May 242017

A Boeing 737-800 NG (Next Generation), one of the two passenger planes acquired this month by Romanian national airline TAROM, officially entered company’s fleet with a lavish landing at Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest on Wednesday (May 24, 2017). Baptized “Sarmizegetusa,” the plane made an airfield flyover escorted by two RoAF F-16 military aircraft, while a broad array of politicians, diplomats and other senior officials were waiting on the ground.

tarom boeing 737-800 NG

Boeing 737-800 Next Generation joins TAROM fleet in Bucharest (screengrab youtube)

The plane, which is leased for a 10 year period, is brand new, has 189 seats, a range of about 6,000 kilometers and bears the registration number YR-BGJ. The second plane is set to enter service in the coming weeks. As for the price Tarom has to pay for the jets, the authorities say “is confidential, but at the market level”. Unofficially, however, institutional sources speak of about 350,000 euros per month for each aircraft.

Tarom agreed a deal with Air Lease Corporation for the operating lease of two 737NG, taking advantage of the fact that the two aircraft had originally been ordered by Pegasus Airlines, an order that was canceled in the meantime. This is why the two aircraft have got into possession of Tarom in record time.

According to Boeing website, “the Next Generation 737 delivers the superior reliability, fuel efficiency and high-value returns operators require in today’s competitive market. Its exceptional versatility and lower maintenance and operating costs provide a competitive edge regardless of business model or market. A competitive edge that enables profitable growth. All this plus the newest passenger cabin design in its class to ensure a flying experience that exceeds expectations.”

TAROM’s fleet now numbers 21 aircraft, of which only 19 operate simultaneously due to maintenance operations. The acquisition of the 737NGs aims at replacing the two Airbus A310s whose withdrawal from service last year forced Tarom to stop operating several routes.

Warm welcome to Otopeni for Tarom Boeing 737-800 NG
“Sarmizegetusa” touched down at Otopeni after flying over the airport flanked by two F-16 of the Romanian Air Force RoAF.

A whole range of local political figures including Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, Transport Minister Razvan Cuc, Interior Minister Carmen Dan, Tarom Director Eugen Davidoiu, were waiting on the tarmac for the “festive” moment.

Video: TAROM Boeing 737-800NG “Sarmizegetusa” arrives in Romania

May 242017

Spain’s Supreme Court confirmed on Wednesday that Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Messi received prison sentences of 21 and 15 months respectively in relation to a tax fraud case.

lionel messi prison sentence

Lionel Messi lost appeal against 21-month jail sentence

The magistrates unveiled their decision on May 24 after Barcelona’s star and his father appealed against last year’s initial sentence. The two convicts – Lionel and Jorge Messi – have demanded the annulment of the 21-month jail term pronounced in July 2016, while the prosecution has demanded the Supreme Court to uphold it.

Both men were convicted of three counts of fraud, for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009, and were also given heavy fines.

They were found guilty of resorting to fictitious companies to evade Spanish taxes on income from companies using Lionel Messi’s image rights, writes BBC.

Despite paying the € 4.1 million damages, the Messi family did not escape punishment after recognizing the tax fraud charges.

In the end, footballer’s sentence was maintained at 21 months, while Jorge Messi’s was reduced to 15 months.

The Supreme Court has also confirmed the € 2.1 million fine that the player has to pay. As for his father, the financial sanction was reduced from € 1.6 million to €1.3 million.

Despite this convictions, Lionel Messi’s freedom is not jeopardized as sentences less than 24 months do not lead to imprisonment in Spain, therefore the Angentine star will serve it under probation.

May 232017

Salman Abedi is the author of the suicide bombing in Manchester!
The alleged suicide attacker who detonated an improvised bomb at a pop concert by American singer Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena Monday night was identified as Salman Abedi, US official officials said on Tuesday.

salman abedi manchester arena

Machester Arena shaken by dramatic concert suicide attack

Two of the officials, who were in close contact with the British authorities, reported that the suspect was named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi or Salman Ramadan Abedi and is believed to have traveled from London to Manchester by train before the terror incident.

Also British police confirmed the identity of the lone wolf terrorist who killed 22 people and injured 59 others, many of them teenagers.

“We can confirm that the person suspected of committing last night’s atrocities is 22-year-old Salman Abedi,” Ian Hopkins, head of the Manchester Police, told the media, adding that he would not provide further detailed information about Abedi at this time.

What is known so far about Salman Abedi?

Who was Manchester terror attack suicide bomber Salman Abedi?
Salman Abedi was a British citizen born in December 1994 in Manchester from a family of Libyan origin, writes BBC. The identity of the 22-year-old was revealed after teams of armed cops stormed his Elsmore Road home in Fallowfield, Manchester.

According to eyewitnesses, bomb disposal law enforcement units were spotted entering the house before a controlled explosion took place. Armed police have also arrested a 23-year-old man in Chorlton, south Manchester, in connection with the attack.

Abedi, who had at least three siblings, had lived at several addresses in Manchester, including also the Fallowfield property.

MI5 spooks and anti-terror cops are now racing against the clock to uncover Abedi’s links to any possible terror cell.

He was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated while in the foyer area moments after the popstar’s concert ended.

Witnesses told how nuts and bolts were sent flying in the blast at the foyer area as fans made their way to Manchester Victoria train station next door.

May 232017

US motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden, a former MotoGP world champion, died Monday at the age of 35, five days after he suffered a freak cycling crash in Italy, reports BBC.

Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden died in Italy. RIP (pic: Facebook)

Hayden was riding his bike last Wednesday on a road between Tavoleto and Riccione, near Rimini, when he was hit by a car. He suffered serious head and chest injuries and was induced coma over the past days.

But Monday, Maurizio Bufalini Hospital announced the tragic news that Nicky Hayden had died. A hospital statement issued on Thursday said Hayden had suffered “a serious polytrauma”, which is a medical term to describe the condition of a person who has multiple traumatic injuries.

Nicky Hayden, nicknamed The Kentucky Kid, won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006 with Red Bull Honda.

May 232017

A dramatic explosion rocked Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert Monday night, and the British police reveal that 22 people have been killed and 59 others injured. Preliminary reports indicate that the possible cause for the explosion was a suicide bombing.

ariana grande concert explosion

Explosion during pop concert by Ariana Grande

In a Facebook post, Greater Manchester Police wrote: “Emergency services are currently responding to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured. Please AVOID the area as first responders work tirelessly at the scene. Details of a casualty bureau will follow as soon as available.”

The concert was attended by more than 20,000 people, most of them teenagers, informs BBC.

According to witness accounts, there was a really big explosion and smoke invaded the main corridor outside the arena seating and stage area. There was a lot of confusion and everybody started screaming and running.

Police tweeted that emergency services were “responding to serious incident at Manchester Arena. Avoid the area. More details will follow as soon as available.” They later tweeted that a “casualty bureau” was being set up at the arena site.

A statement from Manchester Arena says the incident took place outside the venue – earlier reports had suggested it happened in the foyer. It’s very common for details to be conflicting in the immediate aftermath of an incident like this; we will confirm as soon as we can.

The statement reads:
“We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night. The incident took place outside the venue in a public space. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.”

Greater Manchester police have confirmed that 19 people have died and around 50 are injured:
“Just before 10.35pm on Monday 22 May 2017, police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. So far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured. This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”

Ariana Grande concert explosion: Moment of reported blast at Manchester Arena can be heard in this dashcam video

May 192017

Statistically, it is reported that more than half those who lose their lives in car accidents on New Zealand’s roads, use vehicles manufactured before 2000’s. (see video below)

Toyota Corolla crash test (pic: ANCAP)

In order to demonstrate the claim, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) conducted an experiment to highlight the development and importance of a car safety performance.

ANCAP experts have set up a crash test using two cars – same brand, same model, – but built 17 years apart.

On the left side there is a Toyota Corolla from 1998 and on the right side a Corolla hatchback (dubbed Auris in Europe) manufactured in 2015. Both Corollas were accelerated to 64 km/h and smashed into each other.

The crash result speaks for itself, hence, which car would you chose???

Video: Crash test Toyota Corolla model 1998 vs. 2015-built counterpart

May 162017

U2’s vocalist, the famous Bono, barred the US President Donald Trump from attending rock band’s performances in the United States, though he does not have the same problem with president’s supporters who happen to be music fans.

bono donald trump

Bono and Donald Trump

The 57-year-old Irishman said he would not welcome Donald Trump on his concerts, especially since the 70-year-old US president decided to cut funds for the fight against HIV.

In a statement for the Irish Mirror newspaper, Bono said: “People who voted for Trump are welcome, but he is not.”

“With or Without You” singer – who is currently on the “Joshua Tree Tour 2017” celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band’s first album – revealed that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to travel far from his hometown in Dublin, Ireland, as he ages.

May 122017

Enter Pyongyang presents a daily kaleidoscope of the North Korean society trapped in the dynastic communism of the dictator Kim Jong-un and a historical reality propagandistically governed by the myth of the “besieged fortress.”

The touristic outlook of the video could not avoid details of the daily life impossible to translate into the triumphal fiction of the propaganda.

Tired faces and empty eyes are captured on tape as the citizens of the North Korean capital are spotted at the subway or along the nearly deserted boulevards overseen by the mammoth buildings of the brutal architectural style.

Video: Enter Pyongyang promotes North Korea’s tourism

May 062017

The universe seems to “speak” to us again. The US Space Agency has released new recordings of the space sound, captured in the proximity of planet Saturn.

saturn rings

Saturn and its rings (pic: JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute / NASA)

A space probe whizzing between Saturn and its rings has recorded a sinister noise resembling the “dolphin language” and NASA scientists are now trying to decipher the information from Cosmos.

The Cassini spacecraft which has been studying Saturn for 13 years, made a stunning pass through the gap between the celestial body and its innermost ring at speeds of over 120,000 kilometers per hour.

Worth more than three billion dollars, Cassini odyssee will come to an end on September 15 when the probe is set to crash into Saturn after completing its “Grand Finale” mission.

Spacecraft Cassini is running low on fuel after nearly 20 years in space. It will plunge between Saturn and its rings 22 times before it crashes itself into the planet.

Video-Audio: Sounds of Cassini: Grand Finale Mission

May 062017

Facebook’s 2017 first-quarter financial report comes packed with a series of very interesting information about how the platform has evolved over the past few months. It seems that the number of social network users is steadily increasing, now reaching a figure equivalent to about 25% of the planet’s population.

Facebook image

Facebook nearly hit the 2 billion users milestone (pic: Facebook)

The company’s revenue amounted to $8 billion in the last three months, a 49% increase over the same period last year, with $3 billion accounting for profit. By comparison, the profit last year was 76% lower. Also during this period, the number of active monthly users increased by 17%, reaching a total number of 1.94 billion. Unlike past reports, Facebook has decided not to share users in terms of devices used to access the social network, which suggests that almost everyone is “mobile”, with the desktop being a secondary took to connect to the network.

The company has also addressed issues that have arisen in recent weeks, when more users have broadcast live video with crimes or suicides. Facebook promises to hire 3,000 moderators to monitor live content, notify authorities or prevent inappropriate videos from being spread. At the same time, the social network starts a more serious campaign to combat “fake news” and state-sponsored propaganda.