Another powerful eruption observed at Mt Shinmoe

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Another powerful eruption was observed at Mt Shinmoe in southwestern Japan early Thursday, with ash spewing up to around 5,000 meters high, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The eruption at the 1,421-meter-high volcano that straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures on the southwestern island of Kyushu was the biggest since March 25, according to the agency.

Mt Shinmoe erupted violently for the first time in about seven years on March 6, and the agency said a week later that it was expected to continue explosive eruptions for several months or more.

The agency maintained the alert level at the volcano at 3, which restricts access to the mountain, and issued warnings against large flying rocks within 3 kilometers of the crater and pyroclastic flow within 2 km of the crater.

Following the latest eruption at 3:31 a.m., rocks flew within around 1.1 km of the crater and the agency confirmed volcanic lighting caused by friction created by ash particles. It asked locals to be careful about volcanic ash and small rocks mainly on the leeward side.


Source  :  Japan Today

Sumo chief apologizes after female medics asked to leave ring while tending to sick mayor

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The Japan Sumo Association apologized on Thursday after female medics were asked to leave a sumo ring where they were treating a local official who had collapsed.

Kyodo news agency reported that Maizuru city Mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed after suffering a stroke, while making a speech at the Maizuru Culture Park Gymnasium near Kyoto on Wednesday and after several women rushed to help the prone official, a referee repeatedly asked them to leave the dohyo. An announcer’s voice was heard over the PA system twice asking the women, who were giving the mayor a heart massage and other assistance, to leave the dohyo.

Tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that it is sacred and their presence, considered “unclean”, would pollute it.

Tatami, 67, was eventually taken to a nearby hospital and his life was not in danger, according to city officials.

The sumo association’s newly elected chairman Hakkaku apologized for the incident and thanked the women.

“It was an inappropriate response in the life-threatening situation. I deeply apologize,” Hakkaku said in a statement.

The incident comes at a difficult time for sumo in Japan. The ancient sport has been plagued by a series of scandals in recent months.

Hakkaku is attempting to rebuild his sport’s tarnished reputation, after former yokozuna – the highest ranking in the sport – Harumafuji retired in December after assaulting a junior wrestler.

In February, Japanese police said they had referred a sumo wrestler to prosecutors on suspicion of indecent assault and last month Egyptian wrestler Osunaarashi was asked to retire after being involved in a car accident while driving without a license.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

Source :  Japan Today

Mitsubishi Electric to reward workers for efficiency, not long hours

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Mitsubishi Electric Corp will begin rewarding employees who work efficiently and cut down on hours, a rare move in a country where staying at the office late into the night remains common.

Takeshi Sugiyama, who was promoted to president and CEO of the Japanese electronics maker this month, said that starting with this year’s summer bonuses, productivity has been added to the list of items that employees are evaluated by.

“Placing importance on working long hours is outdated,” he said. He did not specify how the metric is being applied.

The move comes amid a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to boost productivity in order to compensate for the country’s rapidly shrinking population.

According to government data, the population has been in decline since peaking in 2008 at 128.08 million. The figure is projected to fall to half that by 2095, leading to concern that there will not be enough working hands to support the economy.

High profile cases of death by exhaustion, including the 2015 suicide of a 24-year-old woman working at Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc., have also led to soul-searching about work culture that values putting in long hours.

In January last year, the labor ministry referred Mitsubishi Electric to prosecutors on suspicion of forcing excessive overtime on a male employee, who subsequently became mentally ill and was laid off.


Source :  Japan Today

Riyadh to have first cinema theater on April 18

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Saudi Gazette report

LOS ANGELES/RIYADH — The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information granted on Wednesday the first license to AMC to operate a cinema theater.

AMC Entertainment Holdings will open first theater in Riyadh on April 18 and up to 40 theatres over the next five years.

Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad said the license will provide important investment opportunities for operating cinema theaters. He said that the Saudi market is large and the majority of the Kingdom’s population is under 30 years of age. They are eager to watch their favorite movies in their country.

“Among the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is to improve the quality of life by providing additional recreational opportunities. The opening of cinema theaters will help support the local economy keeping the spending by families within Saudi Arabia in addition to contributing to creating new job opportunities in the Kingdom,” Al-Awwad added.

It is expected that the Kingdom, whose population exceeds 32 million, the majority of whom are under 30 years of age, would form the largest market for cinema industry in the region.

It is expected that about 350 movie theaters with over 2500 screens will be opened by the advent of 2030.

Adam Aaron, chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings, said: “ We feel greater enthusiasm due to the warm welcome we have been accorded by the Ministry of Culture and Information, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi companies, institutions and individuals, with whom we communicated.”

He said his company is looking forward to providing recreational services that will enable all to spend an enjoyable time in world standard movie theaters in different parts of the Kingdom.

AMC’s entry into the Saudi market is in partnership with PIF through the Recreation Development and Investment Company, fully-owned by PIF.

The step to allow cinema theaters to function in the Kingdom will open a local market with annual ticket sales reaching US$1 billion.


Source :  Saudi Gazette

Muhammad discusses film, media partnership

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Saudi Gazette report

Los Angeles — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, discussed cooperation and partnership in media and entertainment sectors during separate meetings with a group of presidents of US media and entertainment industry companies and Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert Allen Iger here on Wednesday.

During the meeting with presidents of US media and entertainment industry companies, the Crown Prince discussed aspects of cooperation and partnership in media and entertainment sectors and the latest modern technologies in this regard.

Crown Prince Muhammad and Iger reviewed cooperation opportunities in the entertainment, culture, and film industries. They also reviewed opportunities in the Kingdom and the demand for the services and products of The Walt Disney Company.

The meetings were attended by Prince Khalid Bin Salman, Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

On the occasion of the Crown Prince’s visit to the US, the Misk Foundation will continue its six-city US tour in Los Angeles.

The Misk Foundation hosted cultural events that inspire discussions on education and engagement of millennials in the tech, art, culture and more.

There are two categories of events: Misk Talk events and events organized by the Misk Art Institute.

A ‘Misk Talk’ is an event at which there is an interactive discussion of ideas and experiences between Saudi and American youth.

They feature presentations from young Americans and Saudis living, working or studying in the US about their unique life stories, and offer inspiring reflections on how to succeed in the new, global economy.

There will also be a Misk Talk in San Francisco on Thursday.


Source :  Saudi Gazette

King receives princes, Grand Mufti, scholars, and citizens

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman received at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Wednesday princes, Kingdom’s Grand Mufti, scholars, and a group of citizens who came to greet him. The audience was attended by Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz, emir of Riyadh Region, and a number of princes. — SPA


Source :  Saudi Gazette

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia to end trans-Tasman alliance

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Heading in separate directions, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are ending their trans-Tasman alliance. (Seth Jaworski)

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are ending their alliance on trans-Tasman routes.

The partnership is due to expire in October 2018 and both airlines said on Wednesday they would not seek an extension of the tie-up from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Virgin Australia said in its statement it had “received notice that Air New Zealand intends to end the strategic alliance between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand”.

The Australian carrier said the two carriers would work through arrangements regarding codeshare, scheduling, inflight offering, lounge access and frequent flyer program reciprocity to ensure minimal disruption to customers.

Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said in a separate statement market dynamics on the Tasman had changed, adding that the time was right for each airline to “focus on its own objectives”.

The alliance was established seven years ago, and involved a metal-neutral, revenue-sharing joint-venture on on trans-Tasman routes, as well as reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.

At the time, both Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia spruiked consumers would benefit from a better choice of flights, improved connections and increased capacity on the Tasman.

Further, it would also allow the airlines to leverage efficiencies, opportunities and cost savings on trans-Tasman operations.

The ACCC approved the renewal of the alliance for five-year period through to October 31 2018 in 2013.

The 2013 authorisation noted Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia had the largest combined market share on Australia-New Zealand routes with 50.8 per cent of all seats flown on the Tasman. Air New Zealand held 35 per cent of all capacity, while Virgin Australia had 15.4 per cent.

The next largest grouping on trans-Tasman routes was the combined capacity share of Emirates, Jetstar and Qantas.

At the time, Air New Zealand held a 23 per cent of Virgin Australia shares. It has also twice supported the Australian carrier alongside other major shareholders Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines through backing a capital raising or an unsecured loan facility.

The partnership between the pair deepened in 2014, when Air New Zealand, then with a 26 per cent shareholding, took a seat on the Virgin Australia board.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia cabin crew. (Air New Zealand/Virgin Australia)

However, relations soured in March 2016 when Air New Zealand announced it planned to sell its stake in Virgin Australia and resigned from the board.

While the two airlines have been at pains to stress in the two years since Air New Zealand left the share registry that the alliance arrangements would be unchanged, there has been some winding back of cooperation, particularly in terms of frequent flyer benefits and earn and burn opportunities on each other’s networks.

Wallace noted Australia was the largest source of inbound visitors to New Zealand, adding that Air New Zealand had built up a significant presence in this market.

“This move will enable us to deliver a more consistent customer experience by using our own fleet and delivering an improved schedule, which we’ll provide more details about shortly,” Wallace said.

“We remain fully committed to our other alliance relationships and our overall global airline alliance strategy as a critical success factor in other markets.”

Air New Zealand has been aggressively targeting Australia in recent times and in 2016 launched a marketing campaign designed to capture a larger slice of Australians heading to North and South America.

VIDEO: An example of Air New Zealand’s “Better Way to Fly” campaign targeting Australians, as shown on the airline’s YouTube channel.

That push followed the start of nonstop flights to Houston and Buenos Aires from its Auckland hub in December 2015. And by the end of this year Air New Zealand plans to add Chicago to its North American network alongside Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco and Vancouver.

For Virgin Australia, chief executive John Borghetti said the end of its tie-up with Air New Zealand on trans-Tasman route provided “opportunities for the Virgin Australia Group on the Tasman, including operating both the Virgin Australia and Tigerair Australia brands in the market”.

“The Virgin Australia Group has had a strong presence in the market since 2004 and we will continue to enhance our offering to suit both the business and leisure markets,” Borghetti said.

“Virgin Australia will continue its strong focus on providing competition and outstanding service on the Tasman, which remains an important part of our network and strategy as an airline group.”

In addition to their alliance on the Tasman, Virgin’s Boeing 737-800s and ATR 72 turboprops undergo maintenance checks at Air New Zealand’s engineering workshops in New Zealand. The pair also has a shared Boeing 777-300ER engine pool.

Currently, Virgin Australia’s low-cost-carrier unit Tigerair Australia has no international routes, having ended flights to Bali in February 2017 after reaching an impasse with Indonesian regulators over its operating permit to serve the popular tourist destination.

Any re-entry into the international market would allow Virgin Australia to offer both a full-service and bust option for travellers on the Tasman, while at the same time help improve the utilisation of Tigerair Australia’s Airbus A320s and Boeing 737-800 fleet.


Source :  Australian Aviation

Virgin Australia to start Sydney-Hong Kong on July 2

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Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200 VH-XFD operating the inaugural VA87 from Melbourne to Hong Kong on July 5 2017. (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia will launch its daily Sydney-Hong Kong nonstop service at the start of July.

The airline first announced plans to operate the route in February, without specifying a start date.

However, Virgin Australia said on Tuesday it will join Cathay Pacific and Qantas on the busy Sydney-Hong Kong route from July 2 2018.

It will operate Sydney-Hong Kong with its fleet of Airbus A330-200s featuring 20 business class seats with direct aisle access for every passenger and 255 seats in economy at eight abreast.

Once Virgin Australia commences Sydney-Hong Kong flights, its Melbourne-Hong Kong offeringwill drop back to five flights a week, from daily currently.

Flight timings for Melbourne-Hong Kong will also change from a daytime flight from Melbourne and red-eye return from Hong Kong to an overnight service in both directions.

It was understood the schedule changes were due to the availability of takeoff and landing slots at Hong Kong’s busy Chek Lap Kok Airport.

Virgin Australia’s two services between Australia and Hong Kong are supported by its alliance with HNA Group carriers including Hong Kong Airlines, which has its HX airline code on the Australian carrier’s services to Hong Kong.

There is also a codeshare arrangement with Virgin Atlantic, which in January received approval to add its VS airline code on Virgin Australia’s Hong Kong and Los Angeles services.

VIDEO: Virgin Australia kicked off its Melbourne-Hong Kong service on July 5 with a celebration at the terminal featuring Sir Richard Branson, as this video on Melbourne Airport’s YouTube channelshows.

Further, Virgin Australia announced on Tuesday it had established an interline arrangement with Hong Kong Express (another HNA Group carrier) for connections throughout Asia.

“Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting destination but is also a gateway into Asia and Europe. We look forward to offering onward connections with our partners Hong Kong Airlines and Virgin Atlantic,” Virgin Australia group executive for airlines Rob Sharp said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Greater China is a key pillar of our strategy and the addition of Sydney services to our already popular Melbourne flights to Hong Kong strengthens our proposition immensely.”

The recent codeshare and interline agreements means means Virgin Australia will be able to sell flights to Asia either via Hong Kong (with connections from Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express) or via Singapore thanks to its alliance with Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Sharp told a recent industry conference the performance of its Melbourne-Hong Kong service that kicked off in July 2017 had given the airline the confidence to mount a new nonstop flight from Sydney to the Special Administrative Region.

“Melbourne from Day One had traffic flows of at least 50 per cent of the traffic coming straight down from the China peninsular and Hong Kong into Australia,” Sharp told delegates at the Routes Asia 2018 conference in Brisbane on March 19, in response to a question.

“Normally for new routes, you rely on your point-of-sale strength and in this instance our partner Hong Kong Airlines really brought quite a lot of traffic through and they have been a great partner up there.”

Source :  Australian Aviation

Cathay Pacific to add sixth Adelaide flight

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Cathay Pacific has announced it is adding a sixth weekly Hong Kong-Adelaide flight from October.

The new flight will commence from October 28, with a split schedule seeing early afternoon departures from Adelaide on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and evening departures on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, all operated by Airbus A330-300s.

The additional flight will add 26,000 seats a year to the Adelaide-Hong Kong market, Cathay says.

Cathay Pacific Adelaide-Hong services with effect Oct 28 2018

Flight No. Days of operation Departure Arrival
CX174 Wed/Fri/Sun 14.15 20.30
CX176 Tue/Thu/Sat 22.15 05.00+1
Flight No. Days of operation Departure Arrival
CX173 Wed/Fri/Sun 00.20 11.35
CX175 Tue/Thu/Sat 09.15 20.30


Source :  Australian Aviation

Social media is new hub for scamsters in UAE

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Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah
Filed on April 5, 2018 | Last updated on April 5, 2018 at 07.22 pm

The gangs turned into popular social media apps, thinking that they would get away from police control.

After the successful crackdown by the Sharjah Police on mobile phone scamsters who used to call up subscribers, informing them about fake raffle draw wins, the gangs are seeking new ways to dupe mobile subscribers, the police have warned.

The gangs are targeting mobile phone customers through WhatsApp messages, informing them about huge money in prizes they have ‘won’, the police said, adding that the scamsters are using the names of the UAE telecom companies to dupe customers.

The gangs turned into popular social media apps, thinking that they would get away from police control.

A top official at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sharjah Police said that recently, they started receiving a large number of complaints from the public about WhatsApp messages they received from the scamsters, informing them that they are lucky winners of prizes worth Dh200,000 from telecommunication companies, which can be claimed from Dubai Islamic bank. They also provided a number to call to claim the prizes.

The police stopped receiving complaints about customers losing money after fraudsters’ calls about lottery wins, after an intensified awareness drive was conducted among the public. As people became aware of the phone call fraud, they stopped responding to any such calls and began to notify the police if they received any.

The investigation revealed that the gangs used to bring people on a visit visa or used illegals and absconders inside the country to make them call the residents to tell them about prizes they had won. However, after they realised that people don’t respond to their calls now, they started to use WhatsApp to send messages to subscribers and ask them to take part in the competition of a SIM card raffle draw to claim cash prizes worth Dh200,000. They would also ask the residents to give the serial number on the SIM card and disclose their bank details.

Col Al Ajill said that the fraudsters still follow the same modus operandi as they collect prepaid phone balance from victims who respond to them and later send their people to sell it to the passersby on the streets.

During last three years, the police managed to arrest a large number of people who would stand in public places to sell phone balance. They sold credit balance for Dh3 and Dh5. The suspects confessed to committing the fraud for receiving a percentage of the funds in return.

During interrogation, the gangs who were arrested confessed that their leaders provided them with training to carry out acts of fraud, by giving them a percentage of the funds.

Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, stressed that the police would not tolerate the activities of these gangs and would intensify search and investigation to arrest them. The police would also continue massive awareness campaigns through all media, to warn the public of such scams.

Ensuring security

Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, also stressed on the force’s strategy to achieve the vision of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) that aimed at making the UAE the safest country.

To achieve this, the Sharjah Police have intensified patrols across the emirate and launched a thorough investigation to arrest the fraudsters who involve in any kind of scams to con residents, affecting their safety and security. “We are making great efforts in curbing crimes and illegal practices being carried by illegals and other gangs. The police personnel are well trained to track all kinds of methods the perpetrators carry out to commit their crimes.”

The police are also making great efforts in strengthening ties, trust and cooperation within the community. “The public’s cooperation with the police would ensure a high sense of security and safety among members of society,” he added.


Source  :  The Khaleej Times

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