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  1. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday disclosed a new problem involving Boeing Co’s grounded 737 MAX, saying that more than 300 of that troubled plane and the prior generation 737 may contain improperly manufactured parts and that the agency will require these parts to be quickly replaced. The FAA said up to 148 of the part known as a leading-edge slat track that were manufactured by a Boeing supplier are affected, covering 179 MAX and 133 NG aircraft worldwide. Slats are movable panels that extend along the wing’s front during takeoffs and landings to provide additional lift. The tracks guide the slats and are built into the wing. The 737 MAX, Chicago-based Boeing’s best-selling jet, was grounded globally in March following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash after a similar Lion Air disaster in Indonesia in October. The two crashes together killed 346 people. Boeing has yet to submit a software upgrade to the FAA as it works to get approval to end the grounding of the 737 MAX. In a statement issued after the FAA announcement, Boeing said it has not been informed of any in-service issues related to this batch of slat tracks. Boeing, the world’s largest plane maker, said it has identified 20 737 MAX airplanes most likely to have the faulty parts and that airlines will check an additional 159 MAXs for these parts. Boeing said it has identified 21 737 NGs most likely to have the suspect parts and is advising airlines to check an additional 112 NGs. The NG is the third-generation 737 that the company began building in 1997. The affected parts “may be susceptible to premature failure or cracks resulting from the improper manufacturing process,” the FAA said. The FAA said a complete failure of a leading edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, but a failed part could cause aircraft damage in flight. The FAA said it will issue an Airworthiness Directive to require Boeing’s service actions to identify and remove the parts from service. It said operators will be required to perform this action within 10 days, but can continue to fly the planes during the 10-day period before the parts are removed. FINANCIAL IMPACT ON BOEING Boeing in April said the two fatal crashes had cost it at least $1 billion as it abandoned its 2019 financial outlook, halted share buybacks and lowered production. The company’s shares have fallen by nearly 20 percent since the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. Some international carriers are skeptical the plane will resume flying by August as some U.S. airlines have suggested. Tim Clark, president of Emirates, told reporters in Seoul that it could take six months to restore operations as other regulators re-examine the U.S. delegation practices. “If it is in the air by Christmas (Dec. 25) I’ll be surprised - my own view,” he said. Boeing said one batch of slat tracks with specific lot numbers produced by a supplier was found to have a “potential nonconformance” and said airlines “are to replace them with new ones before returning the airplane to service.” The company said it is “now staging replacement parts at customer bases to help minimize aircraft downtime while the work is completed.” Boeing said once new parts are in hand, replacement work should take one to two days. A separate service bulletin will go to 737 MAX operators to do inspections before the MAX fleet returns to service. The FAA said Boeing has identified groups of both 737 NG and 737 MAX airplane serial numbers on which these suspect parts may have been installed, including 32 NG and 33 MAX in the United States. The issue was discovered following an investigation conducted by Boeing and the FAA Certificate Management Office, the FAA said. An FAA spokesman said the issue should not delay Boeing’s planned submission of a software update and training revisions, but it remains unclear when that will be submitted. The FAA has said it has no timetable for ending the grounding of the airplane. Boeing said last month it completed its software upgrade but was still working to address information requests from the FAA before it can schedule a certification test flight and submit final certification documentation. Reuters reported last month that the FAA has indicated privately to other regulators that it aims to certify new software by the end of June, after which it would take several weeks at a minimum to get planes flying. Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell told reporters on May 23 in Texas after a meeting with more than 30 international air regulators that the agency had not decided yet on training requirements. Source
  2. (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust regulators have divided oversight of Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, putting Amazon under the watch of the Federal Trade Commission and Google under the Justice Department, the Washington Post said on Saturday. Amazon could face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between U.S. regulators which puts the e-commerce giant under the watch of the trade commission, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The development is the result of the FTC and Justice department quietly dividing up competition oversight on both of the American tech giants, Amazon and Google, the newspaper said adding that the FTC’s plans for Amazon and the Justice Department’s interest in Google were not immediately clear. The news comes after Reuters and other media reported on Friday that the Justice Department is preparing an investigation into Google in order to ascertain whether the company broke antitrust law in operating its online businesses. Google said it had no comment on the report while Amazon, the FTC and Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report. Source
  3. SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Friday approved a new stock exchange that is the brainchild of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, a move that will give high-growth technology companies more options to list their shares outside of the traditional New York exchanges. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved the creation of the Long-Term Stock Exchange, or LTSE, a Silicon Valley-based national securities exchange promoting what it says is a unique approach to governance and voting rights, while reducing short-term pressures on public companies. The LTSE is a bid to build a stock exchange in the country’s tech capital that appeals to hot startups, particularly those that are money-losing and want the luxury of focusing on long-term innovation even while trading in the glare of the public markets. The stock exchange was proposed to the SEC in November by technology entrepreneur, author and startup adviser Eric Ries, who has been working on the idea for years. He raised $19 million from venture capitalists to get his project off the ground, but approval from U.S. regulators was necessary to launch the exchange. Friday’s decision followed an uncertain fate for LTSE, which had faced SEC opposition before revising parts of its proposal. Ries says the public market’s focus on short-term results leads to a decline in innovation, something LTSE wants to reverse. A 2017 study by public policy think tank Third Way showed that going public was accompanied by a 40 percent decline in patents within five years after listing, the result of pressure to satisfy analysts’ short-term expectations. “Everyone is incentivized to make the numbers quarter to quarter,” Ries said in a recent interview with Reuters. The new exchange would have extra rules designed to encourage companies to focus on long-term innovation rather than the grind of quarterly earnings reports by asking companies to limit executive bonuses that award short-term accomplishments. It would also require more disclosure to investors about meeting key milestones and plans, and reward long-term shareholders by giving them more voting power the longer they hold the stock. LTSE would be the only stock exchange in California and the first in Silicon Valley since the shuttering of the Pacific Exchange in San Francisco at the end of the dot-com boom. It remains to be seen how well it would compete with the larger and better-resourced New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, which often court tech companies with fanfare to persuade them to list. Ries wants companies to go public sooner and have the ability to continue experimenting. This way, he said, more value can be created in the public markets, giving retail investors a chance to cash in on high-growth startups. The median age of tech startups going public has stretched to 12 years, and by the time they list have achieved most of their growth, enriching only an elite group of investors. Ries said LTSE would allow companies to dual-list their stock on other exchanges. He added that a number of technology companies and a mix of foreign and U.S. investors and asset managers had signed letters of intent to participate in the exchange, but declined to provide further details. Source
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