- News Evening Standard
A plane with 153 people on board had five minutes' worth left on a recent flight in India, according to local media.The pilots on Vistara flight UK 944 from Mumbai to Delhi were forced to issue a Mayday call when it ran into poor weather conditions on July 15. The A320Neo aircraft was airborne for four hours on Monday as it circled over Delhi before being diverted to Lucknow around 420km away. However after visibility suddenly dropped above Lucknow, the pilots attempted to head to Prayagraj, Allahabad some 200km away, only to turn towards Lucknow again after seven minutes. “When it touched down, the A320Neo had only 200kg or 5 minutes of flying time left," a source told the Times of India. A senior pilot told the publication: "It's a miracle they landed."He added that the decision to divert to Prayagraj over choosing to carry out a fully automated landing at Lucknow was "sacriligious". The standard flight time from Mumbai to Delhi is around two hours. A Vistara spokesman told the Standard: “Flight UK944 operating Mumbai-Delhi on July 15, 2019, initiated a diversion to Lucknow due to bad weather over Delhi. However, over Lucknow, the visibility suddenly dropped and a safe landing was not possible. “The crew then considered alternative airfields, including Kanpur and Prayagraj, to land in comparatively better weather conditions.”He added: ”The unexpected drop in visibility at the destination alternate was the main reason why the aircraft ended up in a low-fuel situation despite carrying excess fuel over and above the required Flight Plan Fuel as per regulations. “Safety of passengers and crew was kept at the highest priority throughout the flight.”The flight finally touched down safely in Delhi at around 1.35am after refuelling at Amausi airport, having departed Mumbai at 2.40pm.
- News The Independent
Home Office revoked tens of thousands of visas using ‘misleading, incomplete and unsafe’ evidence, official report reveals
Tens of thousands of international students had their visas revoked after the Home Office used “confused, misleading, incomplete and unsafe” evidence, MPs have said. The department ignored expert advice and relied on “dodgy” evidence when it accused almost 34,000 students of cheating in English language tests in 2015, according to a new report published by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on the Test of English for International Communication (Toeic). With no proper right to challenge the decision, these students were told their studies had been terminated and that they had no right to stay in the UK. Some were detained in removal centres, lost their jobs and were left homeless as a result, even though they were in the country legally.They were targeted after an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama in 2014 exposed systematic cheating at some colleges where candidates sat the Toeic. The test is one of several that overseas students can sit to prove their English language proficiency, a visa requirement. Based on evidence gathered from affected students, legal experts and technical experts, the report states that Home Office officials themselves had said they were unsure whether the evidence against the students was robust enough to stand up in court.It asked whether it should be “shored up” or “redone”.This was after thousands of students had already had action taken against them on the basis of that evidence, but the Home Office ignored the advice of the experts at that meeting and are still refusing to admit publicly that the meeting ever happened, the report states.The research also casts doubt on evidence from a 2016 report that the Home Office has relied extensively on when taking action against students, which concluded that the proportion of students wrongly accused of cheating was likely less than 1 per centProfessor Peter French, who wrote this evidence report, told the APPG this figure was correct only if the results given the Home Office by US-based Educational Testing Service (ETS) - whose assessment of cheating has been branded “unsafe and unreliable” - were correct. One lawyer, who has dealt with around 100 Toeic cases told MPs that the government “pioneered a process that made it as difficult” as possible for those accused of TOEIC fraud to clear their names, leaving them with “no effective remedy”.The APPG also found that Peter Millington, a Home Office official who chairs a working group designed to support students impacted by the allegations, had refused to send a letter from members raising concerns about the lack of support being offered, “on the basis that he couldn’t write such a letter to his boss”.Students who have won their cases are still being denied access to UK education institutions, with their immigration records seen as a threat to the institution’s licence, MPs said.One of those affected is Asiya Gul Iram, who is now, along with her two daughters, facing being deported to her allegedly abusive husband in Pakistan as a result of the accusation, which she vehemently denies.Another is Namzul Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi national who is still fighting to clear his name four years after he was accused, and has spent more than £7,000 on legal fees to do so.Stephen Timms MP, chair of the APPG on Toeic, said: “One thing that struck me throughout our hearings was that evidence from ETS - the basis for denying visas to thousands of overseas students, often with catastrophic effects - quite simply could not be relied upon. “Some students have - at great cost - managed to clear their names. However, universities still see them as a risk due to the nature of the allegations made against them. As things stand, and without help from the government, their futures remain bleak. This report sets out crucial steps we believe the government must now take.”It comes after a National Audit Office (NAO) report released in May found that some of those affected might have been “branded as cheats, lost their course fees, and been removed from the UK without being guilty of cheating or [being given] adequate opportunity to clear their names”.The watchdog said 2,468 people had been forcibly removed from the UK as a result of the scandal and that the number was continuing to rise, and that a total of 4,157 people accused of cheating had been granted leave to remain, with hundreds more still fighting legal battles.A Home Office spokesperson said: “The report does not reflect the findings of the courts, who have consistently found that the evidence of fraud was enough for us to take action. As the National Audit Office recently highlighted, the Tier 4 system was subject to widespread abuse in 2014 and almost all those involved in the cheating were linked to private colleges which the Home Office already had significant concerns about. “The National Audit office was also clear on the scale and organised nature of the abuse, which is demonstrated by the fact that 25 people who facilitated this fraud have received criminal convictions.”
- Yahoo India
The proportion of immigrants varies considerably from one country to another. In some, it exceeds half the population, while in others it is below 0.1%.Which countries have the most immigrants? Here’s an overview of the number and share of immigrants in different countries around the world.Source: World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)
- News Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) -- The presidential helicopter isn’t supposed to leave scorch marks on the White House lawn. So the Navy and Lockheed Martin Corp. are working to fix a “high risk” problem after the new Marine One did just that in a test without the president on board.The first in a $5 billion fleet of new Marine One helicopters is supposed to be ready to go into service by September 2020. President Donald Trump already has showcased the new aircraft with a flyover during his Fourth of July appearance in Washington.The previously undisclosed episode occurred last September, during a test “conducted in a manner very different than normal Marine Helicopter Squadron One operations to the White House South Lawn,” Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, said in an email.He said the cause of the incident involving the helicopter, which is designated VH-92A, was under investigation and more information will be released when it’s available.Greg Kuntz, a spokesman for the Naval Air Systems Command, said that “under certain conditions, the VH-92A exhaust can impact a grass landing zone,” and “discoloration of landing zone grass occurred” during the September test.The Navy, which labeled the problem “high risk,” projects that the helicopter will eventually meet all its key performance requirements. But the Government Accountability Office said in an April report that it “has yet to demonstrate performance requirements related to landing zone suitability, which includes a requirement to land on the White House South Lawn without causing damage to the lawn.”The Navy’s “assessment of this risk has increased since our last report” and “according to program officials, Lockheed’s Sikorsky unit expects to have a solution for this requirement by November 2020,” according to the GAO. That’s after the helicopter is supposed to be declared ready for initial operations.No Other IncidentsNo lawn damage resulted from 13 other White House test flights the same day in September and more this year, according to the Navy, including a June 14 landing when Trump inspected the helicopter.The Navy plans to buy as many as 23 of the new aircraft at a cost of about $214 million each, including research and development, training devices and government-furnished equipment. The fleet is used used to transport the president and vice president in Washington and when they travel, in tandem with Air Force One planes. Presidents have traveled by helicopter since Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office.The present Marine One program replaced an ill-fated effort that was canceled in 2009 after its projected cost more than doubled to $13 billion.The Navy last month approved limited production, awarding a $542 million contract to Sikorsky to build six helicopters. Sikorsky was given a $1.1 billion development contract in 2014.Dave Banquer, Sikorsky’s VH-92A program director, said in an email that the programis on track to meet required milestones on or ahead of schedule.Forget BlanketsIn the meantime, the Defense Contract Management Agency said in an assessment earlier this year that one option to avoid damage to the lawn had already been discarded: Protecting it or other landing areas “by staking down a protective blanket.”“The amount of time needed to place and secure the blanket would make this option impractical,” the agency said.To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at firstname.lastname@example.org, Larry Liebert, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.