5 things for December 18: Atlanta airport outage, tax overhaul, Russia investigation

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Atlanta airport blackout

Power was restored overnight at the world's busiest airport, but the mess the total blackout left may take all day to straighten out. The power flickered off early Sunday afternoon at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after a fire at an underground electrical facility. That fire took out the backup power, too. It's not clear what caused the blaze. Thousands of passengers were left scurrying around in darkened terminals or sitting for hours on planes on tarmacs. No planes could fly in or out of the airport, leading to more than 1,000 flight cancellations and air travel disruptions across the US.
    This morning, the airlines will start untangling the web of stranded passengers, cancellations and delays in an effort to get operations at the airport back to normal. Delta has already announced that more than 300 flights today will be canceled. The outage complicates the already busy Christmas holiday travel week.
    Mayor: Fire behind power outage; cause unknown
    atlanta airport power outage update kasim reed hartsfield jackson bts_00003401

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    Mayor: Fire behind power outage; cause unknown 01:51

    Tax overhaul

    Some time this week, the Republicans in the House and Senate will hold votes that will likely help them achieve a goal they've pursued for decades: a major overhaul of the US tax code. But in the Senate, they'll have to pass the $1.5 trillion tax bill without Sen. John McCain, who has returned home to Arizona to continue treatment for his brain tumor. Despite the loss of McCain's vote, the bill is still expected to pass because the GOP has a 52-48 vote advantage in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence can cast a tie-breaking vote if need be.
    McCain to miss tax vote after hospitalization
    McCain to miss tax vote after hospitalization

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    Russia investigation

    Talk of President Trump firing special counsel Robert Mueller hit a fever pitch over the weekend, but the President, returning from a rare trip to Camp David, said he had no plans to dump Mueller. Trump said he was upset though that Mueller's team had obtained tens of thousands of emails from Trump's transition team as part of the Russia investigation. Trump's lawyers wrote a letter to Congress to complain, saying the emails were "unlawfully" obtained. Mueller's team denies this, and the argument has been made that the transition emails are public records. The emails in question involve 13 transition officials, including four senior ones, according to the letter.
    Trump says he's not considering firing Mueller
    Trump says he's not considering firing Mueller

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    Jerusalem

    Rejecting the Americans as a possible broker in a Middle East peace process, Palestinian leaders have shifted tactics, aiming for the United Nations to nullify President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while simultaneously trying to get other countries to recognize a Palestinian state. A UN Security Council resolution trying to annul Trump's announcement, introduced by Egypt, could be put to a vote early this week, according to Israeli officials, though the US will almost certainly veto the resolution. That vote could come as early as today.
    More protests over Trump's Jerusalem decision
    More protests over Trump's Jerusalem decision

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    More protests over Trump's Jerusalem decision 02:57

    CDC banned words

    Some words are suddenly off limits at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC officials are reportedly banned from using the words "diversity," "fetus," "transgender," "vulnerable," "entitlement," "science-based" and "evidence-based." It's unclear why the Trump administration will no longer allow the CDC to use the words in its reports, but some analysts there say the blowback to this will be ferocious. A spokesman for Health and Human Services, which supervises the CDC, says it is a "mischaracterization" to say that there's a list of banned words.
    HHS responds to CDC banned words report
    HHS responds to CDC banned words report

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    BREAKFAST BROWSE

    People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
    The Force is strong with this one
    It's not quite as potent as "The Force Awakens," but "The Last Jedi" still flexed impressive muscle at the box office during its opening weekend.
    'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Cast - Movie Pass
    'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Cast - Movie Pass

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    'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Cast - Movie Pass 02:17
    Finally at rest
    It took almost seven decades, but a US soldier, missing since the Korean War, was properly laid to rest in Hawaii.
    Royal return
    Will Smith is back as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with a little assist from Ellen DeGeneres.
    Pageant problems
    An innocent selfie usually isn't a problem at beauty pageants, but it is when the pic puts Miss Iraq and Miss Israel in the same photo.

    WHAT'S FOR LUNCH

    Setting a new course
    President Trump is set to unveil a new national security strategy (and take some shots at China) during a speech this afternoon.

    NUMBER OF THE DAY

    332
    The number of people who were stricken with a stomach illness during a Royal Caribbean cruise. The Independence of the Seas returned to Florida over the weekend.
    Hundreds ill during Royal Caribbean cruise
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    QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "Do I need a British accent?"
    Former President Barack Obama, joking around with Prince Harry during the ex-commander-in-chief's upcoming interview with the soon-to-be married royal on BBC Radio
    Prince Harry interviews Obama for radio show
    Prince Harry interviews Obama for radio show

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    Prince Harry interviews Obama for radio show 00:58

    AND FINALLY ...

    Pop life
    Want to review the year in music? You can go with a stale, tired countdown, or you can groove to this fresh mashup of 2017's 25 biggest pop hits. (Click to view)