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UPDATE: Thailand grounds Thai Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX fleet

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UPDATE: Thailand grounds Thai Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX fleet | The Thaiger

… and US pilots report their problems whilst flying the 737 Max 8 model aircraft.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand says it is suspending the use of the Boeing Co’s 737 MAX 9 due to safety concerns.

The regulator said it will temporarily suspend the use of Thai Lion Air’s Boeing 737 MAX 9s for seven days, starting tomorrow and will continue to investigate safety measures. Thai Lion Air’s three MAX 9 jets will be affected.

The MAX 9s are almost identical to the MAX 8 model Boeing 737 except that it has three additional rows of seats but shares all the same parts, avionics, cockpit and systems.

Its parent company, Lion Air, has confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four Boeing 737 Max 8 jets while it waits for the outcome of the Indonesian investigation into the October crash off Jakarta that killed 189 people.

Lion Air executive Daniel Putut said the airline needs to know the “root cause” of the accident.

Lion Air ordered 222 Boeing Max planes, including 218 of the Max 8 model and four Max 9 planes. It currently has 10 Max 8 planes in its fleet.

Thailand is the last country in Asia where the jets are registered to issue a suspension, following the fatal crash of a MAX 8 737 in Ethiopia on Sunday.

Thai airlines do not operate the MAX 8 model.

Meanwhile, at least two pilots who flew Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on routes in the US say they raised concerns last November about the noses of their planes suddenly dipping after engaging autopilot, according to a federal government database of incident reports.

The problems the pilots experienced appeared similar to those preceding the October crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, in which 189 people were killed.

In both of the American cases, the pilots safely resumed their climbs after turning off autopilot. One of the pilots said the descent began two to three seconds after turning on the automated system, according to the New York Times.

“I reviewed in my mind our automation setup and flight profile but can’t think of any reason the aircraft would pitch nose down so aggressively,” the pilot wrote.

A pilot on a separate flight reported in November a similar descent and hearing the same warnings in the cockpit, and said neither of the pilots on board was able to find an inappropriate setup.

Another pilot wrote of having been given insufficient training to fly the Max 8, a new, more fuel-efficient version of Boeing’s best-selling 737.

The black boxes, recording the cockpit conversations and all electronic and mechanical systems of the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight on Sunday, are now being prepared to be sent to either London or the US for urgent examination.



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Entertainment

‘Game of Thrones’ finale rates high, fails the landing

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‘Game of Thrones’ finale rates high, fails the landing | The Thaiger

WARNING: GOT Spoiler alerts!!

“This final season has obviously been divisive, and a good deal of the criticism, especially of the penultimate episode, was justified.”

by Brian Lowry

After eight seasons, 73 episodes and a much-debated flurry of plot developments, that signature first-season line proved the key to unraveling the “Game of Thrones” finale, which, after a season that was at various times exhilarating, exhausting and aggravating, came as something of a relief.

Given the passions ignited (somewhat literally, given all that dragon fire) by the penultimate chapter, the finale couldn’t possibly please everyone. While there was validity in many of the criticisms, a degree of silliness crept into the discussion, starting with those who actually signed a petition petulantly demanding some kind of cosmic do-over.

From Mash to Friends to Seinfeld, the most watched series finals HERE.

“Flaws and all, ‘Game of Thrones’ rewrote the rules for a TV epic, providing a brilliantly cast serialised storyline, produced with a scope and scale that rivaled theatrical blockbusters.”

In the final analysis, the first half of the last episode, both written and directed by show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, was strong, logical and satisfying. Overall, it wasn’t a one-for-the-ages finale, held up against the best examples of them and the abundant hype, but it wasn’t an unworthy one either.

Read the rest of the CNN review from Brian Lowry HERE

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Technology

Google cut off Huawei’s access to some Android apps and services

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Google cut off Huawei’s access to some Android apps and services | The Thaiger

In a surprise response to the ongoing Huawei vs Trump administration spat, Google has halted its business operations with Huawei.

Huawei is one of the leading mobile phone manufacturers in the world. The Google ‘pull out’ is effective immediately, according to a report from Reuters. The halted business streams include anything in relation to the transfer of hardware and software products except the open source ones. If the reports end up being fully rolled out, it would send shockwaves across the world and massively impact Huawei users and businesses.

Huawei was posed to overtake Samsung soon as the largest seller of Android phones in the world.

According to Reuters…

“Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app,”

Google have responded…

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email.

Reuters first reported the news via unnamed sources on Sunday afternoon, and The Verge followed up a couple hours later with — again, anonymously sourced — confirmation.

Last Thursday, the US Trump administration added Huawei to their trade blacklist and owing to that it will be extremely difficult for Huawei to do business with US companies. Google is one of the US companies with the highest number of consumers in the world using its open-source operating system Android.

The move will put the users of Huawei smartphones in limbo. They won’t be able to get any new Android updates, security patches and even will lose access to Google Play Store which makes a huge portion of Android phone experience. The list of smartphones includes the recently launched high-end flagships of Huawei including P30, P30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, and the list continues.

Huawei, in just the recent quarter of 2019, shipped more than 59 million smartphones which makes a huge chunk of devices powered by Android Operating System. A source closer to the matter mentions that Google was forced to end ties with Huawei as a result of trade blacklisting of Huawei in US. Otherwise, Huawei was expected to become the biggest seller of Android-powered devices in the world beating Samsung and other Chinese smartphone manufacturers by a good margin.

Huawei will continue to have access to the licensed open source version of the Android operating system, which is available for everyone to use.

Huawei has not yet commented on the development. But in a recent interview to a Japenese publication Nikkei, Huawei’s CEO Ren had mentioned, “Huawei’s growth might slow under the U.S. restriction, but only slightly.”

The recent move by Google is going to change the power game between different smartphone manufacturers but only time will tell how Chinese smartphone companies and Chinese establishment will react and respond over this.

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Technology

Twitter and Facebook work to block anti-vax misinformation

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Twitter and Facebook work to block anti-vax misinformation | The Thaiger

If you search for the word ‘vaccines’ in Twitter, the first thing you see from today is a post from the US Department of Health and Human Services pointing you to reliable health information instead of misinformation from the anti-vax adherents.

Twitter says it now has a new tool in ‘search’ prompting users to head to vaccines.org, which is run by informed officials and health professionals. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are facing intense pressure from lawmakers to remove anti-vaccination propaganda from their platforms. The push-back is coming from officials and netizens.

The tool shows up on Android, iOS, Twitter’s mobile site, and on the newly designed desktop site in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Korea – more countries soon.

Twitter has used a similar tool that prompts users who search for terms related to suicide to contact a hotline for help. According to the blog post, Twitter intends to extend this tool to other health-related search terms in the future.

Last week, it was announced that Instagram would hide search results for anti-vax hashtags on its platform, effectively blocking any associated content. Two months ago Facebook announced it would also work to curb vaccine misinformation.

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