 means that the country complies with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.The decision means Thai airlines will be banned from opening new routes to the United States or expanding existing ones.Whilst no Thai airlines currently operate direct routes to the U.S, the concern is that the FAA’s downgrades may be matched by other global aviation authorities such as the European Union(EU) which would have a significant impact on flag carrier Thai Airways operations.  The EU used an FAA downgrade of Indonesia’s aviation-safety standards to impose a total flight ban on that country’s airlines for several years. The country came under scrutiny when the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),  “red flagged” Thailand in June over safety concerns. AirlineRatings.com allocates two of its seven stars for safety to meeting or exceeding all 8 ICAO audit parameters . The ‘red flagging’ of the country in June led to an automatic deduction of 2 stars for all Thai registered airlines and today’s news has resulted in a further one star deduction.Thai Airways and subsidiary Thai Smile remain the highest scoring airline for safety in Thailand with a score of 4/7.  Following this is Thai Orient and Bangkok air on three stars and on just two stars, Nok Air and AirAsia Thailand. Suggested Read: How we work out our seven star safety rating system and why In response to the FAA’s decision, Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, ordered a swift overhaul of his country’s aviation systems.He acknowledged the setback could undermine confidence in the military leadership that seized power in a 2014 coup.”Therefore, all must join hands to bring peace to the country,” he said, according to the Bangkok Post. “Don’t try to pick a quarrel, because doing so will not lead us out of crisis.”The country’s leading international carrier, Thai Airways, issued a statement defending its safety record.It said the decision would have no impact on its business or customers as it ceased its only U.S. destination flight, to Los Angeles, in October, although it continues to operate code share connections.”Thai confirms its commitment to aviation safety standards and assures all that Thai operates with the highest international aviation safety standards,” it said.last_img read more

Think Pedestrian – and save lives

first_imgNelson Mandela Foundation CEO AchmetDangor urged the nation to support theThink Pedestrian campaign.(Image: Kgopi Mabotja) The bright green Think Pedestrian logowill soon be seen all around South Africa.(Image: Think Pedestrian)MEDIA CONTACTS • Sam MonarengDept of transport communications, media+27 12 309 3970 or +27 83 326 1521RELATED ARTICLES• Bikers hit the road for Mandela Day• Professional edge for traffic officers• SA’s first green transport service• Cape Town’s transport system lauded• Gautrain’s Pretoria route rolls outKgopi MabotjaA new campaign, driven by the UN and backed by local companies, has been launched with the aim of improving the safety situation on South Africa’s roads, by changing the behaviour of both pedestrian and vehicle road users.The Think Pedestrian campaign is expected to run for a decade, and hopes are high that it will curb the rising number of road deaths in South Africa, attributed to negligence on the side of motorists as well as pedestrians.The initiative is driven globally by the UN. With the slogan Together we can save millions of lives it is aimed at mobilising all nations to unite in promoting road safety.In South Africa, Think Pedestrian is endorsed by logistics company Eqstra and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, in support of Nelson Mandela Day.Central to its objectives is to stabilise and reduce road incidents by educating drivers and pedestrians about road safety.The Think Pedestrian initiative will be piloted in the high-risk provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.Light at the end of the tunnelSpeaking at the launch on 11 April at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele said road fatalities are on the increase, with pedestrians accounting for more than 40% of deaths.It is estimated that there are 40 accidents a day on the country’s routes, and 14 000 a year.However, said Ndebele, South Africa is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.The number of road crashes over the Easter weekend, traditionally a dangerous time to be out and about, dropped to 181 from 215 in 2011. This is according to the Easter 2012 preliminary statistics released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).Ndebele commended motorists for applying caution and for driving in a sober state over the Easter weekend.“In this regard, we would like to compliment all road users who adhered to the rules of the road, as well as all our law enforcement officers and the emergency services personnel who went beyond the call of duty,” he said.Whilst he expressed delight in the progress made, he warned that there is still a long route ahead in making the country’s roads safer. He urged road users to help the government to achieve its 2020 goal of reducing road fatalities by half.To support Think Pedestrian, the minister announced that more than 1 000 motorists and pedestrians will be screened every month for alcohol compliance, as laid out in the National Rolling Enforcement Plan.Ndebele urged community members to join road safety councils in their area which have been initiated by the Department of Transport.“They aim to work with communities in inculcating a culture of responsibility with regard to the use of the road.”They are also tasked with identifying road safety hazards within their communities, and get people interested in helping to resolve them. By so doing, the department hopes to instil a sense of community ownership.Changing road user behaviourEqstra MD Murray Price said the campaign will consist of a range of road awareness campaigns designed to change road user behaviour for the better.“The problem is not about how good or bad drivers and pedestrians are; attitude is the problem. We have to educate our people about the importance of observing the rules of the road,” he said. “We can save lives by doing so.”Price pointed out that there is a task team which will identify accident hotspots across the country’s roads as the campaign spreads to other provinces.“We will be guided by the Department of Transport in identifying these places. From there we can evaluate the root cause of the problem.”He said Eqstra, as a fleet management and logistics company, has a responsibility to contribute to the reduction of road death statistics. Part of the campaign will include installing road signage and speed bumps, and patching potholes in line with the respective needs in every area.A golf tournament will be launched soon to raise funds in order to sustain the campaign.“It will be played annually until the 10-year period lapses,” he said.Adding to Price’s sentiments, the acting manager of RTMC, Collins Letsoalo, said road safety awareness campaigns run on an annual basis are already underway to support the Think Pedestrian campaign.One of the campaigns supported by the RTMC is Think Bike, an NGO run entirely by volunteers.Under the slogan Raising awareness, saving lives, it speaks for road users such as runners, walkers and bikers, and is aimed at encouraging motorists to be considerate and tolerant of two-wheeled road users.Dr Francis Kasolo, representing the UN, stated that South Africa is setting the pace in that it’s launched the campaign a year earlier than numerous other countries.“That shows the commitment of the government to road safety,” he said.last_img read more

Lower U.S. wheat production has limited effect on global demand

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This year, U.S. wheat planted area will fall to the lowest level since 1970, according to Mark Simone of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The USDA held its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum where Simone presented the 2016 Grain and Oilseeds outlook. USDA currently estimates 2016/17 (June to May) wheat acreage at 51 million acres, a 6% decrease from last year.Winter wheat plantings are down 7% according to USDA, with the hard red winter (HRW) crop having the largest decrease. HRW plantings fell by 9% to 26.5 million acres. Soft red winter (SRW) plantings decreased by 400,000 acres to 6.7 million acres. USDA anticipates a 5% reduction in spring wheat plantings due to more favorable returns for other commodities. Currently, USDA’s spring wheat and durum acreage projection stands at 14.4 million acres, down from 15.1 million acres last year.Due to the expected reduction in planted area, production will decrease for HRW, hard red spring (HRS) and durum despite a predicted increase in average wheat yields. USDA expects white wheat production to increase slightly due to a small increase in planted area and more favorable growing conditions. SRW production will remain flat with an expected increase in yield predicted to offset the lower planted area. Based on trend yields, USDA expects the national average yield to grow to 45.9 bushels per acre. USDA projects the wheat harvested-to-planted ratio will fall to 0.85, down slightly from last year’s 0.86 due to a small increase in expected abandonment rates.Although planted area is down for winter wheat, current crop conditions for many HRW-producing states are significantly better than this time last year, with 57% of the total HRW crop in either good or excellent condition compared to 44% last year. However, warm temperatures brought wheat out of dormancy earlier than normal across much of the HRW growing region, increasing the plants’ need for water and vulnerability to a late-spring freeze. Current SRW crop conditions also improved from last year with 58 percent of the crop in either good or excellent condition in Illinois, the only SRW state for which data is available at this time. USDA weekly crop progress reports will resume on April 4.An increase in carryover stocks will push total U.S. supplies higher in 2016/17. USDA forecasts 2016/17 U.S. supplies at 83.9 million metric tons (MMT), up 5% from 2015/16 and 2% more than the 5-year average, if realized. Demand in the U.S. will grow in 2016/17, with USDA anticipating a 5% increase in domestic use, from 32.2 MMT to 33.8 MMT.Price competition from other wheat exporters will continue to pressure demand for U.S. wheat, in spite of an anticipated decrease in world wheat production after three consecutive record crops. However, USDA expects U.S. exports to rebound a bit to 23.1 MMT, up 6% from the forecasted 2015/16 U.S. wheat export level of 21.1 MMT.last_img read more

“La Réunion the First” GCQJFP GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – November 7, 2011

first_imgSunrise near the cache locationA geocache hidden on a small French island off of Africa reveals breathtaking sunrises and a volcano that still roars to life.  The location Réunion is popular with French, German, Czech and English visitors.“La Réunion the First” (GCQJFP) was hidden in 2005. The sturdy cache container is well suited for the environment. It can be found near the lunar-like landscape of a lava field.The small island  of Réunion mirrors the climate of the United States islands of Hawaii. Both have similar volcanic histories.Réunion is also home to dozens of geocaches. An EarthCache  is even located near “La Réunion the First.” Geocachers who log the traditional cache say, “”One of the most beautiful places in the world and for sure a place one should visit at least once during a life. I’ll never forget our vacation in La Reunion – we’ll be back :-)”Cache container“La Réunion the First” has the most Favorite Points of any cache on the island. It was hidden by SwissSniper and is rated a difficulty two, terrain two. 150 geocachers logged smileys on the cache so far.Continue your exploration of some of the most engaging geocaches from around the globe. Explore all the Geocaches of the Week on the Latitude 47 blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com. If you’ d like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache and the GC code to [email protected] SharePrint Related”Ile aux Nattes – Lighthouse” GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – November 1, 2010November 1, 2010In “Trackable Items”The Argo — Geocache of the WeekDecember 4, 2019In “Community”Lost – DHARMA Initiative — Geocache of the WeekMay 30, 2018In “Community” Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Boom, Crackle, Pop! 10 Impressive Fire VFX Breakdown Videos

first_imgBad BloodArguably the biggest music video success of 2015, Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood is an overload of VFX. Effects supervisor Grant Miller stated that out of 150 shots in the final video, only 2 did not include VFX… incredible. The Foundry, along with VFX house Ingenuity Studios, put together the following video so we could get a glimpse behind the scenes. There aren’t a lot of specifics online about the VFX tools used (besides The Foundry products: MODO 901, HIERO, MARI, NUKE and NUKE). However, this breakdown video sheds some light onto the process, showing a crazy combination of practical and digital effects. Jump to around 2:00 to see the fire VFX.Got any favorite examples fire VFX that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below! Kung Fury80’s pastiche film Kung Fury nearly ‘broke the Internet’ when it was released earlier this year, racking up over 20 million YouTube views-to-date. With an intentionally over-the-top plotline, the film is dominated by inventive intentionally ‘cheesy’ CG shots, that are surprisingly well produced. After raising money on Kickstarter, director David Sandberg created the short film with a budget of $600,000… mostly from his grandmother’s garage (true story). Here’s a wholly composited explosion breakdown that Swedish animation studio Fido created for the film. Fire and Smoke PSAVFX Supervisor Josh Johnson took a minimal approach to fire effects with this PSA for volunteering. Some of the fire effects were created in post (Cinema 4D and TurbulenceFD) and then combined with live-action fire shot on set. The result is realistic and effective. Fire ReelJesse Pitela is a California-based motion designer who’s making a name for himself with his impressive VFX work. Although the following video is not technically a ‘breakdown,’ Jessie shows off some of his fire work… and it’s worth the watch. What I love most about his fire visual effects is A) they’re done completely in post — 3ds Max, Particle Flow, FumeFX, After Effects — and B) how incredibly organic they look. Nice work, Jesse. Fighter BreakdownHere’s an interesting spin on fire VFX – broadcast graphics for an MMA/boxing event. The effect is a bit cheesy (it’s supposed to be) but it really works in this case – and it was created entirely in post. Spot created by Danish motion designer Arash Shadeh. The CrossingBottleship VFX was employed to tackle the fire VFX sequences in John Woo’s epic period project The Crossing. In the following VFX breakdown, a battlefield is set aflame. There’s not a lot of information online about the tools used to create this scene, but with layer upon layer of smoke and fire, it’s certainly impressive. Actual fire can prove a safety nightmare on set and simulated fire is difficult to create. In this post, we’ve rounded up a few examples of films and videos that got it right in post, complete with impressive VFX fire breakdowns showing how they pulled it off.Over the last few years, post-production tools have become increasingly more sophisticated in the creation of realistic fire VFX. Third-party plugins for After Effects (including Trapcode Particular, GenArts’s Monsters GT and Phenomena from DigiEffects) make it accessible for motion designers and video editors to incorporate photo-realistic fire effects into video projects. Advanced users are going even deeper with simulators and render engines like FumeFX in 3DsMax and Maya, TurbulenceFD in Cinema4D, and Cycles in Blender to model physics-based smoke, explosions and fire VFX with advanced refinement.The following impressive VFX fire breakdown videos demonstrate what’s possible when these tools end up in the capable hands of pro motion designers and VFX artists.Project S.E.R.A.Two angles of an exploding building for sci-fi web series Project S.E.R.A. A host of post-production tools were utilized to create this fire and explosion effect in two weeks: 3ds Max, Thinking Particles, FumeFX, Vray and Nuke. Ghost RiderNo fire VFX roundup would be complete without a mention of the ‘infamous’ Ghost Rider franchise. Although the plot and acting leave something to be desired, some of the effects in the films were impressive, especially in 2007 when the first film was released. Here are a few fire VFX breakdowns from the sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Hell on WheelsHoly compositing! For the opener of AMC’s Hell on Wheels, fire elements were shot in camera (Canon 7D), then composited and layered in post using After Effects and Cinema 4D. Additional smoke and ember elements were created with Red Giant’s Trapcode Particular. Insert the actor shot on green screen and you’ve got a memorable title sequence.last_img read more

No surprise: June Mar Fajardo wins 6th straight Philippine Cup BPC award

first_imgDA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ateneo soars back to UAAP volleyball finals, stops FEU in its tracks Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue San Miguel Beer will need its superstar to be in his MVP form anew if it wants to avoid a 1-3 hole against a determined Magnolia side.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:42Despite decorated career, June Mar Fajardo is not yet done: ‘I don’t want to be stagnant’00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss June Mar Fajardo receives his 8th PBA BPC award. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—What else is new?For the sixth straight time, June Mar Fajardo won the Best Player of the Conference award in the Philippine Cup, asserting himself as the undisputed most dominant player in the PBA today.ADVERTISEMENT The San Miguel Beer center, who already holds the league record for the most number of Best Player of the Conference plums, collected his eighth BPC award. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ June Mar Fajardo runaway winner for his sixth straight Philippine Cup BPC award. #PBA pic.twitter.com/QDVoniCd9Q— MG (@MarkGiongcoINQ) May 8, 2019FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting The 29-year-old Fajardo, who is also the reigning five-time MVP, received the award on Wednesday before Game 4 of the 2019 Philippine Cup Finals between the defending champion Beermen and the Magnolia Hotshots.For the sixth straight time, June Mar Fajardo won the Best Player of the Conference award in the Philippine Cup, asserting himself as the undisputed most dominant player in the PBA today.Read more: https://t.co/U4HLBY3bev pic.twitter.com/jAHJYy4l5L— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) May 8, 2019ADVERTISEMENT Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated View comments Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more