House GOP report says China cover-up and WHO failures worsened coronavirus pandemic

A new report from Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee contends the Chinese Communist Party’s alleged coronavirus cover-up and the World Health Organization’s actions allowed the coronavirus outbreak to grow into the lengthy and deadly pandemic that persists to this day.

The 90-page report, titled The Origins of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Including the Roles of the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization, is severely critical of both the Chinese government and the WHO’s leadership, noting that “research shows the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95% had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a manner consistent with best practices” and asserting that “it is highly likely the ongoing pandemic could have been prevented” had China followed its obligations under the 2005 International Health Regulations and the WHO pushed China to be honest and transparent about the coronavirus.

“It is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world. They deliberately, and repeatedly, disregarded their obligations under the 2005 IHR,” the GOP report said. “Senior CCP leaders, including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, knew a pandemic was ongoing weeks before it was announced. By responding in a transparent and responsible manner, the CCP could have supported the global public health response and shared information with the world about how to handle the virus. It is likely the ongoing pandemic could have been prevented had they done so, saving hundreds of thousands of lives and the world from an economic meltdown.”

The report continued: “The WHO has repeatedly parroted CCP talking points while ignoring conflicting information from reputable sources. Director-General Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s] full-throated defense of the CCP’s early response and embrace of their revisionist history, as well as the impact of his actions on the global response, remains incredibly concerning.” The WHO later backtracked on its assertion that it had been alerted by the Chinese government about the coronavirus outbreak in July.

Johns Hopkins University as of Monday morning said there have been more than 31.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 961,000 coronavirus deaths worldwide, including more than 6.8 million cases and over 199,000 deaths in the United States.

There is evidence that China knew by late 2019 that human-to-human transmission was taking place, but on Jan. 14, the WHO tweeted: “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” As Tedros and the WHO publicly praised China’s response, internal recordings show WHO leaders privately complained about China’s opacity. In April, the U.S. intelligence community was reported to believe the Chinese Communist Party downplayed the outbreak and that China continued to mislead the world.

The GOP report highlights an ongoing controversy related to the WHO’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak, in which U.S. scientists were not part of the on-the-ground inquiry in Wuhan, China. The WHO-China

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House committee final report says Boeing, FAA failures to blame for deadly 737 MAX crashes

Paul Njoroge lost his entire family in March 2019, after Ethiopian Air Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“I stay up nights thinking of the horror they must have endured,” Njoroge told lawmakers in a hearing on the incident last summer.

His mother-in-law, wife and three young children were flying on a Boeing 737 MAX and were victims of the second fatal accident involving the aircraft. Just months earlier, Lion Air 610, also a MAX, crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. Both crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 people.

“As the pilots struggled to keep the plane flying for six minutes, the terror that my wife must have experienced with little Rubi on her lap, our two young children beside her crying for daddy, and my mother-in-law feeling helpless beside her,” Njoroge said. “The six minutes will forever be embedded in my mind.”

PHOTO: Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

Days after the crash in Ethiopia, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure launched its investigation into the design, development and certification of the MAX family of aircraft and what exactly led to the two fatal crashes. On Wednesday, almost a year and a half later, lawmakers released a scathing report which concluded technical design flaws, faulty assumptions about pilot responses and management failures by both Boeing and the FAA led to the collisions.

The findings, released Wednesday by Democrats on the committee, come as civil aviation authorities and airline flight crews from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and the E.U. meet in London this week to review Boeing’s proposed training for 737 Max flight crews. This marks a significant milestone in the eventual ungrounding of the plane that has been modified for over a year.

“Boeing has now acknowledged some of these issues through its actions,” the report states. “Unfortunately, Boeing’s responses to safety issues raised in the 737 MAX program have consistently been too late.”

What happened?

Investigators found that both crashes were tied to a software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). MCAS was designed to help stabilize the 737 MAX after heavier, re-positioned engines placed on the aircraft caused the plane’s nose to point too far upwards in certain circumstances.

In both crashes, incorrect data from a faulty sensor caused MCAS to misfire, forcing the plane to nose down repeatedly, even as pilots struggled to regain control and gain altitude. MCAS was not mentioned in the pilot manual.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the pilots in both crashes were bombarded with multiple alarms and alerts in the cockpit before the planes crashed. The blaring alarms likely caused further confusion and made an already stressful situation worse, according to the NTSB.

PHOTO: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) delivers opening remarks during a hearing about the Boeing 737 MAX airplane on Capitol Hill, May 15, 2019.

House Transportation

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737 Max crashes that killed 346 were ‘horrific culmination’ of failures by Boeing, FAA, says House report

A U.S. House investigative report into two Boeing 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people blamed the airline and the FAA for “repeated and serious failures.”

The fatal crashes in Indonesia in October 2018 and Ethiopia in March 2019 were “a horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA,” said the report released Wednesday by the Democratic-controlled House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The committee chairman, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said in a statement that the report, written by Democratic staff, shows “how Boeing — under pressure to compete with Airbus and deliver profits for Wall Street — escaped scrutiny from the FAA, withheld critical information from pilots, and ultimately put planes into service that killed 346 innocent people.”

He added, “What’s particularly infuriating is how Boeing and FAA both gambled with public safety in the critical time period between the two crashes.”

A Lion Air crash in October 2018 in Indonesia that killed 189 people was followed five months later by an Ethiopian Airlines flight’s going down shortly after takeoff, causing the death of all 157 people aboard.

Boeing said in a statement after the report’s release that it is “dedicated to doing the work” necessary.

“We have learned many hard lessons as a company from the accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, and from the mistakes we have made,” the company said. “As this report recognizes, we have made fundamental changes to our company as a result, and continue to look for ways to improve.”

The FAA said in a statement that it “looks forward to working with the Committee to implement improvements identified in its report.”

“We are already undertaking important initiatives based on what we have learned from our own internal reviews as well as independent reviews of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents,” the agency said.

DeFazio said the House committee chose to release the report following its 18-month investigation to “spotlight not only on the broken safety culture at Boeing but also the gaps in the regulatory system at the FAA that allowed this fatally-flawed plane into service.”

The committee’s statement said its 239-page report, with more than 70 investigative findings, reveals “repeated and serious failures” by both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The report claims that Boeing made “extensive efforts to cut costs” due to financial pressure and refused to slow its 737 MAX production line, jeopardizing safety.

It also alleges that Boeing withheld “crucial information” from the FAA, and that the federal agency’s regulation of the airline was hurt by its current oversight structure with respect to Boeing, which “creates inherent conflicts of interest.”

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U.S. House probe of 737 MAX finds ‘disturbing pattern’ of Boeing failures and ‘grossly insufficient’ FAA oversight

An intensive investigation by a U.S. House Committee into the causes of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes reveals new details documenting what a final report calls “a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments made by Boeing,” along with “grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the U.S. House Transportation Committee, signaled in a teleconference briefing that the committee plans to soon propose legislation reforming how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies airplanes as safe to fly.

He called it “mind boggling” that the MAX, which had two crashes that killed 346 people within five months, was originally certified by both Boeing and the FAA as compliant with all safety regulations.

“The problem is, it was compliant and not safe. And people died,” DeFazio said, “Obviously the system is inadequate.”

The report says Boeing engineers at various points during development of the MAX raised questions about all the critical design elements of the flight control software that later led to the crashes — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

It cites internal Boeing memos and emails in which engineers asked about the system being triggered by a single sensor, about the potential consequences of a faulty sensor, about how repetitive MCAS activations might affect the ability of pilots to maintain control, and about whether pilots would react in time if MCAS was triggered erroneously.

“Ultimately, all of those safety concerns were either inadequately addressed or simply dismissed by Boeing,” the report states.

Nor did Boeing flag these issues to the FAA. The report documents four instances when Boeing engineers delegated to work on behalf of the safety regulator during the MAX’s certification “failed to represent the interests of the FAA.”

DeFazio said that in February 2019, after the crash of a Lion Air MAX jet but before the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Ali Bahrami, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, told him the accident was a “one-off” and that “there’s no problem with that plane.”

Yet DeFazio said that, based on a seven-hour interview with Bahrami by committee investigators last December, it appeared the FAA’s head of safety “really didn’t know much of anything about the MAX or its development.”

The House investigation concludes that “excessive FAA delegation to Boeing has eroded FAA’s oversight capabilities.”

DeFazio said the majority Democrats on the committee have been in discussions for weeks with the minority Republican members over “legislation to make sure this never happens again.”

The Senate’s Commerce Committee is likewise considering this week a bill to strengthen the airplane certification process.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Everett), chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, said the Boeing workers he represents are distraught at the MAX tragedies and that legislators “really do need to act.”

“We’re optimistic we can work it out,” DeFazio said.

Issues raised but dismissed

The report describes how Boeing “failed to classify MCAS as a safety-critical system, which would have attracted greater FAA scrutiny during the certification process.”

At a meeting documented in a

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U.S. House Report Blasts Failures of Boeing, FAA in 737 MAX Certification | Top News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An 18-month investigation by a U.S. House panel blasted Boeing Co

and the Federal Aviation Administration over the 737 MAX which has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Democratic majority found numerous missteps in a nearly 250-page final report released Wednesday into the troubled plane’s development.

“Boeing failed in its design and development of the MAX, and the FAA failed in its oversight of Boeing and its certification of the aircraft,” the report says, detailing a litany of problems in the plane’s design and the government’s approval of the plane.

The review found the crashes “were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake, or mismanaged event.”

“They were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA — the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA.”

Boeing said in a statement it “learned many hard lessons as a company from the accidents… and from the mistakes we have made. As this report recognizes, we have made fundamental changes to our company as a result, and continue to look for ways to improve.”

FAA said in a statement it will work with lawmakers “to implement improvements identified in its report.” It added it is “focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes, and culture.”

The report said Boeing made “faulty design and performance assumptions” especially surrounding a key safety system, called MCAS, which was linked to both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.

MCAS, which was designed to help counter a tendency of the MAX to pitch up, could activate after data from only a single sensor.

The report criticized Boeing for withholding “crucial information from the FAA, its customers, and 737 MAX pilots” including “concealing the very existence of MCASfrom 737 MAX pilots.”

FAA is requiring a number of new safeguards to MCAS, including requiring it receive data from two sensors, before it allows the MAX to return to service.

The report cited instances where Boeing employees granted permission to represent interests of the FAA “failed to disclose important information to the FAA that could have enhanced the safety of the 737 MAX.”

Boeing did not disclose the existence of MCAS in crew manuals and sought to convince regulators not to require more expensive simulator training for MAX pilots. In January, Boeing agreed to back simulator training before pilots resume flights.

The report said the FAA “failed to ensure the safety of the traveling public.”

Lawmakers have proposed numerous reforms to restructure how the FAA oversees airplane certification. A Senate committee will take up a reform bill Wednesday.

Lawmakers suggested Boeing was motivated to cut costs and move quickly to get the 737 MAX to market.

“This is a tragedy that never should have happened,” House Transportation Committee chairman Peter DeFazio told reporters. “We’re

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