Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church, near High Wycombe, Britain March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
March 25, 2019
By Guy Faulconbridge and Kylie MacLellan
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure on Monday to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.
At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place.
With May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial that May must announce she will stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved and the United Kingdom has left the EU.
“Time’s up, Theresa,” the newspaper said on its front page. The newspaper said her one chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.
May called rebel lawmakers including Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker to her Chequers residence on Sunday, Downing Street said, along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove.
The two ministers denied reports they were being lined up as a possible caretaker prime minister.
“The meeting discussed a range of issues, including whether there is sufficient support in the Commons to bring back a meaningful vote (for her deal) this week,” a spokesman said.
May was told by Brexiteers at the meeting that she must set out a timetable to leave office if she wants to get her deal ratified, Buzzfeed reporter Alex Wickham said on Twitter.
The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said some ministers were urging May to pivot to a no-deal Brexit as the only way to survive in power.
May’s deal was defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.
To get it passed, she must win over at least 75 MPs: dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some Labour MPs, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.
The Sunday Times reported 11 unidentified ministers agreed May should stand down, warning she has become a toxic and erratic figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”.
Brexit had been due to happen on March 29 before May secured a delay in talks with the EU.
Now a departure date of May 22 will apply if parliament passes May’s deal. If she fails, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty.
Some lawmakers have asked May to name her departure date as the price for supporting her deal.
Lawmakers are due on Monday to debate the government’s next steps on Brexit, including the delayed exit date. They have proposed changes, or amendments, including one which seeks to wrest control of the process from the government in order to hold votes on alternative ways forward.
Amendments are not legally binding, but do exert political pressure on May to change course.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)
Sheep graze on grass and hay on a farm near the County Wicklow village of Roundwood, Ireland December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
March 23, 2019
By Graham Fahy
WEXFORD, Ireland (Reuters) – Ireland’s agriculture minister Michael Creed on Saturday promised farmers a “substantial” aid package if they suffer losses as a result of new UK tariffs under a no-deal Brexit.
The Irish Farmers Association estimates that WTO tariffs on Ireland’s beef and livestock sector will impose a direct cost of 800 million euro per year, devastating the 3-billion-euro industry and putting thousands of farmers out of business.
The beef sector is especially exposed to new tariffs, with half of all exports going to the UK.
The government will seek to provide domestic state aid such as grants and intervention, Creed told Reuters in an interview. Dublin may also provide private storage aid (PSA) for the industry, an EU measure usually reserved for smoothing out seasonal imbalances between supply and demand.
In addition, Ireland would apply to the European Commission for exceptional aid under Common Market Organisation rules covering agricultural products, Creed said.
“We are very satisfied that the Commission recognizes the necessity for that and we have a substantial package,” he said. “What we have also secured is the ability of the exchequer here under state aid rules to also intervene.”
Ireland would seek EU financial aid based on the precedent set when exceptional support was given to the Baltic states and Finland following Russia’s 2014 ban on EU food imports, Creed said. Moscow imposed the ban in retaliation for EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.
Creed said Ireland would make a case to the Commission that support for its primary producers would limit any possible contagion from UK tariffs to other European countries.
“Because otherwise we’ll be looking for a home for 300,000 tonnes of beef in other European Union markets,” he said.
The fallout from the UK leaving the European Union without a deal cannot be completely eliminated, he said, whatever the level of preparedness or government intervention.
“There will be cost implications, there will be job implications, there will be profit implications. And that’s the tragic reality of Brexit, in any manifestation.”
(Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Clelia Oziel)
David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief
OTTAWA, CANADA — Karl Rove said Friday he’s not surprised that the Mueller report has apparently found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia.
The former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush was speaking to 2,000 people at the Manning Networking Conference that brings together Canada’s conservative politicians, political action committees and opinion leaders every year.
Rove said if there had been any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, we would have known about it long before Robert Mueller, whom Rove described as being a “straight arrow.” (RELATED: White House Reacts To Mueller Report Release)
“Every campaign leaks … no campaign in my experience has leaked worse than the Donald Trump campaign: 2016 was like if you wanted to know who had gone to the restroom at 11 o’clock in the morning, somebody would tell you,” Rove quipped.
Rove, who is known as “The Architect” for having masterminded Bush’s election victories, reserved his harshest words for former FBI Director James Comey.
“Under U.S. law, [Comey] had no authority whatsoever to make the decision not to indict Hillary Clinton … He’s the head of the FBI. His job is to investigate and to make what’s called ‘a referral’ to the main Justice Department. He decided not to. Why? Because the attorney general of the United States was compromised by having met with William Jefferson Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix. Well, fine. He should have referred it to the Justice Department. She should have said ‘I recuse myself.’”
Rove added that having decided not to charge Hillary Clinton, there was no point in then describing her email habits as “extremely careless.” (RELATED: New Emails Revealed By Judicial Watch Seem To Show More Classified Documents On Clinton’s Private Server)
When asked if he thinks the Mueller report will still hurt Trump’s chances for re-election, Rove said the ball is in the president’s court.
“I think it all depends upon how Trump reacts,” he said, suggesting that the chief executive should focus on his successful fiscal policies.
”Our economy is going to beat the band. We’ve got low unemployment, we’ve got wages growing faster than the economy, we’ve got more job openings than we’ve got job seekers, we’ve got the lowest unemployment rates for African-Americans since we began keeping the records by race in 1948 … ”
Rove said Trump has proven his economic critics wrong. “I love all these idiots who served in the previous administration who said, ‘Oh no, conservative economics will never achieve growth of three percent’… all these smart people who said, ‘That’s a fairy tale; it’s not going to happen.’”
“Well, welcome to fairytale land.”
Source: The Daily Caller
The logo of Apple company is seen outside an Apple store in Bordeaux, France, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
March 22, 2019
(Reuters) – Apple Inc is expected to unveil a new video streaming service and a news subscription platform at an event on Monday at its California headquarters.
The iPhone maker is banking on growing its services business to offset a dip in smartphone sales.
While the Wall Street Journal plans to join Apple’s new subscription news service, other major publishers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, have declined, according to a New York Times report.
Apple has also partnered with Hollywood celebrities to make a streaming debut with a slate of original content, taking a page out of Netflix Inc’s playbook.
Below are some of the shows, curated from media reports and Apple’s own announcements, which are part of the iPhone maker’s content library.
SHOWS CONFIRMED BY APPLE:
** UNTITLED DRAMA SERIES WITH REESE WITHERSPOON AND JENNIFER ANISTON
Two seasons of a drama series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston that looks at the lives of people working on a morning television show.
** REVIVAL OF STEVEN SPIELBERG’S 1985 “AMAZING STORIES”
The tech giant has also struck a deal with director Steven Spielberg to make new episodes of “Amazing Stories,” a science fiction and horror anthology series that ran on NBC in the 1980s.
** A NEW THRILLER BY M NIGHT SHYAMALAN
Plot of the story has not been disclosed.
** “ARE YOU SLEEPING?” – A MYSTERY SERIES
A drama featuring Octavia Spencer, based on a crime novel by Kathleen Barber.
** AN ANTHOLOGY SERIES CALLED “LITTLE AMERICA”
Focuses on stories of immigrants coming to the United States.
** AN ANIMATED CARTOON MUSICAL CALLED “CENTRAL PARK”
The animated musical comedy is about a family of caretakers who end up saving the park and the world.
** “DICKINSON”, AN EMILY DICKINSON COMEDY
A half-hour comedy series that is set during American poet Emily Dickinson’s era with a modern sensibility and tone.
** OPRAH WINFREY PARTNERSHIP
Apple in June last year announced a multi-year deal with Oprah Winfrey to create original programming.
SHOWS REPORTED BY MEDIA:
** TIME BANDITS – A FANTASY SERIES
The potential series is an adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy film of the same name, about a young boy who joins a group of renegade time-traveling dwarves, Deadline reported.
** UNTITLED “CAPTAIN MARVEL” STAR BRIE LARSON’S CIA PROJECT
The new series looks at a young woman’s journey in the CIA, reported Variety.
** DEFENDING JACOB – STARRING CAPTAIN AMERICA CHRIS EVANS
This limited series is based on the novel of the same name and is about an assistant district attorney, who is investigating the murder of a 14-year-old boy, according to Deadline.
** “FOR ALL MANKIND” – A SCI-FI SERIES
A space drama from producer Ronald Moore, according to Deadline.
** MY GLORY WAS I HAD SUCH FRIENDS
A series featuring Jennifer Garner is based on the 2017 memoir of the same name by Amy Silverstein, reported Variety.
** “SEE” – A FANTASY EPIC STARRING JASON MOMOA
The show poses the question about the fate of humanity if everyone lost their sight, Variety reported.
** FOUNDATION – A SCI-FI ADAPTATION
An adaptation of the iconic novel series from famed sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, Deadline reported. The book series follows a mathematician who predicts the collapse of humanity.
** A COMEDY SHOW BY ROB MCELHENNEY AND CHARLIE DAY
The sitcom comedy based on the lives of a diverse group of people who work together in a video game development studio, Variety reported.
** AN UNSCRIPTED SERIES “HOME” FROM THE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER MATT TYRNAUER
The series will offer viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary homes and feature interviews with people who built them, according to Variety.
** UNTITLED RICHARD GERE SERIES
Based on an Israeli series Nevelot, the show is about two elderly Vietnam vets whose lives are changed when a woman they both love is killed in a car accident, Deadline reported.
** J.J. ABRAMS-PRODUCED LITTLE VOICE
Singer and actress Sara Bareilles is writing the music and could possibly star in the J.J. Abrams-produced half-hour show, which explores the journey of finding one’s authentic voice in early 20s, according to Variety.
** THE PEANUTS GANG
Apple has acquired the rights to the famous characters and the first series will be a science and math oriented short featuring Snoopy as an astronaut, according to Hollywood Reporter.
** ON THE ROCKS
A feature film, directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray, is about a young mother who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York, Variety reported.
** LOSING EARTH
Apple has acquired the rights to a TV series based on Nathaniel Rich’s 70-page New York Times Magazine story “Losing Earth”, New York Times reported.
** THE ELEPHANT QUEEN
Apple has acquired the rights to Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s documentary The Elephant Queen, Deadline reported.
An Irish animation about a young hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to destroy a pack of evil wolves, but instead befriends a wild native girl who runs with them, first reported by Bloomberg.
Apple has secured the rights to develop Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel, about four generations of a Korean immigrant family, into a series, reported Variety.
Apple has bought the rights to make an English-language version of the French original short-form series, according to Variety.
Apple has won the rights to develop the hit novel Shantaram as a drama series, reported Variety.
** SWAGGER, A DRAMA SERIES BASED ON KEVIN DURANT
A drama series based on the early life and career of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, according to Variety.
** YOU THINK IT, I’LL SAY IT
Apple has ordered a 10-episode, half-hour run of the comedy show, which is an adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection by the same name, Variety reported.
** WHIPLASH DIRECTOR DAMIEN CHAZELLE DRAMA SERIES
According to Variety, Apple has ordered a whole season of a series without first shooting a pilot, but no other details are known about the show.
** Apple may offer cut-priced bundles with video offering – The Information reported http://bit.ly/2HzcSLW on Thursday.
(Reporting by Sonam Rai and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru)
FILE PHOTO: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds, speaks to the media outside the Cabinet Office, in London, Britain March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
March 22, 2019
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Nothing has changed as far as the Brexit divorce deal British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to convince lawmakers to back, the deputy leader of the Northern Irish party propping up her government said on Friday.
The Democratic Unionist Party’s Nigel Dodds said in a statement May had missed an opportunity to put forward proposals to EU leaders to improve the prospects of an acceptable deal, describing it as a “disappointing and inexcusable” failure.
“Lectures by the Prime Minister putting the blame on others cannot disguise the responsibility her government bears for the current debacle and the fact that her agreement has been twice overwhelmingly rejected,” Dodds added in a statement ahead of a third vote where his party’s stance will be vital.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Peter Graff)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron speak during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
March 22, 2019
By Richard Lough
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France said on Friday that Britain would crash out of the European Union on April 12 if it fails to ratify the Brexit withdrawal agreement and present a new plan, putting it at odds with other member states which adopted a softer stance.
President Emmanuel Macron has been the most forthright among EU leaders in wanting to draw a line under Britain’s Brexit crisis quickly to refocus on pushing forward the bloc’s agenda. Some, including Germany, have instead stressed the need to make every effort to ensure a chaotic exit is avoided.
A day after EU leaders in Brussels handed Britain a final chance to leave the bloc in an orderly fashion, disagreement broke out over the definitive deadline.
Under Thursday’s deal, May 22 will be the departure date if the British parliament finally approves next week Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement after twice resoundingly rejecting it. If it does not, Britain must present a new plan by April 12 or leave the EU without a treaty.
An official in Macron’s office said there would be no further extensions, even to implement the exit: “No, April 12 is the leave date.” European Commission officials said that April 12 was “the new March 29th” — the previous exit date.
Others said the summit conclusions were not so clear-cut.
“If there is no indication that they are going to run European elections… there is no ability to extend further,” Irish European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee said. “But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that on April 12 that is the end date.”
“It means that they have to give a timeline for what it is that they are doing or set out exactly what it is that they have planned. It takes away the possibility of a cliff-edge in 24 hours.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the legal deadline, assuming Britain does not participate in the May 23-26 European Parliament elections, was June 30 – the date the British prime minister had originally sought an extension until.
A senior EU diplomat echoed the view that there could be wriggle-room for further delays.
“My reading is rather in the direction that April 12 is the new March 29,” the diplomat said. “The door is left open for another extension.”
(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey, Richard Lough and Gabriela Baczynska; Writing by Richard Lough, editing by Thomas Escritt and Gareth Jones)
FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Philip Lane speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
March 22, 2019
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The council of European Union leaders on Friday appointed Philip Lane, the current governor of the Irish central bank, to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, where he is due to serve as Chief Economist, the council said in a statement.
Lane’s eight-year term begins on June 1. The announcement, which was earlier ratified by the European Parliament and the ECB itself, was widely expected.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Francesco Canepa)
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar waits to meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
March 22, 2019
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar issued a tongue-in-cheek reminder on Friday that European Union and non-EU countries – which neighbouring Britain is due to become – can share land borders without needing border patrol infrastructure and customs checks.
Varadkar tweeted from Brussels on the 25th anniversary of the European Economic Area that he had enjoyed meeting his counterparts from EEA members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who participate in the EU’s single market without being members.
“Good to meet up with the Norwegian, Icelandic and Liechtenstein PMs. All in the single market for 25 years but not in the EU,” he wrote.
“Sensible solutions are possible once red lines don’t restrict them,” he added, as he joined a drone-shot aerial photo of EU and EEA leaders in the European Council’s cavernous atrium.
Ireland, the only country that shares a land border with Britain, fears that allowing the return of border infrastructure between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could rekindle the violence over the province’s status that marked much of the 20th century.
But British Prime Minister Theresa May’s self-declared red line that free movement between Britain and the European Union must end has become the biggest sticking point in talks over Britain’s exit from the EU. It has led to the development of the customs union “backstop” that has triggered the ire of so many of her parliamentarians.
Asked if Britain should join the EEA, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir acknowledged this, saying: “I don’t know if our circumstances are fitting for the UK.
“We are members of the four freedoms: freedom of people, movement, services and all that, so I don’t know if that is the right solution for the UK,” she added.
Her Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg declined to discuss May’s conundrum but praised the benefits to Norway of the freedom of movement that May opposes.
“For a long time for Norway, freedom of movement was a benefit, because in a period where we had economic growth when others had a slowdown … we benefited from the influx of labour so that our economy wasn’t overheated,” she said.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI
March 22, 2019
By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher
ADDIS ABABA/PARIS (Reuters) – At the headquarters of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, a paper sign balanced above room 107 and a threadbare square of carpet welcome a stream of foreign visitors to the Accident Investigation Bureau.
The office – with three investigators and an annual budget of less than 2.5 million Birr ($89,000) – is leading a multi-party, multi-nation probe into what caused an Ethiopian Airlines flight to crash on March 10, killing all 157 people on board.
Brusque foreign investigators in cargo pants and Ethiopians in suits or reflective vests wave away questions from reporters on how their inquiries are progressing.
This modest agency is under intense international scrutiny because the results of its investigation could have far-reaching consequences for the global aviation industry.
If the investigators highlight flaws in the 737 MAX 8 that echo a recent crash of the same model in Indonesia, their report could deal a major blow to Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker and a massive U.S. exporter.
But if investigators find Ethiopian Airlines fell short in maintenance, training or piloting, that could damage one of Africa’s most successful companies, a symbol of Ethiopia’s emergence as a regional power.
Disagreements have broken out in Addis Ababa between Ethiopian authorities and foreign investigators over issues including the handling of evidence and crash site management, according to several sources close to the investigation.
Kevin Humphreys, a former Irish regulator who founded the country’s air investigation agency, told Reuters the high stakes involved tend to make probes like this one particularly tough.
“There are tensions because it is unrealistic to assume that international protocols are always going to work. There is a potentially important economic impact from such investigations.”
An 18-strong team of American investigators has been sent to aid the Ethiopians with the inquiry, including representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Boeing, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which certified 737 MAX planes as safe.
U.S. and some other foreign investigators are unhappy because Ethiopia is so far sharing only limited information, the sources said.
“There is no opportunity for the international community to benefit and learn from this,” said one of them, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Some foreign officials are also unhappy about the prominent role Ethiopian Airlines played in the probe, suggesting a possible conflict of interests, they said.
But one Addis Ababa-based source said the carrier’s role in the investigation does not necessarily indicate it is trying to exert undue influence. The airline is more likely involved because it is the most well-funded and staffed state enterprise able to help the over-stretched inquiry team, he added.
“When you have a vacuum, someone has to fill it,” he said.
Ethiopian Airlines’ spokesman Asrat Begachew said the carrier was supporting the investigation. “We are not taking the lead,” he added, declining to comment further.
Under global aviation rules, interested parties like airlines and manufacturers are discouraged from speaking publicly about the investigation.
Yet in the first days after the Flight 302 crash, Ethiopian Airlines made all of the public statements, including announcing the black box recorders would be sent overseas for data extraction.
It was not until six days after the tragedy that the Ministry of Transport began briefing the media and public.
Hours after the crash, Ethiopian Airlines tweeted a picture of its CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holding a piece of debris in the crater of the crash site, surprising aviation experts who said the site should have been preserved for investigators.
Musie Yehyies, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, said the government had been quick to share information about the crash. He denied there was any mistrust between the Ethiopians and other parties.
“Our friendship with the United States is obvious,” he told Reuters. “Plenty of governments have been offering assistance, and some of them have helped practically.”
The ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the airline’s role in the investigation or any potential conflict of interest.
Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau and civil aviation authority, which fall under the transport ministry, declined to comment on the investigation or any grievances of parties involved.
Boeing, the FAA and the NTSB also declined to comment.
The cockpit voice and flight data recorders were recovered the day after the crash, but it took Ethiopian investigators three days to decide where to send them for the information to be extracted and decoded. Like many fast-growing players, the Ethiopians do not have the technology to perform the task.
In a sign of the distrust between the parties, the Ethiopians turned down an American offer to perform the analysis in the United States, according to two sources.
U.S. authorities declined to comment.
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde personally approached German authorities to request to send the black boxes to Germany to have the data extracted there, a separate source with knowledge of matter told Reuters. Airlines are not usually involved in such decisions, according to current and former investigators.
The airline could not comment on the investigation, a spokesman said in response to questions about the incident.
However German officials said they too did not have the most recent software needed to extract the data, so the devices were eventually sent to France.
Partial data from the flight data recorder was shared informally late on Monday with U.S. and French investigators in Paris, but nothing from the cockpit voice recorder, three sources familiar with the matter said.
It is common for the host investigator to closely guard voice recordings to protect privacy but unusual for relatively little data to be available a week after being downloaded.
“As an investigator, it is hard to understand the logic behind withholding safety-of-flight information,” Greg Feith, a former senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, said on Facebook on Thursday.
Ethiopia said on Thursday it had begun analyzing cockpit data and was working with U.S. and European experts.
Following Ethiopian Airlines’ last major crash, outside Beirut in 2010, an investigation led by the Lebanese and to which France contributed blamed crew mismanagement of the aircraft and poor communication in the cockpit.
The airline – led by the same CEO as today – said the report was “biased, lacking evidence, incomplete,” pointing to evidence of an explosion on board.
Most crash investigations end up pinpointing a combination of factors.
For decades, reconstructions by independent investigators have been credited with reducing air accidents to record low levels. The system of co-operation works by sticking to technical details and avoiding blame or other agendas.
Safety experts worry that too many turf battles can cloud the progress of an investigation.
“The sole purpose of an accident investigation is to reduce the chances of something ever happening again,” said Paul Hayes, safety director at the Flight Ascend Consultancy.
The Flight 302 crash triggered the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets, wiping billions off the company’s market value. Also on the line are more than $500 billion worth of 737 MAX orders.
Ethiopian Airlines is regulated by the country’s civil aviation authority, but its resources are far more extensive. The carrier’s operating revenue in the 2017/18 financial year was $3.7 billion. This dwarfs the regulator’s budget, which is 360 million Birr ($12.5 million) for this fiscal year.
Responsibility for leading the probe fell to Ethiopia because the crash occurred on its soil. Nairobi-bound Flight 302 went down into farmland minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.
The crash killed people from 35 countries, all of which are also entitled to examine the crash site and join in the investigation. America, China, Kenya, Britain, Canada, Israel, France and other nations have sent investigators.
Some nations were unhappy that Ethiopia was using heavy earth-moving equipment at the site, potentially damaging evidence or human remains, although others said that was the only way to move heavy items such as engines.
Some foreign officials also complained of being unable to access the site in the days after the crash.
After Israel’s team were not given permission to visit the site, the Israeli prime minister eventually called the Ethiopian prime minister on Wednesday, a statement on the Israeli prime minister’s website said.
A permission letter – from Ethiopian Airlines – was issued late on Thursday for the Israeli ambassador and emergency response unit ZAKA, a source familiar with the incident added.
The European Union’s aviation safety agency, EASA, waited more than a week to be allowed to join the crash investigation.
“The Ethiopian investigation body is very keen to keep a very, very closed circle around the investigation,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told the European parliament on Monday.
(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Georgina Prodhan in Paris and David Shepardson in Washington; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alexandra Zavis and Pravin Char)
By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman
For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.
Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.
Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.
Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.
Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.
Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across.
As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.
For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).
While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.
Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.
Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.
To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.
Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.
If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).
Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.
To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.
Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.
Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.
During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.
And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.
Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.
When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.
Source: The Daily Caller