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  1. Tequila Bottles Found on New Boeing Air Force One Jet in Development Company has faced problems of factory debris found in commercial, military aircraft in recent years Sat Sep 18, 2021 - WSJ by Andrew Tangel Two empty liquor bottles were found this month on one of Boeing Co. ’s new Air Force One planes under development in San Antonio, people familiar with the matter said. The discovery of miniature bottles of tequila on one of the future U.S. presidential jets is under investigation by the company, these people said. It couldn’t be determined where on the plane the bottles were discovered. While Boeing has had problems in recent years with tools, rags and other factory garbage left on commercial and military aircraft, this incident is particularly serious because it involves alcohol and highly classified jets, which will be known as Air Force One when the commander-in-chief is on board. A Boeing spokesman said the incident was a personnel matter. The company has said it is working to improve quality and manufacturing operations. Boeing’s new Air Force One jets are heavily modified 747-8 aircraft known as VC-25B military variants. Employees need security clearances to work on the aircraft. In court papers in a supplier dispute earlier this year, Boeing attorneys described the aircraft as “effectively an airborne seat of government” ranking alongside defense programs such as ballistic missiles that carry the “highest national priority.” Boeing internally doesn’t regard the discovery primarily as an incident of foreign object debris, known in the industry of FOD, as alcohol isn’t allowed at any of the manufacturer’s facilities, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person said the company took the finding extremely seriously. A White House spokesman referred questions to the U.S. Air Force. An Air Force spokeswoman said that Boeing informed the service branch about the personnel matter and that there was no effect on the aircraft-modification work. The Air Force and Defense Contract Management Agency, which oversees Pentagon suppliers, monitors production quality closely and holds “Boeing accountable to ensure the VC-25B program meets stringent quality-control requirements,” she said. The Pentagon contract agency said it takes factory-debris incidents seriously and works with contractors to correct such issues. Boeing earlier this year told the Pentagon the new Air Force One jets could be a year late and signaled it may request a more than $500 million in additional taxpayer funding due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the supplier dispute. Boeing struck a $3.9 billion deal for two new jets with President Donald Trump in 2018.
  2. In Children, Risk of Covid-19 Death or Serious Illness Remains Extremely Low, New Studies Find The findings come from some of the most comprehensive research on the risks of the coronavirus for those 18 years and younger Thu Jul 8, 2021 - The Wall Street Journal By Denise Roland Children are at extremely slim risk of dying from Covid-19, according to some of the most comprehensive studies to date, which indicate the threat might be even lower than previously thought. Some 99.995% of the 469,982 children in England who were infected during the year examined by researchers survived, one study found. In fact, there were fewer deaths among children due to the virus than initially suspected. Among the 61 child deaths linked to a positive Covid-19 test in England, 25 were actually caused by the illness, the study found. The three studies, by researchers in the U.K. reviewing its national health system’s medical records or pulling together data from other countries, were published on preprint servers Thursday. The studies haven’t yet been reviewed by independent experts and are preliminary. The studies provide some of the most detailed analysis yet of severe illness and death from Covid-19 in children, a closely watched subject as schools prepare for a new academic year and parents weigh whether to have their children vaccinated if shots are cleared for younger ages. One of the studies focused only on deaths, while the other two examined the risks of severe illness and death. Researchers previously had found the risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 among children under 18 years was relatively low. The new studies confirm the findings, adding to the weight of evidence as policy makers and school officials make decisions about mask-wearing and physical distancing. “Having a larger and larger database…adds a lot to our ability to make important decisions,” said Dr. Rick Malley, an infectious-diseases specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who wasn’t involved in the studies. The study examining the risk of death is “certainly one of the largest studies I’ve seen,” he said. Some vaccines are in late-stage testing in younger children, while in use in adolescents 12 years and older. One thorny area for policy makers is whether to recommend the shots if health agencies authorize the vaccines for children of younger ages. The decision would involve balancing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the low risk of serious illness and death from Covid-19. Some parents have been concerned about giving messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer Inc. or Moderna Inc. to adolescents because of the risk of a rare inflammatory heart condition. Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged vaccination, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. Several countries, including the U.S., are offering the Pfizer shot to children 12 years and older. The U.K. has held back from offering vaccines to older children under 18, unless they have certain serious illnesses. For the three new studies, researchers looked at various medical and study data for children of different ages for periods since the coronavirus pandemic started. Researchers conducting the death study analyzed several national databases to identify children under 18 across England who had died from Covid-19 in the first year of the pandemic, from March 1, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. “England is a large enough country and it’s had enough Covid, sadly, that we have better data than almost anywhere else in the world on the risks,” said Russell Viner, a professor of adolescent health at the University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and senior author on the death study as well as another looking at English hospital and intensive-care admissions. Researchers from the University of Bristol, University of York and University of Liverpool were also key contributors to the three papers. Two of the studies were published on the medRxiv preprint server and one on the Research Square preprint server. Underlying health conditions, especially serious brain or nerve-related disabilities, increased the risk of dying of Covid-19, according to the study looking at child deaths. Fifteen of the 25 children in England who died because of Covid-19 during the period examined had underlying serious illnesses, the researchers said, while four had chronic underlying conditions. The researchers didn’t specify the serious illnesses or chronic conditions, but said that children with a combination of neurological and respiratory-linked conditions were at the greatest risk of death. Three of the deaths were due to multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a serious complication of infection where different body parts can become inflamed. Six of the children who died due to Covid-19 didn’t appear to have an underlying health condition, researchers said. No child with a stand-alone diagnosis of asthma, diabetes, epilepsy or Down syndrome died from Covid-19, the researchers said. The risk of death was higher among children from Black and Asian backgrounds and in children above 10 years, the researchers said. Even among these higher-risk groups, however, children’s absolute risk of dying from Covid-19 is very small. “Twice a tiny risk is still a very, very tiny risk,” said Professor Viner. “Even 10 times a very, very tiny risk is still a very, very tiny risk.” Underlying health conditions also raised the risk of severe illness, the two other papers said. “Factors linked to a higher risk of severe Covid-19 appear to be broadly consistent for both children and adults,” said Joseph Ward, of UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, who led one of the studies. That study found a higher risk of admission to intensive care among children with health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Those with multiple conditions had the highest risk. Even so, the absolute risk was very small, the researchers said. The studies all related to time periods that predated the emergence of the Delta variant that is now dominant in both the U.K. and the U.S., but the authors said there was as yet no evidence that the variant causes more severe illness or death among children.
  3. California Seeks to Avert Blackouts by Burning More Gas Fri Sep 10, 2021 - Bloomberg News By Mark Chediak and Naureen S Malik California is asking the federal government to declare an “electric reliability emergency” so the Golden State can lean more heavily on fossil fuels to avoid blackouts. The state’s main grid operator wants the U.S. Department of Energy to suspend air-pollution rules for some natural gas-burning power plants in case their output is needed “to meet demand in the face of extremely challenging conditions including extreme heat waves, multiple fires, high winds, and various grid issues,” according to a filing. The last time California received a waiver of such length and breadth was 21 years ago during the Western Energy Crisis. For a second straight day, authorities urged residents of the biggest U.S. state to conserve energy as a heat wave boosts air-conditioning use. The emergency request highlights the conflict between California’s green aspirations and the physical reality that wind and solar thus far haven’t been able to cover power shortfalls exacerbated by the shuttering of gas-fired generators. The California Independent System Operator has warned of looming electricity shortages several times this summer. An emergency declaration by the Energy Department would allow new gas units recently ordered by the state to connect to the grid by the middle of this month, the California ISO said in its filing. It would also relax pollution limits for some other gas plants that would otherwise be forced to temporarily halt power production. A similar emergency order was issued during the deadly Texas freeze that triggered widespread blackouts, Energy Department spokesman Kevin Liao said.
  4. What happens when your prescription drug becomes the center of covid misinformation Ivermectin has been falsely promoted as a covid treatment—but for those who use the drug legitimately, seeing it become a piece of anti-vaccine misinformation is disconcerting. Wed Sep 08, 2021 - MIT Technology Review by Abby Ohlheiser By the time Joe Rogan mentioned ivermectin as one ingredient in an experimental cocktail he was taking to treat his covid infection, the drug was a meme. In the days and weeks leading up to the hugely popular podcaster’s revelation, the drug had already become a flashpoint in the covid culture wars. Ivermectin isn’t some new or experimental drug: in addition to its use as an anti-parasite treatment for livestock, it’s commonly employed in humans to treat a form of rosacea, among other things. So for those of us who have been using it for years, its sudden infamy was unexpected and unwelcome. Prescriptions for the oral form of ivermectin spiked in August as the drug was promoted widely across the conservative media landscape and championed by a group of pro-Trump doctors who are popular in anti-vaccine circles. Phil Valentine, an anti-vaccine, anti-mask radio host, posted on Facebook in July that people who turn down the vaccine should “have a doctor on speed dial who will write you a prescription for ivermectin.” (He later caught the virus and died.) People without a prescription started buying it in the form of so-called horse paste from Amazon, from livestock suppliers—wherever they could find it. The CDC confirmed that the increased interest in ivermectin as a covid “treatment” coincided with a bump in calls to poison control centers for adverse effects of consuming the drug. Those callers included people who ate a topical cream and those who consumed veterinary formulations meant for large animals. This swell of interest in ivermectin attracted substantial, justified alarm. Headline after headline talked about the “livestock drug” that anti-vaxxers were relying on. Even the US Food and Drug Administration dunked on misinformation peddlers by tweeting, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.” The viral posts and memes came as a surprise to some with rosacea, a common skin condition that is best known for causing redness on the face. I’m one: there are actually four varieties of rosacea, and several years ago, a dermatologist diagnosed me with three of them. On and off for the past five years, I’ve used a topical cream containing ivermectin to treat it. Watching “ivermectin” become a keyword for anti-vaccine misinformation has been pretty weird and infuriating for me. So as the memes spread, I wanted to know how all of this was going to affect those of us who use the drug legitimately. It’s become incredibly complicated, and even talking about it is tricky right now because the conversation is so easily weaponized: when I tweeted in late August that it kind of sucked to see the treatment you use for a skin condition go viral as a “livestock drug,” I was quoted by someone promoting ivermectin as a covid treatment. The argument was that because some people take the drug legitimately for completely unrelated conditions, it must also be safe for covid (it’s not: the FDA says that “taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous”). I’ve watched this play out again and again online: misinformation evolves and adapts as it seeks attention. The fact is, the evidence that ivermectin can treat covid is slim, based largely on a preprint (i.e., not peer-reviewed) study that was posted early in the pandemic but later withdrawn after substantial questions about its data. But online, the fact that ivermectin has a history as a real drug with actual uses in humans and animals has become part of the script for those trying to promote its dubious and potentially dangerous use as a treatment for covid. And as ivermectin’s misuse has caught on, the response to that fact has itself become part of the story for anti-vaccine influencers. Changing the script Before ivermectin was hydroxychloroquine, an immunosuppressant that is often prescribed to prevent malaria and to treat some skin conditions, and was also falsely promoted as a covid-19 treatment. Its ensuing popularity led to shortages, hurting people who actually needed it—and made it harder to prescribe for legitimate uses, says Adam Friedman, a physician and chair of dermatology at George Washington University. It’s a reminder that when drugs get caught up in viral health misinformation, it doesn’t affect just the people who ignore reliable experts and opt for ineffective, debunked, or dangerous treatments they read about online. Friedman says has been forced to change how he talks to patients when he needs to prescribe hydroxychloroquine. “I’ve now worked into my scripting: ‘Hey, I want to start you on this medicine. You may have heard about it related to covid, that it was being used as a cure and it’s not,’” he says. “It got a lot of negative press. However, in dermatology we’ve been using it for decades for these different things.” To understand the extent to which this confusion might also be ivermectin’s future, I went to r/Rosacea, the subreddit for advice on dealing with the chronic condition. Categorically different People with rosacea know ivermectin not as an unproven covid drug, but as a proven and effective treatment that helps some people with a type of rosacea that causes bumps on the skin. On the subreddit, one user was confused by the sudden influx of attention, asking: “Why are ivermectin memes popping up everywhere right now? And how does the mainstream know what it is?” For people on the subreddit, ivermectin is a pretty persistent topic of discussion. There’s an expensive topical cream called Soolantra that contains the drug, and a generic version was released this summer. But a subset of those users also knew that the same drug was in horse paste, because some people diagnosed with rosacea have also bought the veterinary form—usually because they can’t otherwise get access to the creams or can’t afford a prescription. This practice is controversial among people with rosacea, and dermatologists have raised concerns about experimenting with a product that contains an inappropriate dosage or untested ingredients with potentially adverse effects. However, Friedman says, a person with rosacea turning to horse paste for cost reasons is in a categorically different medical and ethical universe from the one in which people are eating horse paste to “cure” covid. For diagnosed rosacea patients who need ivermectin to control the condition, Friedman says, “unfortunately, the best medication is the one patients can get.” People who use Soolantra or the generic version of ivermectin topically are, as of right now, unlikely to be encountering shortages, says Friedman. There are reports of farm supply stores running short on horse paste, however. In addition to some practical issues of access—while reporting this story, I spoke to one person who had to purchase horse paste from the UK in order to treat his pet rats for mites a few weeks ago—there’s now an added layer of scrutiny and stigma. How do you explain that you use horse paste on yourself, but not like that? “Attached to this oversimplified idea” The subreddit’s moderators were already pretty familiar with misinformation about ivermectin. People use the site, like many online communities, to discuss and trade information based on their experience: for example, discussing the best facial cleansers, asking how to avoid triggering a flare-up, or sharing how their treatment is progressing over time. But they can also incubate and promote misinformation, which moderators have to monitor and remove. Although there are some Facebook groups that promote horse paste for those with rosacea, the r/Rosacea subreddit neither encourages nor bans discussion of its use. One moderator told me the biggest risk is that people will self-diagnose with rosacea and decide to treat themselves with a DIY version of a medication that, even in a form intended for use by humans, should only be used with the guidance of a physician. Not all rosacea is the same, however, and the reasons ivermectin might work for some is still a subject of scientific debate. There is a connection between rosacea and demodex mites, which live in the hair follicles on more or less everyone’s face. in people with any form of rosacea, those mites are there in excess. But the exact relationship isn’t clear. “The question is chicken or egg,” Friedman says. Are people with rosacea ideal environments for demodex mites to live in excess, or “or is it this overgrowth that then exacerbates rosacea?” That uncertainty has led to some pretty dangerous suggestions online, said Ryan, a Reddit moderator who asked that I withhold his last name. “People get attracted and attached to this oversimplified idea that if they just kill the mites, their rosacea and their problems will go away,” he said. “We’ve even seen some pretty crazy things, like people recommending wearing flea collars or using pesticides on their face.” Data voids and poisoned wells Online peddlers of misinformation often exploit a data void, telling people to search for specific terms that they know will lead to results that promote what they’re trying to say. At worst, as the misinformation researcher Renee DiResta has written in the past, the top results can end up coming entirely from people who believe in and promote the misinformation. And as searches for “ivermectin” soared in August, according to Google Trends, the search results themselves were more or less completely overtaken by discussions of the people who use ivermectin to treat covid. Platforms and vendors have started promising to address the problem: Amazon’s results for horse paste, which had been filled with reviews promoting the product as a covid treatment, were removed after a Washington Post reporter asked for comment. Searches for “ivermectin” on Amazon now carry a warning from the FDA. But in subreddits and private Facebook groups, in Amazon reviews, and in YouTube videos, bad information still awaits those searching for it. The second result on a Google search for “ivermectin” run on September 7 was a study in the American Journal of Therapeutics promoting the drug’s use to treat covid. The study, a meta-analysis of other trials of using ivermectin, was authored by researchers who are trying to get the drug approved as a covid treatment, Politifact noted. Outside experts said the studies the paper relied on were not high enough quality to warrant the conclusions. Another top result? A clip of Joe Rogan’s podcast in which he jokes about the media’s coverage of his use of ivermectin.
  5. What year were the concussion protocols implemented? Former NHL star Theo Fleury's COVID-19 vaccine passport comments a 'stain on his legacy': Brandon University BU, which gave Fleury honorary doctorate in 2015, denounces 'espousing of conspiracy theories' 'Fleury tweeted that vaccine passports would be used by pedophiles to track children.'
  6. Porter ready for takeoff as business travel lags amid crowded skies Fri Sep 03 - BNN Bloomberg by Jon Mace After an 18-month hiatus, Porter Airlines is set to take to the skies again next week, but will be doing so with more competition for a segment it specialized prior to the onset of COVID-19: the business traveller. The Toronto-based airline plans to come back to service on Sept. 8 with flights leaving the city's Billy Bishop Airport, a key hub for Canadian business travellers who may be eager to work despite the ongoing pandemic uncertainty. “When talking to CEOs, business travel is down a bit because they just Zoom in,” said Karl Moore, associate professor of Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, in an interview. “A lot of executives say it’s harder to land new business if you can’t go visit the client. There’s something about going to a client’s site and seeing what they’re actually like.” Porter operates Bombardier Inc.-built Q400 turboprop planes out of Billy Bishop, just a short hop from Bay Street, which helped the airline develop a core demographic of business travellers, said Moore. Porter hasn’t missed out on much during its absence as the total number of Canadian airline passengers in 2020 fell to 45.9 million, a drop of 71.8 per cent from 2019, according to Statistics Canada. While Porter has been out of action longer than every other major Canadian airline, it also had the luxury of waiting out the various waves of COVID-19, since it doesn’t have the same shareholder pressures as rival Air Canada does, Moore said. While demand for business-related flights is lower than it was in 2019, Moore said he doesn’t think the industry's outlook is as bleak as others might think. Chris Murray, an airline analyst at ATB Capital Markets, agrees. While frequent flyers may be eager to get back on board, Murray thinks it could still be a while before the skies are chock-full of executives again. “For the typical Porter type of traveller, a lot of those folks are still in a work-from-home mode, probably through the next couple months anyway,” said Murray in an interview. “Our sentiment is the business traveller will come back. We may not see it really materialize maybe until sometime early next year.” Murray noted the air travel restart kicked off with the so-called VFR crowd – visiting friends and relatives – followed by the longer haul vacation and leisure travel. He said the full recovery of business travel is likely the last piece of the puzzle, and added that Porter’s biggest challenge will be making sure it is adequately staffed to handle the ramp up in operation. WON’T BACK DOWN Air Canada, however, is doing what it can to dampen Porter’s fanfare, announcing plans Friday to resume flights between Toronto and Montreal via Billy Bishop on the same day as Porter’s restart. “Our schedule enables travellers to conveniently fly between Montreal and Toronto Island Airport up to five times per day, linking the two key business and cultural centres as we continue to play our part to reinvigorate Canada's economy.” the company said in a release. “Air Canada is not going to leave that Billy Bishop to Montreal route undefended,” said Murray. “That’s really the only one [route] Air Canada spends a lot of time competing directly with Porter on.” LEARNING TO FLY (JETS) That said, Porter is also making an attempt at moving in on Air Canada’s turf, announcing in July an order of 80 new jets from Brazilian plane-maker Embraer S.A. The plan is to eventually fly out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport to previously unreachable destinations in the U.S. and Caribbean, something that Porter has been looking to do for the past decade. While being so close to downtown has been an asset for business travellers, the airline’s growth has always been restricted by its reliance on the turboprop, which can’t cover as much ground as a jet engine, Murray said. Jets are not permitted to land at Billy Bishop Airport due to government restrictions. “It’s an opportunity for consumers,” said Moore. “If there’s more competition, prices and options will typically improve”. While perhaps a boon to customers, Air Canada likely won’t see too much of an impact from increased competition out of Pearson. “I think from Air Canada’s perspective, they’d never take a competitor like Porter lightly,” said Murray. “Having said that, its just one of several competitors they’ll be dealing with as we get travel restarted as now you’ve got Flair Airlines and several other regional carriers.” Air Canada has no doubt benefited from Porter’s absence, but customers will come back, said Murray. He pointed to Porter’s strong brand and its loyal customers. The real asset for Air Canada is international travel, and Murray indicated there are some promising signs on that front. “Air Canada [recently] on its call talked about the fact that they’re starting to see bookings for the winter season to the Caribbean at levels above 2019. Certainly there’s a lot of pent-up demand.”
  7. US regulator grounds Virgin Galactic fleet over Branson space flight anomaly FAA began probe after learning spacecraft veered out of designated airspace during founder’s July launch Thu Sep 02, 2021 - The Financial Times by Patrick McGee The US Federal Aviation Administration has grounded Virgin Galactic’s fleet and launched an investigation after learning that the vehicle that carried Richard Branson into space in July veered beyond its designated airspace for nearly two minutes. The regulator said on Thursday that the spacecraft had dropped below protected airspace for one minute and 41 seconds of its descent to New Mexico, during a landmark mission that saw founder Branson beat rival Jeff Bezos in a tight race into space. “Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the FAA approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety,” the FAA said. Virgin Galactic acknowledged the investigation, adding: “At no time were passengers and crew put in any danger as a result of this change in trajectory.” The FAA’s statement followed a story published in The New Yorker on Wednesday, which reported that a yellow caution light appeared on the ship’s console shortly after take-off, warning the six passengers that their flight path was too shallow. This was followed by a more serious red warning light, the report said, citing unnamed people in the company who added that the appropriate response to such a red light is to abort the flight. The magazine said that Virgin, whose mission continued despite the warning lights, “did not initially notify” regulators of its deviation. Virgin Galactic’s stock fell 2 per cent on the news. The company disputed the characterisation of events in The New Yorker, which had also speculated that aborting the mission “would have dashed Branson’s hopes of beating his rival”, Amazon founder Bezos, into space. On July 11, after the space flight had landed, CNN asked Branson: “Is there anything that needs to be addressed before it flies again?” The billionaire deferred the question to Michael Moses, the company’s president. Moses said: “Everything looked perfect in real time . . . No issues whatsoever.” Despite the investigation, the space tourism company said on Thursday it planned to proceed with its “Unity 23” commercial mission in a few weeks. The missions involves sending six people, including members of the Italian Air Force, to the edge of space to study microgravity. 'a yellow light should “scare the shît out of you,” because “when it turns red it’s gonna be too late”
  8. Air Canada's worker vaccine policy could set new bar: experts Fri Aug 27, 2021 - BNN Bloomberg by Amanda Stephenson CALGARY - Air Canada's decision not to offer rapid testing as an alternative for employees who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 sets a tough new precedent that other companies may emulate, experts say. The country's largest airline will require all employees to disclose their vaccination status by Oct. 30. Employees who don't have a valid reason for not having their shots, such as a medical exemption, will face consequences “up to and including unpaid leave or termination,” the airline said. Chantel Goldsmith, an employment lawyer and partner with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP in Toronto, said Air Canada's move is groundbreaking in that it's a true vaccine mandate. She said companies that offer their unvaccinated employees wiggle room in the form of testing aren't really making vaccination a condition of employment at all. Air Canada's announcement Wednesday came a week after most of Canada's big banks announced their own employee vaccination policies. The airline and banking sectors are both federally regulated industries, and as such, have been ordered by Ottawa to require vaccination for their employees. However, while many companies - including BMO and TD Bank - will allow unvaccinated workers to remain on the job as long as they submit to a regular COVID-19 rapid testing regime, Air Canada will not. “Using the word mandating doesn't actually mean mandating in that circumstance,” Goldsmith said. As long as the airline lives up to its commitment to accommodate employees who, for legitimate reasons, cannot be vaccinated, the airline is within its legal rights, she added. “I think this is the first we've seen by a big major employer that's taken that step, but I do foresee other employers following suit,” Goldsmith said. However, that doesn't mean that companies with strict vaccination mandates won't face pushback. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), the union that represents thousands of Air Canada employees including groundcrews, said in a statement Thursday it “categorically rejects” the use of termination and discipline as a way to increase vaccination rates. “There are other ways to encourage participation in a vaccination program such as regular testing, PPE, remote work, and proven health and safety protocols,” the IAMAW said. “Vaccination should not be the sole method of curbing COVID-19.” Porter Airlines, WestJet Airlines and Transat have also said say they will comply with the federal government's vaccine mandate for transportation industry employees. However, Porter has said unvaccinated employees can still work provided they get tested 72 hours prior to a shift, while WestJet and Transat have not yet announced the details of their vaccination policies. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents pilots at WestJet and Transat, said in an internal memo to members obtained by The Canadian Press that it “rejects threats of termination if vaccine requirements are implemented.” Many Canadian workers who don't work in federally regulated industries will soon need to tell their employer their vaccination status. The City of Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission and several universities and health care facilities throughout Canada have all recently stated their intention to require proof of vaccination from employees. Earlier this week, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. - one of Canada's largest oilsands companies - said it will be asking for proof of vaccination from all workers at its Horizon and Albian camps in northern Alberta. The company will offer a rapid testing program for unvaccinated employees. Perry Berkenpas, executive director of the industry group Oil Sands Community Alliance, said vaccination rates among oilsands workers are as high as 75 to 80 per cent thanks to mass vaccination clinics held at work sites earlier this year. But he said many companies will continue using rapid testing as an added layer of safety. “In this case CNRL's made a choice in one direction - I haven't heard where others are going on that yet,” Berkenpas said. “But rapid testing will be used where they think it's necessary.”
  9. Delta to impose $200 monthly surcharge for unvaccinated employees Wed Aug 25, 2021 - The Financial Times by Steff Chavez Delta Airlines will begin charging unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company sponsored healthcare plan an additional $200 per month on November 1, chief executive Ed Bastian announced in a memo to employees. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company,” he stated. Delta is the first major US company to take such an action. It stopped short of a vaccine mandate, a step taken by United Airlines and Amtrak earlier this month. Bastian noted that the average cost to Delta for an employee’s Covid-19-related hospitalisation is $40,000, and that all hospitalised employees in recent weeks were not fully vaccinated. In addition, a mask mandate will go into effect immediately for unvaccinated employees, and, beginning on September 12, employees who are not fully vaccinated must submit to a weekly Covid-19 test. Three quarters of Delta employees are vaccinated, though Bastian stressed the importance of getting “as close to 100 per cent as possible.” Following the US Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the BioNTech/Pfizer jab, “we can be confident that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective,” Bastian told employees. “The time for you to get vaccinated is now.” He also indicated that the surcharge and other requirements came as a result of the fast-spreading Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain in the US. “Over the past few weeks, the fight has changed with the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant,” the executive said, pointing to the recent increase in hospitalisations and deaths. Bastian also said that beginning September 30, only fully vaccinated Delta employees experiencing a breakthrough infection will be eligible for Covid-19 pay protection.
  10. America will be judged not by how many it got out, but how many it left behind.
  11. What It Means When Climate Scientists Say They're Certain The use of the word ‘unequivocal’ in the IPCC’s latest report was no small step for science-speak Mon Aug 23, 2021 - Bloomberg News By Akshat Rathi and Eric Roston Scientists just made history by declaring, definitively and in unison, that climate change is caused by people. “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land,” they wrote in the first comprehensive report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in nearly a decade. And yet the reaction from many people was: Wait, didn’t we already know that? Scientists and non-scientists have different understanding of “certainty,” and that goes a long way toward explaining why detractors have had such an easy time casting doubt on the reality of climate change. Bridging that communications gap has never been more crucial. The IPCC’s report makes clear that we have little time left to wind emissions down to zero, which means there’s none to waste on semantic arguments. Let’s recap. Since the creation of the IPCC in 1988, its volunteer scientists from around the world have been tasked with producing periodic assessments of the state of climate change. 1990. The first report found, in effect, that human activities were increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations, and that rising concentration would result in greater warming of the Earth’s surface. 1995. The second report linked the two by saying: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on the global climate.” 2001. The third report made an attribution leap: “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” 2007. The fourth report made the conclusion stronger: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” (This report was also the debut of the new assessment’s key word: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”) 2013. The fifth report: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Now. The coup de grace in the sixth report applied that “unequivocal” framing to the whole human-climate link. Even though the language has become more assured, the report released Monday is still painted in shades of uncertainty on many impacts of climate change or attempts to mitigate it. That’s not just because scientists prefer to be conservative. It’s also because the best way to express reality is through varying degrees of probability. In IPCC-speak, “very likely” equals 90% to 95% certainty, “likely” equals 66% to 90%, and so on. At this point, IPCC scientists think they have a 1% to 10% chance of being wrong on some aspects of climate change. That isn’t nothing, but still, that’s scientists talking. If they relied on the confidence levels most of us use, they wouldn’t have had to go beyond the calculations that showed burning coal could change the planet—which were done in 1896. In climate science especially, certainty is the rarest of commodities. Despite hundreds of years of scientific work, how all of the variables that make weather patterns and ecosystems interact is just too complex for even the most advanced model or computer to predict infallibly. The scientific method recognizes different levels of knowledge. There are observations, which are plain enough. There are hypotheses, which are provisional, testable explanations of the observations. There are scientific laws, which are hypotheses that have been tested so many times that they appear to be correct. Then there’s the body of knowledge with the greatest explanatory power, backed by reams of evidence: the “theory”—which is also the discipline’s supreme example of unfortunate word choice. There’s the Big Bang theory, confirmed by satellite observations in the 1990s, which explains the origins of the universe. There’s the Theory of Relativity. There’s [ducks] the Theory of Evolution. But in public life, the word theory means the opposite of that. It’s the most easily dismissible thing. It’s in this context that we should consider the IPCC authors’ use of the word “unequivocal.” Scientists aren’t just certain that humans are causing climate change, they’re certain enough to defend their understanding in front of nearly 200 delegates from around the world, some of whom would rather not agree to such a statement. The nearly 4,000-page report released Monday by the IPCC wasn’t full of surprises. In fact, it was crafted from thousands of scientific studies subjected to peer review over the past eight years. Much of the information it contained could be reasonably taken as immutable fact by a non-scientist. But the rest of us have that luxury because scientists have done the work to build up armors of evidence around their conclusions, then harden them in the fires of robust debate before releasing them out into the world. The public and policymakers should not be afraid to wield these findings. As Laurence Tubiana, leader of the European Climate Foundation and one of the architects of the Paris Agreement—and, for what it’s worth, not a scientist—concluded: “Scientists did their job, it is time for leaders to do theirs.”
  12. Absolute genius - have Jill clear mantel space for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  13. Further to above: American pilots and troops were forced to make on-the-spot decisions during the panic at the airport on Sunday and Monday. Another C-17 transport plane left Kabul late Sunday night with 640 people crowded on board, more than double the planned number, military officials said, after hundreds of Afghans who had been cleared by the State Department to be evacuated surged onto loading ramps. The pilots, determining that the immense aircraft could handle the load, decided to take off, officials said. That plane landed safely at its destination with the Afghans aboard. But the people who tried the next day on a different C-17 were not so fortunate. Early Monday morning, the gray Air Force plane — call sign REACH885 — descended onto the runway. The lumbering jet was carrying equipment and supplies for the U.S. Marines and soldiers on the ground securing the airport and helping with the evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghans. Minutes after the plane touched down, rolled to a stop and lowered its rear ramp, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Afghans, rushed forward as the small crew watched in alarm. The crew was aware of what had happened the night before. On Monday morning, the number of people at the airport clamoring to get onto flights had swelled. The crew members feared for their safety, jumped back up into the plane and pulled up the loading ramp before they had finished unloading, officials said. By then, throngs of Afghans had climbed aboard the wings of the plane and, unbeknown to the crew, officials said, into the wheel well into which the landing gear would fold after takeoff. The crew contacted air traffic control, operated by U.S. military personnel, and the plane was cleared for takeoff, after spending only minutes on the ground. Mindful of the people hanging onto the plane, the pilots taxied slowly at first. Military Humvees rushed alongside trying to chase people away and off the plane. Two Apache helicopter gunships flew low, seeking to scare some people away from the plane or push them off with their powerful rotor wash. REACH885 accelerated and was airborne. Minutes later, however, the pilot and co-pilot realized they had a serious problem: The landing gear would not fully retract. They sent one of the crew members down to peer through a small porthole that allows them to view potential problems in the wheel well while aloft. It was then the crew saw the remains of an undetermined number of Afghans who had stowed away in the wheel well — apparently crushed by the landing gear. Scenes captured in videos of the flight showed other people plunging to their death. After the four-hour flight, the plane landed at its destination, Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which has become the hub for receiving passengers, including Americans and Afghans, eventually bound for the United States. Alerted of the tragedy on board, mental health counselors and chaplains met the anguished crew members as they disembarked. “Safety officials are doing due diligence to better understand how events unfolded,” Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in the statement.
  14. Ok Joe, it's your show. Where from here and how?
  15. Outside the USAF C-17 leaving Kabul earlier today (but hey, at least it's not "Saigon") C17Kabul.mp4
  16. It would be refreshing to see other religions call out their own when merited. When true believers become a danger to themselves and others Fri Aug 13, 2021 - The Globe and Mail by Michael Coren The devil, it’s said, has all the best tunes. Not sure if that’s necessarily true, but Beelzebub certainly has an exemplary public relations department. How else can we explain how appalling the Christian world often appears at times of crisis? That’s seldom been as bitingly obvious as during the COVID-19 pandemic, with resistance to vaccinations often led by conservative Christians. The vast majority of churchgoers aren’t reactionary, and they’ve fully embraced lockdowns, physical distancing, and vaccinations, but that can’t obscure the reality of the situation. Read right-wing Christian media platforms and websites, listen to their radio broadcasts, look at who is protesting, and the paranoia and anger are palpable. A poll this year by the U.S. Public Religion Research Institute found that a mere 45 per cent of white evangelicals said they would get vaccinated, the second-lowest acceptance rate of any religious affiliation, and the indications are that this number has remained fairly static. In Canada, the percentages seem to be higher, but the problem remains. Last December, for example, then-Conservative MP Derek Sloan, an outspoken social conservative, sponsored a parliamentary e-petition claiming: “Bypassing proper safety protocols means COVID-19 vaccination is effectively human experimentation.” It received more than 41,000 signatures. The opposition to vaccines is multifaceted. The most ideologically plausible, if still bizarre, objection comes from those convinced that embryonic stem cells have been used in the development and manufacture of vaccines, and in some cases that may be true. Yet even the Vatican has said it’s “morally acceptable” to receive a vaccination that has used cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, because of the “grave danger” of the pandemic. But Pope Francis is not popular with Catholic conservatives, and they look to alternative leaders such as Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has said the virus “has been used by certain forces, inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda. … These forces tell us that we are now the subjects of the so-called ‘Great Reset,’ the ‘new normal,’ which is dictated to us by their manipulation of citizens and nations through ignorance and fear.” This darling of the Catholic right, by the way, has just tested positive for COVID-19. Other forms of Christian anti-vaccine hysteria are drenched in “hidden agenda” fantasies, conspiracy theories about the state and secularism, and eschatological mania. There is a global battle, it is said, between the remnant of authentic Christians, be they Catholic or evangelical, and the Godless forces of government, media and business. COVID-19, and the vaccine response to it, are all part of the plan to control and dominate. There are myriad references to Masonic plots and the illuminati, and sometimes – predictably – this dark lunacy bleeds over into antisemitism. Not always though. One of the loudest resisters to vaccinations is a nun called Mother Miriam, a Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism, with a popular daily phone-in show in which she presents her “mission to bring hope to a world that has lost its way.” Part of that mission, apparently, is to argue that vaccines are “not only unethical and immoral, but have been proven to be very dangerous.” COVID-19, runs the anti-vaccine narrative, is either a hoax or, if real, is nothing more than a mild flu. If the latter, it has been exploited by plotting governments and elites to close churches, remove freedom of religion and impose vaccines. Donald Trump, always eager to echo fundamentalist rhetoric, said while still U.S. president that some states had closed places of worship, while allowing “liquor stores and abortion clinics” to stay open. The obsession with conspiracies isn’t confined to Christian conservatives, and is typical of any subgroup that sees its place under threat by a world it can’t accept or understand. The consequences, as we know only too well, can be fatal. In the Christian context, it’s tied in with polemics about Armageddon, the end times, and the notion that vaccines contain the “mark of the beast.” This nonsense is supposedly from the Book of Revelation, where the Antichrist is said to tempt Christians to mark their bodies. That’s a callow misreading of the deeply complex final book of the New Testament, as much poetry as allegory, and demanding a non-literal approach. Problem is, literalism is at the broken heart of the anti-vaccine theocrats. Mingled together, it’s a toxic and anti-social mess, with the true believers more determined than ever. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” But that’s from the Gospel of Luke, and not to be trusted – he was a doctor. Michael Coren is an author and ordained cleric in the Anglican Church of Canada.
  17. Federal government to require vaccinations for all federal public servants, air and train passengers 'We need to reach as many Canadians as we possibly can'
  18. A "superb writer", if memory serves... With a closer look, certainty about the ‘existential’ climate threat melts away Wed Aug 11, 2021 - The Washington Post by George F. Will Journalism about climate change has a high ratio of certitude to certainty when reporting weather events or climate projections, such as this week’s U.N. report. There is a low ratio of evidence to passion in today’s exhortations to combat climate change with measures interestingly congruent with progressive agendas that pre-date climate anxieties. Last year, CNN announced: “Oceans are warming at the same rate as if five Hiroshima bombs were dropped in every second.” True. However: “The earth absorbs sunlight (and radiates an equal amount of heat energy) equivalent to two thousand Hiroshima bombs per second.” That sentence is from “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters,” by physicist Steven E. Koonin, formerly of Caltech, now at New York University after serving as the senior scientist in President Barack Obama’s Energy Department and working on alternative energy for BP. His points are exclusively from the relevant scientific literature. Because unusual weather events are routinely reported as consequences of climate change, Koonin warns: “Climate is not weather. Rather, it’s the average of weather over decades.” Of course the climate is changing (it never has not been in Earth’s 4.5 billion years), the carbon footprints of the planet’s 8 billion people affect the climate, and the effects should be mitigated by incentives for behavioral changes and by physical adaptations. Human activities account for almost all of the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, but science has limited ability to disentangle human and natural influences on climate changes in, for example, the Little Ice Age (about 1450-1850) or the global cooling of 1940-1980. Although Koonin cites U.N. reports when saying “human influences currently amount to only 1 percent of the energy that flows through the climate system,” media “reports” say hurricanes are increasing in numbers and intensity. Koonin says “humans have had no detectable impact on hurricanes during the past century.” Improved weather radar detects even weak tornadoes, hence the increase in reported ones. But, says Koonin, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the number of significant ones has changed negligibly, and the strongest kind have become less frequent. Sea levels, currently rising a few millimeters a year, have been rising for 20,000 years. Koonin cites recent research that the rate of rise ascribable to melting glaciers has “declined slightly since 1900 and is the same now as it was 50 years ago.” The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributes no more to rising sea levels in recent decades than it did 70 years ago. The average warmest temperature across the United States has hardly changed since 1960 and is about what it was in 1900. A scandalous 2019 Foreign Affairs article by the director-general of the World Health Organization asserted: “Climate Change Is Already Killing Us.” Says Koonin, “Astoundingly, the article conflates deaths due to ambient and household air pollution (which cause … about one-eighth of total deaths from all causes) with deaths due to human-induced climate change.” The WHO says indoor air pollution in poor countries, mostly the result of cooking with wood and animal and crop waste, is the world’s most serious environmental problem. This is, however, the result not of climate change but of poverty, which will become more intractable if climate-change policies make energy more expensive by making fossil fuels less accessible. New coal-fired power plants in China and India will double and triple those nations' emissions, respectively. There are, Koonin says, five times more people “developing” than “developed,” and in this century cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from developing nations will be larger than from developed nations. Every 10 percent reduction that the developed world makes (“a reduction it has barely managed in 15 years”) will offset less than four years of emissions from growth in the developing world. Koonin notes (as instant media analyses of the 4,000 pages might not) that this week’s U.N. study expresses low confidence in most reported trends in hurricane properties over a century, is uncertain whether there is more than natural variability in Atlantic hurricanes and calls its extreme emissions scenarios unlikely. Some of its plausible emissions scenarios project 1.5 to 2.7 degrees Celsius warming by 2100. By then, however, global gross domestic product, which grows by a larger multiple than population, will mean a much-increased per capita global wealth. A previous U.N. report said that a large global temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius might negatively impact the global economy as much as 3 percent by 2100. Koonin says: Assuming, conservatively, 2 percent annual growth, the world economy, today about $80 trillion, would grow to about $400 trillion in 2100; climate impacts would reduce that to $388 trillion. Not quite an “existential” threat.
  19. On the border opening, Canada has been reduced to America’s guinea pig Thu Aug 05, 2021 - The Globe and Mail by Lawrence Martin That sounded like a rather fruitless phone chat between U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the other day. The two amigos talked sport for a while, including our remarkable women’s soccer team subduing the overdog Americans at the Tokyo Olympics. But they tippy-toed around numerous pachyderms in the room – in particular, how Canada seems to have gotten hoodwinked on opening its border. Pressured by Washington, Ottawa announced it would open the border to non-essential travel on Aug. 9. The Americans aren’t reciprocating, however, despite giving us the impression all along that they would do so. Indeed, their boundary could remain closed for several months longer, according to many Americans in the know, even though the COVID-19 infection rate among Canadians is very low. But with the Delta variant surging in their own country, Americans will be able to cross into Canada. Why the long border stall by the Yanks? “Honestly, we’re scratching our heads,” said Laurie Trautman, director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University. “It seemed Homeland Security was ready to open in June.” But it didn’t happen, and now, she said, the administration is dragging its heels. The delay on their side, several Americans told me, works to their advantage. “They want to wait and see how the Canadian border opening goes,” said Scotty Greenwood, head of the Canadian American Business Council, “before making up their minds on when to open.” In other words, Canada now gets to play the role of guinea pig. Often, the analogy proffered for the two countries’ relationship is that of the elephant and the mouse. Now, it’s that tailless South American rodent frequently used as a specimen for laboratory research. One hopes that the Prime Minister bluntly raised the matter with the President. But from the readout of their conversation, apparently no abusive epithets were hurled. A possible explanation for the boundary blockage is that the U.S. hasn’t yet agreed upon a method of screening incoming Canadians. But you’d think they would have done that months ago, said Ms. Greenwood, a North Carolinian. Another rationale for the delay could be that, with the Delta variant outbreak, the U.S. is now more preoccupied with its own problems. “Domestic politics are the priority,” said Kathryn Bryk Friedman, a Canada-U.S. specialist at the University of Buffalo. “Here in Buffalo, the surge is very serious. There will likely be a masking mandate soon.” It could also be that there are “too many cooks in the kitchen,” as Ms. Trautman put it. There are about five agencies dealing with COVID-19 issues, and it’s taking forever to get a consensus. Additionally, there’s the problem of needing to co-ordinate with Mexico. Opening one border without doing the same for the other presents potential legal and other difficulties. Back in June, when the U.S. appeared ready to open, Ottawa put out the word that it needed more time. The opportunity was missed, some believe. Even with Mr. Biden replacing Donald Trump, there has been no progress for Canada on its priorities, including the border, the continued detention of two Canadians in China in retaliation for executing the U.S.’s extradition request of a Huawei executive, and the strong Buy America laws Mr. Biden is dead serious about implementing. Bruce Anderson, chairman of Abacus Data, said he doesn’t expect U.S. relations to figure prominently in the upcoming Canadian election. That said, Mr. Trudeau would have appreciated the like-minded liberal President throwing him a bone or two before the election is called. The difficulty, said Ms. Greenwood, is that while Mr. Biden “wants to treat our allies better, he has to reassure American workers he is standing up for them.” But Canadians shouldn’t worry about this President, said James Roosevelt, co-chair of the Democratic National Committee and the grandson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mr. Biden will restore Canada’s confidence in the United States, he said in an interview; the border will be opened and any American protectionism – exemplified in the administration’s mammoth infrastructure program – “will not be done blindly or drastically.” Mr. Roosevelt, who is currently heading up a group pushing Mr. Biden to go full out on a new New Deal, recalled how his grandfather carved out a close relationship with Prime Minister Mackenzie King that greatly benefitted both. Mr. Biden, he said, shares many of FDR’s qualities as a progressive but “not radical Democrat.” Progress on bilateral issues has also been impaired by the extended absence of a U.S. ambassador in Ottawa. But Mr. Biden last month named David Cohen, a telecom executive and Democratic fundraiser, to the post. With his close ties to Mr. Biden, he will have the ear of the White House.
  20. So while the federal government bribes, cajoles or otherwise forces drivers into electric vehicles, VIA Rail contracts for 32 new diesel powered trains with a thirty year life span. Heaven forbid they should back up all their virtuous platitudes on climate change by fast tracking electrification of the corridor and running it with green, relatively inexpensive hydro power from Quebec (there's a hat-trick for the feds).
  21. The pride a parent must feel..... Passenger Arrives Taped to a Seat and Is Charged With Assaulting Flight Attendants Maxwell Berry, 22, of Norwalk, Ohio, punched a Frontier Airlines flight attendant and groped two others on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami, the authorities said. Tue Aug 3, 2021 - The New York Times By Neil Vigdor frontier.mp4 A Frontier Airlines passenger assaulted three flight attendants, punching one and groping the breasts of two others, on a weekend flight from Philadelphia to Miami, prompting one crew member to tape him to his seat until the plane landed, the authorities said. Part of the altercation was caught on video by other passengers, who jeered as the man was restrained for the remainder of Flight 2289, which left Philadelphia at 10:41 p.m. on Saturday and landed 2 hours and 37 minutes later. Frontier Airlines said in an initial statement on Tuesday that the flight attendants would be “relieved of flying” while it investigated, which drew sharp criticism from the Association of Flight Attendants, the nation’s largest flight attendants union. Later on Tuesday, the airline said that paid leave was in line with “an event of this nature.” The Association of Flight Attendants said that the encounter was emblematic of the hostilities faced by airline crews since the loosening of travel restrictions that had been put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. It came amid a surge of reports filed by airlines with the Federal Aviation Administration about unruly passengers, who have faced steep fines for disruptions. In one video, which was obtained by several television stations and received widespread attention online, the man, who police said had been drinking, repeatedly cursed at other passengers and at the crew. He said that his parents were worth “two million goddamn dollars.” The Miami-Dade Police Department identified the man as Maxwell Berry, 22, of Norwalk, Ohio, who it said in a criminal complaint had been charged with three misdemeanor counts of battery. It was not immediately clear if Mr. Berry had a lawyer. Messages left by phone at his family’s home in Ohio and by email on Tuesday were not answered. Mr. Berry was booked into the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department on Sunday and was released later that day. Court date information was not immediately available from the department. The trouble began when Mr. Berry ordered his third alcoholic beverage of the flight and brushed his empty cup against a flight attendant’s backside, according to the criminal complaint, which said that the flight attendant told him “don’t touch me.” Mr. Berry, who had been sitting in seat 28D, then emerged from the bathroom shirtless after spilling his drink, prompting a flight attendant to tell him that he needed to be fully dressed, the complaint said. The flight attendant helped him get a shirt out of his carry-on luggage, and Mr. Berry walked around the cabin for about 15 minutes. That’s when he groped the breasts of another flight attendant, who told him not to touch her and to sit down, the authorities said. In the criminal complaint, officers wrote that Mr. Berry later put his arms around the same two flight attendants and groped their breasts. When a male flight attendant approached and asked him several times to calm down, officers said, Mr. Berry punched him in the face with a closed fist. Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in a statement on Tuesday that the encounter was one of the worst disruptions experienced by airline crews this year. “A drunk and irate passenger verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted multiple members of the crew,” Ms. Nelson said. “When he refused to comply after multiple attempts to de-escalate, the crew was forced to restrain the passenger with the tools available to them onboard. We are supporting the crew.” In their complaint, officers said that several other passengers had helped to restrain Mr. Berry, whom the video showed being secured to a seat by a male crew member with what appeared to be packing tape. A seatbelt extender was also used as a restraint, the police said. Some other passengers laughed and pulled out their cellphone cameras to record the scene. “Frontier Airlines maintains the utmost value, respect, concern and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight,” the Denver-based carrier said. “We are supporting the needs of these team members and are working with law enforcement to fully support the prosecution of the passenger involved.” But the flight attendants union criticized the airline’s response. “Management suspended the crew as a knee-jerk reaction to a short video clip that did not show the full incident,” said Ms. Nelson, the union’s president. “Management should be supporting the crew at this time, not suspending them.” Frontier did not answer questions about the airline’s policies and procedures for restraining unruly passengers, including whether tape had been approved for that purpose. In the criminal complaint, the arresting officers said that they had referred the matter to the F.B.I., but that it had declined to pursue federal felony charges against Mr. Berry. Mr. Berry’s legal problems may be just beginning, though. The F.A.A. has fined several passengers tens of thousands of dollars this year for clashing with airline crews over mask requirements and other safety instructions. Earlier this year, the agency imposed a zero-tolerance policy for interfering with or assaulting flight attendants that carries a fine of up to $35,000 and possible jail time. An F.A.A. spokesman said in an email on Tuesday that the agency investigates all reports of unruly passengers, but that it could not comment on individual cases. “Cabin crews are responsible for deciding how to respond to unruly-passenger incidents,” said the spokesman, Ian Gregor. Mr. Berry graduated in May from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he received a values in action award from the Greek life community for being a “perfect role model” and for leading “the fight to dismantle fraternity stereotypes.” The university posted a Zoom video of the presentation. “Ohio Wesleyan is saddened to learn of this situation with one of our graduates,” Cole Hatcher, a spokesman for the university, said in an email on Tuesday. “The case does not involve the university, and the incidents depicted do not reflect Ohio Wesleyan’s values.”
  22. ? - I never said it wasn't a coal fired unit - it is. I said coal didn't play role as a source of ignition or fuel for the explosion and fire in the turbine hall and it didn't. Steam turbine went into an overspeed condition and came apart (in a big way). There is no coal in the turbine hall, coal fired combustion for steam generation is housed in a separate building. Could have happened in any gas or nuclear power station using a steam turbine as well. Something might have 'gone off like a bomb', but it wasn't coal in this instance. Financial Review
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