Civilian killed, two others wounded in bomb blast, west of Anbar

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Anbar (IraqiNews.com) A civilian was killed, while two others were wounded due to a blast caused by the remnants of Islamic State militants in west of Anbar, a security source said on Monday.

Speaking to BasNews, the source said, “an explosion caused by the remnants of IS in al-Mazraa region in Qaim town, on borders with Syria, left a civilian killed and two others seriously wounded. They were taken to hospital.”

Security services, according to the source, combed the region fearing further bombs that could be there in the region.

The source also added that troops managed to detonate hundreds of bombs and booby trapped houses in several regions across Anbar, however, there are still huge amount of bombs that need international efforts as well as devices to reveal the places where they are hidden and remove them.

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians, excluding policemen, were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
Baghdad was the worst affected governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Nineveh, with 13 killed and 7 injured.

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Int’l NGOs pledge USD 330.1 million in support of Iraq at Kuwait conf.

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Kuwait (Iraqinews.com) – A number of Kuwaiti and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have pledged a total of USD 330.130 million in support of the humanitarian situation in Iraq during a conference that kicked off earlier in the day in Kuwait.

According to KUNA, the donor NGOs included the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affair, as well as the Zakat House and the Awqaf General Secretariat (USD 35 million), along with Al-Salam Humanitarian and Charity Society of Kuwait (USD 15 million), and the Kuwaiti International Islamic Charity Organization (USD 10 million).

Also, the Kuwaiti Aid Society, Al-Najat Charity, Direct Aid Society, Al Eslah Society and the Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage have donated USD 10 million each.

Outside Kuwait, the International Committee of the Red Cross pledged USD 130 million in programs, while the Human Appeal of the UK donated USD 30 million. Also, the Qatari Education Above All Foundation pledged USD 13.5 million.

The NGOs Conference to Support the Humanitarian Situation in Iraq kicked off early on Monday to tackle the latest developments in the humanitarian situation.

It coincided with Kuwait’s hosting of the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

The one-day conference, which is being held under the patronage of Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwaiti government, is attended by a group of speakers representing around 70 regional and international humanitarian organizations , 25 Iraqi institutions and 15 Kuwaiti organizations.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Central Bank of Iraq Auctions $197,498,160 on 12 February 2018

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on February 12 registered $197,498,160 in sales, a 1.63% volume increase from the US $194,322,309 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on February 11.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on February 12 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the February 12 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3633.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to February 12, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $4.48 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to February 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.8 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

YEAR MONTH US DOLLAR SALES IN BILLIONS INCREASE/(DECREASE) COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS MONTH
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 0.7 -68%

 

Source :  Iraqi News

The hypocrisy of Barnaby Joyce is stunning

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By John Birmingham

It’s a helluva risky business writing a column about Barnaby Joyce at the moment. Not because he’s doomed and you might find him rolled out of office like a dangerously bulging tin of deeply dodgy potted meat before you can get the piece to your editor. He’s doomed, but it’s a slow motion train wreck. He’ll probably last until the weekend.

No, it’s risky because just when you think you’ve got this thing nailed down, it gets worse.

Barnaby Joyce is doomed. Now, it's just a matter of when.

Barnaby Joyce is doomed. Now, it’s just a matter of when.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

It started out as gossip of a purely personal nature. Joyce, now and forever to be known as The Beetrooter thanks to some cruel and magnificent bastard on Twitter, was rumoured to be cheating on his wife. Given his willingness to not just cast aspersions on other people’s private lives, but to punitively legislate against them, that was enough for a lot of punters to call him out on social media. But it wasn’t enough for the Press Gallery in the real media, and they’ve been throwing themselves an awesome pity party ever since.

For all of the high-minded journalistic waffle about private lives being private (unless, you know, somebody like Joyce decides to pass laws about them) and the need to verify rumours before writing news, it turned out there was plenty of crunchy and nutritious news value to be had in the Beetrooter’s shenanigans.

This bloke wasn’t merely sipping from the hypocrite drip because he put himself about as a staunch defender of family values while betraying and humiliating his family. He was an even bigger hypocrite, because having banged the drum about welfare cheats and bludgers, he’d lined up a series of cushy and very well paid jobs for his girlfriend. Plus they were living rent-free in a townhouse provided by a millionaire businessman, and renovated by the federal government to meet upgraded security standards.

You’d think this would be enough to finish the bloke off, especially since while he was enjoying his rent free love shack he was lecturing the rest of the country about why they should be ashamed of themselves for wanting to live in Sydney when he was happy to live in Armidale, because it was cheaper.

Much, much cheaper as it turns out. Who would have thought the solution to the housing affordability crisis was for millionaire property owners to let us live at their place for free. (Answer: socialists, communists, deluded idiots of that sort, I suppose).

But even that egregious and head spinning instance of grotesque hypocrisy is not the rancid cherry on top of the shit sundae of this story.

No, that would be Malcolm Turnbull insisting yesterday that there was nothing wrong with giving the Beetrooter’s pregnant lover a high paying job, and then moving her to another high paying job when that didn’t work out, and then finding a third, sweet, cushy gig when the second one fell through because, get this… she wasn’t actually his partner.

She was pregnant, and they were living together. But she wasn’t his partner because…

Shrugs.

Crickets.

Tumbleweeds.

Allow me to assist you, Prime Minister. She wasn’t his partner because shuffling her from one ministerial staff job to another might be a breach of the rules.

She wasn’t his partner because an ever-growing number of government ministers would be implicated in that possible breach.

She wasn’t his partner because that would make it very difficult, not just for the Beetrooter to hold onto his job, but for you too, Prime Minister.

And while all this is going on?

Thousands and thousands of innocent, law-abiding punters are being swept up by the very same government’s robo-debt programs and threatened with criminal sanction if they don’t pay back money they never owed in the first place.

It’s not often you get to see the raw, naked ugliness of the power imbalance between the masters and their serfs, but it’s out there for everyone to see this week.

I just hesitate to file this column because I wonder what’s coming next.

 

Source :  The Brisbane Times

Airbus well placed to meet Qantas’s Project Sunrise goals

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Airbus is well placed to meet Qantas’s requirements for ultra long-haul flights from Australia’s east coast to London and New York, the airframer’s head of A350 marketing Marisa Lucas-Ugena says.

Since the Australian flag carrier put forward its Project Sunrise goals in August 2017, the airline has been meeting with Airbus and Boeing to share information about the requirements for an aircraft capable of operating nonstop with a full load on these ultra long-haul routes by 2022.

While details remain scarce for now, it is understood Qantas is seeking an aircraft capable of carrying 300 passengers in both directions on both the New York and London routes.

Project Sunrise – the name is a nod to the “Double Sunrise” flights Qantas operated between Perth and Sri Lanka using Catalinas in WW2 – pits Boeing’s 777-8X against the A350-900ULR (ultra long-range) from Airbus in a two-horse race.

Lucas-Ugena says Airbus is in an “extremely good place to work on this challenge” thanks to the A350-900ULR.

“Are we better placed than anybody else to meet it? Absolutely,” Lucas-Ugena told reporters during media briefing at Qantas’s Mascot jet base on Monday prior to a A350-1000 demonstration flight around Sydney.

“What you see on the -900 is just the beginning and you are going to start seeing some of the developments in 2018. Yes we are ready and we will have to work hard still just to get that extra mile, literally, but we are very optimistic.”

The Airbus website states the A350-900ULR was capable of flying 19 hours and carry up to 165,000 litres of fuel.  Lucas-Ugena’s presentation showed the aircraft had a range of 9,700nm.

Currently, the world’s longest route by distance is Qatar Airways’ Doha-Auckland service at 7,848nm, operated by Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.

The first A350-900ULR is less than a year away from commercial service, with Singapore Airlines (SIA) the launch customer.

SIA plans to use the aircraft to resume nonstop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles (8,770nm) and New York (9,534nm) later in 2018.

In the meantime, SIA commenced Singapore-San Francisco (7,340nm) nonstop flights with a A350-900 in the airline’s standard three-class configuration of 42 business, 24 premium economy and 187 economy seats.

Lucas-Ugena said the A350-900ULR was capable of flying nonstop from Sydney to both London and New York.

However, whether the aircraft would do so while meeting Qantas’s range, comfort and performance requirements was something its technical teams were continuing to evaluate.

“Qantas is putting on the table their needs. And then it is up to us to see how we can meet them,” Lucas-Ugena said.

“We are evaluating what we need to do and when we know what exactly what has to be done, we’ll see. But I am not going to comment on what we are looking at.”

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said recently a request for proposal (RFP) was expected in 2019.

“We’re trying to work on how we get the aircraft capable of being able to make the distance, but the important thing is not only to make the distance, but to make it with a full passenger load,” Joyce said during the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit on February 5, according to a report from Flightglobal.

“We want both manufacturers to have an aircraft that is capable of doing it. If that’s the case we’ll do an RFP next year.”

While it is true the Boeing 777-8X, whose entry into service is scheduled for 2022, and A350-900ULR are capable of operating those routes, the range versus payload specifications were not quite where Qantas believed they needed to be for either airframes to ensure the routes were economically viable.

Just last week a senior Boeing executive expressed confidence the 777-8X would be up to the task of meeting Qantas’s Project Sunrise goals.

“I think that the baseline of the 8X is a much better place to start than any of our competitor’s baselines,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing told Australian Aviation at the Singapore Airshow on February 6.

While the 777-8X is still in development and yet to reach firm configuration, the Boeing website lists the aircraft as having a range of 8,700nm and a passenger capacity of 350-375 passengers.

 

Source :  Australian Aviation

Airbus showcases A350-1000 in Sydney

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Airbus showcased its Airbus A350-1000 to Qantas in Sydney on Monday morning during the type’s first visit to Australia.

The biggest member of the Airbus’s A350 XWB family was in Sydney as part of a world tour ahead of the type’s first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways on February 20.

The aircraft, MSN065 F-WLXV, is Airbus’s third A350-1000 flight test airframe, and operated a short return flight from Sydney Airport with a number of Qantas senior executives onboard, including Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce. 

Qantas is particularly interested in the A350 design for its Project Sunrise requirement for an aircraft capable of flying nonstop from the east coast of Australia to both London and New York (for which Boeing is expected to offer a development of its Boeing 777-8X). The aircraft will also be demonstrated to Air New Zealand in Auckland on Tuesday, while in the past Virgin Australia has also shown interest in Airbus’s newest widebody design.

“When we look at the total [A350] backlog 35 per cent of the total orders of the A350 belong to customers in Asia Pacific,” head of A350 marketing Marisa Lucas-Ugena told media ahead of the demonstration flight. Airbus A350 orders in the Asia Pacific. (Airbus)

“We have 14 customers in Asia, eight of them have already received A350-900s, and while you see the ‘Pacific’ part of [the map of Asia Pacific] is a little empty we are really looking forward to filling [that gap] with some A350 orders.”

To date Airbus holds 854 orders firm orders for the A350, of which 146 had been delivered by the end of January. Of those, 169 orders are for the A350-1000.

While Airbus’s solution for the Project Sunrise mission seems likely to be based on the 9,7000nm range A350-900ULR, which has been ordered by Singapore Airlines to operate nonstop from Singapore to New York, the high degree of commonality between A350 variants means the A350-1000’s visit was a timely one for Qantas technical and operational staff as the airline appraises its options for the demanding ultra long-haul mission.

After visiting Sydney and Auckland, the A350-1000 is due to visit Tokyo and Manila at the conclusion of its tour before returning to Toulouse. It had arrived in Sydney from Bangkok on Saturday evening.

 

Source :  Australian Aviation

GACA fails to collect SR812m in KAIA rents

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Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — A supervisory body in Makkah province has uncovered failure by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to collect SR812 million in accumulated rents from tenants at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

It was discovered rent was not collected from some of the tenants for as long as 25 years, the Arabic daily Al-Madina said on Sunday quoting a 10-page report compiled by the supervisory body.

However, the newspaper did not name the supervisory body, which accused GACA of serious lapses in collecting rent dues from the investors at the airport.

The report asked GACA to question the department in charge of collecting rents and to apply the rules and regulations on tenants who have not paid their rents all these years.

Fines should be imposed on the tenants who failed to pay the rent on time, the report said.

The report said the airport had outstanding rent dues that dated as back as 25 years. Some of tenants and investors were still occupying their locations though their rental contracts had expired more than two years ago.

It said GACA had no plans or effective programs to collect delayed rents or to use its legal right in pursuing the tenants who defaulted in payments.

The report said seven investment companies still occupied space in the commercial area of the airport even though their rental contracts had expired long ago. The activities of the companies ranged from hotel services, transport, catering to communications.

Al-Madina said it contacted GACA spokesman Abdullah Al-Khiraif for clarifications on the report, but he did not so far answered its queries even though he had promised to do so.

Source :  Saudi Gazette
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