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Travel group says shutdown has already cost industry $2.5 billion — half the tab for Trump’s wall

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On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump told voters that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall.

So far, the American travel industry has paid enough to pick up half the tab, according to numbers from an industry group.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that direct and indirect spending associated with its members has been down about $100 million a day during the shutdown. The Trump shutdown is now 25 days old, meaning there has been an estimated $2.5 billion lost.

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That estimate may be overly conservative: it didn’t take into account delays in customs or the sick-outs by TSA workers that have hit airports as security workers went unpaid during the shutdown.

Across the country, hotels and restaurants that feed off tourists visiting national parks have been hit hard.

At Joshua Tree, not only did someone destroy trees to apparently go four-wheeling when the park was closed but businesses around the park have been hammered, according to a report in Think Progess.

One RV near the park says it has lost new reservations and fielded calls from people asking to cancel their reservations and quibbling with the park’s cancellation policy.

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“I can tell them to call [President Donald] Trump and get their money back,” said the RV park’s owner.

A hotelier near the park said she and her employees have also been hit. She has had to cut back her employees’ hours and echoed others who estimate that only half as many people are visiting the park as normal during January.

“Our community does rely on that business,” said Heidi Grunt, the owner of Twentynine Palms Inn. “We were pretty good for the first week of January, but since then things have really taken a dive.”

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The fallout from the Trump shutdown is not limited to hotel reservation cancellations and lost fuel taxes.

Southwest airline’s plans to start service to Hawaii are on hold as the Federal Aviation Administration workers who would certify their planes for extended over-water flights have been furloughed.

The budget carrier had hoped to start selling tickets to Honolulu and for island-hopping by the end of 2018 but now faces a major delay.

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Fox News talked to an industry expert who warned that tour operators, hoteliers, restaurants and more can only soldier on for so long before the lost revenue from the shutdown forces tough decisions.

“If this thing goes on past a month and a half or two months, I think you will see some effects and then the severity of those effects could continue as the shutdown goes on,” said Zach Burau, founder of the subscription travel service Wanderlift.

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Three judges suspended for drunken 3 AM fight at White Castle — that ended with two shot

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Three judges were suspended after engaging in a drunken shooting outside a White Castle.

"Three Indiana judges involved in a Downtown Indianapolis fight in May that ended with two of the judges shot have been suspended without pay after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they committed judicial misconduct," the Indianapolis Star reports. "In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said judges Bradley Jacobs, Andrew Adams and Sabrina Bell 'engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.'"

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What Zelensky knew: The devastating and darkly ironic impact of Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine

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In their effort to exculpate President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry, Republicans put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s denial that he ever felt pressure from the White House to open up investigations into Democrats at the center of their argument. A new GOP memo says that both leaders have acknowledged “there was no pressure” on the famous July 25 call that sparked the inquiry and thus argues that the allegations made by Democrats that Trump abused his power don’t hold.

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Greta Thunberg says ‘people must finally wake up’ to the fact Trump is ‘so extreme’ on climate change

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Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

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