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US shutdown stokes air safety fears

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WASHINGTON: The partial shutdown of the US government could have serious consequences for air safety, according to unions representing aviation workers, which are calling for an immediate resolution to the budgetary stalemate.

Some 800,000 federal employees, including those from the Department of Transport and the Department of Homeland Security which handles air safety and oversees screening at airport checkpoints, have been affected since December 22 when the impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for a southern border wall opposed by Democrats in Congress began.

Those deemed non-essential have been placed on unpaid leave, while others have been forced to continue working without pay.

“This is a matter of safety, security, and economic concern,” said the Association of Flight Attendants, which held a protest in the capital Washington on Thursday along with other aviation sector unions, to demand the resumption of normal services.

“Our members and the traveling public are flying within a system that is less safe and secure as long as the shutdown continues,” added the letter to Congress from the union, which represents some 50,000 professionals.

“We know all too well the economic hardship that can result from any loophole in our security and any means for inflicting harm by those who view the United States and its citizens as the enemy,” it added in a reference to the September 11 2001 attacks.

The association noted the airline industry contributes over 5 percent of the national GDP and supports 11 million jobs, warning: “As the shutdown continues the entire industry will begin to unravel.

“Airlines cannot receive delivery of aircraft causing route cancellations, attrition of air traffic controllers reduces flow of aircraft in the air, and as transportation security officers reduce in numbers we will experience long, slowed security lines.”

 

 

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Business

Is Uber buying Careem for $3.1b?

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DUBAI: According to the rumors making rounds here today it seems that Uber is about to acquire Careem for $3.1b!

Sources privy to NPTV have insinuated that the deal will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 26th March). Initially Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and the rest in notes convertible to Uber shares.

It comes as Uber prepares for its initial public offering — expected next month — which could see the rideshare giant’s value increase to $100 billion.

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Environment

British Shadow Justice Minister on climate change

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BRADFORD: Climate/ecological change is one of the biggest challenges that humanity faces in the modern era. 

British Shadow Minister  Imran Hussain maintains: “With disaster awaiting if we do not make substantial changes to the way that we live our lives, and I was visited recently by school children from Bradford who came to talk to me about their campaign against climate change.

“It’s always positive to see young people get involved in a deeply important issue, and their actions should serve as a wakeup call to the Government that their views must no longer be ignored.

“They are also right to be worried about the kind of planet they will inherit and demand far-reaching action, for if we do not act over the next 12 years, we will forever miss the opportunity to do anything about it.”

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Politics

Egypt-Israel peace treaty lives on in troubled region

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CAIRO: The US-mediated 1979 treaty between Egypt and Israel may only have resulted in a “cold peace” but their ties have survived four decades in a turbulent region, analysts say.

The watershed treaty brought together late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli premier Menachem Begin for a 26th March, 1979 signing ceremony in Washington as a beaming Jimmy Carter, then-US president, looked on. The peace deal, the first ever between Israel and an Arab state, and which cost Sadat his life at the hands of an Islamist extremist, has kept Cairo out of any armed conflict with its neighbour.

The treaty has emerged unscathed from upheavals in Egypt, notably the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, proving its “stability”, said Amr al-Shobaki, political analyst with the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. The 40th anniversary comes as armed conflicts roil several countries across the Arab world, from Libya in the far west to Yemen in the south.  It also comes at a time of major US policy changes.

In 2017, President Donald Trump’s administration recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, causing uproar in the Muslim world. He followed up on Friday with a pledge to recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Israel seized mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem, Syria’s Golan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in the 1967 Six-Day War, when it also occupied the West Bank and Gaza. But under the 1979 peace treaty, Israel returned the Sinai to former enemy Egypt.

 

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