News Briefs – June 14, 2019

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U.S. troops, civilian defense workers get political reminder

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is reminding civilian Defense Department employees and service members not to engage in political activity while on the job.
The warning comes after the Navy was engulfed in controversy over White House pressure to keep the USS John S. McCain out of sight during President Trump’s visit to Japan.
Shanahan sent memos to civilian and military leaders June 11 saying their mission to protect and defend the nation remains apolitical.
He says service members must avoid actions that imply Pentagon approval of political candidates or causes. He says civilians should avoid any political activity while on-duty or in federal buildings.
Trump says he had nothing to do with a White House directive to hide the ship bearing the name of the late senator. AP
 

U.S. to use Army base in Oklahoma to shelter migrant children

The federal government will be opening a facility at an Army base in Oklahoma to house migrant children and is considered a customs port in southern New Mexico as another option as existing shelters are overwhelmed.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement said June 11 it’s dealing with a dramatic spike in the number of children crossing the border without parents. The facility at Fort Sill near Lawton, Okla., would be capable of holding 1,400 kids.
Bases in Georgia and Montana were passed over, but officials also are weighing the possibility of establishing an emergency shelter at New Mexico’s Santa Teresa port of entry.
Under fire for the death of two children who went through the agency’s shelters, the agency says it must set up new facilities to accommodate new arrivals. AP
 

Canadian Radarsat satellites head to orbit on SpaceX rocket

Three satellites for the Canadian Space Agency’s Earth-monitoring Radarsat program are heading toward orbit aboard a SpaceX rocket.
The Falcon 9 booster blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 7:17 a.m., June 14.
SpaceX intends to fly the rocket’s first stage back to the base northwest of Los Angeles and area residents have been advised they may hear a sonic boom during its return. The booster was previously used for a launch in March.
Deployment of the three satellites is scheduled to be complete just over an hour after liftoff.
The Radarsat satellites bounce signals off the Earth’s surface to create images even during adverse weather conditions.
The images are used for a wide range of purposes, including monitoring sea ice, disaster management and agricultural and forestry management. AP
 

Boeing airliner deliveries tumble amid problems with 737 Max

With the 737 Max jet still grounded after two deadly crashes, deliveries of new Boeing jets are falling far behind last year’s pace.
Boeing said June 12 that it delivered 30 commercial airliners during May, down 56 percent from the 68 it made in May 2018.
Deliveries of 737s plummeted from 47 a year ago to just eight last month. All eight were an older model of 737, call the NG.
Boeing is still building Max jets in Washington state, but they are being parked for now.
The Chicago-based company has 4,550 unfilled orders for the Max but stopped deliveries after regulators around the world grounded the plane following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. It’s working on changes to flight-control software implicated in the crashes.
Boeing reported a canceled order for 71 Max planes that were to be leased to Jet Airways until the financially struggling Indian carrier suspended all flights in April. Boeing has not reported other large cancellations despite the Max’s grounding.
Orders for all Boeing airlines were “anemic” in May but should be better at next week’s Paris air show, said Cowen Research aerospace analyst Cai von Rumohr.
Shares of Boeing fell $4.47, or 1.3%, to close at $349.33 on June 12. They have dropped 21 percent since early March, shortly before the second Max crash. AP