Fuel leak is latest setback
for Boeing 787
Boeing’s newest and most sophisticated jet, the 787 Dreamliner, suffered a new mishap on Tuesday when a fuel leak forced an aircraft to return to its gate minutes before taking off from Boston, a day after an electrical fire broke out on another plane.
The events were the latest in a series of problems with the 787, which entered commercial service in November 2011 and has been hit by technical and electric glitches since then. Boeing delivered 46 planes last year, more than any analyst had predicted, and has outlined ambitious plans to double its production rate to 10 planes a month by the end of this year.
Much rides on the success of the 787 for Boeing, which expects to sell 5,000 of the planes in the next 20 years. The basic model has a list price of $206.8 million but early customers typically receive
The 787 makes extensive use of new technology, including a bigger reliance on electrical systems, and is built mostly out of lightweight carbon composite materials. While the problems so far do not point to serious design problems with the airplane, they represent an embarrassment to Boeing’s manufacturing ability.
The flight with 178 passengers and 11 crew members, initially scheduled to take off at noon, eventually left Boston at 3:47 p.m.
—Jad Mouawad, The New York Times
Growth of health spending
WASHINGTON — National health spending climbed to $2.7 trillion in 2011, or an average of $8,700 for every person in the country, but as a share of the economy, it remained stable for the third consecutive year, the Obama administration said Monday.
The rate of increase in health spending, 3.9 percent in 2011, was the same as in 2009 and 2010 — the lowest annual rates recorded in the 52 years the government has been collecting such data.
Federal officials could not say for sure whether the low growth in health spending represented the start of a trend or reflected the continuing effects of the recession, which crimped the economy from December 2007 to June 2009.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said “the statistics show how the Affordable Care Act is already making a difference,” saving money for consumers. But a report issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in her department, said the law had so far had “no discernible impact” on overall health spending.
The report did not forecast the effects of the new health care law on future spending. Some provisions of the law, including subsidized insurance for millions of Americans, could increase spending, officials said. But the law also trims Medicare payments to many health care providers and authorizes experiments to slow the growth of health spending.
—Robert Pear, The New York Times
Theater shooting suspect set trap to divert police, FBI says
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — If all had gone according to James E. Holmes’ plan, someone would have tripped the labyrinthine nest of explosives he had woven around his apartment, luring the police from the Aurora movie theater where he is accused of opening fire in July, an FBI agent testified Tuesday.
When the police entered the apartment after the shooting, they found a virtual death trap. A trip wire skirted five feet from the door to a thermos filled with glycerin, which tilted precariously over a pan containing another substance that could have caught fire, said Garrett
Three jars of homemade napalm had been placed around the apartment. Firework shells filled with smokeless powder and gasoline littered the floor. The carpet was drenched with gasoline and oil, the agent testified.
“He said he had rigged his apartment to explode or catch fire in order to send resources to the apartment,” Gumbinner said.
According to testimony Tuesday, Holmes told the police he had timed his computer to blare music, hoping to draw someone inside his home, thereby detonating the explosives.
On Tuesday, Daniel King, one of Holmes’ public defenders, intimated yet again that he would pursue an insanity defense.
—Dan Frosch, The New York Times
British soldier killed
KABUL, Afghanistan — A British soldier who was helping to build new quarters for the Afghan National Army at a small base in southern Afghanistan was fatally shot by an Afghan soldier in the first insider attack of 2013, military officials said on Tuesday.
The attacker, who struck on Monday evening, also shot and wounded six other British soldiers in the engineering regiment, three of them seriously, before being killed, Afghan and British officials said.
During the attack, which occurred at Camp Hazrat, a joint patrol base in the Nahr-e-Seraj District of Helmand province, several Afghan soldiers were also shot at but were not wounded, said Maj. Gen. Sayed Maluk, the commanding general of the Afghan army’s 215 Corps, in a statement to the British Forces Broadcasting Service, an arm of the British Defense Ministry.
Maluk said the Afghan army was doing everything it could to prevent such attacks. Until 2011, insider attacks, also known as “green on blue” attacks, were a relatively minor problem for the Western military forces in Afghanistan. But last year, 62 international troops and civilian contractors died in attacks by Afghan forces. Two additional attacks are still under investigation.
Many in the military see the escalation as a game changer that requires Western troops to stay at arm’s length from the Afghans they are supposed to be training and mentoring.
—Alissa J. Rubin and Taimoor Shah, The New York Times