That’s a big glitch. A United Airlines spokeswoman says “all domestic mainline flights” — meaning those operated by United and not a subsidiary — are being kept out of the air due to “an IT issue.” A computer problem also grounded United planes for hours in October because of what was later revealed to be an error with the weight reporting system.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re grabbing back. An estimated three million people protested across the U.S. to express their dismay with President Donald Trump, leading demonstrations in cities around the world against a man they fear will roll back decades of progress in gender equality. An estimated half-million people took part in the Women’s March on Washington, which attracted celebrities like Alicia Keys, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Madonna, who said women had awakened in “horrific moment of darkness.” With the lowest favorability ratings of any incoming president in decades, it’s clear that Trump shouldn’t expect a honeymoon.
Can he repeat it often enough? In his first weekend in office, President Trump inflated the size of his inaugural audience and called journalists “the most dishonest people on earth” for reporting — accurately — that Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural attendance was far greater. And his press secretary, Sean Spicer, avoided reporters’ questions while citing incorrect evidence, like D.C. subway usage, to support Trump’s claim. Trump also accused journalists of inventing his denigration of U.S. intelligence agencies, which he likened Jan. 11 to Nazis, suggesting his “running war with the media” is just warming up.
His administration is on the march. Hours after President Donald Trump took the oath of office Friday, he signed an order to “ease the burden” of Obamacare — allowing officials to ignore the mandate for individuals to buy insurance — ahead of Congressional repeal efforts. The Senate confirmed retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon and retired Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and both were sworn in. Meanwhile, police arrested 217 protesters in D.C. as a limo went up in flames and more marchers prepared for Saturday’s women’s demonstration.
They’d like to make the Continent great again. Germany’s burgeoning Alternative für Deutschland hosted fellow populist party leaders from France, the Netherlands and Italy Saturday — in Donald Trump’s inaugural afterglow — to showcase shared opposition to immigration, Islam and the “EU’s straightjacket,” as an aide to French National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called it. The Koblenz meeting was Le Pen’s first with AfD head Frauke Petry, whose colleague Björn Höcke this week condemned national hand-wringing for Nazi atrocities — a shift not lost on hundreds of anti-summit demonstrators.
He’s hope and change, with une petite difference. Formerly the economy minister in the ruling Socialist government, Macron, 39, is now running for president of a deeply polarized republic without major party backing. But he’s gaining steam as France springs into national elections — attracting those who distrust politics as usual, but are repelled by ultranationalist Marine Le Pen. What he’ll do with it, critics say, still isn’t clear, but vitality and a pro-European stance in the face of increasing isolationism may rocket him to success with younger voters.
Call me, maybe. Thousands of Americanized deportees are staffing call centers in El Salvador, where their English skills are useful — an unlikely economic quirk of the Obama administration’s record number of deportations. Convicted criminals were most heavily targeted, and rival Los Angeles gang members sport the same colors at a company nicknamed “homieland.” Fresh deportados are desperate and loyal, recruited as soon as the immigration jet drops them off. Then they’re handling hotel reservations or tech queries while forced to navigate the mortal danger of local gangs that make L.A. look civilized.
Know This: Tornadoes have killed 15 people in Georgia and Mississippi this weekend. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake has struck the Solomon Islands, but it did not cause a tsunami. And Mexico’s president will be among the first foreign heads-of-state to visit President Trump this month.
Suss This: A bust of Winston Churchill has returned to the Oval Office, having been given to George W. Bush and removed by Barack Obama, purportedly to make room for Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abe Lincoln.
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Blue bloods, meet the upstarts. New England reached its seventh Super Bowl in the Bill Belichick era with its 36-17 stomping of Pittsburgh last night, as quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Chris Hogan penetrated a somewhat oxidized Steel Curtain. Championship-starved Atlanta staged a jubilant final game in the Georgia Dome as the Falcons dismantled Green Bay 44-21, with quarterback Matt Ryan overcoming a postseason malaise. The Feb. 5 matchup for the Lombardi Trophy will be the Falcons’ second Super Bowl, having lost their first to Denver 18 years ago.
She was ready to fight for the Battle Born State. A lot of the credit for Democrats locking down Nevada in November goes to Yvanna Cancela, the state’s first Latina state senator. Cancela, 29, organized 57,000 members of the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, favoring personal interaction over advertising to foment groundbreaking political action. With a career that’s revolved around fighting Donald Trump, including a much-heralded taco truck protest at the Trump International Hotel, Cancela’s experience is seen as a salve for the future of a wounded Democratic Party.
The numbers no longer add up. In the post-fact era, statistics have lost their value — and that has potentially dire consequences for democracy. It might seem simple that charts and tables guide debate and decision-making. But when 68 percent of Trump supporters distrust government financial data, and Brits scoff at the economic benefits of immigration, political discourse becomes less about facts and more about impressions. On the other hand, political organizations and corporations take the public’s data very seriously, and increasingly use those stats to mold and exploit our opinions.
It’s a shot in the arm. Bill Gates is injecting $100 million into a new $500 million global alliance to fight what he told world leaders Wednesday is “the most likely” cause of “10 million excess deaths.” The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations aims to stimulate pharma companies to tackle major killers anticipated by the WHO: MERS, Lassa fever and Nipah. Pre-catastrophe animal and human trials will speed vaccine development — and hopefully improve on the two-year lag that followed the Ebola outbreak — while devising scientific weapons against unknown threats.
The problem had nothing to do with the solution. Oscar contender Hidden Figures uses numbers as a great social equalizer, asking viewers to do the math on historical discrimination. It tells the story of Black women “calculators” who helped NASA determine flight trajectories for getting humans into space and back. In a field where the ability to do great work is all that matters — even in a racist era — numbers become the instrument that quietly advances the civil rights movement while expanding mankind’s knowledge of the cosmos.
Is the process tainted? A trove of pilfered documents from the U.S. and world anti-doping agencies may suggest as much. In December, the information was provided to Der Spiegel by the Fancy Bears, hackers American intelligence agencies have linked to the Kremlin. They mention multiple instances of Olympic athletes escaping scrutiny — including Rio medalists such as Bahamian runner Shaunae Miller — while no U.S. stars were disqualified. But the motive for the release could well be to cast doubt on all doping accusations, such those fingering Russia’s highest sporting authorities.