In our news wrap Monday, Southwest Airlines is working to restore operations after canceling some 2,000 flights since Friday. Iraq announced that the country's security forces captured one of the Islamic State's top leaders in a cross-border operation. Southern California's Huntington Beach reopened just over a week after an oil spill from an offshore pipeline contaminated the shoreline.
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Drugmaker Merck formally asked the FDA today to grant emergency authorization for its antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. The company reported that the medication cut hospitalizations and deaths by 50 percent in mild to moderate COVID cases. Approval could take weeks, but, if cleared, it would be the first COVID treatment in pill form.
Southwest Airlines is working to restore operations after canceling some 2,000 flights since Friday. The airline blamed the disruption on air traffic control issues and severe weather. Tens of thousands of passengers were left stranded over the holiday weekend, waiting in long lines as they struggled to rebook flights.
Brian Gesch, Southwest passenger: My concern is we had no explanation, really, that was, I feel, very legitimate or believable. And the weather and the traffic controllers, I don't think were the real issue.
And so we're frustrated. I'm missing a day of work. I own my own business. And I'm canceling appointments, so it's kind of frustrating.
The Federal Aviation Administration questioned Southwest's explanation, since it was the only airline to experience major cancellations and delays over the weekend. Both Southwest and the pilots union denied reports of a sick-out to protest the airline's COVID vaccine requirement for employees.
The Central U.S. is recovering today from a band of severe weather that left thousands of people without power. Tornadoes and baseball-sized hail struck parts of Oklahoma overnight, damaging homes and buildings, but sparing lives. The same storm system also brought heavy rain and strong winds to Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas.
In Southern California, Huntington Beach reopened its waters today just over a week after an oil spill from an offshore pipeline contaminated the shoreline. Surfers returned to state and local beaches after test results showed no detectable amounts of oil-associated toxins in the ocean.
Preliminary results a day after Iraq's parliamentary elections showed a record low voter turnout, suggesting widespread distrust in the vote. The bloc led by Shiite populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held a solid early lead. The election was held months ahead of schedule to appease anti-government protesters who were calling for change. But many were still disappointed with the outcome.
Imad Al-Taie, Iraqi Citizen (through translator):
We are about to have the same members of Parliament, the same bloc in control, the same sectarianism, and the same approach. So that is why the new government will not deliver anything new.
There was no immediate word when the final results would be announced.
Iraq's prime minister announced today that his country's security forces captured one of the Islamic State's top leaders in a cross-border operation. Sami Jasim oversaw the group's finances and served as the deputy leader of ISIS under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a U.S.-led raid in 2019.
Three U.S.-based economists will share this year's Nobel Prize for economics. Canadian David Card of the University of California, Berkeley, was honored for his research into how the minimum wage, immigration, and education impact the labor market. Israeli-American Joshua Angrist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dutch-born Guido Imbens of Stanford University were recognized for finding alternate ways to study economic issues.
Stocks tumbled on Wall Street today, as investors awaited this week's company earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 250 points to close at 34496. The Nasdaq fell 93 points, and the S&P 500 shed 30.
And the pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon returned today after a 30-month hiatus. Benson Kipruto of Kenya finished in first place. Fellow Kenyan Diana Kipyogei claimed the women's prize. Large crowds cheered on the 18,000 runners, down from more than 30,000 before the pandemic.
Congratulations to the winners.