Airline says no to men
Budget airlines are constantly on the lookout for ways to cut their fuel bills and India’s GoAir is no different. Its latest idea is to hire female-only cabin crew, refusing applications from their heavier male counterparts in a bid to limit fuel burn. The low-cost airline has calculated that the move will save up to 30 million rupees (US$500,000) a year, because women are on average 20kg lighter. Around 130, or 40 percent, of GoAir’s existing crew members are male, and they will keep their jobs. However, men will miss out in the future, as the airline presses ahead with ambitious expansion plans. The chief executive, Giorgio De Roni, said the decision was driven by the rupee’s sharp fall against the dollar over the past year. “The rupee’s fall has hurt the industry badly. All major expenses — aircraft leasing, spare parts and fuel costs — are linked to the dollar,” he told the Times of India. “We are looking at every possible way of cost-cutting to remain profitable.”
Orangutan goes on diet
An obese orangutan has been put on a strict diet by wildlife authorities after two decades of gorging on junk food handed out by tourists, a report said yesterday. Jackie reportedly weighs 100kg, twice the normal weight of an adult female in the rich jungle habitats of Borneo island. The 22-year-old ape was relocated more than three months ago by the wildlife department in the state of Sabah — which lies in the northeast of Borneo — because visitors to the Poring forestry park kept feeding her. Department director Laurentius Ambu was cited in a newspaper report saying that Jackie’s familiarity with her human carers led her to seek out tourists at the park’s visitors’ area. “I am glad that Jackie is a much happier orangutan now,” Ambu was quoted as saying in The Star. The primate’s new diet is said to include more leafy vegetables and fruit.
Site aims to preserve Angkor
Cambodia has joined hands with Australia in an effort to use the Internet to help preserve its fabled Angkor Wat temple complex, the Australian Embassy announced on Thursday. As part of a master plan to limit damage to the complex, a recently opened Web site, Angkor Sunset Finder, will give tourists recommendations for where in the 400km2 complex one can watch spectacular sunsets. A handful of well-publicized spots from which to watch the setting sun attract too many tourists, endangering the place’s physical and aesthetic integrity. The Web site at angkorsunsets.com allows visitors to select several criteria — including what kind of atmosphere, distance from gate and crowd conditions — to get a recommendation of alternative perches from a listing of 34 vantage points.
Mafia abusing EU funds
The Mafia is ramping up investment in wind farms to launder money and benefit from EU subsidies, according to a Europol report published on Thursday. Europe’s policing agency said an analysis of the financial activities of the Mafia’s four groupings found wind farms to be the most popular target for dirty money within the renewable energy sector, itself a criminal favourite. “The Italian Mafia is investing more and more in renewable energy, especially in wind farms, to profit from generous European grants paid for by member states which allow them to mix dirty money with legitimate economic activities,” the report said.