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All Aboard Believed Dead!
Another airline tragedy has struck — this time in Europe!
An Airbus 320 flown by Lufthansa’s low-cost carrier Germanwings plunged out of the afternoon sky in a remote location in the French Alps. Flight 9525 was en route to Dusseldorf, Germany from Barcelona, Spain with 150 passengers and crew on board.
The plane reportedly plummeted rapidly from altitude, in relatively decent weather. It also sent out a distress call about 45 minutes into the flight before the crash.
It’s too early to nail down a cause. Mechanical or structural failure? An onboard fire? Terrorism? Pilot error? We really don’t know, and probably won’t for a while. What we do know from early reports, unfortunately, is that no one likely survived the crash in France’s Alpes de Haute Provence region.
|Last year, more than 1 billion passengers took to the skies on the A320.|
Debris have been found by helicopters at a height of around 6,500 feet. A lack of roads or other ways to reach the site by vehicle or foot will hamper recovery efforts. But I firmly believe we will ultimately get an answer as to what happened since the accident occurred over land, rather than over a remote section of the Indian Ocean like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting that aviation officials generally give the A320 high marks for reliability and safety. Some 5,600 of the planes are in service around the world, with more than 1 billion passengers taking to the skies on board them last year alone. So it’s unlikely this tragedy will cause a wholesale reassessment of the airplane’s use — or mass flight cancellations by scared travelers.
Still, it’s another sad day for passengers, crew, pilots and families — and another tragedy for an airline industry that has experienced all too many disasters in the past year or two.
|“It’s unlikely this tragedy will cause a wholesale reassessment of the airplane’s use — or mass flight cancellations by scared travelers.”|
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on this accident or aviation safety in general and the related media coverage. With all the recent disasters, does it indicate that safety standards are slipping because of the rise of low-cost carriers and increased air travel? This link to the Money and Markets website will help you add your comments to the discussion.
Let’s hope we get answers on what happened here as soon as possible, and that the victims’ families ultimately find the peace and comfort they deserve.
|Our Readers Speak|
Ted Cruz’s early declaration as a 2016 presidential candidate definitely sent shock waves through the political landscape yesterday. It also prompted many comments from readers like you.
Reader Thomas S. said Cruz is among a handful of candidates who actually stand behind their views. His take:
“So far, the only possible candidates I believe are Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders. I am not saying which one or ones I agree or disagree with. But they are only ones who stand for something, and not just what will win the election.
“The other candidates, particularly the two with the likeliest chance of winning, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, stand for: ‘What more power can I get?’ and ‘How much more famous can I make my family and myself?'”
Reader Gregory P. added: “Ted Cruz helped himself by announcing early. He has laid down the gauntlet for the future candidates to take a position that is clearly reflected. A general statement of ideology or approach to significant problems probably won’t work for any candidate this time around.
“Whether you agree or disagree with Ted Cruz, most people understand where Ted Cruz stands on issues. This is refreshing to have a candidate for office who lets you know where he stands and will not ‘roll over’ to the political pressures or financial powers. This attribute is sorely lacking in Washington, D.C. these days.”
But Reader Robert A. was much more cynical about Cruz’s ploy — and what it will actually accomplish. His view:
“Ted Cruz has declared early for the sole purpose of raising campaign funds from anyone foolish enough to give it to him, since he has no chance of being the Republican candidate. But with some walking around money, he will think he can influence other candidates and races well into 2016 to give his misguided supporters a voice that otherwise would be trivialized.”
And Reader Sailor J. flat-out disagrees with Cruz’ politics, regardless of the motive behind his early announcement: “Ted is a dangerous demagogue. He is never for anything, but constantly against everything. Because of that, he does not show what good he might do for the 99 percent of the constituents. His speeches seem to be slick but don’t withstand a test for practical policy. I avoid him like the plague.”
So what do we need from a presidential candidate, if not Ted Cruz? Reader Ken offered up the following comments:
“Ted Cruz will get a lot of support from the far Right. However, there are a lot more people who would vote for a moderate who can work with both sides of each issue.
“Most Democrats would like someone like Harry Truman. He had a lot of guts to finish WWII and his team did a good job also in working with the unions to stop unnecessary strikes. What we need is a person who is honest and not corrupted by power, and who has the intelligence to see all sides of each issue and not be afraid to make decisions that are best for our country, not just the Democrat or Republican contingency.”
Do you think Ken is right, and if so, who is that candidate? Do you agree with Sailor J., who calls Cruz “dangerous?” Or do you think he’s the best option in 2016? Let us all know at the website!
|Other Developments of the Day|
In the wake of a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his country would produce a list of reforms to satisfy European creditors. The list is a requirement to unlock additional bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund and European Commission. Tsipras said it would be forthcoming by Monday, helping to support the euro currency in overnight trading.
Is Apple (AAPL, Weiss Ratings: A+) Pay secure enough to satisfy the American public and encourage more widespread adoption? That’s up for debate in the wake of yet another report highlighting the ease with which scammers can use it to rack up fraudulent charges.
The issue isn’t the system being hacked. It’s that it’s so easy to link a card number to an iPhone, and gain approval to make charges with your phone, even if you’re using a stolen credit card number. Apple and the financial institution issuing the card have to approve the linkage. But as the Washington Post notes, the process may not be rigorous enough:
“Compared with traditional credit cards, Apple Pay does not do enough to weed out bad consumers from good ones, security analysts said. That has made it easy for the unscrupulous to trick banks and other financial firms into approving stolen cards, they said.”
Relations between Israel and the U.S. were already frosty, and they aren’t getting any better today in the wake of fresh spying reports. As background, the U.S. and Iran have been negotiating for months over Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are designed to establish what Iran can and can’t do on the nuclear power front, while preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons.
Israel doesn’t want the countries to come to a deal at all. So it reportedly spied on the U.S. talks, then fed that information to sympathetic U.S. lawmakers in order to enlist them as proxy lobbyists for its interests.
I love a good steak. I’ll cook and serve them fresh off the grill on a hot summer day myself. And when I was in Prague this fall, a good friend of mine and I met up for a delicious steak meal at one of that city’s best restaurants.
It’s that high-end steak business that’s booming, according to this interesting Bloomberg story. Prime beef that’s at the top of the USDA grading scale is now selling for around $2.65 per pound, the highest since tracking began in 2004.
Looking to share your thoughts on these stories, or any others you’ve come across? Just hop over to the website using this link then.
Until next time,