Ethiopia

FILE PHOTO: Candle flames burn during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
FILE PHOTO: Candle flames burn during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Jason Neely

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines has rejected media reports that optional equipment for Boeing 737 MAX planes was critical for safety aboard a flight that crashed this month.

The crash of flight 302 and a similar one involving Indonesia’s Lion Air in October, both flying the new 737 MAX 8, have cost 346 lives and sparked the biggest crisis in decades for Boeing.

Grieving families, nervous travelers and airlines around the world are looking for answers while Boeing prepares updates aimed at getting the 737 MAX, with sales worth $500 billion at stake, back in the air.

In a sign of the impact on Boeing’s business, Indonesia’s Garuda is pushing to dump a $6 billion order for the grounded planes.

Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were also heading to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington over the weekend to review a software upgrade.

One focus for investigators is software Boeing installed on the MAX series designed to push a plane’s nose down if it senses too sharp an ascent and an indicator that shows that angle of flight.

OPTIONAL ITEMS

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said it was important not to confuse safety-critical equipment with optional items.

“A Toyota is imported with all the necessary equipment to drive, like the engine and the wheels, but with air conditioning and the radio optional,” Tewolde said.

“When Boeing supplies aircraft there are items which are mandatory for safety and then there are optional items,” he added, noting the angle of attack indicator was optional.

Some media reports have questioned whether having this installed may have helped the cockpit crew regain control of flight 302, which crashed near Addis Ababa on March 10 killing all 157 aboard.

Tewolde rejected this, adding: “The angle of attack indicator was on the optional list along with the inflight entertainment system.”

He echoed the words of Norwegian Air which said it had not selected the cockpit light warning of discrepancies between angle of attack sensors for its fleet of 18 MAX 8 aircraft.

“We have chosen not to fit this particular optional extra …it is not a safety critical feature nor is it a requirement by any aviation authority,” Norwegian told Reuters.

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s biggest airline with a modern fleet of Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier aircraft and a flying history that dates back to the 1940s.

They have been flying Boeing planes since 1962 and have four MAX 8 jets, with another 25 worth some $3 billion on order.

GARUDA

Garuda has written to Boeing asking to cancel its order for 49 737 MAX 8 planes, CFO Fuad Rizal said on Friday. CEO Ari Askhara told Reuters customers had lost trust in the plane.

The airline might switch to other Boeing models, Rizal told Reuters, adding it was in negotiations with Boeing while a move to Airbus planes was not under consideration. Garuda rival Lion Air is weighing what to do with an even bigger order following its crash, which killed all 189 passengers and crew aboard.

It has 190 Boeing jets worth $22 billion at list prices waiting to be delivered.

Boeing has said it is been working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on a software upgrade and training set to be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.

The FAA which certifies planes expects to approve these design changes no later than April, it has said.

American Airlines pilots this weekend were preparing to test the planned software upgrade, saying they want their own safety guarantees on the fix.

Southwest and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates.

(Reporting by Jason Neely; additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore, Cindy Silviana and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, David Shepardson in Washington and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Doctors | Contributors

Our hospital serves an area of 2.5 million people. Located in southwest Ethiopia, we care for diverse populations from farming villages and tribal areas, to refugees from South Sudan. Health-care activities here are below standard by any measure and we face what sometimes feel like insurmountable challenges to curb these problems. But the single biggest challenge of all is water.

In our hospital, because we only have clean tap water available approximately twice per week when it is brought in by truck, we must supplement with river water, which we know is unclean. This may sound unthinkable, but a hospital needs water daily and for many purposes: not only drinking but also meal preparation, delivery rooms, operation theaters, patient wards, sterilization of medical equipment, toilet utilities, laundry, gardening, personal hygiene and so on. The lack of water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH) services deeply compromises our ability to prevent and control infections and puts our staff — our doctors, nurses and midwives, pharmacists, administrators and cleaners — at risk.

We have tried to harvest rain and have talked to city administration to direct the town’s total water to the hospital for one hour to pump it into a holding tank. It’s not enough.

Our hospital is not unique. Recent global assessments of the extent to which health-care facilities are able to provide essential water, sanitation and hygiene for their staff and patients, are dismal. In short, facilities overwhelmingly lack soap, water and toilets. This widespread problem poses global risk when many of these facilities are the frontline defense against infectious diseases that can turn into pandemics.

Large disparities exist among different facilities within the same country. That’s certainly something we see here. For example, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy 99 percent of health-care facilities in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa have access to water while only 23 percent of health-care facilities in the region near our hospital have water (2012).

Services that should be basic and routine, such as a safe and clean delivery, put mothers and fragile newborns in particular risk. Here’s a typical scenario we see in our hospital: A laboring mother comes where she will be triaged by a health professional without gloves as often they are not available. After that, a physician examines her with unwashed or inadequately washed hands. She will then be admitted to the delivery ward where she will sleep with no bed sheets on an inadequately disinfected mattress. The floor is splashed with amniotic fluid and blood. All because there is not adequate water.

When she is ready to give birth, she will be transferred to a delivery table, which is partially cleaned with two jugs of water and detergent. If everything goes well, she will be blessed with a child. When things go the other way, she might have to go to the operating room for delivery. The OR has no adequate supply of tap water, which increases risk of post-operative infections that are rampant in our institution.

Once the procedure is over, both the mother and the child will have to stay in a crowded post-operative ward for three to four days where 12 beds are packed into a small room without adequate, safe water for personal cleanliness. To make things worse, the mother could acquire water borne infections from a meal prepared using unsafe water or the baby may develop easily prevented infections like sepsis. Subsequently, the baby might be required to be taken to the NICU for further treatment, which is an additional economic burden for the family, as are additional medical, food and bottled water costs incurred during the stay.

We know the Ethiopian Ministry of Health is working to improve this dire problem. It has created a national policy and strategic plan to radically improve the provision of safe water and sanitation throughout the country and bring significant benefits to millions of people. The ministry is also trying to link WASH with infection prevention through its flagship project, Clean and Safe Health Facility (CASH).

Still, disparities are so big among different locations and conditions remain very bad in our hospital.

With all our problems, our hospital is still doing its best to address the needs of the region and local community. Last year we performed 303 caesarian sections, 1522 major surgical procedures and 1500 minor procedures — all of which should be unthinkable without water. The most important cause for morbidity was infections and related sepsis, all due to inadequate and low-quality water. We do the best we can.

We need leaders, governments and donors to come together on this most fundamental health-care need. We deeply appreciate the U.N. secretary general calling for all health-care facilities to have adequate facilities by 2030. Now it is time for coordination and action. This worthy goal will be accomplished only when health, development, water and finance sectors work together to achieve access to real health care. As professionals serving on the front lines, it is with deep gratitude and urgency that we make this most fundamental request.

Teklemariam Ergat Yarinbab is the chief executive director of the Mizan Tepi University Teaching Hospital. Tewodros W. Liyew, M.D., is chief clinical director at the hospital. Ephrem Alemayehu Kirub, M.D., is the hospital’s clinical governance and quality improvement unit head, and Biruk Ambaw Teshome, M.D., is the unit’s vice head.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Ethiopians search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopians search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 22, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A child’s foot. Fingers. A passport.

Body parts and personal effects were still strewn across the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 15, a witness told Reuters, five days after the disaster and the day before recovery efforts were halted.

With the site now fenced off, bereaved families are worried the remains of their loved ones may be left at the scene, compounding their anguish.

Citizens of 35 nations were aboard when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet nosedived into a field on March 10 six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard.

Families of those who perished complain of a lack of information about recovery efforts, which saw Ethiopian workers using metal parts of the aircraft to dig in the soil.

Religions such as Islam and Judaism require quick burials, but authorities said last week that identifying remains – many burned or in small pieces – might take six months.

“At the beginning, (the Ethiopian authorities) should have blocked off that place and sent an organized team to search, instead of just leaving it open. I’m unhappy about that. It’s supposed to be easier if it’s in the government’s hands,” said Milka Yimam, a dual Ethiopia-Israeli citizen whose 26-year-old son Sidrak died.

Relatives of the victims who visited the site on Monday said it had been cordoned off and the ground leveled, apart from the impact crater. The dead included a grand-niece of consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Excavation was halted last Saturday, ministry of transport spokesman Musie Yehyies told Reuters.

“Excavation has ended for the moment since we have got everything we think we need at the moment. The site has been enclosed and can be revisited,” he said on Friday.

Global attention has mostly shifted to an investigation into the cause of the disaster, and similarities with the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX plane in Indonesia last October that killed 189 people. Pilots of both aircraft reported control problems and crashed minutes after take-off.

The world’s entire 737 MAX fleet was grounded after the Ethiopia crash, with Boeing losing about 12 percent – or $28 billion – of its market value since the disaster.

But as headlines focus on the investigation and its financial fallout, families fear the spotlight has shifted from recovery efforts.

DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE

Israelis whose bodies are not recovered are officially listed at home as “disappeared” rather than “dead” – a status that can cause complications for relatives in matters ranging from inheritance to remarrying.

Some Jewish traditions also require a piece of the body be buried before mourning can begin, with the soul not able to rest until then, giving the families’ quest an agonizing urgency.

So the Israeli embassy has been working hard to retrieve the remains of its two citizens who died in the crash, families told Reuters.

But it hasn’t been easy. After being bounced between various government ministries, the ambassador eventually wrote to the airline to get access to the crash site, a source familiar with matter said. He got no reply – until the Israeli prime minister intervened by phoning his Ethiopian counterpart.

The ambassador and representatives of Israeli volunteer rescue and recovery organization ZAKA were finally able to access the site last Friday. They have not been allowed back.

The embassy said on Thursday ZAKA had been told it could not return to retrieve remains due to a “procedural matter” and that Ethiopia did not want to grant access for other nations.

The Ethiopian ministries of transport and foreign affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

CONFUSION OVER PASSENGERS

An Interpol-led group of nations including Germany and Canada are supporting the DNA testing, three Addis Ababa-based diplomatic sources said. Ethiopia has also contracted British firm Blake Emergency Services to recover and return the remains. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Remains recovered so far have been bagged and stored in an out-of-the-way area of Addis Ababa’s Bole airport, in refrigeration units usually used to store roses destined for export, before being moved to the capital’s St. Paul’s Hospital, two sources told Reuters.

Halting excavations could complicate matters for many countries, some of which are still unsure how many of their citizens were lost.

Although 18 of the victims have been identified as Canadian, others had connections to Canada, meaning its embassy has been supporting more families, said Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Antoine Chevrier. Some were also dual nationals.

Ethiopian Airlines has not published the full passenger list with names and dates of birth. It did not respond to questions over when the list might be published.

Until that is done, confusion remains over dual nationals, and the citizenship of seven people onboard the flight is still not public, diplomats told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa and Katharine Houreld in Nairobi; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI

March 21, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher

ADDIS ABABA/PARIS (Reuters) – At the headquarters of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, a paper sign balanced above room 107 and a threadbare square of carpet welcome a stream of foreign visitors to the Accident Investigation Bureau.

The office – with three investigators and an annual budget of less than 2.5 million Birr ($89,000) – is leading a multi-party, multi-nation probe into what caused an Ethiopian Airlines flight to crash on March 10, killing all 157 people on board.

Brusque foreign investigators in cargo pants and Ethiopians in suits or reflective vests wave away questions from reporters on how their inquiries are progressing.

This modest agency is under intense international scrutiny because the results of its investigation could have far-reaching consequences for the global aviation industry.

If the investigators highlight flaws in the 737 MAX 8 that echo a recent crash of the same model in Indonesia, their report could deal a major blow to Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker and a massive U.S. exporter.

But if investigators find Ethiopian Airlines fell short in maintenance, training or piloting, that could damage one of Africa’s most successful companies, a symbol of Ethiopia’s emergence as a regional power.

Disagreements have broken out in Addis Ababa between Ethiopian authorities and foreign investigators over issues including the handling of evidence and crash site management, according to several sources close to the investigation.

Kevin Humphreys, a former Irish regulator who founded the country’s air investigation agency, told Reuters the high stakes involved tend to make probes like this one particularly tough.

“There are tensions because it is unrealistic to assume that international protocols are always going to work. There is a potentially important economic impact from such investigations.”

An 18-strong team of American investigators has been sent to aid the Ethiopians with the inquiry, including representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Boeing, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which certified 737 MAX planes as safe.

U.S. and some other foreign investigators are unhappy because Ethiopia is so far sharing only limited information, the sources said.

“There is no opportunity for the international community to benefit and learn from this,” said one of them, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Some foreign officials are also unhappy about the prominent role Ethiopian Airlines played in the probe, suggesting a possible conflict of interests, they said.

But one Addis Ababa-based source said the carrier’s role in the investigation does not necessarily indicate it is trying to exert undue influence. The airline is more likely involved because it is the most well-funded and staffed state enterprise able to help the over-stretched inquiry team, he added.

“When you have a vacuum, someone has to fill it,” he said.

Ethiopian Airlines’ spokesman Asrat Begachew said the carrier was supporting the investigation. “We are not taking the lead,” he added, declining to comment further.

Under global aviation rules, interested parties like airlines and manufacturers are discouraged from speaking publicly about the investigation.

Yet in the first days after the Flight 302 crash, Ethiopian Airlines made all of the public statements, including announcing the black box recorders would be sent overseas for data extraction.

It was not until six days after the tragedy that the Ministry of Transport began briefing the media and public.

Hours after the crash, Ethiopian Airlines tweeted a picture of its CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holding a piece of debris in the crater of the crash site, surprising aviation experts who said the site should have been preserved for investigators.

Musie Yehyies, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, said the government had been quick to share information about the crash. He denied there was any mistrust between the Ethiopians and other parties.

“Our friendship with the United States is obvious,” he told Reuters. “Plenty of governments have been offering assistance, and some of them have helped practically.”

The ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the airline’s role in the investigation or any potential conflict of interest.

Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau and civil aviation authority, which fall under the transport ministry, declined to comment on the investigation or any grievances of parties involved.

Boeing, the FAA and the NTSB also declined to comment.

BLACK BOXES

The cockpit voice and flight data recorders were recovered the day after the crash, but it took Ethiopian investigators three days to decide where to send them for the information to be extracted and decoded. Like many fast-growing players, the Ethiopians do not have the technology to perform the task.

In a sign of the distrust between the parties, the Ethiopians turned down an American offer to perform the analysis in the United States, according to two sources.

U.S. authorities declined to comment.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde personally approached German authorities to request to send the black boxes to Germany to have the data extracted there, a separate source with knowledge of matter told Reuters. Airlines are not usually involved in such decisions, according to current and former investigators.

The airline could not comment on the investigation, a spokesman said in response to questions about the incident.

However German officials said they too did not have the most recent software needed to extract the data, so the devices were eventually sent to France.

Partial data from the flight data recorder was shared informally late on Monday with U.S. and French investigators in Paris, but nothing from the cockpit voice recorder, three sources familiar with the matter said.

It is common for the host investigator to closely guard voice recordings to protect privacy but unusual for relatively little data to be available a week after being downloaded.

“As an investigator, it is hard to understand the logic behind withholding safety-of-flight information,” Greg Feith, a former senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, said on Facebook on Thursday.

Ethiopia said on Thursday it had begun analyzing cockpit data and was working with U.S. and European experts.

Following Ethiopian Airlines’ last major crash, outside Beirut in 2010, an investigation led by the Lebanese and to which France contributed blamed crew mismanagement of the aircraft and poor communication in the cockpit.

The airline – led by the same CEO as today – said the report was “biased, lacking evidence, incomplete,” pointing to evidence of an explosion on board.

HIGH STAKES

Most crash investigations end up pinpointing a combination of factors.

For decades, reconstructions by independent investigators have been credited with reducing air accidents to record low levels. The system of co-operation works by sticking to technical details and avoiding blame or other agendas.

Safety experts worry that too many turf battles can cloud the progress of an investigation.

“The sole purpose of an accident investigation is to reduce the chances of something ever happening again,” said Paul Hayes, safety director at the Flight Ascend Consultancy.

The Flight 302 crash triggered the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets, wiping billions off the company’s market value. Also on the line are more than $500 billion worth of 737 MAX orders.

Ethiopian Airlines is regulated by the country’s civil aviation authority, but its resources are far more extensive. The carrier’s operating revenue in the 2017/18 financial year was $3.7 billion. This dwarfs the regulator’s budget, which is 360 million Birr ($12.5 million) for this fiscal year.

CRASH SITE

Responsibility for leading the probe fell to Ethiopia because the crash occurred on its soil. Nairobi-bound Flight 302 went down into farmland minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

The crash killed people from 35 countries, all of which are also entitled to examine the crash site and join in the investigation. America, China, Kenya, Britain, Canada, Israel, France and other nations have sent investigators.

Some nations were unhappy that Ethiopia was using heavy earth-moving equipment at the site, potentially damaging evidence or human remains, although others said that was the only way to move heavy items such as engines.

Some foreign officials also complained of being unable to access the site in the days after the crash.

After Israel’s team were not given permission to visit the site, the Israeli prime minister eventually called the Ethiopian prime minister on Wednesday, a statement on the Israeli prime minister’s website said. 

A permission letter – from Ethiopian Airlines – was issued late on Thursday for the Israeli ambassador and emergency response unit ZAKA, a source familiar with the incident added.

The European Union’s aviation safety agency, EASA, waited more than a week to be allowed to join the crash investigation.

“The Ethiopian investigation body is very keen to keep a very, very closed circle around the investigation,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told the European parliament on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Georgina Prodhan in Paris and David Shepardson in Washington; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alexandra Zavis and Pravin Char)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A traditionally-dressed Ethiopian woman walks past a mural depicting Ethiopia's Emperor Tewodros II in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
FILE PHOTO: A traditionally-dressed Ethiopian woman walks past a mural depicting Ethiopia’s Emperor Tewodros II in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 1, 2007. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens/File Photo

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A London museum has handed back locks of hair cut from the corpse of an Ethiopian emperor during a British invasion 150 years ago, after a campaign by activists seeking the return of hundreds of pieces of colonial plunder.

Ethiopians, many dressed in the national colors of red, gold and green, cheered as staff at the National Army Museum handed over the remains in a black leather box to Ethiopia’s minister of culture, tourism and sport on Wednesday.

Hirut Kassaw will take the hair back to Ethiopia at the weekend where it will eventually be buried at the grave of Emperor Tewodros II at monastery in northern Ethiopia, an embassy official said.

She thanked the museum for its “brave and principled” decision to hand over the hair, but called on it and other British institutions to return other items taken during the Victorian-era expedition.

“For Ethiopians, these are not simply artifacts or treasures but constitute a fundamental part of the existential fabric of Ethiopia and its people,” she said.

There was no immediate response to her request or statement on the return from the museum.

Successive emperors, governments and then activists have called for Britain to hand back crowns, religious regalia and illuminated manuscripts taken after the fight – in campaigns paralleled by Greece’s demands for its Parthenon sculptures, and Nigeria’s for the Benin Bronzes.

The emperor claimed a bloodline dating back to the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

Britain invaded his territory of then Abyssinia in 1867 to rescue a group of European missionaries, adventurers and officials – including the British consul – imprisoned by Tewodros after a series of diplomatic gaffes.

They reached his mountain fortress of Magdala in April 1868, defeated his troops and freed the prisoners. The emperor shot himself as the invaders stormed his last stronghold.

Journalists on the campaign described how soldiers descended on the emperor’s body and tore off strips of his clothing as souvenirs. The museum’s records suggest the hair was taken from Magdala by an artist on the British force.

Institutions including the British Museum have resisted repatriation campaigns citing legislation preventing them from breaking up collections and arguing that they can preserve items and present them to an international audience.

Campaigners have argued that a special case should be made for human remains.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Airplane engine parts are seen at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
FILE PHOTO: Airplane engine parts are seen at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Jason Neely

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The captain of a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight was unable to practice on a new simulator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 before he died in a crash with 157 others, a pilot colleague said.

Yared Getachew, 29, was due for refresher training at the end of March, his colleague told Reuters, two months after Ethiopian Airlines had received the simulator.

The March 10 disaster, following another MAX 8 crash in Indonesia in October, has set off one of the biggest inquiries in aviation history, focused on whether pilots were sufficiently versed on a new automated system.

In both cases, the pilots lost control soon after take-off and fought a losing battle to stop their jets plunging down.

In the Ethiopian crash, it was not clear if Yared’s colleague – First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed, 25, who also died in the crash – had practiced on the new MAX simulator.

Globally, most commercial airline pilots refresh training in simulators every six months. It was not clear if Yared or Ahmednur would have been trained on the new simulator or an older one for 737s that their airline also owned.

The MAX, which came into service two years ago, has a new automated system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). It is meant to prevent a loss of lift which can cause an aerodynamic stall sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way.

“Boeing did not send manuals on MCAS,” the Ethiopian Airlines pilot told Reuters in a hotel lobby, declining to give his name as staff have been told not to speak in public.

“Actually we know more about the MCAS system from the media than from Boeing.”

Under unprecedented scrutiny and with its MAX fleet grounded worldwide, the world’s largest planemaker has said airlines were given guidance on how to respond to the activation of MCAS software. It is also promising a swift update to the system.

Ethiopian Airlines declined to comment on the remarks of its pilot to Reuters about the simulator and MCAS system.

(Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Writing by Jamie Freed and Katharine Houreld; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: OANN

A worker assists his colleague during the lifting of a turbine engine of the Lion Air flight JT610 jet, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta
A worker assists his colleague during the lifting of a turbine engine of the Lion Air flight JT610 jet, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 21, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian investigators said on Thursday that information from the cockpit voice recorder of a Lion Air jet that crashed in October was leaked to the media and they would hold a news conference at 0830 GMT.

The investigation into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that killed all 189 on board has become more urgent after a second deadly accident in Ethiopia last week prompted regulators to ground the worldwide fleet of the aircraft.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Lindsay Denny | Emory University

Allegations are surfacing that women are being forced to trade sex for vaccines; health workers remain deeply distrusted; in some areas women are being blamed for the outbreak and gender-based violence has increased.

The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now the second largest in history, and it’s ripping through the country uncontained. More than 900 people have been infected, including 72 healthcare workers; and nearly 600 people have died.

The much-heralded experimental vaccine that the World Health Organization, WHO, called “highly, highly efficacious” with hopes it would control the outbreak, has failed in the face of conflict and distrust. Uganda and Rwanda are bracing themselves for the possibility that Ebola will cross their borders.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak that put the world on edge, the World Health Organization, WHO, prioritized 10 diseases that pose the greatest public health risks, to accelerate prevention/control measures so we’d never again experience a pandemic like Ebola that cost billions as it killed thousands. This summer, the world experienced the unprecedented and simultaneous outbreak of six of those ten diseases including the DRC’s on-going Ebola outbreak.

Experts like Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of John Hopkins Center for Health Security, emphasize that we still lack licensed vaccines for “most of the deadly viral pathogens” that have sprung up in the last 40 years. Meanwhile, drug efficacy is declining and drug resistance is rising. Leaders, like Bill Gates, are rightly concerned about what is clearly ongoing global unpreparedness.

All this handwringing about pathogens, pandemics and preventable diseases leads me to the healthcare elephant in the healthcare center. I am incredibly frustrated that few experts point to the obvious: the physical environment where people are seeking care — hospitals and clinics around the world — do not have access to soap, water and sanitation, the fundamentals of disease prevention and containment.

The result is preventable illnesses and containable diseases endanger patients and staff daily; and when an outbreak like the 2014 Ebola pandemic takes root, we see the ghastly toll. The lack of access to water, soap and basic sanitation was a key reason why Ebola not only killed some 11,00 people, it was 103-fold higher in healthcare workers in Sierra Leone than in the general population, 42-fold higher in Guinea health workers, and the reason why Liberia lost 8 percent of its health workforce. Let’s remember that these professionals are also our frontline defense against pandemics.  

The absence of water/sanitation/hygiene is a daily threat. On a recent trip to Ethiopia, I stood in the neonatal intensive care unit of a major hospital and took in the scene in front of me. I’ve visited hundreds of health facilities in developing countries — this wasn’t even the worst I’d seen — but the conditions were no less jarring.

Twenty-five tiny newborns were three and four to a bed. The only sink in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was filled with dirty water with no soap in sight; an empty bottle of hand sanitizer sat near the door. We know that simply handwashing with soap has been shown to prevent nearly 40 percent of neonatal deaths. An intern on duty told me it wasn’t uncommon for one of the babies to contract an infection, which rapidly spread to others.

This Ethiopian NICU was in the largest hospital in the region and staff were doing their best in conditions they knew were inadequate. They can’t wash bedding between patients or adequately clean up blood from medical equipment. As a newborn, I too spent a few weeks in a NICU. I wonder what my chances would have been had I been treated in a facility without clean water or a functioning sink.

It is not some unpronounceable drug that alone will prevent or contain everything from neonatal infections to pandemics like Ebola. It’s soap and water, the single-most effective method for containing the millions of germs living within the walls of a hospital. That makes handwashing a particularly powerful and cost-effective tool for doctors, nurses and midwives around the world — as it should, quite literally, be at their fingertips. But it is not.

A landmark study published in 2018, drawing on data from 179,000 health-care facilities in 78 low- and middle- income countries, found that 50 percent of surveyed health facilities lacked piped water and 39 percent lacked soap, 54 percent lacked both. Not surprising, in developing countries nearly one-in-six patients contract an infection during hospitalization.

Even here in the U.S., what may seem like a simple oversight can turn deadly. Eleven children died last fall from an adenovirus outbreak at a rehabilitation center in New Jersey. Health officials citedhandwashing deficiencies” and “infection control issues.” On average, U.S. health-care providers clean their hands less than half of the time they should. The Centers for Disease Control says about one in 25 U.S. hospital patients contracts at least one health-care-associated infection.

“We’ve gotten lucky” is not a prevention strategy. Health security clearly requires that sustainable water, sanitation and good hygiene practice be the non-negotiable part of health care everywhere, and that certainly includes inside hospitals and health-care facilities. WASH remains the untapped and cost-effective opportunity to improve health security for our own sake as well as the tireless work of frontline health-care workers who defend us all. Its global neglect is reckless.

Lindsay Denny, MPH, is a senior public health program associate for the Center for Global Safe WASH at Emory University and a technical advisor for Global Water 2020.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

A relative carries a portrait photograph of Ethiopian Airlines pilot Yared Getachew as he mourns at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
A relative carries a portrait photograph of Ethiopian Airlines pilot Yared Getachew as he mourns at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 20, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The dreams of the two young men soared as high as the Ethiopian Airlines planes they proudly flew.

Handsome, cosmopolitan Yared Getachew was to marry another plane captain this year. Studious, serious Ahmednur Mohammed rented his first apartment with his maiden paycheck in February.

Their lives, along with 155 others, ended when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plunged into a field moments after take-off in a still unexplained disaster.

Yared, 29, was captain; Ahmednur, 25, his first officer.

Yared was a popular and brilliant student who became the airline’s youngest ever captain at 27, said his father Getachew Tessema, a retired plastic surgeon and dentist.

He spoke to Reuters after a ceremony at the Kenyan embassy in Addis Ababa to honor the 32 Kenyan victims from the crash. Yared’s mother was Kenyan, making him a citizen of two nations.

“I’m very bitter,” 80-year-old Getachew said, sitting hunched with his head in his hand as he reflected on Yared’s shattered marriage plans.

“At least if he had had a child,” he trailed off painfully as friends nodded in understanding.

Yared’s brother Meno Getachew Tessema, 39, sat next to his father, sometimes putting an arm around him as the ceremony progressed. Yared visited Meno’s family in Toronto when the young pilot came to train on flight simulators in Miami twice in the past two years.

By the time of the crash, Yared had amassed 8,100 hours of flying experience, the airline said, unusual at his age but no surprise to the family. They remembered him as a committed student who shone at school as a child in his mother’s native Kenya and as a teenager in his father’s home country Ethiopia.

He went straight into Ethiopian Airlines’ Aviation Academy after high school. “His dream was to be a pilot,” said Meno, a corporate lawyer. “He was diligent, hardworking, he had a consistent work ethic … he was a rising star of Ethiopian Airlines.”

ARCHITECT TURNED PILOT

Sitting next to Yared in the cockpit on March 10 was Ahmednur Mohammed.

While the pair’s professionalism has been lauded, air safety experts fear they – and pilots in a similar crash in Indonesia in October – may not have been sufficiently versed in a new automated anti-stall system in the Boeing 737 MAX series.

The middle of three sons of a small business owner, friends from the sleepy eastern city of Dire Dawa remember Ahmednur as unusually driven to study when others would spend afternoons relaxing in the shade, chewing the narcotic leaf qat.

He spent five years at college studying his first love – architecture – where he earned the nickname 5-10 for his legendary 17-hour library stints, and received gentle ribbing for the neatness of his room.

Even as a student, Ahmednur’s skill earned him some small interior design commissions, friends said.

But the dutiful son feared he would not be able to make enough money as an architect to help his family, said his father Mohammed Omar, a white-haired 60-year-old in a carefully pressed worn suit.

So he switched to aviation school and completed two years of training. After school hours, he would visit a friend whose brother was a pilot and sit in the living room, running through cockpit checklists and motions on the couch, the friend said. He graduated with a commercial pilot’s license, the airline said.

“He would call me every three days. He would talk about his plans, he said that he was going to help his family,” his father told Reuters after Islamic prayers in Ahmednur’s memory at a relative’s house on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.

Last Friday, mosques in both the capital and Dire Dawa held prayers for Ahmednur, the family said.

After a few months rest, he began working for Ethiopian Airlines, visiting other nations — Israel, South Africa, Burkina Faso — and earning his first salary.

He adored it, said his brother Menur Mohammed.

Ahmednur amassed 350 flying hours and had just started living alone for the first time when the family heard his plane had gone down.

“It took us long to believe he was dead,” his cousin Imran Mohammed, 30, told Reuters.

“He was so excited to live on his own.”

The family wants the airline or government to build a bridge or a school, something tangible to commemorate Ahmednur: pilot, architect, son. “We want to see something in his name, to remember him,” his father said softly.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 20, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Cindy Silviana

ADDIS ABABA/JAKARTA (Reuters) – The world’s biggest planemaker Boeing faced growing obstacles to returning its grounded 737 MAX fleet to the skies on Wednesday, while chilling details emerged of an Indonesian crash with similarities to the Ethiopian disaster.

Experts suspect an automated system, meant to stop stalling by dipping the nose, may be involved in both cases, with pilots unable to override it as their jets plunged downwards.

The March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash has shaken the global aviation industry and cast a shadow over the flagship Boeing model intended to be a standard for decades to come, given parallels with the Lion Air calamity off Jakarta in October.

The twin crashes killed 346 people.

(GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hn6V4k)

Chicago-headquartered Boeing has promised a swift update of the automatic flight software for the craft but major regulators in Europe and Canada want to be sure themselves, rather than rely on U.S. vetting.

As Ethiopian investigators pored over black box data from their crash, sources with knowledge of the doomed Lion Air cockpit voice recorder revealed how pilots scoured a manual in a losing battle to figure out why they were hurtling down to sea.

Investigators examining the Indonesian crash want to know how a computer ordered the plane to dive in response to data from a faulty sensor and whether pilots had enough training to respond appropriately to the emergency.

Communications showed that in the final moments, the captain tried in vain to find the right procedure in the handbook, while the first officer was unable to control the plane.

“It is like a test where there are 100 questions and when the time is up you have only answered 75,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the cockpit recording that has not been made public. “So you panic. It is a time-out condition.”

At the end, the sources told Reuters, the Indian-born captain, 31, was quiet, while the Indonesian officer, 41, said “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) – an Arabic phrase to express excitement, shock, praise or distress. The plane then hit water.

U.S. “CREDIBILITY DAMAGED”

Boeing has said there was a documented procedure to handle the situation. A different crew on the same plane the evening before had the same problem but solved it after running through three checklists, though they did not pass on all that information to the doomed crew, the preliminary report by investigators released in November said.

Rowing back from previous reliance on U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) vetting, Canada and the European Union will now seek their own guarantees over the MAX planes, complicating Boeing’s hopes to get them flying worldwide again.

Regulators want to be absolutely sure of Boeing’s new automated flight control system, known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), and that pilots are fully trained to handle it.

“Our credibility as leaders in aviation is being damaged,” wrote Chesley Sullenberger, a U.S. pilot famed for landing a jet on the Hudson River saving all 155 people on board a decade ago.

“Boeing and the FAA have been found wanting in this ugly saga that began years ago but has come home to roost with two terrible fatal crashes, with no survivors, in less than five months, on a new airplane type, the Boeing 737 Max 8, something that is unprecedented in modern aviation history,” he added in a scathing article on marketwatch.com.

(GRAPHIC: The grounded 737 Max fleet – https://tmsnrt.rs/2u5sZYI)

Facing such high-profile scrutiny, Boeing, one of the United States’ most prestigious exporters, reshuffled executives in its commercial airplanes unit to focus on the crash fallout.

(GRAPHIC: Boeing 737 Max deliveries in question – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

VOICE RECORDINGS

The FAA noted in a statement that its “robust processes” and “full collaboration with the aviation community” were key to safety worldwide. The regulator is due to have a new head soon, likely to be former Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson.

U.S. President Donald Trump had apparently been considering his longtime personal pilot, John Dunkin, before leaning toward Dickson who had a 27-year career at Delta.

In Ethiopia, which is leading the investigation, experts were poring over the in-flight recording of Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed’s voices.

As with the Indonesia flight, they radioed control problems shortly after take-off and sought to turn back, struggling to get their plane on track before it hit a field. However, there is no proven link and experts emphasize that every accident is a unique chain of human and technical factors.

For now, though, more than 300 MAX aircraft are grounded round the world, and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500 billion – are on hold.

Development of the 737 MAX, which offers cost savings of about 15 percent on fuel, began in 2011 after the successful launch by its main rival of the Airbus A320neo. The 737 MAX entered service in 2017 after six years of preparation.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Source: OANN

Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of a Lion Air JT610 that crashed into Tanjung Karawang sea is seen inside a special container after it was found under the sea, during a press conference at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta
Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of a Lion Air JT610 that crashed into Tanjung Karawang sea is seen inside a special container after it was found under the sea, during a press conference at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

March 20, 2019

By Cindy Silviana, Jamie Freed and Tim Hepher

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE/PARIS (Reuters) – The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of time before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.

The investigation into the crash, which killed all 189 people on board in October, has taken on new relevance as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators grounded the model last week after a second deadly accident in Ethiopia.

Investigators examining the Indonesian crash are considering how a computer ordered the plane to dive in response to data from a faulty sensor and whether the pilots had enough training to respond appropriately to the emergency, among other factors.

It is the first time the voice recorder contents from the Lion Air flight have been made public. The three sources discussed them on condition of anonymity.

Reuters did not have access to the recording or transcript.

A Lion Air spokesman said all data and information had been given to investigators and declined to comment further.

The captain was at the controls of Lion Air flight JT610 when the nearly new jet took off from Jakarta, and the first officer was handling the radio, according to a preliminary report issued in November.

Just two minutes into the flight, the first officer reported a “flight control problem” to air traffic control and said the pilots intended to maintain an altitude of 5,000 feet, the November report said.

The first officer did not specify the problem, but one source said airspeed was mentioned on the cockpit voice recording, and a second source said an indicator showed a problem on the captain’s display but not the first officer’s.

The captain asked the first officer to check the quick reference handbook, which contains checklists for abnormal events, the first source said.

For the next nine minutes, the jet warned pilots it was in a stall and pushed the nose down in response, the report showed. A stall is when the airflow over a plane’s wings is too weak to generate lift and keep it flying.

The captain fought to climb, but the computer, still incorrectly sensing a stall, continued to push the nose down using the plane’s trim system. Normally, trim adjusts an aircraft’s control surfaces to ensure it flies straight and level.

“They didn’t seem to know the trim was moving down,” the third source said. “They thought only about airspeed and altitude. That was the only thing they talked about.”

Boeing Co declined to comment on Wednesday because the investigation was ongoing.

The manufacturer has said there is a documented procedure to handle the situation. A different crew on the same plane the evening before encountered the same problem but solved it after running through three checklists, according to the November report.

But they did not pass on all of the information about the problems they encountered to the next crew, the report said.

The pilots of JT610 remained calm for most of the flight, the three sources said. Near the end, the captain asked the first officer to fly while he checked the manual for a solution.

About one minute before the plane disappeared from radar, the captain asked air traffic control to clear other traffic below 3,000 feet and requested an altitude of “five thou”, or 5,000 feet, which was approved, the preliminary report said.

As the 31-year-old captain tried in vain to find the right procedure in the handbook, the 41-year-old first officer was unable to control the plane, two of the sources said.

The flight data recorder shows the final control column inputs from the first officer were weaker than the ones made earlier by the captain.

“It is like a test where there are 100 questions and when the time is up you have only answered 75,” the third source said. “So you panic. It is a time-out condition.”

The Indian-born captain was silent at the end, all three sources said, while the Indonesian first officer said “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is greatest”, a common Arabic phrase in the majority-Muslim country that can be used to express excitement, shock, praise or distress.

The plane then hit the water, killing all 189 people on board.

French air accident investigation agency BEA said on Tuesday the flight data recorder in the Ethiopian crash that killed 157 people showed “clear similarities” to the Lion Air disaster. Since the Lion Air crash, Boeing has been pursuing a software upgrade to change how much authority is given to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, a new anti-stall system developed for the 737 MAX.

The cause of the Lion Air crash has not been determined, but the preliminary report mentioned the Boeing system, a faulty, recently replaced sensor and the airline’s maintenance and training.

On the same aircraft the evening before the crash, a captain at Lion Air’s full-service sister carrier, Batik Air, was riding along in the cockpit and solved the similar flight control problems, two of the sources said. His presence on that flight, first reported by Bloomberg, was not disclosed in the preliminary report.

The report also did not include data from the cockpit voice recorder, which was not recovered from the ocean floor until January.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesian investigation agency KNKT, said last week the report could be released in July or August as authorities attempted to speed up the inquiry in the wake of the Ethiopian crash.

On Wednesday, he declined to comment on the cockpit voice recorder contents, saying they had not been made public.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Jamie Freed in Singapore and Tim Hepher in Paris; writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

U.S. scientists reportedly purchased hundreds of cats and dogs from Asian meat markets, used them for experiments and fed the remains to other lab cats, according to the White Coat Waste Project.

Scientists reportedly conducted the experiments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s lab in Maryland between 2003 and 2015. The experiments involved hundreds of animals from markets in Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, China and Ethiopia, according to the watchdog group. Some of the meat markets in question have been condemned by Congress.

“It’s crazy,” former USDA scientist Jim Keen told NBC News, which obtained a copy of the report. “Cannibal cats, cats eating dogs — I don’t see the logic.”

“It’s totally unrelated to the food safety mission,” Keen said. “We shouldn’t be paying for that as taxpayers.”

Lawmakers are already targeting the Agriculture Department labs with legislation to curb testing on cats. (RELATED: Congressmen Introduce Bill To Stop Government Cat Killers)

“The details of these kitten experiments keep getting worse and they need to end now,” Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida told NBC. “The fact that the USDA has been rounding up pets and other innocent dogs and cats in foreign countries — including at Chinese meat markets condemned by Congress — killing them and feeding them to lab cats back here in the States is simply disgusting and unjustifiable.”

Cat smacking her lips. Shutterstock/AltamashUrooj

Cat smacking her lips. Shutterstock/AltamashUrooj

Mast is a cosponsor of the legislation called Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now, or KITTEN.

The White Coat Waste Project previously uncovered other cat-related experiments in a 2018 report.

After the experiments are completed, the kittens are often euthanized and their bodies burned, according to the report.

The USDA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Transportation and Infrastructure House Commitee member DeFazio, speaks at U.S. airline customer service hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) speaks at a committee hearing on “Oversight of U.S. Airline Customer Service,” in the aftermath of the recent forced removal of a passenger from a Chicago flight at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 19, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation committee and another key Democrat asked the Transportation Department’s inspector general on Tuesday to examine key decisions made by the Federal Aviation Administration in certifying Boeing’s 737 MAX jet for use.

The request follows the March 10 crash of a 737 MAX jet in Ethiopia and the crash in Indonesia in October of another 737 MAX jet.

The inspector general’s office said it would open an audit Tuesday into the plane’s approval but has not disclosed what it will examine. Representative Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and committee member Rick Larsen said the crashes underscore “the need to take a more proactive approach with safety to protect the traveling public.”

The two Democrats asked in a letter that the probe include a review of what “led to the FAA’s decision not to revise pilot training programs and manuals to reflect changes to flight-critical automation systems.”

The FAA declined to comment on the letter.

Congress plans to hold hearings as early as next week on the two fatal crashes that are expected to include the FAA’s acting chief, Dan Elwell, and other government officials. The Democrats want the review to help improve the “certification process overall and identify improvements to oversight and safety of all new aircraft.”

Boeing said earlier on Tuesday that it would fully cooperate in the inspector general’s audit.

The Democrats want the audit also to include a review of how each of the new features on the Boeing 737 MAX, including positioning of engines on the aircraft and the corresponding changes to automation, angle-of-attack sensors, and how new software “were tested, certified, and integrated into the aircraft.”

They also ask the review to include “how new features of the aircraft, and potential performance differences in this aircraft, were communicated to airline customers, pilots and foreign civil aviation authorities.”

They also want a status report on corrective actions since the fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October “and whether pilots are being adequately trained before the 737 MAX is returned to revenue passenger service throughout the international aviation community.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 19, 2019

By Omar Mohammed

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Financiers, passengers and industry partners are, for now, still backing Ethiopian Airlines’ quest to become Africa’s dominant carrier, despite a March 10 crash that killed 157 people.

The causes of the Flight 302 tragedy will likely take months to establish. While much of the international focus has been on U.S. planemaker Boeing and its 737 MAX 8 jet, the airline’s reputation could also hinge on the results of the investigation.

Although crash inquiries focus on preventing future accidents rather than attributing liability, any findings that the carrier fell short in plane maintenance or piloting could be damaging.

For the present, however, passenger confidence in Ethiopian Airlines, long regarded as one of the most reliable in Africa, has remained steady, according to the company. Cancellation and booking rates are unchanged since the crash, said spokesman Asrat Begashaw.

“We are operating as normal,” he told Reuters. “Our brand is keeping its level, and we are okay.”

Two banking sources with knowledge of the matter said that, barring a major new twist in the investigation with long-term fallout, banks were still comfortable lending to Ethiopian Airlines.

“Ethiopian is a solid company,” said one, an official from an international bank that helped finance the acquisition of some Ethiopian Airlines planes. “No reason to change the way the bank sees its credit risk at this point.”

A vote of confidence from lenders is important for the airline because its years of rapid expansion have largely been financed by international borrowing.

The second source, a top European aviation banker, said Ethiopian Airlines was “a good airline, with a good reputation”.

“So unless it (the crash) is a major problem of piloting or maintenance – and it is far too early to talk about that – they will still have access to financing,” the source added.

The sources declined to be identified because the matters are confidential.

FOREIGN INVESTORS

Ethiopian Airlines has borrowed from foreign banks including JP Morgan, ING Capital and Societe Generale over the past decade. It also has outstanding bonds worth $540 million, though none due until 2024, Refinitiv data shows.

The borrowing helped finance the acquisition of stakes in or establish partnerships with at least four African carriers, establishing hubs to feed traffic into Addis Ababa. Last year, the Ethiopian capital overtook Dubai as the main gateway for long-haul passengers into Africa.

The airline’s fleet grew from 35 planes in 2007 to 111 in 2019. It now flies to more than 119 international destinations, up from 52 a decade ago.

The expansion has made the state-owned carrier, founded in 1945, the most profitable major airline on the continent. Ethiopian’s net profit in the 2017/18 financial year rose to $233 million from $229 million the previous year; operating revenue jumped 43 percent to $3.7 billion.

Last year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced plans to sell a minority stake in the airline as part of a broad strategy to open up the country to foreign investors.

Industry analysts said it was too early to evaluate the impact of the crash on the airline’s long-term plans but said, for now, its reputation remained largely intact.

“It’s a very strong management team, with good vision,” said Nawal Taneja, an author and professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies. “We’ve got to look at the strength of the airline as a whole, not just this one incident.”

PARTNERS, BOEING BOOKINGS

Those who want to travel across Africa have few options other than flying. Conflict, poor roads, and limited cross-border train transport often make travel by land difficult.

Analysts said the crash was unlikely to damage Ethiopian’s partnerships with African carriers, key to a strategy that helped increase passenger numbers from 2.5 million a decade ago to 10.6 million last year, or with other industry players.

One such partner is ASKY, a Togo-based carrier which Ethiopian Airlines helped launch in 2010.

“Ethiopian’s accident has not affected our partnership in any way,” said Lionel Tsoto, the airline’s head of public relations. “We continue just as before.”

Global aviation leasing firm GECAS said the airline was a “close and valued partner who we look forward to working with in the future”.

The crash, which saw the Nairobi-bound flight go down minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, triggered a global grounding of 737 MAX planes, wiping about 10 percent off Boeing’s share price. GRAPHIC: http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/testfiles/boeing737maxseries

Investigators have noted similarities with another deadly crash in Indonesia five months ago involving a plane of the same type owned by Lion Air, but safety officials stress the investigation is at an early stage.

Ethiopian Airlines, which grounded its handful of remaining 737 MAX planes, said it would decide whether to cancel orders for 29 others after a preliminary investigation.

Analysts said it was unlikely that the carrier would cancel the orders, worth $3.5 billion at the current list price, because Boeing would have to fix any problems before regulators permit the jet to fly again.

Boeing will be keen to retain the airline as a customer; more than half of Ethiopian’s fleet are Boeing jets.

“Ethiopian have been very loyal to Boeing in the past,” said Phil Seymour, chief executive of the IBA Group, a Surrey-based aviation consultancy.

“They will be in control of the conversation with Boeing now,” he added. “I would suspect that the business decision is to stick with the order.”

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher and Inti Landauro in Paris, Rachel Armstrong in London, Maggie Fick in Addis Ababa and John Zodzi in Lome; Editing by Katharine Houreld, Alexandra Zavis and Pravin Char)

Source: OANN

A trader passes by screens showing Spotify on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: A trader passes by screens showing Spotify on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 19, 2019

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures rose slightly on Tuesday as investors anticipated a more accommodative policy stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve in a two-day policy meeting this week.

A flurry of downbeat economic data this month has supported market expectations that the Fed may reinforce a halt to further rises in interest rates.

The Fed concludes its deliberations with a news conference on Wednesday.

Investors will also be watching out for the central bank’s “dot plot,” a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years, along with details on its plan to reduce holdings in bonds.

Traders currently expect no rate hikes this year, and are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020.

Optimism that the Fed will remain less aggressive in raising rates and hopes of a resolution to a bitter trade dispute between the U.S. and China helped the markets claw back most of their losses from late last year.

The benchmark S&P 500 hovers at a five-month high and is just 3.5 percent away from its September record closing high.

At 7:04 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 102 points, or 0.39 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 11.25 points, or 0.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 27 points, or 0.37 percent.

Technology and financial stocks helped Wall Street’s three main indexes rise on Monday, the benchmark index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s fifth rise in last six sessions.

The blue-chip Dow’s advance has been hindered by Boeing Co as the world’s largest planemaker faces increased scrutiny in the wake of two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX aircraft in five months.

Boeing shares slipped 0.6 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday after shedding about 12 percent since the March 10 plane crash in Ethiopia.

Chip designer Nvidia Corp jumped 1.6 percent on partnering with Softbank Group Corp and LG Uplus Corp to deploy cloud gaming servers in Japan and Korea later this year.

In economic news, data at 10 a.m. ET is expected to show new orders for U.S.-made goods rose 0.3 percent in January after edging up 0.1 percent the month before.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Red Cross workers carry a body bag with the remains of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash victims at the scene of a plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 19, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher

ADDIS ABABA/PARIS (Reuters) – The investigation into the final minutes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 turned on Tuesday to the secrets in the cockpit voice recorder as Boeing and a shaken global aviation industry hung on the outcome.

The voices of Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed could reveal what led to the March 10 crash of the Boeing 737 MAX that has worrying parallels with another disaster involving the same model off Indonesia in October.

(GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hn6V4k)

The twin disasters killed 346 people.

Black box data was downloaded in France but only Ethiopian experts leading the probe have heard the dialogue between Getachew, 29, and Mohammed, 25. The data was back in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, sources familiar with the probe told Reuters.

Experts believe a new automated system in Boeing’s flagship MAX fleet – intended to stop stalling by dipping the plane’s nose – may have played a role in both crashes, with pilots unable to override it as their jets plunged downwards.

Both came down just minutes after take-off after erratic flight patterns and loss of control reported by the pilots. However, every accident is a unique chain of human and technical factors, experts say.

The prestige of Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa’s most successful companies, and Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker and a massive U.S. exporter, is at stake in the inquiry.

AWKWARD QUESTIONS FOR INDUSTRY

Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the MAX model and how well pilots were trained on new features. For now, regulators have grounded the existing fleet of more than 300 MAX aircraft and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500 billion – are on hold.

Pressure on the Chicago-headquartered company has grown with news that federal prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Transportation are scrutinizing how carefully the MAX model was developed, two people briefed on the matter said.

The U.S. Justice Department was looking at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of Boeing, one of the people said. And a federal grand jury last week issued at least one subpoena to an entity involved in the plane’s development.

In the hope of getting its MAX line back into the air soon, Boeing said it will roll out a software update and revise pilot training. In the case of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, it has raised questions about whether crew used the correct procedures.

“Lives depend on the work we do,” acknowledged Boeing boss Dennis Muilenburg, facing the biggest crisis of his tenure.

The MAX, which offers cost savings of about 15 percent on fuel, was developed for service from 2017 after the successful launch by its main rival of the Airbus A320neo.

(GRAPHIC: The grounded 737 Max fleet – https://tmsnrt.rs/2u5sZYI)

After Ethiopia, France and the United States all noted parallels with the Indonesia crash, one person familiar with the probe said black box data showed the Ethiopian Airlines jet’s “angle of attack” was “very similar” to the Lion Air plane.

The angle of attack is a fundamental parameter of flight, measuring the degrees between the air flow and the wing. If it is too high, it can throw the plane into an aerodynamic stall.

GLOBAL RAMIFICATIONS

In the hot seat over its certification of the MAX without demanding additional training and its closeness to Boeing, the FAA has said it is “absolutely” confident in its vetting.

But given the U.S. probe, Canada said it would re-examine its acceptance of the FAA validation and do its own independent certification.

The crisis has put the airline world in a spin.

One company, Norwegian Airlines, has already said it will seek compensation after grounding its MAX aircraft.

Various firms are reconsidering Boeing orders, and some airlines are revising profit forecasts given they now cannot count on maintenance and fuel savings factored in from the MAX.

Beyond the corporate ramifications, anguished relatives are still waiting to find out what happened.

Many have been visiting the crash site in a charred field to seek some closure, but there is anger at the slow pace of information and all they have been given for funerals is earth.

Abdulmajid Shariff, a Yemeni who lost his brother-in-law, was heading home on Tuesday. “I’m just so terribly sad. I had to leave here without the body of my dead brother. But I have to praise almighty God, there is nothing more to do.”

(Reporting by Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Tim Hepher in Paris, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Jamie Freed in Singapore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The Justice Department is investigating Boeing’s development process for the 737 Max jetliner after two high-profile accidents appear to involve the planes’ anti-stall systems, The Wall Street Journal reports.

A grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a subpoena for documents from one person involved in the development process on March 11, TheWSJ reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. The investigation comes alongside a Department of Transportation probe into the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval process that certified the Boeing plane and its safety and training procedures.

It is unclear whether the two investigations are separate or two parts of a larger inquiry, reported TheWSJ. (RELATED: Ethiopian Boeing Flight ‘Smoked And Shuddered’ Minutes Before Crash)

The Justice Department’s involvement could signal that criminal charges are on the table for those involved in the Max’s development. A prosecutor in the department’s criminal division was listed as a contact on the subpoena, according to TheWSJ.

Two separate crashes, one in October 2018 and another in March, involved Boeing’s Max model. In October 2018, a Max operated by Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff and investigators suspect a flaw in the system’s anti-stall system caused it, CNN reports.

On March 10, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. Boeing investigators are working with the Ethiopian government to identify the cause of the crash. Ethiopia’s transport minister acknowledged that the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes shared “clear similarities” on Sunday.

Members of the Ethiopian red cross search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Members of the Ethiopian red cross search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Many nations have enacted bans on flying Max planes since the Ethiopian Airlines crash. President Donald Trump banned the use of the plane Wednesday, grounding all flights in the U.S. scheduled to use the plane.

Pilots in the U.S. complained multiple times about the Max model plane before the March crash. Several of the complaints cited the model’s anti-stall system. The system sometimes measured false data on takeoff, and it would push the plane’s nose down toward the ground to prevent a stall. Pilots regained control of the plane and continued climbing only after turning off the system.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Ethiopian Federal policemen stand near engine parts at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
FILE PHOTO – Ethiopian Federal policemen stand near engine parts at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 18, 2019

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Investigators probing the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX jet eight days ago have found strong similarities in the ‘angle of attack’ data recorded by the doomed aircraft’s cockpit recorder and data from a Lion Air jet of the same model that crashed in October, a person familiar with the matter said.

Graphs of the two sets of data are “very, very simliar,” the person said on Monday, asking not to be identified because the matter is still in the early stages of investigation.

The angle is a key flight parameter that must remain narrow enough to preserve lift and avoid an aerodynamic stall.

A flight deck computer’s response to readings from an apparently faulty angle-of-attack sensor is at the centre of an ongoing probe into the Lion Air disaster.

The similarity between the two data readings on the Ethiopian and Lion Air flights will be subjected to further investigation, the person said.

Ethiopian and other investigators were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron greets Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta as they address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron greets Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta as they address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

March 18, 2019

By John Irish

NAIROBI (Reuters) – On a trip to East Africa last week, a beaming French President Emmanuel Macron was driven through the grounds of the Kenyan president’s official residence in a locally assembled Peugeot 3008 car.

Two days earlier, he toured churches hewn into the rock in Ethiopia. On a visit last year, he went to a Nigerian nightclub.

Macron, 41, is trying to recast the style of France’s engagement in Africa, where it was once a colonial power, hoping that building warmer cultural and personal ties will help boost business, trade and investment.

He signed contracts worth about 2 billion euros ($2.27 billion) while in Kenya, whereas British Prime Minister Theresa May did not conclude any on a similar trip last August.

A consortium led by Vinci secured a 30-year concession worth 1.6 billion euros to operate a highway linking the Kenyan capital and Mau Summit in western Kenya. Renewables firm Voltalia sealed a 70-million-euro contract for a solar power plant and an Airbus-led consortium won a 200 million euro deal for coastal and maritime surveillance.

But Macron’s four-day tour of Kenya, Ethiopia and former colony Djibouti showed how big a battle France faces in Africa, where China, Turkey and others have moved in quickly and aggressively, and competition is fierce from African countries.

In 2017, French exports to Kenya, a former British colony, were about $200 million — about half Uganda’s exports to its neighbor. China exported $3.8 billion, making it Kenya’s biggest trading partner.

The personal touch is vital when competing with China, French officials say.

“We’ve always used that form of diplomacy to implant ourselves,” said a French diplomat in the region. “But it becomes all the more important when facing China, because it differentiates us from their contract-oriented, low-cost, low-interest model of doing business.”

TOUGH TASK

Trade figures across the continent show how tough the task ahead is for France, the world’s sixth largest economy.

From 2000 to 2017, the portion of all French exports that went to Africa halved from 11 percent to 5.5 percent. The main competition has come from Chinese goods, particularly in French-speaking West Africa.

Since coming to office in May 2017, Macron, who spent several months as a diplomatic intern in Nigeria in the early 2000s, has visited 16 African states, with two visits each to Mali and Morocco.

He has focused mainly on long-running relationships in French-speaking Africa, particularly the Sahel, where the responsibilities of the 4,500 French troops deployed there include fighting Islamic State. But he also has sought to build ties with Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Last week’s trip was a chance for Macron to show that “for too long we treated these East African countries like Banana Republics and they don’t like that,” said a former French envoy.

“They have resources, financial means and growth. “I’m not convinced that what is seen as ‘our Africa’ (France’s former colonies) can offer the business opportunities we have elsewhere on the continent.”

France is now seeking more targeted investments in specific sectors. The national development agency pours about 5 billion euros a year into Africa yet that barely scratches the surface alongside the cheap loans, big infrastructure investments and financing by China.

“It’s not easy to develop these economic links,” said Francois Gualme of the French Institute of International Relations, who worked for France’s development agency. “There’s a political presence, but the economic presence remains small.”

“FRANCE MUST COME BACK”

In Ethiopia, Macron said he wanted a new economic relationship, but Beijing has also been forging economic ties with Addis Ababa. China rebuilt, and financed through a multi-billion dollar loan, the rail link between the Ethiopian capital and Djibouti that was constructed by the French in 1917.

There are many signs of China’s presence, including Chinese laborers building skyscrapers or greetings of “Ni Hao” from children. Some Ethiopians resent the Chinese influence and hark back to when French and European influence was felt more widely.

Near the old French railway terminus in Addis Ababa, a group of former rail employees sat chatting in French at the Railway Workers’ Club in between games of petanque.

“You are from Paris, this is all from Paris,” said one who gave his name only as Getachew. “France must come back.”

That sentiment was expressed elsewhere in Ethiopia, where France has said it will share its expertise to develop tourism and rebuild the landlocked country’s navy.

“China is bad for us,” said Wonde, a 30-year-old taxi driver. “They bring China here — workers, food, women — and leave nothing for the Ethiopians.”

But the small group of business leaders that accompanied Macron on his trip showed few signs of cashing in on this sentiment. The delegation included the chief executive of telecoms group Orange, which wants to position itself in Ethiopia before the state telecoms operator is privatized, but its prospects are no clearer after the trip.

Diplomats and members of the delegation said the potential is great in Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people, but complained about slow and excessive bureaucracy.

“There’s the political will from the prime minister, but the administration doesn’t necessarily agree with everything that’s being done,” said one French executive. “It will take time to clear the bureaucratic hurdles.”

PROSPECTS IN KENYA

In Kenya, an economy with a long record of enterprise and a British-style bureaucracy, the prospects appear brighter.

Automaker Peugeot assembles two models in the country and a range of French companies — from Vinci to water and waste utility Veolia, energy firm Total and electricity group EDF — are vying for opportunities in the East African country.

But French businesses account for just 1.4 percent of the total market share in Kenya, and France ranks only 17th among trading partners in the region’s most dynamic economy.

“The relationship is not so much unbalanced between our two countries,” Macron said alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. “It is worse — it is weak to poor.

Macron said France should develop manufacturing projects based in Kenya. Kenyatta appeared to welcome that but did not respond directly when asked what France could offer that China and other countries could not.

There was, at least, success during the trip for a smaller business. Christophe Passelande, chief executive of Malteries Soufflet, said his barley malting company broke ground on a vast new plant on the outskirts of Nairobi he hopes will tap into Kenya’s large and growing beer market.

“When it comes to malting, the important actors are not Chinese,” Passelande told Reuters. “Our industry has real French know-how, and because of that we’re here first.”

But there is no sign that France is about to catch up with China in Ethiopia.

Asked whether France was a preferable partner to China, an Ethiopian businessman accustomed to working with the Chinese said: “Why would we want to put all our eggs in one basket?”

(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier and Richard Lough; Editing by Luke Baker and Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

March 18, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher

ADDIS ABABA/PARIS (Reuters) – The world’s biggest planemaker faced escalating pressure on Monday after Ethiopia pointed to parallels between its crash and one in Indonesia, sharping the focus on the safety of software installed in Boeing 737 MAX planes.

The Ethiopian Airlines disaster eight days ago killed 157 people, grounded Boeing’s marquee MAX fleet worldwide, and sparked a high-stakes inquiry for the shaken aviation industry.

Ethiopian Airlines, whose reputation also hinges on the investigation, said at the weekend initial analysis of the black boxes showed “clear similarities” with a Lion Air flight from Jakarta in October which crashed killing 189 people.

Both planes were MAX 8s and crashed minutes after take-off with pilots reporting flight control problems.

Under scrutiny is a new automated system in the MAX model that guides the nose lower to avoid stalling.

Lawmakers and safety experts are asking how thoroughly regulators vetted the system and how well pilots around the world were trained for it when their airlines bought new planes.

Ethiopian Transport Ministry spokesman Muse Yiheyis said on Sunday that data recovered from the black boxes by investigators in Paris demonstrated parallels with the Lion Air crash and had been validated by U.S. experts.

U.S. officials did not corroborate that.

With the prestige of one of the United States’ biggest exporters at stake, Boeing has said the MAX series is safe, though it plans to roll out new software upgrades shortly.

The grounded 737 Max fleet: https://tmsnrt.rs/2u5sZYI

Ethiopian Airlines crash: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hn6V4k

SHADOW OVER 737 MAX

Boeing has lost billions of dollars of market value since the crash, and halted deliveries of its best-selling model, one intended to be the industry standard but now under a shadow.

There were more than 300 MAX airplanes in operation at the time of the Ethiopian crash, and nearly 5,000 more on order.

Media reports heaped further pressure on Boeing.

The Seattle Times said the company’s safety analysis of a new flight control system known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) had crucial flaws, including understating the power of the system.

It also said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) followed a standard certification process on the MAX rather than detailed extra inquiries. The FAA declined to comment, but has said the process followed normal process.

The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors and U.S. Department of Transportation were scrutinizing the FAA’s approval of the MAX series, while a jury had issued a subpoena to at least one person involved in its development.

Boeing and the FAA declined to comment on that.

Last week, sources told Reuters that investigators found a piece of a stabilizer in the Ethiopian wreckage set in an unusual position similar to that of the Lion Air plane.

Ethiopia is leading the probe, though the black boxes were sent to France and U.S. experts are also participating.

It was unclear how many of the roughly 1,800 parameters of flight data and two hours of cockpit recordings, spanning the doomed six-minute flight and earlier trips, had been taken into account in the preliminary Ethiopian analysis.

In Addis Ababa, a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording of the plane’s communications, said flight 302 had an unusually high speed after take-off before it reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly.

CLOSURE?

The inquiry is not only crucial to give some closure to the families of the victims, who came from nearly three dozen countries, but also has huge financial implications for Boeing and its many customers worldwide.

The MAX is Boeing’s best-selling model ever, with a backlog of orders worth well over $500 billion at a list price of $121 million each.

Norwegian Airlines has already said it will seek compensation after grounding its MAX aircraft, and various companies are re-considering orders.

Some airlines are revising financial forecasts, too, given the MAX had been factored in as providing some maintenance and fuel savings.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg sought to allay some fears at the weekend.

“While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs,” he said.

Dozens of aviation authorities had grounded the MAX series before acting U.S. FAA boss Daniel Elwell said the United States would do the same.

One source close to the probe said Ethiopian officials had been reluctant to share information with U.S. investigation teams and the planemaker.

“There was a lot of distrust, especially at first, but it is easing,” the source said, asking not to be named.

There have also been arguments over access to the crater left by the explosive high-speed impact of Flight 302.

The agony for families of the dead in Ethiopia has been compounded by their inability to bury remains. Charred fragments are all that remain and DNA testing may take months.

(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; editing by Jason Neely)

Source: OANN

A trader works on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 18, 2019

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures eked out gains on Monday following the S&P and Nasdaq’s strongest weekly gain this year, while investors waited for further details from a Federal Reserve policy meeting later this week.

The Dow futures were under pressure from shares of Boeing Co which slipped 3 percent in premarket trading after Ethiopia said an initial analysis of black boxes showed “clear similarities” in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane with October’s Lion Air crash.

Both planes were Boeing’s money-spinning MAX 8s and concerns over the plane’s safety led to its grounding around the world last week, wiping off nearly $24.6 billion from Boeing’s market value.

At 7:07 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 48 points, or 0.19 percent.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.75 points, or 0.1 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.75 points, or 0.12 percent.

In focus this week is the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting which begins on Tuesday, where the central bank is widely expected to stick to its pledge of a “patient” approach to monetary policy.

Investors will be looking for whether policymakers will have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.

Also expected are more details on a plan to stop cutting the Fed’s holdings of nearly $3.8 trillion in bonds.

Traders currently expect there will be no interest rate hikes this year, and are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020.

This comes on the heels of a batch of weak economic data last week that validated the Fed’s decision to remain less aggressive on raising rates which supported markets.

That added to hopes of a positive outcome from the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks and helped the S&P 500 and Nasdaq end last week at five-month highs and notch their best weekly gain this year.

The benchmark index now remains just 3.8 percent away from its September all-time closing high.

In economic news, the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index is expected to show a reading of 63 in March, up from 62 in February. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

March 18, 2019

(Reuters) – European stocks extended a recent run of gains on Monday, helped by a jump in shares in German lenders Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank after they confirmed over the weekend they were in talks to merge.

Deutsche Bank’s shares rose 3.4 percent and Commerzbank’s shares jumped 5.4 percent, lifting Europe’s banking sector by 0.6 percent.

The banks issued short statements following separate meetings of their management boards, indicating a quickening of pace in the merger process, although both also warned that a deal was far from certain.

They topped the gainers on the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which gained 0.14 percent at 0823 GMT, surpassing a five-month closing high it hit on Friday on the back of hopes of a less chaotic Brexit and progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

London’s FTSE 100 outperformed its euro-peers with a 0.3 percent gain at the start of a week that is expected to see parliament voting for a third time on Prime Minister’s Theresa May’s Brexit plan after ruling out a near-term no-deal exit.

Among other individual movers, Germany’s automotive cable and wiring system specialist Leoni sank almost 20 percent to its lowest in nearly nine years after the company abandoned a 2019 profit target it issued just last month, unveiled job cuts as well as possible divestments and said its finance chief would quit.

Boeing’s Frankfurt-listed shares dropped 2 percent after the Seattle Times reported the plane maker’s safety analysis of a new flight control system on MAX jets, one of those that crashed last week in Ethiopia.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason)

Source: OANN

A woman mourns next to coffins during the burial ceremony of the Ethiopian Airline Flight ET 302 crash victims at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Orthodox church in Addis Ababa
A woman mourns next to coffins during the burial ceremony of the Ethiopian Airline Flight ET 302 crash victims at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Orthodox church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Maheder Haileselassie

March 17, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia said on Sunday the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people had “clear similarities” with October’s Lion Air crash, according to analysis of the black boxes recovered from the wreckage of the March 10 disaster.

Both planes were Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and both crashed minutes after take off after pilots reported flight control problems. Concern over the plane’s safety caused aviation authorities worldwide to ground the model, wiping billions of dollars off Boeing’s market value.

Investigators are trying to determine why the aircraft plunged into a field shortly after take off from Addis Ababa, searching for possible similarities to an October Lion Air crash that killed 189 people.

“It was the same case with the Indonesian (Lion Air) one. There were clear similarities between the two crashes so far,” Ethiopian transport ministry spokesman Muse Yiheyis said.

“The data was successfully recovered. Both the American team and our (Ethiopian) team validated it. The minister thanked the French government. We will let you know more after three or four days,” he told Reuters.

In Washington, U.S. officials told Reuters that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board have not validated the data yet.

When investigators, after reviewing black box data, return to Addis Ababa and start conducting interpretive work, the NTSB and FAA will assist in verification and validation of the data, an official said.

In Paris, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said data from the jet’s cockpit voice recorder had been successfully downloaded. The French agency said in a tweet it had not listened to the audio files and that the data had been transferred to Ethiopian investigators.

In Addis Ababa, a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording of the plane’s communications said flight 302 had an unusually high speed after take-off before the plane reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly.

Ethiopian Airlines crash: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hn6V4k

SAFETY ANALYSIS

A preliminary report on the crash is to be released within 30 days, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the transport minister.

The Seattle Times reported that Boeing’s safety analysis of a new flight control system on 737 MAX jets had several crucial flaws.

The analysis of the system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) understated the power of this system, the Seattle Times said, citing current and former engineers at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA also did not delve into any detailed inquiries and followed a standard certification process on the MAX, the Seattle Times reported citing an FAA spokesman.

The FAA declined to comment on the Seattle Times report but referred to previous statements about the certification process. It has said the 737-MAX certification process followed the FAA’s standard certification process.

The report also said both Boeing and the FAA were informed of the specifics of this story and were asked for responses 11 days ago, before the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX last Sunday that killed all 157 people on board. The same model flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia in October, killing all 189 on board.

Last Monday Boeing said it would deploy a software upgrade to the 737 MAX 8, a few hours after the FAA said it would mandate “design changes” in the aircraft by April.

A Boeing spokesman said 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the identical FAA requirements and processes that have governed certification of all previous new airplanes and derivatives. The spokesman said the FAA concluded that MCAS on 737 MAX met all certification and regulatory requirements.

In Addis Ababa, aviation staff gathered at Bole International Airport to remember the two pilots and six crew, who perished along with the 149 passengers.

Weeping women held single stems in their shaking hands. Banks of the white flowers, the traditional color of mourning, were placed in front of a row of empty coffins at the ceremony.

The grounded 737 Max fleet: https://tmsnrt.rs/2u5sZYI

(Additional reporting by David Shepardson, Gaurika Juneja, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

Candles arranged in a heart-shape at a prayer session, as relatives mourn their kin, during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa
Candles arranged in a heart-shape at a prayer session, as relatives mourn their kin, during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 17, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – An aircraft hangar in the Ethiopian capital was filled with the white roses as aviation staff gathered on Sunday to remember the two pilots and six crew, who perished along with 149 passengers in the Ethiopia Airlines crash a week ago.

Weeping women held slender single stems in their shaking hands and banks of the flowers, traditionally used to mark the passing of lives, were placed in front of a row of empty coffins at the ceremony.

A band – some of the musicians in tears – played traditional Amharic music. The music stopped temporarily as band members ran to comfort bereaved relatives who lunged forward, wailing to grieve over the coffins.

“Our deep sorrow cannot bring them back,” an Orthodox priest in a traditional black turban and black robes told the crowd.

“This is the grief of the world,” he said, as Ethiopian Airlines staff sobbed in each other’s arms.

At least the crash had taken place in Ethiopia – the holy land – he said, prompting “amens” from the crowd.

In faraway Paris, investigators are examining black box recorders to determine why the aircraft plunged into field shortly after take off from Addis Ababa, searching for similarities to an October Lion Air crash that killed 189 people.

Both crashes involved the same model of plane – a Boeing 737 MAX 8 – causing aviation authorities to ground the model around the world after last week’s accident.

But in the Ethiopian capital, families and airline staff were focused on honoring their dead.

In the aircraft hangar, a banner offered “deepest condolences and comfort” to the families of the deceased crew.

A female flight attendant spoke warmly of the deceased captain, Yared Getachew.

“He was a really nice person, a good person, all the words you can find to talk about a good person apply. He was a very kind human being,” she said, before dissolving in tears.

A service for the families of passengers is scheduled later on Sunday. Relatives of the families – more than 30 nationalities were onboard – will gather beneath the pink stone spires of Addis Ababa’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The families have been given charred earth from the crash site to bury, because most of the bodies were destroyed by the impact and fire. Identifying the small remains that have been collected may take up to six months.

(GRAPHIC – Ethiopian Airlines crash: https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(GRAPHIC – Grounded flights: https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6jQbI)

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI

March 16, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, which crashed killing 157 people, had an unusually high speed after take-off before the plane reported problems and asked permission to climb quickly, said a source who has listened to the air traffic control recording.

A voice from the cockpit of the Boeing 737 MAX requested to climb to 14,000 feet above sea level – about 6,400 feet above the airport – before urgently asking to return, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the recording is part of an ongoing investigation.

The plane vanished from radar at 10,800 feet.

“He said he had a flight control problem. That is why he wanted to climb,” the source said, adding there were no further details given of the exact problem and the voice sounded nervous.

Experts say pilots typically ask to climb when experiencing problems near the ground in order to gain margin for maneuver and avoid any difficult terrain. Addis Ababa is surrounded by hills and, immediately to the north, the Entoto Mountains.

The New York Times reported Captain Yared Getachew’s voice was on the recording but the Reuters source was not familiar with his voice or that of the first officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur to verify which man was speaking. However, it was the same voice throughout, the source said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday followed other countries in grounding the 737 MAX, citing satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and “the possibility of a shared cause” with October’s Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

On Saturday, investigators began studying the cockpit voice recorder. Along with the flight data recorder, the information will be evaluated by Ethiopian authorities, teams from Boeing, and U.S. and EU aviation safety authorities to try to determine the cause of the crash.

HIGH SPEED, FAILED CLIMB

The Ethiopian flight was set to follow the Standard Instrument Departure (SID) from the airport and followed standard procedure with a first contact just after departure, the source said. Everything appeared normal.

After one or two minutes, the voice on the air traffic control recording requested to remain on the same path as the runway and to climb to 14,000 feet, the source said.

The aircraft’s ground speed after departure was unusually high, the Reuters source said, reaching around 400 knots (460 miles per hour) rather than the 200 to 250 knots that is more typical minutes after departure.

“That is way too fast,” the source said.

No more than two minutes later, the air traffic controller was in communication with other aircraft when the voice from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 interrupted, saying “break, break” – signaling that other non-urgent communications should cease. He sounded very scared, the source said.

“He requested permission to return. Air traffic control granted him permission to turn on the right because to the left is the city,” he said. “Maybe one minute passed before the blinking dot on the radar disappeared.”

After starting the turn, the plane disappeared from radar at an altitude of 10,800 feet above sea level, the highest it reached during the six-minute flight. Addis Ababa’s runway is at a high elevation of around 7,600 feet, suggesting the doomed jet made it about 3,000 feet into the sky.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 had data covering the first half of the flight but it dropped out at 8,600 feet.

Other satellite data tracking the plane has not been made available publicly. In the Lion Air crash, investigators are examining the behavior of a new anti-stall system installed on the 737 MAX that led to the plane gaining and losing altitude as the pilots fought for control against the automated system.

Boeing is expected to finalize a software fix for that system within a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said earlier on Saturday.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick; Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld, Jamie Freed, Tim Hepher; Editing by Leigh Thomas, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

Member of a rescue team stands at the secured wreckage of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
A member of a rescue team stands at the secured wreckage of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 16, 2019

By Aaron Maasho and Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines said on Saturday that DNA testing of the remains of the 157 passengers on board flight 302 may take up to six months as it offered bereaved families charred earth from the plane crash site to bury.

A team of investigators in Paris have begun examining the black box recorders recovered from the site where the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed into a field on Sunday after taking off from Addis Ababa. Passengers from more than 30 nations were aboard.

As families wait for the results from the investigation into the cause of the crash, Ethiopian Airlines is planning to hold a service on Sunday in Addis Ababa, at the Kidist Selassie, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, where many of the country’s past rulers are buried beneath its pink stone spires.

“We were told by the company that we will be given a kilo (of earth) each for burial at Selassie Church for a funeral they will organize,” said one family member who asked not to be named.

Papers given to the families at the Skylight Hotel on Saturday said death certificates would be issued within two weeks, and an initial payment made to cover immediate expenses.

The return of remains – most of which are charred and fragmented – would take up to six months, the papers said, but in the meantime earth from the crash site would be given.

Abdulmajid Sheriff, a Kenyan whose Yemeni brother-in-law died, said they had already held a service.

“We are Muslims we didn’t care about that (earth). We did yesterday our prayers at the mosque and that is all for us.”

Experts say it is too soon to know what caused the crash, but aviation authorities worldwide have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAXs, as concerns over the plane caused the company’s share price to tumble by around 10 percent.

Flight data has already indicated some similarities with a crash by the same model of plane during a Lion Air flight in October. All 189 people onboard were killed. Both planes crashed within minutes of take off after pilots reported problems.

The grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets after the crash in Ethiopia has had no immediate financial impact on airlines using the planes, but it will get painful for the industry the longer they do not fly, companies and analysts said on Friday

Boeing plans to release upgraded software for its 737 MAX in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said.

The U.S. planemaker has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash.

(GRAPHIC: Grounded flights – https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6jQbI)

(GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash – https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is seen in Monaco
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is seen in Monaco, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) – Distance races are expected to continue at Oregon’s Prefontaine Classic and also at other meetings even though the Diamond League is dropping events longer than 3,000 meters from its globally televised program in 2020, officials say.

“When we are back at the new Hayward Field I imagine that we would have the distance night on Friday as we have had in the past that could feature a 10,000 meters, could feature a 5,000 meters, or could feature one of each for men and women,” Tom Jordan, meeting director of the Diamond League’s Prefontaine Classic, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“We are certainly going to play to our base and that is middle and long distance plus virtually every event,” added Jordan, whose meet is moving to the San Francisco area this year while a new stadium is built in Eugene for the 2021 world championships.

The sport’s governing IAAF announced on Monday that beginning in 2020 the number of Diamond League disciplines will be cut from 32 to 24 with 12 each for men and women and the longest event on the circuit’s televised program will be 3,000 meters.

But that does not prevent meetings from holding other events, according to Jordan and the International Association of Athletics Federations CEO Jon Ridgeon.

Along with a 90-minute international window for television broadcasts, “DL Meetings will also offer a further 30 minutes plus of additional coverage to their own domestic broadcaster, which will include extra domestic-themed events,” Ridgeon said in a statement.

“If deemed to be of sufficient quality, this additional coverage will also be offered to the International broadcasters if they wish to take it.”

The changes are part of an effort to develop a faster and more concentrated format that is more attractive to audiences.

The plans brought immediate disapproval from athletics officials in distance-oriented Ethiopia and Kenya.

“It is a sad decision that will disproportionately affect Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as East Africa as a whole,” Ethiopian running great Haile Gebrselassie told Reuters.

Barnaba Korir, chairman of the Athletics Kenya Nairobi region, said track and field would lose its historical significance and financial incentives if the long distances were dropped.

“Historically, the longer distances were the pillar of track and field. Marathon was the pride of the Olympics, and 5,000m and 10,000m races were what made track and field interesting,” the former 10,000m and road runner told Reuters.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Ken Ferris)

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Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, speaks at a news conference at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) Secretary General, speaks at a news conference at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 15, 2019

United Nations (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gueterres is appalled by Friday’s attack on two New Zealand mosques and sees an urgent need to work better globally to tackle Islamophobia, his spokesman said.

Leaders around the world have expressed disgust and sorrow at the killing of 49 people in New Zealand mosques on Friday, with some saying that the demonization of Muslims fueled the attacks.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Villagers gather wreckages of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
Villagers gather wreckages of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 15, 2019

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Trucks and excavators are going onto the site of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, causing concern that vital evidence may be lost or crushed, two diplomatic sources said on Friday.

Some policemen have also been taking selfies inside the yellow tape lines demarcating the scene, witnesses said.

The crash five days ago killed 157 people, brought a global suspension of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and left a charred, debris-strewn crater in an Ethiopian field.

“The handling of the site is disastrous because they are letting trucks and excavators drive over it,” an Addis Ababa-based diplomat, who has visited the site and is representing some families of victims, told Reuters.

“There are concerns especially about the use of excavators. People are wondering how you can use them for recovery in such a site,” said another diplomatic source in Ethiopia who has visited the site multiple times this week.

Flight 302 crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday, leaving a hole 10 meters (33 feet) deep. The impact and fire left the plane in small fragments and destroyed the bodies of any passengers, leaving only remains.

Ethiopian Airlines did not respond to requests for comment on the handling of the site, but has assured the world it will investigate as quickly and seriously as possible.

Reuters reporters at the scene have seen excavators scooping up dirt, personal effects and bits of metal from the plane.

The debris is mostly piled at one side of the field, while rescue workers have bagged and removed what they could find of human remains.

Since Sunday, Red Cross workers and investigators have been combing the site, while grieving families have gathered to mourn and villagers have stood beyond the yellow tape watching.

On Monday, Ethiopian police who came to take over guarding the site for the evening walked under the tape and across the site as it was still being cleared. Some took selfies on their mobile phones, according to Reuters witnesses.

The airline has sent the black boxes to Paris where French and U.S. experts have joined an Ethiopian-led investigation.

One airline industry source said Ethiopian government authorities had told him there were no current plans to do DNA identification. He also complained that authorities were excavating the crash site without proper procedure.

(Reporting by Addis Ababa and Nairobi bureaux; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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FILE PHOTO: Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget
Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By David Shepardson, Richard Lough and Aaron Maasho

WASHINGTON/PARIS/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – French investigators on Friday will begin analyzing data from the black boxes of the Boeing 737 Max plane that crashed after takeoff from Addis Ababa killing 157 people, the second such calamity involving the aircraft since October.

Experts will be looking for any links between Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash and the October crash of a 737 Max operated by Lion Air in Indonesia that killed 189 people. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing MAX jets in service because of similarities between the two crashes.

Boeing said it had paused deliveries of its fastest-selling 737 MAX aircraft built at its factory near Seattle, but continues to produce the single-aisle version of the jet at full speed while dealing with the worldwide fleet’s grounding.

Possible links between the accidents have rocked the aviation industry, scared passengers, and left the world’s biggest planemaker scrambling to prove the safety of a money-spinning model intended to be the standard for decades.

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were handed over to France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) on Thursday. Technical analysis would begin on Friday and the first conclusions could take several days.

U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday the 737 Max fleet would be grounded for weeks if not longer until a software upgrade could be tested and installed.

Boeing has said it would roll out the software improvement “across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.”

The captain of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 requested permission to return to Addis Ababa airport three minutes after takeoff as it accelerated to abnormal speed, the New York Times reported.

All contact between air controllers and Flight 302 to Nairobi was lost five minutes after it took off, a person who reviewed air traffic communications told the newspaper.

Within a minute of the flight’s departure, Captain Yared Getachew reported a “flight control” problem as the aircraft was well below the minimum safe height during a climb, the Times reported, citing the person.

After being cleared by the control room to turn back, Flight 302 climbed to an unusually high altitude and disappeared from radar over a restricted military zone, the person added.

Relatives of the dead stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday, decrying a lack of transparency, while others made the painful trip to the crash scene.

“I can’t find you! Where are you?” said one Ethiopian woman, draped in traditional white mourning shawl, as she held a framed portrait of her brother in the charred and debris-strewn field.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended the 371 MAX models in operation, though airlines are largely coping by switching flights to other planes in their fleets.

Nearly 5,000 MAXs are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge for the industry.

“We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.

Boeing would maintain its production rate of 52 aircraft per month, of which the MAX, its newest version, represents the major share. However, Boeing declined to break out exact numbers.

CONNECTION TO INDONESIA CRASH?

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and “the possibility of a shared cause” with October’s crash in Indonesia.

The head of the Asian nation’s transport safety committee said the report into the Lion Air crash would be speeded up so it could be released in July to August, months earlier than its original timeframe.

Though it maintains the planes are safe, Boeing has supported the FAA move. Its stock is down about 11 percent since the crash, wiping more than $26 billion off its market value. It fell 1 percent on Thursday.

U.S. and Canadian carriers wrestled with customer calls and flight cancellations and Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, the largest U.S. operators of the 737 MAX, said they had started flying empty MAX aircraft to be parked elsewhere during the ban.

U.S. President Donald Trump, an aviation enthusiast with deep ties to Boeing, said he hoped the suspensions would be short. “They have to figure it out fast,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

A software fix for the 737 MAX that Boeing has been working on since the Lion Air crash in October will take months to complete, the FAA said on Wednesday.

In what may presage a raft of claims, Norwegian Air has said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX.

Airline Garuda Indonesia said there was a possibility it would cancel its 20-strong order of 737 MAXs, while Malaysia Airlines said it was reviewing an order for 25 of the aircraft.

Under international rules, Ethiopians are leading the investigation but France’s BEA will conduct black box analysis as an adviser. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was also sending three investigators to assist.

The cause of the Indonesian crash is still being investigated. A November preliminary report, before the retrieval of the cockpit voice recorder, focused on maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor, but gave no reason for the crash.

(For an interactive graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Reporting by Richard Lough, Tim Hepher and John Irish in Paris, Duncan Miriri and Aaron Masho in Addis Ababa, Jeff Mason and David Shepardson in Washington, Omar Mohammed and Maggie Fick in Nairobi; Danilo Masoni in Milan, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Neil Fullick)

Source: OANN

An American family lays flowers for their daughter, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
An American family lays flowers for their daughter, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 15, 2019

(Reuters) – The Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday killing 157 people requested permission to return to Addis Ababa airport three minutes after takeoff as it accelerated to abnormal speed, the New York Times reported.

All contact between air controllers and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to Nairobi was lost five minutes after it took off, a person who reviewed air traffic communications told the newspaper.

Within a minute of the flight’s departure, Captain Yared Getachew reported a “flight control” problem as the aircraft was well below the minimum safe height from the ground during a climb, the Times reported, citing the person.

After being cleared by the control room to turn back within three minutes of the flight, Flight 302 climbed to an unusually high altitude and disappeared from the radar over a restricted military zone, the person added.

The investigation of the crash is still in its early stages and black boxes with details of the flight’s final moments arrived in France on Thursday for analysis.

Experts say it is too early to speculate on what caused the crash or whether it is related to the Lion Air 737 Max 8 crash in Indonesia five months ago. Accident reports show most are caused by unique combinations of technical and human factors.

Ethiopian Airlines was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Source: OANN

A Saudi man who's brother died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, touches a debris after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
A Saudi man who’s brother died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, touches a debris after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 15, 2019

By Tom Hals, Brendan Pierson and Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – The crash of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX 8 passenger jet in Ethiopia raises the chances that families of the 157 victims, even non-U.S. residents, will be able to sue in U.S. courts, where payouts are larger than in other countries, some legal experts said.

Sunday’s crash occurred five months after the same model of the plane went down in Indonesia, an accident that prompted a string of U.S. lawsuits against Boeing by families of the 189 victims.

While no lawsuits have yet been filed since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, some plaintiffs’ lawyers said they expect that Boeing will be sued in the United States.

Boeing did not immediately comment.

The company, which has its corporate headquarters in Chicago, has often convinced U.S. judges to dismiss air crash cases in favor of litigation in the country where the evidence and witnesses are, usually where the crash occurred.

That allows the company to avoid U.S. juries, which can award hefty punitive damages to accident victims for wrongful death, emotional suffering and economic hardships of surviving family.

Boeing may have a tougher time with that strategy after the Ethiopian crash, some legal experts said.

This is partly because eight U.S. citizens died and because plaintiffs could argue that liability hinges on system design and safety decisions made by Boeing executives since the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

“Now with two crashes with a brand-new aircraft, what Boeing did in the intervening five months is more relevant, and that all happened in the United States,” said Daniel Rose, a lawyer with Kreindler & Kreindler, a firm that represents air crash victims and their relatives.

The causes are still unknown, but both involved a relatively new 737 MAX 8 aircraft that crashed within minutes of takeoff and experienced sudden drops in altitude when the aircrafts should have been steadily climbing.

This has raised fresh questions among regulators about a digital anti-stall system known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, designed specifically for the MAX to offset the extra lift from larger engines mounted on its low-slung frame.

In a March 4 court filing in litigation over the Indonesia crash, Boeing asked the judge to limit all discovery in the case to issues of forum, or which country the cased belonged, and said it planned to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

LIABILITY

While potential plaintiffs may name Ethiopian Airlines as a defendant in any lawsuits, the focus on the 737 MAX 8 anti-stall system makes Boeing a likely target of litigation, some lawyers said.

Arthur Wolk, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in air crash litigation and said he has been contacted by a potential plaintiff over the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said Boeing would likely face claims for strict liability. That means they could face an allegation of having sold a product that was inherently defective and dangerous.

Plaintiffs will also claim Boeing failed to exercise reasonable care in designing planes or failed to inform flight crews about how the planes operate, Wolk said.

Rose, the lawyer for passengers, said two accidents so close together will put the focus of any lawsuits on the Ethiopian crash on how Boeing tried to address problems with its MCAS system after the Lion Air crash.

“Were there other efforts by Boeing to essentially minimize the problem or hide the scope of the problem?” Rose asked. If lawyers can show Boeing management acted recklessly, it could clear the way for substantial punitive damages, he said.

Some lawyers who have worked on the other side of such cases are less sure about Boeing’s potential liability.

Kenneth Quinn, a lawyer who represents airlines and manufacturers, said he thought Boeing had a good chance of getting both sets of U.S. cases dismissed on forum grounds.

He said the trend in U.S. courts was in Boeing’s favor.

“Increasingly, attempts to litigate foreign crashes involving foreign airlines on foreign soil are being dismissed,” he said.

In November, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. dismissed a case against Boeing and other defendants stemming from the disappearance of a Malaysian Airlines flight in 2014 because the presumed crash had a stronger connection to Malaysia than the United States.

In 2011, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed 116 wrongful death and product liability cases against Boeing over the 2008 crash of a Spanair jet on a domestic flight in Spain, where the judge determined the cases should be heard.

If the company has to defend U.S. cases, it would likely argue that claims against it are preempted because the FAA had approved the plane’s design, said Justin Green, a plaintiffs lawyer.

While manufacturers in the past have enjoyed broad protection under the Federal Aviation Act, a decision by the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals has called into question whether manufacturers can rely on preemption when they could have easily submitted changes to the FAA for approval.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Brendan Pierson in New York; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton
FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including a 737 MAX 8 aircraft bearing the logo of China Southern Airlines (3rd L), are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

March 14, 2019

By Eric M. Johnson, Tim Hepher and Brenda Goh

SEATTLE/PARIS/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s move to ground Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jetliners following the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash has cast a shadow over the American planemaker’s immediate hopes for a major jet order linked to a U.S.-China trade deal, industry sources said.

Evidence of a major potential order for more than 100 jets worth well over $10 billion at list prices had risen in recent weeks as Washington and Beijing reported some progress in trade talks to resolve a months-long trade war.

Those expectations were fanned by signs of pent-up demand stemming not only from a drop in China’s public purchases as the two sides descended into a tariff war, but also because China placed no private orders for Boeing aircraft in 2018, according to trade and industry sources familiar with the matter.

Now, those sources say it is uncertain how quickly China will be willing to give the 737 MAX the expected new endorsement after ordering its own airlines to stop flying the jet – though much could change as Ethiopian investigators assemble clues to the second deadly crash of the brand-new model in five months.

On Wednesday, the United States joined a wave of nations grounding the 737 MAX in the wake of Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia, which killed all 157 people onboard. The planes will be grounded for weeks, U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday.

Analysts said the crash has added uncertainty for America’s largest exporter over sales to China.

“It is definitely on their list of concerns because China is Boeing’s biggest single export market,” Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said.

Even before the 737 MAX crisis, trade tensions had been widely seen as a growing source of risk for Boeing, which relies on China for one of four of the planes it delivers.

China is poised to overtake the United States as the world’s largest aviation market in the next decade and is gobbling up planes made by both Boeing and Airbus while it invests in homegrown aircraft businesses. Boeing sees Chinese demand for 7,700 jets over 20 years worth $1.2 trillion.

While the trade frictions have visibly hurt businesses such as U.S. soybean farmers and Chinese manufacturers, their impact on Boeing has been less clear.

China routinely places large, headline-grabbing jet orders to mark significant diplomatic moments, such as a deal for 300 Boeing jets signed during a visit by Trump to Beijing in 2017.

But analysts say that behind those headlines, such deals contain a mixture of new demand, repeats of older orders and credits against future deals, meaning the impact remains foggy.

The same could apply to any new bout of jet orders announced with a trade peace deal, a former industry negotiator said.

State buyer China Aviation Supplies declined comment.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is confident the United States could forge a trade deal with China, but ruled out making any deal that was not in U.S. interests.

It is possible China could also decide to use a large order of Airbus jets to relieve pent-up demand. Orders of European jets have slowed too, partly because Chinese buyers have been wary of wading into the trade row and because the economy is slowing.

An aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday there were encouraging signs Airbus was closing in on a long-negotiated deal with China for dozens of narrow-body jets.

SPEAKING SOFTLY

Tit-for-tat tariffs between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economic powers, have slowed the global economy and forced Boeing to walk a geopolitical tightrope for months.

On the one hand, Boeing has been increasing its industrial footprint in China as it aims to win business and increase its sales lead over Airbus in Asia.

On the other hand, Boeing executives have taken pains to sound measured when publicly discussing trade, in part to avoid clashing with Trump who has repeatedly said the U.S. must take steps to protect American jobs and technology.

One person with knowledge of the matter said before the groundings that Boeing could win a “massive” order led by 737s.

Company data shows Boeing did not win any publicly announced aircraft deals in mainland China last year as the U.S.-Sino trade fight festered into a full-blown trade war.

Just as significantly, trade sources say that for the first time in a number of years, Boeing did not win any new mainland orders of a type that are often booked without either party disclosing the name of the buyer due to complex approvals.

Analysts say any trade or safety ructions are unlikely to disturb a trend that sees China balance aircraft orders over time between Europe and the U.S. to achieve political balance.

But Yang Yingbao, a retired professor from the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, warned that if the trade war went unresolved, the dispute may force China’s hand.

“If the U.S. government interferes with the market, and not allow Boeing to smoothly sell planes, this will force China to buy Airbus’ planes.”

Boeing declined to comment for this story.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Tim Hepher in Paris, and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; additional reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore, Shanghai newsroom, Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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French President Emmanuel Macron sits among delegates at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Gigiri within Nairobi
French President Emmanuel Macron sits among delegates at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Gigiri within Nairobi, Kenya March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

March 14, 2019

By John Ndiso

NAIROBI (Reuters) – The World Bank and the African Development Bank will together commit more than $47 billion by 2025 to help African countries tackle the effects of climate change, the banks said on Thursday.

Many countries on the continent, especially those on the coast, are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels and coral reef deterioration.

Others are prone to more frequent droughts, desertification and floods.

The World Bank said in a statement it had pledged $22.5 billion for 2021-2025, while AfDB said it had committed $25 billion to climate finance between 2020 and 2025.

AfDB said the funds would be used to increase investment in renewable energy projects like solar power plants.

“The share of our portfolio that was in renewable energy generation between 2013 and 2015 was 59 percent but from 2015 to 2018 we moved from that to 95 percent,” AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina told Reuters on the sidelines of a U.N. environment meeting.

The World Bank said some of the beneficiaries of its funding would include projects in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya.

(Reporting by John Ndiso; Editing by George Obulutsa and Mark Potter)

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Ethiopian Federal policemen stand at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
Ethiopian Federal policemen stand at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 14, 2019

By Aaron Maasho and David Shepardson

ADDIS ABABA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two black boxes from the Boeing 737 MAX airplane that crashed in Ethiopia were being taken to Paris for investigation, Ethiopian Airlines said, as regulators around the world awaited word on whether it was safe to resume flying the jets.

Following the lead of other global aviation regulators unnerved by the second crash involving a 737 MAX in less than five months, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued orders on Wednesday for the planes to be grounded.

On Thursday morning in Addis Ababa, grieving relatives of the 157 victims of Sunday’s air disaster boarded buses for a three-hour journey to the crash site in a field 60 kilometers (37 miles) outside the Ethiopian capital. [L8N2110DL]

“We saw where he died and touched the earth,” said Sultan Al-Mutairi, who had come from Riyadh to mourn his brother, Saad, who perished in the crash.

Experts say it could take weeks or months to identify the victims, as their remains were scattered, charred and in fragments due to the impact of the crash and ensuing fire.

Both the Ethiopian Airlines crash and a Lion Air crash in Indonesia occurred shortly after take-off.

New information from the wreckage in Ethiopia and newly refined data about the plane’s flight path indicated some similarities between the two disasters “that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause,” the FAA said in a statement.

An Ethiopian delegation led by the accident investigation bureau has flown the black boxes from the Ethiopia plane crash from Addis Ababa to Paris for investigation, Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday.

France’s air accident investigation agency BEA will analyze black-box flight recorders, a spokesman said.

The contents of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder that will be examined in France will provide critical details about what caused the plane crash, according to experts.

The acting administrator of the FAA, Daniel Elwell, said he did not know how long the U.S. grounding of the aircraft would last. A software fix for the 737 MAX that Boeing has been working on since a fatal crash last October in Indonesia will take months to complete, Elwell told reporters on Wednesday.

Deliveries of Boeing’s best-selling 737 MAX jets were effectively frozen, though production continued, after the United States joined a global grounding of the narrowbody model over safety concerns, industry sources said.

All 737 MAX jets have now been grounded, flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said. An Air Canada flight from San Francisco to Halifax was the last to land late on Wednesday.

With the uncertainty hanging over the 737 MAX, a French presidential source said European planemaker Airbus and Ethiopian Airlines are discussing a possible new contract as part of the airline’s fleet renovation.

The official said President Emmanuel Macron and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had spoken about a possible new contract during Macron’s visit to Addis Ababa earlier this week.

Airlines operating the 371 737 MAX jets that have been delivered since its 2017 debut said they had canceled some of their flights and rearranged schedules to use other jets in their fleets.

“Our goal is to operate our schedule with every available aircraft in our fleet to meet our customers’ expectations during the busy spring travel season,” said U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines Co, the world’s biggest operator of the 737 MAX.

Boeing, which maintained that its planes were safe to fly, said in a statement that it supported the FAA move.

“Boeing has determined – out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety – to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.”

(Reporting by Aaron Masho in Addis Ababa and David Shepardson in Washington; additional reporting by Omar Mohammed and Maggie Fick in Nairobi and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Jamie Freed)

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Chinese family and friends mourn victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash during a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
Chinese family and friends mourn victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash during a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 14, 2019

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopians clad in traditional mourning shawls and other black clothing gathered silently in a hotel conference room in Addis Ababa on Thursday, the loved ones of victims of ET Flight 302, before boarding buses headed for the crash site.

Couples held each other, slumped forward in their chairs and gazing downwards. Some men held their heads in their hands. Women in head scarves leaned for comfort against the chests of their relatives.

Some stood up to ask questions. They said they wanted more “transparency” from the airlines and more details of Sunday’s accident.

An airlines staff member replied that the crash was under investigation and that more details were emerging day by day.

A stoic man in a dark coat said he was steeling himself for the three-hour journey to the crash site.

Tewfik Ahmed, 39, was raised by the father of Ahmed Nur Mohammed, the deputy pilot of ET 302. Tewfik traveled from his home in the south of the country to pay his respects.

“Ahmed was the pride of the family,” he told Reuters, seated alongside several other mourners. “Heading to the site is the least I can do for him.”

All 149 passengers and eight crew aboard the flight were killed when their Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed six minutes after taking off from the high-altitude capital of Ethiopia. The nation of 105 million people has long been proud of its state-owned airlines, its most successful company and the only profitable airline in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nine Ethiopians were killed in the crash, along with 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, and eight people each from China and Italy. A total of 35 nationalities were on board.

The mourners gathered at the Ethiopian Airlines-owned Skylight Hotel near Bole International Airport. Some held up framed photographs of young loved ones.

The room filled over the course of a half hour, becoming a packed, makeshift grieving center.

An Ethiopian Airlines staff member, also wearing black, told the mourners it was offering them free accommodation. She also said the company would provide counseling. The staff members were flanked by bouquets of white roses and white candles.

BLACK BOXES FLOWN TO PARIS

The embassies of Canada, China, and Kenya had also asked Ethiopian Airlines to set up conference rooms for the families of victims from their countries. Early on Thursday morning, those rooms contained the national flags of those countries, but no relatives or friends of the victims.

The airline said on Twitter that an Ethiopian delegation had flown the black boxes from flight ET 302 to Paris for investigation. The contents of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder will provide critical details about what happened, experts say.

The crash was the second disaster involving the 737 MAX, the world’s most-sold modern passenger aircraft, in less than five months, and by the end of Wednesday, the jet had been grounded globally by regulators and airlines.

The jet plunged into a field 60 km outside Addis Ababa, and the impact of the crash and fire left the victims’ remains in fragments that could take weeks or months to identify, experts say.

In both the Ethiopian Orthodox and Muslim faiths that are widely practised in the country, religious rules call for the burial of the dead as soon as possible.

Hamze Abdi Hussein came from the eastern Ethiopian town of Jijiga with five other family members after receiving confirmation of the crash that killed his uncle, Mucaad Hussein Abdela, a truck driver from Minnesota who was on his way to Kenya to visit relatives.

“We visited the crash site yesterday and we are heading there today. It is a huge loss for us,” he told Reuters. “The fact that there is no information about whether we will receive the body or not is frustrating and painful. There is not much that we are getting.”

After the brief Q and A session, the Ethiopian mourners filed silently out of the room and slowly boarded the convoy of eight Ethiopian Airlines buses.

The mourners looked like travelers themselves. Except they carried no luggage, only items to honor the dead in their final resting place.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

French President Emmanuel Macron flanked by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi,
French President Emmanuel Macron flanked by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

March 14, 2019

By John Irish

NAIROBI (Reuters) – French firms signed contracts in Kenya worth some 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion) during a visit on Thursday by President Emmanuel Macron, who wants to deepen France’s economic ties with Anglophobe East Africa.

Macron’s visit to Nairobi is the first by a French president since Kenya won independence from Britain in 1963 and follows stopovers in Ethiopia and Djibouti – all countries where China has moved in aggressively and presents stiff competition.

At a ceremony with Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta, a consortium led by Vinci secured a 30-year concession worth 1.6 billion euros to operate a highway linking the Kenyan capital and Mau Summit in western Kenya.

Renewables firm Voltalia sealed a 70 million euro contract for a solar power plant while an Airbus-led consortium won a 200 million euro deal for coastal and maritime surveillance. Total is finalizing terms on a second solar plant.

“In Kenya there is an economic opportunity and it’s within the president’s strategy in France to look at not just Francophone Africa, but Anglophone Africa too,” said a French presidential source.

During a four-day trip to East Africa, Macron has vaunted France’s soft power in culture and education and its military know-how to woo deeper partnerships.

Kenya is east Africa’s most advanced economy with a liberal business environment and entrepreneurial culture. French businesses however account for just a 1.4 percent market share.

French exports to Kenya in 2017 amounted to between $170 million and $225.80 million, while China, Kenya’s number one trading partner, exported goods worth $3.8 billion.

“France has supported Kenya for several years in development projects … but we are not sufficiently economically and industrially,” Macron said on Wednesday night in a news conference with Kenyatta.

France also faces competition from other European allies, including Britain which is seeking to revive its trade relationship with its former colony as it prepares to leave the European Union.

Kenyatta, who took Macron for a drive around the grounds of State House in a Kenyan-assembled Peugeot car, said he hoped France would become a more important trading partner.

(Reporting by John Irish; editing by Richard Lough)

Source: OANN

American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through the debris at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through the debris at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 14, 2019

By Conor Humphries and Eric M. Johnson

DUBLIN/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Deliveries of Boeing’s best-selling 737 MAX jets were effectively frozen on Wednesday, though production continued, after the United States joined a global grounding of the narrowbody model over safety concerns, industry sources said.

The 737 MAX is banned from flying in most countries across the world following an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed all 157 people on board. It was the second deadly incident for the relatively new Boeing model in five months.

Airlines, aircraft industry experts and financiers said that although the ban would theoretically not prevent some domestic deliveries, most airlines would avoid taking a jet banned from entering service on the wake of two crashes in five months.

“Who is going to take delivery of a plane they can’t use,” said an aviation financier, asking not to be named.

Boeing produces 52 aircraft per month and its newest version, the MAX, represents the lion’s share of production, although Boeing declined to break out exact numbers.

Boeing is expected to continue with production of the 737 at its factory outside Seattle, and has been planning to speed up production again in June.

Manufacturers avoid halting and then speeding up production as this disrupts supply chains and can cause industrial snags. But having to hold planes in storage consumes extra cash in increased inventory.

Each month of the grounding could cost Boeing around $1.8 billion to $2.5 billion in delayed revenue, according to analyst estimates, although that could be recouped once the ban is lifted and the planes are delivered.

Boeing in January provided guidance it would report $109.5 billion to $111.5 billion of revenue in 2019.

Asked how the global grounding of the 737 MAX would impact deliveries, a Boeing spokesman said: “We continue to assess.”

Boeing’s main U.S. customers — Southwest Airlines Co, American Airlines Group Inc and United Airlines — declined comment. So far they have voiced their confidence in the safety of the MAX.

“Although this MAX crash is clearly ‘bad news’ for Boeing, we think the company will ultimately battle through,” Vertical Research Partners analyst Robert Stallard said in a client note.

COMPENSATION

Boeing has already been working through supplier delays on engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric Co and France’s Safran SA, and fuselages from Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc that led to dozens of planes being parked outside its Renton, Washington factory last summer.

This week, at least three freshly built 737s were parked at or near the factory with yellow weights hanging in the place of engines, signs of lingering issues, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

“We are still a few weeks behind the requirement, but have a line of sight to be back on track in the second quarter of this year,” CFM spokeswoman Jamie Jewell said.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was grounded for 123 days in 2013 after its lithium-ion battery packs caught fire. The jet went on to become a popular twin-aisle with a strong safety record.

Aircraft contracts do not typically contain a clause that automatically allows airlines to claim compensation for a regulatory action like a grounding.

However, planemakers do sometimes pay out compensation to cover the cost of financing when an airline is left without a promised airplane, said a senior industry source.

Even then, they generally balk at paying for other indirect costs borne by the airline.

UK-based aviation consultancy IBA estimated the financing cost of a 737 MAX at $360,000 a month or $12,000 a day.

Norwegian Air said on Wednesday it would seek compensation from plane maker Boeing for costs and lost revenue due to the 737 MAX 8 grounding.

Stallard said it was very difficult to estimate the amount of compensation Boeing would provide customers.

He added it would be impractical for airlines to try to switch their orders to the rival Airbus SE A320 narrowbody because there were no delivery slots available for a few years.

(Reporing by Conor Humphries in Dublin and Eric Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Tom Westbrook in Sydney, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Heekyong Yang in Seoul, Aditi Shah in New Delhi, James Pearson in Hanoi and Alwyn Scott in New York; Writing by Tracy Rucinski; editing by Tim Hepher and Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

March 13, 2019

By David Shepardson and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congress plans to scrutinize why the United States waited so many days to ground all Boeing Co 737 MAX jets involved in Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia as other countries and airlines acted more quickly.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the order on Wednesday was the result of “new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today” and “newly refined satellite data” that Canada had cited earlier in its decision to halt flights.

The FAA did not disclose the new evidence at the scene but said it was “the missing pieces” that aligned the track of the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes since October.

For decades, the United States has led the world in aviation safety, often setting standards that were later adopted by other countries. The agency came under heavy criticism from U.S. lawmakers and others who questioned why the FAA waited so long to ground the Boeing 737 MAX.

FAA officials plan to brief lawmakers Thursday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

While President Donald Trump announced the ban on television, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said he made the decision with the support of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

“We were resolute in our position that we would not take action until we had data to support taking action,” Elwell told reporters. “That data coalesced today and we made the call.”

Canada grounded the planes earlier on Wednesday while the European Union acted on Tuesday. China and some airlines ordered the planes not to fly within hours of the crash on Sunday.

As of Wednesday night, regulators in Argentina and Mexico had not grounded planes.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, said “it has become abundantly clear to us that not only should the 737 MAX be grounded but also that there must be a rigorous investigation into why the aircraft, which has critical safety systems that did not exist on prior models, was certified without requiring additional pilot training.”

Elwell said Wednesday he was confident in the 737’s certification.

The Senate Commerce Committee also plans to hold a hearing as early as April. Senator Ted Cruz said he plans “to investigate these crashes, determine their contributing factors, and ensure that the United States aviation industry remains the safest in the world.”

The grounding was an abrupt reversal as the United States had repeatedly insisted the airplane was safe to fly even as regulators and airlines around the world grounded the airplane.

Trump spoke to Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg on Wednesday before the announcement.

United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines Co all fly versions of the 737 MAX and immediately halted flights on Wednesday.

American, with 24 737 MAX airplanes, said it will be “working to re-book customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Boeing said it supported the action to temporarily ground 737 max operations after it consulted with the FAA, NTSB and its customers. Boeing shares were down 2 percent.

The shift came less than a day after U.S. regulators had again insisted the plane was safe. Even Chao flew aboard a 737 MAX on Tuesday.

The FAA plans to mandate design changes by April that have been in the works for months for the 737 MAX 8 fleet. Boeing said late Monday it will deploy a software upgrade across the 737 MAX 8 fleet “in the coming weeks.”

The company confirmed it had for several months “been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer.”

The FAA said the changes will “provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items.”

Elwell said Wednesday he was hopeful software improvements “will be ready in a couple months” after testing and evaluation is completed by the FAA of what he called a “software patch.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

Members of the Ethiopian red cross search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
Members of the Ethiopian red cross search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 13, 2019

TORONTO (Reuters) – Three generations of a Canadian family were among the 157 people who perished when Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 crashed on Sunday, a relative confirmed on Wednesday.

They were on their way to a Kenya vacation when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing passengers and crew from more than 30 countries.

Prerit Dixit, 43, and Kosha Vaidya, 37, their daughters and Ashka Dixit, 14, and Anushka Dixit, 13, and Vaidya’s parents Pannagesh Vaidya, 73, and Hansini Vaidya, 67, were among the 18 Canadians killed. They lived in Brampton, a Toronto suburb.

“This is terrible and tragic,” Manant Vaidya, brother of Kosha Vaidya, told Reuters. “It feels as if my whole support system has disappeared. I have no idea how we will cope up with this tragedy.”

The Dixit-Vaidya family was flying to Kenya so that Kosha Vaidya could show her Canadian-born daughters the country of her birth, Manant Vaidya said, adding his parents were returning there for the first time in more than 50 years.

Manant Vaidya works for the Reuters parent company Thomson Reuters. He plans to fly to Ethiopia on Saturday and from there to Mumbai for the final rituals of the deceased.

Dixit worked at medical-testing company LifeLabs as a lab technician and as a lab professional for Public Health Ontario. In email statements, both remembered his helpful and pleasant demeanor, his sense of humor and his dedication to family.

Kosha Vaidya had been a human resources adviser for the Canadian Hearing Society since 2017, the organization said in a website statement, adding she would be “remembered for her intelligence, professionalism and dynamic personality.”

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Denny Thomas and Howard Goller)

Source: OANN

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump announced that he is grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after a deadly Sunday crash in Ethiopia, during a Wednesday briefing on the southern border.

“Any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and be grounded upon landing until further notice,” he said, adding, “Airlines and pilots have been notified.”

Trump said his emergency order to ground the plane would take place “effective immediately” and that the policy would remain in place until Boeing could provide additional answers.

Prior to Trump’s announcement, dozens of countries grounded the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from their airspace and investigations are underway. The Ethiopian Airlines crash was eerily similar to an October 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia. Both crashes occurred minutes after takeoff, killed all passengers on board, and involved pilots reporting flight control problems before losing control of the specific aircraft.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks back to Air Force One with acting Secretary of Defnese Patrick Shanahan after dignified transfer ceremonies for three members of the U.S. military and one civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency killed during a recent attack in Syria, as they prepare to depart Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Delaware, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump walks back to Air Force One with acting Secretary of Defnese Patrick Shanahan after dignified transfer ceremonies for three members of the U.S. military and one civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency killed during a recent attack in Syria, as they prepare to depart Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Delaware, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The investigation into the Lion Air crash revealed that pilots were flummoxed by new software in the Boeing aircraft and the automatic flight control systems. Boeing updated its flight control systems after the crash and is standing by the safety of its aircraft. (RELATED: Nearly 190 People Feared Dead After Indonesian Plane Crashes Into The Sea)

Canadian authorities cited a similarity between the Lion Air crash and the Ethiopian crash in their reason for grounding the plane inside their airspace.

Prior to Trump’s announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing stood by the flight-worthiness of the aircraft.

Boeing issued a statement saying,”Boeing has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks. The update also incorporates feedback received from our customers.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Phillip Stucky | Contributor

CNN host Brianna Keilar asserted Wednesday that the Boeing crash in Ethiopia last week was due in part to Trump’s latest government shutdown in an interview with Michigan Democratic Rep. Kildee.

“So Boeing actually failed to provide a software fix for the flight system in the 737 max 8 until after that October crash,” Keilar said in a question to the Democratic rep.

“There were pilots who looked at that and felt like this was a criminal omission. That was what they thought about this. The software fix, then according to The Wall Street Journal, was supposed to happen in January, and it was delayed because of the government shutdown because the FAA was offline. What’s your reaction to this revelation?”(RELATED: White House Warns Of Another Shutdown As Negotiations Near End)

The article in question ran in The WSJ under the headline “Boeing to Make Key Change in 737 MAX Cockpit Software.” The article asserted that Boeing engineers had expected to push out a software update to the airplanes sometime in January, but it was delayed due to “differences of opinion and technical and engineering issues.”

Instead of the FAA being asleep at the wheel, thousands of safety inspectors and other staff were recalled to ensure that all planes continued to be operated in a safe manner.

The FAA felt the delay was fine due to the fact that there was “no imminent safety threat,” according to the Journal.

The software update, now due in April, is expected to give pilots greater control during an emergency, according to a report.

Source: The Daily Caller

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Pilots flying in the U.S. have filed at least five complaints on planes of the same model that crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

Federal records contain at least five official complaints about problems with Boeing 737 MAX 8 model planes popping up in critical moments of flight, such as takeoff when pilots have little room for error so close to the ground, Politico reports. (RELATED: Trump Reacts To Boeing Crash, Questions Modern Aviation)

Several of the complaints involved issues with the plane’s anti-stall system, a computer system designed to force the nose of the plane down to prevent a stall. The system works when the plane’s autopilot system is engaged and can be overridden by the pilot taking back manual control.

The auto-stall system in a MAX plane forced the plane’s nose down within seconds of the autopilot being engaged in November 2018. The plane began a descent steep enough to trigger the plane’s warning system to sound, “Don’t sink, don’t sink!” until the pilot retook control of the aircraft and continued flying normally, according to Politico.

The anti-stall system is thought to have been involved in an October 2018 MAX crash in Indonesia that killed everyone on board. The plane crashed into the ocean 13 minutes after take off.

A bulldozer scopes the debris of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A bulldozer scopes the debris of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

No official reason has been given for the more recent plane crash in Ethiopia. The plane took off from Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport at 8:38 a.m. and crashed into a field roughly six minutes later. Locals who witnessed the accident say the plane was shuddering and spewing smoke prior to crashing.

Many countries have reacted to the Ethiopia crash by grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. China, India and the European Union have all issued mandatory grounding orders until investigators identify and fix potential systemic problems with model of airliner. The planes remain in use in the U.S.

Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

March 13, 2019

By Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian Air said on Wednesday it will seek compensation from plane maker Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX 8 aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

“We expect Boeing to take this bill,” Norwegian said in an emailed statement.

The Oslo-based airline has 18 ‘MAX’ passenger jets in its 163-aircraft fleet. European regulators on Tuesday grounded the aircraft following Sunday’s crash of a similar plane in Ethiopia, which killed 157 people and was the second crash involving that type of plane since October.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said on Monday that he was confident in the safety of the 737 MAX in an email to employees, which was seen by Reuters.

Industry sources, however, said the planemaker faces big claims after the crash.

Norwegian has bet heavily on the ‘MAX’ to become its aircraft of choice for short- and medium-range flights in coming years as the low-cost carrier seeks to boost its fuel efficiency and cut the cost of flying.

“What happens next is in the hands of European aviation authorities. But we hope and expect that our MAXes will be airborne soon,” Norwegian Air’s founder and Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos said in a video recording released on social media.

“Many have asked questions about how this affects our financial situation. It’s quite obvious that we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft,” he added.

Idle planes will add to pressures on the airline, which is making losses amid intense competition at a time when several smaller European competitors have gone out of business.

The carrier has raised 3 billion Norwegian crowns ($348 million) from shareholders in recent months and said it would cut costs as it tries to regain profitability this year.

“If this situation gets solved within the next fortnight, this will not be very serious for Norwegian,” said analyst Preben Rasch-Olsen at brokerage Carnegie, adding that seasonally low demand in March likely leaves spare capacity.

“The little extra costs they are incurring, they can probably get that covered by Boeing,” Rasch-Olsen said.

“But if this situation continues into the Easter holidays, or May and June, then it is a problem. They (will) need to get in new planes. And then comes the costs.”

Europeans tend to book their summer holidays in May, so the grounding may not yet affect bookings for the peak season for the airline industry, the analyst said.

Meanwhile, Norwegian was maintaining its order for more aircraft of the same type from Boeing, spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said.

Norwegian is expected to take delivery of dozens more of the ‘MAX’ in coming years, raising the overall number to more than 70 by year-end 2021, according to recent company announcements.

Shares in the airline have now dropped 6.8 percent this week as investors worried about the impact of the Ethiopian crash.

They fell by 4.8 percent in early trade on Wednesday but later recovered to trade up 2.7 percent by 1246 GMT.

Norwegian canceled some flights on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it canceled at least three dozen departures, its website showed, most of which were due to fly from airports in Oslo, Stockholm and other Nordic cities.

The airline was booking passengers on to other flights and using other types of planes from its fleet to help fill the gaps.

In a separate statement, Norwegian said it would deploy one of its larger Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to operate its daily route from Dublin to Stewart airport north of New York City, replacing the grounded MAX.

(Additional reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 13, 2019

By Amy Caren Daniel

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures treaded water on Wednesday, as investors took a cautious stance ahead of a clutch of domestic economic data and another make-or-break parliamentary vote on Brexit, which could send a shock through global markets.

British lawmakers crushed Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union divorce deal on Tuesday, forcing parliament to decide within days whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay.

Lawmakers will now vote at 3:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) on whether Britain should quit the world’s biggest trading bloc without a deal, a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Tuesday after tame inflation data underscored the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance on rate hikes, but the Dow ended down as Boeing Co’s shares sank for a second day after one of its planes crashed in Ethiopia.

Boeing was down more than 2 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday after more countries grounded the company’s best-selling line of jets following the crash.

On the trade front, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States and China may be in the final weeks of discussions to hammer out a deal to ease their tit-for-tat tariffs dispute.

At 6:51 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.01 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.14 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.15 percent.

Rite Aid Corp jumped 19.4 percent after the drug store chain operator said its chief executive officer would exit as part of a revamp of its leadership and that it would slash about 400 jobs.

A report on durable goods orders is expected to show a 0.5 percent drop in January from a 1.2 percent rise the month before, while Labor Department data is expected to show producer prices edged up 0.2 percent in February from prior month’s 0.1 percent dip. Both sets of data are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian police officers walk past the debris of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa
Ethiopian police officers walk past the debris of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 13, 2019

(Reuters) – The pilot of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 jet had reported flight-control problems and wanted to return to the airport, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing the chief executive officer of the airline.

In recordings of his conversations with controllers, the pilot didn’t indicate any other external problems with the jet or the flight, like a bird collision, CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said, according to the report.

All 157 people on board the flight were killed in the Sunday crash.

Ethiopian Airlines did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru)

Source: OANN

A man watches debris at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
A man watches debris at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 13, 2019

By Duncan Miriri and Terje Solsvik

ADDIS ABABA/OSLO (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines said on Wednesday it would send the black boxes from its crashed Boeing 737 MAX abroad, while a Norwegian airline sought compensation from the U.S. planemaker after two thirds of that model were grounded globally.

Sunday’s still unexplained crash of the passenger jet, just after take-off from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, killed 157 people and followed another disaster involving a 737 MAX in Indonesia five months ago that killed 189 people.

That has spooked the global airline industry and heaped pressure on Boeing, whose shares have plunged.

Multiple nations have suspended the 737 MAX, leading to the grounding of about two-thirds of the 371 jets of that make in operation around the world, according to Reuters calculations.

With no link proven between the two crashes, however, the United States has bucked the trend and allowed 737 MAX planes to continue operating even though Europe has suspended them.

Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker, has said it retains “full confidence” in the 737 MAX. Its shares fell 6.1 percent on Tuesday, bringing losses to 11.15 percent since the crash, the steepest two-day loss for the stock since July 2009.

The drop has lopped $26.65 billion off Boeing’s market value.

Adding to the pressure on Boeing, Norwegian Air said it would seek recompense for lost revenue and extra costs after grounding its 737 MAX aircraft.

“We expect Boeing to take this bill,” Norwegian said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

In Ethiopia, which lacks the forensic capabilities of other countries, a spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines said the black box voice and data recorders recovered on Monday would be sent overseas for analysis.

“There is no capacity here so the black box will be sent elsewhere for analysis. The investigation team will decide where,” the spokesman told Reuters.

That could be in Europe, the company’s CEO told CNN.

U.S. officials said the black box devices suffered some damage but they were confident of some initial results within 24 hours of the data being downloaded.

More than a dozen relatives of those who perished in the crash, mainly Kenyans who have flown in, left Addis Ababa early in the morning to pay their respects at the rural crash site where Flight ET 302 came down in a fireball.

It may take weeks or months to identify all the victims, who include a prize-winning author, a soccer official and a team of humanitarian workers.

U.S. KEEPS FLYING MAX MODEL

Resisting pressure, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) acting administrator Dan Elwel said its review had shown “no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft”.

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg and got assurances the aircraft was safe, two people briefed on the call said.

On Tuesday, the European Union’s aviation safety regulator suspended all flights in the bloc by the 737 MAX and a U.S. senator who chairs a panel overseeing aviation suggested the United States take similar action.

Thailand and Lebanon joined the long list of nations suspending the model on Wednesday.

The three U.S. airlines using the 737 MAX – Southwest Airlines Co, American Airlines Group Inc and United Airlines – stood by the aircraft, although many potential passengers took to social media to express concerns, asking if they could change flights or cancel.

Of the top 10 countries by air passenger travel, all but the United States and Japan have halted flights of the 737 MAX. The EU, China, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, India and others have temporarily suspended the plane.

A debate over automation lies at the center of an investigation into October’s Lion Air crash in Indonesia. A focus there is the role of a software system designed to push the plane down, alongside airline training and repair standards.

Boeing says it plans to update the software in coming weeks.

Given problems of identification at the charred disaster site, Ethiopian Airlines said it would take at least five days to start handing remains to families. The victims came from more than 30 nations, and included nearly two dozen U.N. staff.

The new variant of the 737, the world’s most-sold modern passenger aircraft, was viewed as the likely workhorse for global airlines for decades and 4,661 more are on order.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa; Omar Mohammed and Maggie Fick in Nairobi; David Shepardson in Washington; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An employee assembles a Hyundai car in Hyundai Marathon Motor assembly plant on the outskirt of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: An employee assembles a Hyundai car in Hyundai Marathon Motor assembly plant on the outskirt of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 13, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s leading proxy adviser KCGS recommended shareholders vote against U.S. activist investor Elliott Management’s proposals for dividends and board members at Hyundai Mobis, according to its report.

KCGS said it believed that Elliott seems to focus on enhancing short-term value of the autoparts maker rather than addressing its future challenges.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A woman points to an electronic board showing stock prices as she poses in front of the board after the New Year opening ceremony at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), held to wish for the success of Japan's stock market, in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A woman points to an electronic board showing stock prices as she poses in front of the board after the New Year opening ceremony at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), held to wish for the success of Japan’s stock market, in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

March 13, 2019

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian share markets got off to a subdued start on Wednesday after a mixed finish on Wall Street, while a frazzled pound awaited its fate ahead of yet another make-or-break parliamentary vote on Brexit.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1 percent in slow trade. Japan’s Nikkei dipped 0.3 percent and Australia’s main index slipped 0.4 percent.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were off 0.08 percent.

Risk appetite had been dampened after British lawmakers crushed Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union divorce deal, forcing parliament to decide within days whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay.

Lawmakers voted against May’s amended Brexit deal by 391 to 242 as her last-minute talks with EU chiefs on Monday to assuage her critics’ concerns ultimately proved fruitless.

Parliament will vote later Wednesday on whether to leave the EU with no deal, and if that fails, a further vote on Thursday will decide whether to extend the Brexit deadline.

“The vote today seems certain to go against the government as well,” said David de Garis, a director of economics and market at National Australia Bank.

“Assuming the Thursday vote finds a majority in favor of an extension – as we expect – it will likely be of some comfort to sterling,” he added. “It’s still a fast moving environment, with political pressure at understandably extreme levels.”

The pound could do with some comfort after a wild couple of sessions. It was last at $1.3063, having been as high as $1.3296 and as low as $1.3017 so far this week.

U.S. INFLATION SLOWS

On Wall Street, Boeing Co shed another 6.1 percent for its biggest two-day drop since June 2009, as more countries grounded the company’s best-selling 737 MAX planes following Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia, the second fatal crash in months.

The drop in Boeing pushed the Dow down 0.38 percent, even as the S&P 500 gained 0.30 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.44 percent. [.N]

A soft U.S. inflation report for February burnished bonds while tarnishing the dollar. Annual consumer price inflation slowed to its lowest since September 2016 at 1.5 percent.

The data merely reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will stay patient on rates and could even sound more dovish at its policy meeting next week.

Yields on U.S. 10-year notes duly declined to a 10-week low at 2.596 percent, while the dollar fell for a third straight session against a basket of currencies to stand at 96.986.

The dollar was flat on the yen at 111.30, while the euro climbed to $1.1289 and away from last week’s 20-month trough of $1.1174. [USD/]

In commodity markets, the dip in the dollar supported gold at $1,301.91 per ounce.

Oil prices edged up on tightening global supply after a Saudi official said the kingdom plans to cut oil exports in April, while the U.S. government reduced its forecast for domestic crude output growth. [O/R]

U.S. crude was last up 29 cents at $57.16 a barrel, while Brent crude futures had yet to trade at $66.67.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The tails of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: The tails of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder/File Photo

March 13, 2019

By Jamie Freed and Alexander Cornwell

SINGAPORE/DUBAI (Reuters) – Groundings of brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets have sent shockwaves through global aviation after a crash in Ethiopia, but many airlines are managing to keep to schedule with other jets while economic woes mean some may be grateful for a pause.

The 737 Max 8 upgrade to Boeing’s best-selling jet only entered service in 2017, meaning there are not many in the skies compared with other more established work horses.

“If you had a grounding of something like the 737-800, wow what an impact. But with the MAX, there are fewer than 400 of these flying globally,” one aviation analyst said, adding that most airlines could “backfill most of the capacity”.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people on Sunday was the second 737 MAX crash in less than six months, with 189 others killed when a Lion Air jet went down in Indonesia in October. At a time when crashes are rare, that is an unusually bumpy entry into service for a new jet.

There were 371 of the 737 MAX family jets in operation before this week’s groundings, led by China, according to Flightglobal. Around two-thirds of the fleet is now grounded, based on Reuters calculations.

That compares to more than 6,000 of the previous model, the 737 NG series, giving airlines the ability to use other jets in their fleets as a replacement for at least some of the flights.

“At present the impact of any groundings is contained by the relatively small global fleet currently in service,” aviation consultant John Strickland told Reuters.

The time of year and signs of concerns about a peak in global aviation growth and a slowdown in the economy

“It is off-season so it is an easier gesture to make, and some airlines are more worried about having too much capacity,” a Western aviation official said.

For others who are able to make do without the 737 MAX 8 for a period, doing so is likely to come at a cost.

“It is a headache for airlines to take aircraft out of service with flights likely to be canceled and an impact on revenues,” Strickland added.

Although March is not a peak season for flights, some have been hit, with Chinese aviation data firm Variflight on Monday saying at least 29 international and domestic flights had been canceled.

However, airlines had swapped for other planes on 256 other flights that had been scheduled to use the 737 MAX 8.

Singapore’s Changi Airport said on Tuesday that one planned 737 MAX flight by Shandong Airlines to and from Jinan had been canceled, but others had gone ahead with different aircraft.

Singapore Airlines Ltd, Indonesia’s Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia and state-backed carriers Air China Ltd, China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd all have large fleets of jets other than the MAX to draw on, the analyst said.

The bigger impact from the Ethiopian crash could be on future deliveries, since other carriers including Korean Air Lines Co Ltd have placed relatively large orders for 737 MAX 8 jets, said Um Kyung-a, a senior analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

“It might turn into a big headache for them if Boeing fails to nail down the causes of the recent crashes,” Um said. “If that turned out to be the case, they need to come up with different plans to replace their 737 MAX 8 orders.”

Brazil’s largest airline, Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, had placed a firm order of 100 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets as of last month, according to the carrier’s latest earnings release. It currently operates seven such planes, which it decided to ground late on Monday.

The airline operates Boeing 737 models exclusively and announced in December that it was accelerating its transition to the newer Max 8 planes.

Lion Air, which suffered a 737 MAX crash in October, has refused to take delivery of some of the jets but analysts say it is suffering from overcapacity and may benefit from a slowdown.

It threatened in November to cancel Boeing orders in a row over the crash but has yet to do so, industry sources said. Airbus SE is another supplier and is seen in talks to sell more.

Malaysian officials said on Monday they had asked national carrier Malaysia Airlines to revisit its order for 25 737 MAX jets.

“I feel there are other factors apart from safety, including finance and politics, for that move,” said Shukor Yusof, the head of Malaysia-based aviation consulting firm Endau Analytics.

“I doubt there will be outright cancellations for orders already placed by other carriers because there are still many unanswered questions.”

(Reporting by Jamie Freed and Alexander Cornwell; additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore, Heekyong Yang in Seoul, Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paulo, Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur and Tim Hepher in Paris; editing by Alexander Smith abd Stephen Coates)

Source: OANN


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