TEHRAN: Sixty passengers and six crew members died when an ATR-72 (twin-engine turboprop) aircraft operated by Aseman Airlines* – flying from here to Yasouj (city situated in the southwestern province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad) – crashed into the Central Iranian mountains today.
According to details, the aircraft fell prey to the inclement weather conditions and disappeared from radar. It crashed into the (440m high) Dena mountain range in Isfahan province’s Semirom region.
Sources privy to Newspakistan.tv have informed that, due to fog and difficult-to-get-to mountainous areas, so far the concerned authorities failed to reach the site of the crash.
Iran Aseman Airlines flight #EP3704 (Tehran-Yasuj) has crashed.
The aircraft involved is a 24 year old ATR 72. Registration EP-ATS. MSN 391.
According to our logs flight took off at 04:33 UTC. Last signal was received at 05:55 UTC when flight was at 16,975 feet and descending. pic.twitter.com/bn2AZ9gq7d
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 18, 2018
Aseman Airlines’s destinations:
*Semi-private air carrier Aseman Airlines (country’s third-largest by fleet size) is owned by Civil Service Pension Foundation of Iran harboring a fleet of 29 aircraft (including six ATRs). It is pertinent to mention here that following the 2015 nuclear deal Iran aims to change its aging passenger aircraft fleet that (as experienced by PIA) results into regular accidents and has signed deals with European consortium Airbus and its American competitors Boeing.
Tanzania buries ferry disaster dead as toll hits 224
UKARA: Tanzania declared the whole nation was in mourning Sunday as the first dozen bodies were buried from a devastating ferry capsize on Lake Victoria that left people 224 dead.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa led “national funerals” on the island of Ukara, where the MV Nyerere had been coming in to dock on Thursday.
He spoke of “great mourning by the whole nation” as the first coffins were placed in individual graves, many of the victims unidentified.
The remainder of the dead were to be laid to rest later or taken away by families wishing for privates funerals.
The prime minister said a memorial would be built on Ukara.
Hopes had faded of finding any more survivors three days after the disaster, even after rescuers pulled out an engineer on Saturday who had holed up in an air pocket in the upturned vessel.
But Majaliwa said divers would continue the grim search in the waters around the boat. The ferry would also be refloated.
He updated the death toll to 126 women, 71 men, 17 girls, and 10 boys. Just 41 people survived.
Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe said 265 people had been on board the ferry, which had an official capacity of 100 or 101 passengers.
The prime minister said initial investigations suggested overloading was one of the causes of the accident.
“We have already arrested all those people in charge of operating and supervising the MV Nyerere. Questioning has begun,” he said.
A broader commission of inquiry into the disaster would also be set up, Majaliwa added.
One survivor was an engineer who shut himself into a “special room” with enough air for him to stay alive until he was found, said local lawmaker Joseph Mkundi.
Transport minister Kamwelwe said on Saturday that 172 of the bodies had been identified by relatives.
State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island. It was market day, which usually sees the vessel packed with people and goods.
Witnesses told AFP that the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock. Others blamed the captain, saying he had made a brusque maneuver.
Dozens of wooden coffins had lined the shore on Saturday, waiting to be seen by families as police and volunteers sought to keep hundreds of curious locals at bay.
Aisha William came to collect the body of her husband. “He left on Tuesday around noon, but he never came home. I do not know how I am going to raise my two children,” she said.
Ahmed Caleb, a 27-year-old trader, railed at a tragedy “which could have been prevented. I’ve lost my boss, friends, people I went to school with,” he sighed.
The aging vessel, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible above water, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas, and cement, when it capsized.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the ferry’s management and declared four days of national mourning.
“It appears clear that the ferry was overloaded”, he said, adding that the government would cover the funeral expenses.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people cannot swim.
In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when the MV Bukoba sank off the mainland town of Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.
US tighten rules for immigrants seeking Green Card
WASHINGTON: The administration of President Trump is seeking to make it difficult for immigrants to get Green Card is considered a burden on public exchequer, a news report said on Sunday, the latest in a series of measures to tighten rules for not just illegal but legal aliens.
The proposed rule called “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” will now be open for comment for 60 days. In the meantime, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services would continue to apply the current public charge policy.
Since becoming president in January last year, President Trump has sought to put a plug on the flow of people seeking legal as well as illegal means to stay in the country. The legal and administrative measures have accounted for a drastic fall in a number of intending immigrants and visitors traveling to the United States.
The latest measure would affect about 382,000 people per year who legally use food stamps or housing vouchers and could result in denial of the green cards, according to an announcement by the Trump administration. The officials could even deny extensions to those who might become “public charges”.
It may be mentioned here that the rule is not new and introduced in 1999 under which people who apply for green cards have always had to prove they would not be a burden. This is aimed at preventing people from getting green cards if they were considered likely to need financial assistance from the government.
But, this would be the first time that the use of food stamps and Section 8 housing assistance would be considered negative factors in deciding whether someone should be given a green card, a news report said.
The latest move drew a quick reaction from immigrant activists and Democrats who termed it as a baseless attack on immigrants.
“From the first day of the Trump campaign, the message has been that immigrants are a danger and a drain. Trump wants you to think Latinos and immigrants are rapists and murderers, they vote illegally against him, they are lazy and at the same time are stealing American jobs,” Democrat lawmaker Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said in a statement.
According to The New York Times, among those most affected will be elderly immigrants who depend on Medicare Part D for low-cost prescription drugs. The move will not affect those who have already received green cards.
MAJU, Azerbaijan’s varsity sign MoU for academic cooperation
KARACHI: Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Karachi (MAJU) and Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for academic cooperation with each other.
MAJU Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences, Dr. Kamran Azim and Rector, Khizar University, Dr.Hassan Niknafs have signed MoU.
This agreement is based on the reciprocity principle and expresses the genuine interest of both universities in exchanging students, scholars, academic information and dual degree programs, said a statement here on Sunday.
As per MoU, MAJU and Khazar University besides exchanging students and faculty/ staff will encourage the development and implementation of visiting scholars/tutors, cultural exchange, cooperative /collaborative research projects, cooperative (joint and double) degree and joint summer programs at respective campuses. The term of this agreement shall be five academic years that is 2018 to 2023.
Both Universities will cooperate for short term training programs/ projects and service – learning programs, cooperative and exchange lecturing plans and lecture content, conferences and seminars, academic supervision of graduate /post-graduate students.
As per MoU in the event of students exchange, specific arrangement for payment of related expenses, including round-trip travel, board, lodging, tuition and health insurance will be agreed upon by both universities in advance.