Journalist & Broadcaster. Click ON AIR IMAGE

Journalist & Broadcaster. Click ON AIR IMAGE
Aviation Security & Ops., Travel & Holiday Expert. Commentator on Business & the City, Sports, Golf, Cycling, Ice Hockey, LIVE ISDN Contributions , isdn ++44 1733 345020 G722 & ATX DUAL CODECS SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK Landline Tel: 01733 345581

Sunday, 27 July 2014



Julian Bray writes: Its not the last voyage anyone ever wanted, but the striken former cruise ship the Costa Concordia has after a four day final leg entered its home port of Genoa. The hulk supported by air and bouyancy tanks welded to each side of its shattered hull; the next few weeks, will see them removed, as the wreck is broken down in dry dock for scrap, and all parts either recycled or melted down.

It is possible that some of the metals may find their way into the fabric of a new cruise ship, beer cans, or even the next generation of motor cars. The salvage operation, the largest of its kind, has had its own drawbacks and one person is reported to have lost his life during the process.  There also remains a body of a crew member on board, which will be located and removed before the wreck is metodically torn up.

Meanwhile a new battle is brewing on the Island of Giglio as seafront Bar & Restaurant owners want the concrete and steel support cradle bolted to the seabed by salvagers for the wrecked Costa Concordia, to remain in place as a diving site, but the contractors are already mandated to remove all traces of the ship.                                

JULIAN BRAY, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Ops,Travel/Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ UK Tel: 01733 345581 (HOME ISDN NEW NUMBER 01733 345020) e&oe

Friday, 25 July 2014

MH 17 Australian Troops & Police head for the MH17 crash site in the Ukraine

Abbott: We don't know how many bodies we have
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says that 2 Australian victims of the MH17 disaster are being flown to the Netherlands on Friday, but that still means many Australian bodies still remain unaccounted for.
Air accident investigators in Farnborough, England have already extracted core data from from the Flight & Voice Data Recorders [black boxes] recovered from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.  

Meanwhile International monitors continue to  frustrated in their preliminary assessment and prevented from gaining full access to the site where flight MH17 was shot down.
It has also been confirmed that a group of Australian soldiers will be sent to the Ukraine, to protect a squad of Australian police officers who will be securing the MH17 crash site from looters, and the rebels who may have allegedly shot it out of the sky using a russian manufactured BUK missile.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in Canberra, confirmed "there would be some ADF deployment”.
The mission it was suggested is a joint one with other countries that lost citizens in the MH17 disaster, which killed 298 people, and would be led by the Netherlands.
Mr Abbott said an understanding was close to being finalised allowing Australian police and troops into the Ukraine.
He said the mission was a “humanitarian” one that was ultimately trying to bring innocent people home and repeated that when asked what effect the presence the soldiers would have on the volitaile situation in Ukraine.
It is for others to talk about the internal politics of eastern Europe. “All we want to do is claim our dead and bring them home.”
The Australian Prime Minister added: “This will be a police led mission, an international police-led mission — a humanitarian mission that’s what it is ... To ensure we bring them back ...”
 Treat this link with caution but does add to the overall story but6 stiil needs testing:
JULIAN BRAY, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Ops,Travel/Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ UK Tel: 01733 345581 (HOME ISDN NEW NUMBER 01733 345020) e&oe

Thursday, 24 July 2014


The Swiftair MD-83 wet leased to Air Algerie.

Saturday AM: Four hundred French troops have secured and are now guarding the crash site, as a team of air crash investigators start work. Debris field is confined to a small area.  
The Associated Press reported the flight was carrying 51 French nationals, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian.

The UK Foreign Office has confirmed that 1 British National named as David Morgan was also on board.

[Saturday AM]A passenger list has now been published, although official sources are refusing to confirm if it is the final confirmed boarding list:

REYNAUD Zoe (France)
REYNAUD Natahan (France)
REYNAUD Michelle (France)
REYNAUD Laure (France)
REYNAUD Julia (France)
REYNAUD Franck (France)
REYNAUD Estelle (France)
REYNAUD Eric (France)
REYNAUD Bernard (France)
REYNAUD Alexis (France)
MOREAU Christelle (France)
CAMISSOGO Brahima (France)
RAUZIER Jean Marie (France)
PARDINA Alain Pierre (France)
REDIN Marie Jesus (France)
CAIlLLERET Elno (France)
CAILLERET Chloé (France)
CAILLERET Bruno (France)
BOINARD CAroline (France)
SOKAMBI Nadège (France)
FLOURY Katell (France)
GALLON Jennifer (France)
TRICOT Frédéric (France)
SCELLIER Patrick (France)
TRAVERS Laurence (France)
KOUSSIKANA Rivel (France)
OUEDRAOGO Vinciana (France)
OUEDRAOGO Seydou (France)
OUEDRAOGO Samson (France)
OUEDRAOGO Noa (France)
OUEDRAOGO Elora (France)
LHEUREUX Maryse (France)
SAVADOGO Dessay Celes (France)
JULIA Richard (France)
JULIA Paulina (France)
KABORE Nabolé Mariata (France)
POLICE Nicolas (France)
POLICE Didier (France)
LOUIS Véronique (France)
LOUIS Jason (France)
GINESTE Veronique (France)
GINESTE Rodolphe (France)
GINESTE Mathis (France)
GINESTE Bertrand (France)
GINESTE Adrien (France)
ISNARD Mathieu (France)
VOLANT Maena (France)
PASCARD Jenny (France)
JOLY André (France)
ZOLLER Jutta (France)
KLEIN Calvin (France)
KOUANDA Kadidia (Burkina)
YAMEOGO Aboubacar (Burkina)
DIANE Daouda (Burkina)
BASSINUDIA Rolanda (Burkina)
ZOUNGRANA Ben Arsene (Burkina)
ZOUNGRANA Ahmed Brice (Burkina)
ZOUNGRANA Rabdo Salim (Burkina)
SOMDA Winmalo (Burkina)
SOMDA Wilfried (Burkina)
SOMBIE Arona JeanMichel (Burkina)
OUEDRAOGO Ourda Yaci (Burkina)
RASTORGUEFF Zongo (Burkina)
HASSAN Roukaya (Burkina)
HASSAN Mounji (Burkina)
HASSAN Husein (Burkina)
HASSAN Zayatna (Burkina)
HASSAN Mohamed (Burkina)
KOMPAORE Sandrine (Burkina)
Mankoudougou Ouédraogo (Burkina)
KAM Hervé Magloire (Burkina)
AHER Salah (Burkina)
ZAHER Chayna (Burkina)
ZAHER Ali (Burkina)
Dabiré Somé Baonidome (Burkina)
SANDWIDI Bikyenga Mar (Burkina)
Hassan Hassan (Burkina)
RESTOM Fadi (Liban)
AKDAR Mohamed (Liban)
DEhaini Bilal (Liban)
HAGE Joseph (Liban)
ALSYOUFI Fadi (Liban)
BASMA Randa (Liban)
SOMDA Natahanael (Canada)
SOMDA Arielle (Canada)
KPODA Angélique (Canada)
PREVOST Isabelle (Canada)
PLAN Fabienne (Canada)
GUILLAUME Dominique (Belgique)
DEBAILI Lotfi (Algérie)
MERBAH Omar (Algérie)
MESSAOUDI Boumediene (Algérie)
MESSAHLI Noureddine (Algérie)
KHALDI Mohamed Laid (Algérie)
AREND Camille (Luxembourg)
SIEBENALLER Noémie (Luxembourg)
OGBU Emmanuel Osi Tamr (Nigéria)
DEHAINI RAhan (Allemagne)
DEHAINI Olivier Jabinc (Allemagne)
DEHAINI Malick (Allemagne)
BERNT Corrina (Allemagne)
MBIA Houkemajou Loren (Cameroun)
ASRAF Hegaly Ahmed (Egypte)
DIALLO Bakary (Mali)
MORGAN David (Grande Bretagne)
PINGOU Florie Esther (Suisse)

Julian Bray writes: Thursday AM (updated FRIDAY AM): Not a good week for aviation, and some confusion in high places,  as early mistaken reports of an Airbus A320 operated by Air Algerie, (but wet leased from a Spanish company Swiftair)  had 'gone missing from radar'  - agencies say contact was 'lost some 50 minutes after take off' on a scheduled flight number AH5017 from Quagadougou, in Burkino Faso to Algiers. 

But later reports from the Spanish owners Swiftair claim the missing aircraft, is in fact an older slim bodied MD83, the type widely used at one time by Alitalia, before their Airbus fleet. The MD83 wet leased to Air Algerie to take care of increased passenger traffic at this time of year.

Courtesy: TIME   Note: The body shape of the aircraft in the graphic appears to be distorted so isn't an MD83 which has a much longer slimmer body, see our picture.

The MD-83 is now confirmed as having crashed in Mali, possibly due to adverse weather conditions.  A international search process has already been put into operation by the operators and regional authorities.  [Friday] The black box flight data recorder has been recovered, from the crash. No survivors.

It was last seen at 1.17am local time and due to land in Algiers at 5.10am, but clearly never reached the destination.

"In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," Air Algerie officials, quoted by APS news agency, said.

The plane is wet leased from Spanish airline Swiftair. In a statement Swiftair gave the aircraft type as an MD83 and they were unable to establish contact with the plane.

Ougadougou is virtually in a straight line south of Algiers, which vectors over 'troubled' Mali where conflict continues in the north.

A senior French official said it was unlikely fighters in Mali had weaponry that could shoot down a plane, but did not rule out the use of shoulder mounted manpads surface to air missiles.

JULIAN BRAY, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Ops,Travel/Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ UK Tel: 01733 345581 (HOME ISDN NEW NUMBER 01733 345020) e&oe

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

MH17 THe focus switches to Eindhoven and Hilversum in The Netherlands also to Farnborough in the UK.

Julian Bray writes: Wednesday Afternoon. MH17. So where are we now? The on ground investigation inside what now has to be regarded as a war zone,  has virtually slowed to a halt, as the focus is now on the two transport aircraft taking human body parts to Eindhoven airport.

The first to land at Einhoven at approx 14:45 hrs is the C130 transport is Dutch (Royal Netherlands Airforce) the second from the Australian Air Force a C17, according to reports 40 coffins are on the first aircraft and 24 on the second.

On arrival in the Netherlands, the dead will be accorded full honours, Church bells are being rung for a period of five minutes through out the country, the Dutch Royal family together with the Prime Minister and around 1000 relatives will attend. This part of the reception process involving relatives and diplomats from all affected countries, will be carried out behind screens and in private. 

Today in the Netherlands is a national day of mourning. Some 40 hearses will leave the airport at around 16:15hrs and take the bodies to Hilversum, a town about an hour away,  made famous by its radio transmitter that featured on early radio dials. At Hilversum, the grim process of identification, will take place.

The UK is supporting the Dutch identification commission with 9 disaster victim identification personnel; they will assist by using dental records, possible DNA, photographs, bloodtype and other external data from relatives. This will take some time as sadly not all the remains are complete, and despite earlier reports, not kept constantly chilled to preserve the tissue.

Evidenced by the train freight truck doors being opened and effectively ruining any low temperatures, that might have been briefly achieved. What does impress the observer is the way the Dutch have risen to this challenge, and finally the dead recovered so far are being given a nations full respect in this stage of their final journey.

The 'last post' will be sounded by a lone bugle, as the coffins are prepared to be unloaded from the two transports into the first of the waiting 40 identical motor hearses and in convoy flanked by motorcycle outriders. This is followed by a minutes silence, the Royal party now on the airside apron, the bugle will sound again.  Relatives are watching from behind a series of discreet screens.

Elsewhere in the country all radio stations have dropped commercials and playing 'sombre music'.

In Amsterdam, the population will gather at around 7pm, wearing white and release a shoal of white balloons, it is unlikely that any of these will reach the Ukraine. Which is a pity.

Meanwhile the two back box recorders torn from either end of the the downed #MH17 are now being examined in Farnborough. Ironically now that much of the 'external circumstances' are known, it will be a slightly easier task for the scientists as they can direct their energies to core aspects of the data to be unravelled.

The Boeing 777-200 had safely completed some 75 thousand hours and completed 11,434 round trips or cycles. It entered service in July 1997 and was powered by Rolls Royce Trent 800 turbojet engines. Despite this and the earlier Malaysian Airlines incidents, the Boeing 777-200 series has a good safety record, and is well regarded by airlines and passengers all over the world. 

At last some dignity has been restored to this series of tragic events..

Meanwhile in Taiwan:

A Transasia Airways plane has crashed ( Wednesday PM ) whilst making an emergency landing in Taiwan, killing 51 people, according to reports from Taiwan’s Central News Agency and the Associated Press.

The agency said that 54 passengers and four flight crew were on board.

Reports claim the accident occurred in the city of Magong, which is off the western coast of Taiwan. The flight was heading from the capital Taipei, heading for Penghu Island.

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 ( ISDN 01733 345020  and isdn remote location kit available)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Wednesday 9am 200 (not 270 as rebels claimed) MH17 victims given a formal Ukranian Army send off, the transport aircraft will fly to the Netherlands.  (Picture: Courtesy ITN/ITVNews)

European airlines reroute to avoid Ukraine airspace meanwhile USA airlines are banning all all flights
to Isreal for the next 24 hours

Julian Bray writes:

The Rt. Hon Philip Hammond MP has only been the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs since July 15th, having previously held the UK  defence portfolio, and yet on July 21st Mr Hammond is forced to declare: "The World has changed since last week," possibly a classic understatement, as today the United Nations meets to impose wide ranging 'sectorial' sanctions on President Putins Russia.
Shrapnel indications detected....

 By sectorial, it is thought the sanctions will simply wipe out whole industrial categories regardless of the collateral damage the imposition may cause.  UK suppliers like Smiths Industries, will find their calibration and measuring instruments are effectively on a banned list of technology products, the sanction also clearly financially and unexpectedly damaging to the UK supplier.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

MH17 UPDATE: Flight MH17 to be retired and redesignated MH19 says Malaysian Airline as blackbox data recorder in 'bits' says rebel leader

18 :00 hrs Sunday: QUESTION:

Rebel Leader confirms that 'bits' of the 2 black boxes have been recovered and are in his custody. The big question: Why is he now talking about 'bits' when these units are designed to withstand execeptional trauma, and the earlier video footage (courtesy Reuters)of one being carried at the crash site shows the 'dayglo' orange painted unit in once piece?

Sunday 12 Noon:  Julian Bray Aviation Security Expert and Journalist writes: President Putin hopefully has a very thick skin and his press relations man a fast Air Ticket out of Russia? Simply the President isn't getting a bad International press, its far, far, far, worse than that. But stepping back from the media view of what has happened, where do we all go from here?

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Russian BUK missle array

Julian Bray writes: With my 'Aviation Security' hat on, I've popped up on countless BBC and BBC World TV and Radio networks, in the last few days all beamed from Trib Towers, but not had time to post about the MH17 air crash until now, as the situation is changing by the hour, and now virtually confirmed it was shot down by a ground to air missile.

In my contributions, I was one of the first to publicly question the continuing use of a flight corridor routed directly over a war zone. Initially shouted down, by some so called telly 'experts' but now a major concern as the Malaysian Transport Minister - formerly the Defence Minister...has repeatedly tried to justify the decision and doing so again this Saturday morning.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sunny Spain ? So Ryanair puts 6 Spanish bound UK holidaymakers on flight to.... Latvia...

Check in desks serve several gates
A major aviation security inquiry has been ordered by Ryanair and no doubt the East Midlands Airport authorities, after it emerged six holidaymakers bound for sunny Almeria in Spain, were misdirected towards and boarded an identical Ryanair aircraft  at an adjoining Gate - bound for Latvia.
The story was picked up by BBC Nottingham DriveTime (at 17:10pm) and will be repeated on the BBCPlayer and regional newspapers, it  featured painter and decorator Stephen Pritchard, from Cannock, Staffordshire.  He told the Birmingham Mail  his boarding pass was checked three times, but he was still directed to the wrong plane with his son.

Spain or Latvia? It's all Greek to Ryanair! 

Mr Pritchard described the incident as a massive security risk, he told the newspaper: "This comes at a time when they are supposed to be tightening security. It's unbelievable."

Monday, 14 July 2014

BY 2020 Car companies could be providing household energy across Europe

By 2020, car companies could provide energy to households across Europe, according to a discussion document released by a ** Business School. The paper looks at how recent developments will affect the energy market and impact businesses and consumers alike. Professor Leonardo Meeus, advisor to the European Commission on energy, considers the four big energy game changers that could disrupt the electricity market.



Starting today Monday 14th July 2014, The wrecked hulk of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia is being raised and will within a week be floated off; in one of the most complex maritime salvage operations in maritime history.

Specialist engineers are lifting the vessel by pressure pumping air into pressurised tanks retrofitted to the wreck. By Noon the wreck had been raised one metre free of the temporary supporting structure, bringing two more deck levels above the water line.

The refloatation is scheduled to take a full week. With the tanks providing bouyancy, the structure will be towed to its home port, Genoa, where it will be broken up and scrapped.

The Costa Concordia cruise ship operated by Costa Crociere, struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012, gashed open its side and capsized. Some 32 passengers lost their lives.

The wreck was put in an upright but much lower partially submerged position in September, resting on a lattice work of specially constructed platforms.

Franco Gabrielli, the head of the Italian civil protection agency commented:

"The first phase of the operation is the most dangerous, and very complex, because the vessel will be detached from the platforms."

The cruise ship capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people

A damaged part of the cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen at Giglio harbour, Giglio Island, 13 July 2014

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Musical Chairs as Camerons last Shuffle derailed by historical love train...

Julian Bray writes: Lots of reshuffle rumours doing the Westminster rounds, bookies say Ester McVey is worth a good punt...

David Willetts is said to be to leaving the Cabinet,Penny Mourdaunt to become a (career dead ending) Defence Minister, as budgets cut to the bone, and the spectre of unfinished, possibly unloved aircraft carriers have to make do with choppers instead.

 Philip Hammond always uneasy in the Defence role, as several sources suggest Hammond is changing places with Iain Duncan Smith at the Department for Work & Pensions to mastermind the discreet burial of a massive but dysfunctional DWP computer upgrade.

Former TV Presenter Esther McVey needs to hire in Pickfords as well, and like Dr Who, is the new incarnation for none other than Eric Pickles at Communities and Local Government, whilst Eric Pickles is set to become the Election bound Party Chairman.  A case of goodbye Mr Shapps..

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Have A&E waiting times fallen?

This blog post seems to have been cruelly amended and generally 'refreshed' on the main HoC Library site. And misquoted in the House...Tsk Tsk... It deserved better....

Have A&E waiting times fallen?

This post has been amended on 4 July. It was taken down on 3 July on the initiative of the Library.  The post’s analysis of the data has not been changed. However, the description of the Prime Minister and Health Secretary’s use of these statistics did not meet our expected standards of impartiality. Also, we speculated on the patient’s view of the different measures of waiting time without firm evidence.

We strive to be a trusted and authoritative source of unbiased information that informs democratic discourse and encourages debate. On this occasion we got it wrong and we will learn lessons.

There has been recent debate about the situation in NHS accident and emergency units, with changes in the waiting time for treatment being used as an indicator of performance. This blog post explores what data is available and what it shows.

On 2 July at PMQs the Prime Minister stated:

When [Labour was in Government], the average waiting time [in A&E] was 77 minutes; under this Government, it is 30 minutes.
This claim has been made previously (for instance on 9 June* and 18 June). Other reports indicate that A&E performance has declined, with the 4-hour target having been missed in England’s major departments every week since last July. What is the basis for the claim that average waiting times have fallen, and what are the best indicators of waiting time trends?

Means and Medians

The PM was referring to the mean “duration to initial assessment” in A&E – i.e. the time between when a patient arrives and when they are first assessed*. (This indicator is not available in the routinely published data, but can be viewed in these tables which were given in response to a parliamentary question). Here is a chart of the mean and median time to initial assessment from April 2008 to March 2013:

Initial assesments to A&E

Two things can be observed from this data: first, the large difference between the median and the mean waiting time; and second, the dramatic fall at the beginning of 2011-12.

Whenever there is a large difference between the median and the mean, this usually indicates that the mean is being distorted by some outlying values – in this case, some very long waits for initial assessment. In their publications on A&E waiting times, the Health and Social Care Information Centre warn that these extremes are “particularly sensitive to poor data quality and definitional issues”. This suggests the median value is a more meaningful indicator of what the typical time to initial assessment in A&E is. But the median has remained more or less unchanged at around 10 minutes to initial assessment.

What about the dramatic fall in the mean in April 2011? This corresponds with the time to initial assessment in A&E being designated as a “care quality indicator” and becoming subject to mandatory reporting (along with several other similar measures). So it’s plausible that the fall in the mean in April 2011 reflects an improvement in data collection, quality and reporting, rather than any genuine change in waiting times. It’s also worth noting that the 2012/13 data has over three times as many data points – “attendances with a valid duration to initial assessment” – than the 2008/09 data, and so is likely to be more reliable than this earlier data.

What is the ‘average waiting time’?

There is a further issue here as the time to initial assessment only covers part of the total time that a patient spends in A&E. The median time to initial assessment is only 10 minutes: patients will still have to wait in A&E, often for a significant period, after their initial assessment is completed. To get a fuller picture of the patient experience in A&E, we need to look at other measures, namely the waiting time before treatment, and the total time spent in A&E.

Both of these measures are included in the published data on A&E quality. Here is a chart showing how these changed between 2008 and 2013:

Waiting Times A&E

On these measures, there has been no reduction in waiting times. Time to treatment is static save for seasonal variation, and total time in A&E has been steadily increasing. A fuller analysis of the published data suggests that total time in A&E is only increasing for patients who require admission – and that total time in A&E for non-admitted patients is also unchanged.

Summing up

  • The typical waits in A&E before assessment and before treatment have both remained static. The mean wait before assessment has fallen, but this is not an indicator of the typical wait, and there are also quality issues with the data.
  • The typical total time in A&E has risen for patients who go on to be admitted (around a fifth of the total in 2012/13), and is unchanged for those who are not subsequently admitted.
Author: Carl Baker
* Note that the Health Secretary stated on 9th June that the median waiting time had fallen from 77 minutes.  The 77 minute figure is the mean, not the median.

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)


Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the run up to the last General Election, has his make up refreshed before stepping off an aircraft, to face a barrage of TV cameras... 
I was invited to participate in a lively discussion on BBC Scotland Morning Call, this morning, following a change in the latest security measures at certain airports, with the enhanced measures demanded by the American authorities affecting flights into the USA, now being rolled out to all airports.

Clearly the airport experience is being changed for all of us, and the suggestion is that we should also change our view, preparation for travel and actions at the airport. Simply the changes are here to stay as the whole world order and international political landscape has sadly entered into a new phase.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

NEW DIRECTIVES ANNOUNCED: Electronic devices and electrical items at UK airports


Friday, 4 July 2014

Simple Samsung Galaxy phone. app puts worldwide aviation security at risk

Julian Bray writes:  It is now belatedly emerging that an easy to obtain Samsung Galaxy app. is the main cause of the latest round of draconian aviation security demands by the USA Department for Homeland Security and being imposed on all airlines and airports wishing to send aircraft into the USA. Air Passengers are already subject to new searches at Uk Airports and specifically now have to produce all battery driven and other electronics for 'swabbing.'

Intelligence suggests that Samsungs Smart Home App. designed to control household appliaces remotely though the internet or mobile phone networks could be easily adapted with very little skill to act as a remote trigger device for an explosives or other package. The US authorities are also aware that other apps, for iphones could perform the same simple switch function, but the current suggestion is that the Samsung appl. is far more reliable, and the corresponding remote switch sender can be harvested from easily to source Samsung domestic appliances.  If that isn't alarmist enough, other developers are getting in on the remote switching act, like this one!  . 

Its clear that Samsung Smart Home isn't going to be limited only to Samsung's products, as the company says it will also be integrating third-party partner solutions, although at this stage we're not sure if that's going to let you do things like control Philips Hue lightbulbs or the Belkin WeMo light switch. Samsung wants to take over your connected home and let you control it all, through the Smart Home app.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

HARSH WINTER AHEAD: The RMT Railway Union has warned politicians that it is heading towards a full-blown dispute on both First Great Western and East Coast,

Old Inter City stock.....


The RMT Railway Union has warned politicians that it is heading towards a full-blown dispute on both First Great Western and East Coast, over the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet which they say could lead to an axing of guards, buffet cars and the hiving-off of train maintenance.
Under the Government sponsored Intercity Express Programme (IEP) the new fleet, built in Japan and then assembled in the North East by Hitachi, has the RMT claim, the capacity to run on Driver Only Operation [DOO] – removing on-board guards – and would strip out buffet cars to fit in more seats. The Union also say this could also lead to the current in-house fleet maintenance being hived-off to a third party.

RMT has written to the Government with three core demands:

• That the guards be retained on all inter-city services.

• That the buffet cars be retained on inter-city services

• That the fleet maintenance be retained in-house

RMT has placed the same demands on the current franchise holders, on both Great Western and the DOR East Coast.

The union also says that if the jobs and services aren’t protected under the IEP then a dispute will be declared with RMT making preparations for ballots for industrial action.

Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary commented: “It defies belief that anyone in their right mind would seriously consider running these inter-city services on a driver-only basis but the design of the fleet allows for just that in terms of the control panels. RMT has made it perfectly clear that we are opposed to the extension of DOO on ANY rail services and with fights already in hand on the northern franchises and Thameslink/Southern we are now hard-wiring First Great Western and East Coast into that campaign.

“It is sheer profiteering to strip out the buffet cars and replace them with trolleys. Not only does that undermine the service to passengers but it also denies staff their one place of refuge and rest on these long-range routes.

“RMT is also deeply concerned about the future of the fleet maintenance which is once again plunged into uncertainty with our members jobs and futures left in the balance. That is wholly unacceptable and RMT will not allow the maintenance grades to be cast adrift.

“RMT is demanding answers and assurances from both the Government and the train companies. If those assurances aren’t forthcoming we will move into dispute and begin preparations for ballots. We have no intention of allowing this situation to drift.”

Julian Bray comments: There is growing unease over the whole question of where our railways are going. Its now emerged that recently trumpeted extentions to the HS2 programme were not properly costed, and the temporary employment sap to the North East for the assembly of Japanese manufactured Hitachi trains units, has not gone down well in the traditional railway towns. It is all leading to a perfect storm in the run up to the General Election next year, with several service and Public sector strikes all scheduled to overlap...

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

UK Air Travel to USA : DELAYS AND SEARCHES: New Homeland Security Aviation Safety Measures Announced...

If you are heading for the airport in the next few weeks and your end destination is the USA, be advised that security and extra checks on passengers and their luggage are being carried out. Some may cause delay and in extreme circumstances a possible loss of onward connections.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson has issued worldwide, a somewhat terse press notice, relating to aspects of aviation security, contingent on airports with direct air connections to and from the USA, these include UK and European hubs.

The measures will certainly affect UK holidaymakers and business flyers into the USA. The best advice is to ensure all documentation is properly in place including e-visas and that luggage contents strictly conform to any regulation. Passports should have at least six months validity, the physical or actual expiry date, more than six months after your return to the UK from any holiday or trip. Footwear and carry on electronics will come under greater inspection.

The statement reads:

DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and re-evaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security.

As part of this ongoing process, I [Secretary Jeh Johnson ] have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travellers as possible.

We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies, and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public.

Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the travelling public.

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Friday, 20 June 2014


Media Lines Sketch
 Julian Bray writes:

Virgin started some 30 years ago this year, Richard Branson might be attracted to the new Prestwick Airport?

Always a pleasure to be invited to take part in BBC Scotlands radio morning telephone call-in programme,  hosted by Louise White (19th June 9am and still on the iplayer).

The topic under the spotlight, was the proposal by the Scottish Government to invest £30 million into upgrading passenger terminal facilities at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

It was my radio role to kick start the discussion as a Aviation Expert, but perhaps more importantly Glaswegian by birth, moved to London at 2 years old, lost my accent,  but returned and spent my teens in Ayr, Doonfoot and Glasgow. ...

My Dad having moved back up to Scotland as a director on the railway property board to seemingly sell off Dr Beechings surplus railway tracks, stations, coal yards and any other property, for example a scout troop from England struck gold, and picked up a whole disused station 'Balquhidder station then called Lochearnhead on Loch Earn.

The scouts also gained lots of connecting storage tunnels, to store canoes, boats etc., - the railways at one time owned most of the High Streets, where there is, or was a railway connection - Essentially Dr Beeching axed any branch and connecting railways going left to right and right to left, they were disposed off and for silly money, leaving just a couple of main lines up and down the whole of the UK. Madness!

Don't worry, I've often told him it was a big mistake, also my Dads later decision to knock down the Euston ARCH and cart the stones away and all over a 3 day bank holiday before a preservation order could be slapped on it by Camden Council  (by the way... most of the rocks are still in a huge back garden, as part of a waterfall feature, near Rickmansworth, Herts!) Families! 

But I digress. The £30 million investment topic started to generate a number of calls, and within 20 minutes almost swamped the BBC switchboard, any English sounding voice (as mine is) among the well moderated Scots callers, with a range of pleasing to the ear Scottish dialects, clearly acts like a rasping magnet.

Just as when the family moved up to Scotland and the then rector (headmaster) at Ayr Academy Jimmy Cairns took one look at the potential badly educated scruffy school boy from London and demanded that a stack (23 in number) of books containing poetry by local poet and excise man Robert Burns be committed to memory over the short summer holiday, and that all the 32 (?) verses of Tam O'Shanter to be recited aloud on return, to Ayr Academy and an introduction to Mr Jimmy Walkers so called 'English' class... it was clearly the very first 'stand up comedy turn' not a dry eye in the class.... had the 'tawse' not appeared and been silently placed on Mr Walkers lift up desklid top.

Your writer blissfully unaware of this fearsome urge by Scottish teachers to belt the living daylights out of their charges - still that was the discipline problem sorted in the 1960s'...

The BBC calls came in fast and furious, the back story is that Prestwick or Glasgow Prestwick as it's currently known, or the fog/ flood free airport, was picked up for a pound by the Scottish Government when the New Zealand property company owners threw in the towel, having made year on year losses, the latest being £800,000, still no worries, the departing company can make use of the mantra 'tax losses forward'  so everyone wins! The airport peaked in 2007 with 2.7 million passengers  but lately drifting down to 1.1 million under the Kiwis' ownership.

 My take on the issue is that £30 million invested in an upgraded Passenger handling terminal would be a really good idea, lierally open up the entire west coast of Scotland and over the borders, it would take the strain off the all too busy hemmed in Glasgow Airport, and then build its own cluster or hub of International scheduled airlines, in addition to the budget airlines. Prestwick already has a cargo and aircraft manufacturing function (airbus sections) which could also be expanded.  A freeport, would obviously light the blue touch paper but perhaps that is a hope to far?...

Prestwick Airport after all unlike the other regional airports in Scotland, has its own railway station!  Flight corridors are not a problem as the sea is nearby which combined with the newer generation of low noise aircraft wouldn tick all the cenvitronmrental box considerations. The airport is also of course on the national aviation fuel pipeline network, and in any national /international emergency  has a strong strategic role ( which alone is a tick box for additional funding )

It would also service the growing populations all along the west coast, and provide manufacturing industries currently re rediscovering Scotland as viable base, with an intelligent workforce and far from the squabbles taking place in Westminster over the independence vote.

It is also clear now that the Chinese are piling in to build the HS2 high speed railway on the west side of the country. [Big mistake in view - entire route is prone to flloding]  my  Essentially families are on the move, to areas where there is word and houses/ apartments they can still afford.

For leisure and recreation, it is all on tap, and a short CALMAC ferry to Brodick, Isle of Arran.  So to my mind £30 million is just the start, seed money if you like, more investment would follow. But then the Edinburgh mob hit the airwaves in the shape of  Len Murray and Terry Murden the latter a business editor ( err from Edinburgh) who called Prestwick investment a white elephant.

Clearly had I butted in to remind him that Edinburgh Trams  - a mere 8.7 mile link to Edinburgh airport, the final bill expecting to top £1 billion and then the adventures of Edinburgh based bankers, a sum north of £120 billion I seem to remember?  But however hard the Edinburgh financial/ business mafia blusters. It cannot compete with the geographic and strategic positioning of Prestwick, hopefully now dropping the Glasgow prefix. But might even end up as Trump Prestwick Airport , when Donald locates his troosers (Hat tip to the late Andy Stewart) and pulls out a few million more, to back up his golf and leisure resort aspirations ...

Wikipedia says: Edinburgh Trams a tramway in Edinburgh, Scotland, operated by Transport for Edinburgh. It is a 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) line between York Place in New Town and Edinburgh Airport, with 15 stops. Construction began June 2008, but the opening was delayed. The scheme was costed at £375 million in 2003, by May 2008, when contracts were signed, the cost ballooned to £521 million. After extra interest payments are factored in, the final cost is expected to top £1 billion. The line opened on 31 May 2014.

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Friday, 16 May 2014


Diani Beach, Mombasa, Kenya

A number of UK travel companies have suspending holiday flights to Mombasa Kenya, with hundreds of British tourists being evacuated from the East African country coastal resorts near Mombasa, following terrorist incidents, and new explosions in the capital Nairobi.

Tour operators Thomson and First Choice are bringing their clients home immediately although some have only just arrived some two days earlier. This follows a change in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice on Kenya, based on new intelligence which suggests terrorist activity targeting tourists is about to happen.  

The travel firms  cancelled all flights to Kenya, up to the end of October, while long-haul travel company Kuoni is, for the time being, not offering holidays to the Kenyan coast.

Earlier this month a bomb explosion at a bus station in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa killed three people,  and injured 16 more, here was also a bomb attack which damaged a hotel in the city.

Earlier this week, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) dramatically changed its advice for Kenya, advising against all but essential travel to Mombasa island and within 5km (3.1 miles) of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north to Tiwi in the south.

A local agent commented:  “Although the advice does not include Moi International Airport, Diani beach or Malindi, the main road to access these resorts goes through the restricted area defined by the FCO advice. This means that we are no longer able to offer holidays to the Kenyan coast at present.”

Kuoni Travel said that it would contact all customers who were due to travel in the next seven days and this would continue on a rolling basis until the FCO advice changed.  "Any customers that were travelling from the UK within the next seven days with an itinerary that includes the Kenyan coast were able to cancel free of charge or amend to an alternative destination with no administration fee but at the applicable cost."

The company went on: “For any customers who are travelling to other parts of Kenya on safari or staying in a lodge and don’t have Mombasa included in their itinerary, they will not be affected by the current FCO advice and holidays will continue as normal.”

Thomson and First Choice said they had been continuously monitoring the situation as it developed and have been working very closely with the FCO and follow its advice at all times.

“As a result of the change in FCO advice, the decision has been taken to cancel all our outbound flights to Mombasa, Kenya, up to and including October 31st.

“As a precautionary measure, we have also taken the decision to repatriate all customers currently on holiday in Kenya, including our Air Fare passengers, back to the UK on Thursday and Friday this week.”

According to reports, Thomson has about 400 customers in Kenya, including those in Mombasa and on safari.

The FCO advice reads: “There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.

“There has been a spate of small-scale grenade, bomb and armed attacks in Nairobi (especially the area of Eastleigh), Mombasa, and North Eastern Province. You should take care in public places where people gather, and exercise a heightened level of vigilance. "

A spokeswoman for the FCO said: “We estimate there are 5,000 British nationals resident along the coast,  and approximately 500 in Mombasa and surrounding area.”

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Friday, 2 May 2014

PETERBOROUGH TRIBUNE #UK #CAMBS #pborocc : Max Clifford gets 8 years: Judges Sentencing Rema...

PETERBOROUGH TRIBUNE #UK #CAMBS #pborocc : Max Clifford gets 8 years: Judges Sentencing Rema...: Library picture No commentary added, the remarks are very clear and graphic in detail, and as from reporting agencies check against delivery.

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Friday, 18 April 2014


Julian Bray (01733 345581) Reports:
 Easter Sunday Update: What has not been fully established is if a formal 'Mayday' abandon ship emergency was actually declared with the coastguard, and relayed to the owners of the vessel.
The fact that the vessel was asked to change radio channels would suggest that it had not been. Normally all other radio traffic would be cleared from the original transmitting channel in the event the vessel was unable to switch channels and then to  re-establish radio contact. Or was it just a distress call?
Normally the Master (Captain) or whoever is in charge, would make the decision and then the ship is IMMEDIATELY evacuated. RoRo (Roll On Roll Off) ferries are high risk, in this case the ferry was a stern (back end) loading flat bottomed vessel.
There is no hard and fast rule as to when the master can physically leave the ship, but it is recognised the passengers and crew must first be evacuated or in the process of completing an evacuation, as it might be more appropriate to command the evacuation from a nearby lauch, but not turn his/her back on the plight of others and head for shore.
The clearspan car/cargo/container deck cannot be divided easily into watertight segments and the majority of the cars and containers - on wheeled bogies - are not really secure. One jolt and the whole cargo consignment (in this case cars, containers, lorries, vans etc) will shift.
The low centre of gravity of these flat bottom ships is altered and no way can the ballasting tanks be blown (air filled|) or ballast filled (with seawater). Simply the ferry is then doomed. It only takes a five degree list or lean to fire up the emergency evacuation programme.
Every member of the ships crew is given on joining, a small booklet 'Masters (Captains') Orders.'  It is a complete employee or crew manual. It should contain all the owners/ company rules, emergency drills, signals and where the crew member is assigned for muster stations. Day glo bibs and hats are usually issued for crew to wear and lifejackets are located at strategic points, all over the vessel, not just in cabins.
Crew members would ideally have had regular repetitive training on the deployment of lifeboats, liferafts and other bouyancy aids. If the lifeboats are motorised ie not rafts  then boat driving, engine deployment skills are also factored in.
All this would be logged on the crew members personal file. 
Although we are advised not to speculate, it is clear something went horribly wrong. Apart from a third officer being at the wheel (nothing unusual but with appropriate senior supervision) there is the strange claim the master delayed the evacuation order for 30 minutes as he tried to right the ship. All the master has is a couple of side wing stabilisers which can be flipped out, and a sideways mounted mini propeller or bow thruster.
As already stated, impossible to right, if the cargo has shifted and totally impossible if the ship is taking in water. The gash in the hull scenario seems to have been dropped for the time being in favour of the sharp turn with the Master now saying: "it turned more than I thought it would...???"
How many times has this particular ferry  travelled this particular charted sea route. Hundreds of times.
So that does not add up. The cargo having shifted and possibly slid towards the stern would have breached the RoRo watertight seal and once the seawater enters it is sadly only a matter of time. Best demonstrated by floating an empty open milk bottle on its sode in a bowl of water.
All well and good until you create a smalle ripple, the milk bottle fills from the open end, sinks creating an air pocket in the top half. Sadly the seagoing vessel is not 100% airtight and as the air escapes, water backfills, the ship finally sinks stern first.  

This version auomatically releases if the water gets into the release mechanism
 or it can be done by cutting the rope (line) 
Julian Bray (01733 345581)  reports:   The agency picture below purports to show the Captain jumping ship (circled), note the white cylinders each containing a self inflating, self righting liferaft, one pull or cut of a single rope would have released these liferafts into the Ocean. 
Even with a 5 degree list, the command from the Master (Captain) to don adult and child lifejackets, put babies into special baby cots and  passengers to make way to boat or muster stations and prepare to evacuate the vessel should have been given, this would also have been endorsed by a series of very loud alarms or sirens. Usually a repeated three long blasts on the ships alarm system. On newer ships floor level guide light direction to exit systems would also have been illuminated. 

Why the master decided (according to reports) to delay the abandon ship order for a full 30 minutes cannot be explained, equally the master not being constantly physically 'at the wheel' more like computer game control paddles in newer ships,  in reality is normal, as command - with support from senior fellow officers - would be shared. Maps and weather charts are electronically generated, although paper charts are usually to hand as a back up.
The story is fast moving but what seems to have happened ( this is pure speculation) is that a rock (charted) or other underwater obstruction has ripped a gash or hole in the hull of this flat bottomed roll on roll off ferry. this has caused a 5 degree list and in turn caused containers on wheeled bogies or bases and some 156 vehicles to move.
Some of the larger cargo units should have been physically anchored to the car deck but often they are just chocked or wheel wedged.  The vessels ballasting tanks might also have been ruptured preventing the self righting properties of the vessels from being initiated.
All ships are subject to SOLAS rules (Safety of Lives at Sea) introduced after the RMS titanic sunk over 101 years ago. This specifies the number of life jackets, liferafts, lifeboats and sets out defined emergency rules and protocols.
The vessels will also have a data recorder lagwer than the aircraft version  and usually bolted to an upper forward deck near the bow and painted orange and about the size of a large kitbag.
If the cargo has moved, and possibly moved to the stern (rear) the pressure on the ro-ro sea doors and loading ramp could have breached the watertight seals. This allowing sea water to flood the entire open car/ cargo deck.
The fact it has gone down stern first and rolled over at the same time would leave little time for people inside the cxbin accomodation to escape. Imagine already at an angle and the ship tyehn continuing to roll over and anything not screwed down floating or moving around.
If the remaining passenger could find an airpocket they probably have 74 hours of air. Divers pumping Oxygen  in would not be of any value unless the airlines could be correctly targeted towards the airpockets.
The ferry built in Japan in 1994 is approx 480 feet long (146 metres) weighs in at 6,586 Gross Tonnes. It has sunk in 30 metres of water. Early reports said box cargo was falling off the upper open deck.
The current operator CHONGHAJEIN acquired the vessel in October 2012, then immediately added extra cabins on three decks increasing the registered tonnage by 187 tonnes and adding cabin accommodation for an extra 117 passengers.    

From local sources:

Passenger ferry capsized and sinks off the southern coast of South Korea More than 470 passengers on board. So far 29 casualties have been confirmed – including the high school vice principal who hanged himself Friday – 179 people have been rescued, and 268 people are still missing.

7.26pm: Yonhap News Agency is reporting that “arrest warrants sought” for the captain of the doomed Sewol ferry and two crew members.

6.12pm: AP reports:
Police say a high school vice principal who had been rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry has been found hanging from a tree.
The news of the death came Friday as rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of people still missing from the ferry and feared dead. The passengers included 325 second-year students from Danwon High School heading to a southern island on a four-day trip.
6.10pm: The suicide of Danwon High School vice principal brings the total death toll from the tragedy to 29.

5.58pm: Yonhap News Agency reports on the suicide of Danwon High School vice principal.
A vice principal, who was in charge of hundreds of high school students on a ferry trip that turned into a tragedy when the ship sank earlier this week, was found dead Friday in an apparent suicide, officials said.

The senior teacher from Danwon High School near Seoul, identified by his surname Kang, 52, was found hanging from a tree on a hill near an indoor gymnasium on the island of Jindo, where parents of the students missing from the sunken ferry are staying.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A government office says a South Korean passenger ship carrying about 470 people has sent a distress call off the southern coast after it began leaning to one side.

South Korean media, including Yonhap news agency, say passengers were asked to jump overboard with life vests as the ship was on the verge of sinking. News reports say about 120 people have already been rescued.

The Busan Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Administration says in a statement that the ferry with 471 people was sailing to the southern island of Jeju when it sent a distress call Wednesday morning.
In the government’s latest tally, South Korea says 280 people from the ferry that capsized in the Yellow Sea south of Seoul are still missing and five people have died.

The vessel ‘Sewol’ was delayed two hours at the Incheon seaport last night due to foggy weather. The ministry reports that at 8.58am KST the coast guard received a distress call and within two hours the ship was capsized.

While the exact reason behind the incident is still being investigated, survivors are saying they heard a loud “boom” – which is what many believe caused the ferry to submerge. Following the noise, passengers say they saw cranes toppling over.

According to those rescued, the boat’s intercom system told everyone to stay calm and remain where they are for their “safety,” even restricting those who wanted to go out from leaving. It was not until the room started flooding that the instructions changed. Due to the pressure and force of the water, doors were almost too heavy to open while many shouted to “break the windows.” Apparently, the PA system told those already outside to jump into the water.

A witness who narrowly escaped says that he thinks there were 30 people still trapped in the area he was able to get away from.

Many suspect that the unaccounted for are stuck within the boat with South Korean analysts saying there is approximately 72 hours before they run out of oxygen.

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)


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