Reopening the government begins, but it’s not that not easy
The shutdown may have ended Friday, but getting the federal government back to full speed will be a challenge. The process will start this weekend as TSA workers and air traffic controllers who manage the nation’s airspace will get back to full strength staffing wise after absences caused issues and delays for travelers. National parks will reopen soon, but some won’t right away due to the cleanup of trash, graffiti and human waste. Federal workers also will receive back pay, but it isn’t entirely clear how fast it will happen. Some 800,000 federal employees who have been on unpaid leave or working without pay missed their second paycheck this week. Before signing a measure to end the shutdown late Friday, President Donald Trump praised federal workers for their sacrifices and promised he would see that they receive back pay as soon as possible.
President Trump thanked furloughed federal workers for their devotion during the shutdown and credited them with helping to make America great again.
SAG Awards honor Hollywood’s best and an American sweetheart
One of America’s sweethearts hands the torch to another when Tom Hanks presents Alan Alda with a lifetime achievement award at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday (5 p.m. PT/ 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS). Alda, 82, a Golden Globe- and Emmy-winner, will become the 55th recipient of the annual award given to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession.” Despite a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, the actor says he educated himself about the nervous system disorder and developed an exercise program, including boxing, a version of tai chi and marching to John Philip Sousa music. Before the award show gets underway, stars hit the red carpet at 2:30 p.m. PT/ 5:30 p.m. ET, available on livestreams on the TNT, SAG Awards and People websites. “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther,” ”BlacKkKlansman,” ”Bohemian Rhapsody” and ”Crazy Rich Asians” are competing for best movie ensemble cast.
Pompeo seeks U.N. backup in recognizing Venezuela’s Guaidó
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to New York City on Saturday for a meeting of the United Nations’ Security Council to discuss the political upheaval unfolding in Venezuela. Pompeo, along with newly-named special envoy Elliott Abrams, will press other member countries to recognize Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president over incumbent leftist leader Nicolas Maduro. The Trump administration has already ordered all non-emergency U.S. diplomatic staff to leave the South American nation as it faces massive turmoil and violence. At least a dozen protesters have been killed in recent violence in the country, according to the Associated Press.
Price of postage goes up this weekend
The price of a first-class stamp increases 5 cents Sunday, from 50 cents to 55 cents. The nickel increase is the largest percentage rise since 1991, when postage increased from 25 to 29 cents. The stamp hike is part of a package of increases on mailing services averaging 2.5 percent, the Postal Service announced. Other changes:
- Each additional letter ounce will drop from 21 cents to 15 cents. So mailing a 2-ounce letter — a wedding invitation, say — will cost 70 cents instead of 71 cents.
- Priority Mail: Mailing a small box rises from $7.20 to $7.90, while a medium box jumps from $13.65 to $14.35.
- Priority Mail Express: Shipping an envelope ASAP will cost $25.50 instead of $24.70.
Osaka wins Aussie Open title, takes over No. 1
It was double the pleasure for Naomi Osaka on Saturday at the Australian Open. Osaka beat Petra Kvitova for the Aussie Open title, her second career Grand Slam singles championship. In the process, Osaka also earned the No. 1 ranking for the first time in her career. On the men’s side on Sunday, we are treated with a championship showdown between two legends. Novak Djokovic is looking for his eighth Australian Open title when he faces off with Rafael Nadal (3:30 a.m. ET). The duo has combined for 31 major championships in their careers (Nadal owns 17, Djokovic 14). This will be their eighth matchup in a Grand Slam final, with Nadal holding a 4-3 edge coming into Sunday.
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