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Former Boeing pilot cops criminal charge over 737 MAX crashes

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An Ex-Boeing test pilot has been indicted for fraud in the ongoing 737 MAX probe

Boeing’s former 737 MAX test pilot, Mark Forkner has been indicted for fraud for allegedly misleading regulators about problems tied to the aircraft’s two fatal crashes.

The ex-chief technical pilot is the first Boeing employee to be charged over the 737 Max’s failures.

In October 2019, pilots struggled to regain control of the MAX and it plunged into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

Five months later, another MAX crashed near in Ethiopia just six minutes after takeoff, killing all on board and forcing regulators around the globe to ground the plane.

Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, March 11, 2019. A spokesman says Ethiopian Airlines has grounded all its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as a safety precaution, following the crash of one of its planes in which 157 people were killed. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

346 people perished in both accidents

Investigators found that both crashes were tied to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, software, which had been designed to help stabilize the jet after heavier, repositioned engines placed on the aircraft caused the plane’s nose to point too far upward in certain circumstances.

In both crashes, incorrect data from a faulty sensor caused the MCAS to misfire, forcing the planes to nose down repeatedly.

The MCAS system was not mentioned in the pilot manual which allowed pilots to enter the MAX cockpit without simulator training that would have cost the airlines more money.

“In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,”

Acting U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas said in a release.

“His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls. The Department of Justice will not tolerate fraud – especially in industries where the stakes are so high.”

Internal messages that surfaced in October of 2019 between Forkner and another Boeing pilot appeared to show the company had been aware about the problems with the MCAS system in 2016 – two years before the crashes.

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Why the U.S. is back to panicking about the debt ceiling

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has issued a stark warning, stating that a potential government shutdown in the United States could seriously jeopardize the nation’s economic advancement.

With Congress yet to pass a budget resolution, the looming threat of a shutdown has cast a shadow over the country’s fiscal stability.

Yellen emphasized that a government shutdown would disrupt critical federal functions, impacting not only government employees but also various sectors of the economy. The potential consequences include delayed payments to federal workers, disrupted public services, and a significant hindrance to economic growth.

In her statement, Yellen pointed out that the ongoing economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is already fragile, and a shutdown would add unnecessary uncertainty and risk to an already challenging situation. Financial markets are likely to react negatively to such an event, potentially leading to increased volatility and decreased investor confidence.

Furthermore, Yellen stressed the importance of Congress taking immediate action to raise the debt ceiling. Failure to do so, she warned, could result in a catastrophic default on U.S. government debt, with severe repercussions for the global economy.

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China’s economic headwinds will impact the world

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In recent times, China’s economic health has become a topic of international concern. Often regarded as the world’s second-largest economy and home to over 1.4 billion people,

China is grappling with a slew of issues: sluggish growth, soaring youth unemployment, and a turbulent property market. The situation escalated further when the chairman of Evergrande, a heavily-indebted real estate giant, came under police scrutiny, leading to a suspension of the company’s shares on the stock market.

The question on many minds is how much these troubles in China matter to the rest of the world. While some argue that fears of a global catastrophe are exaggerated, there will undoubtedly be repercussions felt by multinational corporations, their employees, and even individuals with no direct ties to China.

China plays a pivotal role in the global economy, responsible for more than a third of worldwide economic growth. Hence, any slowdown in China’s economic engine will reverberate beyond its borders. Multinational giants like Apple, Volkswagen, and Burberry rely heavily on China’s vast consumer market, and reduced domestic consumption in China will affect these companies and, subsequently, their global suppliers and workers.

However, the idea that China is the sole driver of global prosperity has its skeptics. While China’s economic growth contributes significantly to global figures, it primarily benefits China itself due to its trade surplus. This surplus means that China exports far more than it imports, making its growth more self-contained.

Nonetheless, a China that spends less on goods and services, or on housing construction, translates to reduced demand for raw materials and commodities. This hits countries like Australia, Brazil, and African nations, which heavily depend on exporting such resources. Moreover, weak demand in China results in stable prices, which can be welcomed by Western consumers grappling with inflation.

Over the past decade, China has poured over a trillion dollars into expansive infrastructure initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative, benefiting more than 150 countries. However, if China’s economic problems persist, its capacity to finance such projects abroad may diminish. This could have lasting consequences, especially for developing nations reliant on Chinese investments and technology for their infrastructure development.

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Lawsuit – Black Tesla workers endure harassment

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A recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has shed light on a disturbing workplace environment at Tesla’s Fremont factory.

Black Tesla workers have allegedly faced relentless harassment, including the display of swastikas and nooses, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of several affected employees, details a pattern of racial discrimination and harassment that has persisted for an extended period. Incidents reported in the lawsuit include the drawing of swastikas on workstations and restroom walls, as well as nooses left hanging in areas where black employees would see them.

The complaint further alleges that management at the Tesla factory failed to take appropriate action to address the issues, even after multiple complaints were made.

This lack of response has only exacerbated the hostile work environment, leaving the affected workers feeling vulnerable and unsupported.

Tesla, a company known for its innovative approach to electric vehicles and renewable energy, now faces a serious legal battle that threatens to tarnish its reputation.

The EEOC lawsuit seeks compensation for the victims and aims to bring about significant changes in Tesla’s workplace culture to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

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