New delay in retrieving initial data from Ethiopia 737 crash ‘black boxes’

WORLD NEWS New delay in retrieving initial data from Ethiopia 737 crash 'black boxes'  https://linewsradio.com/new-delay-in-retrieving-initial-data-from-ethiopia-737-crash-black-boxes/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A read-out of initial data on the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash won’t happen until at least Friday, the French aviation safety bureau said Thursday, despite assurances from the head of the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday morning that answers could come later in the day.

Though the damaged “black boxes” — devices that house the flight data and cockpit voice recorders — arrived in France Wednesday night, they didn’t arrive at the French aviation safety bureau, known as the BEA, until 1 p.m. local time on Thursday, the bureau said.

Meetings began after the Ethiopian investigators arrived, the BEA said, but “technical work will start tomorrow.”

That delay until Friday was apparently not known to the FAA’s acting administrator Daniel Elwell, who said on ABC News’ Good Morning America Thursday morning that he expected results “hopefully by the end of the day.”

By Friday, now the earliest possible day any initial data could be revealed, families of all 157 passengers who died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 will have waited five days to learn more about what might have caused Sunday’s crash just outside Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. It will also extend the nearly-worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, an aircraft which has now been involved in two deadly crashes in less than five months.

The expected data could address questions about whether there is a dangerous software problem with the aircraft, now grounded by more than 40 countries and all major airlines around the world.

The FAA reversed its assurances that the plane should stay in the air on Wednesday, making the U.S. one of the last to order the 737 MAX grounded. The decision, announced by President Donald Trump from inside the White House, followed days of back-and-forth between the president, Boeing and the FAA.

The FAA cited new evidence gathered at the site of the crash and “newly refined satellite data” available Wednesday morning as reason for the shift, though the president highlighted that it was made for a number of reasons, including “psychologically” — referring to the number of other countries and airlines who made the call ahead of the U.S., heightening concerns.

“I didn’t want to take any chances,” Trump said. “We didn’t have to make this decision today. We could’ve delayed it. We maybe didn’t have to make it at all, but I felt — I felt it was important both psychologically and a lot of other ways.”

The FAA also said the grounding will continue until authorities fully examine the flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders contained in the black boxes, which are actually orange despite the name.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations, sent three additional investigators to assist in the black box analysis in France, the agency said Thursday.

The NTSB investigators are specifically trained to analyze human factors and flight crew operations, as well as the recordings, the NTSB said.

A key question is whether the plane’s autopilot system might have played a role in the Egyptian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 last October. In that crash, it appears the pilots failed to disengage the autopilot when the plane’s nose began pitching up and down, perhaps because they were unaware of how to do so.

Complaints from at least two U.S. pilots disclosing similar problems with the autopilot function have surfaced in the aftermath of Sunday’s crash.

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Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Democrats press Wilbur Ross on efforts to add citizenship question to 2020 census

Political News Democrats press Wilbur Ross on efforts to add citizenship question to 2020 census https://linewsradio.com/democrats-press-wilbur-ross-on-efforts-to-add-citizenship-question-to-2020-census/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

liveslow/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, appearing before the House Oversight Committee Thursday, defended efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a controversial effort that is facing legal challenges.

Last year, Ross testified before a different congressional committee that the Justice Department initiated the request to add a citizenship question to the census, which is organized by the Commerce Department.

But emails subsequently released as part of a lawsuit against the move suggested that Ross had already begun working on the citizenship question before the formal request from the Justice Department in December of 2017.

Questioned by House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, Ross defended his earlier testimony: “I testified truthfully to the best of my ability in response to my understanding of what the questions were.”

Democrats hammered Ross over specific document requests from the Commerce Department to clarify the secretary’s role in the citizenship question. One Democrat, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, called on Ross to resign Thursday, citing his earlier testimony.

“I have never intentionally misled Congress or intentionally lied under oath,” Ross said.

At the hearing, Democrats revealed new information from an interview with a senior Justice Department official, John Gore, who said that in the fall of 2017, he spoke to James Uthmeier, in the office of general counsel at the Commerce Department, about the citizenship question, and that Uthmeier had a memo delivered to the Justice Department about the citizenship question.

Gore also told the committee that a Trump transition official provided the Justice Department with a draft request for a citizenship question.

Republicans accused Democrats of trying to interfere with the upcoming Supreme Court case taking up the issue of the citizenship question, by forcing Ross to appear before the court takes up the case.

Earlier this month, a second federal judge rejected the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, saying Ross acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner that broke the law.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg said Ross’ decision to add the question was also circumventing government procedures and lacking a factual basis for necessity. He ordered the question struck from the census.

The decision echoes one from earlier this year in a related case in the Southern District of New York. Both cases have been appealed.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the cases on an expedited basis, setting the stage for a final decision by June when the Census Bureau has to finalize its questionnaire.

A citizenship question has not been included in a U.S. census since 1950. A coalition of local governments and immigrant advocacy groups have called the question discriminatory and unconstitutional.

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Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to charges he lied to Chicago police about “hate crime”

Entertainment News  Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to charges he lied to Chicago police about "hate crime" https://linewsradio.com/jussie-smollett-pleads-not-guilty-to-charges-he-lied-to-chicago-police-about-hate-crime/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/

 

Chicago Police Department(CHICAGO) — Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in a Chicago courtroom Thursday to charges that he lied to police about being the victim of an alleged hate crime in January.

Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian entered the plea on Smollett’s behalf to Judge Steven Watkins, who was assigned to oversee the case and trial.

During the proceedings, the judge grated Smollett’s request to be allowed to meet with lawyers in New York and California, but said the actor must give the court prior notice. Smollett’s next court date is scheduled for April 17.

As previously noted, Smollett has been charged with 16 felony counts related to his claim that he was the victim of a brutal hate crime in Chicago on January 29. After a thorough investigation, police declared the attack to be a hoax, and said that Smollett hired two brothers of Nigerian descent, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to carry out the plan. 

After Smollett’s initial arraignment, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson told reporters that the “phony attack” was “orchestrated” by the actor “to boost his profile” amid “a salary dispute.” 

Smollett, who still maintains his innocence, has denied all claims.

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Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Irish prime minister makes annual visit to the White House, Capitol Hill

Political News Irish prime minister makes annual visit to the White House, Capitol Hill https://linewsradio.com/irish-prime-minister-makes-annual-visit-to-the-white-house-capitol-hill/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar met with President Donald Trump Thursday before heading to Capitol Hill to take part in the annual Washington tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and the relationship between the U.S. and Ireland.

Varadkar’s visit comes as the United Kingdom is embroiled in chaos over Brexit and Ireland’s concerns over its border and trade with Northern Ireland. During his talks at the White House, the Taoiseach (Gaelic for “leader”) spoke with Trump about Ireland’s position opposing Brexit and the current imbroglio.

“As you know, he’s in a very complicated position right now because of Brexit, you’re going to have to tell me what’s happening, and tell the world what’s happening because I’m not sure anyone knows,” Trump told Varadkar, before criticizing British Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership on the recent Brexit deal vote she lost by a landslide.

“I’m surprised at how badly it has all gone from the standpoint of the negotiation. But I gave the prime minister my ideas how to negotiate it. I think you would have been successful,” Trump said. “She didn’t listen to that and that’s fine. She has to do what she has to do.”

The president added that the two leaders would be talking about trade with the European Union, and threatened tariffs.

“We’re talking about trade with the European Union. They’ve been very, very tough over the years,” Trump said. “If they don’t talk to us, we’re going to do something that’s going to be pretty severe economically. We’re going to tariff a lot of their products.”

Thursday morning, Vice President Mike Pence welcomed the Taoiseach to his residence in northwest Washington for breakfast. The Taoiseach, the first of Indian-descent, and the first openly gay leader of Ireland, brought his partner Matthew Barrett to visit with the vice president, who is known for his conservative views on homosexuality.

Varadkar touched on his sexual orientation when speaking at the Naval Observatory.

“I stand here, leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions, and not by my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs,” he said.

“We are all God’s children,” Varadkar added.

Both Trump and Pence said they accepted invitations to visit Ireland at some point this year. Last year, Trump was scheduled to visit Ireland either before or after his trip to Paris. The Ireland leg of his trip was canceled.

The Irish prime minister’s friendly annual trip to Washington involves a visit to the U.S. Capitol for a special Friends of Ireland luncheon attended by the president, vice president, House speaker, the Taoiseach, and members of Congress.

The president, who faces the potential public rebuke of his national emergency declaration in the Senate, is expected to make brief remarks. Later Thursday at the White House, the Taoiseach will present the president and first lady with a crystal bowl filled with shamrock.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Judge sets date for Roger Stone’s trial, does not address possible gag order violation

Political News Judge sets date for Roger Stone’s trial, does not address possible gag order violation https://linewsradio.com/judge-sets-date-for-roger-stones-trial-does-not-address-possible-gag-order-violation/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case in Washington, D.C., set a trial a date for Nov. 5 for the former political adviser to President Donald Trump on Thursday, but decided not to address the issue of the political provocateur’s latest possible violation of a court-imposed gag order.

Stone has repeatedly tested the boundaries of the order since U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson silenced parties in this case last month, prompting her to warn the self-described “dirty trickster” of the “costs and consequences” of speaking publicly about the case, the court, or special counsel Robert Mueller.

At a brief scheduling hearing on Thursday, Judge Jackson said she “[did not] intend to dwell” on the gag order issues, instead opting to set future dates in the case.

In February, Jackson reprimanded Stone after he posted an inflammatory image targeting the judge on social media and expanded her gag order to include Stone, who had largely been omitted from her initial order.

“Any violation of this order will be a basis for revoking your bond and detaining you pending trial,” Jackson warned during the February court hearing. “So I want to be clear, today I gave you a second chance. But this is not baseball. There will not be a third chance.”

Stone apologized and sought to convince Judge Jackson he would not violate her order.

But just days later, a re-release of his book chronicling the 2016 presidential campaign caught the court’s attention as it included a new introduction penned by Stone with fresh criticism of the special counsel’s office.

In court documents, Jackson accused Stone of using the special counsel’s case against him to “generate additional publicity for the book,” a claim Stone’s attorneys denied in a response filed with the court. Stone again apologized for the “confusing representation about publication” but said the issue amounted to little more than a miscommunication with the publisher.

Departing court Thursday, an attorney for Stone, Robert Buschel, told ABC News, “When I’m walking out of court with my client, it’s a good day,” referring to the possibility Stone could be incarcerated pending trial if he’s found in violation of the gag order.

The special counsel’s office indicted Stone in January on five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of justice. Stone has pleaded not guilty to all seven counts.

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Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Data from Ethiopia 737 crash ‘black boxes’ expected soon

WORLD NEWS Data from Ethiopia 737 crash 'black boxes' expected soon  https://linewsradio.com/data-from-ethiopia-737-crash-black-boxes-expected-soon/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An analysis by French investigators of data from the damaged “black boxes” in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 will yield initial results sometime Thursday, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The data could address questions about whether there is a dangerous software problem with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, now grounded by more than 40 countries and all major airlines around the world. The FAA reversed itself Wednesday, making the U.S. one of the last to order the 737 MAX grounded, following days of back-and-forth between President Donald Trump, Boeing and the FAA.

The “black boxes,” which are actually orange and house the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, arrived in France Wednesday night, three days after Sunday’s crash just outside Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. All 157 people died aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, the second 737 MAX 8 plane to be involved in a deadly crash in less than five months.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations, sent three additional investigators to assist in the black box analysis in France, the agency said Thursday.

The NTSB investigators are specifically trained to analyze human factors and flight crew operations, as well as the recordings, the NTSB said.

A key question is whether the plane’s autopilot system might have played a role in the Egyptian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 last October. In that crash, it appears the pilots failed to disengage the autopilot when the plane’s nose began pitching up and down, perhaps because they were unaware of how to do so.

Complaints from at least two U.S. pilots disclosing similar problems with the autopilot function have surfaced in the aftermath of Sunday’s crash.

France’s aviation safety bureau took on analysis of the black boxes after the damage was revealed to be too extensive for Ethiopian investigators’ capabilities, but will provide the downloaded data to Ethiopia, which is leading the investigation of the crash, the NTSB said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Paul Whelan’s lawyer says he is a victim of a set up

WORLD NEWS Paul Whelan's lawyer says he is a victim of a set up  https://linewsradio.com/paul-whelans-lawyer-says-he-is-a-victim-of-a-set-up/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine arrested in Moscow on espionage charges, says he is the victim of a setup by Russia’s security services, the American’s lawyer said on Thursday.

Whelan was detained in Moscow in late December by Russia’s domestic intelligence agency and accused of unspecified “spying activity.” On Thursday, Whelan appeared again in a Moscow court, which rejected his appeal to be released on bail.

Russia has not provided any details on the spying charges against Whelan, but his lawyer has previously said he is accused of receiving “state secrets” on a memory card given to him by a Russian acquaintance during his trip in December. The lawyer has said Whelan, though, had not known what he was receiving — believing he was being given holiday photographs.

On Thursday, for the first time, Whelan’s lawyer accused the Russian friend of taking part in a sting operation against Whelan intended to frame him.

“I believe that it was a joint provocation from the side of his acquaintance and Russia’s security services,” attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told ABC News outside a courtroom where Whelan’s appeal hearing was taking place.

Investigators, Zherebenkov said, also now accuse Whelan of spying in the “interests of the U.S.”.

Almost since the moment of his arrest, there has been speculation that Whelan could have been framed, with former U.S. officials suggesting the case resembled classic KGB setups. His family has insisted the charges against Whelan, a security director for the Michigan car parts supplier, BorgWarner, cannot be true and have recently accused Russia of taking him hostage for political reasons.

Zherebenkov’s comments on Friday provided the first detailed account of Whelan’s version of events.

According to Zherebenkov, Whelan had known the friend for several years and in early 2018 the two had spent a few days relaxing in the countryside outside Moscow. During the trip to an area called Zagorsk, the two barbecued and went to a sauna, Zherebenkov said.

When Whelan traveled again in December to Moscow, where his family have said that he was attending a wedding, he asked the Russian friend to bring him photographs of the spring trip.

He invited the friend to bring the pictures to his hotel room in the upscale Metropol hotel. Instead, Zherebenkov said, the friend deliberately brought a memory card that contained the “state secrets”.

Zherebenkov said that about five minutes later, before Whelan even had chance to see what was on the memory card, agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) burst into the hotel room and arrested him.

Zherebenkov said the secrecy laws prohibited him from naming the Russian acquaintance, but he said that he had “connections to the security services.” The lawyer said that the friend may have tapped Whelan in the hope of “advancing his career.” Zherebenkov also claimed that the friend owed Whelan money.

“It’s clearly a provocation,” Zherebenkov said. “Paul claims that and the investigation for now cannot refute that. In the words of Paul, it is a fantasy of the FSB.”

Whelan appeared in court on Thursday, marking only the third time he has been seen publicly since his arrest. He was brought in to court by a masked officer and held in a glass cage, while the judge read out his order rejecting Whelan’s appeal.

Whelan told reporters in the courtroom that he was not allowed to comment on the case, but he indicated that he believed he was being treated unjustly. Asked if he had been set up, Whelan replied “What do you think?” and gestured towards his lawyer. “Do you know what prison I am being held in?”

Unlike the previous hearings, Whelan was visibly agitated and clearly frustrated. At one point he angrily asked the judge where his translator was, so he could understand the ruling.

“You see how they do things?” Whelan asked reporters.

Speculation that Whelan could have been seized as a hostage emerged quickly after his arrest, with some former U.S. officials suggesting that he could have been taken as leverage in retaliation for the detention of Maria Butina, the Russian gun rights activist who pleaded guilty in the U.S. in December to acting as an illegal agent on behalf of Russia.

Whelan holds British, Canadian, Irish and U.S. passports.

Officials in Britain and Canada have expressed fears that Russia may have taken him as a diplomatic pawn. U.S officials have called on Russia to provide details about the charges against him.

The Kremlin has rejected the suggestion that Whelan’s case is political and has denied that it is seeking any prisoner exchange.

Whelan is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, a notorious former KGB jail used to hold accused spies, dissidents and other high-profile prisoners.

Whelan’s family has accused the FSB of isolating him there. U.S. diplomats have yet to be able to have Whelan sign a privacy waiver, a standard form that would allow them to discuss his case with his family.

Andrea Kalan, the U.S. embassy spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter last week that the U.S. State Department is “strongly concerned” that Russian authorities were preventing Whelan from signing the waver.

U.S. diplomats were due to visit Whelan again on Friday, his family said in a statement.

In court, Whelan said he was not able to see any news and was being prevented from communicating with anyone.

“I’m not allowed to talk with anyone,” Whelan told reporters.

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Posted On 14 Mar 2019

“This was really bad!” Whoopi surprises her ‘View’ co-stars after brush with death

Entertainment News  "This was really bad!" Whoopi surprises her 'View' co-stars after brush with death https://linewsradio.com/this-was-really-bad-whoopi-surprises-her-view-co-stars-after-brush-with-death/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/

 

ABC(NEW YORK) — Whoopi Goldberg shocked her co-stars — and the studio audience — on The View on Thursday, by making a surprise appearance on the set for the first time since she nearly died from complications of pneumonia. 

“Hurry back, Whoopi,” Joy Behar was just telling the camera, when Goldberg emerged from backstage, to cheers.

“This was death, and here was me,” the EGOT-winning entertainer said, indicating a very small distance with her hand.

She went on to explain that after suffering from a cough since November, she’d finally reached a point where she felt bad enough to go to the hospital. Once there, she learned she was spiking a fever, and one of her lungs was nearly filled “with stuff.”

Goldberg said she was eventually diagnosed with double pneumonia and sepsis,  each of which on their own could easily be fatal.

Goldberg went onto explain how she “wasn’t supposed to be here,” but got permission from her doctor.  However, she still has a cough, and will be “easing back into” her old schedule, potentially returning to her View chair on Monday.

There were moments of levity during her hospital stay as well, Whoopi recalled — like when her co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro were recognized by another patient.

“‘You look like that lady from The View,'” Goldberg said, quoting the patient. “‘Oh, I hate that show!'” Navarro, who was trying to remain incognito, reportedly. Whoopi was recognized, too — but claimed she was just “Whoopi’s cousin.”

Before she left, Goldberg also claimed to have found a new cause.  After being tied up in red tape during her time in the hospital, she now wants to advocate for the improvement of the health insurance system.


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Posted On 14 Mar 2019

Controversial bus ads declaring Michael Jackson’s innocence pulled down in London

WORLD NEWS Controversial bus ads declaring Michael Jackson's innocence pulled down in London  https://linewsradio.com/controversial-bus-ads-declaring-michael-jacksons-innocence-pulled-down-in-london/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

MarioGuti/iStock(LONDON) — The London transit authorities have agreed to pull down a series of controversial advertisements protesting Michael Jackson’s innocence against allegations made in the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland from their buses, after a sexual abuse survivors’ charity complained that the ads contributed to a “toxic” environment for commuters.

In the controversial film, two former acquaintances of Jackson, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, graphically detailed alleged child sexual abuse at the hands of the singer, who died in 2009 at the age of 50. They claimed that Jackson introduced them, separately, to pornography and masturbation and violated them on multiple occasions.

Lawyers for the late singer’s estate have denied the claims made in the documentary and are in the process of suing HBO, who aired Leaving Neverland in the United States, $100 million for breach of contract.

The advertisements send out the wrong message to victims of rape or assault in England and Wales, where officials said that less than one in five victims report the crimes to the police, according to the Survivors Trust, the charity which brought the complaint to the London transit authorities.

“After being contacted by survivors about the advertising campaign, we contacted the London Victims Commissioner with our concerns,” a spokesperson for the Survivors Trust told ABC News.

“We believe that the decision to prioritize advertising revenue over the option of remaining neutral on such an emotive topic is disappointing,” the spokesperson continued. “An advertising campaign such as this, paid for by a supporter of an alleged perpetrator, only serves to support a toxic social narrative that prevents survivors from thinking they will be believed and speaking up.”

The advertisements were funded by the Michael Jackson Innocent Campaign, a group started by fans who believe claims of sexual abuse against Jackson in the documentary Leaving Neverland are falsified. They raised over $20,000 on the fundraising platform GoFundMe in order to pay for the ads on the sides of London’s iconic red buses.

According to the campaign founder’s Twitter page, the group paid for posters to appear on more than 40 London buses with the tagline: “Facts don’t lie. People do.”

The documentary has sparked a re-examination of Jackson’s legacy, more than a decade after the pop singer was acquitted of child sex abuse charges involving a 13-year-old in California — home to his ‘Neverland’ ranch.

“We have reviewed our position and will be removing these advertisements,” Transport for London officials said in a statement to ABC News. “They have been rejected due to the public sensitivity and concern around their content.”

The director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, has said he is shocked by the reaction of people who do not believe Robson and Safechuck’s allegations against Jackson.

“Until you’ve watched all of it [the documentary], you’re in the dark about whether to believe James and Wade or not,” he wrote in the Guardian this month. “Few who have watched it without prejudice are left in any doubt by the end.”

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Posted On 14 Mar 2019