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U.S. temporarily bans larger electronics from cabins of certain flights

A temporary ban on carry-on electronics is set to take effect Tuesday on certain flights into the U.S., according to reporting from The Hill and supported by tweets posted by Royal Jordanian Airlines.

Those tweets have since been deleted but read, “Following instructions from the concerned U.S. departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited,” according to The Hill.

>> Read more trending news 

The ban will be formally announced Tuesday but is said to affect 13 countries for the next 96 hours and is a response to a specific intelligence threat, The Hill reported, citing Fox News. The ban reportedly has nothing to do with President Donald Trump’s travel ban, two versions of which have now been struck down by courts across the country.

Affected countries, airlines and flights are in the process of being informed, CNN reported. The ban reportedly applies to all electronics except mobile phones and medical devices; items such as laptops, tablets and cameras may not be brought into the cabin but can fly in checked luggage.

Congressmen livestream 'bipartisan road trip' to D.C. amid snow, flight cancellations

Unable to get a flight back to snowed-in Washington, D.C., Texas Congressmen Will Hurd, a Republican from Helotes, and Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, who did a veterans’ event together in San Antonio on Monday, decided to drive together to D.C. – a trip about 1,500 miles and 24 hours long.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>BIPARTISAN ROAD TRIP: Because of the winter storm U.S. Representative Will Hurd and I are renting a car this morning and...Posted by Congressman Beto O'Rourke on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hurd said it was O’Rourke’s idea.

They picked up a Dollar rental Chevy Impala in San Antonio predawn Tuesday.

They went for taquitos at Mi Tierra, where they also bought a piñata mascot — which they have named WillieBeto — to place on the dashboard, though it slipped off.

Starting the day off right at Mi Tierra Cafe before hitting the road for work. 24 hrs to DC. Co-pilot @HurdOnTheHill pic.twitter.com/wZHHF2KQXC— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 14, 2017

They then stopped at Tantra Coffeehouse in San Marcos, and then headed for Austin, where they pulled over by the University of Texas to do a live spot on MSNBC, where they were asked what would be the ideal pairing for a Texas-to-D.C. road trip like the one they were on.

They passed on the suggestion that came through on O’Rourke’s Facebook livestream — Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, and Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston.

>> Read more trending news

From there, they busted in on Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith and "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd just ahead of Smith’s interview of Todd for his KLRU show, "Overheard." 

Hurd was asked to offer an example of an issue on which he and O’Rourke agree.

“We both agree a border wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd said.

Cross country town hallPosted by Congressman Beto O'Rourke on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From Austin, the road trip headed toward Waco on the way to Texarkana and the Arkansas line.

They said they would be guided by "the people" in their choice of route, but O’Rourke said he’d like to go through Memphis – which they eventually did. 

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, old enough to be their father, phoned in to make sure there was no distracted driving going on.

Hurd assured him O’Rourke had a firm hand on the wheel.

>> 5 hacks to keep your smartphone charged during a power outage

But Cornyn’s connection wasn’t so good.

O’Rourke: “We lost Sen. Cornyn.”

They briefly stopped talking policy to listen to a little music.

First, Khalid from El Paso, and then, of course, Willie Nelson, "On the Road Again."

And then, off with the music for a phone interview with Bill Lambrecht of the San Antonio Express-News.

Lambrecht: “So whose wacky idea was this?”

And, “If you go to Memphis you might want to think about stopping by Graceland.” (They did, but it was closed.)

O’Rourke said that for both of them, “our party leadership is probably not really excited about us doing this” because they would each be seen as helping a member of the opposite party.

>> 7 tips to keep your pets safe during winter weather

“Screw that line of thinking,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke preferred to drive straight through to their destination. Hurd preferred to “stop and smell the roses.”

And use the facilities.

“Will has a small bladder,” O’Rourke said. “And we’ve been drinking a ton of coffee.”

At Hurd’s pace, O’Rourke said, “We’ll get to Washington by mid-summer.”

According to The Associated Press, they arrived at the Capitol on Wednesday "with minutes to spare before a 6:30 p.m. House vote."

Posted by U.S. Representative Will Hurd on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Winter storm up north causes headaches for Orlando passengers

A winter storm in the northeast has canceled almost 8,000 flights nationwide, and the storm’s effects are being felt by travelers at Orlando International Airport.

With 60 million people in the massive storm’s path, each of the major airlines has grounded all flights to New York City.

The cancellations had parts of OIA looking more like a slumber party than an airport.

Flight tracker: Click here to check the status of your flight

Among those sleeping in a terminal was traveler Mayker Campous, who said he would wake up every five to 10 minutes before dozing off again because he was sleeping in a chair.

>> Read more trending news  

“We (slept) here all night because our flight was canceled,” he said.

>>Boston: More than 500 flights canceled ahead of major nor'easter

Campous said he hopes to depart on time Wednesday.

Some airlines have waived fees or offered vouchers for the inconvenience.

>>Delta Airlines cancels more than 900 flights due to storm

JetBlue said it will waive change/cancellation fees and pay for fare differences for customers departing from a list of cities affected by the storm, including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

JetBlue customers have until Sunday to rebook their flights. They may opt for a refund if their flight was canceled, the company said.

Not all airlines are as accommodating, passengers said, so officials said customers should contact individual airlines to ask if anything is being offered.

'The Handmaid's Tale' is making SXSW 100 percent more unsettling

One way to promote a TV show at South by Southwest: opening a pop-up chicken restaurant. Another way: terrifying people to death. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” went for option No. 2 this weekend in Austin, Texas.

As Statesman Shots co-hosts Omar Gallaga and Tolly Moseley explained in an episode of the podcast Saturday, they came across stoically marching ladies in red on their way to the Los Pollos Hermanos installation promoting AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” They were not the only people startled by the guerilla marketing for the dystopian drama.

>> For complete SXSW coverage, head to Statesman.comMyStatesman.com512tech.com and Austin360.com

All these (presumably) Handmaid's Tale folks are scaring me. #sxsw pic.twitter.com/VkXHYzhsUI— Anthony Balderrama (@anthelonious) March 10, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

A bunch of Handmaid's Tale handmaids are freaking people out at SXSW.https://t.co/6MM5hmB7jl pic.twitter.com/cHaBixOzX5— io9 (@io9) March 11, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

>> Read more trending news

Holy cats - Handmaid's Tale right outside the Austin convention center! #sxsw https://t.co/wjtia7Ilmi— Christopher Lucas (@ChristophrLucas) March 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Happy nightmares, SXSW. 

Delta fined $90,000 for inadequate food service during tarmac delays

The federal government is fining Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines $90,000 for not offering passengers adequate food during long tarmac delays in Atlanta and New York.

A consent order issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation says that during lengthy tarmac delays last July on two flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and two flights from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, “the evidence indicates that limited or no food service was provided.”

Federal rules require that airlines provide “adequate food and water no later than two hours after an aircraft leaves the gate if the aircraft remains on the tarmac.”

>> Read more trending news  

But the DOT says that didn’t happen on the flights from New York to Atlanta and Spain’s Malaga airport, and from Atlanta to Greenville-Spartanburg and Portland, Maine.

On the Atlanta to Greenville-Spartanburg flight July 21, “it appears that Delta failed to have adequate provisions onboard to provide snack service to all passengers during the delay,” according to the DOT.

And for the Atlanta to Portland, Maine flight on the same day, evidence “indicates that Delta provided only water to the passengers onboard before the tarmac delay exceeded two hours.”

The carrier responded that passengers were not kept on the tarmac for more than three hours without the opportunity to get off the plane for any of the four flights.

However, Delta said it “acknowledges and regrets that the manner of distribution of snacks was not ideal.” The airline consented to the cease-and-desist order and the $90,000 fine.

Malta's Azure Window rock formation, featured on 'Game of Thrones,' collapses

An iconic landmark featured on HBO's "Game of Thrones" is no more.

According to The Associated Press, Malta's Azure Window, a rock formation on the coast of Gozo, collapsed Wednesday amid storms and rough waters following years of erosion.

>> Read more trending news

​Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called the loss "heartbreaking."

"Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion," he tweeted. "That sad day arrived."

Read more here.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/malta-s-azure-window-rock-formation-featured-on-ga/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/malta-s-azure-window-rock-formation-featured-on-ga.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Malta's Azure Window rock formation, featured on 'Game of Thrones,' collapses" on Storify]

British Muslim teacher denied entry to U.S. during school trip

A British Muslim teacher says he was denied entry to the United States last week during a school trip.

According to the BBC, Juhel Miah of Neath Port Talbot, Wales, was in Reykjavik, Iceland, with students and colleagues from Llangatwg Community School on Thursday when the group boarded a flight to New York. 

British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip https://t.co/ExxwMZz4SM pic.twitter.com/PnnvoJh145— Athar Ahmad (@AtharAhmadBBC) February 21, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

But Miah didn't end up making the trip. Authorities stopped him from taking the flight, even though the Neath Port Talbot council said he had a valid visa and British passport, the BBC reported.

“Everyone was looking at me,” Miah told the Guardian. “As I was getting my luggage, the teachers and kids were confused. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was being escorted out. It made me feel like a criminal. I couldn’t speak; I was lost for words."

>> Read more trending news

In a letter to the U.S. Embassy in London, the Neath Port Talbot council said Miah tried to visit the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik "but was denied access to the building." Miah, who was taken to a hotel, returned to the United Kingdom the following day, the Guardian reported.

The U.S. Embassy in London did not respond to the Guardian's request for a comment.

"No satisfactory reason has been provided for refusing entry to the United States," the council said, adding that Miah "feels belittled and upset at what appears to be an unjustified act of discrimination."

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a controversial travel ban in January halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, but federal courts suspended the executive order earlier this month.

Read more here or here.

Model's shocking photo shoot from edge of 73-story Dubai tower draws ire

Dubai officials are speaking out after learning of a Russian model's dangerous photo shoot from the edge of a 73-story tower.

According to a Gulf News report last week, police are investigating a viral video and photos of Viktoria Odintcova, 23, hanging off the 1,008-foot Cayan Tower. Odintcova, shown only holding a man's hand for support, didn't appear to use any safety equipment in the shoot.

>> See the controversial video here

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fZ1owXJZaSQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Officials with Cayan Group told Gulf Business that Odintcova did not seek permission for the shoot.

"Although the Cayan Tower has been periodically used for extreme sports events, in all cases there has been safety, security, and emergency services on site," a Cayan spokesman said, adding that "an immediate legal action is running against this condemned incident."

Dubai police Maj. Gen. Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri told Gulf News that risky stunts like these endanger the lives of not only the people participating but also pedestrians on the ground.

>> Read more trending news

"We have previously warned people to not perform such acts," Al Mansouri said. "They don't realize that it could cost them their life if something goes wrong."

He also told The National that police want Odintcova to sign a pledge "not to repeat any dangerous moves that could endanger her life in Dubai."

Odintcova, back in Moscow, apologized for the inconvenience and said she'd sign the papers if police mail them to her.

"I didn't want to hurt the reputation of the city," she told The National in an email. "I hope we can resolve this misunderstanding."

As for Cayan's threat of legal action, Odintcova said, "We deserve a reward for disclosing weaknesses in the security of that building. We were at the rooftop of that building without any evil intentions; however, someone else could have come out there to commit suicide or an act of terrorism."

Read more here.

>> See an image from the shoot here

You didn't believe? Watch the new video link in bio! @a_mavrin  #MAVRIN #MAVRINmodels #vikiodintcova A post shared by Viki Odintcova (@viki_odintcova) on Jan 26, 2017 at 6:55am PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

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