White House says Defense Secretary Esper still in post

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Updated 03 June 2020

White House says Defense Secretary Esper still in post

  • Esper said he did not support invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty forces to quell civil unrest for now

WASHINGTON: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was still in his post on Wednesday as speculation swirled that President Donald Trump wanted to remove the Pentagon chief over his comments on nationwide protests.
“As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper and should the president lose faith we will all learn about that in the future,” McEnany said at a press briefing.
Earlier on Wednesday, Esper said he did not support invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty forces to quell civil unrest for now. He also said he was unaware he would be a part of Trump’s politically-charged photo opportunity on Monday in front of a partly burned church across the street from the White House.
McEnany said people protesting the police killing of George Floyd were moved from in front of the historic church before Trump, cabinet members and top aides, including McEnany, walked over because Attorney General William Barr had ordered the security perimeter around the White House be widened earlier in the day.
“It was early afternoon. He noticed that it hadn’t been cleared, gave the order for it to be cleared, and that action took place,” McEnany said.
Trump has said he did not ask for protesters to be moved and the US Park Police has said they used pepper balls and smoke canisters to respond to protesters throwing things.

Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

Updated 07 July 2020

Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

  • 30 percent of pilots grounded including 107 in foreign airlines

KUALA LUMPUR: The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) will reinstate Pakistani pilots as soon as Pakistani authorities verify their permits, an official told Arab News on Monday, after their temporary suspension due to a fake license scandal. 

Pakistan grounded almost 30 percent of its pilots last week after the country’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that they might have falsified their qualifications. 

Pakistan has 860 pilots, 107 of whom work for foreign airlines.

“The CAAM has sent two letters requesting verification from PCAA (Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority) as well as to inform them on the temporary suspension of Pakistani license holders in Malaysia,” Nurilya Anis Rahim, a public relations officer at CAAM, said in an email. 

Rahim added that the pilots’ licenses had been put on hold until further information from the PCAA.

“We are currently still waiting for a response from PCAA. Once an official confirmation has been made, we will reinstate these pilots with immediate effect.”

Captain Chester Voo, CAAM CEO, announced that it would temporarily suspend 20 Pakistani pilots employed with “local operators” such as flying schools, flying clubs and training organizations.

Rahim said that the decision was taken to ensure the safety and security of Malaysia’s civil aviation industry. 

“It is to ensure that all employed pilots in this country hold a valid license and abide by Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Regulation.”

The UK, EU and Vietnam have banned Pakistani pilots and barred Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) operations as well.

One analyst said that Malaysia’s stand was part of its “zero-compromises” approach.

“Malaysia has always taken a conservative stance which includes a zero-compromise on the integrity of certification and qualification of pilots,” Rizal Kamaruzzaman, a Malaysian aviation expert and executive director of Tindakan Strategi, told Arab News.

He added that the joint verification approach was an excellent opportunity for regulators in Pakistan and Malaysia to “clean” the register and weed out all pilots with dubious qualifications. 

“The move by the CAAM will also alert the rest of the airlines and general aviation aircraft to review the technical crew manifest flying into Malaysia and will definitely have a ripple effect on the aviation sector.”

He urged aviation regulators from other countries to learn a lesson from Pakistan.

“The trust and mutual recognition among regulators are a sacred pact to ensure safety for aircraft, pilots, crews, engineers and the main client that are the passengers are not compromised anywhere around the world,” he said.