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Workers stand under the wing of a Boeing 737 MAX airplane at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Boeing on Wednesday met with "more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and government regulators" to unveil new fixes to the MCAS software system for its 737 MAX series jet, following new scrutiny and investigations into what caused 2 MAX 8s to crash in less than 6 months, killing a total of 346 people.

Catch up quick: The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is an automated system Boeing installed to prevent the aircraft from stalling (losing lift) by pushing the plane's nose down in particular circumstances. A malfunction with this system, where it appeared to activate based on faulty readings from a flight sensor, is the suspected cause of both crashes.

Details of the updates, per Boeing's website:

  • The MCAS will now compare inputs from both angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors. If the sensors disagree by 5.5 degrees or more with the flaps retracted, MCAS will not activate. An indicator on the flight deck display will alert the pilots.
  • If MCAS is activated in non-normal conditions, it will only provide one input for each elevated AOA event. There are no known or envisioned failure conditions where MCAS will provide multiple inputs.
  • MCAS can never command more stabilizer input than can be counteracted by the flight crew pulling back on the column. The pilots will continue to always have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane.

What's next: Boeing plans to send the software updates and new plans for pilot training to the Federal Aviation Administration for review by the end of this week, according to CNBC.

  • Reality check: The new updates are nowhere near close to getting certified, given there numerous ongoing investigations by multiple U.S. and international agencies.
  • The FAA itself is currently under scrutiny for not grounding the 737 MAX jets faster and for delegating certification activities to Boeing.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the Boeing 737 MAX crashes

Go deeper

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Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.