National News

National News at a Glance

Posted December 17, 2017 10:04 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2017 10:05 p.m. EST

Power Failure at Atlanta Airport Snarls Air Traffic Nationwide

A power failure at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday disrupted operations at the busiest airport in the world, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,100 departing or arriving flights and stranding travelers on planes on the tarmac for hours, the authorities and passengers said. The power failure sent a ripple of disruptions across the country, affecting flights in Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Airlines canceled more than 1,100 flights into or out of Atlanta, according to FlightAware, the flight data website. That figure accounted for more than 90 percent of the cancellations in the U.S.

EPA Employees Spoke Out. Then Came Scrutiny of Their Email.

One Environmental Protection Agency employee spoke up at a private lunch, saying she feared the nation might be headed toward an “environmental catastrophe.” Another staff member sent a letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, raising similar concerns. A third went to a rally where he protested budget cuts. Federal records show that within a matter of days, requests were submitted for copies of emails written by each employee that mentioned either Pruitt or President Donald Trump. Now, a company affiliated with a Republican campaign research group has been hired by the EPA to provide “media monitoring.”

John McCain, Fighting Brain Cancer, Likely to Miss Vote on Tax Overhaul

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is battling brain cancer, appears likely to miss the Senate’s vote this week to approve a tax overhaul, though President Donald Trump said Sunday that the senator would return if his vote is needed. The president indicated that McCain, who had been hospitalized, was returning home to Arizona. On Sunday, McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter, “My father is doing well and we are all looking forward to spending Christmas together in Arizona.” McCain disclosed in July that he had an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Small Gesture at a Time

Tito El Bambino, one of Puerto Rico’s best known reggaeton singers, picked up the donated cases of water and bags of food, hugged Rosa Torres Rental, 70, and walked up the stairs of her flooded-out duplex. After Hurricane Maria steamrollered Puerto Rico in late September, the day-to-day task of looking after each other and digging out from the storm has fallen largely to Puerto Ricans, and most have done so with intimate gestures of compassion and solidarity. “A hug is sometimes worth more than a can of sausages,” said Pirulo, a well-known salsa musician who is also helping with relief.

Matt Damon Draws Rebukes for Comments on the #MeToo Movement

Actor Matt Damon waded into the national conversation about sexual assault on Thursday, observing that men are being lumped into “one big bucket” when in reality there is a “spectrum of behavior." “You know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he told Peter Travers of ABC. Many women, including actress Alyssa Milano, rejected attempts to categorize various forms of sexual misconduct. "They all hurt,” Milano wrote on Twitter on Friday. “And they are all connected to a patriarchy intertwined with normalized, accepted — even welcomed — misogyny.”

Cooperation Fraying Between White House and Special Counsel

A lawyer for President Donald Trump has accused the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, of improperly obtaining emails and other records from Trump’s transition team, the latest in the mounting attacks by the president and his surrogates on Mueller’s investigation. The lawyer said in a letter to Congress on Saturday that the General Services Administration, the government agency that possessed the transition team’s emails, had handed over the materials to Mueller’s investigators in August without allowing lawyers for the transition team to review them. The documents, the lawyer argued, should have been shielded by various privileges, like attorney-client privilege.