Nov 02 2015

Six In The Morning Monday November 2



Russian plane crash in Sinai: Questions swirl as 224 aboard are mourned

Updated 0632 GMT (1432 HKT) November 2, 2015

A Russian passenger jet broke into pieces in midair, a top aviation official said Sunday, but he said it was too soon to say what could have caused the crash in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

The plane crash Saturday morning killed all 224 people aboard Kogalymavia Flight 9268 and left debris strewn across a remote area of a region plagued by a violent Islamic insurgency.

“Disintegration of the fuselage took place in the air, and the fragments are scattered around a large area (about 20 square kilometers),” Viktor Sorochenko, executive director of Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, told journalists, according to reports.

Footage from the scene showed mangled wreckage and piles of belongings from the plane spilled over a largely flat, barren landscape.

Learning that the plane broke into pieces while in the air helps narrow down what could have caused the crash, but there are still plenty of possibilities, one expert said Sunday.



Chinese newspaper editor sacked for criticising Beijing’s ‘war on terror’

Zhao Xinwei was removed from the state-run Xinjiang Daily for ‘improperly’ discussing government policy in China’s violence-stricken western region


A Chinese newspaper editor has been sacked for criticising Beijing’s controversial war on terror following the introduction of draconian new rules that outlaw any criticism of Communist party policy.

Zhao Xinwei, the editor of the state-run Xinjiang Daily newspaper, was removed from his job and expelled from the party after an investigation found him guilty of “improperly” discussing, and publicly opposing, government policy in China’s violence-stricken west.

The former editor’s “words and deeds” had gone against government attempts to rein in religious extremism and terrorism, the official China News Service agency reported on Monday.

In Xinjiang, a sprawling region of west China where Beijing is grappling with what some describe as a low-level insurgency against Communist party rule, the crackdown on dissent has been particularly intense.


Turkey election: President Erdogan tightens his grip on power in surprise landslide victory

As the Kurdish and secular parties’ support falls away, the Turkish President is handed a mandate that will allow him to monopolise power and intervene in Syria

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a decisive victory in the Turkish parliamentary election, with his Justice and Development Party (AKP) winning a majority of seats and defeating the other three opposition parties.

With 98 per cent of the vote counted, the AKP had won 49.4 per cent and 316 seats in the 550 seat parliament, a far better performance than predicted by the polls. These had mostly forecast that the AKP would fail to win back the majority it lost in the last election on 7 June.

“Today is a victory for our democracy and our people … Hopefully, we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019,” Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet  Davutoglu said last night.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had a surprisingly sharp fall in its vote from 13 per cent in the last election, which denied the AKP its majority, to bring it dangerously close to the 10 per cent threshold below which it would lose all its members of parliament. This would have left Turkey’s Kurdish minority, with its long history of confrontation with the state, without any effective parliamentary representation.



Refugees targeted in violent attacks across Germany

Assailants wielding baseball bats attacked asylum seekers in Magdeburg, while other migrants were harassed and beaten in the German towns of Wismar and Jena, police say. Refugee homes were also hit in arson attacks.

Around 20 attackers ganged up on two refugees standing outside a shelter in Wismar on the Baltic Sea, German police said Sunday.

Three more refugees were injured in Magdeburg, some 200 kilometers further south of Wismar, when a group of 30 assailants attacked them using baseball bats. Plainclothed police officers managed to intervene and arrest a 24-year old suspect.

In another instance of the weekend spike in violence, a Syrian man was hurt by broken glass when an explosive device detonated in front of his window in a refugee home in Freital, Saxony.

Saxony’s Interior Minister Markus Ulbrig decried the “cowardly and cold-blooded” attack. Those responsible for the blast must know “that there is no place for them in our society,” Ulbrig said.




How mobile phones are improving irrigation in Niger

Abdou Maman Kané

Abdou Maman Kané


An entrepreneur from Niger has created an irrigation system that allows farmers to control the watering of their crops from afar by simply using their cell phones. The system uses water more effectively and pollutes less than methods traditionally used by local farmers for irrigation.

Abdou Maman Kané is the man behind this “remote irrigation system”. He’s been selling the system in Niger since 2013, through his business Tech-Innov. About 200 farms – both individual and collective – currently use the system.

“The remote irrigation system allows farmers to irrigate larger surface areas”

I dreamed up this irrigation system because the way that we currently irrigate our crops in Niger is not effective.

Firstly, it’s estimated that farmers in Niger spend two-thirds of their working time just watering because most don’t have machines to irrigate their crops.

Secondly, farmers can lose up to 50% to 60% of water before it reaches the crops just through leaky buckets and pipes. Water is often lost if it is channeled through canals to reach the crops because the ground absorbs a large percentage of the water before it reaches the fields.

Finally, most of the water used for irrigating crops is pumped up from underground sources. The fuel used to operate these pumps is expensive and also pollutes.




In the rearview mirror: Car designer warns of Google game-changer




The days of cheap and cheerful cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla may be numbered as technology firms Google and Apple muscle into the auto industry and change the way people own and drive automobiles.

That is the warning from Ken Okuyama, high-end Japanese designer of the Ferrari F60 Enzo and Porsche Boxster, who says game-changing self-drive technology could threaten Japan’s position as a major car producer.

“If they don’t watch out, they risk becoming just suppliers to those (tech) companies,” Okuyama said in an interview at his industrial design studio in Tokyo.

Okuyama, who made his mark at Italy’s fabled Pininfarina studio and also redesigned the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette, says taking on Google and Apple will be the ultimate test for Toyota and other mainstream automakers.