Home' Greymouth Star : June 2nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
10 - Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Malaysia Airlines is “technically
bankrupt ”, its new German chief
executive says as the carrier
slashed 6000 jobs as part of plans
to recover from deadly disasters
and a long run of red ink.
public overnight his plans for the
troubled flag carrier for the first
time since the aviation turnaround
specialist was brought in on
May 1 to save it from collapse.
They include the thousands of
job cuts — expected but made
official overnight — a trimmed
route network, a revamped
brand image and an overhaul of
the company ’s organisation and
Mueller, whose job-cutting
stints at Ireland’s Aer Lingus and
Belgium’s Sabena earned him
the nickname “ The Terminator”,
said Malaysia Airlines’ desperate
situation made drastic action
“ We are technically bankrupt
and that decline of performance
started long before the tragic
events of 2014,” Mueller told
reporters, referring to a pair of
disasters that rocked the already
loss-making airline last year.
“The restructuring process will
start today with a hard reset.”
Beset by poor management,
Malaysia Airlines had struggled
for years to remain competitive,
posting losses for most of the
past five years.
But its two shocking disasters
in 2014 were the final straw,
pushing the carrier to the brink
In March of last year Flight
MH370 disappeared with 239
passengers and crew aboard and
remains missing. Four months
later Flight MH17 was blown
out of the sky, killing all 298
aboard, by a suspected ground-
to-air missile over Ukraine.
A Malaysian State investment
fund took the reeling airline
over late last year, later tapping
Mueller to take the helm. He
is the company ’s first non-
Malaysian chief executive.
The airline said it had issued
termination letters to all of
its roughly 20,000 employees,
followed by new contracts offered
to 14,000 of them as it aims to
Mueller said the 6000 job losses
were necessary as the company
suffered from cost burdens 20%
higher than those sustained by its
Under Mueller, 52, the carrier
plans to “re-invent ” itself
beginning from September 1
with a yet-to-be-revealed new
brand image and livery as it seeks
to shed the stigma of disaster.
Mueller indicated a name
change was possible.
“ We will test that very diligently
with test groups because we have
to achieve a perception of a
completely new start in certain
markets where our brand is
particularly tarnished,” he said.
But the plans were attacked
by the carrier’s flight attendants’
union, which said employees
were paying the price for the
company ’s poor management
over the years.
“ Today is the darkest moment
for employees of Malaysia
Airlines. I am having a tough
time dealing with the emotions
of those who have been
terminated,” the union’s head,
Ismail Nasaruddin, said. “It is very
distressing. I have crew members
crying all over the phone, saying
they had been terminated despite
having a sterling performance
record. ” — AFP
Planet Earth could be home to millions fewer
species than previously thought, new research
About 16 million fewer types of beetles and
30 million fewer types of terrestrial arthropods
than calculated in the 1980s could actually exist,
a study by researchers at Griffith University says.
By developing a more accurate measurement
of specie numbers, scientists hope to discover
the impact humans are having on extinction
The study of beetles and insects — which
constitute more than half of all the world’s
species — used a new method of creating
estimates by examining body size.
Professor Nigel Stork concluded that around
10% of the world’s beetles had been identified
by comparing the changing body size of
the British beetle to the mean body size of a
worldwide sample from London’s Natural
The body-size approach is one of four newer
methods of estimation which have come into
use since 2001 — compared to two used several
decades ago — which are believed to yield more
His figures have drastically lowered previous
projections of total species numbers —
suggesting a mean of 1.5 million types of
beetles, compared to the previous estimate of
17.5 million from the 1980s.
Previously, it was believed there were
approximately 36.8 million kinds of terrestrial
arthropod, compared to the mean of 6.8 million
suggested by new research. — PA
Fewer species under new Aust research
Workmen in Paris started pulling off
hundreds of thousands of padlocks attached
by lovers to the “Pont des Arts” bridge
overnight, afraid the sheer weight of the
romantic tokens was putting the 19th century
structure at risk.
The pedestrian bridge has become a shrine
for amorous tourists and Parisians alike, who
seek to immortalise their love by leaving an
initialled padlock attached to its metallic grid
“It’s the end of the padlocks,” deputy Paris
mayor Bruno Julliard said in a statement.
“They spoil the aesthetics of the bridge,
are structurally bad for it and can cause
accidents,” he added, noting that at least one
section of railing had already collapsed under
the weight in a potential risk to shipping on
the River Seine below.
He said the existing railings would be
initially replaced with panels covered in street
art and later this year by plexiglass.
A couple of tourists from Washington DC
turned up unaware of the padlock ban.
“ We came with the idea of putting a lock
but we found out it ’s closed and illegal now
— so we arejustgoingtoputithereatthe
very end of the bridge so no one can see,”
Cathy Hominage said. — Reuters
A workman places an iron grille panel covered with “love locks” from the Pont des Arts in
Paris into a truck.
Paul McCartney has quit
smoking marijuana for the sake of
The Beatles legend, who has five
children and eight grandchildren,
was a long-term pot-smoker dating
back to his 1960s heyday, but he no
longer lights up as he wants to set a
good example for his family.
He tells Britain’s Daily Mirror
newspaper, “I don’t do it any more.
Why? The truth is I don’t really
want to set (a bad) example to
my kids and grandkids. It ’s now a
“Back then I was just some guy
around London having a ball,
and the kids were little so I’d just
try and keep it out of their faces.
Instead of smoking a spliff, I’ll now
have a glass of red wine or a nice
margarita. The last time I smoked
was a long time ago. ” — WENN
McCartney quits weed for family
A giant kite weighing three-
quarters of a tonne crashed into a
crowd of spectators in Japan at the
weekend, hurting four people.
measuring 13m by 12m and
weighing 700kg was being flown
by a big group of people at a park
in Higashiomi, central Japan, for
the annual “Big Kite” festival on
It was at a height of about 200m
when it suddenly plunged from the
sky into the crowd, the official from
Higashiomi city official said.
The huge kite hit and seriously
injured a 73-year-old man, who
remained unconscious in hospital
overnight, the official said.
Three other people, including a
seven-year-old boy suffered injuries.
Police have launched
investigation into the case on
suspicion of professional negligence,
local media reported.
Giant kite festivals are not
uncommon in Japan, and there have
been previous cases of spectators
being injured. In 2004, eight people
were hurt when a one-tonne kite
smashed into a crowd in Kanagawa,
near Tokyo. — AFP
700kg kite plunges into crowd
Microsoft has announced the latest
version of its Windows operating
system will be available July 29 for
computer and tablet users.
The new Windows 10 software
will come as a free upgrade to
people who already use Windows
7 or Windows 8.1 and will be
available in 190 countries.
Windows 10 will come pre-
installed on Microsoft-compatible
computers and tablets from July 29
and will be available for purchase
later in the year.
The move marks a major launch
for Microsoft, after the relative
failure of Windows 8, which was
rolled out in 2013.
Microsoft has high hopes for
Windows 10, which it wants to see
installed in a billion devices around
the world by 2018. The idea is to
win over app developers.
Windows 10 is expected to
feature a common base with which
developers will be able to build apps
that work on smartphones, tablets,
PCs and desktops, and even Xbox.
Windows 10 launch set for July 29
Chinese push to stub out smoking
propaganda banners and no-
smoking signs sprinkled China’s
capital city overnight as Beijing
unrolled ambitious new curbs on
a popular habit that has taken a
serious toll on the country’s health.
Health activists have lobbied
for years for stronger restrictions
on smoking in China, the world’s
largest tobacco consumer, and
authorities are now considering
further anti-smoking measures
Under the new rules in Beijing,
one of the world’s most populous
cities with 21.5 million people,
anyone who violates a ban on
smoking in restaurants, hotels,
schools, hospitals and in certain
outdoor public places must pay
a 200 yuan ($45) fine. That is 20
times the current, albeit seldom
Anyone who breaks the law
three times will also be named and
shamed on a government website.
Businesses can be fined up to
10,000 yuan ($2270) for failing
to stub out smoking on their
Smoking has created a serious
health crisis in China, where more
than 300 million smokers have
made cigarettes part of the social
fabric, with millions more exposed
to secondhand smoke, heightening
the rate of respiratory and heart
More than half of Chinese
smokers buy cigarettes at less than
five yuan a pack — a small fraction
of the cost in western countries.
The market is dominated by
the State-owned China National
Tobacco Corp, by far the largest
tobacco company in the world.
Tobacco sales are estimated to
make up 7-10% of government
revenue and the industry provides
thousands of jobs.
“ When you are looking at trying
to combat tobacco use in China
you are almost talking about trying
to slow down and turn around an
oil tanker,” Shane MacGuill, a
tobacco analyst with research firm
Euromonitor International, said.
At an event to promote the ban
on Sunday, Beijing authorities
draped Bird’s Nest Stadium, built
for the 2008 Olympics, with giant
banners bearing a no smoking sign.
Overnight, enforcement of the
bans appeared to be spotty in local
restaurants and public places. Some
bore no smoking signs explaining
the new rules.
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