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U.S. airlines expect a 5.2 percent increase in air travel during the Christmas and New Year's break, to more than 2.5 million people a day. The busiest day is expected to be the Friday before Christmas. The trade group Airlines for America said Tuesday it forecasts that 45.7 million passengers will fly on a U.S. airline during the 18-day stretch that starts Thursday, Dec. 20, and runs through Jan. 6, the Sunday after New Year's Day. The group says that since last Christmas, airlines have added 143,000 seats per day on domestic and international flights. They are hoping that's enough to handle the expected increase of 126,000 passengers a day.
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico (AP) — Step off the dusty cobblestone streets and peek behind nondescript, weather-worn, faded, even grimy brick facades, and encounter the startlingly beautiful courtyard gardens of this central Mexican colonial town. These oases of beauty and calm claim their roots in the traditional Moorish gardens of ancient Spain. Those, in turn, were inspired by Persian, Roman and Islamic gardens even earlier. The word "paradise" itself means "walled garden." Alfonso Alarcon, a landscape architect in San Miguel de Allende for nearly 30 years, says monasteries were among the first to design and plant courtyard gardens. Perhaps it was an attempt to replicate paradise.
ATLANTA (AP) — If you're planning a flight longer than eight hours, Delta Air Lines says you can't bring an emotional-support animal with you. The rules for pups are getting tighter too. Neither support animals nor trained service animals will be allowed on any Delta flights if they are under 4 months old. Delta says the changes take effect Dec. 18. The airline says exceptions will be made until Feb. 1 for customers who already bought a ticket and asked to bring a support animal. Airlines are tightening rules on animals, saying their numbers have skyrocketed and some have relieved themselves or bitten other animals — and in one case, a Delta passenger.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — The world's tallest active geyser has set a record. Last weekend, Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupted for the 30th time this year. That's the most eruptions since 1964, when the geyser erupted 29 times. Steamboat can blast hot water and steam as high as 400 feet (122 meters). That's more than three times the average height of Yellowstone's most famous geyser, Old Faithful. Park officials say Steamboat also went through active periods in the early 1960s and early 1980s, but was quiet for a 50-year spell, from 1911 to 1961. The most recent eruption happened at 1 a.m. Saturday. Most roads in Yellowstone are closed for the winter and the park hasn't opened to snowmobiles yet.
LONDON (AP) — British prosecutors say 15 people who attached themselves to a plane at a London-area airport last year have been convicted of aviation security offenses. The demonstrators used bolt cutters to create a hole in the perimeter fence at Stansted Airport on March 28, 2017 and then used expanding foam, scaffolding poles and lock box devices to secure themselves to the wheel and wing of a Boeing 767. The plane had been chartered by the Home Office to repatriate passengers to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Judith Reed of the Crown Prosecution Service said Monday that the group "placed themselves, the flight crew, airport personnel and police at serious risk of injury or even death due to their actions.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Back-to-back California storms blanket the Sierra Nevada in snow, more than twice the snowpack level compared to this time last year, with winter still nearly two weeks away. At the same time last year, the Sierra snowpack was 47 percent of average, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday. A series of systems starting around Thanksgiving dropped several feet (meters) of fresh powder in some mountain areas. In the southern Sierra, Mammoth Mountain has recorded nearly 6 feet (1.8 meters) since Oct. 1. The ski resort claims to have the deepest snowpack in the country right now.
BERLIN (AP) — A labor union representing German railway workers is calling on its members to go on strike Monday after failing to reach a deal on pay. The EVG union said Sunday that employees of Deutsche Bahn, the country's biggest rail company, will stage a four-hour walkout on the morning of Dec. 10. Labor strikes are a common tactic during wage negotiations in Germany.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A storm spreading snow, sleet and freezing rain took aim at millions of people across a wide swath of the South, raising the threat of immobilizing snowfalls, icy roads and possible power outages. Governors and local officials in several states declared emergencies ahead of the storm, freeing up funds and manpower to help mitigate its effect. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday that residents in the some parts of the state should be ready for a lengthy fight with the storm, which was beginning to dump sleet and snow across its western mountain areas Saturday night. "We're preparing for days of impact, not hours," Cooper said, urging caution.
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the rescue of a British sailor in the Southern Ocean. (all times local): 4 p.m. A cargo ship has rescued a British woman who was dismasted by a violent storm in the Southern Ocean while sailing solo in a round-the-world race. British sailor Susie Goodall tweeted "ON THE SHIP!!!" soon after the Hong Kong-registered MV Tian Fu arrived at her location west of Cape Horn. The cargo vessel had been traveling from China to Argentina when it diverted to reach her hobbled sailboat. Race officials have been in regular radio contact with Goodall, who lost her mast 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) west of Cape Horn near the southern tip of South America. ___ 2:25 p.m.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The second storm in a week brought record-breaking rainfall to parched Los Angeles on Thursday, jamming traffic on Southern California highways and prompting evacuations in wildfire-scarred areas. A mudslide shut down Pacific Coast Highway and surrounding roads in and around Malibu neighborhoods charred by last month's massive fire that destroyed hundreds of homes. Kirby Kotler and his neighbors spent days before the storm stacking 18,000 sandbags behind their homes along the highway. But when heavy rains arrived, mud, water and rocks blasted through the bags and across their properties. Kotler, who wielded water hoses to beat back the flames in November, used a tractor to keep the debris from entering his home.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Protesters in Athens set up a massive burning barricade and pelted riot police with firebombs and rocks Thursday on the 10th anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager, a death that sparked Greece's worst riots in decades. The violence broke out in the Exarchia district of the Greek capital, where 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot dead on Dec. 6, 2008, and which anarchists have adopted as a stronghold. Protesters set a car alight and hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at lines of Greek riot police, who responded with tear gas and water cannon. Police said 35 people were detained in Athens, while three were injured, including two policemen.
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — The Hawaii Board of Geographic Names has begun taking recommendations to name the Big Island's new 60-foot (18-meter) lava cone. The state board is planning to take suggestions from the public and Hawaiian cultural practitioners to find a moniker for fissure 8, which formed during the Kilauea volcano eruption that started in May, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory designated the new landmark as fissure 8 because it was the eighth of 24 fissures to open during the eruption.