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Atlanta airport finally gets free Wi-Fi

At long last, free Wi-Fi is finally arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The lack of free wireless Internet access has been the top complaint at the world’s busiest airport for years.

Now, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and airport officials plan to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of the amenity at the airport Wednesday.

They hope it will address what interim airport manager Miguel Southwell has called a “competitive disadvantage” for Hartsfield-Jackson.

Travelers have complained about the issue on Twitter with comments such as: “Annoying that ATL airport doesn’t have free wifi” and “Had to pay $5 at the ATL airport to use the WiFi…… Ridiculous.”

The old system could handle only about 2,000 users at once, but with a just-completed infrastructure upgrade, airport officials expect as many as 15,000 can use the service at the same time.

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News

  • The Latest on Republican plans to overhaul the health care system (all times local): 2 p.m. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer says Democrats are willing to work with Republicans on improving the health care system if they agree to stop trying to repeal former President Barack Obama's law. Schumer says Democrats and Republicans both have ideas on how to improve 'Obamacare.' Speaking on ABC's 'This Week,' the New York senator says: 'We never said it was perfect. We always said we'd work with them to improve it. We just said repel was off the table.' Schumer spoke two days after House Republicans pulled their health care bill at the last minute to avoid a certain defeat. He also warned that Republicans will 'lose again' on tax reform if they continue to cater to what he characterized as 'hard-right wealthy special interests.' ___ 11:30 a.m. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is making clear that President Donald Trump will be seeking support from moderate Democrats for upcoming legislative battles. He also is leaving open the possibility that the president could still revisit health care legislation after the failure of the Republican bill to replace Obamacare. He scolded conservative Republicans, explaining that Trump had felt 'disappointed' that a 'number of people he thought were loyal to him that weren't.' Speaking on 'Fox News Sunday,' Priebus said: 'I think more so now than ever, it's time for both parties to come together and get to real reforms in this country whether it be taxes, whether it'd be health care, whether it'd be immigration, whether it'd be infrastructure, this president is ready to lead.' ___ 9:15 a.m. President Donald Trump is attacking conservative lawmakers after the failure of the Republican bill to replace Obamacare. On Twitter on Sunday, Trump says: 'Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!' The Freedom Caucus is a hard-right group of House members who were largely responsible for blocking the bill to undo President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The bill was pulled from the House floor Friday in a humiliating political defeat for the president. Trump initially focused his blame on Democrats for the failure and predicted a dire future for the current law. Before the bill was pulled, Trump tweeted at the Freedom Caucus, saying Planned Parenthood funding would continue if they blocked the legislation.
  • Russia's opposition, often written off by critics as a small and irrelevant coterie of privileged urbanites, put on an impressive nationwide show of strength Sunday with scores of protest rallies spanning the vast country. Hundreds were arrested, including Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic. It was the biggest show of defiance since the 2011-2012 wave of demonstrations that rattled the Kremlin and led to harsh new laws aimed at suppressing dissent. Almost all of Sunday's rallies were unsanctioned, but thousands braved the prospect of arrests to gather in cities from the Far East port of Vladivostok to the 'window on the West' of St. Petersburg. An organization that monitors Russian political repression, OVD-Info, said it counted more than 800 people arrested in the Moscow demonstrations alone. That number could not be confirmed and state news agency Tass cited Moscow police as saying there were about 500 arrests. Navalny, who was arrested while walking from a nearby subway station to the demonstration at Moscow's iconic Pushkin Square, was the driving force of the demonstrations. He called for them after his Foundation for Fighting Corruption released a report contending that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed a collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards. Navalny is a persistent thorn in the Kremlin's side. He has served several short jail terms after arrests in previous protests and has twice been convicted in a fraud case, but given a suspended sentence. He intends to run for president in 2018 — an election in which Putin is widely expected to run for another term — even though the conviction technically disqualifies him. Putin has dominated Russian political life, as president or prime minister, since 2000. No overall figures on arrests or protest attendance were available. Some Russian state news media gave relatively cursory reports on the demonstrations; the state news TV channel Rossiya-24 ignored them altogether in evening broadcasts. Police estimated the Moscow crowd at about 7,000, but it could have been larger. The one-hectare (2.5-acre) Pushkin Square was densely crowded as were sidewalks on the adjacent Tverskaya Street. In St. Petersburg, about 5,000 protesters assembled in the Mars Field park, shouting slogans including 'Putin resign!' and 'Down with the thieves in the Kremlin!' Russia's beleaguered opposition is often seen as primarily a phenomenon of a Westernized urban elite, but Sunday's protests included gatherings in places far from cosmopolitan centers, such as Siberia's Chita and Barnaul. 'Navalny has united people who think the same; that people don't agree with the authorities is obvious from what is going on in the country today,' Anna Ivanova, 19, said at the Moscow demonstration. 'I am a bit scared.' Scuffles with police erupted sporadically and the arrested demonstrators included a gray-haired man whom police dragged along the pavement. Police cleared the square after about three hours and began herding demonstrators down side streets. 'It's scary, but if everyone is afraid, no one would come out onto the streets,' 19-year-old protester Yana Aksyonova said. The luxuries amassed by Medvedev include a house for raising ducks, so many placards in Sunday's protests featured mocking images of yellow duck toys. Some demonstrators carried running shoes — a reference to Navalny's assertion that tracking shipments of running shoes for Medvedev helped reveal his real-estate portfolio. Others showed up with their faces painted green, a reminder of a recent attack on Navalny in which an assailant threw a green antiseptic liquid onto his face. 'People are unhappy with the fact that there's been no investigation' of the corruption allegations, said Moscow protester Ivan Gronstein. There were no comments reported from Putin, Medvedev or other top Russian politicians, leaving in doubt what the Kremlin's strategy may be for countering the protests. Previous waves of demonstrations have dissipated through inertia or the intimidation of increasingly punitive measures; under a 2014 law, holding an unauthorized protest is punishable by 15 days in jail, or five years imprisonment for a third offense. In Vladivostok, police forcefully detained some demonstrators near the city's railway terminal, in one case falling down a small grassy slope as they wrestled with a detainee. News reports and social media reported demonstrations in large cities throughout the country, including Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk. At least 25 people were reported arrested in Vladivostok and 12 in Khabarovsk. About 40 people were detained in a small protest in the capital of Dagestan, a restive republic in the Russian Caucasus, according to Tass, ___= Irina Titova in St. Petersburg contributed to this report.
  • Knoxville Zoo officials are investigating why 33 reptiles, including three endangered species, died Wednesday.  Herpetologists came to work that morning to find a majority of the 52 animals housed in one of the reptile buildings dead. They immediately evacuated the snakes and lizards, giving them oxygen and checking their heartbeats with an ultrasound device. “This is a devastating and catastrophic loss to our zoo,” Lisa New, president at the zoo, told the Knoxville News Sentinel Saturday. “These animals were important ambassadors who helped so many people understand the role snakes and lizards play in the balance of nature.” >> Read more trending news Veterinarians from the zoo as well as from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine are investigating the cause of death. “We also lost breeding programs for several endangered and threatened species,” she added. “It is especially difficult for our herpetologists who have dedicated their careers to caring for and advocating for these animals.” Three critically endangered species died; the Louisiana pine snake, the Catalina Island rattlesnake and the Aruba Island rattlesnake. The zoo’s forest cobra and albino Eastern diamondback rattlesnake also died. “We don't know exactly what occurred to cause this terrible event, but we do know it was isolated to a single building,” the zoo said in a post on Facebook. “We are continuing to investigate all the physical systems and conducting necropsies to see if we can gain any insight.”
  • Police have identified the pilot who was killed in a fiery crash of a small plane in suburban Atlanta. Cobb County Police told local news outlets Sunday that 78-year-old Robert George Westlake died in the crash Friday evening. The Cessna Citation I crashed in a subdivision, setting a house ablaze. FAA spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt said it happened about 3 miles from an airport in Cobb County, just northwest of Atlanta. Federal investigators said Saturday that the pilot told air traffic controllers before the crash that he was having an issue with the autopilot feature. Cobb County Fire Department spokeswoman Denell Boyd said the plane was on its way to Fulton County Airport when it crashed next to a house and exploded. No one on the ground was hurt.