Chicago Sun-Times

White House: Biden-led upgrades caught Chinese balloon


WASHINGTON — U.S. officials said Monday that improvemen­ts ordered by President Joe Biden to strengthen defenses against Chinese espionage helped to identify last week’s spy balloon.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that after Biden took office, the U.S. “enhanced our surveillan­ce of our territoria­l airspace, we enhanced our capacity to be able to detect things that the Trump administra­tion was unable to detect.”

Biden on Monday addressed the issue of not shooting down the balloon until it passed over the ocean.

“Once it came over to the United States, from Canada, I told the Defense Department I wanted to shoot it down as soon as it was appropriat­e,” Biden said. The military concluded “we should not shoot it down over land, it was not a serious threat.”

In a brief exchange with reporters, Biden expressed his continued displeasur­e with Beijing. Asked why China launched the balloon over the U.S., he replied simply, “Because they’re the Chinese.”

AMC to charge more for good seats in movie theaters

NEW YORK — Middle seats at many movie theaters just got more expensive.

AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, on Monday unveiled a new pricing scheme in which seat location determines how much your movie ticket costs. Seats in the middle of the auditorium will cost a dollar or two more, while seats in the front row will be slightly cheaper.

AMC said the plan, dubbed “Sightline,” has been rolled out in some locations and, by the end of the year, will be in place at all U.S. AMC theaters during showings after 4 p.m.

Seats classified as “standard sightline” will be at the regular price. If you want to pay less for the “value sightline” seats, you have to be a member of the chain’s subscripti­on service, AMC Stubs.

N.Y. ending vaccine requiremen­t

NEW YORK — New York City, which once had the nation’s strictest workplace vaccinatio­n rules for COVID-19, is ending one of its last such mandates, saying it will no longer require the shots as of Friday for municipal employees including police officers, firefighte­rs and teachers.

Grammys ratings rebound

NEW YORK — An estimated 12.4 million people tuned in to watch stars Harry Styles, Lizzo and Bad Bunny perform at the Grammy Awards, the Nielsen company said on Monday. Live viewership was 8.8 million in 2021 and 8.9 million in 2022. Music’s showcase night was seen by 18.7 million people in 2020.

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