Boeing proposing long-term fix for 787 batteries
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Boeing attempted a major step Friday toward getting its 787 Dreamliners flying again, proposing a fix for the plane's troubled batteries that could allow the flights to resume as early as April, congressional officials said.
The next question is whether the Federal Aviation Administration will agree to let the planes fly even though the root cause of a battery fire in one plane and a smoking battery in another is still unknown. The airliners, Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced, have not been allowed to fly since mid-January following a battery fire in one plane and a smoking battery in another.
The plan _ a long-term solution, rather than a temporary fix _ calls for revamping the aircraft's two lithium ion batteries to ensure that any short-circuiting that could lead to a fire won't spread from one battery cell to the others, officials said. That would be achieved by placing more robust ceramic insulation around each of the battery's eight cells. The aim is to contain not only the short-circuiting, but any thermal runaway, a chemical reaction that leads to progressively hotter temperatures.
Japan identifies some Boeing 787 problems
TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese authorities have identified the causes of fuel leaks and other problems with Boeing's 787 but are still investigating the more serious battery problem that forced an emergency landing in January and the worldwide grounding of the jets.
An oil leak was caused by an improper paint job that led to a switch not working properly, while inadequate taping led to cracks in cockpit glass, and a faulty part led to braking problems, according to the Transport Ministry's investigation released Friday into problems that occurred with the 787 Dreamliner in January.
Gov't downsizes amid GOP demands for more cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they've already gotten much of both.
Spending by federal, state and local governments on payrolls, equipment, buildings, teachers, emergency workers, defense programs and other core governmental functions has been shrinking steadily since the deep 2007-2009 recession and as the anemic recovery continues.
This recent shrinkage has largely been obscured by an increase in spending on benefit payments to individuals under "entitlement" programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans benefits. Retiring baby boomers are driving much of this increase.
Another round of huge cuts _ known in Washington parlance as the "sequester" _ will hit beginning March 1, potentially meaning layoffs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers unless Congress and President Barack Obama can strike a deficit-reduction deal to avert them.
Obama: Hill must make `right decisions' on cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama, intensifying pressure on congressional Republicans, said Friday that lawmakers still have "the opportunity to make the right decisions" and avert a series of mandatory budget cuts by March 1.
Despite little sign of a deal emerging with Republicans, Obama said he does not believe it is inevitable that the $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts will take effect. He said finding a way to avert the cuts should be a "no-brainer" for congressional lawmakers.
Some patients won't see nurses of different race
DETROIT (AP) _ It's been called one of medicine's "open secrets" _ allowing patients to refuse treatment by a doctor or nurse of another race.
In the latest example, a white man with a swastika tattoo insisted that black nurses not be allowed to touch his newborn. Now two black nurses are suing the hospital, claiming it bowed to his illegal demands.