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Tuesday, 11 June 2019
A helicopter crashed onto the fog-shrouded roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper on Monday, killing at least one person and unnerving a city still scarred by memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, airplane attacks on the World Trade Center.
The crash occurred shortly before 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on a rainy, gray day atop the 750-foot (229m) AXA Equitable Center at 787 Seventh Avenue, a few blocks north of Times Square. Dozens of emergency vehicles swarmed the area, shutting down traffic and evacuating offices in one of the city’s busiest areas.
The person killed is “presumed” to be the pilot, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. No injuries, either to people in the building or on the ground, have been reported.
“The helicopter is pretty obliterated at this point. It was obviously a very hard hit,” de Blasio said during the briefing.
He said the cause was unknown but that there was no indication the crash was an “act of terrorism.” It was not clear if limited visibility due to the weather was a contributing factor.
Nicolas Estevez was standing across the street from the building when a 12-inch (30 cm) piece of metal that appeared to be from the helicopter landed on the pavement just feet away.
The crash, which sent people streaming out of the building within seconds, reminded him of Sept. 11, Estevez said.
“I saw the explosion and the smoke coming out,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the aircraft was an Agusta A109E, a twin-engine, lightweight helicopter. The pilot was the only person aboard, and FAA air traffic controllers did not handle the flight, according to the agency.
The chopper took off from a heliport on Manhattan’s east side at 1:32 p.m. and crash-landed on the building 11 minutes later, causing a fire that was quickly extinguished by responding firefighters, officials said.
The site is about half a mile from Trump Tower, where U.S. President Donald Trump maintains an apartment. The area has been under a temporary flight restriction since his election in November 2016.
The pilot would have required permission from air control at La Guardia Airport in New York, and investigators are trying to determine if the pilot was in contact with the tower there or at any other airport, de Blasio said.
Nathan Hutton, who works in information technology for the French bank BNP Paribas on the 29th floor, said the building shook when the helicopter slammed into the roof.
“It felt like you were just standing there, and someone takes their hand and just shoves you,” he said. “You felt it through the whole building.”
Trump called New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was at the scene soon after the crash, to offer assistance if needed, the governor’s office said.
“Phenomenal job by our GREAT First Responders who are currently on the scene,” Trump said on Twitter after being briefed on the crash. “The Trump Administration stands ready should you need anything at all.”
Published in World
Mr Ikechi Uko, An aviation and tourism expert on Tuesday said Nigeria should develop an Aviation Masterplan so as to maximise the abundant opportunities in the sector.
Ikechi, who is the promoter of the Akwaaba African Travel and Tourism Expo, made the suggestion while speaking with the News men in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He said other African countries especially Ethiopia, South Africa and Kenya were taking advantage of the potentialities of the aviation sector to drive their economy.
“Nigeria first have to create a grand plan of what we want to do with aviation because aviation drives economy, aviation creates wealth and employment.
“So, we have to have a masterplan for aviation. How many people do we want it to employ and what do we want it to contribute to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We have to bring it down to the number of airlines that we need to activate this vision but unfortunately, we have not been able to implement this as a policy,” Uko noted.
He said it was unfortunate that Nigeria had been unable to establish a new national carrier since the liquidation of the Nigeria Airways in 2004 by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime.
Uko however noted the efforts being made by the Federal Government to set up Nigeria Air as the new national carrier, but said the project would only be successful by strategic planning and appointment of experienced and competent personnel.
“If we want to start a new national carrier, we have to start small. We can have a vision of becoming the biggest airline in the world, but it is not a vision that we start immediately.
“I cannot see a carrier starting that big in Nigeria and succeeding. In aviation from my experience, it is better to start small and grow just like RwandAir and Asky is doing today.
“What I need to see about the sustainability is that we are starting within the capacity of our skills set, management capacity and airport capacity,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria should emulate Ethiopian Airlines (ET) by keeping aside politics from the new national carrier.
“Though ET is 100 per cent owned by government, it is run like a private business. There is a succession plan. Everybody in ET knows where they are positioned and they know where they are going.
“So it is generation after generation and there is a clear plan and that is why the airline has succeeded for 70 years.
“For us in Nigeria, we can do the same thing but the most important thing is to separate politics from business.
“We have a crop of competent managers in Nigeria and we can create a team and use them to run airlines,” he said.
Published in Travel & Tourism

The Chinese government convened top tech companies this week and warned them of consequences if they cut off technology sales to the country, US media reported.

The meeting followed US President Donald Trump's move last month to blacklist Chinese tech giant Huawei over national security concerns, threatening the firm's global ambitions and ramping up the months-long trade battle between the two countries.

Earlier this week, the Chinese government summoned executives from American firms Dell and Microsoft and South Korea's Samsung, among others, to warn them that any moves to ramp down their businesses in China may lead to retaliation, The New York Times reported.

American companies were told "that the Trump administration's move to cut off Chinese companies from American technology had disrupted the global supply chain, adding that companies that followed the policy could face permanent consequences," the newspaper reported.

Companies based outside the United States were told that as long as they maintained business as usual, they wouldn't be punished, the newspaper reported.

Last Friday, Facebook announced it would cut Huwaei off from its popular social networking app to comply with the US sanctions, further isolating the company that has become the world's second-largest smartphone vendor.

Google made a similar announcement in May.

Washington and Beijing resumed their trade battle last month when negotiations in the US ended without a deal and US President Donald Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Beijing retaliated with its own tariff hike on billions of dollars worth of US goods.

The US move to cut Huawei off from American hardware came next, but was delayed by 90 days to prevent economic disruptions.

Source: AFP

Published in World
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