More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Boeing CEO grilled on Capitol Hill after MAX crashes

Yahoo – AFP, Luc Olinga with John Biers in New York, October 29, 2019

Family members of those who died aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 hold
photographs of their loved ones as Dennis Muilenburg (R), president and CEO
of the Boeing Company, testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee

Washington (AFP) - Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg faced a barrage of criticism from US lawmakers Tuesday at a jammed hearing on the company's commitment to safety as family members of victims of two deadly MAX 737 crashes looked on.

In his first appearance before Congress since the 737 MAX was grounded in March, Muilenburg apologized for the crashes and acknowledged shortcomings, but broadly defended Boeing's development of the ill-fated aircraft.

Senators from both parties signaled clear dissatisfaction, bordering on rage in some cases.

"Boeing is the company that built the flying fortress that saved Europe," said Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, a former National Guard helicopter pilot who lost both legs during the Iraq War.

"You have told this committee and you told me half-truths over and over again," said Duckworth, who represents Illinois, home to Boeing's corporate headquarters. "You have not told us the whole truth and these families are suffering because of it."

Muilenburg stuck to the company's longstanding stance that development of the MAX followed time-tested company procedures and defended it against charges that it cut corners on safety and was too cozy with regulators the Federal Aviation Administration.

Many analysts view the hearings as a can't-win situation for Muilenburg and expect him to exit the company in the foreseeable future, most likely after the MAX returns to service.

Asked by a reporter if he would resign, Muilenburg said, "That's not where my focus is. My focus is on the job at hand focused on safety. And we're going to do everything we can to ensure safe flight."

But Nadia Milleron, who lost her daughter on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said the company needs a shakeup.

Muilenburg "needs to resign. The whole board needs to resign," she said. "I expect him to stop putting the blame on the FAA and other people because that is what they always do. They don't take responsibility."

Boeing president and CEO, Dennis Muilenburg arrives at a Senate hearing 
on the 737 MAX after two deadly crashes (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

Passing the buck?

Many of the questions focused on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an automated system that Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots were unable to control, resulting in crashes.

"We have learned from both accidents and we've identified changes that need to be made to MCAS," Muilenburg told the Senate Commerce Committee.

But Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, lambasted Muilenburg as he struggled to answer pointed questions about 2016 texts from Boeing pilot Mark Forkner to a colleague that discussed the "egregious" performance of the MCAS during a simulation test and said that he "basically lied to the regulators."

Muilenburg indicated that Boeing counsel shared the documents with the Justice Department in February, but that he did not see the specific exchange until it was reported by news media earlier this month.

"I was made aware of existence of this kind of document," Muilenburg told Cruz. "I counted on counsel to handle this appropriately."

"That is passive voice," Cruz shot back. "You're the CEO, the buck stops with you.

"How did your team not put it in front of you, run with their hair on fire and say 'We have a real problem here?' How did that not happen and what does that say about the culture at Boeing?"

Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state where the 737 MAX is built, said the crisis showed that Boeing leadership was failing its employees.

"This isn't a question about line workers -- this is a question about the corporate view from Chicago, and whether there is enough attention to manufacturing and certification," Cantwell said. "You should take offense to the fact that people say, 'It's a great company that's not being run correctly.'"

Tuesday's hearing will be followed by a second session on Wednesday in the House Transportation Committee.

Boeing is still targeting regulatory approval for the MAX in 2019, a timeframe that many aviation experts still view as possible.

Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who chairs the Senate committee, told CNBC before the hearing that he intends to scrutinize Boeing's processes but said he did not see anything that would prevent the MAX from going back into service "fairly soon."

"I think this plane is eminently fixable," Wicker told CNBC. "I don't think it's a hopeless cause."

India's IndiGo makes $33bn mega-order of Airbus jets

Yahoo – AFP, October 29, 2019

With another 300 fuel-efficient planes on order, IndiGo will be able to reduce
fuel costs further in the future (AFP Photo/RAVEENDRAN)

Indian airline IndiGo has placed an order for 300 A320neo family aircraft, Airbus said Tuesday, in one of its largest-ever orders from a single firm, worth over $33.2 billion at catalogue prices.

The leading Indian airline said the order would help it to keep growing fast while cutting costs.

The Airbus order stands in stark contrast to the situation faced by its direct rival, Boeing's 737 MAX airliner, which has been grounded since March following two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg was to appear Tuesday and Wednesday before US lawmakers who want to know among other things if Boeing cut corners to rush the MAX out to compete with the Airbus A320neo models.

"The fuel-efficient A320neo family aircraft will allow IndiGo to maintain its strong focus on lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency with high standards of reliability," Riyaz Peermohamed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financing Officer of IndiGo, said in a statement.

IndiGo is already the largest operator of Airbus's latest-generation single-aisle model, which have become a top seller as they offer airlines considerable savings in fuel, one of their biggest costs.

The airline currently operates 97 of the planes. Including the 300 ordered on Tuesday, it has ordered a total of 730 of the medium-range models.

India's market for aircraft is growing fast.

The number of passengers there has multiplied by six over the past decade as middle class travellers take advantage of better connections and cheaper flights.

"We are pleased to see our aircraft allowing IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel," Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury was quoted by a statement as saying.

An Airbus estimate of the need for new planes in India over the next 20 years foresees domestic traffic that is 4.8 times greater than at present.

The latest IndiGo order includes a mix of the A320neo, the larger-capacity A321neo and the A321XLR, with a range of 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 kilometres, 5,400 miles) that is to be unveiled in June.

"IndiGo has brilliantly demonstrated the relevance of the A320neo for leading low-cost operators, and the A321neo -- and now the A321XLR -- provide our operators with the logical next step in cost efficiency, passenger comfort and market coverage," said Airbus' chief commercial officer, Christian Scherer.

At the end of September, Airbus had recorded more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 clients for planes from the A320neo line, while Boeing had booked 4,930 orders for the 737 MAX.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Toyota boosts presence in Poland on Brexit woes: media

RTL – AFP, 28 October 2019

'Brexit confusion' may have helped swing the decision Poland's way / GETTY

Toyota said on Monday that it would boost production of components for hybrid vehicles at its plants in EU member Poland, with local media reporting the choice of location was underpinned by uncertainty over Brexit.

Toyota Motor Europe said it would invest 140 million euros ($155 million) in Poland to increase production at its hybrid-oriented plant in the southwestern city of Walbrzych, according to a Monday statement.

"High interest in this (hybrid) technology in Europe, confirmed by rapidly growing sales, which now already amount to over 50 percent of the total volume of orders for Toyota models, resulted in the decision to locate two further investments in our Polish factory," Toyota said in a Monday statement.

Toyota chose Poland for its only other hybrid production and development facility outside Japan, it added.

Although the company made no reference to the challenges it faces in Europe posed by Brexit, Polish media were quick to underline that uncertainty over the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU meant the company chose not to expand production at its plants in the UK.

Several Polish media sources said that Toyota had initially planned to expand production at its Deeside engine plant in Britain, but changed its mind over concerns linked to Brexit.

"Although Toyota does not want to comment on this, the increase in investment in Poland was also affected by the confusion associated with Brexit," wrote Puls Biznesu, a leading Polish economic daily, on Monday.

Plans call for the new investment in Poland to be completed by 2022, giving Toyota's two plants in Poland the capacity to produce some 309,000 hybrid engines per year.

The engines are destined for Toyota, PSA and Lotus assembly lines in the Czech Republic, Britain, France, Turkey and Russia, as well as in South Africa and Japan.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

US makes history with first all-female spacewalk

Yahoo – AFP, Issam AHMED, October 18, 2019

This image taken from NASA TV shows astronaut Christina Koch during a
spacewalk outside the International Space Station on October 18, 2019 (AFP Photo/HO)

Washington (AFP) - US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir on Friday became the first all-female pairing to carry out a spacewalk -- a historic milestone as NASA prepares to send the first woman to the Moon.

"It symbolizes exploration by all that dare to dream and work hard to achieve that dream," Meir said after the 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk to replace a power controller on the International Space Station.

The mission was originally planned for earlier this year but had to be aborted due to a lack of properly fitting spacesuits, leading to allegations of sexism.

Koch and Meir began the walk with standard safety checks on their suits and tethers, before making their way to the repair site on the station's port side, as the sunlit Earth came into view.

In a call to reporters just a few minutes before, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine emphasized the symbolic significance of the day.

"We want to make sure that space is available to all people, and this is another milestone in that evolution," he said.

"I have an 11-year-old daughter, I want her to see herself as having all the same opportunities that I found myself as having when I was growing up."

Suit flub

The first all-female spacewalk was supposed to take place in March but was canceled because the space agency had only one medium-sized suit. A male-female team performed the required task at a later date.

This undated combination photo obtained from NASA shows astronauts 
Christina Koch (L) and Jessica Meir (AFP Photo/HO)

The failure by traditionally male-dominated NASA to be adequately prepared was denounced in some quarters as evidence of implicit sexism.

When Koch and Meir had been outside the space station for about five hours, President Donald Trump reached them in a video call and told them they had made history.

"You are very brave, brilliant women," Trump said.

"You represent this country so well," the president added. "We are very proud of you."

Meir, a 42-year-old marine biologist who was recruited by NASA in 2013, answered by paying tribute to female pioneers of the past.

"We don't want to take too much credit because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us," she said.

"There's been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers and astronauts. We have followed in their footsteps, to get to where we are today."

After the call, the astronauts got back to their repair work.

"That is a view," one of them -- it was not clear which -- said at one point, as the earth was lit up in bright light from the sun.

Koch, an electrical engineer who is leading the mission, was carrying out her fourth spacewalk and was hooked up to the station's robotic arm.

Meir, making her first spacewalk, carefully made her way using handles.

The two were working to replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit, known as a BCDU.

The station relies on solar power but is out of direct sunlight for much of its orbit and therefore needs batteries. The BCDUs regulate the amount of charge that goes into them.

US President Donald Trump (C), Vice President Mike Pence (L), Advisor to the 
President Ivanka Trump (3rd R) and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (2nd R) 
speak to NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir during the first 
all-woman spacewalk (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)

The current task was announced Monday and is part of a wider mission of replacing aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with higher-capacity lithium-ion units.


The US sent its first female astronaut into space in 1983, when Sally Ride took part in the seventh space shuttle mission, and has now had more women astronauts than any other country.

But the first woman in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, followed by compatriot Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982, who was also the first woman spacewalker two years later.

NASA acting associate administrator Ken Bowersox said he hoped that an all-female spacewalk would soon be a "routine" matter that would not require celebration.

Asked why it had taken so long -- Meir is the 14th US woman spacewalker -- he said men's added height provided an advantage.

"There have been a lot of spacewalks where very tall men were the ones that were able to do the jobs because they were able to reach and do things a little bit more easily," he said.

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris said the spacewalk was more than historic.

"It's a reminder that for women, even the sky doesn't have to be the limit," she tweeted.

NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2024 for the first time since the Apollo landings of 1969-1972. The new mission is named Artemis, after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.

The mission will likely see the first woman set foot on the lunar surface, perhaps as part of a male-female combination, as the space agency looks ahead to a crewed Mars expedition in the 2030s.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Southwest pilots sue Boeing over 737 MAX

Yahoo – AFP, October 8, 2019

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft parked on the tarmac after being
grounded (AFP Photo/Mark RALSTON)

Washington (AFP) - Pilots from Texas-based Southwest Airlines said Monday they had filed a lawsuit against Boeing, accusing it of "deliberately misleading" them over the 737 MAX, which has been grounded after two deadly crashes.

Nearly 350 people died in crashes in Indonesia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia in March this year.

"We have to be able to trust Boeing to truthfully disclose the information we need to safely operate our aircraft," captain Jonathan Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), said.

"In the case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen."

The grounding of the 737 MAX since March eliminated more than 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights and caused over $100 million in lost wages for pilots, SWAPA said.

Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 MAX, and the aircraft may not return to passenger service until 2020.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Dallas, Texas, said Boeing had falsely claimed the plane was airworthy.

In both crashes, pilots had difficulty controlling the plane once the MCAS anti-stall handling system was activated, according to preliminary investigations.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Volkswagen faces first mammoth diesel lawsuit on home turf

Yahoo – AFP, Yann SCHREIBER, September 30, 2019

Dieselgate is now 'part of the group's history' (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Braunschweig (Germany) (AFP) - A case pitting hundreds of thousands of owners of manipulated diesel cars demanding compensation opened against German car behemoth Volkswagen Monday, four years after the country's largest post-war industrial scandal erupted.

Around 450,000 people have joined a first-of-its-kind grouped proceeding, introduced by lawmakers after the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal broke in 2015.

The first hearing in what is likely to be a grinding, years-long trial began at 10 am (0800 GMT) in Brunswick, around 30 kilometres (19 miles) from VW headquarters in the northern city of Wolfsburg. The second is planned for November 18.

Consumer rights group VZBV, representing the plaintiffs, says the German carmaker deliberately harmed buyers by installing motor control software that allowed vehicles to pollute far more on the road than under lab conditions.

"I would like Volkswagen to reimburse the purchase price" said Andreas Sarcletti, a customer who had made the trip from nearby Hanover, "but I'm worried the trial is going to last a very long time."

Uwe Reinicke, who bought a manipulated vehicle in 2011, said "I don't think it's right, the way Volkswagen treated us."

VW fooled authorities about the real level of harmful emissions from 
its cars (AFP Photo/THOMAS KIENZLE)

"VW ought to finally, properly admit that they lied," he added.

The trial is Germany's largest so far in the tentacular diesel scandal, which last week saw VW chief executive Herbert Diess charged with market manipulation over his role.

50 questions for judges

"Several regional tribunals have already found against Volkswagen" and granted plaintiffs compensation, judge Michael Neef noted as the proceedings opened.

Alongside the grouped proceeding, 61,000 individual lawsuits have been filed in Germany, but Brunswick may not follow those earlier rulings.

Of the around 50 questions about the case judges must decide on, whether Volkswagen "caused harm" by acting "dishonestly" will be "one of the central, difficult questions," Neef added.

"We're confident of our chances, since Volkswagen committed fraud," VZBV lawyer Ralph Sauer told AFP ahead of the hearing.

VW lawyer Martine de Lind van Wijngaarden countered that there was "no harm and no basis to this claim" because "hundreds of thousands of cars are used" on the roads without problem.

A lot of files to get through (AFP Photo/Ronny Hartmann)

Judges said that even if they find there was harm, the amount diesel owners receive in compensation would be based on the present-day market value -- not the original purchase price.

Every owner registered in the trial will have to claim individually, even if the plaintiffs were to win the case.

VW thinks a final judgement could arrive in 2023 at the earliest, if the case is appealed all the way to the Federal Court of Justice.

Individual proceedings could then take at least another year -- in the court of first instance.

By then, the cars' market value will have further eroded, making a buyback cheaper for the firm.

Instead, the judges mentioned the possibility of a settlement, while allowing that such talks "would not be easy" given duplicates and foreign residents on the list of plaintiffs.

The VZBV says it is "open" to an out-of-court settlement but "in that case, VW would have to pay a significant sum after all," Mueller told AFP.

VW for its part finds a mass settlement "hard to imagine".

Most of VW's fines payments have gone to the US (AFP Photo/Geoff Robins)

30 billion euros

Since 2015, when Volkswagen admitted to manipulating 11 million vehicles worldwide to fool emissions tests, the scandal has cost the group over 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in fines, compensation and legal costs.

Most of that sum -- $22 billion -- has gone to the US, while in Germany VW has so far paid just 2.3 billion euros spread across three fines.

Alongside car owners, investors are claiming damages for losses they suffered when the group's share price plummeted after it came clean.

And earlier this week, chief executive Herbert Diess and supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch were charged with market manipulation.

Former chief executive Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down over the scandal, has been also charged with fraud.

The clouds of scandal still haven't blown away (AFP Photo/Julian Stratenschulte)

Away from the legal battlegrounds, "dieselgate" has sped up the fuel's decline from its status as lower-carbon alternative to petrol, favoured with government subsidies.

In Germany, its market share among new registrations has fallen from 46 to 33 percent. Car bans are also looming in some city centres because of the level of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.

The diesel scandal is "part of the group's history" just like the famous Beetle and Golf models, says VW brand chief Ralf Brandstaetter.

"The diesel crisis was a catalyst for our transformation," Brandstaetter told AFP in a recent interview, pointing to VW's 30 billion euro investment in a new electric range to "regain society's respect".