Tag Archives: Perth

Change in sign-off adds to confusion

Faith in the Malaysian government’s ability to communicate clearly what might have happened to a still-missing Boeing 777 jetliner might be about to vanish into thin air.

Consider this: The government now has changed its findings into what allegedly was said aboard the Malaysian Air Flight 370 moments before it went silent and then apparently crashed into the Indian Ocean.


Someone on the flight deck had supposedly said “All right, good night” on March 8. Not so, says the government, which issued a statement Monday that said the more formal final sign off was, “Good night Malaysian three seven zero.”

Why is this important?

From where I sit, if the government cannot get straight something so simple and declarative as the crew’s final message — which had been received by the control tower in Kuala Lumpur — then its ability to transmit any information to the grieving families and the rest of the world is now in serious doubt.

Malaysian authorities have been pounded by critics over the way it has handled this tragic event. It notified family members via text message that the plane likely was lost and that all 239 people aboard were “lost.” They have been slow to inform China — given that two-thirds of the people aboard MH 370 were Chinese nationals — of the progress of the search, which has angered the government in Beijing. They changed the search area to a spot 700 miles north of where they thought the plane went down, saying that it traveled faster than earlier thought, burned fuel more quickly and went down sooner than they had thought.

Now this.

Satellite pictures have indicated possible debris from the aircraft southwest of Perth, Australia. Several nations have deployed sophisticated equipment and trained personnel to look for the jetliner. They’re trying to locate the flight data recorder by listening for “pings” that authorities now believe may cease in a few days when the batteries expire.

Meanwhile, all this stumble-bumming around has created a climate for crackpot conspiracy theories that do nothing but add to waiting family members’ unimaginable grief.

Time is running out.

Let's end Flight 370 hijacking theory nonsense

I cannot help but think of the families, friends and loved ones of 239 individuals.

These are the people most affected by the ongoing tragedy surrounding Malaysian Air Flight 370. The plane disappeared March 8 after it took off from Kuala Lumpur. Search crews now are looking for something spotted from a satellite; the sighting is about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

Meanwhile, some talking heads have thrown out idiotic theories about what happened to that airplane. A few of more idiotic notions — such as one offered on Fox News by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerny — suggest the plane was hijacked, taken to some secret location and is being “weaponized” to do some horrific damage to some unknown target.

All the while, those who are awaiting word of their loved ones’ fate sit in shock. They are grief-stricken. They are confused. They are hanging on to any tiny nugget of hope that those who are lost will be found — alive. They know in their heads that possibility is virtually zero. Yet they cling desperately absent any proof that what the satellite saw is wreckage from Flight 370.

Can’t we put a cork on the nonsense theories that have been kicked around, if only for a little while we the authorities go about the grueling task of searching and finding what’s left of the aircraft?

Once they locate the wreckage, it’s a near certainty they’ll find the flight data recorder aboard the ship somewhere at the bottom of the ocean. Once they do, they’ll know the truth, all of it — and those loved ones will have the closure they seek.

That settles it: Australia, here we come

This is another in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on the onset of retirement.

Honest to goodness, my wife and I declared some years ago that our first overseas trip after retirement would be to Australia.

A recent study listing the world’s most livable cities confirms our choice to be a wise one.


The Economist Intelligence Unit cited Melbourne as the world’s most livable city. Also on the top 10 list of desirable cities were Sydney, Adeleide and Perth.

With that, I’m quite certain now that we’ll head way, way west and way, way south for our first trip abroad once we decide to quit working for a living.

It takes a good bit of time to get there by airplane. I hear it’s about a 24-hour journey all told, counting stops in, say, Los Angeles and perhaps Honolulu en route.

Even better news is that we have a friend who lives in Adelaide who I am hoping will extend some hospitality our way when the time comes. We used to be acquainted with a fellow in Perth — in Western Australia — but we’ve since lost touch with him. Too bad, I guess.

Our overseas travel plans also include a return to Israel, where we have several friends we want to see again; we hope to return to Greece, where we visited together twice in 2000 and 2001 — and where Kathy once described as one place on Planet Earth she could see again and again; we’ve also acquired friends in The Netherlands and Germany who already have extended invitations to us.

Australia, though, has been a Land of Mystery to me since I was a kid. I have wanted to see it up close since the time my father actually considered taking a job opportunity in a coastal city, Rockhampton. I was about 13 or 14 at the time and I read volumes of material about Australia thinking — no, hoping — Dad would take the job. He didn’t.

“We feel immensely proud that Australia’s fastest growing city has again been recognized as the most livable city in the world,” Agent-General for the Victorian Government in Britain Geoffrey Conaghan said in an emailed statement to MSN.com.

The Economist Intelligence Unit survey cited the city’s health care, infrastructure, culture and environment as factors contributing to its livability. That’s good enough for me.

The least livable cities in the world? How about Damascus, Tripoli and Cairo — all torn to shreds by civil war and bloodshed?

I will need no persuading to stay away from any of those hellholes. We do, after all, have our travel vehicle set to take us to view the splendor of our very own continent.