Rescuers gather at the site of the plane crash in Pokhara on January 15, 2023. Yunish Gurung/AFP/Getty Images

The circumstances that led to Nepal’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years are still in the very early stages of investigation. But that hasn’t stopped media focus turning to the mountainous terrain and unique challenges it poses to pilots.

Almost all of the bodies of the 72 people on board, including crew, have now been recovered after the Yeti Airlines ATR-72 aircraft went down Sunday on its approach to the newly opened airport in Pokhara, a tourist destination and gateway to the Himalayas.

Assuming the accuracy of cellphone video taken just before impact, it appears that the airplane began to bank its wings at too steep an angle.…  Seguir leyendo »

The site of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Donetsk, July 17, 2014. Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

On July 17, 2014, several weeks after “little green men” had started to occupy Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, I rushed into the management offices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, located in Kyiv, as word spread over social media that the unthinkable had happened.

A passenger plane – Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur had been shot down over the territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

As the OSCE’s spokesperson in Ukraine at the time, I quickly realized that because we were the only international entity with access to the area, we would soon be tasked with rushing to the crash site – and reporting to the world what was transpiring.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Immensity of Seoul’s Sadness

In April 2014, South Koreans watched in horror as TV news showed live footage of a huge ferry tilting 50 to 60 degrees, sinking into the sea. Aboard were over 300 high school students on a school trip to Jeju Island, the country’s most popular resort. Initial reports said the students were all rescued, but it soon emerged that they were, in fact, still on the ship. The nation watched in real time — for two and a half hours — as the ship sank completely and disappeared from view. It would turn out that rescue efforts had been botched, and the captain and crew had escaped in lifeboats after telling the students and other passengers to stay put.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Por qué navegaba un observador científico en el barco que naufragó en Terranova?

El terrible accidente que ha sufrido el buque de pesca Villa de Pitanxo en aguas de Terranova me ha hecho revivir la época en la que yo embarqué en la misma flota, muchos años atrás, como observador científico.

Uno de los desaparecidos, de los que no se ha recuperado el cuerpo, es Francisco Manuel Navarro Rodríguez, biólogo marino grancanario que en esta campaña trabajaba de observador de control.

Quien se ha embarcado en un barco de pesca comercial invariablemente piensa lo mismo: el precio que se paga por el pescado no es suficiente para compensar las durísimas condiciones que conlleva este trabajo.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Y los remos crujían, y los hombres jadeaban. Cuando la popa tocaba la cima de la montaña rugiente, y la débil embarcación iba a recibir de ella el último impulso favorable, Andrés, orzando brioso, gritó conmovido, poniendo en sus palabras cuanto fuego quedaba en su corazón: -¡Jesús y adentro!... Y la ola pasó también, sin reventar, hacia las Quebrantas, y la lancha comenzó a deslizarse por la pendiente de un nuevo abismo. Pero aquel abismo era la salvación de todos, porque habían doblado la punta de la Cerda y estaban en puerto seguro”. Este fragmento de la novela “Sotileza” de nuestro montañés José María de Pereda fue hecho óleo por su amigo Fernando Pérez del Camino en su cuadro “Jesús y adentro”.…  Seguir leyendo »

On 4 August 2021, the Lebanese will commemorate the first anniversary of the terrible blast in the port of Beirut. Laurent Perpigna Iban / Hans Lucas via AFP.

The glass carpeting the streets of central Beirut on 4 August 2020 was not the only thing the port blast shattered. It decimated livelihoods, tore the city’s social fabric and broke whatever tenuous trust people still had in the political elite. One year later, the broken glass has been swept off Beirut’s streets, but little else has been fixed. The country faces an economic crisis that the World Bank describes as one of the worst in modern history. A nine-month effort by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to form a government collapsed in mid-July, and the lack of a functioning government has impeded efforts to negotiate a much-needed International Monetary Fund stabilisation program.…  Seguir leyendo »

Claudia Sheinbaum, jefa de gobierno de Ciudad de México desde diciembre de 2018. Credit Jose Mendez/EPA vía Shutterstock

La noche del lunes, quienes habitamos en la capital de México observamos con terror cómo se desenvolvía un capítulo más de la trágica historia de la ciudad: el derrumbe de un tramo del metro, dos vagones naranja y verde caídos en forma de “v” sobre una de las calles del sureste de la ciudad.

No es la primera vez que somos testigos de la atrocidad y el dolor: después de los temblores de 2017 y 1985, en los que colapsaron decenas de edificios y murieron demasiadas personas, siguió un pasmo político, una ineficiencia gubernamental inclemente y la constatación de que los destrozos no fueron accidentales, sino producto de años de corrupción estatal, negligencia y opacidad.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Ethiopian migrant worker waits outside her country’s embassy in Beirut. Photograph: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

It is just over a month since the Beirut port explosion, and the footage from that day remains as shocking as it was when it first began to appear on our TV screens and social media. In fragments of video, the world saw Beirut life freeze in confusion at the unfamiliar sound of the explosion, then shatter as its impact hit. Among those bits of film we saw one scene, captured on domestic CCTV, that was replicated across the city – an African nanny instinctively scooping children up out of harm’s way, and protecting them with her body.

Many of these nannies are now sleeping on the streets of Beirut.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Lebanese protester speaks with security forces in downtown Beirut on August 8, 2020.

The monstrous explosion that tore into the early evening of a mid-summer's night this past Tuesday in Beirut is, whatever way you cut it, just the latest manifestation of the multitude of endless avenues of miserable corruption that have plagued the country for generations.

Lebanon's political oligarchy engages in kleptocracy with a rampant intensity unlike almost anywhere in the region, seemingly unrestrained by any sense of public compassion or institutional necessity. There is an apparatus of corruption that has, for decades, hollowed the entire country from the inside out in an endless cycle of dysfunction and theft.
Now, that bottomless dispassion has culminated in much of its capital being reduced to something akin to a post-apocalyptic cityscape.…  Seguir leyendo »

An anti-government protester in Beirut puts up a poster accusing corruption in Lebanon's state judiciary. Photo by Sam Tarling/Getty Images.

In the aftermath of the devastating Beirut port explosion last week, it is not just the role of the Lebanese political class that has come under scrutiny, but that of their international peers too.

Sunday’s international donor conference led by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, raised €253m (£228m) in relief funds, but it also signalled an important change in rhetoric. For the first time, donors affirmed that relief funds would directly go to the Lebanese people, and that longer-term economic assistance would be dependent on Lebanon implementing structural reforms.

This affirmation came hot on the heels of growing international attention on rampant corruption among Lebanon’s ruling political class, which is widely blamed for the port explosion.…  Seguir leyendo »

A view of the port the day after a massive explosion at the port on August 5, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Houssam Hariri / NurPhoto via AFP

From all we know, the blast that destroyed much of the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut in the early evening of 4 August was an accident – but if so, it was an accident only in name. Storing, against repeated warnings, more than 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate for nearly seven years under unsuitable conditions near a densely populated area amounted to asking for a catastrophe to happen. Blatant, perhaps criminal, negligence and bureaucratic ineptitude were the immediate causes of the explosion that killed over 150, injured more than 5,000, displaced up to 300,000 and caused an estimated $2 billion in damage to the city – and counting.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sometimes, it seems as if fate is trying to prove its unlimited capacity for cruelty. When the skies over Beirut exploded on Tuesday, sending shockwaves felt all the way to Cyprus, 150 miles away in the Mediterranean, and devastating much of a city that was once known as the Paris of the Middle East, it seemed one of those times.

But the never-ending tragedy that is Lebanon is not the result of the random doings of destiny.

Lebanon's government has blamed a large quantity of poorly stored ammonium nitrate for the blast that rocked the city, killing at least 135 people, injuring more than 5,000 and destroying the capital's critical port, through which most of the goods Lebanon needs -- including food -- enter the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

A helicopter puts out a fire at the port of Beirut after Tuesday’s explosion. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

My first summer job was at the port of Beirut. It was the late ’90s and I was just a teenager. I spent muggy months entering shipping data as part of an ambitious new program to move the port from analog to digital log keeping. It was as unglamorous as you would expect from a bottom-rung job in the bowels of a Middle East bureaucracy. But despite the heat and the monotony, there was optimism.

The port was critical infrastructure in an economy rejuvenating after 15 years of civil war. Digital log keeping was part of the future — and an attempt to introduce much-needed order and transparency to a recovering public sector.…  Seguir leyendo »

The aftermath of the massive explosion at the port of Beirut, in the heart of the Lebanese capital. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It began as a rumble. A deep bass rattling through the building. And then a roar for seven, eight, nine seconds, an eternity. A sound that could be made only by the world itself breaking open. I was certain it was an earthquake.

My husband rushed from the balcony to our bedroom. Waves of pressure rolled over us; we crouched and clutched at one another. Glass broke, doors blew open, objects shattered. From the street rose screams and oaths. And terrified exhortations: “Ya Muhammad! Ya Muhammad!”

“What was it?” I asked, when I could breathe again.

Infijar”, he responded.…  Seguir leyendo »

In face-to-face surveys carried out by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) and Levada Marketing Research (Moscow), we asked 2,750 respondents in southeast Ukraine and in Crimea in December 2014 and another 3,037 respondents throughout Ukraine and in Crimea in December 2019/January 2020 the question: “Have you heard about the catastrophe of the Malaysian aircraft in July 2014 in eastern Ukraine? And if so, in your view, what caused it?” Large regional differences in blame attribution are evident across Ukraine’s regions. More respondents gave “don’t know” answers in 2019 than 2014, though respondents in Crimea widely blamed Ukraine for the downed flight. Figure by authors.

Six years ago this week, a Russian-made missile shot Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a civilian passenger plane with 298 people on board, from the sky over war-torn Ukraine. Last week, the Dutch government, acting on behalf of the 193 Dutch nationals on the flight, announced it was taking Russia to the European Court of Human Rights. A criminal trial against four suspects involved in transporting the missile system that downed MH17 began in Amsterdam in March.

The destruction of MH17 on July 17, 2014, sparked outrage and accusations. Russia — and Russian separatists in Ukraine — continue to deny any responsibility.…  Seguir leyendo »

Many Pakistanis tempered this year's Eid greetings with words of condolence or prayers for the victims of coronavirus and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303.

The flight from Lahore crashed in a dense residential area adjacent to Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on May 22, killing all but two of the 99 people on board. Investigators have recovered the flight data recorder but the cause of the crash is yet to be determined.

The crash was a horrific tragedy at a time when the country is battling the mounting toll of the pandemic. But as with most things in Pakistan, it is also political.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saeed and Niloufar at their civil wedding ceremony in London in 2019. Niloufar's parents, Shahin Shakooea and Masood Ebrahim, are standing behind them as Navaz joins in on FaceTime.

Living in Dallas for the past six years, I have ached to see my only sibling, Niloufar. There were days we missed each other so much that I almost wanted to give up my life in Dallas just to go and see her, but I knew if I left, I might not be able to come back to be here with my husband. I had to wait for my immigration case to process before I could visit them, and Niloufar couldn't come see me because of the recent US travel restrictions for Iranians.

I remember the day when I realized I couldn't go to Niloufar's civil marriage ceremony to my brother-in-law Saeed in London, where they lived; I cried.…  Seguir leyendo »

El 18 de julio de 1945, entre las 3 y las 5 de la tarde, se perdió el atunero Jesús Nazareno, con base en Foz (Lugo). Nunca se encontraron los cuerpos de los náufragos y sólo apareció, unos días después, la cubierta de una escotilla en la costa asturiana. Debían zarpar dos jornadas antes, pero al ser la fiesta del Carmen (patrona de los marineros) y el 17 martes, ambas fechas tenidas por aciagas, lo pospusieron hasta el 18. Una fuerte tormenta se llevó a la embarcación, única de Foz que no regresó. Los detalles técnicos del hundimiento se quedaron en conjeturas y no los repetiremos, pero sí hay que destacar que esta historia, bien conocida en Foz (todos los años se les recuerda en las fiestas del Carmen) y en la Mariña lucense, es ignorada por completo en el resto de España y tal vez vale la pena rememorar lo sucedido, aunque este año «sólo» se cumplan 74 de la tragedia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Muchos hemos seguido con horror, televisadas en directo, las imágenes de Notre Dame en llamas. Y, a la vez, la secuencia de comentarios de periodistas, políticos y ciudadanos que perfilaban los valores de la realidad fenomenológica de la catedral. Ante las primeras imágenes, los inadvertidos presentadores se referían, una y otra vez, a los 850 años del templo. El valor de antigüedad (lo dejó claro Riegl en El culto moderno a losmonumentos) resalta como el más fácil de captar, el que —por encima de credos, culturas y personales niveles de formación— se dirige a todos. Pero enseguida, unos y otros fueron destacando las demás dimensiones patrimoniales del conjunto catedralicio: la histórica, la documental, la formal-artística, la de uso turístico y —como “patrimonio vivo”— la de uso religioso… La dimensión simbólica, en fin, como compendio de todo ello.…  Seguir leyendo »


No se alzaron las catedrales en el centro de las ciudades. Las ciudades se tejieron en torno a sus campanarios. No las creó el genio europeo. Europa fue por ellas creada. Y aún hoy hablamos la lengua con la cual esos himnos a la luz hicieron del espíritu arquitectura. Duby, en su obra clásica, fija los términos del envite: configurar un nuevo lenguaje, hecho de «luz, de persecución de un Dios encarnado, de lucidez, de lógica». Y en esa lengua, esa luz, esa caza del absoluto, de lo lúcido y lo lógico, seguimos. Pero ahora, el monumento fundacional ha ardido.

En la fotografía, que fue portada de ABC el 17 de abril pasado, la nave central de Notre Dame proyecta su perspectiva de pavesas, carbón, ceniza, hacia la enorme cruz dorada que preside el ábside.…  Seguir leyendo »