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News Wrap: Head of FAA takes test flight on Boeing’s 737 Max

In our news wrap Wednesday, Boeing’s 737 Max jetliner is a step closer to returning to the air after two deadly crashes that killed nearly 350 people. Steve Dickson, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, took a two-hour evaluation flight near Seattle and reported progress. Also, Australian-born singer Helen Reddy, known for the feminist anthem "I Am Woman," died in Los Angeles at age 78.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A federal appeals court in Wisconsin refused to suspend a ruling that lets absentee ballots be counted up to six days after the election.

    Meanwhile, a federal judge in Indiana struck down a state law that said mail-in ballots must be received by noon on Election Day.

    And the elections chief in Pennsylvania reported that the discarding of nine military ballots was a mistake, not intentional fraud. President Trump has repeatedly mentioned the incident.

    Former FBI Director James Comey faced a new grilling today at a Senate hearing on the Trump-Russia investigation. Republicans pointed to problems with applications for permission to eavesdrop on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. Comey said he was not responsible for every detail in the applications. And he defended the broader investigation.

    Republican Lindsey Graham sharply disagreed.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:

    To my Democratic friends, if it happened to us, it could happen to you. Every American should be worried about this. This is not just an abuse of power against Mr. Page and the Trump campaign. This is a system failure, and you could be next.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A Justice Department inspector general has found no evidence of partisan bias in the investigation.

    In India, a court today acquitted all 32 people accused in a 1992 attack that destroyed a historic mosque. The structure dated to the 16th century. Its demolition sparked a wave of Hindu-Muslim violence that left some 2,000 people dead. Hindu nationalist leaders were accused of inciting the violence. Muslim organizations said they will challenge the verdict.

    Back in this country, a federal judge in California has blocked fee increases for citizenship, asylum and related procedures. The judge found, in part, that the hikes cannot be enforced because they were issued by an acting secretary of homeland security who was illegally promoted.

    That official, Chad Wolf, won a Senate committee's endorsement today as permanent secretary. His nomination now goes to the full Senate.

    Boeing's 737 MAX jetliner is a big step closer to getting back in the air. Hundreds of the planes have been grounded worldwide since March of 2019, after two crashes that killed nearly 350 people.

    Today, Steve Dickson, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, took a two-hour evaluation flight near Seattle and reported progress.

  • Stephen Dickson:

    We're going to make sure that the process is completed correctly. That's in everyone's best interest. We will be demanding on those that we regulate, but we will be fair.

    I completed a number of test profiles today to examine the functionality of the aircraft, and I liked what I saw.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The FAA itself has come under criticism for oversight failures. Today, a U.S. House committee unanimously approved reforms to the agency's certification process.

    The Senate this evening has given final approval to a bill funding federal government operations into December. That averts a government shutdown at midnight. It also means that Congress must return in a lame-duck session after the election to pass a new funding bill.

    Wall Street finished out a tough month of September with a rally today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 329 points, to close at 27781. The Nasdaq rose 82 points, and the S&P 500 added 27. But, for the month, the Dow was down 2 percent, the S&P fell 4 percent, and the Nasdaq lost 5 percent.

    And Australian-born singer Helen Reddy has died in Los Angeles. She gained global fame in the 1970s with the feminist anthem "I Am Woman," and she scored a string of other top 40 hits as well. Helen Reddy was 78 years old.

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