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Indonesian plane flew erratically with unreliable speed readings the day before fatal crash – National




The Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX jet that crashed in Indonesia on Monday flew erratically the previous evening and its airspeed readings were unreliable, according to an accident investigator and a flight tracking website.

According to data from FlightRadar24, the jet displayed unusual variations in altitude and airspeed in the first several minutes of flight after taking off from Denpasar on the holiday island of Bali on Sunday evening, – including an 875-foot drop over 27 seconds when it would normally be ascending – before stabilizing and flying on to Jakarta.

Boeing aircraft in deadly Indonesia crash a popular new model in Canada and abroad

However, the pilots kept the plane at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet compared with 36,000 feet on the same route earlier in the week.

Lion Air CEO Edward Sirait told reporters on Monday a technical problem had occurred on the Denpasar-Jakarta flight but it had been resolved “according to procedure.”

National Transport Safety Committee (NSTC) deputy chief Haryo Satmiko told reporters on Tuesday there were technical problems on that flight, including unreliable airspeed readings.

“The suspected cause of the accident is still being investigated and it is making us all curious what could have caused it,” he said. Satmiko gave no further details.

WATCH: Lion Air passenger says he missed doomed flight because he was stuck in traffic

Two passengers on Sunday’s flight posted on Instagram, reporting that they had been concerned about problems with the air conditioning system and cabin lighting before the plane departed nearly three hours late.

“I was angry because as a passenger who had paid her ticket, we have every right to question the aircraft’s safety,” said one of them, TV presenter Conchita Caroline. She added there was a “weird” engine noise upon take-off that continued during flight.

It was not clear if the cabin problems were in any way related to the technical trouble mentioned by the airline’s CEO.

The Denpasar-Jakarta flight landed at 10:55 p.m. local time on Sunday, giving engineers six-and-a-half hours at most for checks before it was dispatched for the fatal Jakarta-Pangkal Pinang flight at 6:20 a.m. on Monday.

Pilot asked to return Indonesian plane to base before it plunged into sea with 189 people on board

The plane plunged into the sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta and all 189 people on board are believed dead.

FlightRadar24 also reported unusual air speeds and altitudes in the few minutes that Flight JT610 was in the air on Monday.

Photos of alleged technical and maintenance logs following the Sunday flight have been circulating online, but to date they have not been verified as accurate by the airline or investigators.

Sirait declined to detail the maintenance procedures taken, and on Tuesday he told Reuters the airline had provided the relevant aircraft flight and maintenance logs to NTSC.

NTSC Chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said there was a similarity between the maintenance log circulating online and the one received from Lion Air but he had not checked the exact details.

WATCH: Indonesia airliner crashes minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 on board

Satmiko said the agency had not yet met with the technician who handled the maintenance of the aircraft between the two flights.

Safety experts say the crash investigation is at a very preliminary stage and it is too early to speculate about the cause.

But pilot and engineering sources told Reuters the FlightRadar24 data for both flights, while not conclusive, could be a potential indicator of something wrong with the pitot static systems. Those are pressure-sensitive instruments that feed airspeed and altitude information to an avionics computer.

“Certainly the big changes in climb/descent very early on in the flight is what makes me think unreliable speed,” said a pilot at another airline, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media.

No noise

The data from FlightRadar24 shows the first sign that something was amiss on Monday’s fated flight came about two minutes after take-off when the plane had reached 2,000 feet.

At that point, it descended more than 500 feet and veered to the left before climbing again to 5,000 feet, where it stayed during most of the rest of the flight.

It began gaining speed in the final moments and reached 345 knots (397 mph) before data was lost when it was at 3,650 feet.

READ MORE: Rescuers uncover bodies, say 189 people on board likely didn’t survive

“They were going way faster than you would normally expect,” said a second pilot at another airline.

Two fishermen who saw the crash from their boat out at sea told Reuters that the plane swayed slightly but made no noise as it fell, almost horizontal with its nose slightly down. There was an explosive sound as it plunged nose-first into the sea, and then there was a column of smoke.

The weather was clear at the time of the crash at 6:33 a.m. on Monday, according to the head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee, who said the pilots had requested a turnback to Jakarta.

WATCH: ‘I thought it was thunder’ — witness recounts Indonesia plane crash

A safe visual landing should have been possible even with faulty indicators and a lack of autopilot systems, the pilot sources said.

In July, a Malaysia Airlines flight took off from Brisbane, Australia without removing covers on the pitot tubes.

The pilots landed the Airbus SE A330 safely after obtaining groundspeed information from air traffic control and using the jet’s radar altimeter, according to a preliminary report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. There were no reported injuries.

In 2009, Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean after icing that blocked the pitot tubes caused unreliable airspeed data and the confused pilots entered a high-altitude stall and ignored cockpit alarms, according to a report from France’s BEA. All 228 people on board died.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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