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Europe and others ban Boeing 737 MAX 8 but US stands firm | World News

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Countries around the world have banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 from their skies but the US has so far stood by it.

The UK, France and Germany were among those to ban the aircraft but their actions were mostly superseded when the European Aviation Safety Agency announced it was banning the planes from its airspace.

This meant that some planes had to be diverted or returned to their departure airports. Among them were two Turkish Airlines flights bound for the UK.

Other countries to suspend the MAX 8 included China, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Singapore.

The moves come due to safety fears after two fatal crashes involving the aircraft model.

On Sunday an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing 157 people.

In October last year, a Lion Air flight crashed off Indonesia, killing 189 people.

A policeman stands guard near the wreckage of Lion Air's flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta
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The Lion Air flight crashed in October, killing all on board

But the US Federal Aviation Administration has stood almost alone in refusing to ban the aircraft from American airspace.

The FAA’s acting administrator, Daniel Elwell, said: “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.

“Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Earlier, the FAA said it expected Boeing to roll out improvements to a computerised flight management “anti-stall system” in the next few weeks.

In the US, the pilots’ association for Southwest Airlines, one of those using the MAX 8, said it was “extremely confident that our entire fleet, including the MAX, is safe”.

But many of its passengers were tweeting to the airline’s customer service employees asking if their flight was on a MAX 8 or threatening to cancel their flights if they could not be assured of safety.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing more than 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines, called on their chief executive, Doug Parker, to “strongly consider grounding these planes until an investigation can be performed”.

Boeing stood by the aircraft, saying: “We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets.

“The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

People mourn during a memorial service for the crew members who died in the accident
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Memorial services have been held for some of the victims

Donald Trump offered his thoughts on the issue, saying that planes were “becoming far too complex to fly”.

He added: “Split second decisions are needed and the complexity creates danger.”

Canada, the other major country that has not moved to ban the planes, said it was working with the US Federal Aviation Administration to determine if action is required.

Canadian transport minister Marc Garneau said “all options are on the table”.

A woman stands near a pile of debris from the Ethiopian Airlines wreckage
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The Ethiopian Airlines wreckage is being examined by investigators

Another holdout was Kenya, despite the country losing 32 citizens, more than any other.

Instead, Kenya’s transport minister tried to reassure people that no Kenyan airline has the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane.

Boeing’s 737 has flown for more than five decades and the MAX 8, with bigger engines designed to use less fuel, entered service in 2017.

The planemaker had hoped the aircraft would become the workhorse for global airlines.

Meanwhile, another British victim of the crash was named.

Oliver Vick had been working for the UN in Somalia and the global body said on Twitter that they “mourn the loss of a passionate and talented friend who worked tirelessly for peace in Somalia”.



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Cyclone Idai may have killed 1,000 people in Mozambique, says country’s president | World News

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Four days after Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, there are fears it may have killed more than 1,000 people in the country.

It is thought to have been the most destructive storm to have hit the southeast African nation in more than 10 years.

Widespread flooding has left whole villages submerged and bodies were floating in the water, as some areas were completely cut off by road.

Mozambique’s president Filipe Nyusi said the official number of dead was 84 but added “it appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths”.

He also said it was a “real disaster of great proportions”.

“The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” he said.

Aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique
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Buildings have been damaged by the powerful storm

President Nyusi spoke after flying over the central port city of Beira and the rural provinces of Manica and Sofala, where there was severe flooding.

According to the Red Cross, 90% of Beira, which has 500,000 inhabitants, has been damaged or destroyed.

Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city, said the damage was “massive and horrifying”.

“The situation is terrible,” he said. “The scale of devastation is enormous.”

“Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible.”

A destroyed car amid the destruction caused by the cyclone in Beira, Mozambique
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A wrecked car is pictured in Beira following the cyclone

Mozambique was hit last Thursday before the cyclone moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

More than 215 people have been killed by the storm in the three countries, including 89 in Zimbabwe, official figures show. And hundreds more were reported missing.

In Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani district, rescuers were struggling to reach people cut off after torrential rains and winds up to 105mph swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power lines.

UN agencies and the Red Cross have been helping with the rescue efforts that included delivering food and medicine by helicopter in the impoverished countries.

Mozambique is a long, narrow nation with a population of 30 million people, and has a 1,500-mile coastline along the Indian Ocean.

This time of year, it is prone to cyclones and tropical storms, and was struck by severe flooding from Cyclone Eline in February 2000.

That storm killed 350 people and made 650,000 homeless across southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.

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Utrecht tram shooting: Suspected gunman arrested | World News

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A suspected gunman wanted over the Utrecht tram shooting has been arrested, a Dutch police chief says.

At a press conference, Prosecutor Rutger Jeuken confirmed that the Turkish-born suspect, identified as Gökmen Tanis, had previously been arrested, without giving further details.

Three people killed and five injured after the shooting on tram in Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday.

Turkey’s official Andadolu news agency said the suspect’s relatives believe the gunman’s motive appeared to be family related.

Citing the gunman’s relatives, it said the gunman fired at his relative over “family reasons” and later shot at others trying to help.

The father of the 37-year-old suspect said his son should be punished if he is to blame.

Mehmet Tanis, who lives in Turkey’s central Kayseri province, told Demiroren news agency that he had not spoken to his son in 11 years.

“If he did it, he should pay the penalty,” he said.

The city was put into lockdown after the deadly shooting shortly after rush house, which authorities said was an apparent terrorist attack.

Police conducted raids in several locations and helicopters hovered over the usually quiet town before the suspect’s arrest.

Authorities raised the terrorism threat in Utrecht to its highest level as schools were told to shut their doors.

Paramilitary police also increased security at airports, other vital infrastructure and mosques.

Police released a photo of the suspect a few hours after the attack and said he was “associated with the incident”.

Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said there could be more than one attacker.

“We cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive. Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more,” Mr van Zanen said.

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Utrecht tram shooting: Three people killed in possible terror attack | World News

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Three people have been killed and five injured in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

The city’s mayor Jan van Zanen said authorities were treating the incident, which happened just before 11am local time, as a terrorist attack.

He said: “We cannot exclude – even stronger, we assume – a terror motive.

“Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more,” he added.

As he spoke, police were seen at a number of properties in the city but they seemed particularly interested in an apartment block a few hundred metres from the shooting.

Utrecht
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Police closed off the scene and there have been very few witness accounts reported

Local media reported that the building was connected to the gunman, but police did not confirm this.

During the afternoon, police released a CCTV image of Gökmen Tanis, a Turkish-born 37-year-old man whom they said was “associated with the incident”. They warned he should not be approached by members of the public.

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After the shooting, police moved quickly to close the scene and there were very few witness accounts reported by those who saw the incident.

A police officer with a service dog in Utrecht, Netherlands
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A police officer with a service dog near the scene of the shooting

But Jimmy de Koster, who lives nearby, told RTV Utrecht that several shots had been fired and that he had seen a woman lying on the ground shouting: “I didn’t do anything.”

Mr De Koster said: “At that moment I heard pang pang pang three times, four men walked very fast towards her and they tried to drag her away and then I heard pang pang pang again and those guys let go of that woman again.”

Bernhard Jens, a police spokesman, said one person may have fled the scene by car, and that the possibility of more than one gunman being involved had not been ruled out.

Soon after the attack, Dutch authorities raised the terror alert for the region to the maximum level and security was strengthened at key buildings in the country, such as the main airport near Amsterdam.

Police at the 24 Oktoberplace in Utrecht
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Five people were also injured in the shooting, the city’s mayor has said

German authorities stepped up surveillance of the Dutch border, and were initially told to look out for a red Renault Clio car. It was later found abandoned in Utrecht.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Our nation was hit by an attack in Utrecht…a terror motive cannot be excluded.

“The first reports have led to disbelief and disgust. Innocent people have been struck by violence… we are now doing everything we can to find the perpetrator or perpetrators as soon as possible.

“That is now our complete focus.”

Utrecht is the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, with a population of around 340,000. The shooting took place in Kanaleneiland, a residential district on the outskirts of the city which has a large immigrant population.

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