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February 8, 2013

News Briefs February 8, 2013

787 battery approval should be reconsidered

A top federal safety official says the U.S. government should reconsider its approval of the kind of batteries used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner because they can explode into fires, a specter that manufacturer testing did not pick up.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said Feb. 7 that Boeing’s safety testing of the batteries before they won approval from the Federal Aviation Administration showed that a short-circuit in one of the battery’s eight cells could be retained in that cell.

But the NTSB’s investigation of a Jan. 7 battery fire in a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport shows the short-circuiting quickly spread to the battery’s other cells, creating a cascading, uncontrolled chemical reaction that sparked the fire. AP

 

Vets groups’ praise for Hagel adds pressure on GOP

Countering the Republican-led opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominee for defense secretary is a less flashy but powerful constituency: military veterans.

Veterans’ organizations have praised Chuck Hagel, a twice-wounded combat veteran of Vietnam and deputy administrator in President Ronald Reagan’s Veterans Administration.

Republican-leaning outside groups have waged a well-funded campaign against Hagel in hopes of pressuring senators.

The former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska said in a letter to the committee that he has been forthright in providing all required information. AP

 

Sandia boss says job cuts unlikely due to budget

A top official at Sandia National Laboratories say managers have been tightening the labs’ fiscal belt enough that they should be able to avoid job cuts despite current federal budget troubles.

The nuclear weapons lab is located at Kirtland Air Force Base and is a major employer in the Albuquerque area with more than 10,000 jobs.

President Paul Hommert says there’s still uncertainty but that layoffs are unlikely.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Hommert sees cutting back on hiring as the course to take if federal budget cuts are deeper than anticipated. AP

 

Japan says two Russian fighters entered its airspace

Japan’s Defense Ministry says two Russian fighters briefly intruded into Japanese airspace off the northern tip of the island of Hokkaido.

Ministry official Yoshihide Yoshida says the intrusion Feb. 7, which lasted less than a minute, caused Japan’s air force to scramble.

Yoshida says it was not immediately known whether the airspace violation was intentional or accidental, but that it was “extremely problematic.”

He says the last intrusion by Russian jets in Japanese airspace was on Feb. 9, 2008. AP

 

 




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Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford

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