Today: Trump gives Netanyahu a 'golden key' to the White House, wildfire smoke makes its way East and Thai jetsetters find an unusual fix for the travel itch...
TRUMP GIVES NETANYAHU A GOLDEN KEY: President Trump today hailed the 'dawn of a new Middle East' as he headed up a historic diplomatic deal between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, indicating that more nations would follow suit in signing the accord that normalizes relations between the Jewish state and the Arab nations. In their sit down, Trump gave Netanyahu a golden key to the White House as a token of his appreciation. 'You have a key to the hearts of the Jewish people,' Netanyahu told the president in response.
The crowd of more than 200 guests on the White House South lawn for today's event were seated with no social distancing. 'The e-mail that went out for all invitees was an encouragement to wear a mask,' a senior administration official said on a call with reporters Monday. 'We're not going to require anybody to do so. But, you know, the Israelis and the Emiratis and Bahrainis are all taking it seriously.'' Nonetheless, few were observed wearing masks at today's event.
WILDFIRE SMOKE MAKES ITS WAY EAST: The smoke from the West's devastating wildfires has made its way as far as New York and Canada, sparing only the states of Nevada, Utah and Colorado from its cover. On Monday and Tuesday, residents of New York City saw a hazy sky and grey clouds as a result of the incoming smoke. 'Even though we have a sunny and dry forecast coming up, don't be surprised if it's more of a milky sun, or filtered sun,' Meterologist Lee Goldberg with ABC7 said.
The intense smoke from the wildfires has blanketed San Francisco in orange and grey, and led to hazardous air quality in California, Oregon and Washington. There are currently 87 large wildfires burning in 10 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
BEIRUT ON FIRE AGAIN: Lebanon's capitol city endured its third fire in the space of a week today as it continued to reel from the aftermath of the catastrophic port explosion that leveled entire neighborhoods and killed nearly 200 people. Black clouds of smoke were seen pouring from a futuristic shopping center that passes by the port in central Beirut. Firefighters were seen using a crane to douse the flames and save what remained of the charred facade of the Zaha Hadid-designed building, which has been under construction for years. Today's emergency follows a small fire at the port last Tuesday and another huge fire on Thursday at a port warehouse where food aid was stored.
A FITTING BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: America's oldest living WWII veteran has celebrated his 111th birthday with a full military flyover above his home. Lawrence Brooks of New Orleans enjoyed a socially distanced celebration from his porch this year, as a vocal trio from Louisana's National World War II Museum sang him Happy Birthday from outside his gate. Brooks also received around 10,000 birthday cards thanks to a public campaign and watched an aerobatics show by the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and The Big Easy Wing.
After his service in WWII, Brooks worked as a forklift operator and retired in his 70s. He has five children, 13 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.
THAILAND'S 'PLANE CAFES' TAKE OFF: Would-be Thai jetsetters grounded by the pandemic can stratch at least one part of the travel itch -- by stepping aboard one of the country's popular new 'plane cafes.' The cafes, which are located inside retired commercial airplanes, allow customers to pretend they are flying first class. 'Passengers' can indulge in plane food and drinks and even take a tour of the cockpit.
'Normally I'm a person who travels very often, and when we are forced to stay at home... it's kind of depressing,' said Intrawut Simapichet, 38, who came to the cafe with his wife and baby. '(The cafe) relieves what's missing.' Thailand was the first country outside China to detect a coronavirus case, but has successfully battled the virus's deadly spread, recording only 3,400 infections and 58 deaths over the course of the pandemic.