Software

Logos of Taiwanese multinational computer hardware and electronics company Asus are seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei
FILE PHOTO: Logos of Taiwanese multinational computer hardware and electronics company Asus are seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

March 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Hackers targeted “hundreds of thousands” of Asustek computer owners by pushing a backdoor update software tool from the computer maker’s own servers, cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said on Monday.

The attack took place between June and November 2018, according to Kaspersky.

The hackers were surgically targeting an unknown pool of users, who were identified by their network adapters’ MAC addresses.

More than 57,000 Kaspersky users installed the backdoor version of ASUS Live Update, the report said.

Asus did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, Founder and Chairman of Autonomy Corporation, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London
FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 25, 2019

By Georgina Prodhan

LONDON (Reuters) – British entrepreneur Mike Lynch artificially inflated revenue at his Autonomy software company before selling it to Hewlett Packard for $11 billion, the U.S. firm’s lawyer told a London court on Monday.

HP is suing Autonomy founder Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, along with his former finance chief Sushovan Hussain for $5 billion after the 2011 deal went disastrously wrong for the Silicon Valley group.

Lynch denies any wrongdoing and says HP’s mismanagement was responsible for the failure of the acquisition.

HP had bought big data firm Autonomy with the aim of making it the centerpiece of a plan to transform HP from a computer and printer maker into a software-focused enterprise services firm, a shift that rival IBM had already pulled off.

But a year later HP wrote down the value of Autonomy by $8.8 billion, saying it had uncovered serious accounting improprieties. These have led it to pursue Britain’s biggest-ever fraud trial against Lynch and Hussain.

Lawyer Laurence Rabinowicz QC, representing HP, told London’s High Court that Lynch and Hussain had knowingly been involved in “widespread and systematic false accounting” to create a materially false picture of Autonomy’s finances.

Autonomy had engaged in “revenue-pumping” by encouraging customers to buy its products in exchange for buying goods from them that it did not need, restructuring deals to produce upfront license fees, and covertly selling pure hardware not even programmed with its software at a loss, he said.

Rabinowicz said the issues were not a matter of complex financial niceties but rather of clear intention. “This is not a business dispute about how to apply accounting procedures,” he said. “This is a fraud case.”

Lynch observed proceedings from a back corner of the courtroom, occasionally scribbling notes or sending messages on his phone.

The 53-year-old, who also faces criminal wire- and securities-fraud charges in the United States, which carry a maximum 25-year prison term, is likely to appear before the London court around July.

Lynch received about $800 million for his stake in Autonomy, which started to turn sour before it was completed.

Many shareholders baulked at the 79 percent premium, and the architect of the strategy, then-chief executive Leo Apotheker was sacked.

Lynch was subsequently fired by Meg Whitman, who took over as HP CEO in 2012.

Both former CEOs are likely to appear as witnesses in the trial which is expected to continue until the end of the year.

(Additional reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code
A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 25, 2019

By Paul Day and Paresh Dave

MADRID/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An independent study lead by an academic group in Spain has shown that what personal information can be collected by pre-installed programs on new Android mobile devices is expansive and faces little oversight.

The investigation by the public Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, IMDEA Networks Institute and Stony Brook University looked at apps pre-installed on Android devices from 2,748 users, spanning 1,742 unique devices from 214 vendors across 130 countries.

The study did not look at whether the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation laws would bring greater oversight to pre-installed apps on Android devices.

Though Alphabet Inc’s Google owns Android, its open source nature enables device makers to customize the operating system and package other apps with the operating system before delivering them to users.

The study found the setup posed a potential threat to users’ privacy and security because the pre-installed apps request access to data that similar apps distributed through Google’s Play app store cannot reach.

Pre-installed apps often cannot be uninstalled, and Google may not be performing as rigorous security checks of them as it does for app store versions, the researchers found.

“There is a lack of regulation and transparency and no one seems to be monitoring what these stakeholders and apps do,” said co-author of the study Juan Tapiador.  

Google said it provides tools to equipment manufacturers which helps them make sure their software does not violate Google’s privacy and security standards.

“We also provide our partners with clear policies regarding the safety of pre-installed apps, and regularly give them information about potentially dangerous pre-loads we’ve identified,” a Google spokesperson said.

Pre-installed apps recently have drawn increased scrutiny. A U.S. Department of Justice criminal probe into Facebook, which worked with hardware makers to ensure its app would be on users’ devices, is examining those partnerships, the New York Times reported last week.

The authors of the study noted their paper did not focus on any software developers in particular but was a rather a study in the lack of regulation and transparency that surrounded pre-installed apps found on new devices.

Facebook, which has said it is cooperating with multiple government investigations into its handling of users’ private data, said partnering with mobile operators and device manufacturers on pre-installations immediately give users the best experience on its social network.

(Editing by David Evans)

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FILE PHOTO - Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO – Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi, India, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

March 25, 2019

By Sylvia Westall

MUSCAT (Reuters) – Qatar Airways threw its support behind Boeing on Monday as the U.S. planemaker faces its biggest crisis in years after deadly crashes of its flagship 737 MAX jet.

Regulators grounded the worldwide MAX fleet after an Ethiopian Airlines MAX crash killed all 157 people on board this month, wiping nearly 15 percent off shares in the world’s biggest planemaker.

“We have confidence in the Boeing airplanes and we are sure they will find the issue they had which is still under investigation,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters in Muscat.

Qatar Airways, one of the largest Middle East carriers, is a major Boeing customer. It has ordered 20 MAX jets and committed to buying a further 40. It has taken delivery of five of the aircraft, according to Boeing’s website.

The airline will delay the April delivery of a single MAX jet until the cause of the crash is known, Baker said.

“I am sure that the aircraft will get back into the skies soon and that Boeing will get to the bottom of what happened and if there is something technical wrong that they will find a fix for it,” he said.

Attention has focused on the anti-stall system, known as MCAS, and the sensors that activate it. MCAS pushes the plane’s nose down if it believes it is ascending at too steep an angle.

Qatar Airways will attend a Boeing briefing this week on software and training updates for the MAX, Baker said.

The MAX is an upgrade to Boeing’s best-selling 737 narrowbody jet and only entered service in 2017. Boeing has booked orders worth more than $500 billion for the MAX.

The Ethiopian crash is the second fatal crash involving the MAX jet. In October, a MAX operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air fatally crashed killing all 189 on board.

Baker said he believed the worldwide grounding was driven by public perception. Passengers around the world asked airlines to change flights or refunds to avoid flying on the MAX after the Ethiopian crash.

“The regulator had to act to give confidence to the people, that the regulators were looking after their interests,” he said.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Louise Heavens and Keith Weir)

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An aerial photo shows rowers on Lake Washington near a line of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the Boeing factory in Renton
An aerial photo shows rowers on Lake Washington near a line of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

March 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Boeing Co said it invited airline pilots, technical leaders and regulators for an informational session in Renton, Washington on Wednesday, as part of an effort to share details about the plan to support the return of the 737 MAX to commercial service.

“We continue to work closely with our customers and regulators on software and training updates for the 737 MAX,” Boeing added.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese)

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The sign at Avaya Inc. offices and lab in Westminster, Colorado is seen
The sign at Avaya Inc. offices and lab in Westminster, Colorado is seen January 23, 2007. Avaya Inc., an Internet telephone equipment supplier, on Tuesday posted a quarterly profit that was ahead of analyst estimates even as its revenue missed expectations. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)

March 24, 2019

By Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) – Telecommunications equipment and software vendor Avaya Holdings Corp is considering a leveraged buyout offer from a private equity firm that values it at more than $5 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The acquisition offer comes 15 months after Avaya emerged from bankruptcy protection, the legacy of a previous leveraged buyout, its $8.3 billion sale to private equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake in 2007.

Avaya’s board of directors is evaluating an offer from a private equity firm that values it at more than $20 per share, the sources said. Avaya shares ended trading on Friday at $13.21, giving it a market capitalization of $1.5 billion. The company also had $3.2 billion in debt as of the end of December.

The identity of the private equity firm making the offer could not immediately be learned. Avaya has attracted acquisition interest from private equity firms over the last few months, and there is no certainty the latest offer will result in a deal, the sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Avaya did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Based in Santa Clara, California, Avaya is one of the world’s largest providers of telephony systems. It was spun off from Lucent Technologies Inc in 2000, which used to be part of AT&T Inc.

Avaya, which competes with Microsoft Corp and Cisco Systems Inc, has been trying to boost its business of providing communications software to companies, as its hardware business became more commoditized and dated. It has also been seeking to broaden its offerings of cloud-based communications solutions.

Software and services accounted for 83 percent of Avaya’s revenue of $738 million in the three months to the end of December. That was down from $752 million in the year-ago period. The company blamed currency exchange rates and the U.S. federal government partial shutdown for the weaker earnings.

Operating income was $50 million, up from $38 million a year ago.

Avaya’s contact center business, which powers the customer care and sales operations of some of the world’s biggest companies, has also attracted acquisition interest in the past from private equity firms, including Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC, Hellman & Friedman LLC and Permira Advisers LLP. Hellman & Friedman and Permira own Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc, a U.S. provider of call center software.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – American Airlines said Sunday it will extend flight cancellation through April 24 because of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX after two fatal crashes since October and cut some additional flights.

American, the largest U.S. carrier, said it is cancelling about 90 flights a day. American is the second-largest U.S. operator of the MAX in the United States with 24 jets, behind Southwest Airlines with 34.

American said earlier this month it was flying about 85 flights a day out of its 6,700 daily departures on 737 MAX planes when the grounded was announced.

The airline said it was making the announcement “to provide more certainty to our customers and team members and better protect our customers on other flights to their final destination.”

Boeing Co is expected as early as Monday to formally disclose a planned upgrade to its anti-stall system to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that has been in the works since October’s Lion Air crash but still needs approval from U.S. regulators.

The FAA has said it plans to mandate the upgrade by April, but it is still not clear if the upgrade will address any issues after the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash.

American, Southwest and United Airlines were all meeting with Boeing this weekend to review the software upgrade, Reuters reported Saturday.

The FAA said earlier the “design changes” would result in flight control system enhancements that will provide “reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items.”

Reuters reported Thursday the upgrade will include a previously optional warning light. Many airlines, including American, already had the optional light.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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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)

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FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight/File Photo

March 23, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were heading to Boeing Co’s factory in Renton, Washington, to review a software upgrade on Saturday, even as Southwest Airlines Co began parking its 34 MAXs near the California desert.

The factory visits indicate Boeing may be nearing completion of a planned software patch for its newest 737 following a fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October, but the timing for a resumption of passenger flights on the jets remains uncertain.

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, which must approve the software fix and new training, are under U.S. and global scrutiny since the MAX suffered a second deadly crash involving Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa on March 10, which led to a worldwide grounding of the fleet.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, said it has been in talks with Boeing, the FAA and airlines to get the airplanes flying again as soon as possible, albeit with an acceptable level of safety.

“Right now we’re in wait and see mode to see what Boeing comes up with,” Captain Jason Goldberg, a spokesman for APA, said on Saturday. “We’re hopeful, but at the same time the process can’t be rushed.”

APA is among a delegation of airline safety experts and pilots set to test Boeing’s software upgrade, meant to change how much authority is given to a new anti-stall system developed for the 737 MAX, in Renton.

The system, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is suspected of playing a role in both disasters, which together killed 346 people.

Both crashes are still under investigation.

Southwest, the largest operator of the MAX in the world, and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates on Saturday. United has 14 MAXs while American has 24.

Meanwhile, Southwest said it was starting to move on Saturday its entire MAX fleet to a facility in Victorville, California, at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert, while the global grounding remains in effect.

“The planes being in one place will be more efficient for performing the repetitive maintenance necessary for stationary aircraft, as well as any future software enhancements that need to take place,” spokeswoman Brandy King said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Tom Brown)

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FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, Founder and Chairman of Autonomy Corporation, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London
FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 23, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British entrepreneur Mike Lynch vigorously denies new U.S. criminal charges against him, his spokesman said on Saturday ahead of a court case over the sale of his firm Autonomy which will begin in London next week.

U.S. prosecutors on Friday added three new criminal charges to their indictment against Lynch related to the $11.1 billion sale of his software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard in 2011.

Lynch faces a new charge of securities fraud, which carries a maximum prison term of 25 years, as well as additional charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in the 17-count indictment filed with the federal court in San Francisco.

“These are baseless, egregious charges issued on the eve of the trial in the UK, where this case belongs, and Dr Lynch denies them vigorously,” a spokesman for Lynch said.

Mike Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, faces Hewlett-Packard (HP) in London’s High Court on Monday in a multi-billion dollar showdown over the U.S. technology company’s 2011 purchase of Autonomy.

HP is accusing Lynch and former Autonomy Chief Financial Officer Sushovan Hussain of involvement in accounting irregularities that caused it to overpay for the company.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle,; Writing by Alistair Smout, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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FILE PHOTO: The logo for The Hewlett-Packard Company is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The logo for The Hewlett-Packard Company is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 22, 2019

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – Mike Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, faces Hewlett-Packard (HP) in London’s High Court on Monday in a multi-billion dollar showdown over the U.S. tech giant’s purchase in 2011 of the Autonomy software business he founded.

The case is part of a dispute between HP and Lynch lasting more than six years over who is to blame for the disastrous deal, which ended up costing the Silicon Valley stalwart’s shareholders billions of dollars.

HP is seeking damages of around $5 billion from Lynch and his former colleague Sushovan Hussain, alleging that they inflated the value of Autonomy before selling the big data firm, whose software searches and organizes unstructured information, such as telephone conversations.

Lynch has denied the allegations and said the failure of the $11 billion acquisition was down to HP’s mismanagement.

The 53-year-old, whose doctoral thesis is one of the most consulted at Cambridge University, is counter-suing for more than $160 million for loss and damage caused by HP’s actions.

Autonomy was supposed to be the centerpiece of a plan to transform HP from a PC and printer maker into a software-focused enterprise services firm, a shift successfully undertaken by IBM in the previous two decades.

Lynch has been engaged in a war of words with HP ever since he was fired by former HP CEO Meg Whitman in 2012 less than a year after the deal was completed.

The entrepreneur has maintained his standing in the British tech scene by investing in a string of new companies and through membership of bodies such as the Royal Society.

However, the stakes in the dispute escalated in November when Lynch and Stephen Chamberlain, another former Autonomy executive, were indicted for wire fraud in the United States, a charge that carries a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment.

Lynch then stepped down from his government advisory role and from Royal Society committees. Hussain was found guilty in a related case in April 2018, but has not yet been sentenced.

SOFTWARE STRATEGY

The Autonomy deal started to turn sour before it was even completed. Many shareholders baulked at the 79 percent premium, the architect of the strategy CEO Leo Apotheker was sacked and HP’s board looked into the possibility of walking away.

And a little over a year after it was completed, HP said it had discovered “serious accounting improprieties” that had inflated the value of Autonomy, writing off more than $5 billion in relation to the botched deal.

That is the sum it is now seeking from Lynch, who received about $800 million for his stake in Autonomy, and Hussain.

HP will argue that Autonomy’s management made undisclosed, loss-making hardware sales and misrepresented revenue to inflate Autonomy’s value, its claim shows.

Lynch will deny all of HP’s claims, his defense says and a counterclaim document shows.

In it Lynch says that HP’s executives have campaigned over a number of years to shift the responsibility for their failures in the acquisition and integration of Autonomy onto him.

The case is set to last until the end of year and it could then take the judge another six months to reach a decision.

(Editing by Alexander Smith)

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An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

March 22, 2019

By Cindy Silviana and Tracy Rucinski

JAKARTA/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Boeing Co will mandate on MAX jets a previously optional cockpit warning light, which might have warned of problems that possibly played a role in the recent crashes of Ethiopian and Indonesian planes, two officials briefed on the matter said.

The safety feature is expected to be offered as part of a software update to the MAX fleet that was grounded in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said the officials who asked not to be identified.

The crash set off one of the widest inquiries in aviation history and cast a shadow over the Boeing MAX model intended to be a standard for decades.

Boeing did not immediately comment on the plan to make the safety feature standard, but separately said it was moving quickly to make software changes and expects the upgrade to be approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the coming weeks.

But Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda said on Friday that customers had lost trust in the planes and it has sent a letter to Boeing asking to cancel an order for 49 MAX 8s – the first airline to publicly confirm plans to cancel an order for the troubled aircraft.

The current order was valued at $6 billion at list prices and Garuda, which currently has one MAX in its fleet, said it could switch to other Boeing models.

While a direct link between the crashes has not been proven, initial investigations show similarities and attention has focused on an automated flight-control system, MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), that came into service two years ago with the MAX.

The software is designed to prevent a loss of lift that can cause an aerodynamic stall, sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way. In the Lion Air crash, it may have been erroneously activated by a faulty sensor, investigators believe.

Chicago-based Boeing will also retrofit older planes with the cockpit warning light, the officials told Reuters. The world’s largest plane maker previously offered the alert, but it was not required by aviation regulators.

Boeing has said it plans to make software changes to the aircraft, but it is unclear how long it will take Boeing to refit existing MAX planes with new software or hardware.

Experts said it could take weeks or months to be done, and for regulators to review and approve the changes. Regulators in Europe and Canada have said they will conduct their own reviews of any new systems.

The FAA has said installation of the new software and related training was a priority.

SOFTWARE FIX

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing, said the software changes include changes in the control laws of the airplane, an update of the displays, the flight manual, as well as the training.

Boeing has tested the improvements in a simulator and in the air, he said on Thursday. He defended Boeing’s design and production processes, adding that it was too early to speculate on what the investigations will show.

The company has said there was a documented procedure to handle the automated system at the heart of the problem.

The pilots’ union of Southwest Airlines, the largest operator of the MAX, said it is working with the company, Boeing, other pilot unions and the FAA to test and validate the new software.

“We still would like to have more detail on the development, control parameters and testing done on the algorithm that will trigger an MCAS event,” the union said in a statement.

The American Airlines’ pilots union told Reuters it expects to test the software fix on simulators this weekend in Renton, Washington, where Boeing builds the MAX and has two simulators.

MAX simulator training is currently not required, partly because not many simulators exist.

Southwest and American expect to receive MAX simulators later this year.

Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday the simulators are not designed to replicate the MCAS problems. The airline is among the few that do have a simulator but the captain of the doomed flight had no chance to practise on it before the crash, a pilot colleague said.

MOUNTING PRESSURE

The two crashes killed almost 350 people.

Since the Ethiopian crash, Boeing shares have fallen 12 percent and $28 billion has been wiped off its market value.

Pressure has mounted on the company from U.S. legislators, who are also expected to question the FAA. The company also faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Several lawsuits already filed on behalf of victims of the Lion Air crash referring to the Ethiopian accident. Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader lost a grand-niece in the Ethiopian crash and urged whistleblowers to help challenge the aviation industry and get to the bottom of what happened.

“They lulled us into complacency,” he said in an interview in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.

(For a graphic on ‘Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in question’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(For a graphic on ‘Grounded 737 MAX fleet’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6jQbI)

(For a graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Tim Hepher in Paris, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh, Georgina Prodhan and Ben Klayman)

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FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

March 22, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – American Airlines Group Inc pilots expect to test Boeing Co’s 737 MAX software fix on the U.S. manufacturer’s simulators this weekend, officials from the pilots’ union told Reuters on Thursday, a key step in restoring pilots’ confidence in the aircraft after two fatal crashes.

Boeing 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 in Indonesia in October.

Similarities between the flight path in the Lion Air incident and a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 have raised fresh questions about the system, and pilots want assurances that the update is solid. The two crashes killed everyone aboard both planes, a total of 346 people.

American is the second largest U.S. operator of the MAX, behind Southwest Airlines. United Airlines is the third U.S. carrier to operate the MAX.

“This airplane can be a safe airplane, and there have been great strides on getting a fix in the works, but I’ll have a better feel after we can test it out,” said Mike Michaelis, safety committee chairman of the Allied Pilots Association, or APA, which represent American Airline pilots.

Michaelis said one APA pilot and one pilot from American’s management team would test the software fix in Renton, Washington, where Boeing builds the MAX and has two simulators.

Boeing declined to comment.

The MAX jets were grounded worldwide in the wake of the Ethiopian crash. For the aircraft to fly in the United States again, the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the planned software fix and new training, which pilots must complete.

Boeing also plans to offer as standard a safety feature that might have warned earlier of problems that possibly played a role in the two crashes.

As for training, Boeing has proposed new computer-based training on the software update, followed by a mandatory test.

Jon Weaks, head of Southwest Airline’s pilots’ union, told members on Wednesday that the FAA-mandated training should be enhanced.

MAX simulator training is not required, partly because not many simulators exist.

Southwest and American, which operate 34 and 24 MAX jets, respectively, have said they expect to receive MAX simulators later this year.

Canada’s CAE Inc, the main simulator producer, said it has delivered nine of the simulators, which are now in high demand by airlines but take about a year to build. CAE expects to deliver 20 more in 2019.

“For now we want to get our safety experts in these unicorn simulators to show us what the software fix does,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the American Airlines pilot union and a 737 pilot. “When it comes to safely issues, it has to be a full-course meal, nothing a la carte.”

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Leslie Adler)

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: The Boeing logo is pictured at the LABACE fair in Sao Paulo
FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 14, 2018. Picture taken August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

March 21, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co will mandate a previously optional cockpit warning light as part of a forthcoming software update to the 737 MAX fleet that was grounded in the wake of two fatal crashes, two officials briefed on the matter said Thursday.

Boeing previously offered the AOA DISAGREE alert, which warns pilots when the “angle of attack” (AOA) readings do not match, but it was not required by regulators. Boeing will now retrofit older planes with the light that did not initially receive it, the officials said. Boeing did not immediately comment Thursday.

There has been a long-running industry debate about how much information should be displayed in the cockpit, notably about the angle at which the wing is slicing through the air.

Federal prosecutors, the Transportation Department’s inspector general and U.S. lawmakers are investigating the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification of the 737 MAX.

The FAA declined to comment on the software upgrade Thursday but said last week it planned to mandate “design changes” coming from Boeing in its software upgrade by April for the 737 MAX.

Indonesia’s Lion Air did not install the warning light. Lion Air Fight 610 crashed in October minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 onboard. The company told Reuters in November it did not install it because it was not required.

The angle is a key flight parameter that must remain narrow enough to preserve lift and avoid an aerodynamic stall. A faulty AOA reading led the doomed Lion Air jet’s computer to believe it was stalled, prompting the plane’s anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), to repeatedly push down the plane’s nose.

The planemaker has come under fire in the wake of the Lion Air crash for not outlining the automated system, MCAS, in the flight manual for the 737 MAX.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Eric Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO - The HSBC bank logo is seen at their offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London
FILE PHOTO: The HSBC bank logo is seen in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

March 21, 2019

By Lawrence White

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC has signed a deal to offer BlackRock’s Aladdin investment management software to the bank’s wealthy customers, in a boost to the U.S. asset manager’s plans to squeeze money from technology by selling it to rivals.

Aladdin began as an internal tool at BlackRock before becoming the linchpin of Chief Executive Larry Fink’s plan to increase revenues from technology. It is used by investment managers to help to oversee risks and make investment decisions.

Robert Goldstein, chief operating officer at BlackRock, said HSBC’s scale would mean many more advisers would have access to capabilities previously only available to institutional investors.

The partnership between Europe’s largest bank and the world’s biggest asset manager comes as both industries are battling to use technology to increase profits and improve service.

Guilherme Lima, HSBC’s group head of wealth management, said the software would help investors to understand hidden risks in their portfolios by acting as an ‘X-ray’ that could look through a mix of individual stock holdings, mutual funds and index trackers to reveal that all of them are exposed to a single stock, for example, or macro-economic risk.

That will help HSBC to respond to growing demand from wealthy customers for their banks to offer advice rather than simply selling products.

“It’s about being able to have a detailed conversation with the client and provide more value added advice,” Stuart Parkinson, global head of product, investments and collaboration in HSBC’s private bank, said.

BlackRock’s Fink has said he aims to increase revenues from technology to 30 percent of the firm’s total by 2022, as the broader stockpicking business has come under pressure from lower cost index funds.

More than 200 institutions and around 25,000 investment professionals use Aladdin and its risk analytics, BlackRock says.

Some market participants have questioned whether this presents a systemic risk, as the growing number of firms using the software for investment decisions could make portfolios more correlated and hence exposed to market shocks.

BlackRock executives have downplayed this idea, saying customers use Aladdin in different ways to suit their own purposes.

HSBC has already begun to roll out the platform in the United States and in Hong Kong, the bank said. Over the next 2-3 years Aladdin will eventually be offered to all customers who hold $1 million or more with the bank.

HSBC’s retail bank and its private bank which serves wealthier customers both chose Aladdin independently of each other after running a lengthy procurement process, HSBC’s Parkinson said.

(Reporting By Lawrence White. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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

FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski and Jamie Freed

CHICAGO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Pressure mounted on Boeing Co in Washington as U.S. lawmakers called for executives to testify about two crashed 737 MAX jets, even as the world’s biggest planemaker worked to return the grounded fleet to the skies.

A Senate panel plans to schedule a hearing with Boeing at an unspecified date, officials said, the first time a U.S. congressional committee has called the company’s executives to appear for questioning over the crashes.

The same panel, the Senate Commerce subcommittee on aviation and space, will also question FAA officials on March 27, likely about why the regulator agreed to certify the MAX planes in March 2017 without requiring extensive additional training.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 that killed all 157 on board has set off one of the widest investigations in aviation history. Initial reports from investigators say there are clear similarities between the crash and the Lion Air accident that killed all 189 crew and passengers in November.

While no direct link has yet been established, the MCAS flight control software and related pilot training are at the center of the investigation, and U.S. lawmakers are questioning the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification of MAX’s safety.

Boeing has promised a swift update to the MCAS, and the FAA said the installation of new software and related training was a priority.

However, extra computer-based training will be required after the software update, the pilot union of MAX’s biggest customer, Southwest Airlines Co, said on Wednesday, becoming the first major airline union to comment.

Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association said it had previewed the proposed Boeing training, including a required test, which would be mandatory for Southwest pilots before flying the 737 MAX again.

A Boeing spokeswoman said training on the software update would be provided by the manufacturer, but declined to disclose further details.

Regulators in Europe and Canada have said, however, they will seek their own guarantees of the MAX’s safety.

MOUNTING SCRUTINY

The Ethiopian Airlines crash has shaken the global aviation industry and cast a shadow over the Boeing model intended to be a standard for decades to come.

Investigators examining the Lion Air crash are weighing how the MCAS system 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.

MCAS is meant to prevent a loss of lift which can cause an aerodynamic stall and send the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way.

The pilots of the doomed Lion Air flight scrambled through a handbook to understand why the jet was lurching downwards in the final minutes before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.

Indonesian investigators have said the cockpit voice recorder information was leaked to the media and they plan to hold a news conference at 0830 GMT on Thursday.

Boeing has said there was a documented procedure to handle the problem.

The company was sued on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago by the estate of one of the Lion Air crash victims in which the plaintiffs referred to the Ethiopian crash to support a wrongful death claim against the company.

A Boeing spokesman said the company does not respond to, or comment on, questions concerning legal matters.

The Seattle Times reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation was joining the investigation into the MAX’s certification. An FBI spokeswoman in Seattle would neither confirm nor deny that it was a part of any investigation.

Criminal prosecutors at the U.S. Justice Department, who are also investigating the FAA’s oversight of Boeing, have issued multiple subpoenas to Boeing, CNN reported, citing sources briefed on the matter.

Bloomberg said U.S. officials started investigating the FAA’s approval of the MAX software linked to the Lion Air plane crash last year within weeks after the accident, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Pentagon Inspector General said it would investigate a complaint that Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, violated ethical rules by allegedly promoting Boeing while in office.

Facing high-profile scrutiny, Boeing reshuffled executives in its commercial airplanes unit to focus on its response.

FINAL MOMENTS

Before the Lion Air flight crashed, sources told Reuters the Indian-born captain, aged 31, was quiet, while the Indonesian officer, 41, said “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is greatest”.

A different crew on the same plane the previous evening had the same situation but resolved it after running through three checklists, though they did not pass on the information to the doomed Indonesian crew, a preliminary report in November said.

As with the Indonesia flight, the Ethiopian crew radioed about control problems shortly after take-off and sought to turn back. Ethiopia’s civil aviation head Wosenyeleh Hunegnaw said he expected a report on the investigation within 30 days.

For now, more than 350 MAX aircraft are grounded, and deliveries of nearly 5,000, worth more than $500 billion, are on hold. Boeing’s shares have fallen 11 percent since the Ethiopian Airlines crash, wiping $26 billion from its market value.

(For a graphic on ‘Boeing 737 Max deliveries in question’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(For a graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Jamie Freed in Singapore; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, David Shepardson in Washington, Tim Hepher in Paris, Jonathan Stempel in New York, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Google vice president and general manager Phil Harrison speaks during a Google keynote address announcing a new video gaming streaming service named Stadia at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco
Google vice president and general manager Phil Harrison speaks during a Google keynote address announcing a new video gaming streaming service named Stadia that attempts to capitalize on the company’s cloud technology and global network of data centers, at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

March 21, 2019

By Paresh Dave

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A Google executive offered new details on Wednesday about the company’s upcoming video game streaming service, telling Reuters that game makers may use competing cloud providers and must avoid some inappropriate content.

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, unveiled Stadia on Tuesday, saying the service launching this year would make playing high-quality video games in an internet browser as easy as watching a movie on its YouTube service.

The game would operate on Google’s servers, receiving commands from a user’s controller and sending video streams to their screen. Player settings, leaderboards, matchmaking tools and other data related to the game would “not necessarily” have to reside on Google’s servers, Phil Harrison, a Google vice president, said in an interview.

Hosting the data elsewhere, however, could lead to slower loading times or less crisp streaming quality, he said.

“Obviously, we would want and incentivize the publisher to bring as much of their backend as possible” to Google servers, he said. “But Stadia can reach out to other public and private cloud services.”

The approach could limit Google’s revenue from Stadia. It has declined to comment on the business model for the new service, but attracting new customers to Google’s paid cloud computing program is one of Stadia’s aims.

If a game publisher was using Amazon for some tools, “the first thing I would do is introduce you to the Google Cloud team,” Harrison said.

In addition, Stadia will require games to follow content guidelines that build upon the system of Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a self-regulatory body, he said.

“We absolutely will not have A-O content,” Harrison said, referring to the ESRB’s moniker for the rare designation of a game as adult-only because of intense violence, pornography or real-money gambling.

He said Stadia’s guidelines would not be public.

Asked about growing public concerns about game addiction, Harrison said Stadia would empower parents with controls on “what you play, when you play and who you play with.”

Google views Stadia as connecting its various efforts in gaming, including selling them on its mobile app store, Harrison said. But game streaming, he said, is an opportunity to tackle among the most complex technical challenges around and potentially apply breakthroughs to other industries.

“We think we can grow a very significant games market vertical,” he said. “And by getting this right we can advance the state of the art of computing.”

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by 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
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

FILE PHOTO: SAP SE CEO McDermott attends the company's annual results press conference in Walldorf
FILE PHOTO: SAP SE CEO Bill McDermott attends the company’s annual results press conference in Walldorf, Germany, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Douglas Busvine

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – When business software company SAP announced in January it would lay off 4,400 staff, Chief Financial Officer Luka Mucic described the restructuring as a “fitness program” for Europe’s most valuable technology firm.

But what some of the German company’s customers didn’t expect was that top software talent would be among those shipping out, rather than shaping up.

Gone is Bjoern Goerke, chief technology officer and head of SAP’s cloud platform business, along with programming gurus Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman – both highly respected in the wider SAP developer ecosystem.

The departures underscore CEO Bill McDermott’s determination to deliver on his long-stated ambition to drag SAP out of its comfort zone providing old-school enterprise software and complete its transformation into a digital platform business.

The shift comes at the risk of alienating core clients, who still account for the bulk of SAP’s business.

“The existing business must be supported with the necessary know-how,” said Marco Lenck, chairman of the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) which represents 3,500 companies.

“We are seeing that a lot of people with know-how are leaving the company. That’s a trend that should not become too extensive.”

Nine years into McDermott’s tenure, SAP’s transition remains incomplete: Its legacy software license and support business remains its cash cow, accounting for three-quarters of revenue and most of profits. However, it is stagnating.

Its newer cloud operation is smaller and is growing quickly but, because it is subscription based, has thinner margins.

McDermott, 57, has promised to treble the size of the cloud business by 2023, bringing total revenues at SAP to 35 billion euros ($40 billion), as it competes with the likes of Oracle and Salesforce.com.

The latter is an all-cloud operation whose founder, Marc Benioff, wants to achieve sales of up to $28 billion in 2023 – in the same ballpark as SAP’s own ambition.

McDermott’s $8 billion takeover in November of Qualtrics, a U.S. firm that tracks consumer sentiment online, showed he is ready, if necessary, to pay top dollar for the talent needed for SAP to thrive in the digital era.

“We are a growth company,” the New Yorker said when he announced the shake-up in January. He expects SAP’s headcount – 96,500 at the end of last year – to exceed 100,000 by the end of this year as new hiring outpaces job cuts.

Asked for follow-up comment, SAP said the restructuring “will allow us to invest in key growth areas while implementing required changes in other areas to ensure they are prepared for the future”.

For some, the plan is sound.

“It’s not about headcount reduction and savings, but talent re-alignment,” said Holger Mueller, an SAP veteran and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

DEVELOPERS FRET

But for fans in the SAP ecosystem that includes a wider community of developers and business consultants, the departures are unsettling.

Dennis Howlett, a veteran consultant and co-founder of tech website Diginomica https://diginomica.com/saps-restructuring-hunger-games-game-of-thrones-or-both/amp, said SAP was letting go of “exceptional” talent to compensate for shortcomings in its own cloud strategy.

“Bill McDermott says we are a growth company, but where is the growth coming from, Bill, apart from acquisitions?” Howlett asked.

The trio, along with axed board member Bernd Leukert, were prime exponents of the in-house programming language that has for decades been the beating heart of SAP’s range of enterprise software and database products.

Their expertise helped the company, based in the small Rhineland town of Walldorf, grow into a $136 billion leader in applications – ranging from finance to supply-chain management – that can be variably configured to meet client needs.

“The software is like Lego, with pieces you can put together to make your world,” said Thorsten Franz, who runs an SAP consultancy in Germany and aired his concern about the layoffs on social media.

“Apparently it was too good to last,” he told Reuters. “Now SAP says: We don’t like the house any more, so we are firing the architect and all the people working on it.”

Jung and Heilman, who announced their departures this month on Twitter, declined to comment to Reuters.

Goerke, who is based in Palo Alto and is known for dressing up as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk at off-site events, could not be reached. His Twitter handle suggested he was taking a time-out, carrying updates with poetry and photos from his daily jogging outings.

The restructuring sends a message to SAP’s existing clients that they need to take seriously a 2025 ‘end of life’ deadline for migrating users from legacy products to its latest, cloud-compatible S/4HANA platform.

German users are pushing back: “We will fight to ensure that we continue to receive support after 2025,” said Lenck of the DSAG.

SAP says, meanwhile, that it still has to hold conversations with staff on its restructuring in Europe. These are expected in the second quarter. The company plans to offer a mix of early retirement and voluntary redundancy to staff.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mark Potter)

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

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

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration
FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken July 9, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 19, 2019

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Alphabet’s Google will prompt Android users to choose their preferred browsers and search apps, a senior Google executive said on Tuesday, as the company seeks to allay EU antitrust concerns and ward off fresh sanctions.

The European Commission last year handed Google a record 4.34 billion euro ($4.9 billion) fine for using the market power of its mobile software to block rivals in areas such as internet browsing.

By pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android devices, Google had an unfair advantage over its rivals, EU enforcers said.

Google will now try to ensure that Android users are aware of browsers and search engines other than its own services, Kent Walker, senior vice-president of global affairs, said in a blog.

“In the coming months, via the Play Store, we’ll start asking users of existing and new Android devices in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use,” he wrote without providing details.

The company, which introduced a licensing fee for device makers to access its app marketplace after the EU sanction, does not plan to scrap the charge.

Google could be fined up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover if it fails to comply with the EU order to stop anti-competitive practices.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Stanislas Niox-Chateau, Co-Founder & CEO of Doctolib, poses at the entrance of the company's headquarters in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Stanislas Niox-Chateau, Co-Founder & CEO of Doctolib, poses at the entrance of the company’s headquarters in Paris, France, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

March 19, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Franco-German start-up Doctolib, an online booking platform for doctors, has raised 150 million euros from a pool of investors led by U.S. venture capital giant General Atlantic, it said on Tuesday.

The fundraising brings the company’s valuation to over 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion), it said in a statement, taking it to the coveted club of so-called “unicorns” — or startups that valued above that threshold.

General Atlantic, which has $31 billion in assets under management, which has notably invested in China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba and flat-sharing app Airbnb, made health one of the key fields in which to invest.

Doctolib’s existing investors, which include investment firm Eurazeo, France’s state-owned investment bank Bpifrance and venture funds Kernel and Accel, also took part in the round, the company’s fifth.

The six-year-old group, based in Paris and Berlin, has not yet reached break even and does not disclose its financial figures.

It says it receives about 30 million online visits from patients every month and works with over 75,000 physicians, who subscribe to its online service for 109 euros a month.

Doctolib’s software aims to cut the so-called “no show” rate, or the number of people who do not turn up for their medical appointments.

It also seeks to ease doctors’ day-to-day communication with patients via remote visits by computer and the sharing of health documents on its platform.

Doctolib intends to spend the new funds to double its staff to 1,500 in the next three years. It also aims to expand out these two markets internationally but declined to provide any target. ($1 = 0.8810 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Bate Felix)

Source: OANN

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Several media personalities actively floated the possibility that Saudi Arabia played a role in leaking billionaire Jeff Bezos’s racy text messages to his mistress before recent media reports torpedoed the idea.

Washington Post columnist Max Boot joined The Daily Beast as two of the biggest proponents of the conspiracy theory, one that blew up Tuesday after The Wall Street Journal reported Michael Sanchez — the brother of Bezos’s lover — sold the Amazon CEO’s secrets for $200,000 to the National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc. (AMI). Other outlets picked up on the idea, especially after Bezos began stoking the theory.

Bezos, a media tycoon who purchased WaPo in 2013, suggested in a Feb. 7 blog post that his outlet’s coverage of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as a potential reason for why people would target him. Subsequent reports have also noted that American Media once asked Saudi Arabia to invest in the company to stave off bankruptcy. Boot and others then began adding spice to those theories.

“As the mystery deepens of how the National Enquirer obtained Jeff Bezos’s private communications, I am reminded that Saudi Arabia (which has no love lost for the Washington Post) bought very sophisticated spy software from an Israeli company,” Boot wrote in a Feb. 9 tweet that linked to a story he wrote in 2018 fleshing out his full contention.

The Daily Beast’s Iyad El-Baghdadi jumped on board as well.

“For the last two weeks, we’ve been investigating the connection between AMI’s leak Jeff Bezos’ personal texts and selfies, and Saudi Arabia,” he wrote in an extended Twitter thread on Feb. 25, adding: “We’ve found more convergences of timing than can possibly be a coincidence.”

El-Baghdadi included a link to an article he published on the same day of the tweet titled “How the Saudis Made Jeff Bezos Public Enemy No. 1.” He wrote: “It sounded almost like a conspiracy theory when Jeff Bezos not-so-subtly hinted that there might be a Saudi connection to the attempt to strong-arm him with his ‘below the belt selfies.”

Washington, DC – July 19, 2017: Views from the rooftop of the Washington Post. – Image (Nicole S Glass/Shutterstock)

He added: “But there’s mounting evidence that the de facto ruler of the kingdom has been trying to punish Bezos for the fierce coverage by his newspaper, The Washington Post, of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

The remaining portion of El-Baghdadi’s article attempts to make broad connections between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Donald Trump and AMI.

CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem provided some coverage for the theory as well, telling Brian Stelter on a Feb. 11 edition of “Reliable Sources” that Bezos would not have suggested the Saudis were involved without some credible evidence. (RELATED: REPORT: Discloses How The National Enquirer Got Its Hands ON Jeff Bezos’ Racy Text Messages)

“Bezos may have been careless in his marriage … he’s not careless in terms of his business,” said Kayyem, who served as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs during the Obama-era. “He’s not going to throw a name out there like the Saudis without some basis in the memo, because it undermines the whole security assessment.”

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

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

FILE PHOTO: The British flag flies next to European flags at the European Commission in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: The British flag flies next to European flags at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 19, 2019

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Leaving the European Union is making it harder for fintech firms in Britain to recruit top talent, a report said on Tuesday, threatening to slam the brakes on a 7 billion pound ($9 billion)growth sector just as EU states step up competition.

The Fuelling Fintech report from TheCityUK, which promotes Britain as a financial center, and recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson, said fintech and other financial services firms must work harder to secure the skills they need.

Fintech employs 60,000 people and investment grew by 154 percent in 2017.

The report offers ways to generate more “home grown” tech talent as immigration faces curbs after Brexit.

“Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, there has been a significant decrease of graduates coming to the UK from France and Germany in particular,” said Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK.

Up to a fifth of the skills needed in recent years has come from EU countries, and UK hirers are now seeing a net migration of tech graduates back to the bloc.

Companies struggle to fill roles in coding, cloud computing, machine learning, software development, cyber, artificial intelligence and blockchain, the report said.

“There is a risk that those talented migrants with the skills needed by the UK will leave before these skills can be replaced by home-grown talent,” Celic said.

(GRAPHIC: TheCityUK/Odgers Berndston Report – https://tmsnrt.rs/2ObgELT)

The report recommends copying pharmaceuticals and manufacturing by forging long-term partnerships with academia to create a pipeline of skilled people – and also looking beyond graduates.

Better data gathering on the skills needed and better retraining of existing employees are also needed, the report said.

Britain has emerged as a leading fintech hub in Europe in recent years but now faces increased competition from EU cities such as Berlin, Paris and Luxembourg that can offer access to the bloc’s vast single market. Britain’s future access to the EU market could remain unclear for some time to come.

“The current shortage of tech talent is a strategic issue for the UK’s financial and related professional services industry, yet little has been done to quantify our current and future skills need,” said Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK bank and chair of TheCityUK’s working group on trade and investment.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

The Hyundai logo is seen outside a Hyundai car dealer in Golden
The Hyundai logo is seen outside a Hyundai car dealer in Golden, Colorado, November 3, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

March 18, 2019

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) – A group of U.S. states is investigating Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp for potential unfair and deceptive acts related to reports of hundreds of vehicle fires, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said on Monday.

The South Korean automakers have recalled more than 2.3 million vehicles since 2015 to address various engine fire risks in a series of recalls. In November, Reuters reported that federal prosecutors had launched a criminal investigation into Hyundai and Kia to determine if vehicle recalls linked to engine defects had been conducted properly.

“We are aware of multiple fires involving Connecticut vehicles, including some allegedly already repaired through the recall process. This is a serious matter, and we are moving aggressively and responsibly to uncover the facts and to ensure accountability,” Tong said in a statement.

Hyundai and Kia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Connecticut attorney general declined to say how many states were taking part.

Reuters reported in January that the companies would offer software upgrades for 3.7 million vehicles not being recalled.

A South Korean whistleblower in 2016 reported concerns to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has been probing the timeliness of three U.S. recalls and whether they covered enough vehicles.

In 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 U.S. Sonata sedans, saying engine failure would result in a vehicle stall, increasing the risk of a crash. At the time, Kia did not recall its vehicles, which share the same “Theta II” engines.

In March 2017, Hyundai expanded its original U.S. recall to 572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles with those Theta II engines, citing the same issue involving manufacturing debris. On the same day, Kia also recalled 618,000 Optima, Sorento and Sportage vehicles, all of which use the same engine.

Last month, the Center for Auto Safety, which has petitioned NHTSA to demand the recall of additional vehicles, told Congress that Kia and Hyundai must recall more vehicles at risk of fires after reports of 300 fires not the result of a collision.

On Monday, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, asked NHTSA to launch a safety defect investigation into Hyundai and Kia vehicles with the “Theta II” engines and order an immediate recall of vehicles.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler and Richard Chang)

Source: OANN

DJ Masatane Muto, diagnosed with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), mixes music using a smart eyewear called 'Jins Meme' which detects eye and head movements, during his performance on the stage in Tokyo
DJ Masatane Muto, diagnosed with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), mixes music using a smart eyewear called ‘Jins Meme’ which detects eye and head movements, during his performance on the stage in Tokyo, Japan, January 24, 2019. Picture taken January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 18, 2019

By Kwiyeon Ha

TOKYO (Reuters) – The music booms and lights flash as Masatane Muto, a wheelchair-bound disc jockey, uses is eyes to put on a show at a recent Tokyo music festival.

Muto, who lost the use of his hands to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, wears a pair of high-tech glasses connected to an app that controls music-mixing software.

“Through my performance, I hope to show that everybody should be given the chance to express themselves,” Muto, 32, told Reuters Television after performing at the J-Wave Innovation World Festa.

Muto was a 27-year-old advertising executive when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – a progressive neurological disease in which patients gradually lose control of most of their muscles, though mental function remains unimpaired.

The disease, which gained prominence in 2014 through the “Ice Bucket Challenge” global video fundraising campaign, is terminal, with most patients dying within three to five years of their diagnosis. There is currently no treatment.

On the train home after his diagnosis, Muto vowed to make the rest of his life as innovative and creative as possible.

He quit his job and founded the group “WITH ALS” to raise awareness of the disease and help other patients live their lives to the fullest.

Muto dreamed of being a disc jockey and tracked down the latest technology to make it happen.

Now a radio personality, he performs as a disc and video jockey under the moniker “EYE VDJ”, mixing music with smart eyewear that detects his eye movements and allows him to use an app connected to music-mixing software.

A three-point sensor on the nose pad of the JINS MEME glasses detects subtle electronic changes in the surrounding skin which are caused by blinking or movement of the eyes.

The eyeglasses sell for 27,300 yen ($245) a pair, cheaper than many other eye-tracking devices. The source code for JINS MEME has been released to the public in the hope that others will find their own ways of using it, Muto said.

“ALS is thought to be an incurable disease, but I believe hope is now growing for ALS patients to pursue their lifestyle and quality of life with the help of technology,” he said.

Muto said his next dream is to perform at the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

“By then I may be bedridden, but I can perform with the help of technology and the support of many people,” he said.

(Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

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

FILE PHOTO: The company logo and trading informations for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The company logo and trading informations for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 18, 2019

(Reuters) – Boeing Co shares fell by more than 2.2 percent early on Monday, after a pair of newspaper reports over the weekend raised more questions about the certification process for its 737 MAX jets before two recent deadly crashes.

A Wall Street Journal report on Sunday said that the U.S. Transportation Department was probing the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) approval of the 737 MAX and in particular its anti-stall (MCAS) system.

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

Shares of the company have declined about 10 percent since the March 10 Ethiopian crash that killed 157 people, wiping nearly $25 billion off its market capitalization, according to Refinitiv data.

Ethiopia said on Sunday that the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane had “clear similarities” with October’s Lion Air crash.

The U.S. Transportation Department’s inquiry, which was launched in the wake of the accident in October that killed 189 people, has warned two FAA offices to safeguard computer files, the WSJ reported.

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

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing Patrick Graham, Bernard Orr)

Source: OANN

A waitress issues a receipt at a cafe in Athens
FILE PHOTO: A waitress issues a receipt at a cafe in Athens, Greece, June 25, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

March 18, 2019

By Justin George Varghese

(Reuters) – U.S. fintech group Fidelity National Information Services Inc (FIS) has agreed to buy payment processor Worldpay for about $35 billion, in the biggest deal to date in the booming payments industry.

The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidation in the financial software and payments technology sectors as firms bulk up to compete with newcomers seeking to disrupt the way merchants are paid.

U.S.-based Fiserv Inc bought payment processor First Data Corp in January for $22 billion. In Europe, startups such as Italy’s Nexi plan to list, capitalizing on booming interest in the industry fueled by surging online sales.

The FIS offer for Worldpay, which was bought by U.S. credit card processing company Vantiv in 2017 for $10.63 billion, values Worldpay at about $43 billion, when debt is included, the companies said on Monday.

Worldpay’s London listed shares were up 9.4 percent at 8,104 pence in early trading on Monday.

“Scale matters in our rapidly changing industry,” FIS Chief Executive Officer Gary Norcross said in a statement.

Worldpay shareholders will receive 0.9287 FIS shares and $11 in cash for each share held, valuing the company at $112.12 per share – a premium of about 14 percent based on the stocks’ Friday closing, according to Reuters calculations.

The combined entity will have revenue of about $12 billion, the companies said.

Upon closing, FIS shareholders will own about 53 percent and Worldpay shareholders about 47 percent of the combined company.

Worldpay, which has provided payment processing services for more than 40 years, operated as a business unit of Fifth Third Bancorp until June 2009 when it separated as a stand-alone company. It was spun out of RBS to private equity firms Bain Capital and Advent International in 2010.

The company listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2015, with an initial public offering valuing it at 4.8 billion pounds, the biggest flotation in London that year.

Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs were financial advisers to FIS, the companies said, adding that Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as FIS’ legal adviser in the transaction.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru and Rachel Armstrong in London; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Edmund Blair)

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 17, 2019

(Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Sunday it was finalizing the development of a software upgrade and a revision of pilot training for its 737 MAX, the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed, killing 157 people on March 10.

The updates are intended to address how the aircraft’s flight control system – MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System – responds to erroneous sensor inputs, the planemaker said https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-03-17-Boeing-CEO-Muilenburg-Issues-Statement-on-Ethiopian-Airlines-Flight-302-Accident-Investigation in a statement.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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

Amber Athey | White House Correspondent

Reuters bragged Friday about its scoop that Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was once involved in a notorious hacker group, but revealed in the process that one of its reporters willingly sat on the story until after O’Rourke lost his Texas Senate race to incumbent Ted Cruz.

Reuters’ Joseph Menn reported exclusively Friday morning that O’Rourke, a former member of Congress and the latest Democrat to join the 2020 presidential race, had a secret membership in an infamous hacking group.

The group, known as the Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC), is the oldest and perhaps most influential collection of hackers in the U.S. O’Rourke was among the group’s members when he was a teenager and the group has protected his secret for decades in order to avoid damaging his political career.

But Menn, who has a forthcoming book about the CDC, first learned that O’Rourke was a member of the group over a year ago in late 2017.

Democratic Texas U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Beto O'Rourke embraces his wife Amy as he concedes to Senator Ted Cruz at his midterm election night party in El Paso, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Democratic Texas U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke embraces his wife Amy as he concedes to Senator Ted Cruz at his midterm election night party in El Paso, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2018. (REUTERS/Adria Malcolm)

Reuters explained in a “backstory” article late Friday that Menn held onto the story until after O’Rourke’s high-profile Senate race in exchange for an on-the-record interview. Menn says he was on leave from Reuters at the time in order to work on his book.

Menn had been looking into the CDC for years and “found out that they had a member who was sitting in Congress … and then I figured out which one it was.”

However, Menn said the CDC wouldn’t confirm that O’Rourke was the member in question unless the reporter agreed to hang on to the information “until after the November election” in 2018. After agreeing to the group’s terms, Menn approached O’Rourke for an interview with the promise that it would not be published until after his Senate race. O’Rourke agreed.

Menn defended his reporting decision on Twitter, explaining that he only had a “guess” that O’Rourke was the CDC member in Congress and “zero sources.” The reporter did not explain how he came to guess O’Rourke’s involvement and if he had enough information at the time to independently verify his hunch without the CDC’s confirmation.

In addition, Menn said he agreed to CDC’s terms because he “wanted the full story” for his book on the group “rather than 1 scoop ahead of a state vote.”

CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter weighed in on the situation on Twitter, writing, “Reporters who are writing books sometimes hold back certain info till their book comes out. That’s what the reporter says happened in this case.”

Attempting to minimize criticism about Menn’s decision, Stelter added, “What’s your proposal — no books?”

In his interview with Menn, O’Rourke spoke positively of the CDC, through which he engaged in illegal activity. According to Menn’s reporting, O’Rourke accessed cracked gaming software and stole credit card numbers in order to place free long distance phone calls. (RELATED: Beto Wrote Murder Fantasy Where Narrator Drives Over Children On The Street)

“There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you’re doing it,” O’Rourke said of the group. “I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.”

Menn’s agreement with the CDC that prevented voters from learning about O’Rourke’s hacking calls to mind NBC News’ decision to sit on newsworthy information about then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018. (RELATED: NBC Sat On Information That Contradicted Kavanaugh Gang Rape Allegations)

In late September, Julie Swetnick claimed Kavanaugh had participated in gang rapes; it was an allegation her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said could be corroborated by another woman.

NBC revealed in late October — weeks after Kavanaugh’s tense confirmation hearings — that the second woman contradicted Swetnick’s story during a phone interview on September 30. Rather than publish the information at the time when Kavanaugh was facing the allegations in the Senate, NBC opted to hold it until after the judge was already confirmed.

 Follow Amber on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

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: 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 15, 2019

By Amy Caren Daniel

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as investors welcomed positive signs regarding trade talks between the United States and China and after UK lawmakers voted to delay a potentially chaotic exit from the European Union.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive progress on trade talks, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the prospect of trade talks taking longer than expected capped gains on Wall Street in the previous session and resulted in the S&P and Nasdaq ending slightly lower and breaking their 3-day winning streak this week.

Chipmakers, which get a large portion of their revenue from China, rose in premarket trading — Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Micron Technology Inc and Nvidia Corp gained around 1 percent each.

The mood was also lifted after British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, setting the stage for Prime Minister Theresa May to renew efforts to get her divorce deal approved by parliament next week.

The S&P 500 has risen 2.4 percent so far this week, its biggest weekly gain in one month, largely helped by a host of economic data which supported the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future interest rate hikes.

A dovish Fed and hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal getting underway has helped put the benchmark S&P just 4.4 percent away from its record closing high hit in September.

Volatility may rise during Friday’s session on account of “quadruple witching,” as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.

At 6:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 98 points, or 0.38 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.36 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 40.25 points, or 0.56 percent.

Among stocks, Amazon.com Inc rose 1.4 percent after brokerage KeyBanc upgraded the rating of the online retail giant’s shares to “overweight”.

Oracle Corp fell 3.5 percent after the business software maker forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates.

Facebook Inc dropped 1.7 percent after its Chief Product Officer Chris Cox exited the social media giant.

On the economic front, a Federal Reserve report at 9:15 a.m. ET is expected to show industrial production rose 0.4 percent in February, after falling 0.6 percent in the prior month.

The Labor Department is expected to say job openings declined to 7.31 million in January, compared to 7.33 million in December. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Source: OANN

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

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Boeing is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 14, 2019

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The fall in Boeing shares has made the stock’s valuation less expensive but that may not make it an obvious buy for investors.

The planemaker’s shares have fallen 11 percent this week after a Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed 157 people prompted the grounding of Boeing’s global 737 MAX fleet. Boeing shares were down 0.5 percent $375.09 on Thursday afternoon.

The declines come after a run for Boeing shares that saw the price more than double over the past two years, making the company the largest U.S. industrial firm by market value.

GRAPHIC-Boeing’s soaring market value: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Cv0UyP

GRAPHIC-Boeing shares double over 2 years: https://tmsnrt.rs/2CiV8zY

This week’s slide means the stock as of Wednesday was trading at about 18.2 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, according to Refinitiv data. That valuation is in line with its average forward P/E ratio over the past five years and well below the 20.5 times the stock was trading at a week ago.

But whether that means the stock is actually cheap at these levels could depend on the extent of the financial fallout from the crash, which investors and analysts were still assessing.

For example, according to Refinitiv data, the consensus analyst estimate for Boeing’s earnings per share this year, which calls for 26 percent growth, has not changed this week amid the evolving fallout for the company.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded for “weeks” at a minimum until a software upgrade could be tested and installed in all of the planes, U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday.

Nancy Tengler, chief investment strategist at Tengler Wealth Management in Phoenix, which bought shares more than three years ago and has since seen the stock climb, said she was neither selling nor buying the stock this week.

“It’s fully-valued, based on what we know,” Tengler said. “If people start yanking orders … then the valuation might be a little bit high.”

“This is going to be one of those restarts for the company,” she added.

GRAPHIC – Boeing valuation: https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6oKWa

Analysts were seeking to determine the bottom-line implications for Boeing, especially since Sunday’s was the second such crash involving the planemaker’s flagship new model in six months.

The 737 MAX is Boeing’s largest contributor of product revenue and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), according to Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak.

Poponak estimates the MAX jet will account for 45 percent of total Boeing EBIT over the next five years.

“We believe investors were pricing in very limited risk to the 737 ramp-up profile, which now has greater risk within the wide range of possible outcomes following these incidents,” Poponak said in a research note.

JP Morgan analyst Seth Seifman said the situation could hurt Boeing’s cash flow in three ways: compensation of airlines for grounded planes; delays of deliveries of the jet; and any modifications for the aircraft.

“The situation will hopefully move forward sooner rather than later, with a path back into service, though we do not know how long this will take,” Seifman said in a note.

Even with the latest uncertainty and declines, Boeing shares were up 16 percent in 2019 as of Thursday afternoon.

Through Wednesday, Boeing shares had contributed more to the 10.2-percent gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2019 than any of the other 30 components of the blue-chip index, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

Following Wednesday’s decision by U.S. aviation regulators to ground the planes, Boeing shares appeared to be stabilizing, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“It seems like the worst is over for Boeing, and the fact that the U.S. fleet is grounded means they have time to come up with for a fix for this,” Ghriskey said.

GRAPHIC – Boeing leads the Dow higher in 2019: https://tmsnrt.rs/2FcTmT4

GRAPHIC-Boeing leads the Dow in 2019: https://tmsnrt.rs/2CfZisf

(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; editing by Alden Bentley and Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen badge on a new model at the Geneva International Motor Show
FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is seen on a new car model at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland, March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Volkswagen AG said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may bring an enforcement action over the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, the latest fallout from the cheating known as “Dieselgate.”

VW said in its annual report https://bit.ly/2HlE1Su released earlier this week that the SEC probe focuses on the automaker’s nondisclosure of “certain Volkswagen diesel vehicles’ noncompliance” with U.S. emissions rules.

Volkswagen did not have an immediate comment.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay more than $25 billion in the United States for claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers, and has offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.

VW admitted in September 2015 to secretly installing software in nearly 500,000 U.S. vehicles to cheat government exhaust emissions tests and pleaded guilty in 2017 to felony charges. In total, 13 people have been charged in the United States, including four Audi managers.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Lisa Shumaker and Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

A Volvo Car equipped with self-driving highway software is parked at the autonomous vehicle testing facility AstaZero in Boras, near Gothenburg
A Volvo Car equipped with self-driving highway software is parked at the autonomous vehicle testing facility AstaZero on the outskirts of Boras, near Gothenburg, Sweden February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Esha Vaish

March 14, 2019

By Esha Vaish

GOTHENBURG (Reuters) – A “virtual human” suddenly steps out at a blind bend, but the engineer in the Volvo car’s driving seat on the test track doesn’t flinch, leaving it to software to take evasive action.

Private test tracks like the one owned by Sweden’s AstaZero are playing an increasing role as manufacturers like Volvo put self-driving cars through their paces following high-profile setbacks on public roads, auto executives say.

Automakers and technology companies are locked in a race to bring these vehicles into commercial use by 2022, but their efforts on public roads stumbled last year when an Uber test car hit and killed a pedestrian.

The accident raised public questions about the technology’s safety and made road testing permission tougher to secure, with Uber resuming trials in a severely reduced capacity in December and authorities placing restrictions on its program.

“Everybody has revised the protocols a little bit after that kind of crash because we cannot have that again,” Dennis Nobelius, head of Volvo Cars’ Zenuity driverless software joint venture, told Reuters.

“The industry … has really been made to do one more loop … not only (to) make the end product safe enough but also make the testing secure,” Nobelius said from the backseat of the autonomous Volvo car at AstaZero’s track.

Public road testing has become more challenging for driverless vehicles as software which controls brake and steering is trialled, unlike previously when people controlled breaking and steering and software the other functions.

TRUCK TESTING

Trucks which drive themselves are even tougher to test than cars because of their size and weight and truckmakers say they are running tests at enclosed sites like warehouses, harbors and mines where human access can be restricted for safety.

Scania is trialling an autonomous truck at customer Rio Tinto’s Australian mines while an identical truck at its Swedish base runs more tests through simulation.

“In this kind of environment we’re able to test more or less what we need for public roads later on,” Lars-Gunnar Hedström, Scania’s engineering director at connected and autonomous systems, told Reuters.

“We have the possibility to be out on customer sites and run real operations much earlier, which is a big difference.”

The AstaZero track, which counts Scania and rival AB Volvo as customers, says it has also secured partnerships with domestic universities and testing grounds in the United States, South Korea and Singapore that give it data about traffic, city planning and human behavior.

This data, CEO Peter Janevik says, is essential because people’s behavior in traffic differs across countries.

Zenuity uses AstaZero’s virtual recreation to test cars using data from Malaysia, aiming to deliver software which is safe anywhere in the world.

With firms also testing upgrades and running joint trials as alliances grow, AstaZero’s facility is fully booked for this year, said Janevik.

Start-up Einride uses one of the tracks to check whether a person in Barcelona can use Ericsson’s 5G network to remotely steer its driverless electric truck, which gives a warning and stops when it encounters a moose or other roadblock.

The idea is eventually to allow customers like DB Schenker, which has already begun using Einride’s truck on Swedish roads, to be able to monitor a fleet of such trucks from a control room and a person there to be able to switch any truck that encounters an obstacle to remote control and navigate it safely.

“Autonomous technology has the potential to… reduce the number of accidents. That’s something we need to work with jointly in this industry,” Robert Falck, CEO of Einride said.

(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Gothenburg, additional reporting by Laurence Frost in Paris and Paul Lienert in Detroit, editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

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)

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

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

Wipro Chairman Azim Premji attends the Saudi-India Forum in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO: Wipro Chairman Azim Premji attends the Saudi-India Forum in New Delhi, India, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

March 13, 2019

(Reuters) – Wipro Ltd Chairman Azim Premji has pledged about 34 percent of the company’s shares controlled by him toward philanthropy, the Azim Premji Foundation said on Wednesday.

The commitment, worth 527.50 billion rupees ($7.5 billion), would take the total value of the endowment corpus contributed by Premji to 1.45 trillion rupees ($21 billion), it said.

Premji and entities controlled by him hold about 74 percent stake in Wipro, according to exchange data.

Premji, India’s second richest man, was instrumental in turning Wipro from a vegetable oil manufacturer to a software services company nearly four decades ago.

Azim Premji Foundation is a not-for profit organization that works in the field of education and runs a university in Bengaluru.

Shares of the Bengaluru-headquartered software services exporter closed at 257.90 rupees on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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: The logo of Avast Software company is seen at its headquarters in Prague
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Avast Software company is seen at its headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/David W Cerny

March 13, 2019

(Reuters) – Cyber security firm Avast’s long-time chief executive officer is stepping down, the company said on Wednesday as it reported marginally lower-than-expected adjusted revenue and earnings in its first annual results since listing in May.

Avast said Vince Steckler plans to retire in 2019 after 10 years in the top job and will be succeeded by Ondrej Vlcek, currently president of the company’s consumer business.

Steckler, widely considered to be the architect of Avast, led the company through the major acquisition of AVG and its listing on the London Stock Exchange. He is credited with having grown the company’s revenues from under $20 million to over $800 million.

He will step down on June 30, but will remain available in an advisory capacity for another year.

Vlcek, who started at Avast in 1995 as a developer, was part of the team that took the company public, and also led the integration of the consumer business after the company bought AVG in 2016.

Avast, which pioneered the “freemium” model in security software by giving away its basic product free, said it expects to deliver high single-digit adjusted revenue growth in 2019, while adjusted core earnings margin percentage is expected to remain broadly flat year-on-year.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 6.7 percent to $447.7 million, in the year ended Dec. 31. Adjusted revenue, excluding discontinued business, rose 9.5 percent to $811.5 million.

Analysts on average had estimated core earnings of $450.01 million on revenue of $819.16 million, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The FTSE 250 company has diversified its revenue in recent years from its best known antivirus solution to include services such as e-commerce, browsing, advertising and analytics.

Its stock has risen nearly 24 percent since its May debut to close at 307.95 pence on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Source: OANN


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