Happening Today: Dr. Dao, Southwest Airlines, Lethal Injection, Heart Attacks, James Earl Jones, Ellen

What to Know

  • The doctor dragged off an airplane has settled with United Airlines for an undisclosed amount, according to a statement from his lawyer
  • Artificial intelligence may be better at determining which patients are at high risk for a heart attack than their doctor, study suggests
  • Two-time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones will soon get a third, this time for lifetime achievement

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Doctor Dragged From Flight Settles With United

The Kentucky doctor dragged off an airplane in Chicago, in a startling incident captured in a viral video that sparked global headlines, has settled with United Airlines for an undisclosed amount. According to a statement from his attorney, Dr. David Dao "has reached an amicable settlement" with the airline "for the injuries he received in his April 9th ordeal." "Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers," said attorney Thomas Demetrio. News of the settlement follows an earlier announcement from United Airlines saying it planned to raise the limit — to $10,000 — on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights. The company also said it will increase training for employees as it deals with fallout from the incident. United released a statement saying it was pleased there had been an "amicable resolution" to the incident.

Arkansas Executes 4th Inmate in 8 Days, Finishes Lethal Injection Schedule

Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in eight days, wrapping up an accelerated schedule with a lethal injection that left the prisoner lurching and convulsing 20 times before he died. Kenneth Williams, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m., 13 minutes after the execution began at the Cummins Unit prison at Varner. An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the lethal injection said Williams' body jerked 15 times in quick succession, then the rate slowed for a final five movements. J.R. Davis, a spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson who did not witness the execution, called it "an involuntary muscular reaction" that he said was a widely known effect of the sedative midazolam, the first of three drugs administered. Williams' attorneys are calling for an investigation into the execution. Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before one of its lethal injection drugs expires on Sunday.

Southwest Airlines Will Stop Overbooking Flights, CEO Says

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines plans to end the common industry practice of overbooking flights - an industry practice implicated in an ugly incident on a United Airlines flight that has damaged United's reputation with the flying public. Last year Southwest bumped 15,000 passengers off flights, more than any other U.S. airline. Carriers said they sometimes sell more tickets than there are seats because often a few passengers don't show up. Beth Harbin, a Southwest spokeswoman, added Thursday that with better forecasting tools and a new reservations system coming online next month the airline will no longer have a need to overbook flights. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said "I’ve made the decision and the company’s made the decision that we’ll cease to overbook going forward."

Trump to Sign Order Aimed at Expanding Offshore Drilling

Working to dismantle his predecessor's environmental legacy, President Trump plans to sign an executive order that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. With one day left to rack up accomplishments before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump will order his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand operations. It's part of Trump's promise to unleash the nation's energy reserves in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign oil and to spur jobs, regardless of fierce opposition from environmental activists, who say offshore drilling harms whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbates global warming. The executive order will reverse part of a December effort by former President Obama to deem the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic as indefinitely off limits to oil and gas leasing.

AI Predicts Heart Attacks Better Than Doctors, Study Suggests

New research suggests that artificial intelligence may be better at determining which patients are at high risk for a heart attack than their doctor, NBC News reported. AI computer programs developed at the University of Nottingham in England were significantly more accurate at predicting which patients were at high risk. The program's algorithm analyzes more types of patient data over a longer time period. It also takes into account the interactions of certain medications that are now known to be associated with a heightened risk for heart disease. "You'll always need doctors and nurses. An AI algorithm won't be able to tell you that the patient was nervous because they had a big job interview in the afternoon...and thus their blood pressure was high on the day. What AI does allow is for doctors to become more efficient at their job," Dr. Stephen Weng, a research fellow at the University of Nottingham, told NBC News.

James Earl Jones to Receive Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement

Two-time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones will soon get a third — for lifetime achievement. The Tony Awards Administration Committee said that Jones will receive the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre on June 11 at the Tony Awards. Jones, the voice of Darth Vader and Mufasa from Disney's "The Lion King," has won Tonys for "The Great White Hope" and "Fences." His Broadway credits also include "On Golden Pond," ''Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," ''Driving Miss Daisy," ''The Best Man" and "The Gin Game."

Ellen DeGeneres Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Coming Out as Gay

With a headline of "Yep, I'm Gay" on the cover of Time magazine and the same declaration on her sitcom, Ellen DeGeneres made history 20 years ago as the first prime-time lead on network TV to come out, capturing the hearts of supporters gay and straight amid a swirl of hate mail, death threats and, ultimately, dark times on and off the screen. The code-named "The Puppy Episode" of "Ellen" that aired April 30, 1997, was more than just a hit. It was one of those huge cultural "where were you" moments for anybody remotely interested in TV, or the advancement of LGBTQ people working in TV, or who were itching to come out of their closets at home at a still-perilous time. Variety summed it up this way: "Climaxing a season of swelling anticipation, Ellen Morgan (the bookstore-managing alter ego of Ellen DeGeneres) finally acknowledges her lesbianism tonight in an 'Ellen' hour that represents television's most-hyped coming out since Little Ricky came out of Lucy 44 years ago." The hype was real, fed by DeGeneres' personal desire to end her secret-keeping at age 38 and to bring her TV character along for the ride. The off-screen act came first in Time by slightly more than two weeks, but "Puppy" was months in the making under lock and key, something that failed to matter when the script leaked and the world then waited.

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