AP News in Brief 03-13-19

  • A ground crew walks near a Boeing 737 Max 8 plane operated by Shanghai Airlines parked on the tarmac at Hongqiao airport in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. U.S. aviation experts on Tuesday joined the investigation into the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner that killed 157 people, as a growing number of airlines grounded the new Boeing plane involved in the crash. (AP Photo)

Criticism of FAA mounts as nations ground Boeing jets

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is facing mounting criticism for backing the airworthiness of Boeing’s 737 Max jets as the number of countries that have grounded the aircraft grows in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend.

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The rest of the world typically takes it cues from the FAA, long considered the world’s gold standard for aircraft safety. Yet other aviation safety regulators, including the European Union, China, Australia and the United Kingdom, have decided not to wait for the FAA to act. The Ethiopian disaster came just five months after the deadly crash of another new Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air in Indonesia.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that he’s concerned that international aviation regulators are providing more certainty to the flying public than the FAA.

“In the coming days, it is absolutely critical that we get answers as to what caused the devastating crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and whether there is any connection to what caused the Lion Air accident just five months ago,” DeFazio said.

The FAA has increasingly become cozy with airplane manufacturers and airlines when it should be more pro-active in safety, said Bill McGee, aviation adviser for Consumer Reports.

Australian cardinal sentenced to prison for child sex abuse

MELBOURNE, Australia — The most senior Catholic convicted of child sex abuse was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral in a crime that an Australian judge said showed “staggering arrogance.”

Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd ordered Cardinal George Pell to serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole. The five convictions against Pell carried a maximum possible sentence of 10 years each.

“In my view, your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance,” Kidd said in handing down the sentence.

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Pope Francis’ former finance minister was convicted by a unanimous jury verdict in December of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and indecently dealing with the boy and the boy’s 13-year-old friend in the late 1990s, months after Pell became archbishop of Melbourne. A court order had suppressed media reporting the news until last month.

By wire sources

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