News Briefs – July 17, 2019


France’s Macron vows to help restart Serbia-Kosovo talks

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to help get stalled negotiations in a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo going again, describing the issue as a test for Europe.
During a visit to Serbia on July 15, Macron also expressed support for Serbia’s application to join the European Union even as he reiterated that he thinks the EU must adopt reforms before adding more new members.
Macron’s two-day visit is intended to rebuild relations between Serbia and France. Their historically close ties were damaged when NATO forces bombed Serbia in 1999 over the country’s actions in Kosovo and weakened by France’s support for the independence of Serbia’s former province.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a country. An EU-mediated dialogue aimed at normalizing ties between the two deadlocked and broke down. AP

India aborts moon mission launch, citing technical glitch

India aborted the launch on July 15 of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher, Indian Space Research Organization spokesman B.R. Guruprasad said.
The countdown abruptly stopped at T-56 minutes, 24 seconds, and Guruprasad said that the agency would announce a revised launch date soon.
Chandrayaan, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, is designed for a soft landing on the lunar south pole and to send a rover to explore water deposits confirmed by a previous Indian space mission.
With nuclear-armed India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, the ardently nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology. If India did manage the soft landing, it would be only the fourth to do so after the U.S., Russia and China. AP

American Airlines extends Boeing plane flight cancellations

American Airlines says it will keep the Boeing 737 Max plane off its schedule until Nov. 3, which is two months longer than it had planned.
In a statement July 14, American says the action will result in the cancellation of about 115 flights per day. It says it “remains confident” that the Boeing plane will be recertified this year. But some airline executives are growing doubtful about that timetable.
United Airlines announced July 12 that it was extending its cancellations until Nov. 3, a month longer than it had planned.
United has 14 Max jets while American has 24 of them. Southwest Airlines, which has 34 Max jets — more than any other carrier — is canceling about 150 flights per day.
The plane was grounded in March following two deadly crashes. AP

Boeing jet trouble leads to cuts at Europe’s busiest airline

Europe’s biggest airline by passengers, budget carrier Ryanair, will cut flights and close some of its bases beginning this winter because of the delay to deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max plane, which has been grounded globally after two fatal crashes.
The airline warned July 16 its growth in European summer traffic for 2020 will be lower than expected because of the slowed deliveries.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary says the airline “remains committed” to the Boeing 737 Max and expects it to be back in service before the end of the year but that the date is uncertain.
He says some delays are expected and that the airline will close some of its bases as a result with a hope to return to “normal” growth levels in 2021. AP