An unidentified commercial pilot who was the only person on board of twin-propeller Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain is under scanner for falling asleep in the cockpit and overflying his Australian island destination by 29 miles. According to a statement released by his employer, Vortex Air, he was flying on autopilot during the early morning flight on November 8 from Devonport city on Tasmania 250 kilometers northwest to King Island in Bass Strait. He unintentionally fell asleep while in command of the aircraft. They added that, “The issue became apparent when air traffic control was unable to contact the pilot in-flight, and the aircraft traveled past the intended destination point while operating on autopilot”. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, a crash and risk investigator, and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aviation industry regulator, are investigating the incident and the company's handling of pilot exhaustion. The pilot landed safely on King Island.
Sundar Pichai set to face Congress next week
Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face a gruelling face-to-face with the House Judiciary Committee on December 5, during which he will answer questions from Republicans who have unproven beliefs that the search engine has a liberal bias. A report said the hearing promises to be a “long, wide-ranging review of Google's business practices at a perilous political moment for the tech giant.” The CEO could also be asked about the firm's plans to return to China and accusations of Google's search engine punishing Conservative results. Last week, Global engineers asked management to shut down the project, while Amnesty International plans to hold global protests in response. Pichai has agreed to give evidence after he and Google co-founder Larry Page declined to appear at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in September.
Illegal immigrants in the US at lowest since 2004
According to a new report released last week, the number of immigrants in the US without legal status has declined to its lowest level in more than a decade. The nonpartisan Pew Research Center said a little more than 10 million immigrants lacked legal status in 2016, down from 11 million a year earlier and from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007 before the US economy slumped. The decline comes from a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants living in the US illegally to 5.5 million in 2016 from nearly 7 million in 2007. The report comes as the Trump administration cracks down on immigration and bolstered security on the Southwest border, where thousands of Central American families have arrived to seek asylum. It is based on US Census Bureau data. The report also noted an increase in the number of immigrants without legal status from India and Venezuela and a decrease in those from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Korea, and Peru.
Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari denies dying and being replaced by lookalike
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has denied claims that he had died and been replaced by a Sudanese imposter. Finally addressing a rumour that has circulated on social media, Buhari, who spent five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed illness, is running for re-election in February. “It's real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Buhari told Nigerians in a town hall session in Poland, where he was attending a conference. He added, “A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill heath,” and called those who spread the rumour “ignorant and irreligious”. A theory spread like wildfire by his opponents was that he has been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril. While no evidence has been presented, videos making the claim have over thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook.
Pakistan clerics in blasphemy case face treason charges
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that Tehreek-e-Labbaik party chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and two other leaders have been booked under treason and terrorism charges. Detained Islamic clerics who disrupted daily life with rallies across Pakistan following the acquittal of a Christian woman in a blasphemy case will face treason and terrorism charges. They were initially arrested under pre-emptive laws last week. Chaudhry said police arrested Rizvi's and more than 3000 of his supporters who held violent rallies following the October 31 acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court. She had been on death row since 2010 on charges of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Air strike kills Taliban commander
A top commander of the Taliban has been killed in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, in a joint operation by Afghan and US Special Forces. Abdul Manan was killed along with 29 others by an air strike while he was meeting local commanders in Nawzad, said Helmand Governor Mohammad Yasin Khan. His death was confirmed by Taliban members in Helmand and neighbouring Kandahar province. A senior security official in Kabul said, “He was the most senior Taliban commander in the south and his death will have an overall impact on security.” The report of Manan's death comes as both the Western-backed security forces and the Taliban have pushed to gain the momentum at the same time as efforts have stepped up to find a peaceful settlement to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.