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Arun Jaitley to launch Google payment app ‘Tez’ on Monday 18Sep’17

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New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will launch Google’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payment service called “Tez” on Monday, making India’s digital payment ecosystem war even more competitive.

“FM Shri @arunjaitley to launch the Google Digital Payment app ‘TEZ’ on Monday, 18th September, 2017 in the national capital,” the Finance Ministry confirmed in a tweet on Saturday.

The report of Google entering India’s fast growing digital payment ecosystem appeared in the media on Thursday, following which Google India sent out an invite for an event in New Delhi on September 18.

“As we continue to make strides in ensuring that our products continue to serve the needs of everyone, we invite you to a press conference to share details on the launch of a new product developed grounds up for India,” the invite read.

“Tez” (meaning fast in Hindi) may work like Android Pay.

UPI is a payment system launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India which facilitates the instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on the mobile platform.

The other big player to join India’s growing digital payment market is Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

WhatsApp has been in the news for working towards a UPI-based interface on its platform.

According to media reports, the leading messaging platform is already in talks with the NPCI and a few banks to facilitate financial transactions via UPI.

According to the blog website “WABetaInfo”, WhatsApp is giving shape to its plans towards bank-to-bank transfer using the UPI system.

Some mobile messaging platforms like WeChat and Hike Messenger already support UPI-based payment services.

The infrastructure of digital payments in India is expected to increase three-fold by the end of 2017 with almost five million electronic point of sale (PoS) machines, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has said.

“We expect that by December, the number will actually go up to five million PoS, which means that the infrastructure for digital payments is going to grow three times in the short span of one year,” MeitY Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said. (IANS)

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Ethiopia to Renew Safety Questions After Devastating Plane Crash

The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it

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ethiopia, plane crash
FILE - Workers service an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane at the Bole International Airport in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 26, 2017. VOA

Investigators rushed to the scene of a devastating plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, an accident that could renew safety questions about the newest version of Boeing’s popular 737 airliner.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from the capital of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it.

In those circumstances, the accident is eerily similar to an October crash in which a 737 Max 8 flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 people on the plane.

Safety experts took note of the similarities but cautioned against quickly drawing too many parallels between the two crashes.

Alan Diehl, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said the similarities included both crews encountering a problem shortly after takeoff, and reports of large variations in vertical speed during ascent, “clearly suggesting a potential controllability problem” with the Ethiopian jetliner.

ethiopia, plane crash
The Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from the capital of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board. Pixabay

But there are many possible explanations, Diehl said, including engine problems, pilot error, weight load, sabotage or bird strikes. He said Ethiopian has a good reputation, but investigators will look into the plane’s maintenance, especially since that may have been an issue in the Lion Air investigation.

By contrast, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO “stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Lion Air crash yet,” said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.

“I do hope though that people will wait for the first results of the investigation instead of jumping to conclusions based on the very little facts that we know so far,” he said.

Boeing representatives did not immediately respond for comment. The company tweeted that it was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew” on the Ethiopian Airlines Max airplane.

The Chicago-based company said it would send a technical to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.

A spokesman for the NTSB said the U.S. agency was sending a team of four to assist Ethiopian authorities. Boeing and the U.S. investigative agency are also involved in the Lion Air probe.

ethiopia, plane crash
The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it. Pixabay

Indonesian investigators have not stated a cause for the Lion Air crash, but they are examining whether faulty readings from a sensor might have triggered an automatic nose-down command to the plane, which the Lion Air pilots fought unsuccessfully to overcome. The automated system kicks in if sensors indicate that a plane is about to lose lift, or go into an aerodynamic stall. Gaining speed by diving can prevent a stall.

The Lion Air plane’s flight data recorder showed problems with an airspeed indicator on four flights, although the airline initially said the problem was fixed.

Days after the Oct. 29 accident, Boeing sent a notice to airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down. The notice reminded pilots of the procedure for handling such a situation, which is to disable the system causing the automatic nose-down movements.

Pilots at some airlines, however, including American and Southwest, protested that they were not fully informed about a new system that could automatically point the plane’s nose down based on sensor readings. Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in December that the Max is a safe plane, and that Boeing did not withhold operating details from airlines and pilots.

Diehl, the former NTSB investigator, said the Ethiopian Airlines pilots should have been aware of that issue from press coverage of the Lion Air crash.

ethiopia, plane crash
Safety experts took note of the similarities but cautioned against quickly drawing too many parallels between the two crashes. Pixabay

The 737 is the best-selling airliner in history, and the Max is the newest version of it, with more fuel-efficient engines. The Max is a central part of Boeing’s strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.

ALSO READ: United Nations, Tech Giants Lead Push for Green Tech Solutions

Boeing has delivered about 350 737 Max planes and has orders for more than 5,000. It is already in use by many airlines including American, United and Southwest.

The Lion Air incident does not seem to have harmed Boeing’s ability to sell the Max. Boeing’s stock fell nearly 7 percent on the day of the Lion Air crash. Since then it has soared 26 percent higher, compared with a 4 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. (IANS)