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Nation in brief: Workers allege FAA hid aviation risks

Sat., July 14, 2007

Two Federal Aviation Administration employees have accused the agency of “covering up” serious incidents in which planes got too close to each other in the Dallas area, according to a government investigator who suggested that such practices may extend to other parts of the country.

U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who investigates complaints made by government whistle-blowers, alleged that the FAA and its air traffic controllers have been reclassifying mistakes for at least a year in a widespread effort to reduce criticism from bosses and to help boost performance bonuses, which are based partly on error data.

Bloch disclosed his findings in a report released Thursday and in letters sent to the Transportation Department that call for an investigation by the department’s inspector general. He said the FAA was seeking to reduce the number of controller errors by blaming the mistakes on pilots.


Bad hummus gives 378 food poisoning

The number of people sickened after eating hummus at the Taste of Chicago food festival last week reached 378 Friday, the health department said.

The Chicago Department of Health was investigating the cases and confirmed that 32 of the illnesses were caused by salmonella poisoning. The number could rise because lab results are pending in some cases. Twelve people were known to have been hospitalized.

The only dish connected to the outbreak was an herb tomato cucumber salad that was served on hummus, health officials said.

New York

Apartment prices soar in Manhattan

If you’re looking for a Manhattan apartment, be prepared to shell out about $2,000 a month – unless, of course, you’d like a bedroom to go with it.

Studio apartments in New York’s most expensive borough went for an average of $1,995 a month last year, according to an analysis released Friday by Citi Habitats, a Manhattan rental brokerage firm. That’s up from $1,659 in 2002.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment shot up to $2,737, compared to $2,227 in 2002, and two-bedroom apartments climbed to $3,893, from $3,198 in 2002. Three-bedroom apartments saw the largest percentage increase: more than 36 percent, from $4,059 in 2002 to $5,534 last year.


Smoke in cabin forces plane to land

A Delta Airlines flight from New York to Seattle made an emergency landing in Chicago late Friday after the pilot reported smoke in the plane’s cabin, an airline spokesman said.

Delta flight 597 was carrying 181 passengers and crew members when it landed at O’Hare International Airport about 10 p.m.

Mechanics at O’Hare were inspecting the Boeing 757 to determine the problem. Passengers were to be flown to Seattle early today aboard a different plane.


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