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Friday, July 29, 2011

Pesawat tentera Maghribi terhempas, 78 maut

MAGHRIBI 26 Julai - Seramai 78 orang terbunuh, manakala tiga lagi cedera parah, apabila pesawat Hercules C-130 milik tentera terhempas di kawasan pergunungan di selatan negara ini, hari ini.

Agensi berita MAP melaporkan, pesawat pengangkut milik Tentera Diraja Maghribi itu terhempas berhampiran bandar Guelmim, 600 kilometer ke barat daya bandar Rabat.

Pesawat itu dalam penerbangan dari selatan bandar Agadir ke Laayoune di Sahara Barat membawa sembilan anak kapal, 60 anggota tentera dan 12 orang awam.

Ketiga-tiga mangsa yang terselamat dan 42 mayat telah ditemui dan dibawa ke hospital tentera berdekatan.

Menurut kenyataan tentera, kemalangan tersebut dipercayai disebabkan keadaan cuaca buruk.

Sumber Kementerian Dalam Negeri berkata, pesawat tentera itu juga digunakan untuk mengangkut ahli keluarga tentera dan digunakan di sekitar Sahara.

Seorang saksi berkata, terdapat kabus tebal di kawasan tersebut ketika nahas itu berlaku pada pukul 9 pagi waktu tempatan (4 petang waktu Malaysia).

Ia merupakan nahas udara terburuk di Maghribi dalam tempoh beberapa dekad.

Kali terakhir ahas pesawat di Maghribi berlaku pada 1994 apabila 44 orang penumpang dan anak kapal pesawat Royal Air Maroc terhempas di barat daya bandar Agadir.

Pesawat kargo Asiana terhempas, 2 maut

GAMBAR video merakamkan anggota Pengawal Pantai Korea Selatan membawa sebahagian daripada bangkai sebuah pesawat kargo Asiana Airlines yang terhempas di laut kira-kira 100 kilometer ke barat pulau Jeju, Korea Selatan, semalam yang mengorbankan dua anak kapalnya. - AFP

SEOUL 28 Julai - Sebanyak dua orang maut apabila sebuah pesawat kargo Asiana Airlines hari ini terhempas di laut berdekatan kawasan perairan pulau Jeju, lapor agensi berita Yonhap.

Yonhap yang memetik seorang pengawal pantai sebagai berkata, anak kapal melaporkan masalah mekanikal dan cuba mendarat di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Jeju, Korea Selatan sebelum pesawat Boeing 747 itu hilang dari radar.

Pesawat tersebut berlepas dari Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Incheon dan dalam perjalanan ke Pudong, Shanghai ketika kejadian itu berlaku.

''Bangkai pesawat itu ditemui kira-kira 107 kilometer dari Bandar Jeju oleh bot peronda pengawal pantai,'' lapor Yonhap.

Komputer, semikonduktor dan pewarna dilaporkan merupakan antara barangan kargo yang dibawa oleh pesawat itu.

Kementerian Pengangkutan di Seoul berkata, kebakaran mungkin berlaku di tempat simpanan kargo.

Punca sebenar kejadian itu hanya boleh ditentukan apabila data penerbangan dan perakam suara ditemui, kata kementerian itu. - DPA

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jet pejuang China kejar pesawat pengintip AS

TAIPEI 25 Julai - Dua jet pejuang China menceroboh ruang udara Taiwan ketika cuba mengusir pesawat pengintip Amerika Syarikat (AS) dalam satu insiden hujung bulan lepas, lapor media Taiwan yang memetik Kementerian Pertahanan hari ini.

Menurut akhbar United Daily News, dalam insiden tersebut, sebuah daripada jet China tidak meninggalkan ruang udara Taiwan, memaksa dua jet negara ini diterbangkan untuk memintasnya.

Katanya, insiden tersebut berlaku pada hujung bulan lepas apabila dua jet SU-27 tentera China cuba mengusir pesawat pengintip U2 milik AS.

Tambahnya, Pesawat UA dilaporkan terbang di persisiran Selat Taiwan untuk mengumpul maklumat mengenai Tanah Besar China.

Satu daripada jet China melintasi ruang udara Selat Taiwan yang dianggap sebagai sempadan di antara ruang udara Taiwan dan China.

"Penceroboh (jet China) tidak berpusing semula sehingga dua jet F-16 milik Tentera Udara Taiwan dihantar untuk memintasnya," kata sumber tentera yang tidak mahu dinamakan.

Kementerian Pertahanan Taiwan berkata, dua jet SU-27 China secara terang-terangan terbang ke tengah kawasan Selat Taiwan pada 29 Jun lalu.

Menurutnya, kejadian tersebut bukan sebagai provokasi namun menimbulkan kebimbangan.

"Tentera China perlu berlatih supaya tidak melanggar batasan, atau insiden yang tidak diingini boleh berlaku," kata Shuai Hua-min, penggubal undang-undang yang berkhidmat dengan parti pemerintah, Kuomintang.

Kejadian tersebut meningkatkan kebimbangan terhadap kepercayaan antara kedua-dua negara, walaupun hubungan tersebut dijalinkan sejak Presiden Ma Ying-jeou dari Parti Koumintang yang mesra dengan China, mengambil tampuk perintahan pada 200

Look before you leap in stock investing

This is the last of a three-part series featuring extracts and information from Faces Of Fortune, a new book that ‘reads’ the faces of 20 of Asia’s most prominent tycoons.

UNDERSTANDING why we behave the way we do has never been more important in business than now. Time and again, behaviourists have pointed out that, in a given situation, people continuously react in the same way.

Success in investments does not correlate with IQ, What is needed is the ability to control the impulses that often get people into trouble in investing.

Why? Because the stock market, with its allure of easy money and fast action, impels people into senseless mismanagement of their hard-earned money.

So how does one decide which stock or company to bet on?

In Faces Of Fortune, author Tee Lin Say uses mian xiang (face reading) to pick out 20 of Asia’s most prominent tycoons, and then explain why investors should place money on their companies over the next 10 years.

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, YTL Group

He recently told Malaysians to say “Yes” to YTL Communication Sdn Bhd’s 4G wireless broadband service.

Who hasn’t heard of Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, head honcho of the YTL Group of companies, who has his hand in businesses involving power, utilities, cement, construction, real estate, information technology and leisure?

YTL Group’s Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.

The group has grown multi-fold from just a construction firm founded by his father, Yeoh Tiong Lay, some five decades ago.

Although Yeoh senior built up the company to a respected level, it wasn’t until Francis (as he is popularly known) – the eldest of his seven children – introduced power and utilities to the stable that it began to draw investor interest.

So, among his seven listed companies, which one should we pay close attention to?

If you knew face reading, the answer is simple enough – YTL Land Bhd.

When it comes to gauging how many properties a person can amass in his lifetime, we always look at his Property Palace (located between the eyebrow and eye), together with the Wealth Palace (the nose).

Can you see how wide Francis’ Property Palace is? He also has an extremely favourable Wealth Palace – it is long and bulbous, and the nostrils are not visible from the front.

His nose wings are also wide, indication of a strong ability to generate plenty of income, and not just from core channels. He clearly has the makings of a successful property developer.

Francis also has what is called “chicken beak ears” (commonly associated with thinkers) – the top part is much larger than the bottom. These ears show that he thrives in fields that involve technical details.

He is very careful and may often ask “unnecessary” questions or be unduly anxious about his work. But, at the end of the day, the results he produces tend towards perfection.

Francis is now 57, or 58 in Chinese years. Over the next few years, his age points will move to his mouth, which looks favourable. The size of his mouth corresponds with the scope of his influence and success.

So it really isn’t just talk. He is likely to succeed in turning Sentul in Kuala Lumpur into something akin to New York’s SoHo district!

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group

Last month, AirAsia Bhd ordered 200 new A320s worth some RM54.6bil – the largest airline order ever. An analyst says the move will help it become the second largest carrier in the world, after Southwest Airlines.

AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes

Are we surprised that AirAsia has inked this deal?

No! Based on the face of its flamboyant group chief executive officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, no one comes close to nudging him off his pole position.

Fernandes, who is also the founder of Tune Air Sdn Bhd, introduced the first no-frills airline to Malaysians using the tagline, “Now everyone can fly”.

The former record company executive had to mortgage his house, dump in all his savings and rope in a few friends as investors, to set up AirAsia.

What is in his face that shows his enterprise?

First up, Fernandes’ nose is long and broad, and his nose wings (which represent age point 49 and 50) are sturdy. This is assurance of stability in character and wealth.

A big nose denotes a person with a big ego, someone who is very sure of himself. Fernandes, who will be 48 in 2012, or 49 in Chinese years, is definitely ambitious and has an unwavering belief in his ideas – he had forged ahead with AirAsia even when everyone thought he would fail.

Character-wise, he is magnanimous and honourable. The Chinese would say he has “no poison in his heart”.

In mian xiang, the main source of one’s wealth is seen in the nose tip, while nose wings typically show one’s ability to amass wealth through multiple streams. As Fernandes’ nose wings are wide, he will flourish in his other ventures, although his core business will continue to make the most money.

You will notice that his eyes are small and long – they appear as two streaks of light peeping above his chubby cheeks.

Well, these eyes have it. They show that he is capable and determined – give him any task and he will complete it to the best of his ability. They also “speak” of his foresight when it comes to planning ahead.

Fernandes’ eyes also reveal a touch of cunning. But this should not be viewed negatively; one could even say that this characteristic has helped him make AirAsia the best budget airline in the region.

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Genting Group

The late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong took seven years to complete the construction of Genting Highlands Resort, which opened in 1971. Four decades on, the Genting Group has evolved into a multibillion ringgit gaming entity, with operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Britain and the United States.

Its latest project is a resort in Miami, which came after the company won the bid last August to build a video lottery facility at the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City.

Genting Group’s Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.

At the helm of the Genting empire is Lim’s second son, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay. What is it in the latter’s face that shows the group will continue to flourish?

The answer clearly lies in Kok Thay’s eyebrows. He has what is termed “double eyebrows”, which are very rare. On a leader, they are an assuring sign that he will succeed in whatever he sets out to do.

Kok Thay will be 60 in 2012, or 61 in Chinese years. The age point for 61 is the centre of the lower lip, also known as the Cheng Jiang.

Kok Thay’s position 61 is smooth, with no indentations or scars. Furthermore, it is complemented by a very wide mouth; that alone works in his favour. Furthermore, his lips are thick and have clear borders.

These physical attributes confirm what is already evident – he is influential and has the required skills to take his organisation to the next level.

His big mouth also indicates that by nature, he is energetic and ambitious, and sets high targets for himself. More importantly, he has the stamina and passion to drive his aspirations.

Anyone with such a large mouth would surely want to be in control. In Kok Thay’s case, he is likely to succeed. We say this because he has an extremely strong chin, which is not only broad but protruding, and a very favourable Wealth Palace; his nostrils are covered and his nose tip dips downwards.

Thus, we are convinced that Genting’s plans to become a much larger entity are rock solid.

Airline wins prestigious award at KLIA annual event

T WAS the ultimate recognition for Oman Air when it beat two other newcomer airlines to win the “Promising New Foreign Airline of the Year” award in the sixth edition of the KLIA Annual Award held recently.

Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB), honoured Oman Air with the award for exceptional performance for the year 2010.

In 2010, MAB had laid the welcome mat for three new airlines — Oman Air, Royal Jordanian and Mahan Air — and all three were automatic contenders for the award.

Job well done: Leong (left) receiving the award from Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha while Malaysia Airports chairman Tan Sri Datuk Dr Aris Othman (second from right) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad managing director and CEO Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad (right) look on.

Oman Air stood out with its dynamic and strategic offerings, technologically innovative onboard performance and its smart alliances among other attributes.

MAB recognised Oman Air’s excellence in boosting passenger traffic despite being a newcomer.

The win itself was primarily based on the comparison of the highest passenger volume by a new foreign carrier operating at KLIA.

Oman Air chief officer (corporate affairs) Philippe Georgiou said they viewed the win as a deserving accolade.

“Our team has been determined from the beginning to take Oman Air from beyond the sandy shores of Oman to the greener grassy borders of the fast-growing South-East-Asian region.”

He said that the KLIA award offered recognition to different categories of airlines and service providers in KLIA.

“The winners were chosen based on their 2010 feat in sectors such as passenger movement, growth factor, sales performance, international recognition as well as their service performance. Incidentally, the award ceremony itself was also a unique event since it coincided with Malaysia’s 100-year celebration in the aviation industry.”

He added that Malaysia’s aviation industry was undergoing rapid growth and has become an important air transport hub for South-East Asia and beyond.

The award was presented to Oman Air district sales manager Kathleen Leong who had been instrumental in spearheading Oman Air’s foray into Malaysia.

“Together with the Oman Air team in Muscat, we have made a hugely positive impact on the Malaysian landscape. This win will be the catalyst for greater forward momentum in the years ahead,” said Leong.

First introduced in 2006, the KLIA Awards is Malaysia’s one and only aviation award in the country and it pays tribute to the best performers in aviation industry.

Monday, July 25, 2011

UTM bangunkan UAV bantu kerja pemetaan dari udara

JOHOR BAHRU 25 Julai - Kerja-kerja pemetaan serta rakaman visual melalui udara kini menjadi lebih mudah, cepat dan murah menggunakan Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) atau pesawat ringan tanpa pemandu yang dibangunkan penyelidik Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

Peralatan pintar yang pertama seumpamanya diberi nama UTM Maroon Eagle itu dilengkapi sistem penentu kedudukan global (GPS) dan sistem pemanduan automatik yang membolehkan ia terbang pada altitud dan koordinat yang ditetapkan.

Menurut Penyelidik dan Pereka Ciptanya, Dr. Khairul Nizam M. Idris, UTM Maroon Eagle boleh digunakan bagi tiga tujuan utama iaitu kutipan data untuk pemetaan ‘geo-spatial’ dan kerja pemantauan yang tidak memerlukan tenaga manusia.

“Alat ini juga dilengkapi sistem kamera video definisi tinggi (HD) dengan penentu ukuran bagi merekod imej bumi dan kemampuan empat enjin miliknya mampu menghasilkan penerbangan yang stabil dan sistematik.

“Ia juga boleh melakukan pemantauan kejadian tanah runtuh, banjir, gempa bumi, pemetaan kemalangan jalan raya dan pemantauan keselamatan di sempadan,” katanya pada majlis menandatangani memorandum persefahaman (MoU) antara UTM dan IR Technic Sdn. Bhd. di sini hari ini.

IR Technic diwakili Pengarah Urusannya, Mohd. Irfan Fikri Mohd. Rawi manakala UTM oleh Dekan Fakulti Geoinformasi dan Harta Tanah (FGHT), Prof. Dr. Alias Abd. Rahman.

Khairul Nizam berkata, alat itu yang dicipta dengan kos RM65,000 menggunakan sumber tenaga daripada bateri mampu bertahan selama 40 minit dan terbang sejauh satu kilometer dengan ketinggian 350 meter dan berkelajuan 40 kilometer sejam.

Pesawat pintar itu juga boleh digunakan untuk memantau aset dalam bangunan

AirAsia tidak akan pindahkan ibu pejabatnya ke Jakarta

KUALA LUMPUR 25 Julai – Ibu pejabat syarikat penerbangan tambang rendah, AirAsia Bhd akan terus berlokasi di Terminal Penerbangan Tambang Rendah (LCCT) di Sepang, demikian menurut syarikat itu.

"Tiada sebarang rancangan ataupun petunjuk untuk memindahkan ibu pejabat syarikat keluar dari negara ini. Dan semua rangkaian pesawat kami yang berdaftar di Malaysia akan terus beroperasi dari LCCT”.

Syarikat penerbangan itu berkata demikian dalam kenyataan untuk menjelaskan laporan akhbar yang menyatakan AirAsia akan memindahkan “ibu pejabat korporat"nya dari Malaysia ke Indonesia.

Pejabat di Jakarta akan dikenali sebagai AirAsia ASEAN, sebuah entiti yang ditubuhkan di bawah naungan AirAsia, dan matlamat utama unit ini ialah bertindak sebagai pejabat perwakilan AirAsia dalam usaha mengembangkan jenamanya sebagai syarikat penerbangan “Truly ASEAN” dan memperluaskan jangkauan ke pelbagai kumpulan di rantau ini dari segi dasar penerbangan dalam lingkungan ASEAN.

Keputusan untuk menempatkan pejabat wakil di Jakarta berdasarkan semata-mata kepada rasional yang Sekretariat ASEAN berpangkalan di Jakarta, dan pejabat serantau di sana boleh membantu AirAsia mempersembahkan ideanya berkaitan dengan penerbangan serantau dan pertumbuhan pelancongan dengan lebih cekap lag

Berakhir misi "teksi" Atlantis

Last mission...good bye!!!

DENDANGAN lagu Rocket Man nyanyian Elton John berkumandang di Stesen Angkasa Antarabangsa (ISS). Umpama jam loceng, lagu tersebut dimainkan supaya krew kapal di situ ‘sedar’ bahawa hari itu adalah misi terakhir Atlantis ke situ.

Hakikatnya misi terakhir itu menyebabkan Atlantis begitu sibuk. Misi 13 hari disifatkan juruterbang Goug Hurley seperti menyudahkan kerja-kerja yang selama ini disempurnakan dalam masa dua bulan.

Sepanjang misi itu, para angkasawan memastikan bekalan yang dibawa untuk ISS mencukupi sehingga 2012. Mereka juga menguji keupayaan robotik Agensi Angkasa Amerika Syarikat (NASA), memuatkan modul, mengisi bahan pendingin dan mengatur uji kaji satelit mini.

Tidak kurangnya kesibukan Atlantis pada misi terakhirnya itu memenuhkan kargo dengan ribuan bendera dan cendera hati untuk diagihkan apabila era kapal angkasa itu memasuki buku sejarah.

Sempurna misi 13 hari itu, Atlantis kembali ke bumi sekali gus menamat penerokaannya ke angkasa lepas pada pukul 5.57 pagi waktu tempatan (5.57 petang waktu Malaysia).

Pusat Angkasa Lepas Kennedy menjadi saksi peristiwa yang diiringi dengan penuh emosi ratusan pengunjung yang tidak mahu melepaskan detik bersejarah itu.

Komander Atlantis, Chrsi Ferguson mengakui pendaratan terakhir kapal angkasa itu sememangnya sarat dengan emosi dan kata-kata beliau itu ternyata benar.

‘‘Selepas berkhidmat kepada dunia sejak 30 tahun lalu kapal angkasa ini mencatatkan sejarah tersendiri. Dan tiba masanya ia sampai ke perhentian terakhir,’’ katanya.

Program penerokaan angkasa yang bermula sejak 30 tahun lalu itu dilihat telah berjaya mengubah pandangan manusia terhadap dunia juga mengubah cara manusia melihat alam semesta. Bekas Presiden AS, Richard Nixon mengarahkan program angkasa lepas dilaksanakan pada tahun 1970-an dan misi pertamanya dilancarkan pada 1981

“Sememangnya banyak emosi hari ini, tetapi sesuatu yang tidak boleh disangkal adalah, Amerika tidak akan berhenti melakukan penerokaan,’’ kata Ferguson seperti yang siarkan media asing.

Pengurus NASA, Charles Bolden menyuarakan sentimen yang sama dalam ucapannya selepas pendaratan.

‘‘Kapal angkasa terakhir ini menandakan berakhirnya satu era, tetapi hari ini, kami mengulangi komitmen untuk meneruskan penerokaan kapal angkasa.

‘‘Kami juga mengambil beberapa langkah perlu dan sukar untuk memastikan Amerika menerajui penerokaan kapal angkasa untuk masa-masa yang akan datang,’’ kata Bolden.

Orang ramai berpusu-pusu di Pusat Angkasa Kennedy menyaksikan pendaratan terakhir Atlantis. Dianggarkan kira-kira 4,000 pekerja program kapal angkasa itu, kebanyakannya bakal kehilangan pekerjaan berikutan penutupan pusat tersebut.

“Sekarang adalah masa untuk meraikan,’’ kata instruktor sistem kapal, Michael Grabois. ‘‘Kita semua tahu ini merupakan penamat kepada program tersebut tetapi kami di sini untuk mengenang saat-saat ini,’’ katanya.

NASA dan White House memutuskan beberapa tahun lalu berikutan tragedi Columbia pada 2003, untuk menamatkan khidmat kapal angkasa ulang alik ke ISS.

Pada masa yang sama gesaan dibuat supaya NASA mengalihkan tumpuan kepada penghantaran angkasawan ke Marikh. Sejak itu, pentadbiran Barack Obama mengkaji semula visi NASA bagaimanapun pelan persaraan dikekalkan.

Misi Atlantis dikategorikan sebagai salah satu kapal angkasa ulang-alik paling lancar dalam sejarah penerokaan angkasa. Ia berterusan hingga khamis lalu.

Atlantis yang berusia 26 tahun menyelesaikan misi ke-33 dan terakhir pada meter perjalanan 8, 505, 160 kilometer tambahan kepada jarak penerbangan keseluruhan202, 673, 974 kilometer.

Antara pencapaian terbaik program ulang-alik itu adalah mengatur kedudukan 180 kapal angkasa; memperbaiki misi yang menyelamatkan Hubble daripada bakul sampah sejarah dan usaha selama 12 tahun membawa kepada penyiapan ISS.

Atlantis yang mula dilancarkan pada Oktober 1985 akan ditempatkan di kompleks pelawat di Pusat Angkasa Kennedy.

Manakala Endeavour yang menyempurnakan penerbangan terakhir pada 1 Jun lalu menuju ke Muzium Sains California di Los Angeles. Discovery pula yang mengakhiri penerbangan pada Mac akan mengambil alih tempat prototaip ulang-alik Enterprise di Muzium Angkasa dan Udara di Washington.

Dua lagi kapal angkasa, Challenger dan Columbia musnah semasa misi masing-masing pada tahun 1986 dan 2003 yang mengorbankan tujuh angkasawan.

‘‘Saya ingin melihat gambar seorang budak lelaki berusia 6 tahun memandang ke kapal angkasa di dalam muzium dan berkata: Ayah, saya ingin melakukan seperti itu apabila dewasa kelak,’’ kata Ferguson.

Untuk tempoh beberapa tahun akan datang, NASA bergantung kepada Rusia untuk menghantar dan membawa pulang angkasawan ke stesen angkasa dan kos meningkat kepada $63 juta bagi satu tempat duduk. NASA juga berbelanja beratus juta dolar untuk menyokong pembangunan sektor swasta yang akan memulakan penghantar angkasawan bermula 2015.

Lirik lagu Rocket Man adalah lontaran perasaan seorang angkasawan dalam misi ke planet Marikh tulisan Rad Bradbury ituturut memuatkan mesej dari Elton John.

Mesej itu berbunyi, “Selamat pagi, Atlantis, saya Elton John. Kami berharap anda mencapai kejayaan melalui misi anda. Terima kasih kepada semua pekerja di NASA yang bertungkus-lumus dalam misi ulang-alik ini sejak tiga dekad lalu.”

Eurofighter Typhoon mungkin ganti sepenuhnya MiG-29

Eurofighter...terbaik dari ladang!!!

KOTA TINGGI 24 Julai - Kerajaan sedang mempertimbangkan pesawat tempur pelbagai guna (MRCA) Eurofighter Typhoon bagi menggantikan sepenuhnya pesawat pejuang MiG-29 Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM).

Menteri Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi berkata, kementeriannya sedang membuat penilaian terhadap jet pejuang tersebut yang bernilai RM3 bilion setiap satu termasuk kemampuannya.

"Memang diakui Eurofighter Typhoon sebuah pesawat tempur yang baik, namun harganya yang mahal membuatkan kita perlu membuat penilaian secara terperinci. Ia turut bergantung pada kemampuan kewangan negara apatah lagi ketika pembangunan negara harus diutamakan," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada pemberita selepas majlis penutup Karnival Jom Masuk UMNO anjuran Biro Keahlian dan Daftar Pemilih UMNO Tenggara di Econsave di sini hari ini.

Turut hadir ialah Timbalan Ketua UMNO Bahagian Tenggara, Datuk Dr. Adham Baba; Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Panti, Datuk Baderi Dasuki dan Pengerusi Biro Keahlian dan Daftar Pemilih UMNO Bahagian Tenggara, Suhaimi Khalid.

Tambah Ahmad Zahid, cadangan tersebut juga tertakluk kepada tawaran timbal balik yang diberikan oleh syarikat pengeluar seperti pemindahan teknologi dan tempoh bayaran yang panjang.

Katanya, kerajaan turut melihat pesawat MRCA lain termasuk Sukhoi SU-35, FA-18 Super Hornet dan JAS Gripen.

Diminta mengulas kenyataan negatif segelintir penulis blog propembangkang mengenai pembelian jet pejuang tersebut, beliau berkata, ia bertujuan merendah-rendahkan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) dan menafikan profesionalisme TUDM.

Katanya, masyarakat seharusnya bijak menilai setiap tulisan yang diterbitkan di dalam blog pembangkang dan tidak menerima bulat-bulat kenyataan tersebut.

"Mereka mungkin berpuas hati kalau negara tidak mempunyai aset pertahanan yang kukuh dan apabila sesuatu berlaku, mereka akan menuduh bermacam-macam pula terhadap polis, tentera dan penguat kuasa yang lain," katanya.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Green ideas take flight

Varsity students come up with ideas and plans to promote air travel in the most eco-friendly manner at a global competition.

FIRST-TIME flyer Airull Juhari felt his moment of epiphany soon after his 16-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris.

“It is exciting to be transported to somewhere so different from home,” said the third-year engineering student from Institute of Product Design and Manufacturing, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (IPROM, UniKL) who represented Malaysia at the Airbus Fly Your Ideas (FYI) Competition 2011 last month.

If that experience did not kick up the wanderlust in Airull, it certainly added him to the statistics of young people embracing air travel as a mode of transportation.

Greener aircraft: Ahmad Khairi, Airull and Wan Nor Hami holding the kapok tree fibres which they proposed should replace the glass fibres used in the acoustic insulation blankets.

Airbus executive vice-president of engineering Charles Champion was especially interested to engage with the group and had wanted to know if they would ever think that air travel would be a thing of the past over the next 40 years.

The response he got was not unexpected.

“They’ve said that they expect to travel even more than people do today. However, they also want to travel in a more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly way,” added Champion during an interview with the online environmental news site BusinessGreen.

Sowing green seeds

Fuelled by non-renewable energy, air travel is one of the contributors to global warming.

A study estimated that a single trans-atlantic return flight emits almost half the carbon dioxide emissions as from all other sources (lighting, heating, car use, etc.) consumed by an average person yearly.

Taking heed of the concerns of the future jet-setters, the leading European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has earmarked green air travel and the sustainability of the aviation industry as the key indicators in its development plans.

The biennial Airbus FYI was launched in 2008 by the company to seek out university students worldwide for their innovative ideas on how to build a sustainable green aviation industry.

Winning team: Wings of Phoenix from China receiving the grand prize from Enders.

Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, said: “Innovation is the essential ingredient for maintaining our industry’s license to grow, and the Fly Your Ideas competition is a unique opportunity for students worldwide to promote their ideas for the sustainable future of flight.

“ It is also a strong lever to engage with the next generation of talent who will push the limits of research and technology further.”

A team of multinational students from Queensland University, Australia, won the inaugural Airbus FYI with their proposal to use natural fibre composite made from castor plants in aircraft cabins.

The competition returned this year with its new theme — The Environmental Life Cycle.

Students participated in teams of three to five members and they were encouraged to propose an idea related to one stage of the aircraft’s design from its design, supply chain, manufacturing, aircraft operations or aircraft end-of-life.

Teams shortlisted for the second round developed their ideas with support from the Airbus employees while only five teams were chose for the final presentation held during the International Paris Air Show last June.

The Kapok Tree factor

Calling themselves Msia on Mars, the Malaysian team’s ultimate mission is to venture on an outer space exploration but they were brought down to earth to enter the final round of Airbus FYI by the humble kapok treeCeiba petandra.

In their entry proposal, Airull, together with his teammates Ahmad Khairi Ahmad and Wan Nor Hami Wan Isa recommended that the glass fibres in aircraft thermal insulation blankets be replaced with fibres from the kapok tree.

“The people of South East Asia have been sleeping on pillows with the fibres from the tree for centuries.

“We decided to use something from our backyard to build a greener aircraft,” said team leader Ahmad Khairi, 28.

With the guidance from their lecturer Assoc Prof Abu Hanifah Abdullah and Airbus mentor Octavio Hernandez Gonzalez, the team conducted a series of tests to demonstrate the viability of their natural fibre solution in terms of its thermal and acoustic proportis as well as it being compliant with flammability airworthiness requirements.

“The fibres from the kapok tree are highly flammable. The material must be treated with fire retardant solution before it is safe to be used in aircrafts,” explained Ahmad Khairi.

Energy conservers: Team Condors from Chile were the runners-up.

As Gonzalez is based in Spain, the team communicated weekly with him via Skype. He joined them in Paris during the final presentation round.

“I am really glad that the students made it this far in the competition as they had worked very hard for the project.” said Gonzalez who supported the students by helping them with their research for the presentation.

Prior to their departure to Paris, the students had a pre-presentation round with Malaysia’s Angkasawan and former Airbus FYI judge Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.

“We realised that our team was not so strong on presentation. The session with Dr Sheikh was very helpful as he gave us his feedback and pinpointed how we could bring forth our ideas more convincingly,” said Ahmad Khairi.

The final battle commenced on presentation day and Msia on Mars were pitted against other teams from China, India, Chile, and Sweeden.

Displaying Malaysian-style geniality, Ahmad Khairi and his teammates presented the panel of international jury members with little pillows sewn with the kapok tree fibres.

Months of preparation put the students at ease on stage but the ultimate challenge culiminated during the question-and- answer session when the students were grilled by the panel consisting of senior leaders in the aviation industry.

The jury probed into the sustainability of the kapok fibres as they asked about the cost-effectiveness of the project and the environmental impact of planting kapok trees.

“I was tongue-tied at first when the jury posed the question. My first thought was on the fact that the trees are widely grown in South East Asia, I then explained this to the judges and mentioned about how we estimated the cost of implementing this project,” said Ahmad Khairi after the presentation.

“The jury members actually asked very good questions that got us thinking as to how we could make our proposal more comprehensive,” added Wan Nor Hami.

Making strides

Nature was also behind the inspiration for the idea proposed by the youngest team in the finals, team O3 from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee.

“Pour some water on a lotus leaf and the droplets will slide off. We wanted to create something similar on the surface of the aircraft to prevent icing prior to takeoff,” elaborated team leader and polymer science student Gowri Shankhar Suresh, 19.

The solution suggested by O3 comes in the form of water-repelling polymer coatings which has strong adhesive strength and can withstand the aircraft operating environment.

Proud participants: Team Msia on Mars at the International Paris Air Show.

“Aircraft weight will be reduced as it no longer needs to carry aircraft de-icing products and anti-icing equipment with the use of this water-repelling polymer,” said Suresh.

Another team which focussed on the aircraft design was team Condor from Chile from Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria.

Being the few female students in the finals, team leader Nicole Batarce commanded attention when she walked the jury members through the intricate technical details of their proposed energy recovery speed brake model.

The 21-year-old cyber engineering student certainly knew her stuff well as airplanes had been her object of fascination since she was a little girl.

Teammates Hans Schuler and Javier Gonzalez jokingly called her “The Boss”.

“Our idea would help the aircraft conserve energy as the blades rotate and generate electrical energy to provide certain auxiliary power functions and facilitate ground operation,” explained Batarce.

Meanwhile, team SSE from Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden, brought a totally different concept to the fray.

Targeting frequent flyers, the multinational team introduced the formulation of an ECO point scheme on the Internet as a measure to promote environmentally-friendly flying.

“We believe that knowledge empowers travellers to make the best decision. The power to protect the Earth is in their hands by choosing to fly with the airline with the most environmental friendly practice,” said team member Stuart Turkelson, 34.

Under their proposal, the scheme which will also be available on mobile phone applications feeds travellers with reviews of the carbon footprints of the different airlines, starting from aircraft operation, maintenance and end-of-life disposal.

“Try to imagine this scheme as the hotel review sites that travellers frequent. The system we are proposing creates a win-win situation which rewards both the airline and the traveller,” said Turkelson who is currently doing his Master’s degree in management.

Wings of Phoenix from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, emerged the top team in the competition. Overcoming the language barrier, the team gave an immaculate presentation on their suggestion of a ground-based wind power generation system derived from aircraft wakes.

“It was a quiet afternoon in the classroom when I thought about this idea to make use of the energy generated from wake turbulence,” said team leader Zheng Xinyuan.

“Just imagine the amount of energy that can be conserved as the power generated can be channelled back to the airport,” added the aeronautical design student.

To capture the energy, the team proposed the placement of a series of leaf-shaped devices with electro-mechanical designs along the sides of airport runways.

Judges were very impressed with the innovative idea.

“It was a difficult deliberation to select the winner from the five teams. The Chinese team had a little edge over the rest because they presented a very well thought out plan taking factors such as weather and airport safety regulations into consideration,” said jury member Barbara Cassani who was the founder and chief executive officer of the United Kingdom-based low cost airline Go.

Emirates Airline senior vice-president Andrew Parker who sat at the jury panel even jokingly said that airlines could start charging airports for the electrical power they were generating.

Wings of Phoenix brought home the cash prize of ‚30,000 (RM129,000) while the runner-up, team Condor from Chile collected ‚15,000 (RM64,300).

The video prize winner was team Ecolution from Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Spain.

The competition drew entries from more than 2,600 students from 75 countries, representing 287 universities. The organisers also announced during the prize presentation ceremony that all the winners and finalists would be awarded internships at Airbus.

Although Msia on Mars did not pick up any prize, Ahmad Khairi said the experience entering the finals was one big eye-opener to him and his teammates.

“It was exciting to be able to visit the international air show and there was so much we learnt apart from aircrafts.

“Before the presentation, participants are coached on how to speak to corporate figures and the press. I would say that the public relations skills that we learnt would definetly come in handy in the future,” he said.