World AM News Briefs For Thursday, 14 March 2019
Good Morning Australia!! - Boeing grounds all 737 MAX airplanes - What happened to Facebook overnight? - Trump's pal gets another prison term and even more bad news on top of it - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Facebook and Instagram were unavailable at midday on Wednesday in North and South America, late afternoon and evening in Europe and Africa. People attempting to log on were met with a totally not-suspicious notice saying Facebook is "down for maintenance" - which is what you do when half the world is trying to use the service! Others who were already logged in tried to post status updates but got error messages saying "something went wrong". That left Facebook reduced to putting an announcement on Twitter: "We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible." The outage appeared to last more than four hours.
The UK Parliament narrowly voted to reject any no-deal Brexit, defeating the Theresa May government for a third time. The 312-308 vote wasn't as bruising as the two rejections of her Brexit plan, but a loss is a loss. Tomorrow, MPs will vote on extending the Brexit deadline from 29 March, although it's by no means clear on how long that would be - possibly to 30 June. Prime Minister May said this would mean the UK would participate in the next European Union election.
The US finally got around to grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 passenger planes, with Donald Trump announcing that once the dozens of those planes in the air over the US finish their routes they would be grounded. Speaking of the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 on Sunday and Lion Air Flight 610 last year that killed a combined 347 people, Trump said: "It's a terrible terrible thing. Boeing is an incredible company." Trump's current defense secretary is a former Boeing executive. This followed Canada's announcement that it would bring all of the MAX 8s in its national fleet to ground. Dozens of other nations including Australia acted earlier.
Later in the day, Boeing - which had vigorously defended its plane just hours earlier - relented and grounded the entire world fleet, 371 aircraft. The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer acted "out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety", although it "continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX".
Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 73 months in prison - just over seven years - for criminal conspiracy related to his work for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. The sentence will run concurrently with the egregiously small four-year sentence Manafort got in a separate tax and bank fraud case last week. Both convictions happened in federal courts, meaning that Trump could pardon his friend or commute his sentence. But right after the new sentence came through, New York indicted Manafort on state charges for allegedly conducting a year-long residential mortgage fraud scheme that netted millions of dollars. US Presidential pardons do not work on state court convictions.
Police near Sao Paulo, Brazil were still working out the motive of two gunmen who opened fire near a school, killing five children and three adults. The attackers, aged 17 and 25 years, turned the guns on themselves as police approached. They were also armed with a crossbow and bows and arrows. Despite its high violent crime rate, school shootings are very rare in Brazil.
At least four to ten children were killed in a school collapse in Lagos, Nigeria. Rescuers worked through the day and night to free at least 40 alive from the rubble, some badly injured. Lagos authorities are promising an investigation and punishment if it comes down to human error that could have been avoided.