Super-sized hot dogs and thick cut bacon: Major League Baseball snacks come to Sydney

Courtney Merfeld, left, from LA, Executive Chef, George Fouskarinis, and Tessa Nikov, right, with “The Slugger”, a 24 inch hotdog, one of the american themed foods to be sold at the Major League Baseball Series at Moore Park in Sydney.7th March 2014Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie Barrett JEM Big dog: George Fouskarinis with the Superdog. Photo: Janie Barrett
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Sixty-centimetre hot dogs, thick-cut bacon dipped in maple syrup on sticks and super-sized nachos served in plastic baseball caps are just some of the artery-hardening items punters will be gorging on at this month’s Major League Baseball Opening Series event.

The naughty nosh, which also includes Cracker Jacks (caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts), the Chipper (a nachos-like dish made with meat and waffle fries) and cheesecake was unveiled at the SCG on Friday by George Fouskarinis, executive chef at Delaware North, the company that caters for the SCG.

”We’re an American company, so we took into consideration the items we use for our menus in the States and worked closely with the chefs there to come up with hero dishes that would give the Australian market and international guests a really authentic American baseball experience,” Mr Fouskarinis said.

As the food rolled out, nary a lettuce leaf in sight, Mr Fouskarinis joked: ”When you come to a baseball game, you’re not looking for sushi, are you?”

The super-sized menu will presumably also help the more than 10,000 Americans coming to Australia for the series feel more at home, and will be served by a team of vendors specially trained by a ”vending guru” from the US. Vendors will snake through the aisles with their trays, yelling and flinging peanuts at game-goers, at all four games.

Meanwhile, Delaware North has been busy developing menus of a very different kind – high protein, high starch and low fat – for the players themselves.

The menus, Mr Fouskarinis said, catered to the specific needs of the players, which included copious amounts of coconut water and boxes of chewing gum, a smoothie bar and a salad bar. Burgers, fries and buffalo wings will still feature, however.

The series opener will involve the Arizona Diamondbacks playing the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Sydney Cricket Ground over the weekend of March 22 and 23, and is the first Major League Baseball game to be played in Australia.Super-size snacks for the stadium 

The Streaker: Grilled thick-cut bacon (200grams) dipped in maple syrup and cayenne pepper, served on a skewer. About 1800 calories.

The Chipper: 500grams of slow-cooked meat  (chilli beef, pulled pork or smoked brisket) on  chips served in a plastic baseball helmet with toppings. About 1500 calories.

The All American SuperDog: 60-centimetre  smoked frankfurter topped with American beef chilli, cheese sauce, tomatoes, onions and cheddar cheese. About 1160 calories.

Where to find the perfect pint of Guinness in Melbourne

A perfect pint of Guinness. Photo: Simon Schluter Enjoying the company and the refreshment at the Drunken Poet in West Melbourne. Photo: Gary Medlicott
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If you, like me, enjoy a beer and have spent time in Ireland (and let’s face it, many who tour the Emerald Isle do so for the drink, with its beauty and aura a secondary consideration), chances are you’ll have been given earnest, even passionate, advice on where to find the best pint.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Dublin or Moylough (a village in county Galway with four pubs and little else), there’ll always be one or more pubs – usually places not overrun by tourists, where the Guinness runs through the lines like water through a tap and where the live music isn’t broadcast on a blackboard out front with the precursor ”traditional” – that are widely spruiked.

Given Melbourne’s love of beer and our strong affiliation with Ireland – highlighted every St Patrick’s Day when city workers and barflies mingle with ex-pats and working-holidaymakers in our city’s myriad Irish pubs – do we have a pub with claims to the perfect pint, where beer-line-cleanliness is next to godliness, and where the Guinness is on par with, say, Mulligan’s in Dublin?

Yes, according to Peter Mitcham, an amicable and quick-witted house-husband and beer expert with the best freelance gig in the world (”I get paid to drink and write about beer – I’m so used to it now I no longer feel the need to brag about it”), who is assisting me in finding an answer to this question. We’re no sooner settled into our seats and first pints (of Matilda Bay Itchy Green Pants; a fruity, highly drinkable pale ale) at our meeting point, P.J. O’Brien’s in Southbank, when he dispels my long-held theory about Guinness being best in its native country.

While he says some places don’t look after their lines as they should, ”[Guinness] is brewed here in Australia the same way as in Dublin, and the rating system used by [Guinness’ Australian producers] Lion is the same at each pub – whether it’s here, or at St James’ Gate Brewery.”

He believes enjoyment of a pint is primarily dictated by other factors, such as the atmosphere of the pub, or the occasion. ”You’ll always enjoy your beer more if you’re at a good pub and in good company,” he says.

There’s a gentle hum around us, even though P.Js – a popular and spacious burst of Irishness nestled in the Southgate entertainment precinct – is filling up. Our conversation swings from the place’s authenticity – Guinness placards, wooden panelling, Irish-accented bartenders, Setanta Sports on the TV – to the rise of craft beer. He links the slow-food movement, and a growing interest in farmers’ markets and beer-and-food matching – ”where once upon a time it was a green can and a pie at the footy” – to the trend.

”Look, there’s nothing wrong with VB and Carlton Draught, but they’re ‘for drinkin’, not for thinkin’.” He holds up his half-drunk pint to the light and gives it a little shake. ”There’s a bit of aroma here, it’s a little cloudy, there’s an Australian-developed hop called Galaxy …”

I comment that many craft beers taste sweeter than their production-line counterparts; that I lose my enthusiasm after a few. Mitcham nods. ”It’s all about the prominence of the hops,” he says, adding that boutique beers actually have less added sugar in comparison to the mainstream product.

”And yes,” he concludes, ”[craft beers] aren’t necessarily conducive to binge-drinking sessions – which isn’t such a bad thing.”

Our next port of call is the Sherlock Holmes Inn in Collins Street, a minimalist, olde-England-influenced, basement bar with a smattering of drinkers on bar stools and a two-level spread of tables occupied by hushed early diners and not-so-hushed late-lunchers. It does a good trade and is renowned for its fresh beer.

We clink our glasses, this time filled with Little Creatures Bright Ale. ”Oh, I nearly forgot,” Mitcham says, handing me an envelope with the handwritten words ”Pete’s Perfect Pint Prediction” on the front. ”Don’t open this until tomorrow.”

My brother-in-law Phil – a seasoned drinker whose advertising nous I thought may prove invaluable – joins us. Mitcham and Phil get acquainted and the conversation soon turns to the focus of sponsorship in the ever-changing world of beer-brewing.

”The bigger breweries are more about sponsorship than the contents of the beer,” Mitcham says. It leaves the boutique brewers able to pitch themselves to drinkers as a quality, artisan product – and little more expensive, but worth it.

Noting a young man handing over $10 for a Corona, Mitcham agrees with Phil’s reasoning that many drink it for the aesthetically pleasing clear bottle. ”No doubt it has its place – when consumed very cold on a very hot day – but in reality it’s a poor beer masked by lemon or lime, bought by men who like to be seen to be drinking a beer, but don’t actually like the taste of beer.”

We drink enthusiastically, our conversation moving somewhat inevitably, to women – in particular their drinking habits.

Says Mitcham: ”The female palate is more sophisticated, more attuned than that of a male. The modern girl doesn’t want to be told what to drink, and doesn’t want to be given fruity, pissy beers or girlie drinks; they’ll go for Belgian ales, saisons; and beers that are poured in female-friendly shaped glasses, even champagne flute-style glasses. The ones who haven’t discovered craft beers go for cider.”

Mitcham’s beer-related history lesson continues, touching on hops, and the impact shipping has – no matter how short the distance – on beer.

”The Germans have a saying: you should only drink beer in the shadow of a brewery.”

After all the earlier talk about Guinness, it’s time to order one. As we watch the barmaid do her thing (filling the glass three-quarters full before placing on the bar for the ”surge and settle” effect to take hold), a young – and obviously thirsty – woman is handed her just-topped-up pint … and commits the crime of any Guinness drinker: not waiting for the bubbles in the body of the pint to disappear; therefore subjecting herself to what Mitcham refers to as ”coffee-grounds bitterness”.

Mitcham notes the lack of shamrock in the head of the pints handed to us. ”The shamrock is the test of a good bartender,” he says, ”and the test of a good Guinness is for the shamrock to remain until the bottom.” No, Ireland’s most recognisable symbol isn’t on show here, but each sip leaves a ring on the inside of the glass – another pleasing sign – and it tastes fresh and, most importantly, the conversation is good, all the way down.

We exit the building, a buzz in our heads and step, and, having made the decision to forgo visits to the Irish Times and Mitre Tavern as planned, hail a cab to Carlton: a suburb more known for Italian restaurants than Irish pubs, but, to be sure, it has several worthy ones.

Our cabbie pauses at the Corkman on Leicester Place, a ripping little pub with excellent Paddy’s Day entertainment, but bafflingly, it’s closed to the general public on weekends. I should have done the research but, really, what sort of pub is closed on a Saturday afternoon?

So it’s on to the Dan O’Connell instead, one of Melbourne’s most iconic Irish watering holes and home to its biggest St Patrick’s Day celebration. Every year it takes on a celebration of rock-concert proportions. Thousands spill out of the pub and into the adjoining park, where live entertainment starts early afternoon and maintains a frenetic pace well into the night.

Today it’s a little more low-key, with a small number of drinkers in the public bar and a few groups at tables out the front and in the grungy beer garden. But Dan’s isn’t confined to a typical Irish template; its interior is unremarkable in a wholesome way, while the craft beer selection is as inspired as it is long. It’s here we sample two home-grown, American-style pale ales – the Hawthorne IPA, a perfectly balanced brew with just the right injection of malt to contrast the citrus; and the Mildura Brewery Storm Ale, a full-bodied, copper-coloured brew that draws the praise of the bartender and Mitcham – while being entertained by leathery local (in face and garb) Grant McCracken, an Irishman who runs a poetry event in the pub every Saturday afternoon.

McCracken’s choice of tipple, Thunder Road’s limited-release dark rum ale, prompts Mitcham to talk us through the virtues of whisky- and wine-infused beer. But Mitcham’s voice gives way to the hard-living and hoarse Irish lilt of McCracken’s, and in between sips of beer that coat his ragged beard, our new friend reels off an animated, poetic history of the pub before another local – one of many who know McCracken by name – recites a poem dedicated to the man himself.

We’re having a blast, but it’s time to move on. As we exit the building to hail a cab on busy Alexandra Parade, I tell McCracken to meet us at the Drunken Poet later. McCracken shakes his head: ”I was kicked out of the Drunken Poet once … for being a drunken poet!”

From here it’s a frantic procession of cabs, loud music and, of course, Guinness. Brunswick’s Snug Public House, situated in Sydney Road, is aptly named: the brick-walled front bar is a cosy squeeze of bar stools, sectioned-off booths and beer paraphernalia. Run by an Irish couple and frequented by Irish Melburnians whose voices seem to harmonise with the fiddle-prominent music, the place carries itself with an air of authenticity in line with its website’s mantra: ”A little bit of Ireland in the heart of Brunswick”. It’s great ”craic”, but after two pints we’re back in a cab, headed for our ”settle-in” destination.

The Drunken Poet is heaving when we walk in. Punters crowd the lengthy, pint-scattered service area, their focus torn between trying to catch the eyes of the two run-ragged barmaids and the melodic mongrel-rock of rising four-piece the Shivering Timbers.

The crowd is prominently 20-something, and many are clutching pints of Guinness, indicating two things: it’s a good place for the ink-black stuff (crisp, fresh and so wholesome that, in our case, dinner has long been forgotten); and the appeal of Ireland’s national drink isn’t lost on the next generation.

Later, several more beers to the good and with the witching hour looming, we call it a night, and Mitcham and I, strangers only hours before, shake hands with a warmth that brings to mind a quote by W.B. Yeats: ”There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”

The following afternoon I’m in a quiet corner of Flemington’s ever-reliable Irish boozer, the Quiet Man, a hair-of-the-dog Bulmers and ice to hand. I tear open Mitcham’s hand-written envelope and, despite my hangover, find myself smiling.

His perfect pint prediction? ”The beer (whatever it may be) that we had in the third pub we visited.”

I think back to the Dan O’Connell and those titillating craft beers, the three of us straddling that delicate line between the buzz of ”a few” and the slur-riddled freefall of ”a few too many”.

Mitcham has it nailed: the perfect pint is one that’s savoured in a good pub in good company, early in proceedings; not one being hoofed down in the pursuit of inebriation. It’s an old chestnut, quantity over quality, but something to consider on March 17.

Recipes to dial up the garlic

Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce. Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce.
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For garlic lovers: Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce. Photo: William Meppem

Garlic recipes.

Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce

8 cloves garlic, peeled

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 x 180g fillets of snapper, skin on

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

100g unsalted butter

50ml good-quality red wine vinegar

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced

12 black olives, stones removed, roughly chopped

3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Serves 4

Place the garlic in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Immediately refresh in cold water and repeat until the garlic is tender.

Dry the fish with paper towels and season with sea salt.

Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the fish pieces skin side down and cook for 5 minutes or until the skin is nice and crisp. Turn the fish over and add the garlic. Cook for a further 3 minutes until the fish is about three-quarters done.

Remove the fish and keep it warm; the residual heat will continue to cook the fish as it rests.

Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape the bottom and sides with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Then add the tomatoes, olives and a little sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes then add the remaining butter and whisk until it melts and forms a sauce. Add the parsley and a little freshly ground pepper, then check the seasoning to finish.

Pour a little sauce on each plate and place fish on top. Serve immediately.

Broccoli and anchovy penne

500g broccoli (about two large heads)

100ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra

12 anchovy fillets

5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

400g dried penne pasta

parmesan cheese, to serve

Serves 4

Grate the broccoli and set aside.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the extra virgin olive oil and add the anchovies, garlic, chilli flakes and sea salt. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring continuously, until the anchovies start to melt into the oil.

Add the broccoli to the pan with a dash more oil. Braise the broccoli slowly for about 20 minutes, or until well cooked and soft.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente. Stir the pasta through the sauce and cook for another minute.

To serve, spoon into four deep pasta bowls. Grate the parmesan over the top and finish with a grind of fresh pepper.

HOT TIPS

• The snapper can be replaced by any fish you like. The butter gives the sauce a really nice silkiness.

• We use thick steaks from larger fish – about 3kg to 5kg. If you use thin fillets, adjust the cooking time downwards to suit.

• Make sure the fish is a little undercooked in the kitchen so it’s perfect by the time it gets to the table.

SOMETHING TO DRINK

FianoOriginally hailing from southern Italy, the fiano grape variety is well-suited to the Australian climate. The 2013 Coriole Fiano ($25) from McLaren Vale is a lively wine with flavours of melon, lemon rind and stone fruits. The texture highlights the purity of the snapper, while the acidity complements the tomatoes.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Dominic Smith.

Cuts to Medicare support for PTSD cause sufferers more harm

Mary*, a Sydney woman in her 20s, has a recurring nightmare of her childhood. It is like the final scene in Apocalypse Now , where Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz loses his mind, only Mary dreams that her “abusive, warped, religious fundamentalist and controlling” mother is Brando amid the chaos and madness that was her early life.
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Her mother probably had post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, she thinks, but because it was never treated she passed it down to the next generation.

One of Mary’s siblings killed herself. Mary married an abusive man, and she thought she was to blame for the terrible way he treated her because she was conditioned, as a child, to accept abuse; that it was always her fault.

Her early years were full of shouting and fights, so noisy children trigger memories of being constantly terrified, making her either withdraw completely or lose her temper.

After two years of weekly sessions with a psychologist, she can function better and she hopes to start working or studying soon. Most importantly, Mary has not passed on her mother’s legacy of complex trauma (a form of PTSD) to her own children because of the treatment she has received.

Jan*, a Sydney woman in her 30s now living in the US, grew up in a chaotic family. Her mother has bipolar disorder. Jan began therapy for depression in 2009, seven years after ending regular in-person contact with her mother, but it took a year before she accepted the therapist’s suggestion that she had PTSD. “I had previously thought of PTSD as something suffered by war veterans or victims of severe physical abuse,” she says.

Teacher Wendy*, from Hawaii, had the same reaction when she was diagnosed.

“I was in disbelief until I started researching it,” the 29-year-old says. “Then I realised, this is me.”

Since then Wendy has met 30 fellow sufferers, including nurses, lawyers, doctors and secretaries.

PTSD was first associated just with combat personnel, but research is uncovering how widespread it is. Triggering traumas include accidents, bushfires, strokes and heart attacks, surgery and being homeless.

The most common causes are sexual assault, domestic violence and motor vehicle accidents. The Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health (ACPMH) estimates 800,000 Australians have PTSD, and one in 10 will suffer from it in their lifetime.

Sessions with a psychologist are thought to be the best treatment. “The gold standard is 12 to 16 [sessions],” Sydney psychologist and trauma specialist Jay Spence says. Other experts put the number slightly lower or higher.

Complex PTSD can require many more sessions than this, yet the previous federal Labor government reduced the number of Medicare-funded sessions from 18 a year to 10 in January, for people older than 25.

An online petition by the Alliance for Better Access (ABA) pressure group calling for the cuts to be reversed has reached about 20,000 signatures. Campaigners hope a review of mental health policy by Coalition Health Minister Peter Dutton will restore funds for this service.

“Ten sessions is like having half a dose of antibiotics,” ABA spokesman Ben Mullings says. “The symptoms go away for a little while and come back full force. You don’t do half an operation. It’s not on in physical healthcare and it shouldn’t be on for mental healthcare either.”

A paper in Psychological Medicine in 2012 says three-quarters of the 8841 people sampled for the 2007 national survey of mental health and wellbeing had experienced at least one potentially traumatic event; 7.2 per cent had developing PTSD; half had the disorder by age 26, and three-quarters by 42. The median length for remission was 14 years, but a third still had the condition after 30 years.

ACPMH director of policy and service development Andrea Phelps says two-thirds of Australians will be exposed to a traumatic event by age 16, leading to the group issuing its first guidelines for adolescent treatment.

“We used to think kids would be resilient,” Dr Phelps says, “but it’s probably been under-reported for some time.”

One in 10 children caught up in the Tasmanian bushfires in 2012 showed mental health problems, including PTSD. A quarter of people who have had strokes or heart attacks develop the condition, and studies suggest women get PTSD at twice the rate of men.

Dr Spence sees five women for every one man in his practice. “The men I see are at a very severe stage of symptoms. Women are more likely to figure out something’s going on when there’s a good chance for it to be manageable.”

Whether the cause is war, sexual assault or an accident, the clinical picture is similar. Women get more anxious, men more angry. There can be moodiness, withdrawal, anger, insomnia, nightmares and intrusive memories, sights, sounds and smells pitching them back into the traumatic incident.

This is all normal for the first two days, Dr Phelps says. The problems start when the symptoms persist and research suggests symptoms can take years to show. Anthony Parsons, from Melbourne, runs the MyPTSD爱上海同城论坛m website. ”You may have this really huge trauma early in your life. Later in life, it suddenly catches up with you,” he says.

Candace*, 23, a Melbourne woman who is heavily pregnant, has a father who saw “no problem in belting the crap out of his kids”. She ran away from home at 16, but soon got caught in a web of destructive relationships. One alcoholic boyfriend offered her to his dealer for drugs when he had no money. She was drugged and gang raped. Her PTSD surfaced briefly with another boyfriend during sex.

Then she was sexually assaulted while working as a trainee nurse. “Within two weeks I had really bad nightmares. I was screaming and thrashing around in bed.” She was often unable to get out of bed for days on end and ground her teeth so badly while asleep that she chipped the enamel.

For Virginia*, a Sydney PhD student, it took seven years for her PTSD to roar to the surface after suffering six years of sexual abuse between the ages of 12 and 18. She is scared to leave the house in case she runs into her abuser and suffers chronic insomnia. She says she is “either too frightened to go to sleep or has disrupted sleep because of nightmares and flashbacks”. Her studies are suffering as a result. ”Some people try and force themselves to live around the condition, or just not mention it and carry on, like the great Aussie battler,” Dr Mullings says.

“That only gets you so far before it starts leaking around the edges.”

Dr Spence says: “The main misconception people with PTSD have is that it’s some kind of moral, intellectual weakness of capacity. That’s part of the real insidiousness of it.

”People try to make meaning of the trauma by attributing a high degree of blame to themselves.”

It can be hard for others to understand, he says. “PTSD is like a flaw in the alarm system that otherwise functions to keep us safe. It’s run by the part of the brain trying to detect threats in the environment. Trauma changes the sensitivity of that reaction. Things that are a minor threat are perceived as an extreme threat.”

Jack*, 48, a businessman who developed PTSD after serving in the Defence Force in East Timor, recalls meeting one woman at a support group. There had been an accident at her house in which people were injured, and despite not being there herself, she had “pretty extreme [PTSD], even compared to some military personnel”, he says.

“She was on edge, highly reactive to small things and ready to snap like a mousetrap, with seemingly little awareness of how she was impacting on people around her. I was struck by the contrast to the very contained and dormant nature of most military people’s PTSD.”

Jack has been in weekly or fortnightly therapy for years, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and says he is in a “reasonably good” place. Candace sees a psychiatrist up to twice a week, with unlimited access once she reaches the Medicare out-of-pocket threshold.

Not all sufferers want to take prescription drugs for PTSD, and psychiatric intervention is not always effective. This is where the funding limit of 10 sessions becomes a problem: the ABA quotes a study estimating half the people in therapy will show no change in that time.

”There’s enough to get them back to a basic level of functioning, but cured of symptoms? Definitely not,” Dr Spence says.

‘The cuts actually hurt the people who are most in need,” Dr Mullings says. He thinks 18 sessions are a “little on the low side”.

“They can’t afford it; they don’t have private health cover or aren’t covered by their insurance. A lot of people look at 10 sessions they now have and go, ‘That’s not sufficient for me, so what’s the point of me starting?'”

Dr Mullings says there is only a “slim hope” the Coalition government will change the funding model.

A spokesperson for Mr Dutton confirmed all options were being considered and that the minister had said mental health care would be a priority in the first 100 days of his ministry – a deadline that ended on December 25.

Virginia now has to weigh up if she can afford the sessions she needs once she reaches the Medicare limit. Mary would like psychological therapy put on a par with psychiatric therapy, at 50 Medicare-funded sessions a year. “I feel very strongly that not funding Medicare access is a huge mistake, both socially and economically,” she says.

* Names have been changed.

Visit The Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health (acpmh.unimelb.edu.au), Alliance for Better Access (betteraccess爱上海同城论坛) for more information.

George Soros slams ‘parasite’ banks

‘Incestuous’: Soros has taken aim at the relationship between national authorities and banks in the EU. Photo: Michel EulerGeorge Soros, the billionaire investor, believes the banking sector is a “parasite” holding back the economic recovery and an “incestuous” relationship with regulators means little has been done to resolve the issues behind the 2008 crisis.
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“The banking sector is acting as a parasite on the real economy,” Mr Soros said in his new book “The Tragedy of the European Union”.

“The profitability of the finance industry has been excessive. For a while 35 per cent of all corporate profits in the United Kingdom and the United States came from the financial sector. That’s absurd.”

Mr Soros outlined how the problems that caused the Eurozone economic crisis remain largely unresolved.

“Very little has been done to correct the excess leverage in the European banking system. The equity in the banks relative to their balance sheets is wafer thin, and that makes them very vulnerable.

“The issue of “too big to fail” has not been solved at all.”

The proposed solution of a European banking union does not address the underlying problems, Mr Soros adds.

“A real danger to the financial system is the incestuous relationship between national authorities and bank managements. France in particular is famous for its inspecteurs de finance, who end up running its major banks. Germany has its Landesbanken and Spain its caixas, which have unhealthy connections with provincial politicians.”

In his new book Mr Soros outlines, in a series of interviews with Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, how he believes the European Union is in danger of becoming a thing of the past unless its flawed structure is reformed.

The German economy at the regions heart could also be its biggest weakness.

“What was successful in Germany before the crisis will not be successful as a prescription for the rest of Europe in the years ahead.

“In German the word Schuld has a double meaning (both “blame” and “debt”). So it is natural (selbstverstandlich) to blame the debtor countries for their own misfortunes,

“Germany’s tone, is sometimes self-righteous and even hypocritical…. In 2003 Germany was among the first countries to break the eurozone rules. “

The prospect of Germany leaving the eurozone is very real and it would have serious implications as the euro would depreciate sharply and deutsche mark would go through the roof, Germany would find out how painful it is to have an overvalued currency.

Mr Soros, who famously “broke the Bank of England” by betting against the pound during the 1992 sterling crash, talks candidly about his most successful trade.

“I have a clean conscience. The big events in which I participated would have occurred sooner or later, whether I speculated on them or not.”

Telegraph, London

Can a different plate change how the same food tastes?

Photo: Ryann Cooley Photo: Ryann Cooley
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When it comes to dining, most people trust their tastebuds. Food, after all, is food and there’s no fooling that hardwired, primeval sense of taste or flavour.

Or is there?

To put this popular notion to the test, food scientists at Monash University designed a short but telling experiment. A sensory panel of four tasters was presented with exactly the same recipe for a chicken mango curry. The meal was served randomly in four ways: on a large square plate, a normal-sized circular plate, a small bowl and in takeaway foil.

Although two chefs cooked the meal, the tasters were provided with food prepared by only one chef, leading the tasters to believe there might be some subtle nuances in flavour.

The results were intriguing. Despite the food being identical, all four participants reported distinctive variations in the meal’s smell, taste, flavour, appearance, texture and after-taste.

Ratings of appearance and smell were weakest in the case of the takeaway foil and strongest for the normal-size round plate. Most tasters reported that the curry on the large square plate was bland, although they felt it had the most agreeable texture. In contrast, the food dished up in the small bowl was deemed to have the strongest and longest-lasting flavour.

The sample size was too small to be statistically analysed. but it seemed clear enough that something made the same food taste different when presented in varying ways.

“This simple experiment clearly shows that our oral sensors are influenced by what we observe,” says Monash University dietetic researcher Ricardo Costa. “For example, the fact that curry in the small bowl tasted strongest suggests a more concentrated sensation in response to food presented in a more condensed fashion.”

The findings accord with a burgeoning body of scientific research demonstrating that the human senses interact and combine to form an overall impression of experiences. Taste is no exception. So the sounds we hear, and the shapes and colours we observe, markedly influence the flavour of food and drink.

“It is an area of research only flourishing in recent times,” says Dr Costa. Research, he adds, is now beginning to explore the influence of cutlery texture on flavour – such as whether a fork or spoon is made of plastic or metal.

The same principle applies to drink. Water presented in a cool-coloured glass, such as pale blue, may seem more thirst quenching. But in a yellow glass, for instance, the water may taste less refreshing.

“Certain colours are associated with events in nature – for instance, red or yellow with fire, blue with cool water, green with refreshing leaves. Bright and vivid colours, on the other hand, signify dangerous poisons, perhaps,” Dr Costa explains. “This may predispose people to having a particular perception before consuming a meal or drink.”

Working in tandem

The sense of taste refers to five main qualities: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami – a fondness for savoury substances triggered by certain amino acids and nucleotides, says Deakin University sensory scientist Russell Keast. “We know the senses work together to form a perceived sense of flavour – so there is plenty of opportunity for one sense to influence the perceptions experienced from a second sense.”

For example, adding a strawberry aroma to a sucrose solution makes it taste sweeter than sucrose alone. “If we are concerned about excess consumption of sugar, this type of information allows us to reduce the level of sugar while maintaining sweetness, which we all like,” Professor Keast says.

People also need to be able to separate the pleasure derived from sweet foods from the quality of sweetness, he says. “They are independent systems and can easily be disentangled from each other.”

The context in which a meal or drink is consumed also influences flavour. “I like a beer after mowing the lawn, but if given the same beer when I awake at 5am, I don’t like it, even though the beer is the same,” Professor Keast says.

Food scientists have also identified something called the dose-response effect. “A pinch of salt in a bucket of water cannot be tasted,” he says. “But the same quantity of salt added to a stew really heightens the flavours, while again the same quantity sprinkled on one potato chip would be excessively salty and unpleasant.”

Subjectivity

Taste itself is just physiology, says Baker Institute biochemist Merlin Thomas. “Taste molecules bind to taste receptors, setting off nerve impulses that go to the brain, and so forth,” Professor Thomas says.

But the ways we interpret this taste, he says, are determined by factors including age, gender, past experiences and associations, mood, the setting and whether or not one is hungry. Even music can play a part.

“Although shape, colour and texture don’t affect physiology directly, they influence our interpretation of these impulses,” Professor Thomas says.

It is well known, he points out, that when participants take part in the same taste test but in complete darkness, or wearing tinted lenses, remarkably different results are obtained.

Expectations

Expectations also play a crucial role in how flavour is experienced, says Cambridge, Massachusetts-based food author Jeff Potter.

“Food shapes, colours and textures have in common the perception of how what we expect something to be lines up with our sensory input,” Mr Potter says. “For instance, if you’re looking at an apple and expecting it to be crisp, a little tart and juicy, and instead you get something mealy – well, it’s not enjoyable,” he says. “That’s not to say things that crumble and are mealy always taste bad. If you were biting into baked potato and it was crisp – instead of having that fall-apart texture related to mealy – that’d be bad too.”

People are satisfied when foods conform to their expected taste, smell and texture, he says, but may be surprised when they are different. “Sometimes that surprise can be fun and novel, and some high-end restaurants pull this off with the modernist culinary stuff.”

British celebrity chef Hestor Blumenthal, famed for experimenting with a range of dishes in his restaurant The Fat Duck, springs to mind.

“But usually it’s the opposite,” Mr Potter says. “And we’re disappointed when we don’t get what we’re expecting.”

Mr Potter describes a landmark study in which scientists altered the colour of some 70 foods. With the exception of bacon, subjects found that odours appealed more when colour was “normal” for that dish.

In the US, some high schools conduct simple experiments on food and perception. In one, orange dye is added to clear soda and compared with orange soda. “Obviously the clear soda and orange dye shouldn’t have a fruity orange taste, but the colour suggestion can be strong,” Mr Potter says.

Chemicals

Experiments on taste began in the 1930s, when a scientist at the chemicals company DuPont accidentally spilled a compound called phenylthiocarbamide on his lab bench and a co-worker complained of experiencing a bitter taste.

“Like any good scientist, the chemist started giving samples to various people, and watching what happened,” Mr Potter explains. The research found that one in four people tasted no bitterness.

More recent work concludes that people divide into two groups: super-tasters who find phenylthiocarbamide unbearably bitter and others who find it less bitter or not bitter at all.

“There are other compounds, such as caffeine and nicotine, that are chemically similar to phenylthiocarbamide and which some people find bitterer. As a result, they tend to avoid such substances.”

It seems super-tasters have inherited certain characteristics from their parents, Mr Potter says. “The percentage breakdowns differ by ethnicity and gender.”

White females, for instance, have a 35 per cent chance of being super-tasters, while white males have a 10 per cent chance. Asians, sub-Saharan Africans and indigenous Americans are much likelier to be super-tasters.

Feeling the heat

Temperature also plays a crucial role in the way food tastes. Take a vanilla cake. “The recipe says set your oven at 175 degrees and bake for 25 minutes,” Mr Potter says. “Why can’t you set it at, say, 300 degrees and bake it in just 10 minutes?”

For vanilla cake, certain heat-dependent chemical reactions are needed, such as getting the water in the batter to steam up or getting the baking powder to generate air bubbles to make the cake light and airy.

“We also want to ensure other chemical reactions don’t occur at temperatures higher than 175 degrees,” Mr Potter adds. “So, if you set your oven at 300 degrees, such reactions would ruin the taste.”

Links

Learn about Ricardo Costa

Follow the exploits of Russell Keast

Delve into Jeff Potter’s book Cooking for Geeks

Tuck into top-notch tucker

Maria Kang is not your wake-up call

Maria Kang Photo: FacebookMaria “what’s your excuse?” Kang has hit the news again. This time she’s sharing an airbrushed image of herself showing off toned thighs and a flat stomach, along with slogans such as “limited sleep”, “no nanny” and “works 8hr+ days”. The message behind it: “If I can look like this, you can too.”
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The response has been divided. How can it not be when she is making a comment on two very touchy subjects, motherhood and our bodies? So is she an inspiration? Or is she fat-shaming?

When I first saw the original “what’s your excuse” image in October, I found it pretty revolting. Actually, I was livid … until I questioned why was I feeling so defensive about it. Maybe she did have a point. What was my excuse? I’m now pregnant with my second child, but even between pregnancies I didn’t look like that.

My initial response stemmed from an insecurity that if I was a toned size-eight my life would be more enjoyable. Perhaps a lot of women felt that way, and that’s why the reactions to her have been so strong. Who doesn’t want to be fit, especially when we have little ones to take care of? I want to be active with my kids, to live a robust life where they don’t have to worry about me.

When I had planned to start trying for my second baby I sheepishly confessed to my GP, “I haven’t lost all my pregnancy weight and I’ve heard this could cause complications with the baby if I fall pregnant again.” It was as if I wanted her to say, “Stop being so selfish and lose those five kilos. Can’t you think about your children and how your weight effects them?” Instead, she considered my question and then did her job. She weighed me, took blood and urine samples, tested my blood pressure and checked I was up to date with my immunisations. Once she had all the data she needed she gave me the go-ahead to get cracking. It turns out that as a size 12 with lots of wobbly bits I was still healthy. My guilt vanished and it turned out that body acceptance made me feel pretty bloody happy.

But let’s assume for a moment that Maria Kang is being genuine when she says that she’s not purposely being controversial, and that her goal with these campaigns is to encourage mothers to be healthy. Maybe she really does believe that being harsh is the only way to help women find happiness.

But I think we need to bear in mind that while Maria Kang might think she knows what is best for us, her ideas on health and happiness are going to be biased.

Maria Kang is a recovering bulimic. On her website she talks about her fears of becoming overweight like her own mother. We can never really know how happy or mentally healthy Kang is. And just like we don’t know everything about her, she knows nothing about you and your circumstances. If you want (or need) to improve your lifestyle, Maria Kang isn’t the wake-up call that you need. Neither is your mother or your friend or your partner. The only person that should be allowed to encourage you into losing weight is a healthcare professional – and, more importantly, one you trust.

It took me years to find a GP I can rely on. She also oversees all my son’s check-ups. When she says he doesn’t need antibiotics, I believe her. When she says he does need them, I go out and buy them. If I entrust this woman with my son’s health, why wouldn’t I believe her when she says I’m a good weight?

It would be near impossible for Maria Kang to not bring her own baggage into how she feels about women’s bodies – and we shouldn’t expect any more from her, because that’s not her job. She is not a doctor or a psychologist, and unfortunately, does not hold the key to our happiness. Which is why I can confidently say, if she asked me what my excuse is, I would reply, “My doctor”. And even a hot mama with a washboard stomach is going to struggle with a decent argument against that.

Local coffee prices set to rise as drought hits bean supply

The price of a morning caffeine hit is set to become more costly, rising 10¢ to 60¢ a cup, as a drought on the other side of the world threatens global coffee supplies.
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Arabica coffee bean prices have surged 76 per cent since the start of this year, and Australian roasters are now questioning how much of the increase they can absorb.

The market hit a two-year high last week, above $US2 ($2.20) a pound. Unseasonably dry weather during January and February in Brazil, the world’s biggest coffee producer, triggered the rally.

Analysts have cut crop forecasts for the harvest in Brazil this year, with the world set for its first coffee deficit in five years.

Phillip Di Bella, who owns and runs one of Australia’s biggest speciality coffee companies, supplying 1200 cafes across the country, said while his business was immune from the volatility because he locked in prices directly with farmers at the start of year, he expected a modest rise in the price of coffee.

”The cost increase to us might be $4 a kilo at worst. You’re looking at an average of 60 cups a kilo … you’re talking [an increase of] 10¢,” he said.

Mr Di Bella said roasters would either pass that cost on to customers or switch to a lesser quality of coffee within the next month.

”The biggest problem for people here is they can’t guarantee the quality of coffee they’ll be drinking because of the brokers [who] will be affected straight away,” he said.

”But there are other brands out there that won’t drop the quality of their coffee. They’ll keep it at a high standard. They’ll pay more for it and absorb it or pass it on.”

Sensory Lab managing director Ross Quail, who runs a wholesale speciality roasting business and cafes in Melbourne and Sydney, said he would never alter the quality of his product but he was questioning how much of the price increase his company could absorb.

Mr Quail said he charged $4 for a cup of coffee and people could expect a price rise of 5 to 15 per cent, or 20¢ to 60¢. ”We will absorb as much as we can but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that in the wholesale cafe market a price increase is inevitable,” he said.

Mr Quail said the market needed to be re-educated about coffee prices and a price rise was natural.

”Since January, we’ve seen about a 65 per cent increase in the seed price. If you’re saying to any business that you’ve seen a 65 per cent price increase in that base level price of your main product, you could expect price rises to follow in the market.”

Coffee growers in Brazil are expected to harvest 52 to 53 million bags this year compared with the previous forecast from December of 56 to 57 million bags. Some analysts say Brazil needs to produce at least 55 million bags to avoid a global shortage.

Brisbane families pray for missing couples

A world away from the frantic scenes at Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, two Brisbane families prayed for hope.
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Close friends Rodney and Mary Burrows and Bob and Cathy Lawton were on Flight MH370 headed to the Chinese capital.

It was to be an adventure – both couples seemingly moving into the next phase of their life, their children having grown up and started families of their own, their working lives beginning to wind down.

Mr Burrows was a long-term employee of energy company Energex. He had accepted a redundancy in the past two years.

At Cathy and Bob Lawton’s neat Springfield Lakes home on Sunday, an estate so new Google Maps is only just catching up, rose bushes have been lovingly cultivated and a sign welcoming grandchildren to ”Nanny and Poppy’s”, ”where memories are made and grandchildren are spoilt” hangs on the front porch.

A lone bunch of flowers sat under it on Sunday afternoon.

Rodney and Mary Burrows had recently sold their Middle Park home, as they were ready to downsize and enjoy some travel. Fairfax Media understands they were staying with their adult children and grandchildren in Sinnamon Park, a suburb about 20 minutes away from their former home.

On Sunday, family and friends had gathered inside the Sinnamon Park home.

Young couples could be seen on the front lawn embracing each other, but no one wanted to talk.

Neighbours said that one of the children was having a birthday party, a long planned event.

”I don’t really know them,” one said.”But I guess you’d want normality.”

New phase: Catherine and Robert Lawton of Springfield Lakes with their grandchildren. Photo: Facebook

Travel after redundancy: Mary and Rodney Burrows from Brisbane. Photo: Supplied

On Sunday night the familyof Cathy and Bob Lawtonreleased a statement through Queensland police thanking the Australian public for their well wishes and prayers.

“Our family is at present trying to come to terms with this terrible tragedy of the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370.”

“Our family’s hearts go out to all of the 239 passengers, crew and their families on board this flight. The family understands there is an extensive search and rescue operation being undertaken.”

“Although best efforts from all the family members are trying to remain positive for any hope of survivors, we are bracing ourselves for the worse possible outcome.”

“Cathy and Bob are very much loved by their family, extended families and friends.”

Brisbane Times

No wreckage of Malaysia flight MH370 found, says airline

A Vietnamese official said on Monday that a search had failed to locate objects seen floating in the Gulf of Thailand that were first thought to be from Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
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Doan Huu Gia, chief of Vietnam’s search and rescue co-ordination centre, said that six planes and seven ships were sent to search for wreckage in the area but had so far found nothing.

The objects were sighted on Sunday, shortly before nightfall.

Also, officials in Kuala Lumpur insisted on Monday that the sighting of what might be wreckage was inconclusive.

“We have to wait to confirm,” an official said.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people, including six Australians and two New Zealanders, on board on Saturday.

The plane lost contact with ground controllers between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

More than two days after flight MH370 went missing, its disappearance remains a mystery.

Investigators suspect the aircraft might have disintegrated midair, partly because of the inability to find a concentrated pattern of debris.

But investigators have not ruled out any possibility, including terrorism.

The search area was expanded on Sunday after Malaysian defence officers reviewed radar logs indicating the plane may have turned around in flight, which would indicate it was experiencing some difficulty.

But the pilots did not send a distress call.

Airline executives and Malaysian aviation and defence officials were scheduled to brief the media at noon Malaysian time (3pm Sydney/Melbourne time).

Failed to board

Four passengers on flight 370 failed to board after checking in their luggage, which raised further suspicion about the passengers after the plane disappeared.

But Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation chief Azaharuddin Abdul Rahman told Fairfax Media the passengers’ luggage was offloaded from the plane before it left Kuala Lumpur airport in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He said the luggage was screened and found not to contain anything suspicious and was then returned to the passengers in the terminal.

“We followed standard operating procedures to remove the baggage of those who didn’t turn up,” he said.

“There was nothing suspicious [about those passengers],” he said.

The identities of the four passengers have not been made public.

Debris sighted

A Vietnamese plane reportedly sighted the debris in the waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

The Vietnamese Information Ministry made the announcement on its website on Sunday, saying the objects appeared to be a fragment of an aircraft’s tail and an interior door.

The objects were located about 90 kilometres south of the island of Tho Chu, in the same area where the plane could have gone down if it did not alter its route, a possibility that is being investigated. It is in the same area where oil slicks were spotted on Saturday.

The discovery came shortly before nightfall, when air operations were cancelled until Monday morning.

The report was transmitted to boats in the area that are participating in search and rescue operations.

China, the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, shortly to be joined by Australia, are co-operating in the search.

Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing jet spotted an object on Sunday that they suspected was one of the plane’s doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports.

The state-runThanh Niennewspaper earlier cited Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam’s army, as saying searchers in a low-flying plane had spotted an object suspected of being a door from the missing jet. It is unclear at this stage if this is the same door mentioned on the Vietnamese Information Ministry’s website.

“From this object, hopefully [we] will find the missing plane,” General Tuan said.Thanh Niensaid two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.

‘Likely to have disintegrated’

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” said a senior source, who is involved in the preliminary investigations in Malaysia.

If the plane had plunged intact from such a height, breaking up only on impact with the water, search teams would have expected to find a fairly concentrated pattern of debris, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly on the investigation.

Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, wreckage can be scattered over many square kilometres. If the plane enters the water before breaking up, there can be relatively little debris.

The missing plane apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal – unusual circumstances under which a modern jetliner operated by a professional airline would crash.

Malaysia’s air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that the plane may have turned back, but did not give further details on which direction it went or how far it might have veered off course.

“We are trying to make sense of this,” Mr Daud said at a news conference. “The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar.”

Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said pilots were supposed to inform the airline and traffic control authorities if the plane made a U-turn.

“From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled,” he said.

Stolen passports

Authorities were checking on the identities of the two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports. On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight’s manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.

“I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on CCTV,” acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late on Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined.

“We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board.”

Mr Hishammuddin declined to give further details, saying it may jeopardise the investigation.

“Our focus now is to find the aircraft,” he said, adding that finding the plane would make it easier for authorities to investigate any possible foul play.

Interpol confirmed that at least two stolen passports used by passengers on the plane were registered in its databases. It said no one had checked the databases, but added that most airlines and countries did not usually check for stolen passports.

Mr Hishammuddin said only two passengers had used stolen passports, and that earlier reports that the identities of two others were under investigation were not true.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the US was looking into the stolen passports issue, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.

In addition to the plane’s sudden disappearance, which experts say is consistent with a possible onboard explosion, the stolen passports have strengthened concerns about terrorism as a possible cause. Al-qaeda militants have used similar tactics to try to disguise their identities.

Still, other possible causes would seem just as likely at this stage, including a catastrophic failure of the plane’s engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.

European authorities on Saturday confirmed the names and nationalities of the two stolen passports: one was an Italian-issued document bearing the name Luigi Maraldi, the other Austrian under the name Christian Kozel. Police in Thailand said Mr Maraldi’s passport was stolen on the island of Phuket last July.

A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline on Sunday confirmed that “Maraldi” and “Kozel” were both booked to leave Beijing on a KLM flight to Amsterdam on March 8. Mr Maraldi was then to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark, on KLM on March 8, and Mr Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8.

She said that, since the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, she had no information on where they bought them.

Having onward reservations to Europe from Beijing would have meant the pair, as holders of EU passports, would not have needed visas for China.

Meanwhile, the multinational search for the missing plane was continuing. A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships have been deployed to the area by Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States, in addition to Vietnam’s fleet.

Vietnamese air force jets spotted two large oil slicks on Saturday, but it was unclear whether they were linked to the missing plane.

Two-thirds of the jet’s passengers were Chinese. The rest were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe.

After more than 30 hours without contact with the aircraft, Malaysia Airlines told family members they should “prepare themselves for the worst”, Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director for the airline, told reporters.

A team of American experts was en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation into the crash. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the safety board said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed last July in San Francisco, killing three passengers, all Chinese teenagers.

Meanwhile, the US team confirmed the floating object spotted by a Singaporean aircraft on Sunday is not linked to the Malaysia Airlines plane.

In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy, a U.S. Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, Det 2, assigned to the guided-missile Destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91), lands aboard Pinckney during a crew swap before returning on task in the search and rescue for the missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370 on March 9, 2013 at sea in the Gulf of Thailand Photo: Getty Images

Dato’Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Director General of DCA, briefs the media that Malaysia Airlines fight MH370 is still missing. Photo: Getty Images

The delegate of relatives of the passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 issues a joint statement to media at the entrance of relative area at Lido Hotel on March 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images

Ignatius Ong from Malaysia Airline attend a press conference on March 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images

Ignatius Ong (Center) from Malaysia Airline speak during a press conference on March 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images

People At Beijing International Airport Wait For Malasia Airlines Flight MH370. Police and airport staffs are on the alert in case of emergency. BEIJING, CHINA – MARCH 8: Police and airport personnel mill about at Beijing International Airport March 8, 2014 in Beijing, China Photo: Getty Images

Relatives of passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leave after applying for their Chinese passports to be ready to travel to the crash site as the search continues for the missing Malaysian airliner on March 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images

Joshua Law Kok Hwa, Malaysia Airlines’ regional senior vice president of China speaks to media at Lido Hotel as the search continues for the missing Malaysian airliner on March 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images

Hugh Dunleavy, (Center) Head of commercial – Malaysia Airlines speaks to media at Lido Hotel on March 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo: Getty Images