Hundreds of U.S. flights canceled after air traffic coronavirus cases

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. airlines have canceled hundreds of flights at three major U.S. airports this week after a series of coronavirus cases involving air traffic control personnel.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily closed the air traffic control tower at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York early Friday before reopening it around 11:30 a.m. ET (1530 GMT). The FAA also shuttered part of the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center for cleaning after workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

The FAA said a technician at JFK had tested positive and air traffic controllers had been operating earlier from an alternate location on airport property.

American Airlines Group Inc <AAL.O> said it canceled 20 of its 68 scheduled departures from JFK on Friday due to a reduced incoming arrival rate after traffic control was shifted to the other location.

In Indiana, after an air traffic control supervisor tested positive, the FAA vacated work areas at the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control and flights through the airspace handled by those sectors were rerouted.

Air traffic control towers remain closed at Chicago Midway and Las Vegas airports after other coronavirus cases were reported earlier this week.

Airlines have canceled more than 700 flights on Thursday and Friday at Las Vegas and more than 800 over the last two days at Midway, according to flightaware.com.

Southwest Airlines <LUV.N> has resumed operations in Chicago after canceling more than 200 flights on Thursday. The airline said it had also canceled another 150 flights at Chicago and more than 165 flights at Las Vegas airport on Friday.

On Thursday, the FAA placed a temporary flight restriction over Midway to allow only commercial flights and other authorized flights after a number of local private pilots began using the airport for touch-and-go landing practice.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Chris Reese and Richard Chang)

Emirates plane quarantined in New York with sick passengers: airline

The emergency services are seen, after the passengers were taken ill on a flight from New York to Dubai, on JFK Airport, New York, U.S., September 05, 2018 in this still image obtained from from social media. Larry Coben/via REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Emirates airline flight from Dubai was quarantined at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning after passengers became ill during the flight, the airline and New York news media said.

Emirates flight 203, a double-deck Airbus A388 carrying about 500 passengers, landed shortly after 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), according to an airlines spokeswoman.

The emergency services are seen, after the passengers were taken ill on a flight from New York to Dubai, on JFK Airport, New York, U.S., September 05, 2018 in this still image obtained from from social media. Larry Coben/via REUTERS

The emergency services are seen, after the passengers were taken ill on a flight from New York to Dubai, on JFK Airport, New York, U.S., September 05, 2018 in this still image obtained from from social media. Larry Coben/via REUTERS

The spokeswoman said 10 passengers fell ill on the flight from Dubai to New York. New York media outlets had earlier put the number at about 100 passengers.

“Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on board flight EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill,” the spokeswoman said. “On arrival at JFK, as a precaution, they were immediately checked by local health authorities and those needing medical attention will be attended to.” She said all other passengers would be allowed to leave the plane shortly.

Officials from the Port Authority Police Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were on scene, according to news station WNBC, but did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The mayor’s office also did not respond to requests for comment.

Larry Cohen, who identified himself as one of the passengers aboard the plane, uploaded photos on Twitter showing dozens of police and emergency vehicles waiting outside the plane on the tarmac.

“All we have been told is that there are some sick passengers and that we need to remain on board,” Cohen told Reuters via Twitter messaging.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

New York City’s JFK Airport temporarily closed due to snowstorm: FAA

People are seen in silhouette inside the Trans World Airlines Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport in the Queens borough of New York, October 18, 2015.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport was temporarily closed on Thursday due to heavy snow, ice and harsh winds in the area, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport, which suspended operations shortly before 11 a.m. local time (1600 GMT), was expected to reopen at 3 p.m. (200 GMT), FAA officials said.

(Reporting by Gina CherelusEditing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Trump releases some JFK files, blocks others under pressure

Trump releases some JFK files, blocks others under pressure

By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the unveiling of 2,800 documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy but yielded to pressure from the FBI and CIA to block the release of other records to be reviewed further.

Congress had ordered in 1992 that all remaining sealed files pertaining to the investigation into Kennedy’s death should be fully opened to the public through the National Archives in 25 years, by Oct. 26, 2017, except for those the president authorized for further withholding.

Trump had confirmed on Saturday that he would allow for the release of the final batch of once-classified records, amounting to tens of thousands of pages, “subject to the receipt of further information.”

But as the deadline neared, the administration decided at the last minute to stagger the final release over the next 180 days while government agencies studied whether any documents should stay sealed or redacted.

The law allows the president to keep material under wraps if it is determined that harm to intelligence operations, national defense, law enforcement or the conduct of foreign relations would outweigh the public’s interest in full disclosure.

More than 2,800 uncensored documents were posted immediately to the National Archives website on Thursday evening – a staggering, disparate cache that news outlets began poring through seeking new insights into a tragedy that has been endlessly dissected for decades by investigators, scholars and conspiracy theorists.

The rest will be released “on a rolling basis,” with “redactions in only the rarest of circumstances,” by the end of the review on April 26, 2018, the White House said in a statement.

In a memo to government agency heads, Trump said the American people deserved as much access as possible to the records.

“Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted,” he wrote, adding that he had no choice but to accept the requested redactions for now.

A Central Intelligence Agency spokesman told Reuters that every single one of approximately 18,000 remaining CIA records in the collection would ultimately be released, with just 1 percent of the material left redacted.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was a lead advocate in arguing to the White House for keeping some materials secret, one senior administration official said.

While Kennedy was killed over half a century ago, the document file included material from investigations during the 1970s through the 1990s. Intelligence and law enforcement officials argued their release could thus put at risk some more recent “law enforcement equities” and other materials that still have relevance, the official said.

Trump was resistant but “acceded to it with deep insistence that this stuff is going to be reviewed and released in the next six months,” the official added.

QUELLING CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

Academics who have studied Kennedy’s slaying on Nov. 22, 1963, said they expected nothing in the final batch of files would alter the official conclusion of investigators that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin who fired on the president’s open limousine that day in Dallas from an upper window of the Texas Book Depository building overlooking the motorcade route.

They likewise anticipated that the latest releases would do little to quell long-held conspiracy theories that the 46-year-old Democratic president’s killing was organized by the Mafia, by Cuba, or a cabal of rogue agents.

Of the roughly 5 million pages of JFK assassination-related records held by the National Archives, 88 percent have been available to the public without restriction since the late 1990s, and 11 percent more have been released with sensitive portions redacted. Only about 1 percent have remain withheld in full, according to the National Archives.

Thousands of books, articles, TV shows and films have explored the idea that Kennedy’s assassination was the result of an elaborate conspiracy. None have produced conclusive proof that Oswald, who was fatally shot by a nightclub owner two days after killing Kennedy, worked with anyone else, although they retain a powerful cultural currency.

“My students are really skeptical that Oswald was the lone assassin,” said Patrick Maney, a professor of history at Boston College. “It’s hard to get our minds around this, that someone like a loner, a loser, could on his own have murdered Kennedy and changed the course of world history. But that’s where the evidence is.”

Kennedy’s assassination was the first in a string of politically motivated killings, including those of his brother Robert F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., that stunned the United States during the turbulent 1960s. He remains one of the most admired U.S. presidents.

(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Peter Cooney and Michael Perry)

Final trove of documents to offer new details on JFK assassination

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas less than an hour before his assassination in this November 22, 1963 photo by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton obtained from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. JFK Library/The White House/Cecil Stoughton/File Photo via REUTERS

By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) – More than half a century after U.S. President John F. Kennedy was struck down by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas, the United States is due on Thursday to release the final files on the investigation into the killing that rattled a nation.

Academics who have studied Kennedy’s slaying on Nov. 22, 1963, said they expected the final batch of files to offer no major new details on why Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down the first and only Irish-American Roman Catholic to hold the office.

They also feared that the final batch of more than 5 million total pages on the Kennedy assassination held in the National Archives will do little to quell long-held conspiracy theories that the 46-year-old president’s killing was organized by the Mafia, by Cuba, or a cabal of rogue agents.

Thousands of books, articles, TV shows and films have explored the idea that Kennedy’s assassination was the result of an elaborate conspiracy. None have produced conclusive proof that Oswald, who was shot dead a day after killing Kennedy, worked with anyone else, though they retain a powerful cultural currency.

“My students are really skeptical that Oswald was the lone assassin,” said Patrick Maney, a professor of history at Boston College. “It’s hard to get our minds around this, that someone like a loner, a loser, could on his own have murdered Kennedy and changed the course of world history. But that’s where the evidence is.”

In 1992, Congress ordered that all records relating to the investigation into Kennedy’s death should be open to the public, and set a final deadline of Oct. 26, 2017 for the entire set to be made public.

President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that he would allow the documents to be made public.

The documents to be released on Thursday will likely focus on efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine what contact Oswald had with spies from Cuba and the former Soviet Union on a trip to Mexico City in September 1963, experts said.

“There was a real concern that Oswald was maybe in league with the Soviet Union,” Maney said.

Kennedy’s assassination was the first in a string of politically motivated killings, including those of his brother Robert F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., that stunned the United States during the turbulent 1960s. He remains one of the most admired U.S. presidents.

(Reporting by Scott Malone)

Trump to release JFK files, subject to ‘further information’

Roses lie on a marker outside the home where President John F. Kennedy was born 100 years ago on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S., May 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that, subject to receipt of further information, he planned to allow the opening of long-secret files on the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are scheduled for release next week.

Politico magazine earlier quoted Trump administration and other U.S. government officials as saying the president would almost certainly block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files, which the U.S. National Archives is due to make public by an Oct. 26 deadline. (http://politi.co/2yGjMtr)

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump said in a tweet.

The Nov. 22 1963 assassination cut short “Camelot,” as the 1,000 days of the Kennedy presidency became known. Kennedy was 46 when he died and remains one of the most admired U.S. presidents.

Thousands of books, articles, TV shows, movies and documentaries have been produced about the assassination and surveys have shown that a majority of Americans still distrust official evidence that points to Lee Harvey Oswald as the sole killer.

Despite serious questions about the official inquest, and theories purporting that organized crime, Cuba or a cabal of U.S. security agents was involved, conspiracy theorists have yet to produce conclusive proof that Oswald acted in consort with anyone.

Over the years, the National Archives has released most documents related to the case, but a final batch remains and only Trump has the authority to decide whether some should continue to be withheld or released in redacted form.

The Washington Post and other media have quoted officials as saying that government agencies have lobbied Trump to withhold some of the documents, arguing that some of the more recent files could expose relatively recent intelligence and law enforcement operations.

Saturday’s Washington Post said Kennedy assassination experts do not think the last batch of papers contains any major bombshells, but may shed light on the activities of Oswald while he was traveling in Mexico City in late September 1963, and courting Cuban and Soviet spies.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Nick Zieminski)

U.S. To Funnel Travelers From Ebola Countries Through Five Airports

The United States will force all flights from countries that have Ebola outbreaks to five airports to allow more through screening for the virus.

Anyone flying into the U.S. from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will now have to travel through JFK in New York, Newark in New Jersey, Dulles in Washington, D.C., Atlanta or Chicago.  The move goes into effect immediately according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.”

Johnson said that 94% of passengers from those areas reportedly already come through those airports, so it should have minimal impact on the worldwide airline flight schedules.

“We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days,” Johnson said.

A Washington-based travel group told Reuters that an average of 150 per day come into the U.S. from those countries.