Boeing pushed FAA to relax 737 MAX certification requirements for crew alerts

In 2014, Boeing convinced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relax the safety standards for the new 737 MAX related to cockpit alerts that would warn pilots if something went wrong during flight, according to documents reviewed by the Seattle Times.

Seeking an exception, Boeing relied on a special FAA rule to successfully argue that full compliance with the latest federal requirements would be “impractical” for the MAX and would cost too much.

“They went through the process and weren’t required to step up,” said an FAA safety engineer familiar with how the waiver request was handled and who asked for anonymity because he spoke without agency authorization.

Based on lessons learned from past airline accidents, the FAA regulation stipulates precise design details for the warning displays in the cockpit. These are aimed at ensuring that alerts relay clearly to the pilots what’s going on when a malfunction occurs, catch attention so that they won’t be overlooked, and avert any possible confusion.

During the two fatal MAX crashes that killed 346 people, pilots struggled to understand the cascade of warnings in their cockpits. Last week a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on those crashes highlighted the crucial role that crew alerting systems play when pilots face an in-flight emergency.

The Seattle Times reviewed the relevant parts of the document that Boeing submitted to the FAA to win its exception. They show the federal regulator struck out four separate clauses that would be requirements for any new jet being produced today.

The underlying design of the 737 was first certified more than five decades ago, and its airframe and systems have been upgraded in an incremental patchwork ever since. Boeing’s submission reveals the cold actuarial calculus by which such exceptions are granted to allow certification of airplanes, such as the MAX, that are derivatives of older, legacy models

Trump’s attacks on his dealings with Ukraine.

White House hopeful Joe Biden on Wednesday hit back at President Trump at a rally in Nevada, telling his supporters he’s “not going anywhere” in a fiery rebuke of Trump’s attacks on his dealings with Ukraine.

“Let me make something clear to Trump and his hatchet men and the special interests funding his attacks against me: I’m not going anywhere,” Biden, a front-runner in the 2020 Democratic primary, told a crowd in Reno, Nev. “You’re not going to destroy me. And you’re not going to destroy my family. I don’t care how much money you spend or how dirty the attacks get.”

The comments marked a forceful pushback against Trump’s claims that Biden abused his power when he was vice president by lobbying Ukraine to dismiss a prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company on the board of which his son, Hunter Biden, sat.

Biden has said he wanted the prosecutor fired for insufficient efforts to tackle corruption, and no evidence has emerged to suggest he acted to benefit his son.

While Trump and some conservative allies on Capitol Hill have continued to repeat the president’s allegations, it is Trump’s own dealings with Ukraine that have led to an impeachment inquiry in the House.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week opened a formal impeachment investigation into Trump after it was revealed in a July phone call that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, and Attorney General William Barr to open an inquiry into the former vice president.

A declassified copy of a whistleblower complaint regarding the call said that multiple people understood that a future phone call or meeting between the two presidents “would depend on whether Zelensky showed willingness to ‘play ball,’” and that “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge” of the call were alarmed that Trump appeared to be using his office for his personal political gain and sought to bury the transcript of the conversation.

Biden panned Trump at the Wednesday rally, saying he’s abusing his power because he’s “afraid” he’ll lose reelection in 2020.

“He did it because like every bully in history, he’s afraid,” Biden said. “He’s afraid of just how badly I would beat him next November.”

“It’s not about Donald Trump’s antics. It’s about what has brought Donald Trump and the nation to this sobering moment in our history — and to the choice facing us in 2020,” Biden added. “What has brought us here is simply this: the abuse of power. The abuse of power is the defining characteristic of the Trump presidency.”

Biden has sought throughout his campaign to focus his ire on Trump in an attempt to cast himself as the crowded 2020 Democratic field’s best chance to beat the president in a general election.

The former vice president, however, is facing a surging challenge from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has recently leapfrogged him in a handful of polls.

At least four police officers were killed on Thursday at Paris

PARIS — At least four police officers were killed on Thursday at Paris Police Headquarters by an employee with a knife, according to a French union official.

The unidentified attacker was shot and killed by an officer, said the police union official, Loïc Travers of the Alliance Police Nationale union. He said the assailant appeared to have started attacking officers in his office before moving to other areas in the headquarters.

“The motive is not yet known,” Mr. Travers added.

The headquarters of the Paris police prefecture, near Notre Dame cathedral, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Travers told reporters that the suspect was an administrative employee who had worked at Police Headquarters for more than 20 years. His latest job was with the Paris police’s intelligence unit, Mr. Travers said, adding that the suspect had “posed strictly no problem” in the past.

The assault is likely to rekindle security concerns in the French capital, where in 2015 terrorists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people including a police officer, and a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in a nighttime rampage across the city later that year left more than 100 dead.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said in a post on Twitter on Thursday that “Paris is mourning its own” after a “horrifying attack.”

The Police Headquarters were closed and the surrounding area around were cordoned off after the attack. A nearby metro station was also closed. The Paris prosecutor was on the scene, his office said, giving no further information.

President Emmanuel Macron, along with the prime minister, the interior minister and the Paris police chief, went to Police Headquarters to express his “support and solidarity” with the staff, his office said.

The attack came a day after tens of thousands of police officers demonstrated in Paris in anger over what they said were bad working conditions and a lack of public respect, and over several police suicides this year.

Pauline Rossignol, a 28-year-old human resource officer at the police préfecture, had been on her lunch break when the attack occurred. She said she had had enough of “tragedies” affecting her colleagues.

“It’s going to be one more minute of silence, after so many,” Ms. Rossignol said as she sat on the stairs by the banks of the Seine River, unable to go back to her office.

“There have been too many suicides of police officers, too many of them who died in terrorist attacks,” she added. “Police forces suffer a lot; we are a target.”

The number and scope of terrorist attacks in France has gradually decreased since the wave of deadly violence in 2015 and 2016, but police officers have still been targets.

In 2016, an Islamic State assailant fatally stabbed a police officer and his companion at their home in a town about 35 miles west of Paris, while their child was present. In 2017, a veteran police officer, Xavier Jugelé, was shot and killed by a gunman on the Champs-Élysées.

A California billionaire and his gal pal won’t be serving time after forking over $1 million to settle drug possession charges, prosecutors said.

A California billionaire and his gal pal won’t be serving time after forking over $1 million to settle drug possession charges, prosecutors said.

Broadcom co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III and Ashley Fargo entered a plea deal on Wednesday that will require them to each donate $500,00 to local drug treatment organizations, news station KTNV reported.

The pair was busted at a Las Vegas Strip resort in August 2018 after a stash of drugs, including heroin, meth, methamphetamine, cocaine, mushrooms, and ecstasy were found inside their hotel room at the Encore.

When Nicholas was locked outside of his room, he called security and they discovered Fargo — the ex-wife of Brian Fargo, an heir to the Wells Fargo fortune — unresponsive with a semi-deflated balloon in her mouth, TMZ reported. She was revived with assistance from paramedics.

Nicholas and Fargo faced charges of trafficking heroin, cocaine, meth and ecstasy.

As part of their plea agreement, they will also both be required to undergo drug counseling and complete 250 hours of community service, prosecutors said.

“In addition to Mr. Nicholas and Ms. Fargo getting their own treatment, their substantial donations to local drug treatment programs will help hundreds in our community who suffer from substance abuse and addiction disorders,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said to KTNV. “It is literally a game-changer for the programs receiving these funds, and the citizens they help every day.”

Nicholas — who is estimated to be worth $4 billion — released a statement after the case was dismissed.

“Dr. Nicholas and Ms. Fargo have always maintained their innocence, and today’s resolution allows them to put this matter behind them while making meaningful contributions to Las Vegas organizations focused on fighting the scourge of drug addiction,” his attorney, David Chesnoff, said in a statement.”In addition to the financial donations they have already made, Dr. Nicholas and Ms. Fargo are eager to begin their community service.”

The prestigious Brooklyn Friends School is facing a lawsuit from a former student who claims she was repeatedly raped by a janitor

The prestigious Brooklyn Friends School is facing a lawsuit from a former student who claims she was repeatedly raped by a janitor — and officials swept it under the rug.

Amala Muhammed Redd, who’s now 47 and attended the school between 1979 and 1990, filed the suit in Kings County Supreme Court Thursday under the recently passed Child Victims Act, which changes the statute of limitations for child sex crimes.

Redd alleges a school janitor, named in court papers as Jesus Flores,  used to take her out of class when she was in the second and third grade, bring her to a closet, and repeatedly sexually abuse her.

“He was brazen, he would come into my classroom and tell my teacher I had a phone call or that I was needed downstairs,” Redd told The Post.

“I was instructed by him to wait in a sports closet on the top floor of the school next to the gym and that’s where I would wait for him to accost me.”

The independent Quaker school, which has locations all over the country and bases their curriculum on the Religious Society of Friends, counts Malia and Sasha Obama, Vera Wang, Chelsea Clinton and Bill Nye as some of its notable nationwide alumni.

Redd said the alleged abuse at the school — where tuition now runs upwards of $45,000 a year — included kissing, oral sex and rape that left her in “excruciating pain.”

“It’s like if your daughter was hit by a car one day she would be broken and in need of help and long term care and that’s what happened to me but my scars weren’t visible,” Redd said as she wiped tears from her eyes.

Soon Redd’s teacher caught on to the janitor’s visits, thought they were strange and put a stop to them — but then failed to alert anyone else in the school about what was going on, Redd alleged.

That’s when the janitor allegedly began targeting the child while she was in gym class — telling her to just leave on her own and wait for him in the closet.

“I was instructed to go and I felt I had to go, I felt like he had authority,” Redd explained, adding her gym teacher never intervened.

“It was happening right outside, less than two and a half feet away from the door to the gym,” the woman said.

Redd, who is now a real estate agent in Manhattan, said she used to bite her lips until they bled and would bang her head against the wall in a desperate attempt to signal to someone else something was wrong.

“[I tried] to look like I was bruised so that I didn’t have to go to the gym and he couldn’t get me,” Redd sobbed.

It never worked.

Finally, an after school teacher caught the janitor in the act and he was removed from the school, the suit claims.

Redd said it was the last time she ever saw the man but it was also the last time any direct action was taken to remedy her abuse.

Both the school and the NYPD never conducted an independent investigation and the janitor was never prosecuted, Redd alleged. Flores could not immediately be reached for comment.

“No one ever called this man to task. He was never arrested. And I don’t understand how you could just let it go. I couldn’t let it go,” Redd fumed.

“It feels like it was filed away and it isn’t fair because I can’t express to you the kind of pain that I have suffered in relation to this,” Redd continued with fresh sobs.

Worse, when Redd went back to the school years later to demand answers for what she experienced, staff told her they suspected something was wrong but they never investigated further.

“I just wish that they had taken a stronger position,” Redd said.

The native New Yorker, who grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and now lives in Manhattan, said the alleged trauma made her feel as if  she was “carrying around a bag of bricks with you everyday” that led to a reckless and unhealthy lifestyle — one she’s only recently gotten past with the help of therapy.

“I would wake up with fists, I would wake up crying, it was like I was crying in my sleep,” Redd explained.

“Even today, you know waking up this morning, I woke up like that,” she continued.

“It just doesn’t go away.”

Redd has decided to sue the school so many years later because she wanted her voice to finally be heard — and said she wanted to give a voice to other young girls who might be in a similar situation.

“My platform in doing this is for the little girls who are experiencing it now or the 20-year-olds who went through something like this to know that there is a remedy for them,” Redd explained.

“I want for that person to be heard as well. No one should have to carry this, no one.”

The Manhattanite has hired a team of lawyers from the Zalkin Law Firm and the Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson firm to sue the Friends School for their alleged complicity in her abuse — an act her lawyers called “inexcusable.”

“When you have a child that’s in the third grade… that’s being taken out of a classroom by a custodian or janitor, repeatedly, and whatever the excuse is, it’s gotta raise a red flag,” said Irwin Zalkin, who’s represented a slew of sex abuse survivors, many who suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“One of the things we hear in these cases, when the abuse occurred back in the 60s or 70s, ‘well we just didn’t know then what we know now, we weren’t as alert to these red flags then as we are now.’ And to that I say that’s nonsense,” Zalkin railed.

“It’s unforgivable. I don’t think there’s any excuse for it.”

Crissy Cáceres, the head of Brooklyn Friends School, said in a statement they “acknowledge the seriousness of the allegations as reported by the media.”

“We have not yet received the lawsuit, and thus, are unaware of its details. Once we have more details, we will of course review this matter with the urgent attention it requires,” Cáceres wrote in the statement.

Zalkin said Redd’s complaint makes it clear that the school was more concerned with protecting their image than protecting the children they were entrusted to watch over.

“The institutions have a tendency to want to protect their brand over the safety of children and they don’t want their reputation marred by these types of” cases, Zalkin said.

“Until they start to understand the need to protect these kids and the well-being of these kids is more important than their brand, we’re going to have this problem.”