Franklin Clinic of Michigan City







Walmart to no longer sell e-cigarettes

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Josie_Desmarais/iStock(NEW YORK) — Walmart announced Friday it will discontinue selling electronic cigarette products as a mysterious vaping-related illness has sickened hundreds nationwide and been linked to eight deaths.

“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson added that they will sell through their current inventory.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday confirmed 530 probable cases of people who have experienced lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vape products on Thursday. Two-thirds of those cases are people 18 to 34 years old, and 16% are younger than 18 years old, according to the agency.

The CDC warns that the use of any tobacco products — including vapes — is dangerous, especially for young people, as nicotine can harm the developing brain.

Mystery shrouds the exact cause of the vaping-related illnesses that have afflicted hundreds nationwide. Investigators have yet to identify a single cause and are unable to determine whether the vaping outbreak is linked to one illness or a series of illnesses.

In the wake of the vaping epidemic, Michigan and New York have enacted laws banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavored products.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

A week in, GM strike leads to talk of layoffs by suppliers

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

JHVEPhoto/iStock(DETROIT) — As the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors enters its fifth day, its ripple effects are being felt among suppliers and beyond as negotiations continue to stalemate.

Nearly 50,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sunday night, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors.

In a statement to ABC News, GM Canada said it had “seen a disruption of our vehicle assembly work at the Oshawa Assembly Plant due to the UAW strike.”

“We plan to resume these operations as quickly as possible upon resolution of the UAW strike,” the statement added.

Back stateside, a local UAW union chapter 699 in Saginaw, Michigan, shared a message from their president warning of possible temporary layoffs in the coming days from GM supplier Nexteer Automotive, which makes steering systems, “due to the disruption in GM production.”

“As a Tier 1 supplier to GM, we have been monitoring the UAW-GM situation carefully to evaluate the potential impacts to our company. Without an imminent resolution, Nexteer faces the difficult conclusion that we must temporarily reduce our workforce in the coming days due to the disruption in GM production,” the statement shared by union leader Tom Hurst said.

“As a Tier 1 supplier to GM, we have been monitoring the UAW-GM situation carefully to evaluate the potential impacts to our company. Without an imminent resolution, Nexteer faces the difficult conclusion that we must temporarily reduce our workforce in the coming days due to the disruption in GM production,” the statement shared by union leader Tom Hurst said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and work to minimize the impact to our employees. Our goal is to return to full production as quickly as possible. We will also continue to update employees if the situation changes or as we learn more,” the statement added.

Andrew Rickerman, a spokesperson for the automotive technology and systems supplier Denso, told ABC News the impact on their production for GM will be determined by how long it will take to “reach a compromise” as the strike continues.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and remain hopeful that both sides will find an agreeable resolution soon,” Rickerman said in a statement. “The impact on our production for GM will be determined by how long it takes to reach a compromise. As always, we will adjust our production schedules based on customer release schedules.”

Negotiations are currently in their fifth day, and tensions heightened after it was revealed that health coverage for striking workers will no longer be covered by GM earlier this week.

Union leaders have argued that GM workers deserved a bigger slice of the company’s profits, which they say have totaled $35 billion in North America over the last three years. Union members are calling for higher wages, retention of a health insurance plan in which workers pay about 4% of the costs, an improved pension plan and assurances that GM — the makers of Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet — will not close four plants in Maryland, Ohio and Michigan.

“The offer we presented to the UAW prioritizes employees, communities and builds a stronger future for all,” GM said in a tweet. “It includes improved wages and health care benefits, over $7B in U.S. investments and 5,400 jobs.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

A week in, GM strike leads to talk of layoffs by suppliers

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

JHVEPhoto/iStock(DETROIT) — As the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors enters its fifth day, its ripple effects are being felt among suppliers and beyond as negotiations continue to stalemate.

Nearly 50,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sunday night, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors.

In a statement to ABC News, GM Canada said it had “seen a disruption of our vehicle assembly work at the Oshawa Assembly Plant due to the UAW strike.”

“We plan to resume these operations as quickly as possible upon resolution of the UAW strike,” the statement added.

Back stateside, a local UAW union chapter 699 in Saginaw, Michigan, shared a message from their president warning of possible temporary layoffs in the coming days from GM supplier Nexteer Automotive, which makes steering systems, “due to the disruption in GM production.”

“As a Tier 1 supplier to GM, we have been monitoring the UAW-GM situation carefully to evaluate the potential impacts to our company. Without an imminent resolution, Nexteer faces the difficult conclusion that we must temporarily reduce our workforce in the coming days due to the disruption in GM production,” the statement shared by union leader Tom Hurst said.

“As a Tier 1 supplier to GM, we have been monitoring the UAW-GM situation carefully to evaluate the potential impacts to our company. Without an imminent resolution, Nexteer faces the difficult conclusion that we must temporarily reduce our workforce in the coming days due to the disruption in GM production,” the statement shared by union leader Tom Hurst said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and work to minimize the impact to our employees. Our goal is to return to full production as quickly as possible. We will also continue to update employees if the situation changes or as we learn more,” the statement added.

Andrew Rickerman, a spokesperson for the automotive technology and systems supplier Denso, told ABC News the impact on their production for GM will be determined by how long it will take to “reach a compromise” as the strike continues.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and remain hopeful that both sides will find an agreeable resolution soon,” Rickerman said in a statement. “The impact on our production for GM will be determined by how long it takes to reach a compromise. As always, we will adjust our production schedules based on customer release schedules.”

Negotiations are currently in their fifth day, and tensions heightened after it was revealed that health coverage for striking workers will no longer be covered by GM earlier this week.

Union leaders have argued that GM workers deserved a bigger slice of the company’s profits, which they say have totaled $35 billion in North America over the last three years. Union members are calling for higher wages, retention of a health insurance plan in which workers pay about 4% of the costs, an improved pension plan and assurances that GM — the makers of Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet — will not close four plants in Maryland, Ohio and Michigan.

“The offer we presented to the UAW prioritizes employees, communities and builds a stronger future for all,” GM said in a tweet. “It includes improved wages and health care benefits, over $7B in U.S. investments and 5,400 jobs.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

1,500 Amazon employees vow to walk out in support of Global Climate Strike

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

jetcityimage/iStock(SEATTLE) — More than 1,500 Amazon workers are expected to walk out of their jobs Friday in support of the Global Climate Strike, saying in a statement that CEO Jeff Bezos’ newly-unveiled climate pledge is “not nearly enough.”

The youth activist-led Global Climate Strike had long been scheduled for Sept. 20, and Amazon employees have said they planned to participate, calling on Bezos to use his power to do more to tackle climate change.

“I’m walking out to make sure that all of the great landscapes that are currently available all over the world are still available for the next generation,” Roshni Naidu, 28, a senior technical product manager who has worked at Amazon for five years, told ABC News Friday.

Naidu said she was “cautiously celebratory” over Bezos’ announcement, “but we’re really hoping for even more than that.”

While Naidu is taking part in a walkout at the corporate headquarters in Seattle, she said she has heard of other offices across the country organizing walkouts as well. Of those walking off their jobs in Seattle, most are office workers she said, but they also have some fulfillment center workers joining them as well.

On Thursday, the day before the planned protest, Bezos announced Amazon’s sweeping new commitment to tackle climate change — committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, announcing the purchase of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles and pledging a $100 million investment in international reforestation projects.

Shortly after the Bezos’ Climate Pledge was announced Thursday, the group spearheading the protest, Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, put out a statement lauding Bezos’ efforts but added that “we know it’s not enough.”

“As long as Amazon uses its power to help oil and gas companies discover and extract more fossil fuel, donates to climate-denying politicians and think tanks, and enables the oppression of climate refugees, employees will keep raising our voices,” the group said in a statement.

The group said that 1,500 Amazon workers as well as 700 Google workers have pledged to walk out in support of the Global Climate Strike.

A keystone of Bezos’ and Amazon’s “Climate Pledge” is meeting the tenets lined out in the international Paris Agreement ten years ahead of schedule.

“As one of the country’s that’s very highly-polluting, we need to do even more than what the Paris Agreement is asking for, and that’s why today we’re still walking out,” Naidu said, adding that they hope to see zero emissions “not net-zero” and want Amazon to “stop funding the fossil fuel companies.”

In their statement, Amazon Employees For Climate Justice workers are reiterating the company “still has work to do.”

“The Paris Agreement was a political agreement, not a scientific one,” the statement said, calling “historically high-polluting countries to look beyond the Paris Agreement, because meeting its targets, even 10 years ahead of schedule, does not, by itself, put us on a pathway to a livable planet.”

It continued: “We look forward to working with leadership to understand these questions, and to working to ensure transparency and accountability.”

Naidu said she hopes other “employees feel empowered” to take action in their workplaces as a result of the Amazon walkout.

“When we started doing this, we didn’t really know what would happen but the response has been amazing,” Naidu said. “And then when Bezos came out with the Climate Pledge yesterday, that was just phenomenal.”

“We’ve kind of proven that collective action works, and at the end of the day companies should reflect what their collective employees want,” she added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Twitter shuts down thousands of international accounts tied to political spam

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

RomanOkopny/iStock (SAN FRANSISCO) — Twitter on Friday said it shut down thousands of fake accounts from around the world, many of them tied to “political” spam.

The accounts were operating in five jurisdictions identified by Twitter, including China/Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and more.

The company said it identified an additional 4,301 accounts operating in China that were attempting to “sow discord about the protest movements in Hong Kong.” This comes after Twitter cracked down on a network of more than 200,000 fake accounts in August.

Twitter said it detected a group of accounts “linked to Saudi Arabia’s state-run media apparatus which were engaged in coordinated efforts to amplify messaging that was beneficial to the Saudi government.”

These accounts were presented as “independent journalistic outlets while tweeting narratives favorable to the Saudi government,” according to Twitter.

More than 270 accounts originating from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were taken down because they had the goal of targeting Qatar, Iran and other countries as well as amplifying “messaging supportive of the Saudi government,” according to Twitter.

These accounts were created and managed by the private tech company DotDev, which has been permanently suspended from using the platform, Twitter said.

Separately in the region, Twitter said it suspended over 4,000 accounts operating in the UAE that tweeted content directed at Qatar and Yemen, “such as the Yemeni Civil War and the Houthi Movement.”

In Spain, 265 accounts operated by the group Partido Popular were removed for “falsely boosting public sentiment online in Spain.”

In Ecuador, Twitter shut down more than 1,000 accounts associated with the PAIS Alliance political party that “was primarily engaged in spreading content about President Moreno’s administration.”

In the new disclosure of data, the social media giant said its archive of “state-backed informations operations” is now the largest in the world.

The move comes just ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrate with Latinx-owned beauty and fashion brands

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Jun/iStock(NEW YORK) — It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and an amazing way to celebrate is by supporting Latinx-owned brands.

From amazing body products to stylish fashion lines, there are a variety of brands that embrace Hispanic culture in a beautiful way.

One specific platform, Stitch Lab, is constantly connecting and showcasing emerging Latinx designers worldwide.

During September and October, this talent incubator has partnered with Macy’s to bring these designer lines to select stores.

These brands will be part of The Market @ Macy’s, a full-service marketplace that offers shoppers the chance to discover new products, services and activations each month in a boutique setting.

A few stand-out labels that will be featured include Petra and Quote Me.

Below, we have highlighted a few other amazing brands to get familiar with. Make sure to check back as we continue to update.


Petra

This Colombian brand features a wide variety of beautifully designed white blouses, dresses and more.

Bonika Beauty

Founded by Afro-Latina lifestyle influencer Ada Rojas, this beauty and hair care line offers everything from hairstyling gel to a curl-enhancing mousse.

Peralta Project

This Manhattan-based store with uniquely designed apparel allows customers to choose specifically what style layout they want, then delivers it on the spot.

Alamar Cosmetics

This collection owned and operated by Gabriella (aka Gaby) Trujillo has gorgeous, high-pigmented eye shadow palettes, color blush palettes, and her recently launched nude lip gloss and liner.

Quote Me

This Colombian brand has awesome basics that often feature empowering messages. Plus, items are made with sustainable materials and are environmentally friendly.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrate with Latinx-owned beauty and fashion brands

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Jun/iStock(NEW YORK) — It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and an amazing way to celebrate is by supporting Latinx-owned brands.

From amazing body products to stylish fashion lines, there are a variety of brands that embrace Hispanic culture in a beautiful way.

One specific platform, Stitch Lab, is constantly connecting and showcasing emerging Latinx designers worldwide.

During September and October, this talent incubator has partnered with Macy’s to bring these designer lines to select stores.

These brands will be part of The Market @ Macy’s, a full-service marketplace that offers shoppers the chance to discover new products, services and activations each month in a boutique setting.

A few stand-out labels that will be featured include Petra and Quote Me.

Below, we have highlighted a few other amazing brands to get familiar with. Make sure to check back as we continue to update.


Petra

This Colombian brand features a wide variety of beautifully designed white blouses, dresses and more.

Bonika Beauty

Founded by Afro-Latina lifestyle influencer Ada Rojas, this beauty and hair care line offers everything from hairstyling gel to a curl-enhancing mousse.

Peralta Project

This Manhattan-based store with uniquely designed apparel allows customers to choose specifically what style layout they want, then delivers it on the spot.

Alamar Cosmetics

This collection owned and operated by Gabriella (aka Gaby) Trujillo has gorgeous, high-pigmented eye shadow palettes, color blush palettes, and her recently launched nude lip gloss and liner.

Quote Me

This Colombian brand has awesome basics that often feature empowering messages. Plus, items are made with sustainable materials and are environmentally friendly.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Black Yacht Week’ leader nixes charity trip after alleged false ties to non-profit

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

MarianVejcik/iStock(NEW YORK) — The organizer of what some are calling the disastrous “2019 Black Yacht Week” — a supposed dream trip in the Caribbean that allegedly turned out to be more of a nightmare — may be in hot water again, this time for allegedly falsely advertising partnerships with charitable organizations for purported mission trips to Haiti and Puerto Rico.

Reginald “Reggie” Cummings, the owner of Black Travel Movement (BTM), is already facing questions about “Black Yacht Week” — billed as the “vacation of a lifetime” for black travelers — after guests complained of “disgusting” conditions aboard the vessels, hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly instead of gourmet meals and last-minute itinerary changes. Cummings and his lawyer pointed the finger at the yacht company, which said that it was given inadequate time to prepare and immediately responded to customer complaints.

Cummings told ABC News in a recent phone interview last week that when he started BTM in 2016, one of his goals were to encourage black people to travel to other countries, but as the brand expanded to over 400,000 followers on Facebook he wanted to make “an impact” on the countries his customers visited. The black travel community consist of mostly millennials and women who are interested in or are avid travelers who aspire to see the world safely and on a budget.

“I came up with the idea to what I call ‘BTM Cares’ and its basically, we do service trips,” Cummings said. “One of the things that I also noticed when having conversations about volunteering that most of the places with Afro communities, most of the volunteers don’t look like the community, they look like white people, you know, wanting to help out.”

The first mission trip was slated for earlier this year to Haiti, Cummings said. BTM Cares, which is not a registered charity, claimed it teamed up with Mission of Hope (MOH) to bring 20 medical professionals and 20 other volunteers to go “door to door” to visit Haitian families and host “Pop-Up Clinics,” said Cummings.

“The people of Haiti are over the top excited that we are bringing 40 black, brown, and beige faces to serve the people,” BTM said in a now-deleted post on its website. “The overwhelming majority of the volunteers providing services to Haiti are usually Caucasian.”

According to BTM, after the service project, guests would enjoy three days at Wahoo Bay Beach Resort.

“After looking at a number of charitable organizations working in Haiti, we decided to partner with Mission of Hope because of their commitment to transforming lives in Haiti and we’re looking forward to supporting their programs that help the Haitian people,” a now-deleted post on BTM’s website said.

MOH is a Christian-based organization that “exists to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti. We desire to serve the nation of Haiti, and see lives changed,” according to the non-profit’s website.

The June 2019 trip was canceled a week before the group’s departure because of “civil unrest” after the country’s presidential election, said Cummings.

Cummings, 58, said he refunded the customers (it wasn’t clear how much that trip cost) and planned on rescheduling the Haiti trip with MOH for the first half of 2020, though a similar trip was advertised on the website for the end of October.

When ABC News reached out to MOH to confirm its partnership with BTM, Ray Graham, the corporate counsel for the Texas-based organization, said he never heard of the travel group or Cummings.

Interested travelers were charged $1,250 per person for the Oct. 19 to Oct. 27 service trip, according to recently deleted post on the BTM website which included a logo associated with MOH to allegedly bolster the trip’s legitimacy.

Cummings told ABC News in a subsequent interview Monday that he stands by his claimed partnership with MOH, but the advertisement for next month’s mission trip was not supposed to be posted by the web developer.

“It wasn’t being promoted and no one signed up for the trip. I’m taking a small group to Haiti next month just to try and see what the conditions are; just 6 or 8 of the BTM staff. We are going to be engaging in some service projects while we are there. We are going to reschedule the larger trip to the first quarter,” said Cummings.

Graham, the lawyer for MOH, said the organization immediately reached out to BTM asking it to remove MOH from the travel website within 24 hours. “BTM complied. I think that action speaks for itself,” Graham wrote to ABC News in an email.

BTM Cares is also advertising a seven-day mission to Puerto Rico from Oct. 6 – 13 that is set to include four days of service projects like building houses and two days of relaxation, the website says.

“Black Travel Movement is stepping up to do its part in the recovery effort,” the website reads. “This is a true service project and every dollar of your investment will go to pay for trip costs and the cost of providing services to the people of Puerto Rico. BTM does not make a profit from the BTM Cares service trips.”

For a fee of $750 per person, BTM promises a “private, upscale hostel in San Juan Puerto Rico that will be exclusively for use by BTM’ for the duration of this trip” but does not include airfare.

BTM doesn’t mention which organization BTM Cares is teamed up with for the project. The only hint was a promotional video from Group Mission Trips — a non-profit that has built thousands of homes in Puerto Rico since the devastation of Hurricane Maria — that was embedded on BTM’s website.

Group Missions Trips confirmed to ABC News that it has a scheduled mission trip heading to Puerto Rico next month, but it’s not with BTM or BTM Cares. The promotional video has since been removed from BTM’s website.

Cummings said a staff member had the name of the organization BTM Cares worked with on the Puerto Rico trip, but that he did not know it. He told ABC News on Monday decided to cancel the trip in its entirety.

“With all the fiasco surrounding the Black Yacht Week…we are going to regroup, do some PR…change business practices and go next year,” said Cummings, who confirmed that “five or six” people have signed up for the mission trip to Puerto Rico. As of Tuesday, the advertisement is still posted on the BTM’s website.

As a result of the “Black Yacht Week” controversy, Cummings is engaged in litigation in Maryland and a federal court in North Carolina in which Dream Yacht Charters accused him of not paying over $551,000 to rent 26 vessels. In court papers, Cummings asserted that the yacht company breached their contract by providing inadequate services and that he is not obligated to pay the contracted sum.

The North Carolina’s attorney general’s office is investigating 17 complaints regarding the yacht trip and 16 complaints are posted on the Better Business Bureau’s website about alleged mishaps dating back to 2016. Two of the BBB complaints have been marked resolved.

No complaints have been filed with the North Carolina attorney general about the mission trips, according to a spokesperson.

“Black Travel Movement has taken 35 trips,” Cummings told ABC News. “We have had 2,000 members travel with us. These have been life-changing experiences for some of our members. We take pride in what we do and know things won’t always go perfectly…I’m one of the good guys,” he said.

Cummings said he seeks to settle the case with Dream Yacht Charters within the next 60 days before deciding whether to cancel BTM’s last scheduled trip of the year to Johannesburg, South Africa, for Afropunk.

The trip costs $2,750 per person for a “double occupancy” room or $3,350 per person for a “single occupancy,” according to the website.

“I don’t want to cancel that,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Colt will stop manufacturing AR-15 assault rifle for consumer market

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(NEW YORK) — Venerable gun manufacturer Colt says it will stop producing the AR-15, among other rifles, for the consumer market in the wake of many recent mass shootings in which suspects used the weapon.

“At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change,” Dennis Veilleux, president and CEO of Colt, said in a statement. “Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.”

The company did not mention mass shootings in its statement about stopping production and instead blamed the indefinite pause in making the weapon on a “significant excess manufacturing capacity.”

“Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future,” Veilleux said.

Colt will continue to make weapons, including rifles, for the military and law enforcement. It will also continue to produce its signature 1911s and revolvers.

The AR-15, and AR-15-style rifles, have been used in a number of mass shootings in recent years. While it’s not clear if Colt was the specific manufacturer in the cases, the shooter in the Poway synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh killed 11 people with an AR-15.

Nikolas Cruz, who confessed to killing 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018, used an AR-15-style gun.

Twenty-six people were killed with the same type of rifle in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in February 2017.

Dozens of rifles, including AR-15s, were found in the hotel room where Stephen Paddock allegedly killed the most people in a shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas in October 2017.

Colt’s Manufacturing Company opened in 1836 in Hartford, Connecticut, and is legendary for its Civil War-era revolvers, such as the Colt Walker, the Peacemaker and M1911.

The suspension of production already caught the eye of 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who recently called for a buy-back of all assault-style weapons and said weapons of war had no place in the hands of civilians. O’Rourke mocked a photo posted on Twitter by the NRA saying he was increasing sales of AR-15s with a link to a story about Colt stopping production.

Several stores have stopped selling assault rifles in recent years in the wake of shootings, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FDA using criminal investigators to probe vaping crisis as number sick soars to 530

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Marccophoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Drug Administration has been using their criminal investigators to look into the rash of illnesses surrounding the use of vaping products, Mitch Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products for the FDA, said in a press conference on Thursday.

The investigators will not be pursuing any individuals or companies and are not focused on prosecuting anyone at this time, Zeller said.

The agency also released demographic information about the vaping victims. Of 530 confirmed and probable lung injuries so far, three-quarters of the victims were male and two-thirds were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Despite rampant fears among parents about youth vaping, only 16 percent of vaping victims are younger than 18 years old, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seven individuals have died in the ongoing outbreak.

As of Thursday, investigators were still unable to determine whether the vaping outbreak is linked to one illness or a series of illnesses.

In light of the recent illnesses, Michigan and New York have enacted laws banning the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. Tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are still allowed to be sold in those states.

Investigators still haven’t identified one cause of the rash of vaping illnesses, Schuchat explained at the presser, adding that most patients with lung injuries reported having used THC vaping devices.

The FDA has collected 150 vape samples from a variety of states to test for chemicals, nicotine, THC, toxins, pesticides and other cutting agents and additives. While lab analysis previously found vitamin E acetate in some tested samples, no one ingredient is showing up in every sample.

As for the law enforcement arm of the probe, Zeller stressed that given the complexity of the investigation, it’s premature to talk about the actions or regulations that the agency make take in the future.

Zeller emphasized that it would be impossible at this point to use enforcement authorities when there are still so many outstanding questions.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FDA using criminal investigators to probe vaping crisis as number sick soars to 530

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Marccophoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Drug Administration has been using their criminal investigators to look into the rash of illnesses surrounding the use of vaping products, Mitch Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products for the FDA, said in a press conference on Thursday.

The investigators will not be pursuing any individuals or companies and are not focused on prosecuting anyone at this time, Zeller said.

The agency also released demographic information about the vaping victims. Of 530 confirmed and probable lung injuries so far, three-quarters of the victims were male and two-thirds were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Despite rampant fears among parents about youth vaping, only 16 percent of vaping victims are younger than 18 years old, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seven individuals have died in the ongoing outbreak.

As of Thursday, investigators were still unable to determine whether the vaping outbreak is linked to one illness or a series of illnesses.

In light of the recent illnesses, Michigan and New York have enacted laws banning the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. Tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are still allowed to be sold in those states.

Investigators still haven’t identified one cause of the rash of vaping illnesses, Schuchat explained at the presser, adding that most patients with lung injuries reported having used THC vaping devices.

The FDA has collected 150 vape samples from a variety of states to test for chemicals, nicotine, THC, toxins, pesticides and other cutting agents and additives. While lab analysis previously found vitamin E acetate in some tested samples, no one ingredient is showing up in every sample.

As for the law enforcement arm of the probe, Zeller stressed that given the complexity of the investigation, it’s premature to talk about the actions or regulations that the agency make take in the future.

Zeller emphasized that it would be impossible at this point to use enforcement authorities when there are still so many outstanding questions.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon vows to meet the Paris climate agreement requirements 10 years early

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

jetcityimage/iStock(SEATTLE) — Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company’s sweeping new efforts to combat climate change and revealed a new corporate pledge to meet the international Paris Agreement 10 years early — committing to net zero carbon emissions by the year 2040.

Bezos and the advocacy group Global Optimism revealed the “Climate Pledge” at an event Thursday in the nation’s capital, with Bezos saying that Amazon is the first to sign the wide-ranging pledge that calls on corporations to bring their carbon emissions to net zero by 2040. This is ten years ahead of the international Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

The Amazon founder said that if they can meet the Paris Agreement early, any company can.

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” Bezos said in a statement. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year — can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can.”

Bezos also committed to switching to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and a $100 million investment in reforestation projects around the world.

As part of the announcement, Amazon also announced that it had ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles which will all hit the roads by 2030 — a step it said will save 4 million metric tons of carbon per year and constitutes the largest order of electric vehicles ever.

The Climate Pledge shows a response from corporations to the growing threat of climate change, even though the U.S. government has withdrawn from the international climate agreement, the Paris Agreement, under the Trump Administration.

Bezos added in a statement that he has been “talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge.”

Signing the climate pledge “will send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments.”

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism, called on “bold steps by big companies” to drive change in support of a low carbon economy.

“With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization,” she said in a statement. “If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge. We are excited to have others join.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon vows to meet the Paris climate agreement requirements 10 years early

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

jetcityimage/iStock(SEATTLE) — Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company’s sweeping new efforts to combat climate change and revealed a new corporate pledge to meet the international Paris Agreement 10 years early — committing to net zero carbon emissions by the year 2040.

Bezos and the advocacy group Global Optimism revealed the “Climate Pledge” at an event Thursday in the nation’s capital, with Bezos saying that Amazon is the first to sign the wide-ranging pledge that calls on corporations to bring their carbon emissions to net zero by 2040. This is ten years ahead of the international Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

The Amazon founder said that if they can meet the Paris Agreement early, any company can.

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” Bezos said in a statement. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year — can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can.”

Bezos also committed to switching to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and a $100 million investment in reforestation projects around the world.

As part of the announcement, Amazon also announced that it had ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles which will all hit the roads by 2030 — a step it said will save 4 million metric tons of carbon per year and constitutes the largest order of electric vehicles ever.

The Climate Pledge shows a response from corporations to the growing threat of climate change, even though the U.S. government has withdrawn from the international climate agreement, the Paris Agreement, under the Trump Administration.

Bezos added in a statement that he has been “talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge.”

Signing the climate pledge “will send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments.”

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism, called on “bold steps by big companies” to drive change in support of a low carbon economy.

“With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization,” she said in a statement. “If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge. We are excited to have others join.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Instagram announces new policies for promoting diet products, cosmetic procedures

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

bombuscreative/iStock(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Instagram announced new policies for promoting certain weight loss products and cosmetic procedures on its platform and in some cases the problematic content will be removed entirely.

The Facebook-owned social media giant and the influencers who use it to do business have caused controversy for how diet or detox teas and other “miraculous” weight-loss products have been promoted.

Kim Kardashian West has even come under fire for promoting so-called appetite suppressant lollipops to her more than 100 million followers on Instagram, as have a number of other high profile Instagram users.

Under the new policies, people can report certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures and if the post includes a price or incentive to buy it, Instagram said they will restrict people they know to be under 18 from seeing the post.

Moreover, if the post contains a “miraculous” claim about a diet or weight loss product and is linked to a commercial offer, it will be removed from Instagram, the company said on Wednesday.

“We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media,” Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, said in a statement.

Collins added that they have sought guidance from outside experts to “make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over 1 billion people around the world — whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”

Good Place actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil, who has been outspokenly calling out social media companies for allegedly promoting unhealthy habits in young women, responded to the news in a statement released by Instagram.

“This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry. Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online, sends an important message out to the world,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have been able to work towards this with them, alongside a host of other experts who shed light on the danger of these products.”

Jamil, who is also the founder of the “I Weigh” advocacy group, said she had protested and petitioned Instagram in the past and lauded the platform for moving “so efficiently” to enact change.

“As someone who struggled with an eating disorder for most of my youth, I’ve personally known and suffered the perils of the devious side of the diet/detox industry,” she added, calling the policy changes a “day of hope for our generation, who deserve respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Instagram announces new policies for promoting diet products, cosmetic procedures

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

bombuscreative/iStock(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Instagram announced new policies for promoting certain weight loss products and cosmetic procedures on its platform and in some cases the problematic content will be removed entirely.

The Facebook-owned social media giant and the influencers who use it to do business have caused controversy for how diet or detox teas and other “miraculous” weight-loss products have been promoted.

Kim Kardashian West has even come under fire for promoting so-called appetite suppressant lollipops to her more than 100 million followers on Instagram, as have a number of other high profile Instagram users.

Under the new policies, people can report certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures and if the post includes a price or incentive to buy it, Instagram said they will restrict people they know to be under 18 from seeing the post.

Moreover, if the post contains a “miraculous” claim about a diet or weight loss product and is linked to a commercial offer, it will be removed from Instagram, the company said on Wednesday.

“We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media,” Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, said in a statement.

Collins added that they have sought guidance from outside experts to “make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over 1 billion people around the world — whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”

Good Place actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil, who has been outspokenly calling out social media companies for allegedly promoting unhealthy habits in young women, responded to the news in a statement released by Instagram.

“This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry. Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online, sends an important message out to the world,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have been able to work towards this with them, alongside a host of other experts who shed light on the danger of these products.”

Jamil, who is also the founder of the “I Weigh” advocacy group, said she had protested and petitioned Instagram in the past and lauded the platform for moving “so efficiently” to enact change.

“As someone who struggled with an eating disorder for most of my youth, I’ve personally known and suffered the perils of the devious side of the diet/detox industry,” she added, calling the policy changes a “day of hope for our generation, who deserve respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mark Zuckerberg in DC Thursday to discuss ‘future internet regulation’

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

alexsl/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is heading to Capitol Hill today for a series of closed-door meetings about “future internet regulation.”

“Mark is in Washington, D.C., to meet with policymakers and talk about future internet regulation,” Facebook told ABC News in a statement Thursday. “There are no public events planned.”

The tech executive’s visit to the capital comes just a day after chiefs from his own company, Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter faced a Senate committee to testify about “digital responsibility” in the spread of extremism online.

Earlier this week Facebook also announced changes to its policies for combating hate and extremism on its namesake platform and Instagram, including updating its definition of terrorist organizations and revamping detection efforts.

As part of those changes, Facebook said it is working with law enforcement in the U.S. and U.K. to obtain their footage from firearms training programs to train their machine learning systems about how to spot first-person footage of violent events, such as the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 dead and was livestreamed online.

It is also the first time Zuckerberg has returned to Capitol Hill since he was called to testify before Congress over the company’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mark Zuckerberg in DC Thursday to discuss ‘future internet regulation’

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

alexsl/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is heading to Capitol Hill today for a series of closed-door meetings about “future internet regulation.”

“Mark is in Washington, D.C., to meet with policymakers and talk about future internet regulation,” Facebook told ABC News in a statement Thursday. “There are no public events planned.”

The tech executive’s visit to the capital comes just a day after chiefs from his own company, Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter faced a Senate committee to testify about “digital responsibility” in the spread of extremism online.

Earlier this week Facebook also announced changes to its policies for combating hate and extremism on its namesake platform and Instagram, including updating its definition of terrorist organizations and revamping detection efforts.

As part of those changes, Facebook said it is working with law enforcement in the U.S. and U.K. to obtain their footage from firearms training programs to train their machine learning systems about how to spot first-person footage of violent events, such as the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 dead and was livestreamed online.

It is also the first time Zuckerberg has returned to Capitol Hill since he was called to testify before Congress over the company’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Video shows Delta pilot charged with trying to fly while intoxicated before arrest

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

LETG Jail(MINNEAPOLIS) — New surveillance video appears to show the “suspicious” movements of a pilot, who is now accused of trying to fly a plane while intoxicated, moments before he made his way onto a Delta Airlines aircraft preparing for takeoff.

The edited video from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was obtained by ABC News on Wednesday.

The footage was taken on July 30 and shows the pilot, identified in court documents as Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, 37, of Rosemount, Minnesota, walking up to a screening area with his luggage, leaving and heading into a restroom and then returning to the screening area to have his bag checked.

Officials told ABC News in July that he’d turned around and removed himself from the security line when he noticed Transportation Security Administration agents were conducting additional screenings for crew members.

According to court documents, when Schroeder reached the screening area around 10:30 a.m. for the first time on July 30, he “appeared surprised,” airport authorities said.

When TSA workers approached him and asked him to put his bag on the table for screening, he told the officers “that he was not ready to be screened and left the area.” Officers then reported his “suspicious activity” to TSA police because they feared that he may have a prohibited item in his bag.

Detectives were unable to find Schroeder, according to court documents, but were later told by other TSA authorities that he had been in a restroom. When officers entered the restroom, they “located an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Philips Vodka in the lone trash container,” court documents said.

Detectives found Schroeder in the cockpit of Airbus A321 at Gate G-3. He was seated in the first officer’s chair and operating the console of the aircraft while talking to the captain of the aircraft. The plane was scheduled to fly to San Diego, according to an airport spokesperson.

“Detectives observed that the plane already had two passengers on board. Detectives asked Defendant if they could speak with him in the rear of the aircraft. … When asked, Defendant stated that he had last consumed alcohol three days prior,” court documents said.

One of the airport detectives reported that there was a light odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage on Schoeder’s breath.

When the detectives asked him questions, he also allegedly told them that he had not entered a restroom and that he only went to the Delta crew room.

“When questioned further, Defendant stated that he might have gone to the restroom, but denied discarding a bottle of alcohol in the trash,” court documents said.

Schroeder was given several sobriety tests including a Breathalyzer, which provided a reading of .065 BAC, according to authorities. He was arrested. He was removed by police 20 minutes before takeoff, according to an airport spokesperson.

“Once we got to the plane, they said ‘Hold up! Hold up!” passenger John Wybest told ABC News affiliate ABC10.com in San Diego in July. “For a pilot, he looked a little disheveled. He had … dire need of ironing, sloppy look. The other pilot looked like he walked out of GQ.”

After he was arrested, Schroeber also gave a blood sample. He allegedly admitted to owning the vodka bottle in the restroom trash and leaving the screening area to dispose of it. He also allegedly admitted to drinking a can of beer as well as three vodka drinks at his house the previous night.

“The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – Forensic Science Laboratory examined Defendant’s blood sample and determined that Defendant had an ethyl alcohol concentration of .027 in his system at 1:10 p.m. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also performed a retrograde extrapolation and determined that at the time the Defendant was in the cockpit, he had an ethanol concentration between .04 and .08,” court documents said.

Pilots face a strict blood alcohol level restrictions, with .04 being considered illegal. The maximum sentence for both is 0-1 year imprisonment and/or 0-$3000 fine.

A Delta spokesperson told ABC News in July that Delta had hired another pilot to complete the trip and passengers arrived in San Diego with a one-hour delay.

“Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation,” Delta Airlines said previously. “Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation.”

ABC News could not reach Schroeder for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Video shows Delta pilot charged with trying to fly while intoxicated before arrest

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

LETG Jail(MINNEAPOLIS) — New surveillance video appears to show the “suspicious” movements of a pilot, who is now accused of trying to fly a plane while intoxicated, moments before he made his way onto a Delta Airlines aircraft preparing for takeoff.

The edited video from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was obtained by ABC News on Wednesday.

The footage was taken on July 30 and shows the pilot, identified in court documents as Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, 37, of Rosemount, Minnesota, walking up to a screening area with his luggage, leaving and heading into a restroom and then returning to the screening area to have his bag checked.

Officials told ABC News in July that he’d turned around and removed himself from the security line when he noticed Transportation Security Administration agents were conducting additional screenings for crew members.

According to court documents, when Schroeder reached the screening area around 10:30 a.m. for the first time on July 30, he “appeared surprised,” airport authorities said.

When TSA workers approached him and asked him to put his bag on the table for screening, he told the officers “that he was not ready to be screened and left the area.” Officers then reported his “suspicious activity” to TSA police because they feared that he may have a prohibited item in his bag.

Detectives were unable to find Schroeder, according to court documents, but were later told by other TSA authorities that he had been in a restroom. When officers entered the restroom, they “located an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Philips Vodka in the lone trash container,” court documents said.

Detectives found Schroeder in the cockpit of Airbus A321 at Gate G-3. He was seated in the first officer’s chair and operating the console of the aircraft while talking to the captain of the aircraft. The plane was scheduled to fly to San Diego, according to an airport spokesperson.

“Detectives observed that the plane already had two passengers on board. Detectives asked Defendant if they could speak with him in the rear of the aircraft. … When asked, Defendant stated that he had last consumed alcohol three days prior,” court documents said.

One of the airport detectives reported that there was a light odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage on Schoeder’s breath.

When the detectives asked him questions, he also allegedly told them that he had not entered a restroom and that he only went to the Delta crew room.

“When questioned further, Defendant stated that he might have gone to the restroom, but denied discarding a bottle of alcohol in the trash,” court documents said.

Schroeder was given several sobriety tests including a Breathalyzer, which provided a reading of .065 BAC, according to authorities. He was arrested. He was removed by police 20 minutes before takeoff, according to an airport spokesperson.

“Once we got to the plane, they said ‘Hold up! Hold up!” passenger John Wybest told ABC News affiliate ABC10.com in San Diego in July. “For a pilot, he looked a little disheveled. He had … dire need of ironing, sloppy look. The other pilot looked like he walked out of GQ.”

After he was arrested, Schroeber also gave a blood sample. He allegedly admitted to owning the vodka bottle in the restroom trash and leaving the screening area to dispose of it. He also allegedly admitted to drinking a can of beer as well as three vodka drinks at his house the previous night.

“The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – Forensic Science Laboratory examined Defendant’s blood sample and determined that Defendant had an ethyl alcohol concentration of .027 in his system at 1:10 p.m. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also performed a retrograde extrapolation and determined that at the time the Defendant was in the cockpit, he had an ethanol concentration between .04 and .08,” court documents said.

Pilots face a strict blood alcohol level restrictions, with .04 being considered illegal. The maximum sentence for both is 0-1 year imprisonment and/or 0-$3000 fine.

A Delta spokesperson told ABC News in July that Delta had hired another pilot to complete the trip and passengers arrived in San Diego with a one-hour delay.

“Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation,” Delta Airlines said previously. “Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation.”

ABC News could not reach Schroeder for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging plane had ISIS video: Prosecutors

Posted on: September 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

spyderskidoo/iStock(MIAMI) — The American Airlines mechanic authorities say sabotaged a jetliner by tampering with a plane’s navigation system just before takeoff was denied bail Wednesday after prosecutors said he had an ISIS propaganda video showing graphic murders on his cellphone.

Authorities in Miami have charged Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani with one count of willfully damaging, destroying and disabling an aircraft earlier this month, and he initially told investigators he did it because he was frustrated with a union dispute and wanted more overtime.

The government said in court Wednesday, according to ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV, that investigators found an ISIS propaganda video he had downloaded on his cellphone showing the graphic murders and then shared it with another person along with a message that said something similar to “Allah, we ask you to use all your might and power against the Kafir.”

Kafir is another word for “infidel” or non-believer — prosecutors at this time, however are not charging Alani with any terrorism-related crime.

According to WPLG, prosecutors in court said another American Airlines employee came forward to say that Alani also had taken a trip to Baghdad and Mosul to visit his brother, who allegedly is in ISIS.

Alani’s roommate said that trip was because Alani’s brother had been kidnapped, but photos from the trip on his phone show him smiling and posing with family members, and he does not appear to be in distress, prosecutors say.

Judge Chris McAliley, said “What you did was at minimum highly reckless, it was unconscionable,” and she said the evidence before her suggest he may be at least sympathetic toward terrorists.

WPLG reports that prosecutors say he said “out of my evil side” he wanted to figure out if he could delay a plane and he picked that one to sabotage.

According to the criminal complaint, Alani allegedly drove an airline pickup truck to an aircraft slated to take off in just a few minutes to the Bahamas on the morning of July 17 at Miami International Airport. The plane had 150 passengers and crew on board, court documents say.

While still on the runway, the pilots were alerted something was wrong with the plane, aborted takeoff and returned back to the gate. It was then, court documents say, other American Airlines mechanics found the parts were disconnected and “appeared to have been deliberately obstructed with what appeared to be a dark Styrofoam-type material.”

American Airlines security notified the FBI after reviewing security camera footage from the day, court documents say. Authorities say the footage shows Alani allegedly accessing the part of the aircraft where the tampered parts are located for seven minutes, and the complaint notes that there was no report of a previous mechanical issue or work order of the aircraft.

Court documents say that Alani’s work isn’t usually related to aircraft on the tarmac, but is usually limited to aircraft in hangers.

Three other people who were seen on the surveillance footage getting into the truck with Alani were interviewed by law enforcement and identified Alani, documents say.

When he was interviewed by law enforcement, court documents say, he admitted that he was driving the truck and allegedly tried to sabotage the aircraft, but said he didn’t mean to cause any harm to those on board.

“He further admitted that he inserted a piece of foam into the ADM’s (aircraft’s) inlet where the connects and that he applied [Super Glue] to the foam so as to prevent the foam from coming off,” court documents say.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order Monday revoking the mechanic certificate for Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, according to a FAA spokesperson. The revocation was effective immediately and generally lasts for one year.

“Alani’s alleged action posed a risk to safety in air commerce and air transportation and violated several Federal Aviation Regulations,” a FAA spokesperson said.

Alani also made mistakes when he worked for Alaska Airlines, according to a lawsuit Alani filed against the airline after his firing. The complaint mentioned Alani’s certificate was suspended by the FAA for a month in March 2009 after Alani was accused of erroneously installing an unserviceable battery in an aircraft.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Health care, tech industries dominate Glassdoor’s ranking of highest-paying jobs

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(NEW YORK) — Tech and health care industries dominated Glassdoor’s annual breakdown of the highest-paying jobs and companies in the U.S. in 2019.

The top four highest-paying jobs on the list are all related to health care. While health care professionals earn the most according to the career website’s top 25 highest-paying jobs, a majority of those high salaries were in the tech field.

The top five paying jobs based on median base salary according to Glassdoor’s data are: Physician, pharmacy manager, dentist, pharmacist and enterprise architect. Next on the list are corporate counsel, software engineering manager, physician assistant, corporate controller and software development manager. Those annual salaries ranged from $193,415 to $122,585.

“Tech and health care roles continue to dominate, which isn’t a huge surprise, it’s something we’ve seen in the past, but it is really intriguing to see that the four top paying roles are all in health care,” Amanda Stansell, a senior economic research analyst at Glassdoor who led the study told ABC News.

“All of these roles require advanced education, so it’s showing that these high-paying roles continue to be tied to higher skills and higher education,” Stansell said.

While this ranking of the highest-paying jobs may not come as a big surprise too many, there were some unexpected contenders on the list of highest-paying companies for 2019.

Tech giants including Twitter, Google, Facebook and Microsoft were included as some of the highest-paying companies last year, proving the tech industry shows no signs of slowing down.

Some interesting trends this year included higher emphasis on and compensation for cybersecurity, according to Stansell, who noted that “information security engineer” is a title that “wasn’t on our list last year.”

“We’ve been hearing about companies having very high profile breaches and attacks,” said Stansell. “Companies are definitely taking notice and willing to pay competitive salaries to get these people on board and help them protect their company’s data,” Stansell said.

Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Santa Clara, California, quietly topped this year’s list of highest-paying companies with a median total salary of $170,929.

“Palo Alto Network is a security company that helps thousands of organizations prevent cyber breaches,” Stansell said. “I think one of the reasons that they rose to the top of the list this year is that they need to offer very competitive salaries to hire the best talent possible,” she said.

“While they aren’t a name you hear every day on the news cycle like Google and Facebook, they have thousands of employees worldwide,” she added.

Outside of the tech and health care spheres, a few consulting companies made appearances on the list as well as a few “biotech” companies, according to Stansell.

Going forward, Stansell said she doesn’t predict health care and tech to be dethroned anytime soon.

“We continue, again and again, to see tech and health care roles rise to the top when we look at highest-paying jobs,” she said. “For highest-paying companies we continue to see tech rise to the top.”

Another pattern that emerged from this year’s list was that a majority of the highest-paying companies were headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, but Stansell said most of them have offices and jobs all over the U.S. and they looked at base salaries nationally.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Health care, tech industries dominate Glassdoor’s ranking of highest-paying jobs

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(NEW YORK) — Tech and health care industries dominated Glassdoor’s annual breakdown of the highest-paying jobs and companies in the U.S. in 2019.

The top four highest-paying jobs on the list are all related to health care. While health care professionals earn the most according to the career website’s top 25 highest-paying jobs, a majority of those high salaries were in the tech field.

The top five paying jobs based on median base salary according to Glassdoor’s data are: Physician, pharmacy manager, dentist, pharmacist and enterprise architect. Next on the list are corporate counsel, software engineering manager, physician assistant, corporate controller and software development manager. Those annual salaries ranged from $193,415 to $122,585.

“Tech and health care roles continue to dominate, which isn’t a huge surprise, it’s something we’ve seen in the past, but it is really intriguing to see that the four top paying roles are all in health care,” Amanda Stansell, a senior economic research analyst at Glassdoor who led the study told ABC News.

“All of these roles require advanced education, so it’s showing that these high-paying roles continue to be tied to higher skills and higher education,” Stansell said.

While this ranking of the highest-paying jobs may not come as a big surprise too many, there were some unexpected contenders on the list of highest-paying companies for 2019.

Tech giants including Twitter, Google, Facebook and Microsoft were included as some of the highest-paying companies last year, proving the tech industry shows no signs of slowing down.

Some interesting trends this year included higher emphasis on and compensation for cybersecurity, according to Stansell, who noted that “information security engineer” is a title that “wasn’t on our list last year.”

“We’ve been hearing about companies having very high profile breaches and attacks,” said Stansell. “Companies are definitely taking notice and willing to pay competitive salaries to get these people on board and help them protect their company’s data,” Stansell said.

Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Santa Clara, California, quietly topped this year’s list of highest-paying companies with a median total salary of $170,929.

“Palo Alto Network is a security company that helps thousands of organizations prevent cyber breaches,” Stansell said. “I think one of the reasons that they rose to the top of the list this year is that they need to offer very competitive salaries to hire the best talent possible,” she said.

“While they aren’t a name you hear every day on the news cycle like Google and Facebook, they have thousands of employees worldwide,” she added.

Outside of the tech and health care spheres, a few consulting companies made appearances on the list as well as a few “biotech” companies, according to Stansell.

Going forward, Stansell said she doesn’t predict health care and tech to be dethroned anytime soon.

“We continue, again and again, to see tech and health care roles rise to the top when we look at highest-paying jobs,” she said. “For highest-paying companies we continue to see tech rise to the top.”

Another pattern that emerged from this year’s list was that a majority of the highest-paying companies were headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, but Stansell said most of them have offices and jobs all over the U.S. and they looked at base salaries nationally.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The US Federal Reserve cuts interest rates, here’s what that means for you

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

traveler1116/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point Wednesday, which will directly affect people’s mortgages, car payments and the economy in general.

“If you think about what the Fed does, it basically set the level of interest rates in the economy, when it lowers interest rates they hope that that makes it easier for people to borrow and makes it easier for people to spend money,” David Wessel, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institute and the director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, told ABC News Wednesday prior to the fed’s afternoon announcement.

“Right now the economy seems to be in pretty good shape, but most of the Fed officials seem to be worried that it is slowing down too much, partly because of all the noise Trump is making about trade,” he added. “So they want to give the economy a little more gas.”

“One thing to watch [Wednesday] is, yes, they are going to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, but unless you are a zillionaire that’s not going to make a big difference,” Wessel said.

The impact this move will have, however, on everyday people is that “it means that it tends to get cheaper if you have a home equity loan, it tends to be cheaper to get a car loan.”

It affects the bond market, according to Wessel, which means that mortgage rates come down.

However, it also means savers will likely see “less money on their market money funds.”

“In short, lower rates help people and businesses who borrow and tend to hurt people who save,” Wessel explained.

“The feds calculation here is that they want to help the borrowers a little more so borrowers will spend,” he added. “So the economy will keep growing.”

Infighting in the Fed

Another thing economists are keeping an eye on Wednesday is what Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will say during his afternoon news conference.

“There is actually quite a bit of disagreement in the Fed, there are some people who look over the horizon and say look manufacturing has been weak, business investment has been weaker than we thought, China is slowing down,” Wessel said. “So as we look ahead we have to worry that some of our biggest customers are going to be buying less, so we have to offset that by cutting interest rates here.”

“The other camp says, ‘You guys are crazy, the economy is doing fine, and interests rates are low by historical standards,'” Wessel said. “So this is not the time to give the economy more gas, this is the time to sit and wait and see what happens.”

An added complication to these disagreements is “all the pressure from President Trump to cut interest rates.”

Today, “a lot of focus is going on what Fed Chair Jerome Powell says they are going to do for the rest of the year,” and more specifically, “what they are going to do in the coming months and why.”

“If you’re not in the stock market and you’re not in the bond market, you might not care about this stuff, but what happens in the bond market affects mortgage rates and what happens in the stock market affects how business heads feel and that can make them less likely to hire, less likely to invest,” Wessel said.

“You know that everyone in the markets will be watching the body language carefully and listening to what led them to cut interest rates [Wednesday] and what they expect him to do in the future,” Wessel said.

As for the current state of the economy, “we’ve never gone this long before without a recession,” according to Wessel. “The economy has been growing every quarter since 2009.”

The Fed’s job today is to “turn the dials on the economy, the ones that they can control, in order to keep that going.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

GM no longer paying for striking workers’ health insurance as negotiations enter 3rd day

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

wellesenterprises/iStock(DETROIT) — General Motors is no longer paying the health care costs for the tens of thousands of auto workers who went on strike on Monday, shifting the costs instead to a union fund.

More than 49,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sunday night, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors. As negotiations enter their third day on Wednesday, the health coverage for striking workers will no longer be covered by GM.

Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union which represents more than 2 million members slammed the news in a statement, calling it “heartless and unconscionable.”

“GM’s decision to yank healthcare coverage away from their dedicated employees, in the dead of night, with no warning, is heartless and unconscionable. GM’s actions could put people’s lives at risk, from the factory worker who needs treatment for their asthma to the child who relies on their parents’ insurance for chemotherapy,” she said. “Thankfully these men and women have their union, which is making sure working people and their families can continue to get care.”

In a statement to ABC News, GM expressed sympathy that “strikes can be difficult and disruptive to families.”

“While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union’s strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue,” the statement added.

Union leaders have argued that GM workers deserved a bigger slice of the company’s record profits, which they say have totaled $35 billion in North America over the last three years. Union members are calling for higher wages, retention of a health insurance plan in which workers pay about 4 percent of the costs, an improved pension plan and assurances that GM — the makers of Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet — will not close four plants in Maryland, Ohio and Michigan.

As negotiations remain at a stalemate, some on the front lines say they hope for a swift resolution.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

GM no longer paying for striking workers’ health insurance as negotiations enter 3rd day

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

wellesenterprises/iStock(DETROIT) — General Motors is no longer paying the health care costs for the tens of thousands of auto workers who went on strike on Monday, shifting the costs instead to a union fund.

More than 49,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sunday night, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors. As negotiations enter their third day on Wednesday, the health coverage for striking workers will no longer be covered by GM.

Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union which represents more than 2 million members slammed the news in a statement, calling it “heartless and unconscionable.”

“GM’s decision to yank healthcare coverage away from their dedicated employees, in the dead of night, with no warning, is heartless and unconscionable. GM’s actions could put people’s lives at risk, from the factory worker who needs treatment for their asthma to the child who relies on their parents’ insurance for chemotherapy,” she said. “Thankfully these men and women have their union, which is making sure working people and their families can continue to get care.”

In a statement to ABC News, GM expressed sympathy that “strikes can be difficult and disruptive to families.”

“While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union’s strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue,” the statement added.

Union leaders have argued that GM workers deserved a bigger slice of the company’s record profits, which they say have totaled $35 billion in North America over the last three years. Union members are calling for higher wages, retention of a health insurance plan in which workers pay about 4 percent of the costs, an improved pension plan and assurances that GM — the makers of Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet — will not close four plants in Maryland, Ohio and Michigan.

As negotiations remain at a stalemate, some on the front lines say they hope for a swift resolution.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Mexico announces plan to offer free college tuition to state residents

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

malerapaso/iStock(SANTA FE, N.M.) — New Mexico is hoping to make college tuition free for all state residents looking to attend its public institutions in the first plan of its kind in the U.S., the governor announced Wednesday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the program would apply to all 29 of the state’s two- and four-year public colleges and universities and all New Mexico families, regardless of their income, for the fall 2020 semester.

“This program is an absolute game-changer for New Mexico,” Grisham said in a statement. “Higher education in this state, a victim of the recession, has been starved in recent years.”

Grisham said the plan is intended to increase access to higher education to underserved populations in the state.

“New Mexicans of every income, of every background, of every age, we are putting students first. We are creating meaningful opportunity for all,” she said.

The plan, called the Opportunity Scholarship, which was first reported in the New York Times, still needs to go through legislative approval but Grisham said she is confident lawmakers will be on board. The funds for the program would come from the state budget, as New Mexico has seen a recent boost in revenue from oil production, the governor’s office said.

It would cover the fees not paid for by federal grants or the state’s Lottery Scholarship, which typically leaves between 25 percent and 40 percent of college still to be paid for, according to the governor’s office. The scholarship does not cover room and board.

The program in New Mexico would also allow for adults returning to a two-year community college to attend free of tuition and fees.

A similar program exists in New York, but only covers middle-class families making up to $125,000 per year for free tuition at all CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year colleges in the state.

The state’s higher education secretary, Kate O’Neill, said the day of the announcement was “the most exciting day in my 25-year career.”

“That’s because students are the beneficiaries of this incredible proposal,” O’Neill said.

The average cost of tuition in the U.S. has been on the rise for the last decade.

Today I’m thrilled to announce a huge development for New Mexico higher education – we’re going to make college tuition-free for New Mexico students. #NewMexicoOpportunity pic.twitter.com/mRTsnKevIA

— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) September 18, 2019

Between 2008-2009 and 2018-2019, the price of education rose by $7,390 at private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities, by $2,670 at public four-year institutions and $930 at public two-year colleges, according to data from the nonprofit organization College Board.

The average cost of tuition in the U.S. for a private nonprofit four-year college was $35,830 in the 2018-2019 academic year, the data showed. With room and board included, the price jumps to $48,510.

At public four-year institutions, for in-state residents, tuition amounts to $10,230 and $21,370 with room and board, according to the data.

New Mexico ranked as third most impoverished state in the country, with a rate of 18.2 percent in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The national average was 12.3 percent.

“Our state stands to benefit more than any other state in the country because of the poverty aspect that we all face with our population every day,” Grisham said. “Our students benefit more than any other student in the country with strategies and investments like this.”

Grisham said the plan will not only be good for current students, but the future of the state.

“It means better enrollment, better student success [and], in the long rung, it means economic growth,” she said.

“If we believe in the potential of New Mexico students,” she added, “well, I have a challenge for you, let’s put our money where out mouth is.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The US Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates, here’s what that means for you

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

traveler1116/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates Wednesday, which will directly affect people’s mortgages, car payments and the economy in general.

“If you think about what the Fed does, it basically set the level of interest rates in the economy, when it lowers interest rates they hope that that makes it easier for people to borrow and makes it easier for people to spend money,” David Wessel, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institute and the director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, told ABC News Wednesday.

“Right now the economy seems to be in pretty good shape, but most of the Fed officials seem to be worried that it is slowing down too much, partly because of all the noise Trump is making about trade,” he added. “So they want to give the economy a little more gas.”

“One thing to watch [Wednesday] is, yes, they are going to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, but unless you are a zillionaire that’s not going to make a big difference,” Wessel said.

The impact this move will have, however, on everyday people is that “it means that it tends to get cheaper if you have a home equity loan, it tends to be cheaper to get a car loan.”

It effects the bond market, according to Wessel, which means that mortgage rates come down.

However, it also means savers will likely see “less money on their market money funds.”

“In short, lower rates help people and businesses who borrow and tend to hurt people who save,” Wessel explained.

“The feds calculation here is that they want to help the borrowers a little more so borrowers will spend,” he added. “So the economy will keep growing.”

Infighting in the Fed

Another thing economists are keeping an eye on Wednesday is what Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will say during his afternoon news conference.

“There is actually quite a bit of disagreement in the Fed, there are some people who look over the horizon and say look manufacturing has been weak, business investment has been weaker than we thought, China is slowing down,” Wessel said. “So as we look ahead we have to worry that some of our biggest customers are going to be buying less, so we have to offset that by cutting interest rates here.”

“The other camp says, ‘You guys are crazy, the economy is doing fine, and interests rates are low by historical standards,'” Wessel said. “So this is not the time to give the economy more gas, this is the time to sit and wait and see what happens.”

An added complication to these disagreements is “all the pressure from President Trump to cut interest rates.”

Today, “a lot of focus is going on what Fed Chair Jerome Powell says they are going to do for the rest of the year,” and more specifically, “what they are going to do in the coming months and why.”

“If you’re not in the stock market and you’re not in the bond market, you might not care about this stuff, but what happens in the bond market effects mortgage rates and what happens in the stock market effects how business heads feel and that can make them less likely to hire, less likely to invest,” Wessel said.

“You know that everyone in the markets will be watching the body language carefully and listening to what led them to cut interest rates [Wednesday] and what they expect him to do in the future,” Wessel said.

As for the current state of the economy, “we’ve never gone this long before without a recession,” according to Wessel. “The economy has been growing every quarter since 2009.”

The Fed’s job today is to “turn the dials on the economy, the ones that they can control, in order to keep that going.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Project Beauty Expo: Beauty exhibition puts women of color at the forefront

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Project Beauty Expo(LOS ANGELES) — Project Beauty Expo, a trade show featuring beauty and wellness products for and created by women of color, held its fourth annual event in Los Angeles this past weekend.

The show featured over 400 small business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs and beauty enthusiasts of color. All had an opportunity to engage with CEOs from major brands such as Target, Shopify, Hue Noir and more.

“This two-day festival is important because in the billion-dollar beauty industry there is no platform that provides women with the tools to prepare themselves to enter this market while also giving them an opportunity to be discovered,” says Project Beauty Expo founder Brittany Brown.

Brown originally created this growing platform as a result of her own experience as a budding beauty entrepreneur. After attempting to launch a skin care brand in 2014 and participating in many trade shows, she quickly realized the lack of events geared toward smaller, independent brands.

“I lost tons of money trying to compete in the mass market of beauty and I didn’t want other women and men to go through the same thing,” says Brown.

She adds, “There are many disadvantages that people of color face and PBE helps to level the playing field.”

Another integral component of Project Beauty Expo is the rich education provided during the event.

During the event there were workshops, panel discussions and private networking mixers for buyers, the press, influencers and brand founders.

Representatives from Target reviewed a roster of beauty brands that were later selected to conduct 15-minute on-site pitches.

“This was so perfect for me because I’m a small business and I feel like no other conference and networking event has spoken to where I’m at right now,” said entrepreneur and attendee Ashley Jones. “I don’t have the inventory yet to be at an Essence Festival or enough capital to engage influencers, so I need to know how I decipher through the clutter to get to that point.”

“I hope attendees leave feeling inspired, empowered, seen, heard and realize they have a platform to look to for advice and business tips on navigating the beauty industry,” says Brown.

Brown plans to make Project Beauty Expo bigger and better and expanded to different locations.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FAA chief to test updated 737 MAX software as planes remain grounded

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

the_guitar_mann/iStock(NEW YORK) — Steve Dickson laid out the Federal Aviation Administration’s next steps in the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX in the first month of his new term as FAA administrator, but now he’s heading to Seattle to get in the simulator himself.

Dickson, the former CEO of Delta Airlines and a long-time pilot, will get into the MAX flight simulator later this week at Boeing’s headquarters to see for himself if he can handle the automated flight control system misfire that led to the grounding of the aircraft around the world following the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia last October and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March. A combined 346 people were killed in the two accidents.

The FAA chief said it’s premature to point fingers or cast blame, but acknowledged there were some common threads in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents.

“We need to make sure nothing like that ever happens again, they should not have occurred,” he said.

The French aviation authority, BEA, which worked with the Ethiopian investigators, said in March that upon inspection, the plane’s flight data recorder did show clear similarities to the recording from the Lion Air flight. In April, then-Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged for the first time the flight control system played a role in both crashes.

Dickson said that as the recertification process continues the safety of the 737 MAX is to be determined.

“I’m taking a look at how we got to this point and what parts of the process are working as intended,” Dickson said.

In both deadly accidents it appears the angle-of-attack sensors malfunctioned, activating a new anti-stall software on the 737 MAX 8 that controls trim and is believed to have pushed the nose of the planes down. The pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft.

Dickson said he will not recertify the plane until he feels comfortable flying the plane himself, or putting his own family on it: “My job is to make sure the airplane is safe.”

The FAA has submitted a request from Boeing to detail how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios. Dickson called it a complete review of the “system architecture of the aircraft.”

Once those submissions are reviewed, the FAA will schedule its certification test flight.

But Dickson wants to also ensure that MAX pilots feel confident about updates to the aircraft’s flight control system and that the federal regulators are inclusive in their certification process, saying, “We’re including pilots not only from the U.S., but also from international operators around the world.”

Dickson believes that the grounding of the 737 MAX might bring about a change in the certification process.

“There’s a lot of innovation going on both in commercial aviation and other segments of the industry,” Dickson said. “We need to make sure that we’re ahead of that change, both from a workforce perspective, from a skills perspective and from a technology perspective.”

But he emphasized that it’s not just about certifying the machine as a technical piece of equipment, but also looking at how “the human interacts with the system” and how that operator is trained.

When asked when the 737 MAX would fly again, Dickson said the FAA is not working on any timeline, adding that it might be recertified by the end of the year, but that it “could also extend beyond that.”

Several airlines, including American and United, have already grounded their MAX jets into December, while Southwest, which has more of the model than any other U.S. carrier, has extended cancellations into January.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FAA chief to test updated 737 MAX software as planes remain grounded

Posted on: September 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

the_guitar_mann/iStock(NEW YORK) — Steve Dickson laid out the Federal Aviation Administration’s next steps in the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX in the first month of his new term as FAA administrator, but now he’s heading to Seattle to get in the simulator himself.

Dickson, the former CEO of Delta Airlines and a long-time pilot, will get into the MAX flight simulator later this week at Boeing’s headquarters to see for himself if he can handle the automated flight control system misfire that led to the grounding of the aircraft around the world following the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia last October and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March. A combined 346 people were killed in the two accidents.

The FAA chief said it’s premature to point fingers or cast blame, but acknowledged there were some common threads in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents.

“We need to make sure nothing like that ever happens again, they should not have occurred,” he said.

The French aviation authority, BEA, which worked with the Ethiopian investigators, said in March that upon inspection, the plane’s flight data recorder did show clear similarities to the recording from the Lion Air flight. In April, then-Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged for the first time the flight control system played a role in both crashes.

Dickson said that as the recertification process continues the safety of the 737 MAX is to be determined.

“I’m taking a look at how we got to this point and what parts of the process are working as intended,” Dickson said.

In both deadly accidents it appears the angle-of-attack sensors malfunctioned, activating a new anti-stall software on the 737 MAX 8 that controls trim and is believed to have pushed the nose of the planes down. The pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft.

Dickson said he will not recertify the plane until he feels comfortable flying the plane himself, or putting his own family on it: “My job is to make sure the airplane is safe.”

The FAA has submitted a request from Boeing to detail how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios. Dickson called it a complete review of the “system architecture of the aircraft.”

Once those submissions are reviewed, the FAA will schedule its certification test flight.

But Dickson wants to also ensure that MAX pilots feel confident about updates to the aircraft’s flight control system and that the federal regulators are inclusive in their certification process, saying, “We’re including pilots not only from the U.S., but also from international operators around the world.”

Dickson believes that the grounding of the 737 MAX might bring about a change in the certification process.

“There’s a lot of innovation going on both in commercial aviation and other segments of the industry,” Dickson said. “We need to make sure that we’re ahead of that change, both from a workforce perspective, from a skills perspective and from a technology perspective.”

But he emphasized that it’s not just about certifying the machine as a technical piece of equipment, but also looking at how “the human interacts with the system” and how that operator is trained.

When asked when the 737 MAX would fly again, Dickson said the FAA is not working on any timeline, adding that it might be recertified by the end of the year, but that it “could also extend beyond that.”

Several airlines, including American and United, have already grounded their MAX jets into December, while Southwest, which has more of the model than any other U.S. carrier, has extended cancellations into January.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.