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Boeing sued by more than 400 pilots in class action over 737 MAX ‘cover-up’

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Boeing sued by more than 400 pilots in class action over 737 MAX ‘cover-up’ | The Thaiger

More than 400 pilots are involved in a class action against the US manufacturer of the 737 MAX seeking damages over what they allege was Boeing’s “unprecedented cover-up” of the “known design flaws” of the latest incarnation of its top-selling jet.

• A plaintiff lodged claims against Boeing on behalf of hundreds of pilot peers alleging the company “knowingly” covered up the defective aspects of its 737 MAX jet. The claims focus on one piece of software pilots claim they weren’t told about – the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System).

• This latest lawsuit filed against Boeing marks the first class action lodged by pilots qualified to fly the 737 MAX series. They allege that Boeing’s decisions have caused them to suffer from monetary loss and mental distress since the plane’s grounding.

• The originating plaintiff, known as Pilot X, who says he wants to remain anonymous for “fear of reprisal from Boeing , lodged the claim on Friday seeking damages for more than 400 colleagues who work for the same airline.

• The claim allege that Boeing “engaged in an unprecedented cover-up of “known design flaws” of the MAX, which “predictably resulted in the crashes” of two new 737 Max-model aircraft. A subsequent grounding of all MAX aircraft worldwide followed.”

• Boeing’s 737 MAX series, first mooted in 2011 and eventually launched in 2017, is the fourth generation of its 737 aircraft, a widely popular narrow-body jet manufactured since 1967 and becoming the world’s biggest selling aeroplane .

• By March 2019, the global fleet was suspended following the second fatal crash involving a 737 MAX that killed 157 people in Ethiopia. This followed another crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 jet just after take-off in Jakarta in October 2018.

• The class action will be heard in a Chicago court, with a hearing date set for October 21, 2019.

Presently, the Boeing 737 MAX fleet remains grounded around the world as the company proceeds with a software update. The FAA has not committed to a timetable for the jet’s return.

Boeing sued by more than 400 pilots in class action over 737 MAX 'cover-up' | News by The Thaiger



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Bangkok

Thai farmers and residents from four provinces unhappy about proposed motorway

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Thai farmers and residents from four provinces unhappy about proposed motorway | The Thaiger

About 100 affected residents and farmers, from the Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi and Nakhon Pathom provinces, are demanding the Thai Department of Highways scrap their environmental impact statements and start again.

The protests are over the 109 kilometre Nakhon Pathom to Cha-am Motorway.

A seminar was held over the weekend called “The Future of Petchaburi and the Motorway to the South” to provide a voice for residents. Department of Highways representatives were at the meeting to respond to resident complaints.

Unhappy residents say they were concerned the project could harm the livelihoods of local residents living in the four provinces, complaining that it will cut through farmland which is relied on to make a living.

They pointed out that the project’s environmental impact statement was already expired, as it had been prepared more than five years previously. Many residents and farmers say they had never been approached about the proposal in the past and they had been ‘in the dark’ about the impact of the new motorway.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Thai farmers and residents from four provinces unhappy about proposed motorway | News by The Thaiger

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Laos

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway

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Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway | The Thaiger

by Selina Ho, NUS

  • Laos is dependent on China to bankroll the US$7 billion project, raising concerns of being caught in a debt trap
  • The Kunming-Vientiane link will eventually connect with a railway line to Bangkok, and southward down the Malay peninsula to Singapore
  • The Laos section of the project is now half complete

Construction on the China–Laos railway began in December 2016 and involves six Chinese contractors from subsidiaries of the state-owned China Railway Group. Contractors now report that it’s half-finished and is on schedule to be completed by December 2021.

The 414 kilometre railway line stretches from Boten, on Laos’ northern border with China, to Vientiane, the Laos capital (map below). It will then connect with Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore as part of a pan-Asia railway that will eventually north-south from Kunming in Yunnan province all the way to Singapore.

The US$7 billion project is a showcase of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative” for rebuilding infrastructure along the ancient Silk Road from China to Africa and Europe.

The Laos government’s role is to leverage its section of the railway to transform Laos from a ‘landlocked’ to a ‘land-linked’ country. Laos’ one-party system has allowed the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, which has governed since 1975, to push ahead with the project. This is different from Thailand and Malaysia where opposition and countless ‘reports’ have slowed the progress southward.

The rapid progress in the China–Laos railway line has made it a poster child of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway | News by The Thaiger

Construction of the railway has created more than 5000 jobs for the local people and ‘changed the lives of local villagers whose dreams have now come true”, according to Xinhua media in China.

But these upbeat reports from Chinese media gloss over the challenges in constructing the China–Laos section of the railway. Difficult terrain and geography mean that a total of 170 bridges and 72 tunnels have to be constructed through Laos’ mountainous terrain.

Then there’s the remnants of the Indochina War (Vietnam War) which left an enormous volume of unexploded ordnance. Construction companies have been forced to suspend construction temporarily to clear some of the unexploded ordnance.

Then there’s been opposition from affected villagers. In October 2016 they were prevented from speaking at public meetings held to promote the project, to oppose the railway. In January 2018, the Lao government revealed that a compensation law had been drafted for compulsory acquisitions related to all Laos infrastructure projects.

The Laos government, based in Vientiane, has also been facing difficulties in coming up with its share of capital for the project. In March 2018, the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport had to urgently request approval of a budget of 510 billion kip (1.8 billion Thai baht or US$60 million) for Laos’ 2018 contribution to the project.

In the long run, the line through Laos will have to connect with the Nong Khai–Bangkok high-speed railway in Thailand to make economic sense. But there are plenty more challenges ahead.

The planned extension of the railway line between Laos and Thailand at Thanaleng Station, 20 kilometres east of Vientiane was supposed to begin in late 2010 but was scrapped by the Lao authorities because they wanted to study in detail how the existing 1 metre gauge Laos–Thailand track could be joined to the 1.435 metre standard gauge China–Laos line. The extension only resumed in 2017, a delay of six years.

SOURCE: East Asia Forum | SCMP

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

BTS Skytrain stations get maintenance checks after falling concrete

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BTS Skytrain stations get maintenance checks after falling concrete | The Thaiger

It wasn’t the sky falling. It was the Skytrain Station falling on a road in Bangkok.

The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) has announced maintenance work underway at 22 BTS Skytrain stations after a concrete slab fell from the Ari station onto the road below, just missing drivers.

Executive director of the BTSC Surapong Laoha-Unya said they prioritised the safety of the public and passengers so had ordered special maintenance at all 22 main stations on its green line – the Sukhumvit route from Morchit to On Nut and the Silom route from National Stadium to Surasak.

The Skytrain Facebook page announced 96 engineers and 16 cranes are carrying out the checks and maintenance…

• From 10pm on Saturday to 5am Sunday, the seven stations of Ekkamai, Phra Khanong, On Nut, Surasak, Chong Nonsee, Saladaeng and Ratchadamri will be checked.

• From 10pm Sunday to 5am Monday, the eight stations of Siam, Chid Lom, Ploenchit, Nana, Asok, Phrom Phong, Thong Lor and Taksin Bridge will be checked.

SOURCE: The Nation

BTS Skytrain stations get maintenance checks after falling concrete | News by The Thaiger BTS Skytrain stations get maintenance checks after falling concrete | News by The Thaiger

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