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Bob Dole, Longtime US Republican Figure, Dies at 98

Bob Dole, a severely wounded U.S. soldier left for dead on a World War II battlefield and who later became a fixture for decades on the American political scene, died Sunday at the age of 98.

Dole was the plain-spoken son of the Midwestern prairie state of Kansas, which he represented in the U.S. Senate for 27 years, rising to be the chamber’s Republican majority leader.

Dole was the party’s nominee for vice president in 1976 and two decades later its presidential candidate in a losing effort as Democrat Bill Clinton won re-election.

Dole’s death was announced by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, his wife’s organization honoring the country’s military caregivers. It said he died in his sleep. Dole had announced almost a year ago that he had advanced lung cancer and was beginning treatment.

Tributes came from across the political spectrum.

U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement Sunday saying, “Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation. And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves.”

Biden also said Dole “had an unerring sense of integrity and honor.”

Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered that flags at the U.S. Capitol be flown at half-staff as a tribute to Dole, according to her deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill.  

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said on Twitter, “When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole — a man who dedicated his life to serving our country.”  

Former Republican President George W. Bush said, “This good man represented the finest of American values. He defended them in uniform during World War II. He advanced them in the United States Senate. And he lived them out as a father, husband, and friend.”

Bush’s successor, Democratic President Barack Obama, tweeted, “Senator Bob Dole was a war hero, a political leader, and a statesman—with a career and demeanor harkening back to a day when members of the Greatest Generation abided by a certain code, putting country over party. Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and the Dole family.”

In his last years, Dole came to personify the bravery of the World War II generation of military veterans. He raised money for the World War II memorial on the National Mall in Washington and often visited the site on weekends to greet the last of the American World War II veterans visiting the site.

Dole’s right hand was rendered useless by a battlefield injury under Nazi gunfire in Italy. He spent years greeting voters and Washington officialdom with his left while he clutched a pen tucked in his right hand to discourage people from a normal handshake.

In his autobiography, “One Soldier’s Story,” Dole wrote that in 1945, “As the mortar round, exploding shell, or machine gun blast — whatever it was, I’ll never know —ripped into my body, I recoiled, lifted off the ground a bit, twisted in the air, and fell face down in the dirt.”

“For a long moment I didn’t know if I was dead or alive. I sensed the dirt in my mouth more than I tasted it. I wanted to get up, to lift my face off the ground, to spit the dirt and blood out of my mouth, but I couldn’t move,” he wrote.

“I lay face down in the dirt, unable to feel my arms. Then the horror hit me — I can’t feel anything below my neck! I didn’t know it at the time, but whatever it was that hit me had ripped apart my shoulder, breaking my collarbone and my right arm, smashing down into my vertebrae, and damaging my spinal cord,” Dole recounted.

In political life, Dole was often at odds with more conservative Republicans, but for more than three decades was among the party’s top officials. He was viewed in Washington as a political pragmatist.  

Dole opposed many of the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Johnson, but supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In the early 1970s, Dole was the party’s national chairman, was the vice presidential running mate to President Gerald Ford in 1976 in his losing bid for a full elected term and held leadership roles in the Senate.  

In the 1996 election, President Clinton handily won re-election, capturing 31 states to 19 for Dole.

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Reactions to Bob Dole’s Death From US Dignitaries, Veterans

U.S. dignitaries and military veterans are mourning former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, a World War II veteran and former Republican presidential candidate who served in Congress for 36 years. Dole, who had stage 4 lung cancer, died Sunday at age 98, according to his wife, Elizabeth Dole.

“Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation. And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves. I will miss my friend. But I am grateful for the times we shared, and for the friendship Jill and I and our family have built with Liddy and the entire Dole family. … He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor. May God bless him, and may our nation draw upon his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time.” — President Joe Biden, who served with Dole in the Senate.

“Laura and I are saddened by the passing of a great patriot, Senator Bob Dole. This good man represented the finest of American values. He defended them in uniform during World War II. He advanced them in the United States Senate. And he lived them out as a father, husband, and friend. Our entire family benefitted from that friendship, including my father. I will always remember Bob’s salute to my late dad at the Capitol, and now we Bushes salute Bob and give thanks for his life of principled service.” — Former President George W. Bush, speaking of Dole’s tribute to former President George H.W. Bush.

“Bob Dole was an American war hero and true patriot for our Nation. He served the Great State of Kansas with honor and the Republican Party was made stronger by his service. Our Nation mourns his passing, and our prayers are with Elizabeth and his wonderful family.” — Former President Donald Trump.

“Senator Bob Dole was a war hero, a political leader, and a statesman — with a career and demeanor harkening back to a day when members of the Greatest Generation abided by a certain code, putting country over party. Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and the Dole family.” — Former President Barack Obama.

“Bob Dole dedicated his entire life to serving the American people, from his heroism in World War II to the 35 years he spent in Congress. After all he gave in the war, he didn’t have to give more. But he did. His example should inspire people today and for generations to come.” — Former President Bill Clinton.

“Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire his character and his profound patriotism. Those of us who were lucky to know Bob well ourselves admired him even more. A bright light of patriotic good cheer burned all the way from Bob’s teenage combat heroics through his whole career in Washington through the years since. It still shone brightly, undimmed, to his last days. Bob Dole lived the kind of full, rich, and deeply honorable American life that will be impossible for any tribute today to fully capture.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican-Kentucky.

“America has lost an iconic statesman and tireless veterans advocate. Bob Dole distinguished himself in combat long before becoming one of the most respected voices in Congress. His leadership and determination led to the construction and dedication of the National World War II Memorial. America is a better country as a result of this great patriot’s service. The American Legion was proud to present Sen. Dole with our organization’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal in 1997. Our condolences to his wife, Elizabeth, his family and many friends.” — American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard.

“Bob Dole was a giant of the Senate. I remember the large number of Republican and Democratic Senators gathering on the Floor to praise him when he stepped down from the Senate. Traveling with him, working with him and writing legislation with him are among my fondest memories of the Senate.” — Sen. Patrick Leahy, Democrat-Vermont, the longest-serving sitting senator.

“Senator Bob Dole will be remembered as a true American hero and an exemplary statesman — a man who chose what was right over what was convenient. Whether it was on the battlefield, in the halls of Congress, or in his everyday life, Senator Dole’s passion and dedication to his fellow Kansan and to his country was a steady reminder that a single person can make a difference and change the world. … On the floor of the United States Senate, I use Senator Dole’s desk, and I am regularly reminded of his tireless commitment to Kansas values while being, first and foremost, a statesman who treated others with respect and kindness.” — Sen. Jerry Moran, Republican-Kansas.

“Over the last several years, I was fortunate to get to spend several Saturdays a year with Senator Dole. He made it his mission to greet fellow World War II veterans in Washington, D.C., when they came to visit the World War II Memorial, a memorial that Senator Dole helped make a reality. When Rhode Island veterans would come to Washington on Honor Flights, one of their true highlights was seeing Senator Dole. He was there to confer respect and honor upon others, and it was truly a privilege to be there at his side and see veterans and caregivers alike light up and connect with him. Senator Dole was both a great listener and storyteller and he always made sure our veterans knew: This is their memorial. It belongs to them.” — Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat, Rhode Island., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“When I was at recovering at Walter Reed, Bob Dole was a patient too. He was 81 years old then, and he had his own private room, but he always did his rehab with the rest of us — cracking jokes and sharing stories about his Army days. I’ll always remember how that proud Veteran from an earlier generation took the time — during some of the most difficult moments of my life — to interact with us younger Soldiers, helping us recover from both our physical and psychological wounds. … He was a true statesman and model of the Greatest Generation who never failed to answer the call to serve.” — Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat-Illinois., who lost both her legs while serving in Iraq.

“Senator Dole was many things — a war hero, a father, a husband, a public servant; and to Kansans, a man who embodied everything good and decent about Kansas and about America. … He was a larger-than-life presence in our nation’s politics and demonstrated a decency, a humility, and a civility that should serve as a model for those of us in public life.” — Gov. Laura Kelly, Democrat-Kansas.

“As a public servant, private citizen, and true patriot, Senator Bob Dole showed total dedication to the American experiment and its deepest ideals, answering liberty’s call at every turn. A combat hero, champion for those with disabilities, congressional leader from Kansas, and presidential candidate, Dole served this nation for 79 years. He lived a life of heroism and humor, courage and consequence, leadership and legacy that every American should strive for.” — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican-California.

“His record as the second-longest serving Republican Leader in the history of the Senate demonstrates the respect he earned from his side of the aisle. But it was his willingness – indeed, his commitment – to reach across the aisle that produced such landmark achievements as saving Social Security, strengthening America’s hunger and nutrition programs, and reforming the tax code to better reward hard work and investment. Senator Dole’s bipartisan spirit is a vital part of his enduring legacy of leadership.” — Sen. Susan Collins, Republican, Maine.

“Bob Dole was a soldier, a legislator, & a statesman. He always stood for what was just & right. I was honored to award him the Congressional Gold Medal & I’ll always be grateful for his service to our country.” — Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican-Wisconsin.

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У Дніпрі відкрили оновлений пам’ятник жертвам Голодомору

У Дніпрі, на привокзальній площі, відкрили оновлений пам’ятник жертвам Голодомору – поклонний хрест. На початку 30-х років ХХ століття тут, на площі, помирали українські селяни, тікаючи з голодних сіл до міста.

Раніше на цьому місці стояв дерев’яний хрест, встановлений активістами ще 2006-го року без дозволу тодішньої міської влади.

Нинішній хрест виготовлений з граніту.

Оновлення хреста – це громадська ініціатива, розповіла Радіо Свобода директорка КЗ «Музей спротиву Голодомору» Лілія Богачева.

«Це – результат злагодженої роботи громадських об’єднань. 9 грудня відзначається Міжнародний день пам’яті жертв злочинів геноциду. Вирішили відкрити й освятити хрест сьогодні, а 9-го числа можна буде сюди прийти і вшанувати. Ми готуємо історичну довідку, аби подати документи в область на затвердження цього хреста в якості культурної пам’ятки», – сказала вона.

Оновлений хрест освятили священники Православної церкви України.

«Ми навмисно не приурочили оновлення пам’ятного знака до Дня пам’яті жертв голодоморів, бо вважаємо, що в будь-який день потрібно пам’ятати про трагедію, яка сталася на теренах нашої плодючої землі майже сто років тому», – сказав військовий капелан Дмитро Поворотний.

Раніше неподалік від хреста жертвам Голодомору в Дніпрі стояв пам’ятник «всесоюзному старості» Григорієві Петровському. Його повалили в січні 2016 року.

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У Запоріжжі в сквері просто неба встановили «Залізний трон»

У Запоріжжі відбулося відкриття майданчику-фотозони, на якій встановлено виготовлену зі зброї та розірваних снарядів копію трону з популярного серіалу «Гра престолів» – «Залізний трон». Раніше арт-об’єкт перебував на зберіганні у Запорізькому обласному краєзнавчому музеї.

«На жаль, у нас суспільству зараз не до походів до музею. У нас люди в інформаційній окупації знаходяться багато років. І ця установка на «втому від війни», «припинити стріляти» не спрацювала, і зараз Україна знов близька до вторгнення агресора, тому людям треба нагадати, що відбувалося насправді на початку російської навали. І я вирішив зробити ось цю локацію, фотозону таку на знак нашої волі до перемоги і для того, щоб всі, хто бачив війну лише по телебаченню, мали можливість побачити, як вона виглядає насправді», – розповів власник «трону» Валерій Прозапас.

«Залізний трон» розмістили у сквері прикордонників. Він примикає до майдану Волі, де планується встановити у Запоріжжі пам’ятник захисникам України. Арт-об’єкт перебуватиме у сквері постійно.

«Поряд з цим місцем буде меморіал захисникам України. Це як перша локація меморіалу. Думаю, що буде дуже доречно. Ті елементи, з яких зроблено цей виріб – стійкі до зовнішнього впливу, бо це спеціальна сталь, що використовується, якраз, для виготовлення зброї. Будемо покривати два рази на рік спеціальними сумішами для того, щоб корозію зупиняти, і простоїть він дуже довго. Якщо чесно, то моя мрія – подарувати його від Запоріжжя звільненому Донецьку», – додає Валерій Прозапас.

«Залізний трон» у 2016 році створив у зоні АТО поблизу Донецька запорізький волонтер Денис Буштець. До інсталяції увійшли такі артефакти, як уламки активної броні танка, частини підбитої військової техніки, кулеметні стрічки, снаряди, каністри та солдатські фляги. Вага об’єкта – понад 600 кг.

У листопаді 2016 року «трон» був проданий з волонтерського аукціону за 150 тисяч гривень. Торги тривали тиждень в онлайн-режимі. Усього ж, за словами організаторів аукціону, вони отримали понад 30 пропозицій від потенційних покупців з України, Польщі та Чехії.

Усі кошти отримані від продажу «трону» були спрямовані на потреби військових. Згодом ветеран війни на Донбасі і блогер із Запоріжжя Валерій Прозапас, який придбав «трон» з аукціону, віддав його на зберігання до Запорізького обласного краєзнавчого музею.

Раніше «Залізний трон» вже виставлявся волонтерами в центрі Запоріжжя. З 19 по 21 листопада 2016 року він стояв на площі біля Запорізької ОДА, де всі охочі могли сфотографуватися з ним. Також у 2019 році арт-об’єкт експонувався у Києві на майдані Незалежності.

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What is the US National Archives?

When John Carlin started his job at the head of the U.S. National Archives back in June of 1995, he was shocked to learn that government emails were not being preserved. 

“They, at that time, did not consider email as a record, and I said, ‘Folks, I may not be an archivist, but those are records,’” says Carlin, who served as archivist for a decade. “By September I was able to go through the process of getting that changed. More and more records now are coming in the archives in the electronic form.” 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official records keeper of the United States government. Among the records in its possession are presidential papers and materials, which former president Donald Trump is trying to keep out of the hands of the congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Presidential libraries are part of the National Archives and White House records are kept forever. 

“Authentic history is not possible without records that have been kept and preserved so their authenticity is backed up 100 percent,” Carlin says. “Accountability goes forward for a long time and people who work for the White House including the president, him or herself, can and should be held accountable. And, without those records, that cannot be done.

Overall, only 1%-3% of all of the materials created by the U.S. government during the course of conducting its business are considered important enough, for legal or historical reasons, to preserve for all time.

“The National Archives holds over 15 billion pages of textual records, over 18 million maps, charts and architectural drawings, more than 43 million images, more than 365,000 reels of film and over 110,000 videotapes, to say nothing of the billions of electronic records,” says Meghan Ryan Guthorn, acting deputy chief operating officer of the agency. “We’re focused on openness, cultivating public participation, and strengthening our nation’s democracy through public access to high-value government records. I kind of like to think of the agency like the nation’s filing cabinet.”

NARA keeps its holdings in 44 locations across the country, including the iconic National Archives building in Washington. For Carlin, the former archivist, some of the most memorable materials include those related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

 “I mean, literally, they tore apart the room that JFK died in from the assassination on that day in Dallas. Everything was kept,” Carlin says. “Everything in the room was kept.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Archives in 1934, but the agency has items that date back to before the nation’s founding. Well-known documents like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are in the National Archives, but so are naturalization records that can verify the U.S. citizenship of immigrants, and military records of everyday citizens. 

“We do not throw military personnel records away. And we don’t set a date for very practical reasons,” Carlin says. “Anybody that leaves the military, in order to be eligible for veteran benefits, has to prove they left honorably and that requires a record. And that record is kept in our archives in St. Louis. And it has to be kept preserved and made accessible.” 

The public has access to many of these records. However, some archival materials are withheld from the public for a variety of reasons, including national security concerns, donor wishes, court orders and other statutory or regulatory provisions. The National Archives encourages public participation. 

“Maintaining the records and, just as importantly, if not more importantly, providing public access to them, can help illuminate the history of a nation,” says Ryan Guthorn. “The preservation of records documents the activities of a country’s government and citizens over time. It’s a really important way to track how a country has evolved and how the rights of citizens have been protected and managed by the government.”

Presidential historian Shannon Bow O’Brien says access to original documents is critical because while people’s memories may differ, the actual records tell the true story. 

“These tell us what they were doing, when they were doing it, how they were doing it, what they said,” says O’Brien, a professor in the government department at The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts. “If you look at the documents, or you look at the paper trails that are in the archives, you can see the decision-making processes, you can see why things develop the way they developed.” 

The public can explore National Archive holdings via an online catalog and expert archivists are on hand to answer questions online.

Today, Carlin worries the agency continues to lack sufficient funding to properly do its job. 

“If you don’t have enough staff upfront to work with the agency, particularly electronic records, there’s going to be mistakes and records lost along the way that should have gone to the National Archives,” Carlin says. 

During his decade-long tenure as archivist, Carlin pursued federal and private funds to renovate the National Archives building in Washington, and added public exhibits as part of an effort to enrich the overall visitor experience. 

“The very fundamentals of our whole system are right there,” Carlin says, referring to the Charters of Freedom — the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. “It’s incredibly important and valuable that citizens take advantage of that opportunity to go there and spend a couple hours and really learn a lot about what has made this country great and what has to be supported going forward for it to stay great.”

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White House Bedecked for Christmas

“Gifts from the heart” is the theme of Jill Biden’s first Christmas as first lady, and she has filled the historic home with tributes to those who have inspired her over the past year: front-line workers who soldiered through the pandemic, service members who gave their lives, and members of her family and those of previous presidents.

This year’s official Christmas tree is a 5.5-meter-tall Fraser fir covered with white doves and ribbons bearing the names of U.S. states and territories.

“For all of our differences, we are united by what really matters, like points on a star,” she said after the decorations were unveiled this week. “We come together at the heart. That is what I wanted to reflect in our White House this year. In each room, we tell a story of gifts from the heart in the East Wing. We see the gift of service with shooting stars representing the front-line workers who brought light to our lives in the darkest days of this pandemic.” 

This year’s decorations echo the theme of the last Christmas of previous first lady Melania Trump. Her final Christmas decorations as first lady paid tribute to first responders, such as police and health care workers, who were also featured in this year’s decorations.

But can you eat it?

As usual, the White House pastry team this year spent several weeks putting together a hefty gingerbread display.

This year, the 226-kilogram construction features the White House but also includes a school, police, fire and gas stations, a hospital, a post office, a grocery store and a warehouse.

Executive pastry chef Susan Morrison told VOA the display took 55 sheets of gingerbread; 55 kilograms of pastillage, a type of sugar-paste icing; another 15 kilograms of royal icing; and 13 kilograms of chocolate. Plus a large quantity of something called “gum paste,” which is a sugar dough used for decor. 

So VOA posed the obvious question, “I promise I’m not going to do this, but could you eat all of this?” 

“You could, technically, except it’s meant for display,” Morrison said with a laugh. “So the icing on the outside, when it is exposed to air, becomes very firm like concrete.” 

She laughed. VOA did not touch or attempt to eat the gingerbread display.

Love it or hate it, ‘we love you’ 

Christmas trees have been a White House fixture for more than a century, but it was first lady Jacqueline Kennedy who started decorating by theme, choosing “The Nutcracker Suite” for the first project.

The first ladies’ efforts haven’t always been warmly received, and this year’s theme was no exception, with some Americans taking to Twitter to pick apart the first lady’s style choices. Critics howled over former first lady Melania Trump’s 2018 decorations, which included red Christmas trees, with some calling them “more frightening than festive.”

But first lady Biden said that while the world may still be scary, the holidays shouldn’t be.

“There are still challenges ahead for our nation,” she said, speaking to the 100-plus volunteers festooned with the White House’s 41 Christmas trees with 80,000 lights, 1,800 meters of ribbon and more than 10,000 ornaments.

“There will be moments when the answers seem unclear. But we have a guiding light as well. Not a star in the sky, but a divine truth within us, the values that make us who we are, the threads that unite us all, the gifts from the heart. No matter how dark the night when we turn toward that light, we will never be lost. So thank you for helping us share those gifts from the heart. And happy holidays and Merry Christmas. From our family to all of yours:We love you.” 


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US November Job Gains Fall Short of Expectations

U.S. employers added only 210,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, dampening hopes the economy is rebounding from a summer slowdown sparked by the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus and supply chain disruptions.

Millions of Americans laid off during the pandemic-induced recession remained without work last month despite employers offering higher wages, expiring unemployment benefits and schools reopening. This has fueled questions among economists about whether some people are willing to reenter the workforce during the ongoing pandemic.

The report fell far short of expectations of about 550,000 new jobs last month, according to economists polled by Reuters. Last month’s 210,000 new jobs were also far fewer than the 546,000 jobs added in October and the year’s monthly average of 555,000. There were 194,000 new hires in September.

The unemployment rate in November fell to 4.2% from 4.6% the month before, inching closer to the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5 percent, the lowest rate in more than 50 years.

“Our economy is markedly stronger than it was a year ago and today the incredible news (is) that our unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2%. At this point in the year, we’re looking at the sharpest one-year decline in unemployment ever. Simply put, America is back to work,” U.S. President Joe Biden said at the White House Friday.

“The unemployment rate has now fallen by more than two percentage points since I took office,” Biden added. “That’s the fastest decline in a single year on record.”  

November’s modest job gains and the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 could weaken expectations for stronger economic growth in the fourth quarter. The economy is currently expected to grow at a 7% annual rate in the fourth quarter, a strong rebound from the 2.1% pace in the third quarter, when the delta variant stymied growth.

While little is known about the omicron variant, some slowdown in hiring is likely, considering the delta variant triggered the slowest pace of economic growth in more than a year last quarter.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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У КМДА повідомили тему новорічної ялинки на Софійській площі, обіцяють найбільший в Європі вертеп

Цьогорічна тема головної святкової локації на Софійській площі присвячена Різдвяній дивоночі, коли народився Ісус Христос

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Суд у Криму відхилив апеляцію на арешт Нарімана Джеляла – адвокат

«Наріман нагадав суду про політичні мотиви його переслідування. Головуючий суддя, пробувши у нарадчій кімнаті 5 хвилин, вирішив залишити все в силі»

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СБУ заявляє про викриття ще однієї ботоферми, яка продавала акаунти «проросійським агітаторам»

Як заявили у відомстві, ботів використовували для дискредитації ЗСУ, «виправдання збройної агресії РФ та підбурювання «антивакцинаторських» настроїв»

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China Gives Long-Awaited Approval to Boeing 737 MAX After Crashes

Chinese authorities have approved the Boeing 737 MAX to resume service after making a series of safety adjustments, removing a major uncertainty surrounding the American aviation giant’s comeback after a lengthy slump.

A directive from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) deeming the model “airworthy” sets the stage for the jet to return to airline schedules in the country next year, following months of negotiations between Beijing and Boeing.

Shares of Boeing rocketed after the decision, which also clears the way for it to deliver more than 100 MAX aircraft to Chinese carriers that were produced during the more than two years the plane was grounded in China following two deadly crashes.

The CAAC said in a further statement Friday that it expects “commercial operation of the existing domestic fleet will be resumed progressively at the end of this year or early next year.”

News of the decision had initially emerged on Thursday, when AFP saw a government directive showing China was giving the green light to the 737 MAX after taking “corrective actions.” The CAAC statement on Friday confirmed the decision.

The CAAC’s move also confirms a place for the US plane maker in the country — an essential growth market in aviation — despite persistent trade and political tensions between Washington and Beijing.

“This will give Boeing the assurance to begin to ramp plane production back up,” said Michel Merluzeau, an analyst at AIR consultancy, adding that the action amounts to the “light at the end of the tunnel” for the MAX.

Protracted process

China is the last major travel market to bring the MAX back into use after it was grounded globally in March 2019 following two crashes that together claimed 346 lives.

Investigators said a main cause of both tragedies was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

Boeing won approval from the United States in November 2020 and from most other leading aviation authorities soon after to resume service.

But the process was far more protracted in China, with the CAAC only conducting a test flight of the model in the third quarter of this year.

Analysts said delays may have been a consequence of tensions with Washington.

But on Thursday, Chinese authorities gave the green light after requiring upgrades to planes, including installing new software programs to address the defect and updating the flight manual.

“After conducting sufficient assessment, CAAC considers the corrective actions are adequate to address this unsafe condition,” said an airworthiness directive from the authority.

The directive means there are no remaining regulatory obstacles for the MAX to return to the skies in China, although the aviation authority cautioned that it does not mean the planes will immediately return to use.

“Obtaining airworthiness is just one of the most basic tasks,” said the CAAC on Friday.

It added that domestic airlines will still have to “complete aircraft modification, restoration of parked aircraft, pilot training and so on.”

Symbiotic relationship

Boeing cheered the decision.

“CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China,” Boeing in China said in a statement to AFP.

“Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to return the airplane to service worldwide.”

A Boeing spokesperson said more than 180 countries have now allowed the MAX to return to service, with Indonesia, where the first crash took place, and Russia among those that have yet to do so.

Burkett Huey, an analyst at Morningstar, said Boeing still faces some important hurdles such as restoring deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner plane, its other top-selling aircraft, and beefing up its order book following cancelations and the hit from the COVID-19 aviation downturn.

But Huey called the CAAC move “very good news and very consequential” for Boeing.

Uncertainty about the timing for Beijing to approve the MAX have contributed to the company’s travails in recent months.

China also has high hopes for developing its own aviation industry, with attention focused on Comac’s C919 narrow-body plane, a potential rival to Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

But analysts do not believe Beijing will be able to meet its targets solely with Chinese companies.

“It would be difficult for China to grow as much as it can without Boeing for at least the next 10 years,” Huey said, adding that the CAAC’s action “is unlocking access to a really critical market” for Boeing.

Boeing shares finished with a gain of 7.5% at $202.38, the biggest winner in the Dow.


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