Beechcraft Corporation is an American manufacturer of general aviation and military aircraft, ranging from light single-engined aircraft to twin-engined turboprop transports, and military trainers. A brand of Textron Aviation since 2014, it has also been a division of Raytheon and later a brand of Hawker Beechcraft. Wikipedia.
News Article | April 26, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) today declared a quarterly dividend of $0.02 per share on the company’s Common Stock. All dividends will be paid on July 1, 2017 to shareholders of record as of June 9, 2017. Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information visit: www.textron.com.
News Article | May 6, 2017
A magnificent inauguration ceremony by Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto in the presence of the Minister of Defense, General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda and the Minister of the Navy, Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberon, was witnessed by guests from 32 nations, including more than 17 Air force Commanders and 11 Ministers of Defense. The president’s address focused on the capabilities and exponential growth of the Mexican Aerospace sector. In his speech, Mr. Peña Nieto declared, "The aerospace industry is becoming a turbine that drives our economic growth, and a window that projects a modern and changing Mexico." After the inaugural ceremony the organizing committee presented the AWARD FOR TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENT to Hydra Technologies, through its COO, José Luis Ortega. During the ceremony, Mexican Air Force Coronel Jose Antonio Sierra Amador, Chief of Protocol for the FAMEX 2017, delivered a brief but convincing speech, detailing the importance of Hydra Technologies as a leader in the development of aeronautical technologies in Mexico. He specifically mentioned Hydra’s unmanned surveillance systems, that are now one of the main tactical ISR tools of the Mexican Armed Forces. On his part, Mr. Ortega mentioned that the ample collaboration of the Mexican Ministry of Defense has been crucial for the successful evolution of Hydra’s tactical unmanned systems into some of the most sophisticated and reliable in the world. He added that the vast experience transmitted by the Mexican Air Force and Federal Police to Hydra’s R&D team has catapulted the performance of the S45 Baalam (UAS) to unprecedented levels, surpassing the traditional leaders in this market. Mr. Ortega went on to say that Hydra’s offer represents a real solution for many countries, especially due to the lower acquisition, operation and maintenance costs, along with its proven capabilities. “Add to this the dual engine configuration and the capability to operate in extreme weather conditions. All that, and more, is the S45 Báalam TUAS." “I can’t imagine a better showcase for this award than this magnificent trade show, set to be one of the most important in the region and hemisphere,” and concluded, “We have another great advantage over our competition: Hydra’s customer service oriented philosophy, is unique in the market. Many of our systems have been in continuous in-theatre operation, for over 10 years. Match that!” Note 1: Feria Aeroespacial Mexico (FAMEX) is a major aerospace tradeshow specialized in the military and civilian aviation industries and service sectors. It is held every two years near Mexico City. The 2017 edition gathered more than 500 exhibitors from 26 countries, including Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Saab, Suhkoi, Elbit Systems, IAI, Beechcraft, Bell, Russian Helicopters, Gulfstream, United Technologies and many other Aerospace companies. Note 2: Hydra Technologies is a Mexican Corporation dedicated to the development, manufacture and deployment of military grade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (TUAS). Based in Mexico City, Hydra has been in this business for almost fifteen years, accumulating more than 100,000 mission hours. It has been awarded some of the most important international recognitions, including the coveted “Al Aube” (AUVSI) to the outstanding contributor award, and the “Leonardo DaVinci” for technological advances in the field of aeronautics.
News Article | May 2, 2017
Israeli F-35 fighter jets perform during an air show over the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on May 02, 2017 to mark Independence Day (AFP Photo/JACK GUEZ) Tel Aviv (AFP) - Israel showed off its new F-35 stealth fighter jets recently delivered from the United States on Tuesday as part of an air show marking its annual Independence Day celebrations. Three of Israel's five stealth fighters took to the skies along the Mediterranean coast off Tel Aviv as thousands of people gathered at the waterfront to watch. They also flew over other cities including Jerusalem. The F-35s, made by US-based Lockheed Martin, were the highlight of the show, which marked 69 years of Israeli independence. The event also included aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16 jets, Sikorsky CH-53 Stallion helicopters, a KC-135 Stratotanker Boeing 707, and the Hawker-Beechcraft T-6 Texan II planes. Israel has received the initial five F-35s since December with the aim of allowing it to maintain its military superiority in the turbulent Middle East, particularly regarding its arch-foe Iran. It plans to purchase a total of 50 F-35s. Its first jets are to be operational this year. While other countries have ordered the planes, Israel -- which receives more than $3 billion a year in US defence aid -- says it will be the first outside the United States with an operational F-35 squadron. Israel is buying its first 33 F-35s at an average price of about $110 million (103.5 million euros) each -- and the price tag has been criticised both in Israel and elsewhere. The first two F-35s delivered to Israel in December landed around six hours late after being delayed by bad weather in Italy, believed to be fog. A Lockheed official said then the holdup was caused by Italian air safety regulations, rather than any limitation of the planes, but this did not stop jibes. "Here's hoping we only go to war on sunny days..." one Israeli joked on Twitter. Among its main features are advanced stealth capabilities to help pilots evade sophisticated missile systems. The single-pilot jets can carry an array of weapons and travel at a supersonic speed of Mach 1.6, or around 1,200 miles per hour (1,900 kilometres per hour). The pilot's ultra-high-tech helmet, at a cost of about $400,000 each, includes its own operating system, with data that appears on the visor and is also shared elsewhere. Thermal and night vision as well as 360-degree views are possible with cameras mounted on the plane. In February, Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon said the next batch of F-35s, the most expensive planes in history, will be produced at a reduced cost. They announced $728 million in savings after President Donald Trump publicly upbraided Lockheed over "out of control" costs, although most of the savings were already planned ahead of his involvement, during a months-long contract negotiation. For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android.
News Article | February 23, 2017
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Paymeon, Inc. (OTC MARKETS:PAYM) today announced that in conjunction with its purchase of Basalt America, Paymeon's Chairman and CEO, Edward Cespedes, has agreed to forgive accrued payroll owed to him valued at approximately $100,000. In addition, the Company's largest shareholder and director, Vincent L. Celentano will convert approximately $361,000 of principal and accrued interest of convertible notes due from the Company to approximately 2.2 million common shares. The forgiveness of payroll and conversion of debt are actions that will be taken to improve the Company’s balance sheet. Additionally, Paymeon is proud to announce the appointment of Don Smith, James McCabe, and Ronald LoRicco, Sr. Esq. to its board of directors. Messrs. Smith, McCabe and LoRicco bring substantial industry, sales and legal expertise to the Company. Please refer to their biographies below. Their appointments will become effective as of March 6, 2017. Basalt America currently plans to manufacture its products in South Florida and expects to commence operations in a 24,000 square foot facility located in Pompano Beach towards the end of the first quarter. The company plans to create dozens of new jobs in the area. James McCabe James McCabe brings over 10 years of experience sourcing and structuring high grade esoteric assets. Mr. McCabe currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Settlement Funding, a nationwide leading purchaser of structured settlements and lottery winnings in the United States. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of 1334 Capital, a boutique private equity firm with equity interests in a portfolio of companies in the litigation finance and hospitality space. Prior to co-founding Liberty in 2011, Mr. McCabe was Director of Acquisitions at Structured Asset Funding and 123 Lumpsum. During his decade-long tenure in specialty finance, Mr. McCabe has overseen the acquisition, aggregation, and sale of over $500 million of esoteric high grade assets and been responsible for negotiating credit facilities and warehouse lines in excess of $100 million. Mr. McCabe graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance. Ronald LoRicco, Sr. Esq. Mr. LoRicco attended Fairfield University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986. Thereafter, he received a Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac College School of Law, formerly known as the University of Bridgeport, School of Law, in 1989, when he became affiliated with the firm. Mr. LoRicco practices in the areas of civil litigation, insurance defense, criminal law, estate planning and administration and workers' compensation. He is also admitted to practice in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. He is a member of the American, Connecticut, and New Haven Bar Associations, American Trial Lawyers Association and Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. LoRicco presently serves several organizations. He supports the Board of the Jimmy Fund in its fund raising efforts. The Jimmy Fund is a local charitable organization providing assistance to families who have children suffering from cancer. He is also as avid supporter of Juvenile Diabetes organization and the Yale New Haven Children's Hospital. Don Smith Born 1952, Don was raised and educated with Midwestern values in Wichita, Kansas. Wichita is the founding town for Beechcraft, Raytheon, Cessna, and Lear jet. Wichita is also home to Boeing with its ongoing aircraft refit projects working in conjunction with McConnell air force base. Obviously Don’s formative years were spent in the company of aircraft people with their bias towards mechanical thinking and the preservation of life during flight. As a result Don become familiar with production tooling, machinery and the handling exotic materials used in the aircraft industry, years before those materials and procedures for their use were commonly available to non-aircraft industry. Environment, access and Don's own curious creative nature resulted in his developing a deep understanding of the “structure required to withstand stress” which has evolved into his present-day endeavors in the material sciences. Today after so much experience in ergonomic design, prototyping, tooling, testing and production Smith has a unique if not irreplaceable engineering perspective. Graduating high school in 1970 and facing the draft, Don Smith’s mechanical aptitude won him work at General Motors design facility. Don has an extensive invention portfolio ranging from automotive, home and commercial design, solar energy equipment, wind turbine blades to composite yacht, composite compress gas tanks. Don clearly has the practical hands-on experience to understand and deal with all business intricacies inception to sale. Today as a spinoff off technology cultivated mostly from his boat construction business, Smith Boats, now Don is deeply involved in the pioneering of a new composite material called “continuous basalt fiber”. In 2008 he formed Raw Energy Materials corp. a Florida corporation in good standing with offices in Broward County Florida. Disclaimers Forward-Looking Statements: Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains certain "forward-looking statements" as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation expectations, beliefs, plans and objectives regarding the development, use and marketability of products and partnerships, as well as potential transactions the Company may be considering or may have closed. Such forward-looking statements are based on present circumstances and on PAYM's predictions with respect to events that have not occurred, that may not occur, or that may occur with different consequences and timing than those now assumed or anticipated. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and are not guarantees of future performance or results and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the events or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include general economic and business conditions, the ability to successfully develop and market products, consumer and business consumption habits, the ability to fund operations, reliance on representations from third parties that may not execute as planned, development of new markets, and other factors over which PAYM has little or no control. Such forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this release, and PAYM assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. Readers should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors are discussed in documents filed from time to time by PAYM with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This press release does not and shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. For additional information and potential risk factors, readers should review PAYM’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which can be found at www.sec.gov.
News Article | February 21, 2017
DALLAS (AP) — A pilot repeatedly yelled out "Mayday" but did not say what the emergency was before his light plane crashed into the roof of an Australian shopping mall, killing himself and four American tourists, an accident investigator said Wednesday. Police blamed "catastrophic engine failure" when a twin-engine Beechcraft B200 Super King Air crashed into the Direct Factory Outlet mall in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon on Tuesday moments after takeoff from a nearby runway. But Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Greg Hood said modern twin-engine aircraft are designed to continue flying if an engine failed. "My understanding is he only used the word 'Mayday' a number of times," Hood told reporters, referring to radio communication from pilot Max Quartermain to air traffic controllers. "My understanding is he didn't refer to the specific nature of the emergency," Hood said. Quartermain was the 63-year-old owner of the charter company Corporate and Leisure Travel. The passengers were identified as Greg Reynolds De Haven, Russell Munsch, Glenn Garland and John Howard Washburn, who all lived in the Austin, Texas, area. Quartermain was investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau after a near mid-air collision that happened in September 2015. Because of that incident, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the industry regulatory, required Quartermain to undergo proficiency tests to demonstrate he could fly a plane by instruments alone, authority spokesman Peter Gibson said. Quartermain passed those tests weeks after the near-miss, Gibson said. Hood said he would not comment on Quartermain or his flying record. He added his flying record as well as the plane's maintenance record would be part of the crash investigation. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators are to compile a preliminary report within 28 days. The bodies were removed from the wreckage on Tuesday, said Police Superintend Mick Frewen. The busy shopping mall had yet to open for the day when the plane crashed after taking off from Melbourne's second-biggest airport at Essendon for a golfing trip to King Island, 255 kilometers (160 miles) to the south. De Haven's sister, Denelle Wicht of Alexandria, Minnesota, said her brother survived dangerous work in the FBI and while serving in the U.S. Army during Vietnam only to die while enjoying retirement. "He managed to get through all of that, to die this way," Wicht told The Associated Press. She said the 70-year-old De Haven was "extremely athletic" and at one time aspired to become a pro golfer, but his young family at the time came first. After he retired, De Haven went on the senior pro golf circuit. De Haven and his wife were part of a larger group that included at least two other couples who were touring Australia over the course of three weeks and intended to also see New Zealand, Wicht said. She earlier told KXAN-TV in Austin that the men had chartered the flight for a round of golf on an offshore island. Their wives had stayed behind to pursue other interests. Munsch was a founding partner in the Texas law firm of Munsch Hardt, which said in a statement Tuesday that he litigated some of the most prominent bankruptcy cases in the U.S., including the 2001 bankruptcy proceedings for Houston-based Enron Corp., one of the largest energy companies in the world before its collapse. He would have turned 62 on Wednesday. "He could take something that's exceedingly complicated and boil it down and present it in a very simple way in court that was easy to understand," Rick Kopf, another founding partner of the firm, told the AP. Munsch's neighbor, Washburn, was also a victim, his son, John Howard "Jay" Washburn Jr. said. Meanwhile, an energy consulting firm in Austin confirmed that Garland, a former CEO and co-founder of the company, was also a victim in the crash. Garland was one of the founders in 2003 of CLEAResult and served as chief executive before retiring in 2015. In a statement Tuesday, CLEAResult co-founder Jim Stimmel described Garland as a "visionary" when it came to finding efficiencies in producing and providing energy. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said at a briefing Tuesday that President Donald Trump's "thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims" and that U.S. Embassy and Consulate officials will provide assistance as the investigation progresses. Associated Press writers McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis contributed to this report.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Aero & Marine Tax Professionals, a tax firm in Northern California with specialized knowledge on aircraft and marine vessel sales tax exemption, recently assisted Edward Ball in obtaining a tax exemption on the purchase of a Beechcraft Bonanza. Aero & Marine helped save Edward approximately $18,000.00 in sales tax. Edward Ball stated, “I’m a sales representative covering the Western United States selling electronic environmental test equipment. I purchased the plane because I have customers that are inconvenient to drive and fly commercially to. With an airplane of my own, it makes sense. I first heard about Aero&Marine Tax Professionals through an advertisement email. Everything proceeded quite smoothly with the handoff between personnel at Aero&Marine. The instructions they gave were clear, I followed them, and we were successful. I was quite skeptical and thought I would get a big tax bill even after hiring Aero&Marine. I didn’t know if it was actually going to work out but it was worth the risk to me, I proceeded and I was quite happily rewarded. I would absolutely recommend A&M, they offer a great service.” Tom Alston, founder of Aero & Marine Tax Professionals, stated, “We have evolved a system that makes it as easy as possible for an aircraft purchaser to support a claim for an exemption with the California Board of Equalization. It's completely legal and we have handled close to 1,000 cases so far and have been successful on every one. But it's ideal to bring us in at the beginning of the sales cycle." Aero & Marine Tax Professionals shows purchasers specifically how to avoid aircraft tax and vessel tax in California and to make certain the full value of their next aircraft, vehicle or vessel goes into their pocket--not the governments. They have successfully filed hundreds of tax returns with the California State Board of Equalization. Mr. Alston has also published many articles on sales and use tax. His blog can be seen at http://www.aeromarinetaxpros.com/aero/articles AERO & MARINE TAX PROFESSIONALS shows purchasers how to avoid sales tax, specifically how to avoid aircraft tax and vessel tax in California and to make certain the full value of their next aircraft, vehicle or vessel goes into their pocket--not the government's. They have successfully filed hundreds of tax returns with the California State Board of Equalization. Mr. Alston has also published many articles on sales and use tax. His blog can be seen at http://www.aeromarinetaxpros.com/aero/articles
News Article | February 22, 2017
Four Americans were killed after a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air plane crashed Tuesday morning near Essendon airport in Australia's second largest city. Five people were killed after a small plane crashed into a shopping mall in the Australian city of Melbourne Tuesday, officials said. Four Americans were on board the twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air plane, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. The charter flight was scheduled to arrive in King Island in Bass Strait between the Australian mainland and the southern island state of Tasmania, Victoria state Police Minister Lisa Neville said. The plane went down less than an hour before the Direct Factory Outlet mall, which adjoins the airport, in suburban Essendon, was to open, Neville added. The pilot has been identified as Max Quartermain, a veteran aviator aged in his 60s from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Quartermain, who is the co-owner of Corporate and Leisure Aviation — which owned the plane — has been described on the company's website as someone with over 38 years of charter experience and "an impeccable safety record." Two of the four American victims were identified as Greg De Haven and Russell Munsch, both from Texas, according to the Australian. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed his grief over the tragic incident, which is believed to be Victoria's worst civil aviation accident in 30 years. Essendon Airport CEO Chris Cowan said in a statement that both the airport and the shopping center were closed following the crash and an investigation has begun. "Essendon Airport expresses its deepest condolences to the families of those tragically deceased in the incident this morning," the statement read. "Essendon Airport is providing its full co-operation with emergency services and investigators into the cause of the incident and we thank the emergency services for all their efforts. At this stage, we can confirm the aircraft was involved in a routine departure from Runway 17 at 8.58am. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the incident." Eyewitness reported to local media that they saw a flash before the plane burst into a "massive fireball." Photos surfaced on social media showing the scene of the crash.
News Article | February 21, 2017
Firemen put out a blaze from a light aircraft which exploded as it smashed into a shopping centre near Melbourne on February 21, 2017 killing five people aboard (AFP Photo/) A light aircraft smashed into shops and exploded into a "massive fireball" killing all five on board, including four American passengers reportedly golfers on the trip of a lifetime, officials in Australia said Tuesday. The twin-engined Beechcraft plane veered just after take-off into a shopping centre, that was still closed, next to Essendon Fields airport near Melbourne. "Five on the aircraft and looks like no one has survived the crash," said Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane. Premier Daniel Andrews described it as "the worst civil aviation accident that our state has seen for 30 years". The private charter from Essendon, north of Melbourne, to King Island, 55 minutes to the south, came down just short of a major motorway packed with the heavy traffic of early morning commuters. Live television footage showed burned out wreckage, flames and major damage at the shopping centre and adjacent buildings. A column of thick black smoke rose into the air as witnesses spoke of an explosion. “The pilot unfortunately attempted to return to Essendon but has crashed into the DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) at Essendon Fields,” Leane told reporters. The centre was not due to open for another hour and the authorities confirmed no one inside was hurt. A taxi driver called ABC radio and told of the "massive fireball" and a landing wheel bouncing onto the motorway. "I saw this plane... when it hit the building there was a massive fireball," said the man called Jason. "I could feel the heat through the window of the taxi, and then a wheel -- it looked like a plane wheel -- bounced on the road and hit the front of the taxi as we were driving along." A shopworker called Ash told Sky News he saw "the fireball go up into the air", adding it "felt like a bomb had gone off". "The fire was just so hot we could not get anywhere near it," he said. "We could see the wreckage, or what was left of it." The US embassy in Canberra said the four passengers were American citizens. "We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died in today's tragic crash," a spokeswoman said. Melbourne's Herald Sun identified two of the dead as Greg De Haven, 70, a retired FBI agent and lawyer Russell Munsch, both from Texas, who were travelling with two unnamed friends, the daily said. Plumber Michael Howard, 29, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he saw a "blue flash". "I was... just looking out the window... and then all of a sudden I just saw a blue flash come down and then all of a sudden there was a massive fireball." "It was like something from a movie," Howard said. Melbourne fire brigade chief Paul Stacchino tweeted that "more than 60 firefighters have worked hard to bring the fire... under control. Crews to remain on scene for some time". Essendon Fields was closed and all traffic diverted to Melbourne's two larger airports Tullamarine and Avalon.
News Article | February 22, 2017
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The women suspected of fatally poisoning a scion of North Korea's ruling family were trained to coat their hands with toxic chemicals then wipe them on his face, police said Wednesday, announcing they were now seeking a North Korean diplomat in connection with the attack. Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters that authorities are searching for two new North Korean suspects, including the second secretary of North Korea's embassy in Kuala Lumpur and an employee of North Korea's state-owned airline Air Koryo. "We hope that the Korean embassy will cooperate with us, allow us to interview them and interview them quickly," he said. Malaysia is denying rumors that the son of the slain half brother of North Korea's leader is in the country. The victim, Kim Jong Nam, had three children and had lived in Macau. His son had been rumored to have arrived in Kuala Lumpur this week on a flight from Macau, but Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters Wednesday that was untrue. Khalid says investigators are seeking Kim's relatives to provide a DNA sample and identify the body, but none has stepped forward. He identified Kim as Kim Chol, the name on the passport the victim was carrying, though Malaysian officials have confirmed that he is the older half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. BEIJING (AP) — The investigation into the death of the exiled half-brother of North Korea's ruler is being conducted in an impartial manner, Malaysia's ambassador to Pyongyang said Tuesday, rejecting accusations from the North that the probe was politically tinged. Mohamad Nizan Mohamad spoke in China's capital, Beijing, while in transit to Malaysia to where he had been recalled following the death last week in the Southeast Asian nation of Kim Jong Nam. Kim appeared to have been poisoned at Kuala Lumpur's international airport and police have so far arrested four people carrying identity documents from North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. HONG KONG (AP) — A former leader of Hong Kong was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in prison for misconduct after failing to disclose plans to rent a luxury apartment for his retirement from a businessman applying for a broadcasting license. It was a stunning downfall for Donald Tsang, 72, who served as Hong Kong's leader, or chief executive, from 2005 to 2012. He becomes the highest-ranking current or former official sent to prison for wrongdoing in the Asian financial hub, which prides itself on a reputation for clean governance. "Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from such a height," Justice Andrew Chan said as he handed down the sentence in Hong Kong's High Court. NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (AP) — The South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga is mourning the death of its queen mother, who dedicated her time to helping the elderly and those with disabilities. Halaevalu Mata'aho died Sunday at the age of 90 in Auckland, New Zealand, after traveling there for health reasons. The cause of her death has not been released by her family. Her funeral procession will be held in Tonga on Feb. 28, when most people in the country of just over 100,000 are expected to turn out wearing black. She will be particularly missed by the Alonga Center and at the Tonga Red Cross, where leaders say she worked tirelessly. PARIS (AP) — Amnesty International says "toxic" fear-mongering by anti-establishment politicians, among them President Donald Trump and the leaders of Turkey, Hungary and the Philippines, is contributing to a global pushback against human rights. Releasing its 408-page annual report on rights abuses around the world Wednesday, the watchdog group described 2016 as "the year when the cynical use of 'us vs. them' narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s," when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany. Amnesty named Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte among leaders it said are "wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people." "Poisonous" rhetoric employed by Trump in his election campaign exemplified "the global trend of angrier and more divisive politics," Amnesty said. PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A group of suicide bombers with grenades and assault rifles struck outside a courthouse in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing six people in an attack claimed by a Taliban splinter group. The attack was the latest in a wave of militant assaults across the troubled country that has killed over 100 people since last week. The brazen suicide bombings have been claimed by mutiple Islamic militant groups. In Tuesday's attack, three attackers hit the courthouse in the town of Tangi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan. The victims included a lawyer, a child and four police officers, according to Ijaz Khan, a senior police officer. DALLAS (AP) — A pilot repeatedly yelled out "Mayday" but did not say what the emergency was before his light plane crashed into the roof of an Australian shopping mall, killing himself and four American tourists, an accident investigator said Wednesday. Police blamed "catastrophic engine failure" when a twin-engine Beechcraft B200 Super King Air crashed into the Direct Factory Outlet mall in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon on Tuesday moments after takeoff from a nearby runway. But Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Greg Hood said modern twin-engine aircraft are designed to continue flying if an engine failed. "My understanding is he only used the word 'Mayday' a number of times," Hood told reporters, referring to radio communication from pilot Max Quartermain to air traffic controllers. JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Torrential rains in the Indonesian capital have overwhelmed drains and flooded roads and thousands of homes. The disaster mitigation agency said Tuesday that more than 50 areas are flooded in Jakarta, with waters up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) high in East Jakarta. It said the city's drains couldn't accommodate the runoff and rivers also overflowed. Local media reported that a worker for the city government died and one person drowned in Bekasi, a Jakarta satellite city. Floods in 2013 killed more than two dozen people in Jakarta and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. BORACAY, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top diplomat said Tuesday it remains to be seen whether China will cooperate fully in ongoing efforts to craft a legally binding pact designed to prevent aggressive behavior in the disputed South China Sea. Despite the likelihood of tough negotiations ahead, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. expressed confidence that the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China could at least complete a framework for such a pact, called a code of conduct, as early as June. Efforts to forge such a regional nonaggression pact have dragged on for years without any concrete sign of when it might be completed.
News Article | February 21, 2017
This image made from video shows the site of a plane crash at Essendon Airport in Melbourne, Australia Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. An official says a light plane has crashed into a shopping mall in the city of Melbourne. (Channel 9 via AP) MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Five people were believed killed when a light plane crashed in flames into a shopping mall on Tuesday in the Australian city of Melbourne, officials said. The five were on a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air that crashed about 45 minutes before the Direct Factory Outlet mall in suburban Essendon was to open, Police Minister Lisa Neville said. The U.S. Embassy in Canberra would not comment on a report that the passengers were U.S. citizens, but said it was working with local authorities. "We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today's tragic crash," an embassy statement said. "We are unable to confirm any details about the nationality or identity of any of the victims. The U.S. Embassy in Canberra and the consulate in Melbourne are working closely with local authorities to assist in any way possible," it said. Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane also declined to say whether the four passengers were Americans. The plane had taken off from Melbourne's second-biggest airport at Essendon on a chartered flight to King Island, 255 kilometers (160 miles) to the south, officials said. Leane said it appeared that no one aboard the plane had survived. No one on the ground was injured. "Looking at the fireball, it is incredibly lucky that no one was at the back of those stores or in the car park of the stores, that no one was even hurt," Leane said. A pilot reported a "catastrophic engine failure" moments before the plane crashed into a storage area at the rear of the mall, police said. Police and paramedics rushed to the crash site, where firefighters doused the flames. A witness who gave his name as Jason told Australian Broadcasting Corp. he was passing the mall in a taxi when the plane crashed. "I saw this plane coming in really low and fast. I couldn't see the impact but when it hit the building there was a massive fireball," he said. "I could feel the heat through the window of the taxi, and then a wheel — it looked like a plane wheel — bounced on the road and hit the front of the taxi as we were driving along," he said.