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US joins investigation into Boeing 787 Dreamliner

US safety officials have arrived in Japan to help assess Boeing's malfunctioning aircraft.

The US has today joined the investigation into the problematic Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that has prompted the entire fleet to be temporarily suspended from flight. The plane is already under assessment by officials from Boeing, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), after a series of incidents raised questions over its safety.

The planes, which Boeing had hailed the future of air travel because of their innovative system and design, had suffered numerous problems including an electrical fire, fuel leaks, as well as experiencing issues with its brakes. The largest cause for concern, however, are the plane's lithium ion batteries.

GS Yuasa Corp, the Japanese company that makes the Dreamliner’s batteries has sent three engineers to aid the investigation, which is taking place at Takamatsu Airport in western Japan. A spokesperson for GS Yuasa Corp has said,

"Our company's battery has been vilified for now, but it only functions as part of a whole system. So we're trying to find out exactly where there was a problem within the system."

The recent emergency landing of the 787 has been deemed “highly serious” by the Japanese government, and proved to be the catalyst for the first major aircraft grounding since 1979. The investigation is proving detrimental to planemaker Boeing, whose shares had dropped more than 3pc to $74.35 (£46.51) yesterday.

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney, has released a statement on the issue, stating that safety is their “highest priority”. McNerney went on to say,

“We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.  We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service.”

But Robert Stallard, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets believes that consequences may be more severe for Boeing,

“What started as a series of relatively minor, isolated incidents now threatens to overhang Boeing until it can return confidence.”

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.