An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York, March 12, 2019.
American Airlines is extending cancellations for the Boeing 737 Max aircraft through August 19, a key summer travel period, as the jets remain grounded.
The cancellations amount to about 115 flights per day, roughly 1.5% of American’s total flying per day in the summer, the airline said. They come after the Max’s anti-stall software was implicated in an Ethiopian crash in March that killed 157 people.
It’s unclear when the Max, which has been grounded since mid-March, will return. Boeing has slowed production and stopped deliveries as it works on a software fix.
On Friday, Southwest Airlines removed the Max jet from its schedule through Aug. 5. United has canceled Max flights through June 5.
“We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon,” American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom wrote in a letter to employees Sunday.
Parker also said canceling the flights now will help the airline plan for its busiest travel season of the year.
“We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon,” Parker wrote in the letter.
As major airlines continue to extend cancellations, Boeing said Thursday that it’s completed 96 flights with the new Max software fix. The planemaker will likely submit the fix to Federal Aviation Administration regulators within the next couple weeks.
Privately-owned Sudan News 365 reports that opposition leaders are meeting with the military on Saturday to discuss “transitional arrangements”.
The Sudan Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the demonstrations, announced its negotiating team on its Facebook page.
It had earlier called on the armed forces to “ensure the immediate transfer of power to a transitional civilian government.”
Omar el-Digeir, leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, said the military should not be “the sole custodians of power”.
A growing economic crisis has gripped the country since the oil-rich southern part split away in 2011, and Thursday’s coup followed months of unrest over the cost of living.
Ebba Kalondo, a spokeswoman for the African Union, said it was now time for all sides to talk to each other.
“More now than ever, it’s time to engage in an inclusive dialogue, to create the conditions that would make it possible to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people, to form democracy and good governance and restore constitutional order as soon as possible.”
How did the latest drama unfold?
When Mr Bashir was removed, he was replaced by a military council led by Mr Ibn Auf.
But demonstrators camping out outside army headquarters in Khartoum refused to disperse, rejecting Mr Ibn Auf as an ally of Mr Bashir.
On Friday, the new leader announced he was resigning and being replaced by Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, who is seen as a less controversial figure.
But the move failed to satisfy protesters who have kept up their sit-in in the capital.
They called for the abolition of “arbitrary decisions by leaders that do not represent the people” and the detention of “all symbols of the former regime who were involved in crimes against the people”.
“Until these demands are fully met, we must continue with our sit-in at the General Command of the Armed Forces,” the SPA said.
On Saturday, Sudanese TV reported the resignation of Gen Gosh, head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) which has powerful forces within the capital.
The general has been a key ally of Mr Bashir since the early 1990s and is among 17 Sudanese officials indicted for genocide, human right abuses and war crimes in the Darfur region by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009.
The NISS has extensive powers and influence, supervising the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
At least 16 people have been killed by stray bullets at the protests since Thursday, police say.
What will happen to Bashir?
He has also been indicted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
But the military council has said it will not extradite Mr Bashir, who denies the charges, although he may be put on trial in Sudan.
Cue the groans and spluttering of indignant opposition. What about “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad,” “ER,” “Friday Night Lights” or “Grey’s Anatomy”? What about “M.A.S.H.,” “All in the Family,” “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory”? What about (insert your personal favorite show here)?
The Israeli moon lander Beresheet will attempt to make history on Thursday as the first spacecraft built by the private sector to safely land on the moon. Scroll down to watch it live.
If it’s successful, the unmanned spacecraft, built by the nonprofit group SpaceIL in conjunction with Israel Aerospace Industries, would herald a new era in moon research involving the private sector.
To achieve that, however, the Israeli spacecraft will have to tackle one of the biggest challenges of its lunar journey – the landing maneuver, the last stage of which is controlled solely by the spacecraft’s computer.
In the final hours before landing, the spacecraft’s flight engineers will be looking for a flat surface 30 kilometers (19 miles) in diameter where Beresheet can safely land at a time when the moon’s surface is not scorching hot from exposure to the sun. (Temperatures on the moon are as high as 130 to 150 degrees Celsius (265 to 300 F.) during the lunar day – the equivalent of two weeks on Earth).
After Beresheet locates a site and positions itself correctly at around 15 kilometers above the surface, the lunar craft will receive the command to begin landing, at which point the lander will go into autopilot. The information received by its sensors will be transferred to navigation control software, which will calculate the appropriate commands to slow the spacecraft’s engines.
During this final stage, the engines will slow its movement until it is at a height of 4 or 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) above the lunar surface. Once Beresheet is stationary, the engines will shut down and the spacecraft is due to gently drop to the ground. The experts hope that Beresheet’s special landing gear will allow it to survive the blow.
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One concern is that, if the spacecraft lands on a rock or crater, and if even one leg of the landing gear is unstable, the spacecraft could topple over and be unable to complete its mission. Other concerns relate to the risk that the main engine could fail to operate properly or that there might be a malfunction in the landing sensor, which has obviously never been tested in genuine field conditions.
After Beresheet met its first big challenge of the voyage – the maneuver in which the spacecraft’s engines slowed it down so it could enter the lunar field of gravity – it made five additional maneuvers to enter the right path to embark on a landing.
To reach vicinity of the moon, Beresheet orbited the Earth in ever-increasing orbits until it was about 400,000 kilometers from Earth Among other records set by the spacecraft, it has traversed the longest path ever travelled by a man-made object destined for the moon. Beresheet’s long route was set to take advantage of the Earth’s gravity to help accelerate the spacecraft’s speed, therefore saving fuel and expense.
To date, the only spacecraft to have landed on the moon was built by the world’s superpowers at a cost of billions of dollars. Beresheet, which cost $100 million to build, is important in demonstrating the economic potential of space exploration, much of which is expected to be carried out in the coming years for commercial purposes by the private sector.
SpaceIL and the main benefactor of the project, businessman Morris Kahn, also hope the scientific and technological achievement will spur a “Beresheet effect” among young people in Israel, just as the Apollo project increased interest in science, technology and engineering studies in the United States after Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
The Beresheet project began as a submission to the Lunar-X competition that Google and the XPrize Foundation sponsored. No entry won that competition, but the Israelis who submitted it persisted anyway. Hundreds of thousands of students in Israel have learned about the mission since.
A large number of events have been organized for Thursday evening to track the progress of the landing.
The Science and Technology Ministry has organized several such events, which include activities for parents and children, in Kiryat Shmona, Hod Hasharon, Jerusalem, Givatayim and Mitzpeh Ramon. Other activities are being sponsored by Horizon, an organization of Israeli space educators.
Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had seen the unseeable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.
“We’ve exposed a part of our universe we’ve never seen before,” said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and director of the effort to capture the image, during a Wednesday news conference in Washington, D.C.
The image, of a lopsided ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the heart of the galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away from here, resembled the Eye of Sauron, a reminder yet again of the power and malevolence of nature. It is a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity.
To capture the image, astronomers reached across intergalactic space to a giant galaxy known as Messier 87, in the constellation Virgo. There, a black hole about seven billion times more massive than the sun is unleashing a violent jet of energy some 5,000 light years into space.
The image offered a final, ringing affirmation of an idea so disturbing that even Einstein, from whose equations black holes emerged, was loath to accept it. If too much matter is crammed into one place, the cumulative force of gravity becomes overwhelming, and the place becomes an eternal trap, a black hole. Here, according to Einstein’s theory, matter, space and time come to an end and vanish like a dream.
On Wednesday morning that dark vision became a visceral reality. When the image was put up on the screen in Washington, cheers and gasps, followed by applause, broke out.
The telescope array also monitored a dim source of radio noise called Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sagittarius A-star), at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. There, 26,000 light-years from Earth, and buried in the depths of interstellar dust and gas, another black hole, with a mass of 4.1 million suns, almost certainly lurks.
The network is named after the edge of a black hole, the point of no return; beyond the event horizon, not even light can escape the black hole’s gravitational pull.
For some years now, the scientific literature, news media and films such as “Interstellar” and the newly released “High Life” have featured remarkably sophisticated and highly academic computer simulations of black holes. But the real thing looked different. For starters, the black holes in movies typically are not surrounded by fiery accretion disks of swirling, doomed matter, as are the black holes in Virgo and Sagittarius.
Perhaps even more important, the images provide astrophysicists with the first look at the innards of a black hole. The energy within is thought to be powerful enough to power quasars and other violent phenomena from the nuclei of galaxies, including the jets of intense radiation that spew 5,000 light years from the galaxy M87.
As hot, dense gas swirls around the black hole, like water headed down a drain, the intense pressures and magnetic fields cause energy to squirt from either side. As a paradoxical result, supermassive black holes, which lurk in the centers of galaxies, can be the most luminous objects in the universe.
The unveiling, before a crowd at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and five other venues around the world, took place almost exactly a century after images of stars askew in the heavens made Einstein famous and confirmed his theory of general relativity as the law of the cosmos. That theory ascribes gravity to the warping of space and time by matter and energy, much as a mattress sags under a sleeper, and allows for the contents of the universe, including light rays, to follow curved paths.
General relativity led to a new conception of the cosmos, in which space-time could quiver, bend, rip, expand, swirl like a mix-master and even disappear forever into the maw of a black hole.
To Einstein’s surprise, the equations indicated that when too much matter or energy was concentrated in one place, space-time could collapse, trapping matter and light in perpetuity.
Einstein disliked that idea, but the consensus today is that the universe is speckled with black holes waiting for something to fall in.
Many are the gravitational tombstones of stars that burned up their fuel and collapsed. But others, crouching in the centers of nearly every galaxy, are millions or billions of times more massive than the sun.
Nobody knows how such behemoths of nothingness could have been assembled. Dense wrinkles in the primordial energies of the Big Bang? Monster runaway stars that collapsed and swallowed up their surroundings in the dawning years of the universe?
Nor do scientists know what ultimately happens to whatever falls into a black hole, nor what forces reign at the center, where according to the math we know now the density approaches infinity and smoke pours from God’s computer.
Since then, other collisions have been recorded, and black holes have become so humdrum that astronomers no longer bother sending out news releases about them.
Now the reality has a face.
The proof that these objects are really black holes would be to find that the darkness at the heart of Virgo was smaller than the mathematical predictions for a black hole. But the more astronomers narrowed it down, the harder they had to work.
Interstellar space is filled with charged particles such as electrons and protons; these scattered the radio waves emanating from the black hole into a blur that obscured details of the source. “It’s like looking through frosted glass,” said Dr. Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope..
To penetrate the haze and see deeper into the shadows of Virgo, astronomers needed to be able to tune their radio telescope to shorter wavelengths. And they needed a bigger telescope. The bigger the antenna, the higher the resolution, or magnification, it can achieve.
Enter the Event Horizon Telescope, named for a black hole’s point of no return; whatever crosses the event horizon falls into blackness everlasting. The telescope was the dream-child of Dr. Doeleman, who was inspired to study black holes by examining the mysterious activity in the centers of violent radio galaxies such as M87.
By combining data from radio telescopes as far apart as the South Pole, France, Chile and Hawaii, using a technique called very long baseline interferometry, Dr. Doeleman and his colleagues created a telescope as big as Earth itself, with the power to resolve details as small as an orange on the lunar surface.
The network has gained antennas and sensitivity over the last decade. In the spring of 2015 an effort using seven telescopes took aim at the centers of the Milky Way and M87, but bad weather hampered the observations.
Two years later, in April 2017, the network of eight telescopes, including the South Pole Telescope, synchronized by atomic clocks, stared at the two targets off and on for 10 days.
It took the Event Horizon team two years to reduce and collate the results from their 2017 observations. The data were too voluminous to transmit over the internet, and so had to be placed on hard disks and flown back to M.I.T.’s Haystack Observatory, in Westford, Mass., and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, in Bonn, Germany.
The data from the South Pole could not arrive before December 2017, Dr. Doeleman said, “because it was Antarctic winter, when nothing could go in or out.”
Last year the team divided into four groups to assemble images from the data dump. To stay objective and guard against bias, the teams had no contact with each other, Dr. Doeleman said.
In the meantime, the telescope kept growing. In April 2018, a telescope in Greenland was added to the collaboration. Another observation run was made of the Milky Way and M87, and captured twice the amount of data gathered in 2017.
“We’ve hitched our wagon to a bandwidth rocket,” Dr. Doeleman said last week. The new observations weren’t included in Wednesday’s reveal, but they will allow the astronomers to check the 2017 results and to track changes in the black holes as the years go by.
“The plan is to carry out these observations indefinitely,” said Dr. Doeleman, embarking on his new career as a tamer of extragalactic beasts, “and see how things change.”
In that spirit, Eilish learned to sing as a member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, which is why she now has “no chest voice at all,” she said as she sat on a picnic bench outside the studio. She wore baggy pants and a lime-green shirt emblazoned with the name of a pet-supplies distributor; Baird, who travels with her daughter as a kind of guardian-assistant hybrid, set a large stack of photos on the table and asked her to sign them while we talked.
Netflix recently killed support for Apple’s AirPlay streaming technology in its iOS app. But there’s no conspiracy here, Netflix says: The firm didn’t drop AirPlay over some dispute with Apple about its coming TV+ service as many in the Apple community alleged.
“Airplay is no longer supported for use with Netflix on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch due to technical limitations,” a Netflix statement vaguely explained on a support page on the firm’s help site. The note was tied to a recent app update that dropped AirPlay support.
And it would spawn dozens of conspiracy theories, most tied to the fact that Apple recently announced a coming TV service called TV+ that will compete directly with Netflix. Furthermore, Apple is bringing its AirPlay streaming functionality—which is like Google’s Chromcast/Google Cast but for Apple devices—to a range of third-party smart TVs, which will help spread usage of the TV+ service.
But it’s not making this change to hurt Apple, Netflix says. There’s no conspiracy.
“We want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use,” a Netflix statement explains. “With AirPlay support rolling out to third-party devices, there isn’t a way for us to distinguish between devices (what is an Apple TV vs. what isn’t) or certify these experiences. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue Netflix AirPlay support to ensure our standard of quality for viewing is being met. Members can continue to access Netflix on the built-in app across Apple TV and other devices.”
Presumably, Apple will find a way to correctly identify AirPlay-compatible devices, and thus their capabilities (HDR support, and so on). And that, should this happen, Netflix could simply reinstate AirPlay support. Plus, Netflix still supports Chromecast on iOS, so you can use that technology with a compatible Smart TV or set-top box if you prefer streaming from your device for some reason.
There were reports of a fast amphibious craft being used in the operation.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said its full contingent of 15 Central Reserve Police Force peacekeepers had been evacuated from Tripoli because the “situation in Libya has suddenly worsened”.
The Italian multinational oil and gas company, Eni, decided to evacuate all its Italian personnel from the country.
The UN is also due to pull out non-essential staff.
Residents of Tripoli have reportedly begun stocking up on food and fuel. But BBC Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher says many of those near the fighting are remaining in their homes for now, for fear of looting should they leave.
Some fear a long operation, which Gen Haftar mounted to take the eastern city of Benghazi from Islamist fighters.
Who are the opposing forces?
Libya has been wracked by unrest since the overthrow of Col Gaddafi. Dozens of militias operate in the country.
Recently they have been allying either with the UN-backed GNA, based in Tripoli, or the LNA of Gen Haftar, a tough anti-Islamist who has the support of Egypt and the UAE and is strong in eastern Libya.
Gen Haftar helped Col Gaddafi seize power in 1969 before falling out with him and going into exile in the US. He returned in 2011 after the uprising against Gaddafi began and became a rebel commander.
The unity government was created at talks in 2015 but has struggled to assert national control.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj delivered a TV address on Saturday, saying he would defend the capital.
Mr Serraj said he had offered concessions to Gen Haftar to avoid bloodshed, only to be “stabbed in the back”.
Back to square one?
Analysis by Rana Jawad, BBC North Africa correspondent, in Tunis
The rogue general’s defiance suggests that, despite international condemnation of his recent moves, he believes he can only secure a place in Libya’s future political makeup through militarily means.
Diplomats are worried, because the manner and timing of the attack means he is unlikely to back down unless he is defeated.
Few thought he would go ahead and launch this operation – which he has long threatened to do – because they believed ongoing talks that saw him go from Paris to Palermo and the UAE for more than a year would buy time until a new political settlement was reached through negotiations and an eventual electoral process.
Today, Western nations have few cards to play to de-escalate the violence and once again find themselves in a position where they may need to start from scratch.
Are peace talks planned?
UN-backed talks aimed at drawing up a road map for new elections have been scheduled for 14-16 April in the Libyan city of Ghadames.
UN envoy Ghassan Salame insisted the talks would go ahead, unless serious obstacles prevented it, saying “we won’t give up this political work quickly”.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was in Tripoli just last Thursday to discuss the situation.
But Gen Haftar has said his troops will not stop until they have defeated “terrorism”.
To say that saxophonist Ravi Coltrane covered a wide expressive range Thursday night at the Jazz Showcase would greatly understate the case.
But whether he was conjuring an air of stillness and contemplation or churning up great waves of rhythmic energy, whether his sound was softly introspective or as big as all outdoors, Coltrane showed the breadth of his vision and the acuity of his thoughts. Joined by three comparably focused musicians, the saxophonist turned in one of the more gripping sets he has given Chicago, the standing-room-only crowd attesting to the following he has built here through the years.
The evening’s most moving music came near the end, after the audience had experienced a great deal of busy interaction among Coltrane, guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Johnathan Blake. Having already delivered considerable fireworks, the musicians settled into Charlie Haden’s “First Song,” a profoundly reflective piece that brought forth intensely lyrical playing from Coltrane. His opening solo on tenor saxophone was large in scope and gauzy in tone, a sure indication that romantic melody-making was in the offing.
The extraordinary slowness of Coltrane’s vibrato underscored the point, but this was no mere throwback to the era of tenor eminences Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins. For Coltrane’s characteristically translucent timbre and questing, plaintive phrases cast “First Song” as something unmistakably personal and distinctive. Guitarist Rogers also offered simple, poetic, beautifully sculpted single-note lines. Add to this drummer Blake’s delicate brushwork and bassist Hurst’s darkly resonant low notes, and it’s easy to understand why a crowded room fell to a hush.
Ralph Towner’s “The Glide” preceded this reverie, Coltrane’s soprano saxophone tracing mercurial, circuitous lines that defied predictability. With his colleagues providing plenty of rhythmic bounce, Coltrane combined buoyant music-making with uninterrupted melodic flow.
Coltrane captured the ebullience of Ornette Coleman’s “Round Trip” via fast-flying notes but also cut to the blues undertone of much of the composer’s music with wailing, long-held pitches. The alternation between rhythmic agitation and free-wheeling, soaring melodies shed light on the nature of Coleman’s genius.
Coltrane, famously the son of Alice and John Coltrane, closed the set with his mother’s “Los Caballos,” from her album “Eternity.” Here the saxophonist reveled in the composition’s spirit of dance and exultation. What started as a medium tempo jaunt inexorably gathered speed, Coltrane’s phrases on sopranino saxophone becoming faster, fiercer and more ecstatic. And yet, after drummer Blake’s virtuoso solo, Coltrane dared to turn down the dial, ending with softly intimating phrases, as if a kind of resolution had been achieved.
That last piece summed up the nature of a set that segued between exclamatory, wholly extroverted music – some of the biggest statements Coltrane has made here in a small-group setting – and more incantatory, meditative sounds. It all pointed to the continuing maturation of Coltrane’s work, which becomes increasingly rewarding over time.
The Ravi Coltrane Quartet plays through Sunday at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; $25-$40; 312-360-0234 or www.jazzshowcase.com.
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