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ARAB TIMES, THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017 INTERNATIONAL 10 World News Roundup Aviation Dragging backlash US airlines bum...

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ARAB TIMES, THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017

INTERNATIONAL

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World News Roundup Aviation Dragging backlash

US airlines bump fewer passengers DALLAS, Aug 9, (AP): Following widespread outrage over a passenger who was violently dragged off an overbooked plane, US airlines are bumping customers at the lowest rate in at least two decades. The Transportation Department said Tuesday that just one in every 19,000 passengers was kicked off an overbooked flight in the first six months of this year. That’s the lowest rate since the government started keeping track in 1995. The biggest decline took place between April and June, partly because airlines began paying many more passengers to give up their seats. Airlines have routinely overbooked flights for years in the expectation that some passengers won’t show up. When a flight is overbooked, airlines typically offer travel vouchers to encourage a few passengers to take a later flight. That practice backfired in April when United employees, whose offers of vouchers were ignored, asked Chicago airport officers to help remove four people from a United Express flight to make room for airline employees commuting to their next flight. A 69-year-old man was McCarthy dragged forcibly down the airplane aisle and other passengers captured the spectacle on camera phones, turning the incident into a public-relations disaster for United. Since then, United and other large US airlines have introduced new measures to reduce overbooking, and raised the maximum amount that passengers can be offered to give up a seat. Passengers still get bumped, however. Besides instances in which airlines sell too many seats, passengers may get booted when a mechanical breakdown causes an airline to use a smaller aircraft, or when the plane’s weight must be reduced for safe takeoff. United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said the carrier has sharply reduced bumping since the April incident. United booted 1,964 passengers in the first six months of 2017, with more in the second quarter than the first. However, McCarthy said, bumpings dropped from 957 in April to 61 in May and 46 in June. The Transportation Department did not provide a monthly breakdown.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on the opioid crisis, on Aug 8, at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. (AP)

Health Marijuana use holds 3-fold blood pressure death risk

Trump vows to ‘win’ opioid battle

Matched Travelers were least likely to be bumped on JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Spirit Airlines had the highest rate of booting passengers, although Southwest Airlines, a much bigger carrier, bumped the most people, 2,642 in six months. United’s rate exactly matched in the industry average. United, JetBlue, Delta and Southwest all convinced more passengers to give up their seats than they had in the same period a year ago. The Transportation Department issued the latest numbers of bumped passengers as it released its monthly report card on airline performance. The department said 76.2 percent of flights in June arrived on time, down from 78.0 percent in June 2016. The government counts a flight on time if it arrives within 14 minutes of schedule. Hawaiian Airlines had the best rating among the 12 largest US airlines, and JetBlue Airways had the worst rate — two of every five flights arrived late. Consumer complaints about US airlines ticked up 3 percent to 1,115 in June. That is a tiny fraction of the millions of airline travelers, but most people who complain go straight to the airline, not the government. ❑





At some point during many flights, the captain will calmly announce that there could be some bumps ahead and so passengers must be seated with their seat belts on. The plane might seem to bobble or bounce a bit, but rarely does it turn into a serious threat to safety. That, however, is just what happened to an American Airlines flight last weekend, when 10 people were injured as the plane plowed through turbulence on its way to landing in Philadelphia. A rundown of statistics, recent incidents, and what pilots and airlines do to avoid hitting potholes in the sky: THE NUMBERS

About 40 people a year are seriously injured by turbulence in the US, according to Federal Aviation Administration figures from the last 10 years. The FAA counted 44 injuries last year, the most since more than 100 were hurt in 2009. But the official count is almost certainly too low. The National Transportation Safety Board requires airlines to report incidents that result in serious injury or death, and FAA uses those reports to tally the number of people hurt by turbulence. But airlines are not required to report injuries unless they require a 48hour hospital stay or involve certain specific injuries such as major broken bones, burns or organ damage. Saturday’s American Airlines flight to Philadelphia likely won’t meet those standards — the injured people were released from the hospital within a few hours and didn’t suffer the types of injuries that trigger a report to the federal safety board. RECENT FLIGHTS

The American Airlines flight from Athens hit severe turbulence over the New York coastline. Seven crew members and three passengers among the 299 people on board were taken to a hospital for treatment. American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the seat-belt sign was on but none of the injured people were buckled in. Feinstein said the plane was inspected and suffered no damage. After the interior was cleaned up — coffee and other drinks went flying, even splashing the ceiling — the plane was put back in service Monday, he said. It was the latest in a string of scary turbulence incidents. ■ In June, 10 people on a United Airlines flight from Panama City to Houston were injured when their plane was shaken over the Gulf of Mexico. ■ In May, more than two dozen passengers suffered injuries including broken bones when they were tossed around the cabin of an Aeroflot plane headed from Moscow to Bangkok. ■ More than 20 people were injured in August 2016 when a JetBlue plane ran into turbulence in a line of thunderstorms over South Dakota and had to make an emergency landing. RATING TURBULENCE

Turbulence is classified as light, moderate, severe or extreme. The first two might be frightening to some passengers, but it is only the latter two that are dangerous, especially for passengers and crew who aren’t buckled in.

A young girl listens to a speaker at a rally at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn. The suburban Minneapolis mosque was bombed on Aug 5 as worshippers were about to start their morning prayers. No one was hurt in what Minnesota’s governor has deemed a terrorist attack. (AP)

America ‘Ethical reasons’ may end WH term: Former US vice-president Al Gore suggested on Tuesday that the presidency of Donald Trump could end prematurely for “ethical reasons,” drawing laughter from a packed movie theater at the European premiere of his latest film on climate change. “We’re only six months into the experiment with Trump. Some experiments are ended early for ethical reasons,” Gore said, acknowledging the “provocative” nature of his comment. Gore said he was convinced that US cities, states and business executives would meet US obligations under the 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change, despite Trump’s decision in June to withdraw from the global pact. “We have a global agreement and the American people are part of this agreement in spite of Donald Trump,” he told hundreds of moviegoers at Berlin’s Zoo Palast cinema after a showing of his new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” “We can win this ... All we need is the political will,” he said, adding his hope that the United States would “soon once again” have a leader who was committed to halting global warming. The film argues that fighting climate change is a just, moral battle, on a par with social movements such as the civil rights movement in the United States or the fight for gay rights. Gore’s first documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is credited with bringing climate change into mainstream political discourse in the United States a decade ago. Gore said he was confident the American and German people would remain united in their commitment to reversing the devastating effects of climate change already visible around the world on a daily basis. He said he was “heartsick” about Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris deal, but said it could trigger an even stronger commitment by other nations to reduce greenhouse gases as an act of defiance. (RTRS) ❑ ❑ ❑

Trump fights negative coverage: Hardly a week goes by without US President Donald Trump venting his frustration at the media’s coverage of his White House. “The Fake News refuses to report the success of the first 6 months,” Trump tweeted Sunday in one of his latest broadsides. To fight against what it considers “Fake News” generated by the mainstream media, Team Trump is now producing what it is billing as the “Real News.” The first “Real News” video appeared a little over a week ago on Trump’s Facebook page and featured the president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, who is married to his son Eric. Shot against a blue backdrop advertising DonaldJTrump.com and the 2016 TrumpPence ticket, the video, filmed at Trump Tower in New York, mimics the format of a television newscast. “Hey everybody, Lara Trump here,” she

BRIDGEWATER, NJ, Aug 9, (RTRS): President Donald Trump promised to win the fight against a US epidemic of opioid drug use, but offered no new steps to do so and did not act on a recommendation made by a presidential commission that he declare a national emergency. Trump spoke at an event he had billed as a “major briefing” on the opioid crisis during a two-week “working vacation” at his private golf club in New Jersey. He also used the appearance to unexpectedly issue a stern warning to North Korea over its threats to the United States. The Republican president said the United States has no alternative but to stem spreading opioid use, but more than six months into his presidency announced no new policies to combat a public health crisis that kills more than 100 Americans daily. “I’m confidant that by working with our healthcare and law enforcement experts we will fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win,” Trump told reporters. “We’re also very, very tough on the southern border where much of this comes in, and we’re talking to China, where certain forms of man-made drug comes in, and it is bad.” US Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the administration was still working to devise “a comprehensive strategy” to be presented to Trump “in the near future.” A commission created by Trump to study opioid abuse urged him last week to declare a national emergency to address what it called an opioids crisis, framing its death toll in the context of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. An emergency declaration could free up federal resources for the effort. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in more than 33,000 US deaths in 2015, the latest year for which data is available, and estimates show the death rate has continued rising.

Treatment The commission, headed by Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, recommended steps such as waiving a federal rule that restricts the number of people who can get residential addiction treatment under the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor and disabled. The commission cited government data showing that since 1999 US opioid overdoses have quadrupled, adding that nearly two thirds of US drug overdoses were linked to opioids such as heroin and the powerful painkillers Percocet, OxyContin and fentanyl. Speaking alongside Price, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said, “We are a nation that consumes legal and illegal drugs at a very high and alarming rate. The problem is very complicated, and currently

begins breezily. “I bet you haven’t heard about all the accomplishments the president had this week because there’s so much fake news out there.” Lara Trump goes on to note that her billionaire father-in-law has donated his presidential salary to the National Park Service and the Department of Education. “This is a president who is putting America before himself,” she says, before praising his economic achievements.

Groups compete for Ohio grants

High-tech ideas to fix opioid crisis COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug 9, (AP): A call by Republican Gov John Kasich for scientific breakthroughs to help solve the opioid crisis is drawing interest from dozens of groups with ideas including remote controlled medication dispensers, monitoring devices for addicts, mobile apps and pain-relieving massage gloves. The state has received project ideas from 44 hospitals, universities and various medical device, software and pharmaceutical developers that plan to apply for up to $12 million in competitive researchand-development grants. The grant money is being combined with $8 million for an Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, a competition similar to one spearheaded by the NFL to address concussions. Research grant-seekers in Ohio, which leads the nation in opioidrelated overdose deaths, proposed solutions aimed at before or after an overdose. Tactus Therapeutics Inc, for example, seeks $2.2 million to develop an improved tamper-resistant opioid, while other applicants seek money to pursue technological advances in the administration of naloxone, a drug used as an overdose antidote. One is a “rescue mask.” Other grant-seekers propose migrating away from pills altogether to find new ways of fighting pain. In the Ohio city known for innovations in rubber and plastics, the University of Akron is looking to polymers. It seeks $2 million to ad-

vance development of implantable therapeutic meshes loaded with non-opioid pain medications capable of alleviating post-surgical pain for up to 96 hours. Another company, Clevelandbased Innovative Medical Equipment LLC, seeks $810,000 to make engineering improvements to a medical apparatus that uses heat to fight head pain, headaches, muscle and joint pain and pain after surgery. Additional proposals look to neural therapies, electrical impulses, even virtual reality, as ways to overcome or outwit pain. Osteopath Benjamin Bring, of suburban Columbus, seeks $75,000 to develop a prototype of a special glove that helps relieve chronic muscle pain through massage therapy. Some proposals are specific to particular medical issues, such as chronic low back pain or amputations; others to specific groups, including mothers, children, veterans and dental patients. Many applicants propose ways of using smart technology to prevent overdose deaths by approaching the problem through the patient, doctor or community. Ideas include apps for better coordinating medical treatment or addiction care and wearable devices that would speed help in cases of a potential overdose by linking people at risk of addiction with family, emergency workers and other caregivers.

we are on the losing side of this war.” Conway said the crisis cannot be solved overnight, and that “most of the great work is being done at the state and local levels.” Conway called it a “nonpartisan issue in search of bipartisan support and bipartisan solutions.” Even before Trump’s event, the Democratic National Committee slammed him, with spokesman Daniel Wessel saying in a statement: “Trump promised he’d come to the aid of communities ravaged by the opioid epidemic, but so far he’s done nothing for them.” Trump’s initial federal budget called for a 2 percent increase in drug treatment programs and would provide funds to increase border security to stop the flow of drugs into the country. Substance abuse treatment activists have criticized his proposed cuts to federal prevention and research programs as well as his calls to shrink Medicaid, which covers drug treatment for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Officials from New Hampshire criticized Trump last week after a leaked

transcript of a January conversation with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto showed Trump had called the New England state, hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, a “drug-infested den.”

Al Gore

Trump

Also: LONDON: People who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension, or high blood pressure, than those who have never used the drug, scientists said on Wednesday. The risk grows with every year of use, they said. The findings, from a study of some 1,200 people, could have implications in the United States among other countries. Several states have legalised marijuana and others are moving towards it. It is decriminalised in a number of other countries. “Support for liberal marijuana use is partly due to claims that it is beneficial and possibly not harmful to health,” said Barbara Yankey, who co-led the research at the school of public health at Georgia State University in the United States.

“The economy is booming ladies and gentlemen,” the 34-year-old notes in the broadcast, reportedly paid for by Trump’s presidential campaign committee. She signs off the two-minute video, which has drawn over 2.3 million views on Facebook, by saying: “Thanks for joining us everybody. I’m Lara Trump and that is the real news.” The video was followed by another over the weekend from Kayleigh McEnany, a conservative television pundit and Trump supporter. (AFP)