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Boeing Agrees to Plead Guilty Pay $243.6M Fine Over 737 MAX Crashes

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Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Fellow Press

Boeing (BA.N) has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge and pay a $243.6 million fine to settle a U.S. Justice Department investigation into two fatal 737 MAX crashes, according to a court filing on Sunday. The plea deal, pending a judge’s approval, would result in Boeing being branded a convicted felon for the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that occurred between 2018 and 2019, claiming 346 lives.

The settlement has drawn immediate criticism from victims’ families, who demanded a trial and more severe financial penalties for Boeing. The Justice Department’s decision to charge Boeing has intensified an ongoing crisis for the company, already under scrutiny for safety and quality issues following a separate in-flight incident earlier this year.

A guilty plea could jeopardize Boeing’s ability to secure lucrative government contracts with the U.S. Defense Department and NASA, though the company may seek waivers.

Boeing faced criminal prosecution after the Justice Department found the company violated a 2021 settlement regarding the fatal crashes. Despite this, the plea deal spares Boeing a contentious trial that could have further exposed the company’s decisions leading up to the crashes. The plea deal also facilitates Boeing’s efforts to move forward, including seeking approval for its planned acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N).

A Boeing spokesperson confirmed an agreement in principle with the Justice Department. As part of the deal, Boeing will spend at least $455 million over the next three years to enhance safety and compliance programs. Additionally, Boeing’s board will meet with the relatives of those killed in the MAX crashes.

The agreement imposes an independent monitor to oversee Boeing’s compliance, who will publicly file annual progress reports. Boeing will be on probation during the monitor’s three-year term. Some victims’ families’ lawyers plan to urge Judge Reed O’Connor to reject the deal, citing his earlier statement that “Boeing’s crime may properly be considered the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history.”

Erin Applebaum, a lawyer representing some victims’ relatives, criticized the deal as a “slap on the wrist.”

The Justice Department offered Boeing a plea agreement on June 30, giving the company until the end of the week to accept or face trial for conspiring to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The fraud centered on Boeing’s false representations to the FAA about new software that reduced pilot training requirements, saving money.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, designed to automatically lower the airplane’s nose in certain conditions, was linked to the two crashes that led to a 20-month grounding of the MAX fleet, costing Boeing $20 billion. The grounding was lifted in November 2020.

A separate incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet on an Alaska Airlines flight in January exposed ongoing safety issues just before a deferred prosecution agreement expired. The new agreement does not shield Boeing from potential investigations or charges related to this incident or other conduct. It also does not protect any executives, though charges against individuals are seen as unlikely due to the statute of limitations.

The $243.6 million fine is Boeing’s second related to the fatal crashes, totaling the maximum allowed. This fine, part of a $2.5 billion settlement in 2021, represented the savings Boeing gained by not implementing full-flight simulator training for MAX pilots. Last month, victims’ families urged the Justice Department to seek as much as $25 billion in fines.

The Justice Department and Boeing aim to finalize the full written plea agreement and file it in federal court in Texas by July 19.

Foreign

Vice President Trump, President Putin Of Ukraine – Biden Goofs At NATO Summit

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Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

U.S. President Joe Biden had a series of verbal slip-ups on Thursday alongside the NATO summit in Washington, an unfortunate development for the 81-year-old as he tries to move past concerns that he is too old to run for re-election.

Verbal gaffes are not unusual in the long political career of Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, but there is closer attention on him amid the fallout from his dismal debate performance against Republican candidate Donald Trump last month.

Trump, who is 78, and also has faced concerns about his age, frequently made false claims during the debate and often rambles during campaign speeches.

Below is a summary of Biden’s mistakes on Thursday.

BIDEN MISTAKENLY CALLS ZELENSKIY ‘PUTIN’

Biden mistakenly referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as “President Putin”.

“And now I want to hand it over to the president of Ukraine, who has as much courage as he has determination, ladies and gentlemen, President Putin,” Biden said at the NATO summit, drawing gasps from those in the room.

“Going to beat President Putin, President Zelenskiy. I am so focused on beating Putin,” Biden said while correcting himself.

BIDEN MISTAKENLY REFERS TO HARRIS AS TRUMP
During a news conference on Thursday evening, Biden mixed up the name of his vice president, Kamala Harris, and his rival Trump.

“Look, I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president if she was not qualified to be president. So start there,” Biden said as he responded to a question from Reuters about his confidence in Harris.

BIDEN FUMBLES ‘CHIEFS OF STAFF’
Biden also struggled at the news conference to find the words “chiefs of staff,” mistakenly referring to the group of the country’s top uniformed military leaders as “commander in chief,” the title he holds as president.

“And so our military is working on following the advice of my commander in chief my, my, my, the chiefs of staff, of the military as well as the secretary of defense and our intelligence people.”

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Suspect Located in Triple Crossbow Killings in Bushey

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Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

Kyle Clifford Found in North London Manhunt Following Deaths of Three Women

A manhunt for Kyle Clifford, 26, who was wanted in connection with the murder of three women in a suspected crossbow attack, has concluded with his capture in north London, police have confirmed. Clifford, a former British Army serviceman, was identified by Hertfordshire police as a suspect in the deaths of Carol Hunt, 61, and her daughters, Hannah, 28, and Louise, 25, at their home in Bushey.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Jon Simpson of Hertfordshire police revealed that the murders appeared to be “targeted.” Clifford was discovered with injuries and is now receiving medical treatment, though no shots were fired during his apprehension.

The search for Clifford led police to Lavender Hill Cemetery, 16 miles from the crime scene, where a significant police presence was observed. Paramedics and ambulances were also on site near a property searched earlier in the day as part of the manhunt.

Police believe Clifford was known to the victims, and no other suspects are being sought. Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit described the situation as “an incredibly difficult time” for the victims’ family, urging respect for their privacy.

“This investigation is moving at pace, and formal identification of the victims is yet to take place,” DI Jenkins stated. “Following extensive enquiries, the suspect has been located, and nobody else is being sought in connection with the investigation at this time. We have had an overwhelming number of calls and would like to express our gratitude to the members of the public who have contacted us.”

Detectives are appealing for any additional information or video footage related to the case.

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