California Shuts Bars in L.A., Other Counties, as Virus Cases Climb

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Some California residents hoping to celebrate Independence Day in a bar will now have to change their plans.

Bars are required to shut in seven counties — including Los Angeles — and they’re recommended to close in eight others, including Sacramento and Santa Barbara, following a surge in coronavirus cases, according to an order by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday.

The number of new cases climbed by 4,810 yesterday in the Golden State, almost eight times the additions reported by New York, which has the highest number of infections in the country. While the latest data from California is down from a few record-breaking days in the past week, they’re still significantly higher than in May, when the daily case count was barely exceeding 3,000.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger,” Newsom said in a statement. “That’s why it is critical we take this step.”

Los Angeles County remains the epicenter of the outbreak in California, reporting an additional 2,542 cases, more than half of the new infections statewide.

“While it’s disappointing to take a step back on our economic recovery journey, it’s critical that we protect the health of our residents and protect the capacity in our health-care system,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director public health, said in a statement.

Earlier this week, saloons in Texas were also ordered to close, and Florida suspended alcohol consumption at bars. The two states have become new hot spots as cases there continue to surge. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the surge was in part due to young people socializing in indoor environment with air-conditioning as the weather gets warmer.

Alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing measures. Bars are also generally louder environments where people raise their voice, with greater projection of droplets, the guidance by California warned.

Source: Read Full Article


The Toughest Times May Be Over for Asia’s Worst-Performing Currency

India’s rupee, this year’s worst-performing currency in Asia, may finally be ready to join the recovery seen in emerging markets.

The rupee may strengthen to 75 per dollar by the end of December, an advance of about 1% from Friday’s close of 75.6475, according to a Bloomberg survey. The currency has dropped 5.6% so far in 2020.

The prospect of a rare current-account surplus following robust foreign inflows and the global oil-price collapse will help nudge the rupee higher, according to Barclays Plc and Scotiabank. A mild improvement in India’s dominant services sector and trade data in May after the gradual easing of the world’s strictest lockdown also bodes well for future flows into local assets.

“The inflows picture has turned hugely positive for the rupee, with many companies attracting foreign interest,” said Sajal Gupta, head of foreign exchange at Edelweiss Securities Pvt. in Mumbai. The rupee may climb to as high as 72 by end of the year, he said, implying a gain of about 5%.

Global funds have piled $4.6 billion into Indian stocks this quarter, the highest in the region. A chunk of those flows is owing to a rights offering by Reliance Industries Ltd. and stake sales in Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. Another $15 billion is seen coming in by way of foreign direct investment inflows, thanks to a flurry of deals for Reliance’s digital unit, Jio Platforms Ltd.

At the same time, the nation’s current account is set to turn into a surplus in the June quarter as imports have fallen faster than exports. Barclays Plc estimates the surplus — the first since 2004 — at about 1% of the gross domestic product.

“The improvement in India’s external metrics has eased some of the impact from the dislocations caused by the pandemic,” said Ashish Agrawal, FX analyst at Barclays in Singapore. “While low oil prices are supporting India’s terms of trade, we think a bigger impact on the current account will come from reduced demand for both oil and non-oil imports.”

Still, the ride until the year-end is unlikely to be smooth.

As in other regions, the optimism driving flows into shares is yet to be backed by a meaningful improvement in economic data. And the Reserve Bank of India is likely to continue to buy dollars as it accumulates reserves and tries to boost exports, slowing the currency’s ascent.

READ: Even With $500 Billion Warchest, RBI Won’t Let Rupee Climb

“The rupee is set to recover in the coming months,” said Anindya Banerjee, currency strategist at Kotak Securities Ltd. “Had it not been for the central bank’s dollar purchases, the rupee would have gained in this quarter also.”

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The 747 got its groove back

New York (CNN Business)Boeing has received clearance to begin test flights of its troubled 737 Max jet, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday. The test flights of could begin as early as Monday.

The move marks an important step in the process to re-certify the 737 Max, which has been grounded since March 2019, for passenger flights.
Boeing has said it expects to receive full approval for the plane to fly passengers by the middle of this year. The FAA in a letter to Congress Sunday said it does not yet have a date for when the grounding will be lifted.

    “Flights with FAA test pilots could begin as early as tomorrow, evaluating Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX,” the administration wrote in the letter to lawmakers, which was obtained by CNN. “Testing is expected to take several days, and will include a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to enable the agency to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards.”
    Boeing has been working with the FAA to get the 737 Max back in the air following two crashes that killed 346 people. The company had initially hoped the plane would fly again before the end of 2019, but the effort hit a number of roadblocks, including a new software issue that was discovered in February.
    This is what good news looks like in the aviation industry: Boeing's canceled orders slowed

    “Boeing continues to work diligently to support the safe return of the 737 Max to commercial service. We defer to the FAA and global regulators on the process,” Boeing said in a statement to CNN on Sunday.
    Problems with the 737 Max have so far cost Boeing $18.7 billion, and that number is likely to continue to climb.
    The company temporarily stopped building the 737 Max in January, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit most of the world’s airlines. It couldn’t afford to keep building the Max without being able to deliver the planes and complete sales of the jet.
    Boeing restarted production of the plane in May, but airlines have moved to cancel or delay delivery of new jets in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, forcing Boeing to greatly reduce its production plans for at least the next several years.
    The plane cannot return to service until it receives final approval from the FAA.

      The FAA’s letter to Congress said the start of test flights does not signify the agency has “completed its compliance evaluation or other work associated with return to service.” The agency outlined in the letter the steps that will remain in the clearance process following the test flights, which include evaluating minimum pilot training requirements among other processes.
      –CNN’s Greg Wallace, Rebekah Riess and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.
      Source: Read Full Article

      World News

      Facebook exec Nick Clegg responds to ad boycott campaign

      New York (CNN Business)Facebook is facing an advertising boycott unlike anything the company has experienced in recent history. A growing list of advertisers have signed onto the #StopHateForProfit campaign, protesting what they say are Facebook’s failures to stop the spread of hate.

      The companies pulling ads from the site now include some of Facebook’s biggest advertisers, such as Verizon (VZ), Unilever (UL) and Starbucks (SBUX).
      But on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday, Facebook (FB) Vice President for Public Affairs Nick Clegg pushed back on the premise of the boycott.

        Clegg skirted a question about how damaging the protest has been for Facebook, arguing instead that the social media giant does not benefit from the proliferation of hate speech on its platform.
        “We have absolutely no incentive to tolerate hate speech,” Clegg told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “We don’t like it, our users don’t like it, advertisers understandably don’t like it … We benefit from positive human connection — not hate.”

        Clegg stressed the efforts Facebook makes to combat hate speech on the platform. The company removes around 3 million items of hate speech content around the world each month, 90% of which are taken down even before being reported, he said.
        On Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced an expanded policy on hate speech, which includes banning ads that scapegoat minorities, immigrants, asylum seekers, racial or other groups, or claims that those groups are threats.
        Facebook will also apply warning labels to user posts that are newsworthy but violate the platform’s policies. The company has been criticized for its inaction on posts by President Donald Trump that other platforms, such as Twitter (TWTR), flagged as glorifying violence or spreading misinformation.
        But the moves may not have been enough to satisfy advertisers. After the expanded policy was announced Friday, Hershey’s (HSY) said it would join the boycott, saying, “we do not believe that Facebook is effectively managing violent and divisive speech on their platform.”
        And on Sunday, Facebook’s sixth-largest advertiser, Starbucks, also said it plans to pause all social media advertising. While it did not explicitly cite the #StopHateForProfit boycott, the coffee company said in a statement: “We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change.”
        Facebook boycott: View the list of companies pulling ads
        Clegg said he believes the company has made “meaningful change” but that Facebook will “redouble” its efforts to address hate speech on the platform in response to the protest.
        “Unfortunately, zero tolerance doesn’t mean zero occurrence,” Clegg said. “That’s why we constantly need to improve, implementing our policies, enforcing them so that we can seek out what, thankfully, is still a very small minority, but damaging minority, of content on the platform to make people feel safe and for people to continue to enjoy the positive useful experience that people come onto Facebook for in the first place.”

          Beyond specific instances of hate speech, Facebook has also faced criticism for the frequent presence of divisive speech on the site. Clegg said the company won’t be able to “get rid of everything that people react negatively to.”
          “We will continue what we think is the only sense of the way forward, to have clear rules, to bear down aggressively on hate speech in particular,” Clegg said. “We understand that it’s a very fraught intense time in the nation, and we will continue to demonstrate our sincerity dealing with this problem with the responsibility that we clearly do bear.”
          Source: Read Full Article


          Coronavirus Explodes at California’s San Quentin State Prison

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          California’s San Quentin State Prison is seeing an explosion of coronavirus cases after a botched transfer from another facility, impacting hundreds of incarcerated residents and scores of correctional officers in a potential public-health threat to the San Francisco Bay Area.

          Some 816 people incarcerated at San Quentin tested positive for Covid-19 as of 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. That means more than 1 in 5 of the prison’s total population of 3,507 has been infected, and it’s not clear if everyone has been tested. State data also show that 89 staff members at San Quentin have Covid-19. A spokeswoman for San Quentin did not respond to an email seeking comment on the rise in cases Sunday.

          Prisons are a prime example of the type of “congregate” environments where Covid-19 can spread rapidly. Social distancing is impossible in small cells with bunkmates, not to mention in shared restrooms, showers and common areas.

          Meanwhile, more than 600 people attended a virtual town hall via Zoom and Facebook Live on Saturday to discuss the growing crisis. The town hall, led by three formerly incarcerated people who served time at San Quentin, urged Governor Gavin Newsom to reduce the prison population via early or earned release and stop the practice of transfers.

          “Covid does not contain itself within prison walls,” Adnan Khan, the co-founder and executive director of Re:Store Justice, which was founded in 2017 inside San Quentin, said during the town hall.

          Built in 1852, San Quentin is California’s oldest correctional facility. The walled prison is made up of four large cell blocks and includes the state’s Death Row.

          San Quentin had zero known Covid-19 cases through May, but infections jumped after state prison officials transferred 121 people from the California Institution for Men in Chino on May 30. The practice of transferring inmates from one facility to another within the state has been widely condemned for spreading the virus.

          Plans to transfer additional people from San Quentin to another prison in Southern California have been halted, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said on its website Saturday, after additional testing for Covid-19 among those slated for transfer revealed two positive cases.

          Statewide, there are 2,112 incarcerated persons with active cases of Covid-19 and 391 active cases among correctional employees as of Saturday. At least 21 incarcerated people have died.

          San Quentin is located across the bay from San Francisco in wealthy Marin County, where prices of single family homes can top $1 million but economic disparity is widespread.

          Latinos make up just 16% of the county’s population but account for 75% of the county’s confirmed coronavirus cases. The county’s total cumulative case and hospitalization counts don’t include the San Quentin State prison cases. At least four San Quentin inmates have been treated at local Marin County hospitals, according to the county.

          California was the first to enact a statewide stay-at-home order in mid-March and has been slow to reopen. But on Sunday, Governor Newsom ordered bars in seven counties, including Fresno, Imperial and Los Angeles, to close again amid an uptick in cases and hospitalizations.

          Source: Read Full Article

          World News

          Facebook’s Growing Ad Exodus Means More Risks to Revenue Growth

          A growing list of Facebook Inc.’s advertisers is set to halt spending on social media, undermining the company’s sales outlook and putting its stock price under further pressure.

          Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Diageo Plc were among the most recent companies to say they’re curtailing ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to suppress posts that glorify violence, divide and disinform the public, and promote racism and discrimination.

          No single company can significantly dent growth at Facebook, which generated $17.7 billion in revenue last quarter alone. But a rising tally adds to pressure on other brands to follow suit, and when combined with a pandemic-fueled economic slowdown, the threat to Facebook deepens.

          “Given the amount of noise this is drawing, this will have significant impact to Facebook’s business,” Wedbush Securities analyst Bradley Gastwirth wrote in a research note. “Facebook needs to address this issue quickly and effectively in order to stop advertising exits from potentially spiraling out of control.”

          As more brands publicize plans to join boycotts or otherwise rein in ad spending, Facebook shares remain under pressure. The stock tumbled 8.3% Friday after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would halt spending on Facebook properties this year, eliminating $56 billion in market value and shaving the net worth of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg by more than $7 billion. Shares closed at $216.08 Friday after reaching a record $242.24 the preceding Tuesday.

          Facebook was already bracing for weakness in the second quarter, which ends this week. Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner noted in an April earnings call the “potential for an even more severe advertising industry contraction.”

          The number of coronavirus cases has surged in the intervening months, prompting many parts of the country to slow or roll-back reopening efforts and giving advertisers added justification to rein in marketing spending. Facebook will eke out 1% revenue growth in the June period, followed by a 7% increase in the third quarter, according to analysts’ current projections, by far the smallest quarterly growth increases since the company went public.

          Starbucks said Sunday that it would pause spending on all social media platforms while it carries out talks internally, with media partners and civil rights groups “in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech.”

          Trump Posts

          While some companies are targeting social media generally, including Twitter Inc., many are singling out Facebook specifically. Zuckerberg has been more reticent to put limits on discourse, notably controversial posts by U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that he doesn’t want Facebook to be an arbiter of what’s true.

          That’s prompted a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to urge advertisers to stop spending on Facebook-owned platforms for July to protest the company’s policies.

          Zuckerberg responded Friday to the growing criticism, saying that Facebook would label all voting-related posts with a link encouraging users to look at its new voter information hub. The social network also expanded its definition of prohibited hate speech for advertising.

          “We understand people want to put pressure on Facebook to do more,” Facebook vice president Nick Clegg said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources. “That’s why we made those additional announcements in Friday. That’s why we’ll continue to redouble our efforts, because, you know, we have a zero tolerance approach to hate speech.”

          The Anti-Defamation League called the changes “small.”

          The stampede of advertisers, combined with lobbying from civil rights groups, leaves Zuckerberg in a bind. He could take further steps to curtail harmful content, but that risks alienating free-speech advocates and supporters of Trump who have argued that Facebook is censoring political discourse and suppressing conservative voices.

          Distinct Exodus

          He could also stand pat on a bet that this advertising pause will be short-lived, as have social media ad boycotts in the past. But this exodus as distinct, Bernstein Securities analyst Mark Shmulik wrote in a research note Saturday. There’s heightened pressure to publicly demonstrate that brands stand with civil rights groups, he said. “The current environment is very different,” Shmulik wrote. “It is very visible who is and isn’t participating in the boycott where brand silence [equals] being complicit.”

          Will Zuckerberg budge? While major brands like Unilever and Coca-Cola have garnered most of the headlines, the vast majority of Facebook’s 8 million advertisers are small businesses, many of which rely heavily on Facebook advertising for sales. Some in the ad industry don’t believe that these businesses, particularly those in commerce and direct-to-consumer sales, can actually afford to halt spending.

          “Pulling off for a whole month would really hurt their business,” Deutsche Bank analyst Lloyd Walmsley said earlier this week. “It’s a lot to ask for.”

          In its outreach to advertisers last week, Facebook has said it doesn’t intend to make decisions based on sales. “We have been consistent that we do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” Facebook said on Wednesday in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

          Whatever additional moves Facebook makes, there’s reason to believe the departure of advertisers won’t end soon. “Advertisers who have seen their own ads published against hateful, horrible content on Facebook — racist, anti-Semitic poison — they are finally saying ‘enough’,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook with advertisers. I can tell you more are coming.”

          — With assistance by Yueqi Yang

          Source: Read Full Article


          Faith in the Fed to Get Fresh Test as Markets Shudder at Virus

          Investor faith in the largess of central banks is about to be tested anew as the soaring rate of Covid-19 infections re-establishes itself as the chief obsession of markets.

          Confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 10 million at the weekend, continuing an accelerating trend that’s decimating economies around the world. The S&P 500 Index dropped 2.4% on Friday as the rising numbers prompted some American states to curtail reopening plans. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped to the lowest level since May 14 and the Bloomberg Dollar Index rounded off a third week of gains as investors sought havens.

          The renewed risk-off tone is likely to dominate when trading starts in Asia on Monday, according to analysts, though a report Sunday showing the first increase in profits at Chinese industrial enterprises since November may provide some support to stocks.

          “Investors’ recent love of U.S. risky assets will soon reverse as the U.S. will battle the resurging pandemic,” Erik Nielsen, the London-based chief economist at UniCredit SpA, wrote in a note Sunday. “Stating the obvious: don’t fight the major central banks. They’ll remain in the game for years to come.”

          42,597 in U.S.Most new cases today

          -10% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

          -1.​091 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

          -2.​3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), May

          Israel’s TA-35 index led declines in Middle East markets Sunday, sliding as much as 2.9%. Stocks in Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt also retreated.

          The following is a round-up of comments looking ahead to a week in markets:

          Erik Nielsen, chief economist at UniCredit in London:

          • “Markets have been struggling to see through the fog these past months, but greater clarity is now emerging and that leaves a picture of several mispriced asset classes. I expect many of these will be somewhat corrected during the second half of the year.
          • There will be “some moderation of recent months’ ultimate safe-haven status for the dollar; i.e. a prospect of a gradually weaker dollar.
          • “I also worry about emerging market assets. Emerging-market equities have held up relatively well, but this does not square with the dreadful numbers now emerging for their infection and death rates from the pandemic in a deglobalizing world that will struggle to get back to potential, hence limiting the upside for commodities.
          • “With a more convincing growth trajectory, big positive policy reforms under way and some seriously under-valued asset classes, Europe is likely to be a key recipient of the allocation away from the U.S. and EM.

          Bank of America Securities analysts Ioannis Angelakis, Barnaby Martin and Elyas Galou:

          • “The central bank-driven euphoria seems to be in consolidation mode” as inflows into high-grade and government bonds slow amid the risk of a second wave.
          • “Only two weeks ago, investors across Europe were adding risk at an unprecedented rate. However, the last two weeks saw a marked slowdown of inflows across credit and the EM debt space.”

          Iyad Abu Hweij, the managing partner at Allied Investment Partners PJSC in Dubai:

          • “Global equities performed negatively during the week as investors were concerned about resurgence in Covid-19 cases. The rise in new cases could possibly lead to another lockdown in certain parts of the U.S. and around the world, which will delay the recovery process.”
          • “Going forward, investors will reassess their portfolios to reduce the overall risk amid the rising uncertainties post the resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
          • “Moreover, equity markets might witness increased volatility in the coming weeks as odds of downside risk are rising post the sharp rebound in equities since mid-March.”

          Nader Naeimi, head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital in Sydney:

          • “While emerging market equities have posted strong gains from their late March lows, they have continued to underperform developed-world equities.
          • “With inventory levels at historical lows, business expectations rebounding and new orders picking up, 2H 2020 is likely to be the start of a multi-month upswing in the manufacturing cycle. This will provide a significant tailwind for EM markets.
          • “The combination of a falling U.S. dollar together with ultra-easy monetary policy will super charge EM equities relative performance in the second half.
          • “I am expecting a much stronger absolute and relative performance by EM from here” for currencies and stocks.

          Jens Nystedt, a New York-based senior portfolio manager at Emso Asset Management:

          • “We see the best opportunities in emerging-market fixed-income assets that have recovered the least so far and have not yet priced in a reset higher in global economic activity. There are still EM oil exporters that faced a dual shock of the Covid-19 crisis combined with an oil price war that are still screening cheap. In addition, better global growth, likely led by non-U.S. large economies, would be a headwind to the dollar and allow beaten up EM currencies to also stabilize and eventually recover.
          • “Emerging-market debt, by and large, can sustain the rebound given the unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy actions by the major economies, barring a second wave larger than the first one for Covid-19. Given the unprecedented backstop for high-grade and high-yield fixed-income markets in the U.S. and Eurozone, investors looking for yield remain interested in picking winners versus losers. Large real interest-rate differentials will allow EM to attract portfolio inflows among the better quality names.
          • “At the end of this crisis, debt burdens will weigh on the growth potential for many economies and the recovery in growth risks taking longer than what the market current anticipates. It is hard for the market to differentiate between a V-shaped reset in growth and a follow on very sluggish recovery.”

          — With assistance by Filipe Pacheco, and Netty Idayu Ismail

          Source: Read Full Article


          Walmart issues third coronavirus bonus to US workers

          Walmart CEO wants company to hire more black associates

          Walmart CEO Doug McMillon released a statement saying the company must go further in hiring more black associates across all levels and positions.

          Hourly Walmart employees in the U.S. received another coronavirus bonus on Thursday, the company announced.

          Continue Reading Below


          The bonuses were broken down to $300 for full-time hourly employees and $150 for part-time hourly and temporary employees who were employed as of June 5. This includes Walmart store and Sam's Club associates, supply chain and offices, truck drivers and assistant managers. A higher bonus of $400 was paid out to assistant managers at Sam's Club.

          Ticker Security Last Change Change %
          WMT WALMART INC. 118.32 -1.39 -1.16%

          Payment of this latest round of bonuses is equivalent to more than $390 million, according to the nation's largest retailer.


          "Walmart and Sam's Club associates continue to do remarkable work, and it’s important we reward and appreciate them," President and CEO John Furner of Walmart U.S. said when announcing the first bonus May 12. "All across the country, they're providing Americans with the food, medicine and supplies they need, while going above and beyond the normal scope of their jobs – diligently sanitizing their facilities, making customers and members feel safe and welcome, and handling difficult situations with professionalism and grace."

          FOX Business reached out to Walmart for comment on this recent round of bonus payments but did not immediately hear back at the time of publication.


          Before this round, Walmart paid coronavirus bonuses to frontline employees on April 2, which totaled to more than $365 million, according to the company. Additionally, an early payout of Q1 bonuses was distributed on April 30 to "help provide more cash in hand" for Walmart associates. The amount reportedly added up to nearly $180 million, according to a press release from that month.


          With all of the bonus rounds combined, Walmart has paid more than $935 million to its essential workers thus far.

          As of late April, the multibillion-dollar company had 3,569 Walmart Supercenters and 599 Sam's Club locations in the U.S., which employ approximately 1.5 million associates. Throughout the pandemic, Walmart had hired more than 235,000 new associates in the first-quarter, a first-quarter 2020 earnings release revealed. Onboarding more than a quarter of a million employees cost Walmart nearly $900 million.


          The average full-time hourly wage is $14.26, the company shared on its Location Facts webpage.

          Big-box retail chains have been issuing coronavirus-related bonuses in light of the risks and financial hardships the pandemic has caused essential workers. For example, Target is offering another bonus of a one-time $200 payment to store and distribution employees for July while also bumping up its minimum wage to $15 per hour.

          Other retail chains have ended bonus payments and are moving toward long-term pay raises as well. Supermarket chain H-E-B ended its additional $2 per hour coronavirus wage on June 21 and transitioned to an undisclosed permanent merit increase for partners the next day, a company news release shared.


          Retailers who have not extended coronavirus-related bonuses or permanent pay raises have been criticized by several trade unions.

          Source: Read Full Article

          World News

          U.S. FAA Confirms Boeing 737 Max Test Flights Cleared to Begin

          U.S. aviation regulators have approved a critical set of test flights on the Boeing Co. 737 Max to begin as soon as Monday after reviewing the manufacturer’s safety assessment of the multiple fixes devised for the plane.

          The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the start of the multi-day program in an email to Congressional staffers on Sunday.

          “Over the past several weeks the FAA has been reviewing the system safety assessment submitted by Boeing,” the agency said in the email. “The FAA’s Type Inspection Authorization Board has completed its review, clearing the way for flight certification testing to begin.”

          The action signals that the government is finally comfortable with the multiple fixes that the planemaker has devised for the plane, which has been grounded for more than 15 months after two fatal crashes.


          Season 1, Episode 2, The Bar Is Now at Your Desk

          The WeWork Story, Part 2Forward 15 secondsBack 15 seconds00:00:00

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          The WeWork Story, Part 2:

          WeWork sold office space, but also it sold something else: fun. Beer flowed freely, members partied at the office, and your work was your life. But getting these offices off the ground was utter chaos, especially for the burgeoning company’s young, inexperienced workers. In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet takes a look at WeWork’s early days, when the company was growing so fast that some buildings opened without doors or functioning bathrooms.

          Two people briefed on the planning said earlier Sunday that the goal is to begin the tests on Monday, but the start is still subject to last-minute delays. Such tests are one of the final stages by the government before it certifies an aircraft.

          The FAA will have one of its test pilots flying the plane alongside a Boeing pilot. They will be accompanied in the cockpit by an FAA flight-test engineer and a Boeing flight-test manager. Additional specialists will be in the cabin monitoring computerized instrumentation on the plane.

          Boeing, in a statement on Sunday, said “We continue to work diligently on safely returning the 737 Max to service. We defer to the FAA and global regulators on the process.”

          Bloomberg News reported on Friday that the tests were expected as soon as Monday as the more than 15-month process of making fixes on Boeing’s best-selling plane nears completion.

          It will still take months to get the plane back into routine airline service as the agency must still finalize new pilot training standards and issue regulations governing multiple software and hardware changes to the plane. Airline customers have been told that it could come in September if all goes well, though they have to retrain pilots and perform maintenance on the fleets of planes that have been in storage before they enter service.

          The Max was grounded by FAA on March 13, 2019, after most of the rest of the world had already sidelined the plane following the second fatal crash involving a flight-control feature. The crashes — in October 2018 off the coast of Indonesia and in March 2019 near Addis Ababa — killed a total of 346 people.

          An examination of the software that was driving down the plane’s nose repeatedly as a result of a malfunction prompted the discovery of other issues that required upgrades to improve safety on the plane. Adding redundancy to its flight-control computer took months and late last year Boeing discovered that the way it had installed wiring on the jet didn’t meet federal regulations.

          The crashes have also prompted a reassessment of how aircraft manufacturers and regulators around the world assume pilots will react to certain emergencies.

          The certification flights are scheduled to occur over three separate days. The agency, which worked closely with Boeing during the process of revising the plane, has a list of maneuvers that it will demonstrate on the plane to verify that alterations to its system function as designed.

          Certification flights rarely result in surprises. In this case, devising the revisions to the Max have been one of the most scrutinized processes in history as outside panels of experts advised FAA and regulators in other nations also undertook reviews of the plane.

          — With assistance by Mary Schlangenstein

          Source: Read Full Article


          Ask us: on investments

          Claiming medical insurance

          Q. I am a retired employee of the Andhra Pradesh government. I am covered under the government’s Arogyasri programme. About a year ago, my wife underwent a hysterectomy which cost about ₹2 lakh. I was reimbursed only ₹35,000 as per norms. My wife and I had taken a private health insurance policy for ₹5 lakh. My question is whether I can claim from both Arogyasri and the private health insurance company schemes for the medical expenses incurred?


          A. Arogyasri operates like a hospitalisation expenses indemnity policy, that is, expenses are reimbursed against bills and treatment is cashless if availed in a network hospital.

          So, if you have an additional cover in the form of a hospitalisation policy from an insurance company, you will be able to make a claim under both as you have to submit bills. Arogyasri is a mass health insurance scheme for beneficiaries defined by their lower income, and has restrictions on claim amounts which has meant, in your experience, that all your expenses may not be forthcoming as claims.

          So, while you can claim under Arogyasri where the expense is within its limits, you will have the option of claiming it from your personal policy in hospitalisations which cost above what Arogyasri allows.

          Multiple policies, multiple claims

          Q. Can one buy more than one term life insurance policy? If I have, say, two or more term life policies of different sums assured from the same or different insurers then, in the case of any disability or loss of life, will my dependent/nominee be paid the claim from any one of the policies or all of them? Is this also applicable to health insurance?

          ROHIT YADAV

          A. There is no bar on the number of term life policies one can purchase. When you buy a policy, you have the responsibility to disclose to the life insurance company details of other life policies you already have. Insurers take into account your income, future income potential and premium-paying capacity before issuing policies as there is a notional limit on the total amount of life insurance you can hold.

          Once you do have two or more term life policies, all of them will pay the sum assured to your nominee should you pass away. If there is a disability clause or rider, then those claims will be paid to you as per policy terms.

          A hospitalisation policy will not work like this. If you have two hospitalisation policies you cannot claim from both for the same incident. If you exhaust the sum assured under one and still have unpaid expenses, then you can claim under the other in sequence.

          If all you want is more sum insured, then you can opt for a basic hospitalisation policy combined with a top-up or super top-up policy to enhance your cover. In this case you can exhaust your sum insured under the basic policy and proceed to claim under the top-up or super top-up policy according to terms and conditions. All these claims will be against bills, so the coverage will be supplementary and not overlapping.

          Should you have a hospitalisation policy and a benefit policy like a critical illness or personal accident policy, then you can claim all expenses under the hospitalisation policy as per its terms and conditions and claim the full sum insured under the critical illness policy or personal accident policy provided the hospitalisation is due to a covered peril, namely one of the named critical illnesses or an accident.

          (The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)

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