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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Boeing Machinist approve contract extension

Monday, 24 February 2014 04:53 Published in Local News
   Boeing officials expect their new contract with machinists to help the aerospace company better compete for new business.  Members of Machinists District 837 approved a 7 1/2 year contract extension on Sunday.
   The new contract was approved by Boeing machinists Sunday.  It will buy out many veteran workers and cut pay for new hires brought in to replace them. Raises and benefits would also be locked in through mid 2022.
   Boeing officials have said the cut in expenses will allow assembly lines in St. Louis to remain more competitive beyond 2016, when the current F-18 Super Hornet order is due to be completed.  
   But some union members claim hundreds of older workers are being left out of the buyout, while having their pensions cut.  Paul Miller tells Fox 2 News that he's getting nothing from the new contract. "They got us broken up into three groups now," he said.  "And they're taking care of the new hires.  And they're taking care of the retirees.  But us group, the people that are here in middle, they're not taking care of us."
    Still, members of Machinists District 837 approved the contract extension with a nearly 3-1 margin. 
 
   The seat of justice in downtown St. Louis is also a cutting edge security system testing ground.  
   A pilot program approved by St. Louis judges in December is using facial recognition technology to spot individuals who are known threats before they can get past the front doors.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the courthouse is one of three downtown locations testing the new screening system developed by Blue Line Security Solutions, a group of current and former St. Louis police officers.  
   Other facial recognition systems snap pictures of everyone in camera range and try to ID them. The Blue Line system is loaded with images of specific people who've already been deemed a threat and then scans visitors looking for a match.  
   The St. Louis Circuit Court is testing the program for free.  The cost of using the system after the testing period is over has yet to be determined.  

Madoff's ex-secretary plans to testify at NY trial

Monday, 24 February 2014 01:46 Published in National News
   NEW YORK (AP) — Imprisoned Ponzi king Bernard Madoff's longtime secretary plans to defend herself from the witness stand at her trial on charges she aided the historic fraud, her lawyer says.
   Attorney Roland Riopelle told the trial judge in a letter Saturday that Annette Bongiorno expects to testify, though he noted that she could change her mind at the last minute. He notified the judge because Bongiorno's defense presentation is expected to begin Monday.
   It will follow several days of testimony by another defendant, Daniel Bonventre, Madoff's former director of operations. Bonventre, Bongiorno and three other Madoff ex-employees are accused of assisting Madoff in a fraud that cheated thousands of investors out of nearly $20 billion.
   The fraud was revealed in December 2008 when Madoff ran out of money and confessed that he had been running a Ponzi scheme for decades.
   The defendants say they were all duped by Madoff, just the same as federal regulators and sophisticated investors who say they had no idea he was operating a massive fraud.
   In his letter to the judge presiding over a trial that has lasted several months, Riopelle said he wanted to notify the court and other lawyers in the case that "Mrs. Bongiorno wishes to exercise her right to testify in her own defense."
   However, he added that his client "will reserve the right to change her mind any time before the end of her case, and I intend to call her as the last witness in her case. But her intention at present is to testify."
   Prosecutors have said fictitious trades and phantom accounts were created with help from Bongiorno, who was a supervisor in Madoff's private investment business.
   During his testimony, Bonventre said he was unaware of Madoff's crimes as they were happening. He said he ran the legitimate side of Madoff's business.

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