Malaysia says MH370 report to be released after latest search ends

A man lights candles during the fourth annual remembrance event for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur on March 3. The release of a full report into MH370’s disappearance has been suspended pending the outcome of the new search. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Malaysia says MH370 report to be released after latest search ends

KUALA LUMPUR: The full investigation report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be released after the latest search efforts are completed, officials said on Thursday, four years after the aircraft first went missing.
Flight MH370, carrying 239 people onboard, became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries when it disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Malaysia agreed in January to pay US firm Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it found the plane during an offshore search effort that is underway and expected to end in June.
The decision to engage the firm came after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200-million ($159.38 million) search across a 120,000 square-kilometer area in the Indian Ocean last year, despite investigators calling for the target area to be extended 25,000 square kilometers north.
The release of a full report into MH370’s disappearance has been suspended pending the outcome of the new search, as any new evidence uncovered is “likely to significantly affect the investigation,” Malaysian investigators said in their annual interim statement sent to families of those aboard the plane.
“In the event that the aircraft is found, the team will conduct further investigation,” said the statement seen by Reuters and due to be released publicly later on Thursday.
“If the aircraft is not found and a decision is made to discontinue the search, the team will resume the completion of the report and release it in the months ahead.”
Several pieces of aircraft debris have been found on Indian Ocean islands and along Africa’s east coast, and efforts to retrieve more are ongoing.
Three wing fragments were confirmed as coming from the missing plane, while other pieces, including some cabin interior items, were determined to be “almost certain” from MH370, the investigators said.
Malaysian officials are working with Australian authorities on plans to recover the Boeing Co. 777’s wreckage or its flight recorders, in the event the aircraft is found.
Prime Minister Najib Razak reiterated the country’s commitment to finding the plane.
“We are pushing the global aviation community to take measures to make our skies safer,” he said on his official Twitter account on Thursday.
The Seabed Constructor vessel has covered 16,000 square kilometers so far but has yet to identify any significant findings, Ocean Infinity said in its weekly search update on Tuesday.


Arrests follow rape of Indian anti-trafficking activists

Updated 23 June 2018
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Arrests follow rape of Indian anti-trafficking activists

  • At least 60 NGOS in four networks are working on a memorandum asking the state to protect activists
  • More recently it brought in the death penalty for those who rape children under the age of 12 following a national outcry over the gang rape

NEW DELHI: Police have made a series of arrests in connection with the abduction and rape at gunpoint of five anti-trafficking campaigners in the central Indian state of Jharkhand early this week.

Khunti police station officials, where the incident happened, told Arab News that three people have been arrested, including the head of the school where the play was being performed. 

Police superintendent Ashwini Kumar Sinha said a leader of a local movement called Pathalgadi instigated the accused, telling them that the play performers were against the movement and should be taught a lesson. Pathalgadi is a political movement whose followers recognize their village councils as the only sovereign authority and views all outsiders suspiciously.

Activists working in the area say the incident has left them shocked and worried for their safety.

Earlier this week, nine activists were abducted while performing a street play in Kochang village and driven into a forest, where they were beaten and the women raped.

The activists were from the nonprofit organization Asha Kiran, which runs a shelter in the Khunti district for young women rescued from trafficking. Activists say that while such incidents are rare, the abductions have shaken the community.

“There is definitely fear now,” said Rajan Kumar, of Sinduartola Gramodaya Vikas Vidyalaya, a nonprofit group campaigning against people trafficking in the district. 

“But people have to work. We need to do more to take members of the village council into our confidence.”

Rajiv Ranjan Sinha, of the Jharkhand Anti-Trafficking Network, a coalition of 14 organizations, said the incident has frightened everyone.

“We’ve never had to face this before,” Sinha said. “But it will definitely have an implication. New people will be scared to go into the field.”

Several non-profit organizations have called for a silent protest march at 10 a.m. in the state capital Ranchi on Sunday.

At least 60 NGOS in four networks are working on a memorandum asking the state to protect activists and to take seriously the issue of violence against women.

“We are not only NGO workers, but we are female also,” a spokeswoman said. “There is a lot of fear among workers now.”

India has a poor record of sexual violence against women — at least 39,000 cases were reported in 2016, according to the latest government data available. Activists say many more incidents go unreported.

The country changed its rape laws and introduced Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences legislation after the rape and murder of a 19-year-old student in December 2012 in the Indian capital.

More recently it brought in the death penalty for those who rape children under the age of 12 following a national outcry over the gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in the northern state of Kashmir.

The girl was kidnapped, drugged and raped in a temple where she was held captive for several days before being beaten to death.