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Fake Pilots in India

Fake grades and manipulated logged flying hours are letting unprepared pilots fly planes full of passengers.
Aviation officials and others have been exposed by a government-ordered investigation to be forging grade sheets, fudging logbooks and accepting bribes. Unqualified pilots have been let in the cockpit because of the recurring scandal reported the Washington Post.
Parminder Kaur Gulati, an Indian pilot, brought the scandal into light when she landed an Airbus 320 passenger plane on its nose wheel at New Dehli in January reported the Washington Post.
E.K. Bharat Bhushan, India's director general of civil aviation, admitted that the grade sheets look very real and it's worrying that people had gotten away with it for so long reported the Washington Post. Bhushan assured flyers that only 29 out of their 8,000 certified pilots have lost their licenses.
According to Asia Times the fake pilots were employed in major domestic airlines, including national carrier Air India and private airlines Jet Airways.
India's airline industry boomed from 2009-2010 along with passenger traffic which led to many new flying schools opening up and many young adults in India seeking to become pilots reported the Washington Post. In order to graduate from the India aviation school students must log in a certain number of flying hours and take written tests, and the amount of both depends if the student is seeking to become a co-pilot or to command the aircraft according to the Washington Post.
A senior pilot working for Air India said the theoretical questions written by bureaucrats who have never touched the controls of aircrafts make up the written tests. These questions are why many students resort to faking their results according to the Washington Post.
Asia Times reported that fortunately India hasn't had any air crashes among the fake pilots.

Chinese police detain church members for public praying

Sunday morning Chinese police detained more than 100 church members after they tried praying in a public plaza north of the capital.
The members of the Shouwang Church tried to hold an outdoor service after failing to secure permission to open a church reported the Los Angeles Times. The congregation of around 1,000 has complained in recent years that the government pressured landlords into refusing to rent space in various hotels and office buildings to the congregation said the LA Times.
According to the New York Times the congregation is one of China's largest house churches and has been trying to gain legal recognition from the authorities since 2006 with no success. The Shouwang Church is one of many unregistered churches facing pressure to disband or join the system of state-controlled churches said the NY Times.
The church did not make the public meeting a secret as it explained on the Internet that they had no choice but to pray in public reported the NY Times.
The police were also alerted of the time of the gathering and went on to surround the meeting point reported the LA Times. More than 100 members were loaded onto vans and buses and many were taken to a nearby school for questioning before being released.
This public prayer meeting is not the first for the Shouwang Church, but it was the first meeting to be interfered by Chinese authorities reported the LA Times.

Japan hit by magnitude 7.1 aftershock

Thursday night northeastern Japan experienced their strongest aftershock since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The New York Times reported that the aftershock hit at 11:32 p.m. local time and was centered 41 miles east of the city of Sendai.
Following the aftershock the Japanese Meteorological Agency put out a tsunami warning, which was lifted after 90 minutes reported the Los Angeles Times.
Miyagi and Yamagata, two cities that were hit, reported two deaths occurred because of the aftershock and many more were injured said the New York Times.
As of Friday morning 3.6 million households were out of power as the aftershock knocked out power at three nuclear facilities reported the NY Times.
Worries rose that the aftershock could affect the already suffering Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but the the NY Times reported that the Tokyo Electric Power Company found no new damage to the plant and no increase in radiation levels.

Radioactive water leakage in Japan

Radioactive water continues to leak from Japan's nuclear plant into the ocean Saturday with little success in stopping.
Ever since the magnitude-9 earthquake hit Japan on March 11 the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex has been leaking radioactivity, which is may be the source of radioactivity found in coastal waters in the past few days reported the Star Tribune. The leak found at the nuclear plant is the latest indication that the strategies being used to cool the overheating reactors could be creating new problems reported The Washington Post .
According to the Washington Post Japan's nuclear regulatory office pooled toxic water from an almost eight-inch-long crack in the concrete wall of a maintenance pit at the unit-2 reactor. The level of radioactivity in the air above the water was measured at 1,000 millisieverts per hour, which is four times the maximum level that plant workers can legally be exposed to.
Water two feet away from the crack in the pit was measured at 400 millisieverts as radiation quickly scatters through water and air, but by the time it reaches the Pacific Ocean it will be quickly diluted reported the Star Tribune.
The Los Angeles Times reported that on Sunday engineers attempted to use a mixture of sawdust, shredded paper and polymer or plastic that expanded to 500 times its size when exposed to water to plug the crack and then were going to pour concrete on top of the polymer. Unfortunately the polymer didn't form a plug and radioactive water continued to flow into the ocean.
Radiation measurements of iodine-131 have been found at 25 miles south of the plant in the seawater at twice the legal limit, but officials said that the measurements are still below levels dangerous to human health reported the Star Tribune.
According to the Star Tribune the radiation concerns have made it even more difficult for the people to go back to their normal lives as more than 165,000 people are living in shelters, 260,000 households still don't have running water and 170,000 don't have electricity.

Richard Leacock, Documentary Maker, Dies

Innovative documentary maker Richard Leacock died Wednesday at his home in Paris at 89 years old.
Leacock helped create the documentary style known as direct camera and played a central role in making some of the most cutting edge documentaries of the 1960s reported the New York Times. He was also involved in the developing the small, lightweight camera and sound equipment that led to a new style of filmmaking.
According to BBC News he also solved the puzzle of how to sync speech and video by inventing a system using Bulova watches, which was immediately put to use on his films.
Ever since making his first documentary at the age of 14 Leacock looked for ways that would allow the camera to function as an unblinking observer and let stories tell themselves and to convey "the feeling of being there", a saying he found often reported the New York Times.
The work he did on film, including what he did on the 1960 Kennedy film "Primary", led the way for new wave directors reported BBC News. The film, shot by Leacock and others, recorded the Democratic primary in Wisconsin that matched John F. Kennedy against Hubert H. Humphrey and showed revealing scenes of the candidates was something new to journalistic filmmaking.
According to the NY Times Leacock was born in London on July 18, 1921 and spent his childhood in the Canary Islands where he made films about living on his father's banana plantation and the Galapagos Islands. He then enrolled at Harvard University to study physics and master the technology of filmmaking and also spent time outside of school working as a cameraman and assistant editor on several documentaries before enlisting in the United States Army to serve as a combat photographer.
Once he returned to the U.S. from China and Burma he went on to work with Robert Flaherty, which led him to develop hand-held cameras and recorders that could capture images and sound at the same time reported the NY Times. Afterwards he used this technology to make two of the most gripping documentaries to come out of the direct camera movement.
Leacock then taught at the film school at M.I.T before moving to Paris to work on more films. He is survived by his six children and nine grandchildren.

Volcano eruption brings more misfortune to Japan

The Shinmoedake volcano in southern Japan began to spew ash and rock Sunday while the rest of the country is continuing to struggle in the wake of a disastrous earthquake and tsunami.
The volcano located on Japan's Kyushu island, which is 950 miles from the epicenter of Friday's earthquake, caused the Meteorological Agency to issue a warning Sunday saying that the volcano had resumed activity after a couple of quiet weeks reported the Star Tribune.
The Los Angeles Times reported that this eruption is the biggest volcanic activity in Shinmoedake in 52 years, and caused widespread destruction and panic. The blast, itself, could be heard for miles, and had shattered windows four miles away.
Hirokazu Taniyama, an official in Miyazaki, said that 612 people stayed in elementary schools for the night after the increase in volcanic activity, but that nobody has been injured in the eruptions reported USA Today.
The LA Times reported that officials are unsure if the volcano's eruptions are linked to the earthquake that occurred Friday as Japan does lie on the "ring of fire," a seismically active zone where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.

Earthquake and Tsunami devastate Japan

A 8.9 earthquake and following tsunami brought hundreds of deaths and devastating destruction to the northeastern coast of Japan Friday afternoon.
The New York Times reported that the earthquake is the strongest ever recorded in Japan that ended up destroying thousands of homes, making roads unusable and causing power to go down. The earthquake was so forceful that it caused as high as 30 feet waves on to the shore.
In the coastal cities that were hit many citizens are found stranded without shelter, food or water, but the Los Angeles Times reported that more than 500,000 citizens have been evacuated from the regions affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Since the initial earthquake there have been 40 aftershocks varying in magnitude and it is expected to have even more in the next few days reported the Los Angels Times.
Adding to the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami there is a growing fear that the two have done damage to the nuclear plants that may put to a risk to the people of being exposed to radiation reported the LA Times.
The government has done its best to send aid to the people by doubling the number of soldiers deployed in the aid effort to 100,000 and sent blankets, bottles of water, gasoline reported the Star Tribune.

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