Reuters: World News: Hours in purgatory as families wait for news of Ethiopian Airlines crash

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More than three hours after Ethiopian Airlines tweeted that there were no survivors from flight ET302 to Nairobi which crashed on Sunday, authorities finally began informing families waiting in Kenya.

Reuters: World News


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Reuters: World News: Venezuela suspends school, business activities on Monday: minister

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Venezuela is suspending school and business activities on Monday amid a continuing blackout, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in a televised broadcast on Sunday, the second such cancellation since power went out last week.

Reuters: World News


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World – TIME: After Second New Boeing Airplane Goes Down, Experts Voice Concerns — But Answers Will Be a Long Time Coming

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Airline operators are racing to find answers following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which went down shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people aboard.

The aircraft is the second new Boeing 737 Max 8 to go down in recent months, following the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in October, which killed 189 people. The 737 Max is the newest version of Boeing’s popular single-aisle airliner and the Associated Press reports that Ethiopian Airlines has only had this particular airplane since November.

“A brand new aircraft… having repeated fatal crashes would put a big question mark on this aircraft,” Bijan Vasigh, a professor of economics and finance at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, told TIME over email.

Caught at the center of two devastating crashes, representatives from Boeing have so far refrained from speculating on what may have caused Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to go down.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team,” a representative from the aircraft manufacturer told TIME in a statement. The company also noted that a Boeing technical team would be heading to the crash site in order to provide technical assistance under the supervision of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

Experts say it’s too early to know what may have been responsible for the recent crash of Flight 302, though they noted several similarities between the crash outside Addis Ababa and last year’s Lion Air Flight 610 tragedy.

“It’s an eye opener, because it’s the second accident and it’s almost involving the same kind of circumstances,” said Ahmed Abdelghany, a professor of operations management at Embry-Riddle. “It should be a concern, but it’s too early to confirm anything.”

Abdelghany noted the need for an in-depth investigation to determine the cause of the crash, particularly looking into the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft’s maintenance history. He did note several points of similarity between the two deadly crashes, including the fact that both involved the same model of aircraft, and also occurred minutes after takeoff.

According to Abdelghany, investigators will begin combing through the maintenance record of the aircraft and try to gain insights from its black box, though it will take two to three years to finalize a report on the main reasons behind the crash. Though he says it is likely that some travelers may try to avoid flying on 737 Max 8 aircraft, at least until more answers come to light, he stressed that it is the responsibility of the airline to make sure their airplanes are safe.

“Indications are these two accidents were not caused by human error, but were caused by mechanical error and transfer of information from cockpit to the pilot,” Vasigh told TIME, noting that it was still much too early to know the exact cause of Sunday’s crash. He also noted that Ethiopian Airlines has an excellent safety record and that Flight 302 was under the command of an experienced pilot.

According to Ethiopian Airlines, the pilot of Flight 302, Yared Getachew, had more than 8,000 hours of flying time and a record of “commendable performance.” The crashed plan had undergone a “rigorous” maintenance check in early February.

Following last year’s Lion Air crash, the New York Times reported that investigators determined new Boeing software might have been behind the disaster. The Times said investigators found the software “can send the plane into a fatal descent if the altitude and angle information being fed into the computer system is incorrect.”

Abdelghany noted the importance of training pilots in new aeronautics systems, especially when changes have been implemented in new aircraft. He also noted brewing concerns regarding Boeing’s Max 8 aircraft.

“If it takes serious action to stop this aircraft until we make sure it’s safe, we should take that action of course,” said Abdelghany. “People and safety come first.”

World – TIME


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Reuters: World News: Germany criticizes Turkey in row over reporters

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Two German journalists left Turkey on Sunday after authorities there rejected their press accreditations, a step that drew condemnation from Germany’s foreign minister and revived diplomatic tensions.

Reuters: World News


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Reuters: World News: Nerves fray, tempers flare as Venezuela blackout hits fourth day

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Furious Venezuelans lined up to buy water and fuel on Sunday as the country entered a fourth day of a nationwide blackout that has left already-scarce food rotting in shops, homes suffering for lack of water and cell phones without reception.

Reuters: World News


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Voice of America: UN: Teacher Salaries Paid to Keep Yemeni Children in School

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The United Nations children’s agency says it has started paying over 136,000 teachers and school-based staff in Yemen who haven’t received their salaries in over two years.

UNICEF says Sunday its scheme covers staff in over 10,300 schools and will benefit an estimated 3.7 million children. It says over 2 million children are already out of school, out of seven million school-aged children.

Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Mideast and North Africa, says…

Voice of America


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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Austrian Foreign Minister Says Wedding Car Signed By Putin Auctioned For Charity

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A Volkswagen Beetle signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the wedding of Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has been sold at a charity auction.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


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Trump’s reported meddling with Jared Kushner’s security clearance is reckless — and totally legal

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Michael_Novakhov
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By Chuck Rosenberg, former United States attorney and MSNBC legal analyst

Let’s assume the reporting is correct — that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, applied for a top-secret security clearance and that his application was denied by career officials. Let’s also assume that Trump then, as reported by The New York Times, wanted Kushner to have this clearance because the president believed Kushner needed it to conduct his work. Therefore, Trump simply ordered former chief-of-staff John Kelly to grant Kushner’s top-secret clearance, despite the concerns of career officials and despite the fact that Kushner was not otherwise qualified to be cleared at that level. Is this OK?

Though deeply troubling, a president has the authority to grant security clearances as he prefers. So, the answer to my own question, to paraphrase a former president, depends on what the meaning of “OK” is.

Though deeply troubling, a president has the authority to grant security clearances as he prefers.

The national security apparatus of the United States, including the collection and analysis of intelligence, is established by and for the president. Indeed, the intelligence community (consisting of the CIA, NSA, FBI, and 14 other such agencies, large and small) resides within the executive branch. The president, of course, is the chief executive, of both that branch and the nation. These agencies — and their employees — work for him. That is our constitutional design and, as constructed, it makes good sense.

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Virtually all of a president’s authority with respect to intelligence — to collect, to analyze, to classify, to declassify, and to grant or withhold clearances — is delegated to inferior officials within the executive branch, as it should be. But a president does not need the permission of an inferior executive branch official to act in this arena; ultimately, for instance, a president can classify or declassify intelligence as he sees fit. Broadly speaking, the information is for him to use, after all.

That may seem odd because we think of the work of our remarkably skilled and accomplished intelligence agencies as constituted, authorized and engaged not for a particular individual, but for the safety and security of the nation. True enough, but that protective function is entrusted, by Article II of the Constitution, to the president. A president is, after all, also the commander-in-chief and chief diplomat of the United States. Used properly, intelligence is a crucial tool.

Thus, when our current president shared classified information with Russian officials inside the Oval Office in May of 2017, that was permissible. At the same time, it was remarkably foolish and reckless for many reasons, including the fact that it theoretically put at risk both the source of the information he passed and signaled to our closest allies around the world that we perhaps cannot be trusted with sensitive information they routinely share with us. I can only imagine the reaction among the senior officials in the intelligence services of those allies when our president spilled some number of beans to the Russians. I can assure you, from experience, that they were aghast. I am equally certain the Russians were delighted.

Interestingly, the rules that apply to the president here do not apply to those who work for him. If an inferior officer in a U.S. intelligence agency provided highly classified information to the Russians on his or her own accord (that is, without authorization), there would be serious consequences, ranging from losing a clearance, to losing a job, to going to prison. But, none of that is true for a president. Remember, the information is gathered and analyzed for him and he can essentially do what he wants with it. That includes, it seems, his ability to share it with Russian officials, which is precisely what he did.

Several million Americans hold security clearances. All of them go through a rigorous and laborious process to get one, including a thorough financial and personal vetting. All of them fill out numerous forms, wait many months for their applications to be adjudicated, and submit, in many cases, to polygraph examinations (which they must pass, by the way, to be cleared). I have been cleared through this demanding vetting process several times.

We do this for a reason: to ensure that the men and women who hold clearances and see our most important intelligence can be trusted with it. Overwhelmingly, these professionals maintain that trust. The few scoundrels who do not are typically prosecuted and imprisoned or, as in Edward Snowden’s case, flee to hostile foreign nations where they can live out their lives as cowards and traitors, beyond our reach. And, by the way, which country did Snowden choose? Russia, of course.

The president has the authority to bypass this carefully calibrated system. He may, if he so chooses, grant a clearance to anyone he wants, including his unqualified son-in-law. He may override the recommendation of career officials. He may be as foolish and as reckless as he wants with our nation’s secrets and with the secrets of our allies. That seems like a crazy sentence to write, but it is essentially true.

So, if Kushner is not qualified to hold a top-secret clearance, and the president granted one to him anyway, is that permissible? Yes. But is it OK? No, not even close.

Chuck Rosenberg

Chuck Rosenberg is a former United States attorney, senior FBI official and Drug Enforcement Administration chief. He is currently an MSNBC legal analyst.


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