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From the Los Angeles Times by Patrick McGreevy.

SACRAMENTO — California auditors investigating dozens of whistleblower complaints against state agencies have found more than $800,000 in inappropriate expenditures and millions of dollars more that the state will wastefully spend unless it takes corrective action, according to a report released Thursday.
The investigations during the first half of 2020 substantiated nine allegations involving several state agencies, including the California Department of Veterans Affairs, where a senior executive or his designee improperly approved 10 emergency contracts that totaled nearly $628,000 under circumstances that did not qualify as emergencies.
“The most egregious example involved nearly $187,000 CalVet spent on renovations of two employee housing units for administrators,” the audit said.
The report did not identify those who approved and benefited from the renovations at the Yountville Veterans Home, but said the actions circumvented competitive bidding requirements aimed at saving taxpayer money. In response to the auditor’s findings, the secretary of CalVet admonished two senior executives through written memoranda to abide by state contracting procedures.
California State Auditor Elaine Howle releases at least two reports each year on the findings of investigations into whistleblower complaints provided to her office.
Her office initiated investigations for 34 cases and notified other agencies of concerning information regarding 89 cases so they could investigate the matters further.
“Our investigations found wasteful and improper personnel decisions, improper contracting, a conflict of interest, misuse of state resources, and dishonesty,” Howle wrote in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature on Thursday.
The auditor’s report faulted the Department of State Hospitals for improperly providing 17 tele-psychiatrists with extra retirement benefits meant for workers who are exposed to a risk of physical injury because of their regular and substantial contact with incarcerated patients.
The psychiatrists do not have regular, substantial, in‑person contact with patients, auditors said.
“We estimate that this decision will result in millions of dollars in overpaid retirement benefits if left uncorrected,” Howle’s report said.
The department agreed to take corrective action by asking the state personnel agency to determine whether tele-psychiatrists met the criteria for safety retirement benefits. The department is awaiting a decision but says taking the benefits away may hamper recruitment, the report said.
The auditor’s report also said a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had a conflict of interest because he participated in making a $100,000 contract with a construction company that employed his wife and was owned by his wife’s family.
“The battalion chief’s superiors knowingly allowed the conflict to occur,” Howle wrote.
Among other findings, auditors also found that six employees in a Caltrans maintenance office improperly used state vehicles to commute to and from work at a cost of $22,000.
All of the state agencies have 60 days to report to Howle on any disciplinary and corrective actions they take.

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 2020-10-29 22:55:59
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Hi all Mark&Rise users ! Sorry for your profile pictures, they have disappeared or have been corrupted 😮. There's a kind of #bug we're trying to solve. But you can anyway upload a new one ☝ to fix this trouble. Sorry for the disturbance 😬🙏

#marknrise #markandrise #marknriseteam #newProfilePic

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 2020-10-29 21:44:40
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New York | American Airlines plans to return to service at the end of the year the 737 MAX, Boeing's flagship aircraft which is still awaiting clearance from authorities to fly after two crashes that killed 346 people.

Return to the skies "remains entirely dependent on the re-certification process of the FAA," the US aviation agency says

But "to make sure American is ready to fly the 737 MAX once the aircraft is certified, our crew members need to be able to plan their schedules," the company adds.

American therefore plans to fly the aircraft once a day between December 29 and January 4, on routes between Miami and New York.

Tickets for these flights will be open for booking on October 24: customers will be warned that they will be flying a 737 MAX.

Looking ahead, American continues to assess the situation.

"We are staying in touch with the FAA and Boeing on the certification process," said the airline company.

There are still several steps to be taken before the FAA rescinds the ground order for the 737 MAX, which has been banned from flying worldwide since mid-March 2019 after two crashes that killed 346 people.

Companies will then have to implement a training program for their own pilots before the aircraft can return to service.

In particular, the FAA published in early October the proposals it recommends for the training of pilots who will take control of the 737 MAX. These measures are open for public comment until November 2.

The FAA refuses to put forward a timeline for the future.

The head of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Patrick Ky, for his part stressed last week that the organization could officially give the green light to the return to service of the 737 MAX before the end of the year.

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 2020-10-22 01:27:30
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Coronavirus in the United States: 37 people infected at a party in New York.
After a birthday party in New York City, 37 people were infected and 270 forced into self-isolation. A school was also closed.
Faced with the coronavirus, contact must be limited. In New York, in the United States, a birthday party proved it again. On September 25, more than 80 people partied at the Miller Place Inn, a hotel specializing in hosting parties and weddings. Result: 37 people infected, and 270 forced to self-isolate.

In New York, gatherings of more than 50 people are however prohibited. The state governor spoke of a "super-contaminating" event, reports The New York Times.

According to the American daily, it was a 16th anniversary, an event called "Sweet 16" in the United States. The bosses of the hotel declined to comment on the case, but their lawyer assures that they spent more than 10,000 dollars to put in place health protection measures.

After the birthday party, the virus spread to the county, support local authorities, who decided to close a school because of the increase in the number of coronavirus cases.


#Coronavirus #covid19

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 2020-10-17 03:05:28
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After playing Gabriella Dawson during the six seasons of the Chicago Fire series (broadcast on NBC in the US), actress Monica Raymund is retiring. The latter announced it to her fans via a message posted on her Twitter account.
“It was an honor to play Dawson in Chicago Fire and one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I am so grateful to those who made it possible for me to experience it and especially to all of you for watching the series, but I made the decision that it was time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I will always be proud to have played in a paramedical series with an incredible cast and team, "she said. written.
© Chris Haston

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 2020-10-13 20:20:09
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