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Lion Air won’t rule out cancelling Boeing plane orders following fatal crash: sources – National

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Indonesia’s Lion Air is reviewing airplane purchases from Boeing Co and has not ruled out cancelling orders as relations worsen in a spat over responsibility for a 737 jetliner crash that killed 189 people in late October, sources told Reuters.

Group co-founder Rusdi Kirana is furious over what he sees as attempts by Boeing to deflect attention from recent design changes and blame Lion Air for the crash, while the airline faces scrutiny over its maintenance record and pilots’ actions, said the people, who have knowledge of the matter.

Coverage of the Lion Air crash on Globalnews.ca:


Kirana is examining the possibility of cancelling remaining orders of Boeing jets “from the next delivery”, according to one of the sources who is familiar with his thinking. Another source close to the airline said it was looking at cancelling orders.

Kirana, a former group CEO who now serves as Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia, remains closely involved with Lion Air and hosts a monthly meeting in Kuala Lumpur with the heads of the group’s airlines based in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, according to the second person and an industry source.

No final decision been made by Lion Air, but discussion over the fate of $22 billion of remaining orders highlights the stakes surrounding an investigation involving Boeing’s fastest-ever selling jet, the 737 MAX, which entered service last year.

READ MORE: The Lion Air jet that crashed in Indonesian waters wasn’t in airworthy condition — report

Lion Air has 190 Boeing jets worth $22 billion at list prices waiting to be delivered, on top of 197 already taken, making it one of the largest U.S. export customers.

Any request to cancel could be designed to put pressure on Boeing and may require lengthy negotiations. Many airlines defer orders, but industry sources say aerospace suppliers rarely allow much scope for unilateral cancellations.

Lion Air declined to comment. It was also not immediately clear how much of the airline is owned by Kirana.

A Boeing spokesman said: “We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, and are working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved. We are also supporting our valued customer through this very tough time.”

Maintenance, software

Kirana, who co-founded the airline with his brother in 2000, ordered the review of airline purchases in response to Boeing’s statement last week focusing attention on piloting and maintenance topics, the person said.

Boeing released the statement focusing on maintenance actions spread over four flights in the run-up to the fatal flight on Oct. 29, after investigators issued an interim report that did not give a cause for the crash.

READ MORE: Tearful relatives of Indonesia plane crash victims demand answers — ‘we are the victims here’

Boeing is also examining software changes in the wake of the crash, while insisting longstanding procedures exist for pilots to cancel automated nose-down movements experienced by the 737 MAX in response to erroneous sensor readings.

It has come under fire from U.S. pilots for not mentioning the MCAS system – a modification of existing anti-stall systems – in the manual for the 737 MAX, which began service last year.

“Why are they changing (software) if there was nothing wrong?” the person familiar with Kirana’s thinking said.

Boeing has said all information needed to fly the 737 safely is available to pilots and that its workhorse model is safe.

Bankers and some analysts say Lion Air and Southeast Asian rivals over-expanded and would be comfortable with fewer orders.

But the row highlights an unusually polarized dispute over the causes of the crash. Experts say most accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors and parties rarely comment in detail before the final report, which often follows a year of analysis.

Wreckage recovered from Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, lies at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 29, 2018.

REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

In its statement, Boeing recapped the interim report and listed questions on maintenance and pilot behaviour that it said remained unanswered in the 78-page document, but did not mention the MCAS modification covered in an earlier safety bulletin.

It is not the first time an airline has crossed swords with its supplier after a crash.

Lion Air’s rival AirAsia Group Bhd clashed with Airbus SE after its Indonesian subsidiary lost an A320 in 2014. It continued to take deliveries, but relations never fully recovered and it later toyed with buying 787s from Boeing.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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