Boeing 787 Flights Grounded Worldwide Amidst Growing Safety Worries



TOKYO - Amidst continuing safety concerns, airlines and regulators have grounded the majority of Boeing’s flagship 787 Dreamliner planes around the world, reports the BBC.

By Thursday, chief air safety agencies in Europe, the United States, Japan and elsewhere had ordered flights halted.

The 787 is the newest jet for the Seattle-based company, but since its 2011 commercial launch, which already had been long delayed with technical problems, it has seen a series of additional problems, including: fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window, braking problems, an electrical fire, and battery problems.

Photo: An ANA 787 by Spaceaero2 via Wikipedia

On Wednesday night, Japanese All Nippon Airways (ANA) was forced to make an emergency landing due to battery malfunction. The Daily Yomiuri writes that the airline reported that an indicator light in an electrical panel at the front of the plane showed the presence of smoke. However, no passenger or crew member was able to confirm the smoke. No problems were reported with the take off or after the landing.

The AP says that U.S. officials and a Boeing engineer are due in Japan on Friday to further investigate this emergency landing.

Air India's decision on Thursday to ground its 787s, under orders from Indian aviation authorities, means that 36 of the 50 jets in use around the world are out of action. ANA, which has 17 and Japan Airlines, 7, voluntarily halted flights Wednesday after the emergency landing but aviation authorities have now made the grounding official, according to the AP.

Kyodo writes that in a statement, the U.S. regulator said that "As a result of an in-flight Boeing 787 battery incident earlier today in Japan, the FAA will issue an emergency airworthiness directive to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations."

Boeing have said that they are working in collaboration with the investigators. Company chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney stated “ We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.”

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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