Daily News Roundup

July 31, 2018

Image: ABC News

THURSDAY, July 31

THE “final report” into missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 confirms the theory that someone deliberately diverted the plane from its course before it mysteriously vanished.

It recounts a series of mistakes that delayed the search and rescue operation — and one crucial failure of a system that could have immediately located the lost MH370.

The aircraft was fitted with four Emergency Locator Transmitters, in accordance with regulation, but every one of them failed, the independent report states.

Their batteries were within their expiry dates but no search and rescue agencies or other planes in the area reported receiving a distress signal.

“There have been reported difficulties with the transmission of ELT signals if an aircraft enters the water,” reads the report released on Monday. “The ELT does not activate, or the transmission is ineffective as a result of being submerged under water.”

It also notes that ELTs often break, citing a review of 173 accidents involving planes fitted with the transmitters, which showed they only activated in 39 cases.

“The ELT itself could be damaged or, very commonly in the case of fixed ELTs, the antenna or antenna cables become disconnected or broken,” reads the report. “This significantly hampers any search and rescue effort and may mean the aircraft location remains undetected for a considerable time.”

Grace Subathirai Nathan, whose mother Anne Daisy was a passenger on the lost plane, criticised the investigation as too limited and too unquestioningly reliant on findings by other parties.

“There is no explanation why none of the FOUR transmitters on the plane sent any distress signal,” the Malaysian lawyer wrote on Facebook.

“But apparently these transmitters, which are on every single plane, only work 22 percent of the time.”

Ms Subathirai Nathan said there had been some “mind boggling” failures by Malaysia’s air traffic control, as well as one failure to follow procedure by Vietnam’s air traffic control.

She said investigators had not checked passengers’ phone numbers to see if they connected to cell towers — as the copilot’s had in Penang, Malaysia — and were not even aware “that there are currently a few pieces of debris languishing in Madagascar for over 8 months.”

She also questioned why only two phone calls, five hours apart, were made to the jet from the ground as it cruised off course for seven hours.

“Four years on we are none the wiser,” she said. “The search must go on.”

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New research from the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne University and Victoria’s IVF regulator reveals that fertility in men and women starts to decline much sooner than people think.

A study of 1,215 students from the University of Melbourne found less than half could pick the age when fertility in women declines significantly — for the record, it’s 35 to 39 years old, reports the ABC.

Fewer than one in five students could pick when men reach the twilight of their fertility years — between the ages of 45 and 49.

Fertility experts say it points to a broader phenomenon of young people putting off having a baby because of “unrealistic expectations” of what they want to achieve before having children.

The paper’s lead author, Eugenie Prior, says it’s a worrying precedent.

Most of the university students she interviewed expressed an overwhelming desire to be parents one day.

“But there’s so many things that they want to achieve before they have children,” Dr Prior said.

“They want to be advanced in their profession, they want to be financially stable, they want to travel, they want to be in a stable relationships,” she said.

But those ambitions exist in direct contradiction to the biological reality that many young people face.

“Fertility is one of those things that does have finite limits, even with all the medical technology that we have,” Dr Prior

“We still know that fertility does decline and … maybe it’s not realistic to achieve all of those things before you actually have children.”

But while the study’s sample is small, it echoes trends being seen in the fertility industry.

“More and more patients are presenting later in life to plan a family and often to plan their first baby over the age of 35,” said Raelia Lew, a fertility specialist and one of the paper’s co-authors.

“In that group of patients, I do see a disproportionate burden of age-related fertility problems.”

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A body found in a wheelie bin at a storage facility in Melbourne’s south-east has been identified as a graphic artist who disappeared under suspicious circumstances 17 years ago.

Workers found the remains, which had decomposed, while clearing out the warehouse on Milgate St, Oakleigh South, earlier this month, reports the ABC.

The missing persons squad has now identified the body as John Christianos, who went missing on June 11, 2001.

Victoria Police said the 40-year-old was last seen at his home at a facility on Warrigal Road, in Bentleigh East, where he lived alone.

“John had been born in South Australia and over the years had become estranged from his family, who he hadn’t had contact with for some time leading up to his disappearance,” police said.

“He was reported missing by other residents at the facility.

“John was employed as a graphic artist at the time of his disappearance and was known to be a caricature artist of some skill.

“He had a history of contact with police across various states for a range of Police held a public appeal for information at the time he went missing, and had believed it to be suspicious.

Investigators are continuing to treat it as suspicious, police said.

In 2011 the coroner found Mr Christianos was likely to have died after his disappearance, but could not ascertain the cause, location or circumstances of his death.

Mr Christianos’ body was found by workers while they were cleaning out the storage facility, which had been recently sold.

One of the workers, Anton Hillemacher, said the remains were covered up by soil and grass.

“I’ve looked in this container and there’s a wheelie bin in there and it had a strap around it, a couple of straps,” he said.

“I’ve cut the straps and the lid’s fallen open and it seemed like there was grass clippings in there, mouldy stuff.

“So we’ve started scraping away and then someone’s sort of said, ‘Oh look, there’s a boot’.”

Police said the unit where the bin was found had not been accessed for many years and rental payments had stopped.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper from the missing persons squad urged anyone with information to contact them.

This daily news round up is curated with stories from ABC News.

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