U.S. grounds Boeing 737 MAX, Manafort sentenced again, Brexit deal fails – 12 News Stories You Need to Know

U.S. grounds the Boeing 737 MAX 8


The United States has grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after mounting pressure and safety concerns. The aircraft was involved in two fatal crashes in less than 5 months. The FAA ordered the grounding after citing new evidence linking the two crashes that killed a total of 346 people. The FAA’s latest announcement is a reversal from the previous position of the agency, in which it stood by the safety of the aircraft and said there was “no basis” to order its grounding. Before the announcement, the United States was the last country to not ban the plane from flying after Canada ordered airlines to cease operation of the 737 MAX 8. FAA officials said new satellite data showed the Ethiopian Airlines’ final flight movements to be similar to those of the deadly Lion Air crash in October. The pilots of Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster reported flight control issues and requested to return to the airport but crashed just moments after takeoff, according to reports on Wednesday. It was also reported that several pilots at different U.S. airlines had raised concerns with the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8.


Manafort sentenced…again


Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was once again sentenced to prison, this time in a separate federal case heard in Washington, D.C. A federal judge sentenced Manafort, aged 69, to an additional 43 months in prison related to charges of criminal conspiracy on Wednesday. In the earlier sentence handed down last week in Virginia, Manafort was charged with 47 months for bank and tax fraud. In total, he faces a combined prison sentence of 6.75 years in prison due to 9 months he has already served in detention.


After the announcement of his second sentence, the Manhattan District Attorney indicted Manafort with 16 state felonies. The new charges stem from a residential mortgage fraud scheme This would mean Manafort could not be pardoned by the president if he is found guilty on these new state charges.


No-deal Brexit


U.K. lawmakers voted to reject leaving the European Union unless a deal is in place. Members of Parliament were expected to vote against a no-deal Brexit due to the uncertainty it would cause to the economy and trade. Prime Minister Theresa May has faced recent difficulty as MPs also voted overwhelmingly to reject her Brexit withdrawal agreement a day earlier. The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29th (irrespective of whether lawmakers can come to a unified deal), but Parliament will hold another vote on Thursday to possibly extend the withdrawal date.


Bomb cyclone


A fierce winter storm hit the central United States on Wednesday, delivering Category 2 hurricane strength winds to Colorado and surrounding Midwestern states. The 97-mph wind gusts buried millions of residents in snow and created dangerous blizzard conditions and possible floods. The bomb cyclone, as the storm is referred as, is a storm system that experiences a rapid drop in pressure and is generally accompanied by strong winds and heavy snow or rain. Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, and portions of Texas are among the states under storm advisories.


School admissions scandal fallout


William Rick Singer, who was the ringleader behind the college admissions scheme that implicated dozens of affluent parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, pleaded guilty to racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges on Tuesday. Singer, 58, said he has worked with over 750 families to get their kids into elite schools through fraudulent means. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 65 years if convicted.


Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives fame was arrested by FBI agents on Tuesday morning and appeared in a federal courthouse in which she was released on $250,000 bond. Huffman and her husband, actor William Macy, paid $15,000 to allow their daughter unlimited time for her SAT test. Lori Loughlin, star of Full House, turned herself over to authorities in Los Angeles on Wednesday after flying from Vancouver, Canada, where she was filming. Agents arrived at her house on Tuesday and arrested her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. Loughlin and her husband are accused of paying $500,000 to help their two daughters gain acceptance to the University of Southern California by posing as sport’s recruits. She and her husband were released on $1 million bond and will be allowed to travel to Canada for work. Huffman and Loughlin are ordered to appear in Boston federal court on March 29th for preliminary hearings.


School shooting in Brazil


At least eight people were killed in a school shooting near Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday after two armed men entered the school and opened fire on students and staff. The incident occurred in the town of Suzano and left more than 10 people injured. Among the dead are six students and two school personnel. The two gunmen committed suicide inside the school following the attack.


California Governor Newsom freezes death penalty


Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order granting reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates awaiting executions on death row at San Quentin State Prison. The moratorium on the death penalty in California is likely to draw some criticism as voters in the state rejected a ballot initiative to end the death penalty in 2016. In fact, voters passed a measure to decrease the amount of time it takes to execute convicted inmates. Governor Newsom said the death penalty system has been “a failure” that has “discriminated against mentally ill defendants and people of color” while not making the state any “safer.” It has been over a decade since California has executed anyone due to legal challenges and more than a quarter of the country’s death row inmates are in California.


Nigeria school collapse


A three-story school building in the capital city of Lagos, Nigeria, collapsed, leaving eight dead and dozens of others trapped. Nigerian officials say 37 people have been rescued alive while as many as 100 children are feared to be trapped in the rubble of the collapsed building. Search and rescue efforts are expected to continue into the night.


FDA crackdown on e-cigarettes


The FDA proposed new restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and cigars. The limits are aimed at preventing teens from accessing the tobacco products and cracking down on their appeal. E-cigarette manufacturers like Juul have long been accused of marketing its products to kids and unveiling fruity flavors that appeal to them. Teen use of e-cigarettes are at high-levels, largely due to minors being able to purchase the products in-store and online despite federal restrictions on sales to those under 18. The FDA will ramp up enforcement of selling unauthorized flavored e-cigs like mango, strawberry, or bubble gum. Regulators expect the latest policy changes will result in most flavored e-cigs and cigars from being sold (besides menthol, mint, and tobacco flavors) and limit the ability of teens from further accessing the products.


Dad brings AK-47 to school, after son called crying


A dad in West Palm Beach, Florida, was arrested after he received a FaceTime call from his tearful son, saying he was “slammed” by a teacher. Christopher Freeman, 27, showed up to the school angry, carrying an AK-47 style handgun, and making death threats to administrators and teachers. A school police officer was standing by and noticed a gun sticking out of his pants when he arrived. A subsequent search of Freeman by officers found him carrying an AK-47 Mini Draco handgun and a 30-round magazine. He said he forgot he had the weapon on him before Freeman was charged with several crimes.


Police officer accused of arresting women and forcing them to have sex


A Columbus, Ohio, police officer is accused of forcing several women to have sex after placing them under arrest and making them perform sex acts to “earn” their freedom. In 2017, officer Andrew Mitchell, 55, was assigned to the Vice Unit and allegedly kidnapped a prostitute under the guise of an arrest in July of that year and transported her to a location, where he then forced her to have sex with him before releasing her. He was also convicted by a grand jury of other similar incidents committed against several more women. Mitchell also attempted to cover up the crimes and lied to federal investigators. He faces numerous charges.


The first person on Mars will be a woman, NASA says


The administrator of NASA says the first person to visit Mars will “absolutely” be a woman. Jim Bridenstine, who leads the space agency, added that the next person to visit the moon will also likely be a woman. “NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent,” he said. Bridenstine’s comments come just weeks before the first-ever all-female spacewalk on the ISS that will take place on March 29.


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