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Boeing grounds 777s after engine fire in Colorado

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Dozens of Boeing 777 planes were grounded worldwide Monday following a weekend scare on a United Airlines’ plane that suffered engine failure and scattered airplane debris over suburban Denver.

The incident on the flight out of Denver — which quickly returned to the airport after part of the engine caught fire and broke off — prompted United and other airlines to ground planes with the same Pratt & Whitney engine.

While no one was injured in the Denver incident, the episode is the latest setback for Boeing, which only recently resumed deliveries of the long-grounded 737 MAX following two fatal crashes of that plane.

Aviation experts said the incident especially raised questions about Pratt & Whitney and United over engine maintenance.

“It’s nothing like the MAX,” said Teal Group aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia. “After all these years of service it is unlikely to be a design issue with the engine, certainly it is something to do with maintenance.”

The Denver incident followed a Japan Airlines 777 incident in December involving the same type of engine, as well as an engine problem in February 2018 on a United flight.

“There might be a common theme” among the three incidents “but until the investigation is complete, we don’t know that,” said Scott Hamilton of Leeham News, an aviation news site.

Boeing said all 128 of the 777s with Pratt & Whitney engines were grounded following Saturday’s emergency landing of United flight 328 to Hawaii.

Of the 128 planes, only 69 were in service while 59 were in storage.

Besides United, which removed 24 planes from service, affected carriers included Japanese carriers, Japan Airlines and All Nippon and South Korean airlines, Asiana and Korean Air.

Egyptian state newspaper Al Ahram reported Monday that national carrier Egyptair is grounding four planes with this type of engine. However, those aircraft were not presently in service, according to a source close to the manufacturer.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a temporary ban on jets with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 series engines from entering UK airspace.

Engine on fire

A video shot from inside the United aircraft — which had 231 passengers and 10 crew on board — showed the right engine ablaze and wobbling on the wing of the Boeing 777-200.

Residents in the Denver suburb of Broomfield found large pieces of the plane scattered around their community.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered extra inspections after the incident.

FAA chief Steve Dickson said a preliminary safety data review pointed to a need for additional checks of the jet engine’s fan blades, which were unique to the model and only used on 777 planes.

Officials from the FAA met with Pratt & Whitney and Boeing representatives on Sunday evening, he added.

The US National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) said a preliminary investigation indicated two fan blades fractured on the number 2 engine on the plan.

“The airplane sustained minor damage,” the NTSB said in a statement Sunday. “The examination and documentation of the airplane is ongoing.”

Pratt & Whitney said it was cooperating with the NTSB probe and “will continue to work to ensure the safe operation of the fleet.”

(The NTSB said the flight had 229 passengers, but United confirmed there were 231.)

United said Sunday it was removing the aircraft from its schedule, “and will continue to work closely with regulators to determine any additional steps.”

Japan’s transport ministry earlier said it had ordered stricter inspections of engines after a Japan Airlines 777 plane flying from Haneda to Naha experienced trouble with “an engine in the same family” in December.

Navigating industry downturn

The engine failure is unwelcome news for Boeing, which also faces a fresh investigation in Holland after a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane showered a small town Meerssen with debris injuring two people — the same day as the Denver incident.

“We have started a preliminary investigation,” said Luisa Hubregtse of the Dutch Safety Board, the organisation responsible for looking into aviation incidents.

“However, at this stage it’s too early to draw any conclusions,” she told AFP.

Boeing only recently resumed deliveries of the 737 MAX following a 20-month global grounding after two tragic crashes killed 346 people.

The MAX began returning to commercial service in late 2020, a time when airline travel remains depressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing executives said last month they expect it will take about three years for activity to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Michel Merluzeau, an expert at consultancy AIR, agreed the latest problem did not appear to result from poor plane design by the aerospace giant.

“It’s not really a problem for Boeing,” he said. “It’s more an issue of maintenance — how United or Pratt & Whitney is maintaining engines that have been in use for a while.”

Hamilton of Leeham News said the episode “is an embarrassing headline, but as a practical issue, it will have no impact on Boeing.”

Noting the weak demand for longer-service planes during Covid-19, Hamilton predicted some of the carriers could opt to retire the planes rather than return them to service.

Shares of Boeing fell 2.1 percent to $212.88, while Pratt & Whitney’s parent company Raytheon Technologies fell 1.7 percent to $73.00.

United rose 3.5 percent to $49.70, joining other carriers in rallying after a positive note from Deutsche Bank about the industry’s prospects amid improving Covid-19 trends.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20210223/boeing-grounds-777s-after-engine-fire-in-colorado/59415.html

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Indonesia set to penalise sex outside marriage in overhaul of criminal code

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JAKARTA — Indonesia’s parliament is expected to pass a new criminal code this month that will penalise sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail, officials have confirmed.

The legislative overhaul will also ban insulting the president or state institutions and expressing any views counter to Indonesia’s state ideology. Cohabitation before marriage is also banned.

Decades in the making, the new criminal code is expected to be passed on Dec. 15, Indonesia’s deputy justice minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, told Reuters.

“We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Bambang Wuryanto, a lawmaker involved in the draft, said the new code could be passed by as early as next week.

The code, if passed, would apply to Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike, with business groups expressing concern about what damage the rules might have on Indonesia’s image as a holiday and investment destination.

The draft has the support of some Islamic groups in a country where conservatism is on the rise, although opponents argue that it reverses liberal reforms enacted after the 1998 fall of authoritarian leader Suharto.

A previous draft of the code was set to be passed in 2019 but sparked nationwide protests. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated at the time against a raft of laws, especially those seen to regulate morality and free speech, which they said would curtail civil liberties.

Critics say say minimal changes to the code have been made since then, although the government has in recent months held public consultations around the country to provide information about the changes.

Some changes that have been made include a provision that could allow the death penalty to be commuted to life imprisonment after 10 years of good behaviour.

The criminalisation of abortion, with the exception of rape victims, and imprisonment for “black magic”, remain in the code.

According to the latest draft dated Nov. 24 that was seen by Reuters, sex outside marriage, which can only be reported by limited parties such as close relatives, carries a maximum one-year prison sentence.

Insulting the president, a charge that can only be reported by the president, carries a maximum of three years.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has hundreds of regulations at the local level that discriminate against women, religious minorities, and LGBT people.

Just weeks after Indonesia chaired a sucessful Group of Twenty (G20) meeting that saw its position elevated on the global stage, business sector representatives say the draft code sends the wrong message about Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

“For the business sector, the implementation of this customary law shall create legal uncertainty and make investors re-consider investing in Indonesia,” said Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani, the deputy chairperson of Indonesia’s Employers’ Association (APINDO).

Clauses related to morality, she added, would “do more harm than good”, especially for businesses engaged in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

The changes to the code would be a “huge a setback to Indonesian democracy”, said Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch.

The deputy justice minister dismissed the criticism, saying the final version of the draft would ensure that regional laws adhered to national legislation, and the new code would not threaten democratic freedoms.

A revised version of the criminal code has been discussed since Indonesia declared its independence from the Dutch in 1945.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20221202/indonesia-set-to-penalise-sex-outside-marriage-in-overhaul-of-criminal-code/70312.html

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Disasters cost $268 billion in 2022: Swiss Re

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Natural and man-made catastrophes have caused $268 billion of economic losses so far in 2022, chiefly driven by Hurricane Ian and other extreme weather disasters, reinsurance giant Swiss Re estimated Thursday.

Insured losses covered $122 billion — less than half — of the total economic losses to date this year, said the Zurich-based group, which acts as an insurer for insurers.

“Hurricane Ian and other extreme weather events such as the winter storms in Europe, flooding in Australia and South Africa as well as hailstorms in France and in the United States resulted in an estimated $115 billion of natural catastrophe insured losses this year to date,” Swiss Re said in a statement.

There were $7 billion of insured losses from man-made disasters.

It is the second consecutive year in which total insured losses from natural catastrophes topped $100 billion, with the figure hitting $121 billion last year.

“Urban development, wealth accumulation in disaster-prone areas, inflation and climate change are key factors at play, turning extreme weather into ever rising natural catastrophe losses,” explained Martin Bertogg, Swiss Re’s head of catastrophe perils.

“When Hurricane Andrew struck 30 years ago, a $20 billion loss event had never occurred before; now there have been seven such hurricanes in just the past six years.”

Hurricane Ian is by far the largest loss-causing event in 2022, with an estimated insured loss of $50-65 billion, said Swiss Re.

It estimated that Hurricane Ian caused the second-costliest insured loss ever, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Neighbourhoods flattened

Ian, a category four hurricane, caused more than 150 deaths, almost all in Florida, where it made landfall on September 28.

One of the most powerful storms ever to hit the United States, it flattened whole neighbourhoods and knocked out power for millions of people. Storm surges and immense downpours left even inland neighbourhoods submerged.

“This highlights the threat potential of a single hurricane hitting a densely populated coastline,” Swiss Re said.

The reinsurer added that so-called secondary natural disasters such as floods and hailstorms — as opposed to major disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes — caused more than $50 billion of insured losses.

The storms in Europe in February prompted estimated insured losses of over $3.7 billion, putting winter storms back on the insurance industry’s agenda, Swiss Re said.

France experienced the most severe hailstorms ever observed in the European spring and summer, with insured market losses reaching an estimated five billion euros ($5.3 billion), said Swiss Re.

And in Australia in February and March, torrential summer rains led to widespread flooding that, at an estimated $4 billion, became the country’s costliest-ever natural catastrophe.

‘Vast’ protection gap

Swiss Re highlighted how the insurance and reinsurance industry covered roughly only 45 percent of the economic losses so far this year.

“The protection gap remains vast,” said Thierry Leger, the group’s chief underwriting officer.

Of the estimated $268 billion total economic losses for property damage so far this year, $260 billion are from natural catastrophes and $8 billion from man-made disasters, such as industrial accidents.

The $268 billion figure is down 12 percent from $303 billion last year, but above the $219 billion average over the previous 10 years.

At $115 billion, total insured losses from natural catastrophes were down five percent from the $121 billion in 2021, but well above the previous 10-year average of $81 billion.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20221202/disasters-cost-268-billion-in-2022-swiss-re/70296.html

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Future global treaty on plastics must cut production to ease pollution, some states say

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WASHINGTON — Countries have begun to discuss a future global plastics treaty which would cut pollution, some hope entirely by 2040, at U.N. talks in Uruguay this week, with many states calling for curbs on plastic production as a way to reach that goal.

United Nations members agreed in March on a resolution to create the world’s first treaty to deal with the scourge of plastic waste which extends from ocean trenches to mountaintops, although there is divergence on how to proceed.

According to the U.N. Environment Programme, the equivalent of a garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute, threatening biodiversity and damaging marine ecosystems, while greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastics are expected to reach 6.5 gigatons by 2050.

Delegates from governments, civil society and industry are meeting in beach town Punta del Este for the first of five Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) talks that will run to the close of 2024, and prepare the future treaty.

“At INC-1, we can lay the groundwork needed to implement a life-cycle approach to plastic pollution, which would significantly contribute to ending the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste,” said Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Executive Secretary of the INC Secretariat on Plastic Pollution.

A life-cycle approach considers the impact of all the stages of a product’s life, such as raw material extraction, production, distribution and disposal, and looks at how governments, consumers and businesses can play a part.

Several country delegations on Monday voiced support for a treaty cracking down on plastic production, an approach opposed by the plastics and petrochemical industries.

The EU, members of the so-called High Ambition Coalition that includes Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Georgia, the UK and others, said they want to see the treaty include binding global obligations for the entire life cycle of plastics – including production – aiming to end plastic pollution by 2040.

Japan also revealed at a Reuters event that a potential treaty should consider placing curbs on problematic plastics like microplastics and those made with “hazardous additives” that are hard to recycle.

The US also called for a treaty that ends plastic pollution by 2040 but through a structure that resembles the Paris climate agreement, based on voluntary national action plans and which does not specifically address plastic production.

Some NGOs that are closely observing the talks expressed concern about the Paris agreement-style approach.

“We are three decades into UN climate talks and seven years into the Paris agreement, which has clearly failed to deliver. That model is one we should be weary of,” said Carroll Moffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20221202/future-global-treaty-on-plastics-must-cut-production-to-ease-pollution-some-states-say/70286.html

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