Tuesday morning news: March 12, 2019

Several countries ground Boeing’s 737-Max 8 after crash » Ethiopia, China and Indonesia are grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliners in the wake of Sunday’s deadly crash.

An Ethiopian Airlines jet was the second 737 Max 8 to crash just after takeoff in the span of five months.

Alan Diehl is a former investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board. He said personally he’d feel a little bit nervous flying on this 737 model right now.

DIEHL: There’s some training issues here. There’s some design issues as we know. Boeing says they’ve got some software fixes that they may implement in the near future. But at this point in time, I think it would be prudent to ground the aircraft. 

Investigators are combing through evidence from the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

So far Boeing says it’s too early to say what caused the crash, and it has no new guidance for airlines. But the company’s stock took a big hit in Monday trading.

The Max 8 is the newest model of Boeing’s most popular passenger jet. There are now more than 300 of them in service worldwide. Three U.S. carriers use the Max 8: Southwest, United, and American Airlines.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed six minutes after it took off Sunday from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya. The accident killed all 157 people aboard, including eight Americans.  

White House unveils proposed 2020 budget » The White House on Monday unveiled its budget proposal for 2020.

VOUGHT: This budget is yet another fiscally responsible and common sense spending plan from President Trump.

Acting Budget Director Russell Vought addressing reporters at the White House.

As expected, the $4.7 trillion budget proposes a big defense spending increase—in part to fund the new Space Force as a military branch. It also asks for nearly $9 billion for a border wall.

The White House says its proposed $2.7 trillion in non-defense cuts over a decade would largely cover planned spending increases. And Vought pushed back against claims that the president’s budget would slash Medicare funding.

VOUGHT: What we are doing is putting forth reforms that lower drug prices that because Medicare pays a very large share of drug prices in this country has the impact of finding savings. 

The budget deficit is projected to hit $1.1 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year, the highest in a decade. The White House says the president’s proposal would bring the budget into balance in 15 years. But critics say that counts on a very rosy projection of economic growth.

The annual budget proposal is largely a political document. Congress, particularly the Democratic-led House, will chart its own course.

Democrats announce location for 2020 national convention » Democrats have announced the location of their 2020 national convention. And for the first time in over a century, Democrats will nominate their presidential candidate in a Midwest city other than Chicago. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler has more.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez picked Milwaukee over Houston, Miami and several other cities.  

The choice sends a clear signal that Democrats do not plan to take Wisconsin for granted in next year’s presidential election, a mistake many believe the party made in 2016. Donald Trump was the first Republican to carry the state in decades.

In a political twist, Milwaukee officials have credited former Republican Governor Scott Walker for supporting the convention bid. Walker lobbied GOP-leaning business leaders and donors to support Milwaukee’s effort to land the event. He said “When it comes to a big convention like this,” it’s not a partisan issue… “It’s the money that will come into the state.”

The convention is scheduled for July of next year.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

British lawmakers set to vote once more on Brexit plan » British lawmakers are set to vote once again today on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan. The House of Commons rejected the deal in January, and there are few signs of any big shift in opinion. But May says she’ll keep working to find a solution.

Meantime, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the commission is likewise “committed to ratifying a deal before March 29th.” That’s when the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union.

SCHINAS: The commission has made proposals on further reassurances that the backstop, if used, will apply temporarily. We are committed to using our best endeavors to find a subsequent agreement that replaces the backstop. 

The backstop is a provision that ensures the border between the EU’s Ireland and UK’s Northern Ireland will remain open and uncontrolled. But critics of the plan say that would keep England tied into the European Union indefinitely.

Accused killer of Kim Jong Un’s brother released » In a surprising move, Malaysian authorities on Monday released one of the two women accused of assassinating Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam in 2017.

Prosecutors did not explain why they dropped the charges against Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, but Indonesian authorities had lobbied for her freedom. Aisyah told reporters, she was happy and surprised to be released on Monday after two years in prison.

Prosecutors have not dropped charges against a Vietnamese national accused in the killing.

The two women were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. Both women insisted they thought they were taking part in a prank for a television show.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) A worker stands near a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane parked at Boeing Co.’s Renton Assembly Plant, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Renton, Wash. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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