Archive for November 28th, 2007

Qantas To Pay USD 61 Million Penalty

The US Department of Justice found Qantas guilty in “a conspiracy to eliminate competition by fixing the rates for shipments of cargo” from at least January 2000 to February 2006. Qantas was the largest cargo carrier between the U.S. and Australia during that time and earned more than $600 million from cargo in the period, DOJ said.

Qantas said today it had entered a Plea Agreement with the US Government to settle its liability in the United States resulting from illegal price fixing conduct within its Freight Division.
The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said Qantas had agreed to pay a fine of US$61 million. Mr Dixon said the illegal conduct involved fuel surcharges in the international air cargo market between 2000 and 2006. “Similar investigations to those being carried out by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) are being undertaken by antitrust regulators in other countries, including Australia.

“Four past and two current employees of Qantas Freight have been excluded from the Plea Agreement and the DOJ has reserved the right to investigate these cases further. This does not mean the individuals have been involved in any illegal conduct nor that the DOJ would prosecute them.
“Our 2006/07 financial statements included a US$40 million provision for the US liability. We do not believe this or any further financial penalties will materially affect future operating results.” – said Mr Dixon.

We will monitor the development of this story.

By Szafi

Bermuda Triangle And Other Geomagnetic Zones Cause Navigation Problems

According to Russia Infor Center, pilots of one of the air clubs of the Omsk Region of Russia have found that flights over the ruins of the Pokrovskaya Fortress often result in failure of flight-navigation instruments and spinning of the compass magnetic needle.
“Frankly speaking, it is not a pleasant feeling as if you get in a reversed world where the habitual physics laws do not work. It is easy to crash here. The situation usually lasts only several minutes, but these minutes are enough to realize how helpless a person can be when comes upon the unexplained”, as one of the air club members Andrey Gagarin admits.

The fortress

Up to now the Pokrovskaya Fortress has been mainly a subject of archaeologists’ interest. This summer the regional enthusiasts joint the scientists. They have examined the fortress territory and draw their attention to the fact that within several kilometres around there are no villages or settlements and that even birds are rare guests here. The explorers also try not to stay in the zone for long complaining that they start having headaches, anxious thoughts and insomnia.

Although the anxious thoguhts and insomnia might have a psychological background rather than geomagnetical activity, it is true that there are similar areas both under oceans and on the mainland. Just to mention the most famous, the Bermuda Triangle area is also thought to be a more active geomagnetical zone.

Geomagnetic field of Earth

Earth’s geomagnetic field is approximately a magnetic dipole, with one pole near the north pole (see Magnetic North Pole) and the other near the geographic south pole (see Magnetic South Pole). An imaginary line joining the magnetic poles would be inclined by approximately 11.3° from the planet’s axis of rotation. The cause of the field is probably explained by dynamo theory. Navigation of both ships and planes were always based on this gemagnetic field. The anomalous zones disturb the regulerity of this field somehow. It is not clear for scientists what causes the anomalies in such zones, but pilots always try avoid them.

I would be grateful if anybody who knows more about the scientific background of geomagnetic zones could give us some more detailed explanation on the topic.

By Szafi

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