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Malcolm last won the day on February 1 2019

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  1. Gave up posting on the site as too much space is wasted with political debate that achieves nothing other than air time for the poster. Back to lurking.
  2. Error corrected. mis-spoke. or I guess mis-typed or is it mis-keyboarded. ?
  3. Flair Airlines Appoints Sandy Burns as Flight Attendant Manager ‎Today, ‎March ‎27, ‎2019, ‏‎21 minutes ago | Canadian Aviation News Provided by Flair Airlines/Globe Newswire Edmonton, March 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent, low-fare airline, is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandy Burns as the airline’s new Flight Attendant Manager. Ms. Burns previously held management roles with Air Canada Jazz and WestJet Encore, and has led teams of up to 500. A safety-focused leader, Ms. Burns joins Flair Airlines with close to 30 years of Canadian aviation experience, with more than 15 years of hands-on, in-flight experience. Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent, low-fare airline, has appointed Sandy Burns as its Flight Attendant Manager. “Sandy joins Flair with significant experience and a deep understanding of Canadian aviation. Our hiring strategy is simple: hire people who understand aviation and are passionate about bringing Canadians affordable air travel,” said Flair Airlines CEO, Jim Scott. “Sandy is an important addition to the Flair Airlines team and will ensure each passenger receives the onboard experience they expect.” Ms. Burns is based at the Flair Airlines headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, and will lead a team of more than 120 flight attendants. In her role, Ms. Burns will oversee the recruitment, retention, training and service delivery of the Flair Airlines flight attendant team as it continues to grow. Comments (0)
  4. Cathay Pacific to buy budget airline Hong Kong Express 27 March 2019 Cathay Pacific will buy low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express for $4.93bn Hong Kong dollars ($628m). The purchase will be made in cash and through promissory loan notes, the company said in a stock filing. Hong Kong Express, which flies to destinations across Asia, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific has been overhauling its business to cut costs, and returned to profit in 2018. "We intend to continue to operate Hong Kong Express as a stand-alone airline using the low-cost carrier business model," a Cathay Pacific spokesperson said in a statement. Hong Kong Express captures "a unique market segment" the spokesperson said, adding that the deal "represents an attractive and practical way for the Cathay Group to support the long-term development and growth of our aviation business". The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Turnaround plan Cathay Pacific returned to profit last year after two years of losses, after launching a cost-cutting programme. The airline has been struggling against competition, particularly from low-cost Chinese carriers covering Hong Kong, mainland China and South East Asia. Hong Kong Express Our current operating fleet includes Airbus A320, A320-neo and A321 aircraft, in an all economy class layout. Airbus A320 Seat Capacity: 180 Airbus A320 NEO Seat Capacity: 188 Airbus A321 Seat Capacity: 230 The diversity of our fleet is reflected in their names, representing the unique, diverse character of Hong Kong. There are aircraft named after famous Hong Kong dim sum dishes such as Siu Maai (pork dumpling) and Coeng Fan (steamed rice roll), environmental causes such as Shark to represent our stand against the shark fin trade, and even one named after Hong Kong hero, Bruce Lee. The liveries sported by our fleet also worth noting. To celebrate the 2nd anniversary of reward-U, the loyalty program of HK Express, one of our fleet was painted with the reward-U livery. HK Express also features signature foodfare of various destinations on our aircraft. Our unique Sanuki Udon livery can be spotted on our aircraft painted for Takamatsu. Features of Kagawa Prefecture and Takamatsu are painted on both sides of the aircraft. There is another aircraft named after the iconic Nagoya treat "Tebasaki" which means chicken wings. Such names promote the food culture of the destinations whilst capturing the local and creative spirit behind HK Express. They do not allow you to bring any food or beverages onto their aircraft. No outside food and beverage is allowed to be consumed on-board the aircraft. Our ground staff may stop you from bringing such items onboard
  5. it does seem to be:
  6. Liberal budget targets Banff ski resorts Calgary Herald 26 Mar 2019 LICIA CORBELLA Licia Corbella is a Postmedia opinion columnist. BANFF SUNSHINE VILLAGE /THE CANADIAN PRESS Banff Sunshine Village chief executive officer Ralph Scurfield says he had no choice but to accept new site guidelines for the ski resort. Twenty-three little words — buried in the recent federal Liberal government’s 349-page budget bill — will shrink the amount of space available for Albertans and tourists to ski in Banff National Park. Tucked away under annex 3 on page 328, the omnibus budget bill says: “The Government proposes to introduce amendments to the Canada National Parks Act: to alter the boundaries of ski areas in Banff National Park.” How’s that for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s much trumpeted transparency? While additional legislation is needed, as soon as the majority Liberal government passes the 2019 budget those 23 words pretty much become law. It’s a sneaky way to pass contentious legislation — something the opposition Liberals objected to when the Harper Conservatives did the same thing. It’s gross hypocrisy. No other national parks in Canada face similar mention in the omnibus legislation. Such discriminatory measures are reserved only for Alberta, it seems. Imagine if the feds tried to ban motor boats in Quebec’s Mingan Archipelago National Park by sneaking that into the budget bill. There would be a Constitutional crisis that would make the SNC-Lavalin scandal look like a molehill of a problem in vote-rich Quebec. Brad J. Pierce, counsel with Borden Ladner Gervais in Calgary, acts for several leaseholders in Banff and called the action of the federal Liberals “almost fraudulent.” “The surprising thing is the government has now weaved it into an omnibus budget bill, to remove some of the area available for skiing within these areas,” said Pierce. The move “is just such a sneaky, under-handed, unparliamentary, undemocratic way to do it,” he added. “I can’t even describe how angry I am at that and Calgarians are going to wake up one day and have their skiable terrain that they like to ski in ... be gone, just by a stroke of a pen out of Ottawa,” he said. As has been written about in the past, the three ski hills in the park were given terrible offers they couldn’t refuse by Parks Canada. Parks Canada told Sunshine Mountain Resort’s owner, for instance, to choose one of two options: Agree to a 42-year lease with an agreement to then give the ski resorts to the Crown for $1, or sever and remove every facility and return the land to its natural state. National parks leases for business owners typically run from 21 to 42 years and some licences of occupation are 10 years or less for different operations. Ski resorts are undoubtedly some of the more capital intensive businesses in the national park, in terms of the money needed to stay competitive and running. In an undated letter that Ralph Scurfield, president and CEO of Sunshine Mountain Ski Resort received Dec. 18, the acting chief executive of Parks Canada, Michael Nadler, forced him to make a rock-and-a-hard-place decision. If by Jan. 21 Parks Canada “does not have your written, unconditional confirmation that you are prepared to conclude and execute a new lease with these site guidelines appended, the Agency will understand that to mean you do not wish to enter into the initialled lease with the site guidelines appended and proceed to seek a new operator through a public request for proposals.” Naturally, Scurfield signed that untenable lease agreement — it was either that or lose the business his family has owned and operated since 1981. What these forced turn-overthe-key leases will undoubtedly lead to is an eventual move by the leaseholders to simply stop investing in their businesses, as the leases approach their expiry date. As the motto goes, renters don’t fix the roof, never mind put in new heated chairlifts like Sunshine has done to improve the visitor experience and remain competitive with other ski destinations. Meanwhile, it’s a battle every time the resort wants to put in more washrooms or another restaurant. “What we’re going to see is a decline in infrastructure in Banff National Park,” said Pierce. “It’s a deliberate, conscious strategy, in my opinion, by the environmental lobby and this federal government to re-wild the park. They do not see humans as part of the park despite the fact that it’s part of the mandate of the park to offer a visitor experience, and that’s going to impact leaseholders across the board.” Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau was in Calgary Monday to try to sell his March 19 federal budget with its $14.9 billion deficit for 2018-19. That goes up to $19.8 billion for 2019-2020, despite the Liberals promising when elected in 2015 that they would never run deficits larger than $10 billion and would be running surpluses by 2019. But I digress. I asked Morneau why the boundaries of the ski hills in Banff National Park are to be shrunk via his omnibus budget bill, which is reminiscent of how the Liberals amended the criminal code to bring in deferred prosecution law to help their friends in SNC-Lavalin. Look how that’s turned out for them. “We in this case heard from people in Banff National Park and of course heard from some of the ski hill operators that this was a preferred opportunity from their standpoint, so we think it helps to make sure that we preserve what’s so great about the area and it also preserves the opportunity for skiers to use it as well,” said Morneau. Scurfield was puzzled when he heard this. “Is (Morneau) claiming that the ski hill operators wanted this to be buried in an omnibus bill?” he asked Monday. “If that’s what he’s saying, then that’s bull,” exclaimed Scurfield. Postmedia could not reach representatives for Lake Louise Ski Resort or Norquay by publication time for their comments. I asked Morneau, “Why is this not happening to other national parks in the country? Why does Alberta continuously get targeted for this kind of action by your government? (I was thinking Bill C-69 and Bill C-48.) Answer: “We’ll get back to you with more details.” Still waiting. Parks Canada’s site guidelines plan is to remove 61 hectares of land from Sunshine’s previous developable land and supposedly replace it with 80 hectares it never planned to develop. “We won’t spend $75 million in five years like we planned, we’ll spend maybe $5 million over 20 years because of this,” said Scurfield. Parks Canada did not return calls for comment and despite assurances to the contrary, Morneau’s staff did not follow up with answers to questions sent in the morning. It’s amazing how much damage 23 words can do.
  7. The article says we are under pressure to change our laws because of the New Zealand attack Liberal government's firearms-related legislation, Bill C-71, now before the Senate New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won praise from gun control advocates around the world for her fast work in tabling new firearms restrictions following the Christchurch mosque massacre. Now, Ottawa is under heavy pressure to follow her lead. New Zealand's sweeping ban on so-called "military-style" semiautomatic firearms has prompted Canadian activists to redouble their efforts to pressure the federal government to further tighten the law here. They're calling on the Trudeau Liberals to first pass what they see as the relatively timid reforms included in Bill C-71 before moving on to more controversial changes — such as a handgun ban. "The government of New Zealand has swiftly and responsibly responded to the atrocities ... by almost immediately committing to ban the type of weapons that facilitate such extreme violence," said gun control advocate Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the 1989 gun massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal that claimed the lives of 14 women. "Yet here in Canada, 29 years after Polytechnique, twelve years after (the Dawson College shooting), four years after the murder of three Moncton RCMP officers and two years after our own massacre at a peaceful mosque in Quebec City, the Liberals are still dithering on what to do about legal assault weapons." Prime Minister Ardern has issued a cabinet order that bans New Zealanders from owning semi-automatic firearms like the one used in the March 15 terrorist attack that killed 50 people at two Christchurch mosques. The order bans ownership of semi-automatic firearms capable of use with a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds. Ardern also is moving to ban accessories, like bump stocks, that enable a firearm to fire more ammunition faster. Firearms most commonly used by farmers and hunters — such as rifles with small, non-detachable magazines — will be permitted. "The huge difference is that New Zealand is acting and Canada is not — and yet we have a government that promised to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets," Heidi Rathjen, a coordinator with gun control group PolySeSouvient, said in an interview with CBC News. "The Liberals are so terrified of this. The public is in favour of a ban but they're terrified of the gun lobby, which is extremely active and threatening in terms of elections and votes." Boufeldja Benabdallah is the president of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, the place where Alexandre Bissonnette killed six and maimed many others in January 2017. He said that, without stricter controls, Canada risks a repeat of what went on within the walls of his mosque. "Murders occur because we don't have control over these instruments of death and, quite simply, because we haven't prohibited or seriously regulated these weapons of war. Whether it be a handgun or an assault rifle, it's a weapon of war that kills," he said. (Bissonnette had a handgun, a semi-automatic rifle and several full magazines on his person when he walked into the mosque on the night of Jan. 29, 2017.) Canada already has limits on how many cartridges a magazine can hold; depending on the firearm, magazines are limited to either five of 10 cartridges. Gun rights advocates maintain that by targeting so-called "assault rifles" — a term that has no legal standing in Canada — gun control activists are focusing on what a gun looks like rather than its more salient features, like firepower. Both sides agree Canada's classification system, which groups firearms into three classes — non-restricted, restricted and prohibited — is outdated and arbitrary. Canada has long prohibited the possession of fully automatic firearms. And any would-be gun owner in Canada has to submit to a background check and complete training before applying for either a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) or a restricted PAL and purchasing a gun. Canadians already register restricted (and prohibited) firearms, such as handguns, with the police. Some maintain targeting legal firearms owners, through either C-71 or a potential ban, is the wrong approach given that much of the gun-related crime in this country is perpetrated by criminals using handguns smuggled from the U.S. "The lion's share of firearms homicide is committed by illegal gun owners. No methodologically valid study has been able to find evidence that stricter gun laws, or even gun bans, have reduced general homicide rates or spousal homicide rates," said Gary Mauser, a professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University and a noted gun rights advocate. Out of all the violent gun crimes in 2017 in Canada, 59 per cent involved a handgun, 18 per cent involved a rifle or a shotgun, 6 per cent involved a fully automatic firearm, sawed-off rifle or shotgun and 17 per cent involved a firearm-like weapon or an unknown type of firearm, according to data from StatsCan presented last week at a Senate committee studying Bill C-71. There are, however, large regional disparities in the numbers. Since 2009, for example, handguns — most of them illegal — have been involved in 83 per cent of all firearm-related violent crimes in Toronto, compared to 52 per cent for the rest of Canada. "For over 30 years legal gun ownership in Canada has increased but homicide rates have decreased," Mauser said. "How big a threat is a licensed firearms owner? In Canada, moose kill more people each year than registered and licensed firearms owners." The Liberal government's only piece of firearms-related legislation so far, Bill C-71, is now before the Senate. It includes enhanced background checks for anyone applying for a PAL, mandatory record-keeping for firearms retailers, changes to the authorization to transport (ATT) rules, and the reclassification of two types of firearms. Ottawa also has commissioned a study on implementing further limits (or an outright ban) on handguns or "assault-style" weapons as firearms-related homicides continue to plague major Canadian cities. City councils in Toronto and Montreal already have passed resolutions demanding federal action on the file. "My bottom line is that Bill C-71 is a small step in the right direction but we need a lot more if we're going to significantly reduce homicides, not just gun-related homicides, but all homicides in Canada," said Irvin Waller, a professor emeritus of criminology at the University of Ottawa. "I am, frankly, shocked by my own statistics. If you look at the G7 countries and don't include the United States, Canada is the prize winner [with the most homicides]. There's been a major shift in Canada over those 40 years to less criminal use of long guns and in the last 10 years a rapid increase in the criminal use of handguns. Bill C-71 does not address the issue of handguns in any major way." To that end, Border Security and Organized Crime Minister Bill Blair is mulling a far-reaching change to firearms law along the lines of New Zealand's reform — which would risk opening up an urban-rural divide in the Liberal caucus. "We are are considering any and all options that will better protect Canadians and keep them safe," a spokesperson for the minister said in a statement to CBC News. "Our government remains concerned about all instances of tragic acts of firearm violence. As mandated by the prime minister amidst increasing gun violence across Canada, Minister Blair has been examining a comprehensive ban on handguns and assault-style weapons, all while respecting law-abiding gun owners."
  8. European MPs vote to end summer time clock changes European Parliament has backed a proposal to stop the obligatory one-hour clock change which extends daylight hours in summer EU-wide. The proposal would give each member state a choice from 2021: either to keep the current summer time system or scrap the twice-yearly clock changes. Ministers will also have a say on this. Under an EU directive, all 28 states currently switch to summer time on the last Sunday of March and back to winter time on the last Sunday of October. The European Commission - in charge of drafting EU legislation - made the proposal last year, after a public consultation which showed 84% of respondents wanting to scrap the biannual clock changes. There were 4.6 million replies in that consultation, 70% of which were from Germans. But MEPs and the Commission stress that states must co-ordinate their choices, to minimise the risk of economic disruption from a patchwork of different time systems. What are the pros and cons of summer time? Daylight saving time (DST) has been compulsory in the EU since 2001, aimed at making the EU internal market work more smoothly and reducing energy costs. Fewer time differences, it was argued, would facilitate cross-border trade and travel in the EU. The extra daylight hours in summer could reduce spending on artificial lighting and help outdoor leisure activities. But the energy savings from DST have proven to be quite marginal. And some of the EU's major trading partners - among them China, Russia and Turkey - do not operate under DST. The consultation and scientific studies suggested that the clock changes were having negative effects on people's health. The EU Commission says studies suggest "the effect on the human biorhythm may be more severe than previously thought". Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said "there is no applause when EU law dictates that Europeans have to change the clocks twice a year. "Clock-changing must stop. Member states should themselves decide whether their citizens live in summer or winter time." Under the new legislation, governments opting to make summer time permanent would adjust their clocks for the last time on the last Sunday in March 2021. For those choosing permanent standard time - also called winter time - the final clock change would be on the last Sunday of October 2021. Read more on the world's time controversies: Changing clocks: a waste of time? How time zones confused the world How do countries swap time zones? Why daylight saving time riles the US Finland called for daylight saving to be abolished EU-wide, after a petition gathered more than 70,000 signatures from citizens calling for such a change. Opposition to the clock changes tends to be greater in northern countries, where seasonal differences in daylight hours are greater than in the south. In June, Finland has 18.5 hours of daylight, but in December only 5.5 hours. The corresponding figures for Greece are 14.5 hours and 9.3 hours. Yet both countries are in the same standard time zone - Eastern European Time (GMT+2). What are the EU's time zones? During the winter, spring and autumn, when DST is not applied, there are three standard time zones: Three states apply GMT (the UK, Ireland and Portugal) 17 have Central European Time, which is GMT+1 Eight have Eastern European Time, which is GMT+2.
  9. And I would rather spend time at Lake Louise. ?
  10. I was not misreading it at all. Note the heading on top of the 1:10pm TIME etc. my reference to 2 plus hours was of course for the drive to Muskoka from Toronto.
  11. They are cancelling their max operations up to April 24th , that was an update on CNN yesterday. Southwest appears to be planning for a longer delay. Southwest Airlines Is Now Parking Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft In The Desert By Bryan March 24, 2019 Southwest Airlines is preparing for a long-term grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. So much so, that the airline is beginning to send the aircraft to the Mojave Desert for storage. With the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft still in effect, a team from Southwest will be joining other US airlines in visiting the manufacturer soon to preview the aircraft updates. Southwest sent a few of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to the Mojave Desert for storage. Photo: Southwest. 737 MAX 8 fleet takes a trip to Victorville On Saturday, Southwest Airlines began to migrate some Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet to its long-term storage facility. Located at the Southern California Logistics Airport facility in Victorville, this is in the heart of the Mojave Desert. A total of six of the aircraft made the journey so far, which could be followed by others if the model continues to be banned. Aircraft from around the US were ordered to be sent here by the airline. Two of the planes came from Nashville, and other individual aircraft came from St. Louis, Dallas-Love, Phoenix, and Indianapolis. The Southwest fleet includes a total of 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8. The remainder of the aircraft continue to be grounded in various locations around the US, awaiting further notice about the situation.<DIV style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; width: 0px; height: 0px; overflow: hidden; position: absolute;"><BUTTON></BUTTON><A href=""></A><INPUT></DIV> Mojave Desert is an airplane graveyard Southwest frequently uses the desert to store planes being discontinued from its fleet. Most recently, it terminated the Boeing 737-300, all of which were sent to Victorville at the end of Q3, 2017. It’s known as an airplane graveyard thanks to the significant number of unused planes grounded here. Although Southwest Airlines is expecting the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to return to its fleet eventually, the desert was still the best choice for storing the planes. The desert climate makes for perfect environmental conditions for long term storage of aircraft. Southwest is preparing for long term storage of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 in lieu of the global grounding. Photo: Southwest. Other airlines also have hubs for long term aircraft storage. American and United have also begun to sent parts of their Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet storage locations. American has sent a few aircraft to Miami and Tulsa, while Houston has received some from United. Sending its fleet to the desert signals that Southwest is expecting the grounding to last for a significant amount of time. With close inspection from the FAA and airlines alike, Boeing is hoping for good news in the upcoming weeks regarding the 737 updates. All eyes on Boeing The industry-wide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft occurred shortly after the second fatal crash of the model. The FAA has demanded Boeing perform updates before any airlines will use the aircraft again. Reps from Southwest will visit Boeing’s factory to learn about the mandatory updates to the aircraft. Photo: Boeing. In the upcoming week, Boeing will host representatives from the FAA and US airlines, including Southwest, to review the changes. Boeing are rolling out software updates of the MCAS system, as well as training updates to ensure the safety of the MAX. Boeing is expecting to surpass all expectations of the inspections and reviews, but airline companies are a bit more hesitant to return the 737 MAX 8 to their active fleets so soon.
  12. I guess it all depends on what your time is worth.
  13. And the drive is shown only to be 2hr 20mins. Which can not be much longer than the time needed to get to the airport, check in etc. plus the flight time and then of course the journey from the airport to the final destination (hotel or what ever).
  14. Porter Airlines opens Ontario’s Muskoka region to North American travellers with summer service ‎Today, ‎March ‎25, ‎2019, ‏‎3 minutes ago | Canadian Aviation News Provided by Porter Airlines/CNW TORONTO, March 25, 2019 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines will be flying to Muskoka Airport with the introduction of 2019 summer service. Popular with outdoor enthusiasts, Muskoka has established itself among the world’s iconic summer retreats. Flights will have an air time of approximately 20 minutes, operating twice weekly on Thursdays and Mondays between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Muskoka Airport, from June 27 to September 3. Connecting flights are available via Toronto for numerous Porter destinations in the U.S. and Canada. Porter Airlines will be flying to Muskoka Airport with the introduction of 2019 summer service. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)Porter Airlines opens Ontario’s Muskoka region to North American travellers with summer service. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines) “Muskoka is an inspiring destination that attracts travellers from near and far,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. “This new route serves as a great opportunity to link Muskoka to our North American network.” Travellers can soak up stunning scenery, from picturesque historic towns and villages to iconic Algonquin Park, and the area’s famous waterways, including beautiful Georgian Bay. Muskoka offers a charming variety of amenities with golf courses, marinas, camps and cultural attractions spanning the region. “Explorers’ Edge is thrilled to be partnering with Porter Airlines to bring seasonal service to the Muskoka Airport this summer,” said James Murphy, executive director of Explorers’ Edge. “As the regional tourism organization for Muskoka, Parry Sound and Algonquin Park, it is our intent to leverage this service to increase international visitation across our entire region. Our thanks to the District of Muskoka representatives for their efforts to ready the airport, including working with Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.” “A new summer service between Toronto and Muskoka is great news for all Ontarians,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Through this partnership, Porter Airlines and the regional tourism organization are opening a new route that will boost local business and make this stunning part of our province an easy-to-access vacation destination. Ontario is truly open for business in Muskoka.” Schedule details are as follows: Day of week Toronto departure time Muskoka departure time Thursday 1:10 p.m. 2:20 p.m. Monday* 9:20 a.m. 10:30 a.m. *Tuesday departure during long weekends. As part of an exceptional visitor experience in Muskoka and surrounding areas, Explorers’ Edge will also introduce a seasonal shuttle bus service at the airport to deliver Porter passengers to accommodations across the region. The organization will also offer a traveller incentive for tourists who book a flight and accommodation, to the tune of $100 CDN in spending vouchers. Flights are currently available for booking on Porter’s website and through travel agents. For complete schedule and booking details, visit Direct flights Departs Arrives Basic Standard Flexible Freedom 1:10PM PD 593, | 0 | Non-stop 1:45PM Details $71 and 0pts $NaN Sale 2 seats left Purchased $71 and 0pts $NaN $71 and 0pts $NaN Purchased $94 and 0pts $NaN Sale 2 seats left Purchased $94 and 0pts $NaN $94 and 0pts $NaN Purchased $184 and 0pts $NaN Sale 2 seats left Purchased $184 and 0pts $NaN $184 and 0pts $NaN Purchased $366
  15. Trump is treading on dangerous ground. This will mean "if you conquer territory you can keep it" and would set the stage for others (Russia being one, China being another-South China Seas Islands) to insist on the same. Trumplomacy on Golan Heights: What it all means By Barbara Plett Usher BBC state department correspondent 22 March 2019 I was sitting on the Israeli prime minister's terrace when President Trump's tweet dropped. A current of surprise and expectation sizzled through the state department press corps. We had been following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo around Jerusalem's holy sites and were waiting for a final word from him and Benjamin Netanyahu to wrap the day. But they delayed their appearance long enough for us to wonder whether Mr Trump's Twitter announcement had also caught them off guard. If so, it was a welcome surprise for Mr Netanyahu: "I'm so excited," were his first words to us. The surprise would have been in the timing, not the substance. The idea of the US recognising Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights has been under active consideration in the Trump administration for some time, pushed with greater intensity by Israeli officials in recent months. Why are the Golan Heights so important? It is a major shift. For decades the US and most of the world have rejected Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. To paraphrase the principle enshrined in the UN charter: you can't keep land that you capture, you have to negotiate its fate. Mr Trump has overturned that. What questions does this raise? First and foremost is one of international law: in recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, Mr Trump is in effect endorsing its seizure of the territory. By what moral authority then could he challenge others who do the same, such as Russia's annexation of Crimea? Secondly, Mr Trump said he made the decision for strategic and security reasons, by which he means Iran. His administration is convinced Iran is using Syria as a base to target Israel, and the Golan Heights are the front line. That's a compelling argument for the White House and some members of Congress, and one aggressively pushed by the Israelis. But formal recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan doesn't change anything on the ground. It's already acting with full military authority there. So it's widely believed by observers and commentators both here and in Washington that the president made the announcement now to give Mr Netanyahu a boost in hotly-contested elections. Mr Trump has brushed aside such suggestions, but his plans to welcome the Israeli prime minister to the White House twice next week will only reinforce them. How will this affect the cross-border conflict in Syria? Israel strikes regularly at Iranian targets in Syria, carefully negotiating the situation with Russia, which provides crucial military backing to the Syrian state. It's a delicate balance and it's not clear how or whether the American move will upset it. Image copyright AFP Image caption Tensions have flared in the Golan since the Syrian conflict began, with Israel concerned over Iran's growing military presence On the one hand, Syria has been weakened by the civil war, and the Iranians have been weakened by US sanctions. That gives Israel an opportunity to exert its claims, with the help of its friend in the White House. On the other hand, there was no open controversy about Israel's control of the Golan Heights. Pushing the issue above the radar might inflame the low-grade conflict with Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, stoking regional tensions. And Russia is unhappy, very unhappy. How will this affect the West Bank? The occupied West Bank is different from the Golan Heights. It was also captured by Israel in the 1967 war, from Jordan. But it has a large Palestinian population seeking self-determination and promised statehood in more than 20 years of peace talks. Supporters of this peace process are concerned that recognising Israeli sovereignty over the annexed Golan Heights will create momentum for annexation of the West Bank. Image copyright AFP Image caption Palestinians say the US can no longer be a neutral mediator in peace talks after its controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital This fear is not without grounds. Members of the right wing coalition headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu have been pushing for annexation. In Mr Netanyahu's own Likud party, 28 out of the 29 lawmakers running for re-election are on record as supporting this approach. He is the only exception and, beset by charges of corruption and stiff competition from the opposition, has demonstrated he'll go to great lengths to hang on to power. How will this affect Trump's peace proposal? The Golan move reinforces the impression that the Trump administration is redefining the parameters of US policy in a way that favours Israel: Mr Trump has already recognised the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cut funding to the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees demanding a right of return to a homeland. It has also stopped virtually all assistance to the Palestinian Authority, charging it with funding terrorists and rejecting the peace initiative. If the PA continues to reject what's on offer - when it is finally offered - it's likely that Israel's hand will be further strengthened to shape the outcome. Why Trump's Jerusalem embassy move was not about peace What makes Jerusalem so holy? However, the plan will need a buy-in from Arab countries who've long pushed for the return of territory occupied by Israel. Many are more preoccupied with a perceived threat from Iran than with the Palestinian cause, and have signalled a willingness to support the Trump peace initiative. But his Golan decision will complicate their ability to publicly do so.