MIAMI: The international airport in Miami has been forced to shut down one of its terminals early for three days due to a shortage of security agents sparked by the partial US government shutdown now in its 21st day.
From Saturday through Monday, Terminal G — one of six at the airport — will close at 1:00 pm (1800 GMT).
“Flights that were previously scheduled to depart from Concourse G this Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be relocated either to Concourse F or Concourse H,” airport spokesman Greg Chin told media.
At issue is a lack of agents from the US Transportation Security Administration, who are seen as “essential” federal workers and hence are still on the job — but without pay until the shutdown ends.
Agents are reportedly staging “sickouts” — calling in sick in a silent protest at their situation.
According to The Miami Herald, absenteeism among the Miami airport agents has more than doubled since the shutdown began.
“Right now, there’s approximately some 40 employees that are calling in sick from TSA,” meaning that “this terminal doesn’t have the manpower to accommodate all the passengers,” airport spokesman Jack Varela told media.
“The airport, the airlines, TSA, customs we are all doing everything possible to make the passengers happy,” Varela said.
Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson, the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the TSA chief in a letter this week that it was “only reasonable to expect officer call outs and resignations to increase the longer the shutdown lasts.”
“No employee can be expected to work indefinitely without pay,” Thompson said.
Top diplomats of S.Korea, U.S. hold phone talks ahead of Trump’s visit to Seoul
SEOUL: The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States held phone talks ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Seoul later this month, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Monday.
During her visit to Russia on Sunday night (Moscow time), South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha talked on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Trump’s visit to Seoul and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry said in a statement.
Trump was scheduled to visit Seoul on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29.
During the 15-minute dialogue, Kang and Pompeo shared the view that Trump’s trip to South Korea will be a crucial opportunity to discuss ways on the complete denuclearization of and the settlement of permanent peace on the peninsula.
Trump’s Seoul visit would come since the denuclearization talks between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States have been stalled after the second summit between top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and Trump, which ended with no agreement in late February in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.
Kang and Pompeo agreed to continue close consultations on the peninsula issues, sharing the need for consultations on situations in the Middle East, including the recent attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
The South Korean foreigner minister has been in Moscow for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
Boeing’s embattled chief faces tough crowd at Paris Air Show
PARIS: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg will have his work cut out for him at the Paris Air Show this week as he tries to reassure airlines and industry partners over the fate of its flagship 737 MAX plane, indefinitely grounded after two fatal crashes.
Aviation regulators meeting last month were unable to determine when the popular jet might again be allowed to fly, causing costly headaches for airlines worldwide.
“An air show is a good opportunity to connect with customers, suppliers and fellow aerospace manufacturers to strengthen our partnerships and drive industry safety,” Muilenburg posted on Twitter over the weekend.
He has already apologised and vowed to come up with a fix for the 737 MAX’s automated anti-stall system, blamed for an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March and an Indonesian Lion Air crash in October, which together claimed 346 lives.
But in comments to journalists later Sunday he acknowledged the work they still had to do.
“We have work to do to win and regain the trust of the public,” said Muilenburg.
“We come to this salon focussed on safety. We come with a sense of humility and learning, still confident in our market — but it’s a humble confidence.”
But reports that US safety regulators may have let Boeing engineers self-certify some of the plane’s equipment have battered confidence in the company.
“It’s had a very clear impact on Boeing’s brand and reputation,” said Pascal Fabre at the consulting firm Alix Partners.
The crisis has also rattled pilots as well as national aviation regulators who worry about a lack of sufficient oversight at the American heavyweight.
And on the financial front, it could provide an opening for archrival Airbus to win over new customers for its own A320 family of single-aisle jets, which constitute by far the biggest share of airlines’ fleets.
Trump to launch 2020 campaign in retiree-friendly Florida
WASHINGTON: Ronald, Don and John are living the good life in this haven of Republican retirees in Florida, a city designed for the aging, with paths everywhere for golf carts and where residents have plenty of time to campaign for their president, Donald Trump.
The Villages is a pleasant, immaculately clean, fast-growing retirement town in central Florida. The average age of its 75,000 inhabitants is 71. Some two-thirds are Republican.
One afternoon not long ago five retirees all wearing Trump pins reviewed lists of recent arrivals in the city in order to send them invitations to join Republican-affiliated clubs.
An hour’s drive to the south, in Orlando, the US president will be formally launching his re-election campaign on Tuesday.
“We’re very proud,” Ronald McMahan, vice president of one of the clubs,said. “We’re proud to be Republicans, we’re proud to be with other Republicans and very proud that Mr. Trump has chosen to open his campaign here.”
Trump’s choice of Florida was no accident. If he is to win a second term in the White House in 2020, he will have to win in Florida again.
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