News Briefs – November 13, 2019

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Electric Boat fined $10K after worker falls 20 feet into sub

Connecticut submarine maker Electric Boat has been fined by federal officials after an employee fell more than 20 feet while working earlier this year.
The Day reports the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined Electric Boat $10,000 for a May accident that seriously injured Tanessa Pabon.
The 22-year-old recently hired worker had been pressure-washing the USS John Warner when she fell through an access hole to the submarine’s lower level.
She was hospitalized with head, neck and spine injuries and remains on medical leave.
OSHA says the opening should have been covered or guarded while Pabon worked.
The agency says the company has since improved its safety and health processes and agreed to conduct safety trainings.
Electric Boat says it cooperated with the six-month investigation and accepts the penalty. AP
 

Trump to confront Turkey about buying Russian defense system

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says Trump will confront Turkey’s leader about his decision to buy a Russian air defense system when they meet Nov. 13 at the White House.
Robert O’Brien tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the U.S. is “very upset” about Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system.
O’Brien says if the NATO ally doesn’t get rid of that system, Turkey will likely face U.S. sanctions. He says that’s a message Trump will deliver to Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The U.S. says the S-400 is not compatible with NATO forces, could compromise the F-35 fighter jet program and aid Russian intelligence. The Trump administration removed Turkey from the F-35 program in July.
Trump is to meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Nov. 14. AP
 

Pentagon chief: No penalty for officer in impeachment probe

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says an Army officer has no reason to fear retribution for testifying before Congress in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Esper was asked about potential retribution for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during a trip Nov. 11 to New York. The defense secretary said the Pentagon “has protections for whistleblowers” who report waste, fraud or abuse.
He says Vindman or any other whistleblower “shouldn’t have any fear of retaliation,” according to a transcript of the exchange released by online publication Defense One.
Vindman is a Ukraine specialist at the White House. He testified about concerns that Trump was delaying military aid to the Eastern European country while pressing the country to investigate his political rivals.
That allegation is now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. AP
 

Czechs to sign deal to buy 12 U.S. military helos by year’s end

The Czech defense minister says the government is planning to sign a deal with the U.S. government by year’s end to purchase 12 military helicopters.
Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar says the deal is worth the worth 14.6 billion Czech crowns ($631 million) and the helicopters are to be delivered in 2023 to replace the obsolete Soviet-made Mi-24s.
The Czechs will get eight UH-1Y Venom choppers and four AH-1Z Vipers from U.S. maker Bell Hellicopter.
Metnar said Nov. 12 the contract includes equipment, ammunition, spare parts and training of the personnel.
He said the deal best covers the need of the Czech air forces. AP
 

Boeing details steps needed to get grounded Max jet flying

Boeing hopes to resume deliveries of its 737 Max jet to airlines in December and win regulatory approval to restart commercial service with the plane in January.
The company spelled out several steps that it needs to complete before the grounded plane can carry passengers again.
Pilot training has emerged as a key issue around the plane’s return — and an area where Boeing failed when it introduced the plane in 2017. The timetable that the company laid out Nov. 11 would allow it to generate cash by delivering planes even before the Federal Aviation Administration approves new training material for pilots.
Boeing said it has demonstrated changes to the plane during sessions with the FAA in a flight simulator. It still must show regulators those changes during one or more certification flights.
Boeing’s expectations around the timing of the Max’s return have proven too optimistic many times before. Even after the FAA approves a training regimen, airlines will need time to retrain pilots, and they plan to conduct flights — likely with executives and reporters on board — to demonstrate to the public that the plane is safe.
Two big U.S. customers –- Southwest and American — say they don’t expect the Max to carry passengers until early March — a year after the plane was grounded following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.
Boeing has continued to pump out about 42 Max jets a month at its factory in the Seattle area, but it has been burning through cash because it can’t deliver those planes and get paid by the airlines. AP