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Airbus grounds Super Puma helicopters after 13 killed

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Airbus Helicopters said all commercial passenger flights of helicopters similar to the Super Puma that crashed off Norway on Friday have been suspended.

A H225 Super Puma ferrying passengers from a Norwegian oil platform crashed in the North Sea, likely killing all 13 people on board.

Britain and Norway said they were halting flights of the same type of helicopter, also known as the EC225LP.

Airbus Helicopters, a unit of Airbus Group, said the temporary ban extended to the whole fleet.

“Under these tragic circumstances, and until these elements are available, we are allied with the decision taken to put all commercial EC225LP passenger flights on hold,” the company said in a statement.

The helicopter went down around midday (local time) in the archipelago off the coast of Bergen, Norway’s second-biggest city.

Eleven bodies have been recovered and the two remaining people are presumed dead, rescue services said.Search and rescue operations were called off late Friday afternoon.

The aircraft was carrying 11 Norwegians, one Briton and one Italian, rescue services said.

The helicopter broke into pieces near a small island and parts of the wreck were found scattered on land and at sea.

Part of the helicopter was resting on the seabed under five to seven metres of water, around 20 metres from land.

The helicopter was returning from the Gullfaks B oil and gas platform, operated by Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil.

The area, just west of Bergen, has frequent helicopter traffic to and from offshore oil installations. Weather conditions on the day were normal.

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Pakistan approves Mandarin as official language

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ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani Senate has approved a motion to declare Mandarin as one of the official languages of Pakistan on Monday.

Stating that the step was necessary in view of ties between Pakistan and China, the motion said the relationaship would further deepen between the two countries and help the people connected with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor communicate easily, AbbTakk News reported.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani tweeted: “In a short span of 70 years, Pakistan has flirted with promoting four languages that were not the mother tongue of many people in the country – English, Urdu, Arabic, and now Chinese — ignoring native languages”

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Punjabi, which is widely spoken in Punjab province of Pakistan, Pashto and many other native languages have not been declared official languages of the country.

According to Dawn News, Pakistanis are more interested in learning the Chinese language than ever as they see the tides changing and expect that knowing Mandarin would mean more job opportunities in Pakistan and China.

With ANI Inputs

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