‘Urgent action’ needed to avoid Brexit airline disaster.


    IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

    If the UK fails to establish traffic rights for airlines before it leaves the European Union (EU), it would be “a disaster,” the head of IATA said Tuesday.

    While IATA and the aviation industry is hopeful that government negotiators will reach an agreement in time to avoid airline service disruption, news this week that broader Brexit talks were stalled is causing concern.

    IATA, which is not involved in the Brexit negotiations, is urging that airline traffic rights are established as soon as possible, by October 2018 at latest. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019 and airlines set their schedules and sell tickets at least six months ahead of operation.

    As part of the EU, the UK currently benefits from liberalized traffic rights within Europe and also from the EU-US Open Skies agreement.

    If the UK exits the EU without securing new traffic rights, it would have to revert to the pre-liberalized air bilateral system, including for flights to Ireland, which is an EU country.

    “The worst case would be that connectivity is not maintained between the UK and EU due to the disappearance of traffic rights. Traffic rights are a key issue,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at a media briefing in Geneva Dec. 5.

    “It would be a disaster for UK-based carriers because they would not be allowed to land in Europe. I don’t think it will happen, but it is a risk.”

    De Juniac said “urgent action” was needed to negotiate the provision of connectivity post-Brexit. “As a general rule, the business of freedom is at its best in creating value for the world in a liberalized framework. That’s a message that I intend to push quite strongly in the year ahead,” he said.

    The EU’s Open Skies framework is credited with stimulating Europe’s air traffic growth, especially in the LCC sector.

    IATA regional VP, Europe, Rafael Schvartzman ,said resolving the UK’s post-Brexit aviation situation would be “difficult, but feasible”.

    “We hope a solution is found for the UK air service arrangements post March 2019, enabling air traffic between the UK and EU to continue,” Schvartzman said. European passengers would be “the biggest losers” if that fails to happen, he warned… (By Karen Walker).




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    Bride with Breast Cancer Dies Just 18 Hours After Hospital Wedding.


    Heather Lindsay and her boyfriend, David Mosher, were happy and in love in 2016. The couple had met at a swing dancing class in May of 2015, and David had plans to propose on December 23rd, 2016, when the couple got some horrific news.

    On the morning of the day the proposal was supposed to take place, Heather was diagnosed with aggressive triple-negative breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes. But that didn’t scare David off. He knew he still wanted to be with Heather, through thick and thin.

    “I left the plans as they were. I proposed to her,” David said. “We had the toughest year of our life. She struggled with her cancer through the traditional chemotherapy.”

    Thinking the cancer was under control, Heather and David made plans to get married on December 30th, 2017. But in September of 2017, they received the terrible news that the cancer had spread to Heather’s lungs and brain and would be terminal.

    Bride with Breast Cancer Dies Just 18 Hours After Hospital Wedding.

    As the days wore on and Heather’s condition worsened, the couple began to realize that she may not live to see their wedding day. So they moved it up to December 22nd and had a beautiful wedding ceremony in St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, where Heather was receiving palliative care.

    Hospital staff wheeled Heather’s hospital bed down to the chapel, where the couple were wed, Heather hooked up to various tubes and wires but nonetheless wearing her lovely wedding gown and smiling up a storm.

    Heather’s last words were her vows, which were incredibly difficult for her to say as she struggled to breathe. Following the wedding, she raised her arms in one last gesture of triumph; she had managed to marry the love of her life before cancer could take her.

    Bridesmaid Christina Lee caught the whole heartwarming and tearful event on camera. Initially reluctant to pull out her camera, she soon realized how important it would be to capture those moments.

    Bride with Breast Cancer Dies Just 18 Hours After Hospital Wedding.

    “I am in awe of the strength Dave’s love inspired in Heather even in her last hours. She was his great love, and he was hers,” said Christina. “What you clearly see here is two people who were destined to be joined as one. A love like no other captured for all to see. My gift to her.”

    Just 18 short hours after the couple said their vows, Heather passed away at the age of 31. Even in their grief, her friends and family continue to draw courage from her story of courage and strength.

    “She was able to fight till the end,” says David. “I’m going to fight till my end.” (By Elizabeth Nelson).



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    The history of empire isn’t about pride – or guilt.


    Oxford professor Nigel Biggar has called for the British to ‘moderate our post-imperial guilt’. But it’s evidence alone that should inform our study of the past

    ‘When Cecil Rhodes was proposed for an honorary degree at Oxford in 1899, there was vocal protest from 92 academics.’ Students at Oriel College, Oxford, call for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, March 2016. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    There is something ironic about an Oxford theologian being portrayed as persecuted for arguing that Britain should be proud of its imperial past, when 59% of the population agree with him. But it’s no laughing matter.

    Oxford’s Ethics and Empire project, announced last month by Prof Nigel Biggar, has drawn widespread concern from historians of all stripes. And, as expected, it attracted some fierce criticism from academics. An open letter from 58 Oxford scholars of empire registered disagreement with the project’s aims and preconceptions. I was its principal author. Co-signatories included world-renowned professors and younger researchers doing cutting-edge work in the field.

    Predictably, the subsequent media furore ignored the issues at stake. We were attacked for denying freedom of expression to views we oppose – when in fact we expressly affirmed it – or for holding “unbalanced”, prejudiced views of the history we have spent our professional lives studying.

    It’s unsurprising that once again, “experts” who argue from evidence against the national-populist mood should be vilified in the rightwing press. It’s also dangerous, and not only for universities, to dismiss critical history in favour of a rehabilitation of imperialism as a morally justifiable enterprise, serving a sense of national pride. Equally unhelpful is the assertion that if we’re not proud of the empire, we must feel guilty about it. History is not about how people feel.

    For 40 years, scholars of empire have reassessed and reinterpreted what imperial rule, colonial settlement, conquest, administration, and decolonisation have meant in different periods across the world. Empires have been nearly ubiquitous in history, much older than nations. Colonial empires provided the matrix of the modern world in the 19th century, and their effects still influence the shape of the world and the division of privilege across it today.

    To evaluate so complex a process by moral measurement – how much suffering was offset by how much “progress”? – is, for most historians, irrelevant as well as inadequate. Equally inadequate and irrelevant is the preoccupation – almost an obsession for the Brexit-Britain right – with the role of empire in an integrating “island story” of plucky white British patriots and globalisers. Even at the height of the Victorian empire, some figures who are now held up by empire nostalgics as inviolable national icons, most notably Cecil Rhodes, were criticised by their compatriots as acting more in their own than in the national interest. When Rhodes, already censured by a parliamentary select committee, was proposed for an honorary degree at Oxford in 1899, there was vocal protest from 92 academics (none of whom were Corbynistas.)

    Britain, like France, the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Germany and Italy, does need a public debate about the realities and legacies of its imperial past. We need a fuller public understanding of what Britain’s empire was, and how its aftereffects have influenced Britain’s multi-ethnic, multi-confessional society, its inequalities and injustices as well as its commonalities and opportunities.

    That debate should be equitable, rational and based on all the available evidence. It should not be about apportioning blame, instilling guilt or recovering pride. We also need to see that history as part of a larger, longer, global history of empire, not as something peculiar to us. It’s important in understanding our collective present that we know what forces shaped it. But historical understanding is about recapturing the sense of things done by, and done to, other people at other times. It’s not about us, and how we feel about it is entirely irrelevant.

    (James McDougall is associate professor, fellow and tutor in modern history at Trinity College, Oxford).



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