TIME Transportation

Southwest Airlines Kicked Family Off Plane After Dad Tweets Complaint

Southwest Airlines Reveals New Destinations For Dallas Travelers
A Southwest Airlines plane sits at a gate at Dallas Love Field Airport on Feb. 3, 2014 Ben Torres—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Southwest apologized — but Duff Watson says he's never flying with the airline again

A Minneapolis father claims that he and his two daughters were booted from their Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to the Twin Cities after he tweeted a complaint against a “rude” agent.

Duff Watson said the Sunday episode began while trying to board a priority line with his daughters, who are 9 and 6 years old.

“I have been traveling with Southwest for a few years now, and I’m an A-list member,” Watson told ABC News on Wednesday. “You can board the plane early.”

A gate agent said he wasn’t allowed to board with his children — leading Watson to ask her if there was a new policy in place. But he says she didn’t give him a direct answer and told him that she wasn’t going to change her mind.

“We waited, which was fine,” Watson said. “I thought she was very rude and wanted to complain to customer service.”

So Watson asked for her last name and took to Twitter to blast the experience after boarding the plane with his daughters.

@SouthwestAir and then I get to the gate!!! C39!!! Rudest staff? Kimberly S.

-Duff Watson, @DuffWatson

Shortly afterward, an announcement asked Watson to disembark from the plane and was received by the same gate agent. Watson said she asked him to delete the tweet and threatened to call the police if he didn’t.

“She said I was a safety threat,” Watson told ABC News. “I was shocked. There was no use of profanity, there were no threats made. How was I a safety threat?”

Watson soon relented, deleted the tweet, and reboarded the plane — though not without disavowing Southwest. “I’m not going to fly them again,” he said. Watson has also since made his Twitter account private.

Southwest issued a statement to a CBS Minnesota affiliate on the incident. WCCO reported:

In an email to Watson, Southwest apologized for the incident. Because of confidentiality concerns, they could not disclose any disciplinary actions taken.

Watson says he’s not satisfied with their response. All three received $50 vouchers, but Watson says he won’t fly Southwest Airlines again.

[ABC News]

TIME Theater

“Bullets Over Broadway” to Shut Down Next Month

"Bullets Over Broadway" Opening Night Celebration - Arrivals And Curtain Call
Brooks Ashmanskas, Nick Cordero, Zach Braff, Marin Mazzie and Helene Yorke during the Broadway opening night performance curtain call for ''Bullets Over Broadway" at the St. James Theatre on April 10, 2014 in New York City. Walter McBride/Getty Images

The musical is likely to take a $14 million hit

The curtains will close on “Bullets Over Broadway” next month. The show, about the struggles of pulling off a Broadway production whilst casting members of the mob, was the first Woody Allen film to be adapted into a stage musical.

Producers of “Bullets” announced on Tuesday that the final St. James Theatre show will be on Aug. 24.

While the film version was feted with seven Academy Award nominations, the musical adaption failed to impress critics and theatregoers. It was left empty handed at this year’s Tony Awards and audience attendance slumped following the April 10 opening – filling only 67 percent of the house seats.

The $14 million musical’s poor attendance and early exit is likely to cost most or all of its capitalization, reports the New York Times.

Lead producers, Letty Aronson (Woody Allen’s sister) and Julian Schlossberg, said in a statement on Tuesday, “We are tremendously proud of this show and every single person involved with it. It has been a true pleasure, and we know that ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ will have a long life in future productions to come.”

Zach Braff took on the lead role as David Shayne, the playwright who makes a deal with the mob to get his play produced. John Cusack played the on-screen version of the writer in the 1994 film.

[LA Times]

TIME Basketball

Clippers CEO: Doc Rivers Will Quit as Coach if Sterling Stays

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talks during a press conference prior to a game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, in Los Angeles, on April 29, 2014 Kelvin Kuo—USA Today Sports/Reuters

Interim Clippers CEO Richard Parsons described the possible departure of Doc Rivers as "a disaster"

Doc Rivers, coach of the L.A. Clippers, will leave if Donald Sterling remains owner, according to interim Clippers CEO Richard Parsons.

Parsons’ comments were made as he testified in a court case that will determine whether Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly Sterling had the right to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Donald Sterling faced NBA banishment after he made racist statements in April this year.

“Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else,” said Parsons. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”

Doc Rivers, who has coached the Clippers for just over a year, has been key in trying to sustain calm within the team’s camp.

“If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” said Parsons. “Doc is the father figure, the one who leads.”

In a related development, Donald Sterling filed a new lawsuit on Tuesday against Shelly Sterling and the NBA commissioner Adam Silver. He is seeking damages for their allegedly defrauding him, violating corporate law and attempting to sell the Clippers.

TIME China

China Food Scandal Hits Starbucks

McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut have already taken action over claims that a food supplier used expired meat

Starbucks is the latest global chain to be pulled into a recent food scandal in China, involving Shanghai Husi Food Co.

The food-processing company came under fire after a TV report showed factory staff using expired meat, as well as meat that fell on the floor, in food products that had been supplied to chains including, McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

In a statement on Weibo — the Chinese version of Twitter — Starbucks said that while it had no direct business ties with Husi, the chicken used for its chicken apple-sauce panini came from a supplier that purchased its poultry from Shanghai Husi. The sandwich had been on sale in 13 different provinces and major cities, but the coffee chain added that it has since been pulled from cafés.

The TV report on Shanghai Husi showed a factory-quality manager telling investigators, “Our company policy allows us to add expired raw materials to produce beef patties.” The report also found that processed chicken parts had been expired for nearly half a month.

McDonald’s and Yum! Brands Inc., the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut, both issued apologies on Monday to Chinese customers.

The parent company of Husi, U.S.-based OSI Group, also apologized for the scandal and said it was cooperating with authorities. Shanghai food regulators shut down the Husi factory on Sunday, pending an investigation into the allegations.

Food safety is a hot-button issue in China, where scandals over toxicity and hygiene are commonplace.

TIME South Korea

A Body Found in South Korea Is That of the Fugitive Sewol Ferry Owner

Passersby watch TV news showing Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on July 22, 2014.
Passersby watch TV news showing Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on July 22, 2014. Ahn Young-joon—AP

The hunt is over

South Korean police said on Tuesday that a body found on June 12 is that of Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive businessman with ties to Chonghaejin, the company that operated the Sewol ferry.

The heavily decomposed body was found in the southern part of the country. Tests indicated that it matched the DNA of Yoo’s elder brother — and police believe this indicates it is the body of the billionaire. The cause of death is not yet known.

“We do not know yet whether it was a homicide or a suicide,” Woo Hyung-Ho, a local police chief, said to reporters.

The 73-year-old patriarch of the family that controlled Chonghaejin had been on the run since just after the ferry tragedy occurred on April 16 this year. A reward of 500 million won ($487,000) was offered for information leading to Yoo’s arrest.

The Sewol ferry went down killing most of the 476 on board, of whom 325 were high school students. So far, 294 bodies have been recovered while another 10 are missing.

The ferry’s captain and 14 surviving crew members are currently on trial. Four are charged with homicide and face the death penalty if convicted. Others are accused of abandoning ship and safety offenses.

[AFP]

TIME National Security

The NSA Shared Sexually Explicit Photographs, Says Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden Gives First Interview In Russia
Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview in an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow. Barton Gellman/Getty Images

For some agents, Snowden says, the racy images were one of the "fringe benefits of surveillance positions"

Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor turned whistle-blower, claims that “incredibly weak” oversight of U.S. surveillance programs enabled military personnel to obtain sexually explicit photos of people under surveillance and to sometimes share them with others.

In an interview with the Guardian, Snowden talked about the impact of poor auditing systems within the NSA. He claimed many people sifting through monitored communications were 18 to 22 years old and suddenly put in a position of extraordinary responsibility that was sometimes abused.

“In the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work, for example an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation but they’re extremely attractive,” said Snowden.

“So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says: ‘Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way,’” he said.

Snowden, who lives in Moscow after being granted temporary asylum last year, added that this information is never reported and nobody knows about it because of inadequate oversight.

He said the interception of intimate images was “routine enough” and described it as “sort of the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”

He added, “The mere seizure of that communication by itself was an abuse. The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communication stream, from the intended recipient, and given to the government without any specific authorization, without any specific need, is itself a violation of your rights.”

NSA spokeswoman Vaneé Vines gave a comment to the New York Times on the allegations. The Times paraphrased her as saying that “the agency had zero tolerance for willful violations of authority or professional standards, and that it would respond as appropriate to any credible allegations of misconduct.”

[The Guardian]

TIME U.K.

British PM David Cameron Culls Old Men for New Women in Cabinet Reshuffle

Britain's Prime Minister Cameron arrives to officially open the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron arrives to officially open the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow, in southern England, on July 14, 2014 Kieran Doherty—Reuters

The move is seen as an attempt to diversify the ruling Conservative Party's image ahead of next year's general elections

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has shaken up his Cabinet in what is being seen as a bid to freshen the image of the ruling Conservative Party ahead of next year’s polls.

The ousted ministers are men, middle-aged and white — the so-called male, pale and stale. Their replacements are likely to be selected from several female MPs tipped for Cabinet roles.

The BBC’s political correspondent Chris Mason said that Britons could expect “more ministers who are women and more ministers with regional accents, in more prominent roles,” in an attempt to improve the diversity of Team Cameron.

However, opposition figures say the reshuffle is a ploy to oust centrist figures. Michael Dugher, a Labour MP, said, “Four years of failure to promote women and now we have the massacre of the moderates.”

Monday’s most significant departures came from William Hague, who resigned as Foreign Secretary, and Ken Clarke, a veteran of two previous Conservative governments.

[BBC]

TIME Israel

Israel Accepts Egypt’s Cease-Fire Plan, but Hamas Vows to Keep Fighting

"This proposal is not acceptable," said a senior Hamas official

+ READ ARTICLE

Despite previously acknowledging some “diplomatic movement,” Hamas rejected Egypt’s cease-fire plan for the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday — just moments after Israel accepted the proposal.

A statement released by Hamas’ armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, said the group “totally and completely” rejected the terms of an Egyptian brokered cease fire, adding that without further concessions from Israel, “it was not worth the ink it was written with.” Representatives from Islamic Jihad, which also has been involved in the fighting, also rejected an unconditional ceasefire.

Roughly four hours after Israel’s security cabinet announced that it had accepted the cease fire, Israel said a fresh volley of 35 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, causing minor damage.

Cairo’s proposal aimed to stop a weeklong conflict that has seen at least 185 Gazans killed. The truce called for a 48-hour cessation of fire, followed by immediate talks for a longer-term truce and an eventual opening of Gaza’s border crossing, the New York Times reports.

The Associated Press reports that a senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, said Egypt’s plan for a cease-fire in Gaza was “not acceptable.”

Al-Qassam Brigades said on the website that excerpts from the plan published in the media indicated it was “an initiative of kneeling and submission,” reports Reuters.

“Our battle with the enemy continues and will increase in ferocity and intensity,” al-Qassam Brigades added.

[AP]

TIME movies

Transformers Continues Domination at Foreign Box Office

It was a weekend for sequels, as movie franchises led global box office figures

+ READ ARTICLE

Transformers: Age of Extinction took command of the foreign box office this weekend for the third week in a row. The Michael Bay sequel collected $102 million this week, helping to reach a grand total of $752.5 million earned from 50 national markets.

Chinese audiences are credited for the robust results. The People’s Republic makes up $262.6 million of the worldwide total — the highest amount ever earned by a foreign release in the country.

Second place went to DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 with $34.4 million from 62 markets.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came third by raking in $31.1 million from 30 territories, while also leading the U.S. box office with an estimated $73 million.

[Variety]

TIME China

China Charges British, American Investigators Linked to GSK

GlaxoSmithKline Plc Headquarters As Novartis AG Buys GSK's Oncology Unit
The logo of GlaxoSmithKline Plc sits on a sign outside the pharmaceutical company's headquarters in London, U.K., on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images

British private investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng have been accused of illegally obtaining information — the first time foreigners have faced such charges in China

Shanghai prosecutors have indicted British private investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, the official news agency Xinhua said on Monday. The two were linked to drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is the focus of a high-profile graft probe in the country.

The husband-and-wife team, who have been detained since July 2013, are charged with illegally obtaining private information. Their trial will be held behind closed doors next month.

It is the first time such charges have been brought against foreigners in China.

A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Beijing told TIME in a statement: “We are aware of Mr Humphrey’s case and are continuing to provide consular assistance to him and his family. Although the Court has announced that it will be a closed trial, we have made clear to the Chinese authorities that we would like Embassy staff to attend the trial and the need for a transparent and fair process. We will continue to do this.”

GSK hired Humphrey and Yu’s company, ChinaWhys, in April 2013 to investigate a former employee accused of anonymously disseminating a sex tape of Mark Reilly, the company’s former China boss, and of circulating emails alleging that GSK was paying bribes.

Prosecutors claim the couple as part of their business collected personal information on a significant number of Chinese citizens, including background information on family members, call logs and household registration details.

Reuters reports that in an interview on state-run television, Humphrey expressed “regret” and said that it was not his intention to “violate Chinese law.

[Xinhua]

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