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Photo: /Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration announced plans to impose massive fines on four airline passengers for unruly behavior, including two who allegedly assaulted flight attendants after refusing to comply with face mask guidelines.

Why it matters: The proposed civil penalties ranging from $9,000 to $32,750 are part of the FAA's new "zero tolerance" policy, introduced after an uptick in incidents of disobedient passengers on flights stemming from their refusal to wear masks and January's U.S. Capitol riot. Airlines have reported some 1,300 cases since February — about 1,000 more than in a typical year.

What's happening: Per an FAA statement, the transportation agency plans to fine one person $32,750 for allegedly grabbing and striking two flight attendants and hurling an empty alcohol bottle and food around after refusing to wear a mask on a February 7 jetBlue Airlines flight from the Dominican Republic to New York.

  • Another person faces a $16,500 fine for repeatedly refusing to comply with face covering requirements before becoming "combative" and abusing two flight attendants, hitting another with his bags on a January 26 Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago, Ill., to Sacramento, Calif.
  • The FAA plans to impose a $9,000 fine on a passenger who refused to comply with mask requirements on a January 30 Alaska Airlines flight from Bozeman Mont., to Seattle, Wash., causing the captain to return the flight to the gate, where the passenger was removed from the plane.
  • A woman who refused to stay in her seat with her seatbelt fastened on a Dec. 22, 2020 Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis, Minn., to Philadelphia, Penn., leading the flight to return to Minneapolis, also faces a $9,000 fine.

Go deeper

Aug 4, 2021 - World

Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya departs Tokyo for Vienna

Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (C) at Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, outside Tokyo, before boarding her Vienna-bound flight on Aug. 4. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya left Japan on Wednesday, aboard a plane bound for Vienna after refusing national team orders to fly home amid concerns for her safety.

Driving the news: The 24-year-old Olympian had sought refuge at the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she was granted a humanitarian visa. But she changed flights at the last minute and boarded an Austrian Airlines flight for Vienna, an airport official told reporters.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.