National News at a Glance
Posted January 6, 2018 9:00 p.m. EST
JFK Airport Plagued by Delays After Winter Storm
Passengers at Kennedy International Airport in New York experienced long delays Saturday, two days after a storm blasted the Northeast with wind and snow. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the three major airports serving New York City, attributed the problem to “a backlog of flights that has resulted in a reduction in gate space.” The baggage claim area inside Terminal 4 around noon was a field of unclaimed luggage. Delays continued at other airports, including in Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, according to FlightAware.com, a website that tracks flights. Airlines canceled more than 4,300 flights Thursday, and more than 1,500 flights Friday.
California vs. Washington Pits One America Against Another
The growing divide between California and the Trump administration erupted last week over a range of flashpoints. Just as Californians were enjoying their first days of legal pot smoking, the administration moved to enforce federal laws against the drug. The U.S. government said it would expand offshore oil drilling, which California’s Senate leader called an assault on “our pristine coastline.” When President Donald Trump signed a law that would raise the tax bills of many Californians by restricting deductions, state lawmakers proposed a creative end-around — essentially making state taxes charitable contributions, and fully deductible. And California’s refusal to help U.S. agents deport undocumented immigrants prompted one administration official to suggest that state politicians should be arrested.
John Young, Who Led First Space Shuttle Mission, Dies at 87
John Young, who walked on the moon, commanded the first space shuttle mission and became the first person to fly in space six times, died Friday at his home in Houston. He was 87. Young joined NASA in the early years of manned spaceflight and was still flying, at 53, in the era of space shuttles. He was the only astronaut to fly in the Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programs. He was also chief of NASA’s astronauts office and an executive at the Johnson Space Center. Robert Crippen, who flew with Young on the first shuttle flight, called him an inspiration to astronauts, remarking, "If they have a hero, that hero is John Young.”
Southwest Airlines Settles Suit but Denies Colluding to Keep Ticket Prices High
A U.S. judge has approved a $15 million settlement between Southwest Airlines and members of a class-action lawsuit who allege that the company, along with three other airlines, conspired to limit the number of seats available to customers and keep ticket prices high. Southwest said the settlement “does not constitute any admission of wrongdoing” and denied having entered into any unlawful agreements with its competitors. The other three defendants, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, have also denied doing anything illegal, but they vowed to continue to fight the allegations.
Illinois Man Stops Sheltering Homeless People in His Basement After Order From City
A man from a Chicago suburb who opened his basement to homeless people on freezing nights last month has complied with a local government order to stop. “These people are my friends,” Greg Schiller, who works with the homeless community in Elgin, Illinois, told Chicago's AM 560 on Friday. Schiller called the gatherings “movie nights” and said he had offered hot drinks and snacks. At most, 15 people stayed, he said, adding that he remained up all night to supervise the gathering. But city officials said Friday that the arrangement was unlawful and a zoning and public safety issue, as well as a property maintenance issue.
A ‘Stable Genius’: Trump Declares He’s Mentally Fit
President Donald Trump, whose sometimes erratic behavior in office has generated debate about his mental health, declared Saturday that he was perfectly sane and accused critics of raising questions to score political points. On Twitter, Trump insisted that his opponents and the news media were attacking his capacity because they had failed to prove his campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. He said he was a “VERY successful businessman” and television star who won the presidency on his first try. “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!”
‘No Collusion,’ President Says
President Donald Trump insisted again Saturday that he was not under investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian influence on the 2016 election, adding that “there’s been no collusion, there’s been no crime.” Asked during a news conference at Camp David about a New York Times report that he had pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia inquiry, Trump said, “Everything I’ve done is 100 percent proper." The president said the Times article, which reported that Trump had sought to protect himself by keeping Sessions in charge of the investigation, was “off.”