Some air traffic controllers who"ve endured 6-day workweeks and unrelenting schedules have turned to alcohol and drugs to avoid seeking professional help, report says

The air traffic controller workforce has been severely stretched, with staffing shortages leading to strenuous workweeks and alcohol or drug abuse. Rafael Cordero/GettyAir traffic controllers, who have long endured staffing shortages, are facing increasingly strenuous schedules.The workloads have led some controllers to use alcohol, sleeping pills, and drugs to cope, per a Times report.Complaints to the FAA revealed problems among the workforce that could jeopardize air safety.There's a growing problem that's threatening the ability of air traffic controllers to effectively perform their jobs, which over time could weaken the safety of passengers in the skies: their strained workloads.The air traffic controller workforce in recent years has been stretched to the brink, with staffing shortages necessitating six-day workweeks and 10-hour workdays for many controllers, conditions which have exacerbated exhaustion and in some cases led to depression, according to The New York Times.In interviews and complaints sent to the Federal Aviation Administration, several controllers said they had not sought personal help to deal with physical and psychological issues because they were fearful of the FAA's rules governing medical clearances, per The Times.The rules regulating the clearances prohibit particular medications from being used by air traffic controllers — as they could cause drowsiness on the job — so some controllers have turned to alcohol and sleeping pills instead, per the report. Some controllers have forgone medications that they needed in order to comply with the clearances. And a few controllers have even turned to drugs, based on a Times review of complaints that were submitted to the FAA.The lengths that some air traffic controllers have gone through to maintain their jobs reflects the tediousness that the role demands, as they are the safeguards for the lives of millions upon millions of travelers. It is because of their work that passenger air travel in the US remains incredibly safe, a marvel of modern transportation.But a Times report from September revealed that close calls at US airports have occurred at a greater rate than previously known. An examination of internal FAA records by the newspaper revealed that in 2023 such incidents took place multiple times a week. And the Times report also noted that in May, 310 of the 313 air traffic control facilities in the country had fewer than the recommended number of certified controllers.The growing safety issues don't just extend to the well-being of controllers. The Washington Post in August reported that federal authorities have been investigating roughly 5,000 pilots who may have altered their medical records to withhold health issues that could jeopardize their ability to fly airplanes safely.When it comes to air traffic controllers, the coping mechanisms that some of them have sought to employ were further detailed in complaints to the FAA.Air controllers in one air traffic facility were reported for "using alcohol and illegal drugs while on position" as they were directing plane traffic, per a complaint examined by The Times. Another complaint listed the "strong odor of alcohol" that came from some controllers. Several controllers said that they witnessed some colleagues "showing extreme signs of mental problems."And according to one FAA complaint reviewed by The Times, a controller said that she ingested up to nine vodka drinks per night to combat sleeping issues and panic attacks that a physician indicated was partly brought on by the stress of her job.FAA spokeswoman Jeannie Shiffer in a statement to The Times said that the agency "maintains the safest, most complex and busiest airspace in the world.""The nation absolutely needs more air traffic controllers, and growing the work force will result in better working conditions and more flexibility," she added.Shiffer also said that the agency prioritized the health of its air traffic controllers, noting that it provided free counseling."When they have issues, we work with them to resolve it," she said in a statement.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt7 hr. 3 min. ago Related News

Self-service security screening is coming to airports, but PreCheck passengers are getting priority

The Department of Homeland Security is testing out self-service screening options and has awarded contracts to three companies developing prototypes. Vanderlande's prototype, the PAX MX2.Courtesy of Vanderlande via DHS.A self-service TSA screening model may be making its way to an airport near you. A pilot program will roll out in January at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.The programs are meant to expedite screening while improving safety, the DHS said in a press release.As officials at the Transportation Security Administration grapple with air travel resuming at pre-pandemic levels, the Department of Homeland Security is testing out self-service screening options.Of course, customers with TSA PreCheck get first dibs.In January, passengers traveling through Las Vegas, Nevada's Harry Reid International Airport will be the first to test out a pilot of the "Screening at Speed Program," the DHS announced in a press release."Like self-ordering kiosks at fast food and sit-down restaurants, self-service screening allows passengers in the Trusted Traveler Program to complete the security screening process on their own," John Fortune, the program's manager, said in the press release. "Travelers will use passenger and carry-on screening systems at individual consoles or screening lanes themselves, reducing the number of pat downs and bag inspections" for Transportation Security Officers.The program will allow passengers to move through the screening "at their own pace" while minimizing in-person contact between officers and passengers, Fortune said. The DHS has awarded contracts to three US companies that are developing prototypes and working with the TSA.Selected passengers traveling through the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas in January will test out the PAX MX2 prototype by the company Vanderlande, according to the DHS press release.Similar to existing security equipment, passengers will place their bags on a conveyance system, but they will have the help of a video monitor with detailed instructions, as well as a help button to connect with a live security agent. Then they will go through a screening portal with automatic entry and exit doors, the latter of which will not open until the passenger has successfully cleared the screening. The entry doors will reopen so passengers can empty forgotten items from their pockets if needed."The airport security experience that we've all come to know could soon look and feel a lot different—in a very good way—for both passengers and TSOs," said Christina Peach, a branch manager for the TSA's Innovation Task Force.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt8 hr. 51 min. ago Related News

Munich airport closed as heavy snow blankets Bavaria

Munich airport closed as heavy snow blankets Bavaria.....»»

Category: topSource: yahoo12 hr. 19 min. ago Related News

I"ve finally visited all 50 states. As it turns out, I saved the best for last.

Alaska is the biggest, most remote state. After visiting all 50 states, here's why I think it's one of the best. I've been to all 50 states and Alaska was my last one. Brian CicioniIn 2023, I finally visited my 50th state — Alaska.I thought it'd be perfect to save the biggest, most remote state for last.Alaska was filled with incredible food and activities and I would go back. For years, it's been my goal to visit all 50 states.Growing up in Pennsylvania, frequent road trips to New England and Florida allowed me to check off coastal states in quick succession.In subsequent years, easy access to New York City airports made it relatively easy to use holiday weekends to check off more. Around 2010, I saw No. 48 (Hawaii) and No. 49 (North Dakota) as part of family vacations.But instead of making plans for Alaska, No. 50, I pivoted my focus to exploring Asia, Europe, and South America. My idea was that Alaska would always be there.But after the height of the coronavirus pandemic around 2020, I refocused on North America. By 2023, I knew it was time to visit my last state. Here's why I'm glad I saved Alaska for last.Alaska is so big that each city almost felt like a different stateAlaska is a massive state. Brian CicioniAlaska's vastness is put into perspective when you remember you can fit two of the second-largest states (Texas) inside of it. In part because of its size, each part of the state has a different feel. I started in Fairbanks and had to wear sunglasses on the way to my hotel — it was so bright and sunny out even though it was around 10 p.m. In Ketchikan, I experienced rainy, Seattle weather. In Anchorage, I was reminded of home as I experienced traffic jams. Here, though, they were caused by a goat that went too far down a cliff adjacent to the Seward Highway. The state was filled with incredible activities and memorable cuisine I ate so many memorable dishes in Alaska. Brian CicioniI mined for gold outside Fairbanks, sampled reindeer sausage in Anchorage, and explored the scandalous side of Ketchikan's history along Married Man's Trail.I visited several museums and was especially impressed with the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage's replicas of where indigenous people lived. Each dwelling had a member from the given tribe to tell stories and answer questions. Food-wise, I ate at least one memorable thing in each city. The omnipresent Thai food huts in Fairbanks served as the backdrop for the most surprising culinary experience I've had in the United States. I ordered my pad Thai through a window and never got out of my car, which made more sense once I learned most vehicle owners use heaters to stop their engines from freezing in the below-50-Fahrenheit winters. Alaska's food scene is very unique. Brian CicioniI tried salmon in Ketchikan, the salmon capital of the world, but I most remember the soft, Parisian-like seaweed gnocchi I ordered in the most touristy part of town. In Anchorage, I had Southeast Alaskan oysters with plum-wine foam that made me nearly forget every oyster bar I've ever tried in the Northeast. I was intimidated at first, but I'm glad I saved Alaska for last I enjoyed my travels to Alaska and I would go back. Brian CicioniAlaska ended up being No. 50 for two main reasons. First, it's probably the most difficult to get to from the Northeast, with direct flights being seasonal and limited. Second, I was intimidated. How would I, who never even lived in an unattached house, enjoy the largest, least densely populated state? But once I was aboard Alaska's Denali Star train, enjoying the changing landscapes over a plate of reindeer bolognese while oblivious to the lack of cell-phone reception, I realized I may have saved the best for last. And I know I'd definitely like to return. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt18 hr. 51 min. ago Related News

United Airlines (UAL) Invests $2.6B for Houston Expansion

United Airlines (UAL) expands in Houston, with $2.6B terminal project, early bag storage facility, new club and thousands of new jobs. United Airlines Holdings, Inc. UAL has announced that it is investing $2.6 billion to renovate and expand Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Additionally, they will open a UAL Club location and Early Bag Storage facility. The airline will also begin a new direct flight from Houston to Georgetown, Guyana.These investments are part of the airline’s United Next growth plan. The project includes an expansion of 40 gates for larger aircraft allowing for an increase in 40% more passengers who can fly from the airport. This new United Airlines Club will be the largest in the United States. The Early Bag Storage facility is the only one of its kind in North America. The decision to expand in Houston is a prudent one given the buoyant air-travel demand scenario. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated, “United Next is about new investments that improve the customer experience and building careers for the next generation of aviation professionals – and all those things and more are coming to life here in Houston”.In addition, the expansion will create 1,500 United Airlines positions in Houston along with another 4,000 construction-related jobs throughout the project. Such innovative expansion projects are expected to attract more traffic and thereby aid top-line growth. Also, employment growth will get a boost.Price PerformanceShares of United Airlines have gained 4.5% in the year-to-date period compared with 3.2% growth of the industry it belongs to. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Zacks RankUnited Airlines carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Key PicksSome better-ranked stocks for investors interested in the Zacks Transportation sector are Air Canada ACDVF and SkyWest SKYW.Air Canada currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). An uptick in passenger traffic is aiding ACDVF. Recently, management announced plans to launch a new year-round route between Montreal and Madrid. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The service will commence in May of the following year as part of its expanded international summer 2024 flying schedule to cater to increased demand.  SkyWest presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). SKYW's fleet-modernization efforts are commendable. Initiatives to reward its shareholders also bode well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-quarter earnings has surged 83.3% in the past 60 days. Zacks Names #1 Semiconductor Stock It's only 1/9,000th the size of NVIDIA which skyrocketed more than +800% since we recommended it. NVIDIA is still strong, but our new top chip stock has much more room to boom. With strong earnings growth and an expanding customer base, it's positioned to feed the rampant demand for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Internet of Things. Global semiconductor manufacturing is projected to explode from $452 billion in 2021 to $803 billion by 2028.See This Stock Now for Free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW): Free Stock Analysis Report Air Canada (ACDVF): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2023Related News

Motorola (MSI) to Boost Airport Communication in Germany

Motorola (MSI) will deploy the DIMETRA X Core system to boost TETRA radio communication infrastructure in Cologne Bonn Airport. Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI announced that Cologne Bonn Airport has opted to upgrade TETRA (terrestrial trunked radio) digital radio communication infrastructure, leveraging Motorola’s TETRA solution portfolio. TETRA is a vital component in airport communication for its reliability, coverage and efficiency in operations. It also boasts advanced security features owing to user authentication mechanisms.To modernize the airport’s network infrastructure, Motorola is offering the DIMETRA X Core system, designed to provide mission-critical voice and data communications. Along with enhanced flexibility and security, this system also provides greater scalability, capable of supporting a single site to a network spanning 5000 sites or more. The solution also comes with multi-layered cyber defense features that incorporate regular security updates, operating system patching, anti-virus and more.The technology also exhibits robust adaptability. With a software-based core, it allows users to augment capacity, launch new features and tailor communication system per the airport’s evolving requirements. The solution also centralized the communication network to bolster administrative efficiency. The capability to prevent single-point failures enhances the resilience of the TETRA network and makes it suitable for any unfavorable circumstances.In 2022, Bonn Airport witnessed a staggering 8.8 million passengers and 971,000 tons of cargo shipping. Owing to its strategic position, the airport plays a crucial role as a hub for businesses, tourism and economic activities within the region. The smooth functioning of the airport operations is heavily dependent on frontline workers such as logistics partners, ramp agents and baggage handlers.Ensuring perfect synchronization in this complex spread-out system is a challenging endeavor. The DIMETRA X Core system brings some enticing features like the Inter System Interface to facilitate effective collaboration. It also includes various service and support packages essential for maintaining the system at its peak performance level.  The successful deployment of the technology will ensure full coverage both inside and outside the terminal building, streamlining logistics and cargo management and ensuring premium passenger service.  Motorola is a leading provider of TETRA solutions, boasting 25 years of experience. It has installed approximately 1,000 systems worldwide across multiple industries. The company is leveraging this acquired expertise to augment the capability of its latest DIMETRA solution. Additionally, Motorola also secured a ten-year service contract from Bonn Airport to optimize network operation 24/7. This includes responsibilities for repair, maintenance services and the technological advancement of the network infrastructure.As a leading provider of mission-critical communication products and services worldwide, Motorola has ensured a steady revenue stream from this niche market. The communications equipment maker intends to boost its position in the public safety domain by entering into strategic alliances with other players in the ecosystem.The stock has gained 18.4% over the past year against the industry’s decline of 7.2%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMotorola currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Stocks to ConsiderModel N Inc MODN, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), delivered an earnings surprise of 20.78%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. In the last reported quarter, it pulled off an earnings surprise of 3.33%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.MODN provides revenue management solutions for life sciences and technology companies, including applications for configuration, price, quote, rebate management and regulatory compliance.NVIDIA Corporation NVDA, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1, delivered an earnings surprise of 18.99%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. In the last reported quarter, it pulled off an earnings surprise of 19.64%.NVIDIA is the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the graphic processing unit. Over the years, the company’s focus evolved from PC graphics to artificial intelligence-based solutions that support high-performance computing, gaming and virtual reality platforms.Arista Networks, Inc. ANET, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), is likely to benefit from strong momentum and diversification across its top verticals and product lines. The company has a software-driven, data-centric approach to help customers build their cloud architecture and enhance their cloud experience. Arista delivered an earnings surprise of 12%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.ANET holds a leadership position in 100-gigabit Ethernet switching share in port for the high-speed data center segment. Arista is increasingly gaining market traction in 200 and 400-gigabit high-performance switching products and is well-positioned for healthy growth in the data-driven cloud networking business with proactive platforms and predictive operations. Zacks Names #1 Semiconductor Stock It's only 1/9,000th the size of NVIDIA which skyrocketed more than +800% since we recommended it. NVIDIA is still strong, but our new top chip stock has much more room to boom. With strong earnings growth and an expanding customer base, it's positioned to feed the rampant demand for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Internet of Things. Global semiconductor manufacturing is projected to explode from $452 billion in 2021 to $803 billion by 2028.See This Stock Now for Free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Model N, Inc. (MODN): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2023Related News

Truce Collapses, Missiles Fly Over Gaza, With 137 Israelis Still In Hamas Captivity

Truce Collapses, Missiles Fly Over Gaza, With 137 Israelis Still In Hamas Captivity The Gaza truce has collapsed and Israel has resumed its bombing campaign of the Strip, following a full week of ceasefire and seven rounds of hostage/prisoner exchanges. Qatar and Egypt were reportedly pressing to extend the temporary pause in fighting for another two days, but Israel was not satisfied with the list of captives offered. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been looking into Hamas claims that the two young Bibas brothers were killed. "Israeli military has informed Bibas family members it is assessing a Hamas claim that the youngest Israeli hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his brother Ariel, 4, and their mother Shiri are no longer alive," CNN reports. This grim and tragic revelation is likely what left Israel with less incentive to keep the ceasefire going, also as pressure has mounted from ultra-conservative circles within Netanyahu's own ruling coalition to take the fight back to Hamas, and to see through the vow of eliminating the terror group.  Another big factor was Thursday's terror attack involving a pair of Palestinian gunmen who unleashed M16 and pistol fire on a crowd waiting at a Jerusalem bus stop, killing three Israelis and injuring 16. Shortly after the attack, Hamas claimed responsibility. It's likely that negotiators in Doha are still scrambling to get a ceasefire urgently back in place. After all, Israel says there are still 137 hostages in Hamas captivity, which also includes some Americans. In total 110 were returned home over the past week, with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners released as part of the swap. The Times of Israel details of those who remain captive:  Among those still in captivity after the end of the truce Friday are 115 men, 20 women and two children, government spokesperson Eylon Levy says. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older, he says. The majority, or 126, are Israeli and 11 are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand. Levy lists the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his 4-year-old brother Ariel and their mother Shiri as among the hostages. The military has said it is investigating a Hamas claim that the boys and their mother were killed. Dozens of Palestinians have been reported killed after airstrikes started again Friday morning... Israel renewed its bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip on Friday morning after talks to extend the truce which went into effect a week ago had failed. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed by the new bombardments, which hit buildings in Khan Younis, Rafah and northern Gaza. — Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) December 1, 2023 Israel and mediators in Qatar were able to secure the release of most of the women and children hostages, as the last days have seen, but still 20 women remain along with the possibly still alive Bibas brothers, fate unknown. Israel as of Thursday welcomed eight more Israelis back from Hamas captivity. The IDF is meanwhile already dropping leaflets over parts of southern Israel telling civilians to leave their homes and leave the area. Prior to the truce, there were sporadic bombardments of parts of the south. But now it looks like the IDF will take the fight to the southern half too, even after Secretary of State Blinken's urgings not to, conveyed to PM Netanyahu yesterday. Blinken flew out of Tel Aviv as IDF warplanes began the renewed bombing campaign... As Israel resumed its attack on Gaza today, @SecBlinken's "motorcade sped out of his hotel in Israel on its way to the Tel Aviv airport... Asked onboard his plane, Blinken declined to comment." Reminds me of when Ford and Kissinger visited Indonesia in December 1975 and gave the… — Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) December 1, 2023 Rockets have resumed being fired from Gaza, and Israel is again evacuating some southern communities, as both sides could once again be settling in for a 'long war'. Rockets could also once again be coming from southern Lebanon. Hezbollah is likely to rejoin the fight. On Thursday Blinken had urged Netanyahu to avoid killing civilians and that the soaring Gaza death toll is increasingly turning world opinion against Israel. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/01/2023 - 08:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2023Related News

: Russia wrests control of St. Petersburg airport from German and Qatari investors: report

: Russia wrests control of St. Petersburg airport from German and Qatari investors: report.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchDec 1st, 2023Related News

Watch: German President Left Waiting In Hot Sun, Ignored On Arrival In Qatar

Watch: German President Left Waiting In Hot Sun, Ignored On Arrival In Qatar Russian President Vladimir Putin this week mocked Germany, saying it is getting pushed around by outside powers and increasingly lacks sovereignty. Putin said Wednesday according to an English translation in state media, "The Germans swallow all this because… they lack sovereignty. And some government leaders apparently lack sufficient professional skills to make adequate and professional decisions. Everyone knows who that is, they are being laughed at by the whole world." He spoke the words on the very same day that the below spectacle played out, ironically enough, where German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was snubbed at the airport after landing in Doha for an official state visit to Qatar...  He was there for official talks with Qatari leaders in relation to several German nationals being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. German media correspondents were on the trip with him, and reported that Qatari officials may have been intentionally snubbing him upon arrival. Below is Deutsche Welle's detailed description of what happened: The sun shone. The red carpet had been rolled out. A military honor guard had assembled. Even Germany’s ambassador to Qatar, Lothar Freischlader, was on hand. The only problem, no Qatari official was in attendance to formally welcome German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Doha.   Arriving slightly ahead of schedule, Steinmeier waited in the blazing sun at the door of the Bundeswehr’s Airbus A350 for almost half an hour before Sultan al-Muraichai, Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, arrived to receive Germany’s head of state.   Even with the delayed diplomatic formalities following al-Muraichai's arrival, Steinmeier departed the airport on time for his scheduled meeting with Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.  While it's possible there was a legitimate mix-up based on Steinmeier's plane having arrived slightly early, the scene was highly unusual for a head of state. Russian media has speculated that it may have been 'payback' for words issued by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in October. According to RT, she said at the time "We do not accept support for terror," and argued that Arab states like Qatar "have a special responsibility to put an end to this terrorism." Source: Deutsche Welle Qatar has long been seen as a supporter of Hamas, but it's a relationship not quite as out in the open as Iran's. At the same time, Qatar has been a diplomatic mediator with the West on the Gaza hostage crisis. Doha has long faced criticism in the West for its state support given to hardline Islamists, from Syria to Gaza. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/01/2023 - 04:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 1st, 2023Related News

20 States with Highest Minimum Wage and Low Cost of Living

In this article, we look at 20 states with the highest minimum wage and low cost of living to see the extent to which wages cover the cost of living in these states. We will also discuss companies that are raising their wage levels and its impact on employment and business. You can skip our […] In this article, we look at 20 states with the highest minimum wage and low cost of living to see the extent to which wages cover the cost of living in these states. We will also discuss companies that are raising their wage levels and its impact on employment and business. You can skip our detailed analysis on the subject and head over directly to 5 States with Highest Minimum Wage and Low Cost of Living. Hundreds of fast-food workers from restaurant chains including McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), Domino’s, KFC and other food companies went on strike in New York City on November 29, 2012, to demand higher wages and better working conditions. These workers were earning the minimum wage at that time, but due to burgeoning cost of living, this amount was well below the living wage declared by economists then – the wage that is sufficient to meet all necessary expenses. The federal minimum wage in the US is just $7.25 per hour and has remained unchanged since it was set in 2009. The protests in New York sparked a national political movement that has come to be known as the Fight for $15, and it is not just limited to the restaurant industry. The movement has involved strikes by workers at airports, gas stations, convenience stores, and even affected the childcare and healthcare sector. The movement has had its successes, with many state governments announcing to gradually raise the minimum wage year-by-year to $15. At the local level, cities such as New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco, where the cost of living is significantly higher, have already increased their minimum wage to $15. That being said, workers continue to regularly mobilize across the US, especially in states that have no minimum wage and where wages are set to equal the federal wage level. The demand for higher minimum wages has received both support and criticism. Ed Rensi, the former CEO of McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), in 2016 cited the movement for higher wages as the reason for the fast-food giant installing automatic kiosks at restaurants nationwide. Rensi argued that increased wages are directly linked with unemployment. The McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD)’s ex-CEO also fears that small businesses that cannot afford automation and can also not pay high labor costs will be at the risk of being driven out of business altogether, or be forced to move their operations to states that have lower wages. In contrast,, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), in 2018, announced to pay all its employees in the US, wherever they may be, a minimum wage of $15, which is double the federal wage level. In addition to this,, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) also stated that it would urge policymakers of Washington, D.C. to enforce a higher federal wage to enable workers to meet their necessary needs amid rising cost of living. More companies followed, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the years to come. Retail giant Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), in 2020, announced to raise the minimum wage of its employees to $15 and to give a one-time bonus of $200 to all hourly employees. In March 2022, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) made headlines by declaring that it was raising the minimum wage to as much as $24, depending on the nature of the job and the local market. The company also shared its plan to make healthcare more accessible for its employees. Workers who worked more than 25 hours a week would be eligible for Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT)’s medical plan. The health benefits and pay increases will cost the company $300 million and are part of the strategy to retain employees. In January this year, despite the economic slowdown, America’s largest employer, Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) gave a 17% raise in minimum wage to workers who cater to customers and stock shelves. Store employees now earn anywhere between $14-19, depending on the state they are based in. The move by Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) will benefit more than 340,000 workers, who make up roughly 21% of the total employees in the company. Moreover, as the cost of living crisis worsens, companies such as Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) have taken it upon themselves to limit the level of inflation burden they pass on to the already-burdened final consumer. According to a report in CNBC, both have clashed with investors over keeping prices down despite inflation over the last couple of years. This has helped both Walmart and Target in keeping their market share, albeit at the expense of their own profitability. a katz / Methodology We have ranked the states with the highest minimum wage and low cost of living by dividing minimum wages by the cost of living index for each state to get a score which shows the degree to which minimum wages help cover the cost of living. States are ranked in ascending of these scores. Data for minimum wage levels has been sourced from the US Department of Labor and websites of state governments. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) was consulted for cost of living index scores for each state. Let’s now head over to the list of states with the highest minimum wage and cost of living in the United States. Top 20 States with Highest Minimum Wage and Low Cost of Living: 20. Minnesota Minimum Wage: $10.59 Cost of Living Index: 94.4 Score: 0.1122 The minimum wage rate in Minnesota is set to be raised to $10.85 per hour from January 1, 2024 for large employers. This will be applicable to all large employers operating in the state. On the other hand, small employers whose gross annual revenue is under $500,000, are currently required to pay a minimum of $8.63 per hour, which will be revised to $8.85 from next year. 19. New York Minimum Wage: $14.2 Cost of Living Index: 126.5 Score: 0.1123 New York’s cost of living is nearly 30% higher than the national average, but it currently has the fourth highest hourly minimum wage rate in the country of $14.2, which is set to increase to $15 from next year. The minimum wage in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester are already $15 and will be raised to $16 from January 1. 18. California Minimum Wage: $15.5 Cost of Living Index: 136.4 Score: 0.1136 California has one of the highest costs of living in the US, but that is offset by significantly higher minimum wage rates compared to the rest of the country. All employers by state law are required to pay $15.50 as a minimum wage, and the rate is set to increase by $0.50 from January 1, 2024. The minimum wage for fast food workers will be raised to $20, effective from April 1, 2024. 17. Vermont Minimum Wage: $13.18 Cost of Living Index: 114.9 Score: 0.1147 The legislature in Vermont passed a law in 2020 that required the state to calculate and increase the wage rate each year in proportion to the Consumer Price Index. Vermont’s minimum wage is at par with most other states in the North East. According to the state government, the minimum wage will rise by 49 cents starting 2024. 16. Nebraska Minimum Wage: $10.5 Cost of Living Index: 91 Score: 0.1154 Nebraska’s minimum wage is 45% higher and its cost of living is 9% lower than the national average prevalent in the United States. The cost of living index for housing in Nebraska was recorded at 78.1 at the end of the third quarter this year, which is well below the levels in other states of the country. The state’s minimum wage rose from $9 in 2022 to $10.5 in 2023, and it is planned to be raised to $15 by 2026. 15. Rhode Island Minimum Wage: $13 Cost of Living Index: 112 Score: 0.1161 According to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, minimum wage in the state is set to be increased by $1 per year to reach $15 by the start of 2025. Exceptions will apply to full-time students who are under the age of 19 and are working in any nonprofit or community services organizations and those aged 14-15 who do not work for more than 24 hours a week. 14. Delaware Minimum Wage: $11.75 Cost of Living Index: 100.8 Score: 0.1166 The minimum wage in Delaware in 2023 is more than $4 above the federal minimum wage in the US. This wage is projected to rise by about 30% over the next couple of years to total $15 by 2025. This is an encouraging trend for locals considering that the cost of living is relatively at par with the national average. 13. South Dakota Minimum Wage: $10.8 Cost of Living Index: 91.8 Score: 0.1176 South Dakota is among the states with the highest minimum wage and low cost of living, with housing and utilities costing an estimated 15% less than the national average in the US. The minimum wage in the state is set to increase 40 cents from January 1, 2024. 12. Virginia Minimum Wage: $12 Cost of Living Index: 101.4 Score: 0.1183 Virginia has one of the highest minimum wage rates in the United States, and what sets it apart from its counterparts is that it does not exempt tipped workers from receiving the same minimum wage as other employees. In most other states, tipped workers usually receive 50% of the state’s minimum wage. Virginia has come a long way when it comes to increasing minimum wages. In 2021, the wage rate was $9.50 per hour; it is projected to touch $15 by 2026. 11. Oregon Minimum Wage: $14.2 Cost of Living Index: 114.7 Score: 0.1238 Oregon has the joint fourth highest wage rate, along with New York, in the US. Wages were increased by 70 cents this year in July based on inflation between March 2022 and 2023. By law, workers in Portland receive $1.25 more than the baseline wage rate of the state, while employees in the rural areas earn $1 less per hour. Therefore, wages vary between $13.20 and $15.45 per hour in Oregon depending on where you work. 10. Arkansas Minimum Wage: $11 Cost of Living Index: 88.5 Score: 0.1243 Arkansas’ minimum wage is well over the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Cost of living in the state is also low, about 11% less than the national average. Housing is particularly cheap with an index score of 73.1.  9. Maine Minimum Wage: $13.8 Cost of Living Index: 110.7 Score: 0.1247 All businesses operating in the state of Maine, even if they have one employee, are subject to coverage under state law for minimum wage and are required to pay their employees at least $13.8 per hour. Starting 2024, the wage rate is set to rise to $14.15, driven by a 2.4% rise in cost of living index between August 2022 and 2023. 8. Arizona Minimum Wage: $13.85 Cost of Living Index: 110 Score: 0.1259 Arizona has one of the highest minimum wages in the US, which is planned for a further increase to $14.35, effective from January 1, 2024. The cost of living in the state is 10% higher than the national average. According to CNBC, the annual living wage for a single person in Arizona is $60,026.  7. Colorado Minimum Wage: $13.65 Cost of Living Index: 106.9 Score: 0.1277 The government in Colorado is set to raise the minimum wage in 2024 to $14.42, a 5.6% increase compared to this year. Minimum wage in the city and county of Denver will rise to $18.29 per hour from $17.29, starting January 1, to keep up with the high cost of living in the state capital. 6. New Mexico Minimum Wage: $12 Cost of Living Index: 93.9 Score: 0.1278 Next on our list of states with the highest minimum wage and low cost of living is New Mexico, where minimum wage levels cover up the cost of living far more than in other states due the prevailing wage rate of $12 and a cost of living index that is more than six points below the national average. Click to continue reading and see the 5 States with Highest Minimum Wage and Low Cost of Living. Suggested Articles: 25 Best States to Retire in for Taxes and Cost of Living 20 Tax-Friendly States for High Income in the US 15 States with the Best Economy Right Now Disclosure: None. 20 States with Highest Minimum Wage and Low Cost of Living is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyNov 30th, 2023Related News

I went to Las Vegas for the first time. Here are 6 things that were worth it and one I"d skip next time.

I went to Las Vegas for the first time, and I had a blast at TwitchCon and riding a gondola inside a hotel. But I wouldn't stay on the Strip again. I recently spent three days exploring Las Vegas for the first time. Andrew Zarivny / ShutterstockI went to Las Vegas for the first time and stayed for three days of activities. I loved exploring the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat and Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.But next time, I wouldn't stay in a hotel on the Strip because I found it a bit overwhelming. I went to Las Vegas for the first time and spent three days attending TwitchCon and immersing myself in the famous city.Although it wasn't my favorite destination, I truly enjoyed the desert landscape and the city's flashy ambiance.Here are six things I'd recommend in Sin City and one I'd skip if I visited again.Vegas is one of the best cities I've ever attended a convention in. There were great community vibes at the Vegas TwitchCon. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty ImagesA large chunk of my trip was spent attending TwitchCon Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The interactive live-streaming platform hosts its annual conventions twice a year in different cities around the world.As a variety streamer on Twitch, I was offered an amazing opportunity to moderate a panel and connect with many other creatives. I made lasting connections and beautiful memories.Aside from the plethora of events, booths, and brands at the convention, my favorite part was how much effort, thought, and intention Twitch put into uplifting marginalized voices. I really enjoyed attending the BIPOC and Women's community meetups and the iconic drag show hosted by Espe Symone and Queen Nicki Mirage.Beyond this year's TwitchCon, the Las Vegas Convention Center hosts several events throughout the year, from tradeshows to concerts.The venue is also home to the Vegas Loop, where I rode in a Tesla to other parts of the center via the neon-lit tunnels. It cut down travel time between the center and the monorail from 15 minutes to about two.Loop fares range from $5 to $12 depending on where you're going, but it was so busy during TwitchCon that no one was checking for tickets when I rode.The gondola ride at the Venetian was as peaceful as it was entertaining. There are gondolas floating along inside the famous Vegas hotel. Gondolas at The Venetian ResortWhile exploring the Strip, I stopped at the Venetian Las Vegas and was awestruck by the gorgeous architecture and friendly staff.After walking through the Grand Canal Shoppes, I stopped at the indoor canals to enjoy my first-ever gondola ride. It cost $39 a person for a shared boat, and I lucked out and ended up in my own gondola.During the 15-minute ride, my gondolier Makaji and I traversed through the canals, musing about life, travel, and our love for Italy. He even serenaded me with some Italian classics.The attraction also offers photo add-ons that are a little pricey (starting at $32). But I decided to treat myself to commemorate the delightful experience.Animal lovers should visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat.I was staying at the Flamingo Hotel, so it was easy to enjoy the wildlife. Cheyenne M. DavisAs a person who grew up watching Animal Planet and Discovery Channel, I'd be remiss if I didn't go to the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.Luckily, I was already staying on the property, so I just had to head downstairs to check it out.It's free, and you can read up on animals and see a variety of ducks, koi fish, turtles, and, of course, flamingos.Seeing Luenell at the Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Club made me laugh and feel inspired.Luenell is an American comedian and actor. Cheyenne M. DavisDespite being limited on time and budget, I was grateful I grabbed a ticket to see comedian Luenell perform at the Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Club Las Vegas, a 450-seat venue on the Strip.Seeing her be the first and only Black femme to have a residency at the club was really powerful for me. I was thoroughly entertained by the show and the impromptu Q&A session afterward.Luenell's residency goes through the end of December, but the club hosts multiple comedy acts daily if you're looking for a different show.My only notes about the establishment are that there are no restrooms and it isn't the most accessible building since I couldn't find a public elevator to the second floor, so consider these things when booking a ticket.A late-night adventure to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was one of my favorite experiences.The grand botanical displays were awe-inspiring. Cheyenne M. DavisAfter seeing Luenell, I crossed the street to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which was truly one of the highlights of my entire trip.The flora-filled atrium is free to visit, and it hosts seasonal installations with different themes.The installation I saw, "Enchantment: The Magic of Fall," featured an autumnal fairycore curation. It was so picturesque and whimsical that I instantly fell in love with it.With the dim lights and enchanting atmosphere, the conservatory was truly a magical experience.The next installation opens on December 2 for the holidays.I had the best meal at the Jamaican Vybz Bar and Grill.The oxtail at Jamaican Vybz was delicious. Cheyenne M. DavisBefore heading to the airport, I wanted to grab a great meal so I stopped at Jamaican Vybz Bar and Grill, where I had some of the best food in the city.The oxtail was tender and flavorful, and it reminded me of my favorite Jamaican spots from back home in New Jersey.I highly recommend escaping from the more touristy parts of town and sampling some great Caribbean fare off the Strip.If I returned to Vegas, I wouldn't stay on the Strip again. I don't need to stay in a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip again. Paparacy/ShutterstockStaying on the Strip wasn't all it's cracked up to be.Gambling was fun, but I didn't like how everything along the main drag was so spread out and not as walkable as I'd hoped.It was also hard to ignore the constant cigarette smells, overpriced yet underwhelming food options, and general overwhelming nature of the Strip.Being spoiled by the robust public transportation back home, it was a bummer to see how hard it was to navigate Vegas.If I were to return, I'd definitely book an Airbnb, rent a car, and explore more outside of the city center.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 30th, 2023Related News

I was raised in Virginia but didn"t appreciate it until I left. Here"s what I miss most about my home state.

I was born and raised in Virginia but I didn't appreciate its airport access, history, and outdoor activities until I moved away as an adult. I grew up in Virginia and I miss a lot of things about living there. Courtesy of Hayley HutsonI was born and raised in Virginia but I didn't appreciate it enough until I left at 22.Virginia has great outdoor spaces, wineries, and historical sights. I miss living so close to three major airports and Washington, DC. I grew up in Northern Virginia, then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, when I was 22.Now that I've lived out of state for six years, I realize how lucky I was to have grown up in such a beautiful and well-rounded area.These are a few of the things I miss most about living in Virginia.Many historical sights were easy to accessAs a kid, I never understood the significance of living down the road from the site of the first major battle of the Civil War.I had picnics at Manassas National Battlefield Park, visited world-famous sights like Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg on school field trips, and attended prom at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.Now that I'm older, I have a much deeper understanding of how special it was to have been exposed to so much of our nation's history from such a young age.Without knowing it at the time, growing up in Virginia instilled an appreciation for history that I carry with me today.I was less than an hour's drive away from Washington, DCThere's a special place in my heart for Washington, DC.Marc Guitard/Getty ImagesAs a travel writer, I've been to cities all over the world. Even with all the places I've been, DC is still my favorite city.I'm sure it has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up roughly 45 minutes from our nation's capital and visited often, but it's a truly remarkable place that I believe everyone should take the time to explore.It's a melting pot with an unreal dining scene, epic nightlife, world-class performances, and over 70 museums — many of which offer free entry to the public.Virginia boasts a diverse array of scenic beautyOne of the things I love most about visiting my home state is admiring the breathtaking scenery along Interstate 81.Growing up, I took for granted how amazing it was to see mountains all around me. The terrain is relatively flat here in Charlotte, so it's definitely not the same.Virginia has rivers, trails, and hills.Malachi Jacobs/ShutterstockVirginia has the awe-inspiring Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Trail for hikes, scenic drives, and cozy getaways.It also has dazzling waterfronts and Virginia Beach, which is perfect for a summer vacation.The state has endless opportunities for outdoor adventureIf you're the outdoorsy type, Virginia has just about everything you could hope for.I was always able to find mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing, and surfing nearby. I long for the days of hiking with friends after school because the nearest mountain was right down the street.I fondly remember childhood weekends spent hiking the Great Falls Loop or cruising down Skyline Drive to explore Shenandoah National Park with my family.Virginia's wine country is incredibleGrowing up in Northern Virginia, I thought it was standard to have at least a dozen wineries within a half-hour's drive — and for each of them to come with magical views.When I moved to Charlotte, I quickly learned that this was not the case.Loudoun County is filled with gorgeous spots.Brian Balik/ShutterstockLoudoun County alone has over 50 wineries that sit atop high slopes with picturesque rolling hills as backdrops.From Middleburg gems like Chrysalis Vineyards to Leesburg's show-stopping Stone Tower Winery, you'll always find a stunning spot to enjoy a glass of chardonnay in Virginia.Travel is a breeze with multiple airports in the areaEven before I traveled for a living, I always loved getting out of Virginia to see what else was out there.Many people have to drive hours to get to the nearest international airport, but I lived within driving distance of three major ones.This made it easy for me to travel when I was living in Virginia but it's also made it incredibly easy for me to fly home when I'm missing the beautiful state I was lucky enough to grow up in.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 30th, 2023Related News

Is it Wise to Retain Host Hotels (HST) Stock in Your Portfolio?

Strong Sunbelt exposure and capital-recycling efforts are likely to support Host Hotels (HST). However, constrained business transient and group travel demand and high interest rates are concerning. Host Hotels & Resorts HST is well-poised to benefit from its portfolio of luxury and upper-upscale properties across lucrative markets. The recovery in group and business transient demand from the pandemic lows continues to benefit the company. Its capital-recycling efforts and healthy balance sheet support its growth endeavors. However, a cautious approach by many businesses may lead to a slower-than-anticipated recovery in business transient and group travel demand. Also, elevated interest rates pose a concern.What’s Aiding it?Host Hotels enjoys a portfolio of luxury and upper-scale hotels in the top 20 U.S. markets, with a strong presence in the attractive Sunbelt region. These properties are strategically located in central business districts of major cities with close proximity to airports and resort/conference destinations. This is likely to drive the demand for the company’s properties in the upcoming period.The lodging industry is presently witnessing a recovery from its low during the health crisis. As a result, the improvement in group and business transient demand has aided occupancy and RevPAR growth in recent quarters. From the beginning of 2023 through Sep 30, comparable hotel RevPAR increased 10.4% from the 2022 levels. For 2023, management expects comparable hotel RevPAR growth to be between 7.25% and 8.75%. We expect the metric to exhibit year-over-year growth of 7.8% this year.This lodging real estate investment trust (REIT) has been undertaking strategic capital allocations to enhance the quality of its portfolio, where it has a greater scale and competitive advantage. It has incurred $472 million of capital expenditure from the beginning of 2023 through Sep 30.The company reached an agreement with Hyatt to complete transformational reinvestment capital projects at six properties in its portfolio, intended to position the targeted hotels to compete better in their respective markets and improve long-term performance. The total investment is expected to be nearly $500-$600 million, of which Host Hotels plans to invest nearly $125-$200 million per year over the next three to four years on this program. For the current year, management expects to incur a total capital expenditure of $615-$695 million.Host Hotels’ capital-recycling efforts are encouraging. Over the years, HST has disposed of its non-strategic assets that have lower growth potential or properties with significant capital expenditures and redeployed the proceeds for investments in better-yielding assets. Such initiatives highlight its prudent capital-management practices and preserve balance sheet growth.Per the company’s November 2023 Investor Presentation, from 2021 through the end of the third quarter of 2023, its total dispositions amounted to approximately $1.53 billion, which is 17.5 times the EBITDA multiple. Its acquisitions were around $1.87 billion, which is 13.1 times the EBITDA multiple, during this period. Our estimate suggests a year-over-year increase of 10.5% in EBITDA in the current year.HST maintains a healthy balance sheet with no material debt maturities until April 2024. As of Sep 30, 2023, the company had $2.6 billion in total available liquidity. Moreover, it is the only company with an investment-grade rating among lodging REITs. It enjoys ratings of Baa3 from Moody’s and BBB- from both Fitch and S&P Global, providing access to the debt market at favorable rates. This financial flexibility will aid capital deployment for long-term growth opportunities and facilitate redevelopment activities.Over the past six months, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 5.1% compared with the industry's upside of 1.2%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Hurting it?The recovery in transient and group business travel demand, although having picked up the pace since the start of the pandemic, is likely to be tepid in the near term due to a delayed return to the office and limited face-to-face conferences. In the third quarter of 2023, the company noted that transient demand recovered more slowly in certain markets, particularly in San Francisco and Seattle, while room rates at resort hotels moderated. Moreover, given the present macroeconomic uncertainty, management expects its operations in specific markets to stay uneven in the near term.Host Hotels faces competition from other owners and investors in upper upscale and luxury full-service hotels. Also, the growth of Internet reservation channels is likely to fuel competition, as more people are booking hotel rooms through the online mode. This may adversely impact the company's revenues and profitability. Further, the spike in online short-term rentals has elevated supply in the lodging industry, leading to increased competition in some markets.Additionally, a high interest rate environment may lead to greater borrowing costs for the company, hampering its ability to acquire or develop real estate. For 2023, We expect a year-over-year increase of 21.1% in its interest expenses. Further, due to high interest rates, its dividend payout may seem less attractive than the yields on fixed-income and money market accounts.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks from the REIT sector are EastGroup Properties EGP, Stag Industrial STAG and Innovative Industrial Properties IIPR, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for EastGroup Properties’ 2023 FFO per share has moved marginally upward in the past month to $7.71.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Stag Industrial’s ongoing year’s FFO per share has been raised 1.3% upward over the past month to $2.28.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Innovative Industrial’s current-year FFO per share has moved 2.3% northward over the past month to $9.08.Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs. Only $1 to See All Zacks' Buys and Sells We're not kidding. Several years ago, we shocked our members by offering them 30-day access to all our picks for the total sum of only $1. No obligation to spend another cent. Thousands have taken advantage of this opportunity. Thousands did not - they thought there must be a catch. Yes, we do have a reason. We want you to get acquainted with our portfolio services likeSurprise Trader, Stocks Under $10, Technology Innovators,and more. They've already closed 162 positions with double- and triple-digit gains in 2023 alone.See Stocks Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST): Free Stock Analysis Report Stag Industrial, Inc. (STAG): Free Stock Analysis Report EastGroup Properties, Inc. (EGP): Free Stock Analysis Report Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIPR): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 30th, 2023Related News

Satellite photos show how the US Air Force is reclaiming a WWII-era airfield from the jungle to prepare to dodge Chinese missiles

The US Air Force has a plan to spread out to new bases to avoid incoming attacks. Now it's working hard to make them a "meaningful" option. A US Air Force C-130J takes off from Tinian in February 2018.US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail The US Air Force is developing more dispersed bases to counter the threat posed by China's missiles. That effort includes construction at established facilities and the reclamation of disused outposts. Satellite photos show how far work has come on Tinian, a remote but strategically located Pacific island. The US Air Force has been scouring the Pacific for more airfields, seeking alternatives to the handful of sprawling bases in the region that it has built up and relied on for decades.The search is part of an effort to disperse US forces to counter the growing reach of the Chinese military, which has developed long-range missiles that could strike the US's main operating bases hard at the beginning of a war.US troops have ventured to remote corners of the Pacific and to bases rarely used since World War II — including the island of Tinian, where they are reclaiming an airfield that last saw major use by B-29 bombers in 1944 and 1945.Tinian International Airport in August 2021.SkyFiTinian "has one airfield that's the international airfield, and there's another airfield, which was the largest B-29 base during World War II. It is largely overgrown by the jungle, but the runways and the taxiways are still underneath," Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of US Pacific Air Forces, said at an Air and Space Forces Association conference in September.The Allies captured Tinian from the Japanese in August 1944, bringing US bombers within 1,500 miles of Japan. US engineers quickly began building what became the biggest and busiest air base of the war. US planes were eventually flying from six 8,500-foot runways at West Field and North Field, the latter of which launched the B-29s that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.West Field is now the site of Tinian International Airport and has one operating runway, while North Field is no longer in use. The island is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory.Tinian International Airport in November 2023.SkyFiUS military exercises, especially for austere and expeditionary operations, have continued on Tinian, but the airport is small and of limited use to modern aircraft — Marines set up mobile arresting gear to land F/A-18D jets there during an exercise in 2012.In 2016, the Air Force selected the airport to host a "divert airfield" to support its training and ensure its aircraft could meet mission requirements if access to other airfields in the region was "limited or denied." Officials broke ground there in February 2022.The refurbished runway, just north of the airport's main runway, is meant to support agile combat employment, or ACE, a concept for dispersed operations that envisions aircraft and airmen deploying from main "hub" bases to less developed "spoke" bases.ACE is part of Air Force operations around the world, but it was developed with the Pacific in mind.The US Air Force wants a "divert airfield" on Tinian to use if access to other bases in the Western Pacific is limited or denied.Google Maps"We're going to be clearing out the jungle" on that airfield, Wilsbach said in September. "We're going to be resurfacing some of the surfaces there so that we will have a very large and very functional agile combat employment base — an additional base to be able to operate from — and we have several other projects like that around the region that we'll be getting after."Documents released in March as part of the Air Force's 2024 budget request outline several projects at Tinian, asking for $78 million for them during that fiscal year.An airfield development project includes "demolition of World War II-era airfield pavements," clearing and leveling surfaces, and installing drainage, utilities, and secure fencing. A fuel pipeline project involves installing storage tanks, pipes, and safety equipment to allow ships to unload fuel for transport to the airfield by pipeline and truck.A mobile arresting gear catches an FA-18D at Tinian's West Field in May 2012.US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. J. Gage KarwickA parking apron project involves paving aircraft parking and taxiways, the latter of which have to meet the Pentagon's "standards for ground control operations for large frame aircraft," the documents say. The apron will be big enough for 12 KC-135 and KC-46 tanker aircraft and related fueling equipment."The airfield, roadway, port, and pipeline improvements will provide vital strategic, operational, and exercise capabilities for the US forces. The expanded divert airfield on Tinian will offer a valuable additional operating location for various peacetime activities, including responses to natural disasters in the region," Capt. Gerald Peden, spokesman for Pacific Air Forces, said in response to questions about the work at Tinian."Air Force engineers are scheduled to remove the vegetation that have penetrated through the cracks and joints of the old pavement surfaces," Peden added. "This vegetation consists mostly of grass, bushes, and small trees [and] will be removed manually and/or using heavy equipment. This is the first step in preparing the airfield for the actual repair work."Making ACE 'meaningful'Japanese, Australian, and US C-130s over Tinian's North Field in February 2015.US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Jason RobertsonTinian is isolated, but the investment isn't. Construction there "is part of a larger effort to expand facilities and general basing options in the Pacific," including on Guam, a nearby US territory that hosts major military facilities, Peden said.The work on Guam includes upgrades to the taxiway and parking areas at Northwest Field, which closed in 1949 but has remained in limited use. There has been more activity at Northwest Field as the focus on ACE has increased, and Peden said it "is now capable of supporting various aircraft operations."The budget documents also list projects at allies' airfields. Money is allotted for work at Tindal air base — including $93 million to build a parking apron for six B-52 bombers — and Darwin air base, both of which are in Australia's Northern Territory.The documents also request $35 million for a new parking apron for US military aircraft at Cesar Basa air base in the Philippines, one of several bases where Manila has granted the US military expanded access.US Air Force engineers conduct a rapid-airfield-repair drill at Guam's Northwest Field in October 2019.US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Michael S. MurphySpeaking to reporters before the budget documents were released, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, the service's top civilian official, said the Air Force was "generally trying to expand the target set" and "to make the idea of agile combat employment meaningful" by having "places where we can go that are ready for us."The agreement to increase access to Philippine bases, which after long-delayed implementation now applies to nine facilities, "was something of a coup," Kendall said at an event this month, adding that the Pentagon was talking to Japan "about being able to operate off of some of their military bases as well as our own so we have more flexibility."US partners elsewhere in the Pacific "offer other opportunities, but they are going to require investment," Kendall said, echoing Wilsbach and other officials who stress that continued funding is needed to establish new facilities, deploy pre-positioned equipment, and conduct effective ACE exercises.Australian and Japanese forces during an exercise on Tinian in February 2019.Master Sgt. JT May III"Those are some of the resources that I argue for when I go back to headquarters," Wilsbach said in September, adding that in recent budgets, "I feel like I'm getting the resources I need, especially on construction.""The one area where I can handle a lot more resources is the purchasing of the pre-positioning of equipment — of parts, fuel, water, food," Wilsbach said. "We're putting together packages that we're pre-positioning in theater, and so I can handle a significant amount [of] more resources to purchase that stuff and then get it out into the region."Simply spreading out may not be enough to sustain operations in a war. Experts say more dispersed bases would put additional strain on a logistical network that adversaries are sure to attack and would require installing a mix of active defenses to shoot down incoming missiles and passive defenses such as hardened shelters and camouflage.The Air Force is working with the rest of the military to address those challenges, Thomas Lawhead, acting deputy chief of staff for Air Force Futures, said at an event this month.A US Air Force F-35A takes off from Tinian International Airport in February 2022.US Air Force/Senior Airman Joseph P. LeVeilleThe Air Force has used recent budgets to "put a good amount of money" into pre-positioning equipment and is working with the Army, which has traditionally been responsible for air defense, on "an integrated air- and missile-defense mix study" in addition to a study of Guam's air- and missile-defense needs, Lawhead said.In a major war, ACE, base defense, and logistics "all need to be orchestrated and commanded-and-controlled together" and "are what's going to enable us to actually generate" flight operations in such a conflict, Lawhead said, adding that the service will continue to refine ACE through exercises by Pacific Air Forces and other commands.China and North Korea have made clear that they could target Guam and islands nearby, which only adds to the urgency of the Air Force's preparations to use and defend its outposts there."Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are strategic locations that require agility to defend if we find ourselves in a contested and degraded environment," Peden said. "Due to operational security, we can't go into details on the exact locations, but our intent is to further resource this region."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 30th, 2023Related News

I"m a millennial who left Florida. Between the unbearable heat and the polarizing political climate, "everything was making me think I should jump out of this."

South Florida native Harmony Boyd left the state in 2022 and isn't looking back. In Massachusetts, Boyd found acceptance and a sense of history. Lifelong Floridian Harmony Boyd moved away from the Sunshine State to a suburb of Boston in 2022.Courtesy of Harmony Boyd.Harmony Boyd, 28, moved from Plantation, Florida, to a suburb of Boston in September 2022.Boyd, who is trans, didn't feel welcome: "It's not the same Florida that I grew up in. It's a lot darker."Massachusetts offered Boyd "a deep history and sense of place."This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Harmony Boyd, 28, a lifelong Floridian who moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, in 2022. Boyd felt Florida's political — and literal — climate became too difficult to withstand. The conversation was edited for length and clarity.I'm from Plantation, which is a medium-sized city just outside of Fort Lauderdale. All of my family live in Florida, apart from a few people, and it's been my home for more than a quarter of a century.During the pandemic, I moved back in with my parents and I lived there for about a year.In 2022, I went to see my best friend, who lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Even on the plane ride in, I thought, "This is a place where I would enjoy living."Basically from the moment I touched down, I wanted to move here. I had not even been thinking about moving until the plane touched down at the airport. I thought, "This looks a lot better — I should move here."I came for a week, and I spent the whole time transferring my Starbucks job up there.Florida's climate situation made me want to moveThe climate — both literally and metaphorically — in Florida was turning decidedly in a direction that I felt deeply unsettled by. I do not think that there is a viable long-term future for anybody living in Florida right now.It never feels like there's a break from the oppressive heat every single day. You just don't have those nice days where it's not too bad nearly as often as you used to. And it was tolling.The environment in Florida is on a crash course with oblivion. The aquifers are running out. There are massive algae blooms happening along the coast every year. The waterways are choking with pollution from the Everglades agricultural areas, and the locks and dams system around the biggest freshwater lake in the southeast and are not sufficient.If a big storm ever hits, that'll cause catastrophic destruction — in an era where large storms are more and more likely.I think it's going to be a humanitarian disaster in about 30 years, so I don't want to be a part of that. I'd like to live somewhere else.I felt like I needed to leave Florida before it was too lateEspecially as I'd come out as trans, I feel like I could see that there was a future of limiting the bathroom laws, and the laws that make it harder for me to get healthcare that I need.It feels like, over time, the political and social climate of America is allowing ugly things — that were always there but not expressed — to be easier for people to express. It feels like I see the same trucks that I used to, but now sometimes those trucks are flying Nazi and Trump flags. That makes me think, "Oh, that's that same dude with the jacked-up Palatka Lean truck, but now he's just a little more open about saying what he thinks."Boyd taking a selfie.Courtesy of Harmony Boyd.Both my parents are schoolteachers, so the "Don't Say Gay" bill affected me. It made me feel like I could be the reason that my parents get fired or disciplined or lose their pensions if they talked about me in school, or if the wrong person heard it in the wrong context.Everything was making me think I should jump out of this before it is too late for me to leave.I really liked the established history of Massachusetts. Florida felt too ephemeral.I liked that Chelsea is old. The big reason I moved was because it's the oldest continually inhabited city in North America and Boston is not quite far behind. Boston is also ancient for North America, and Chelsea has a lot of character.I rent a room and pay $1,111 a month, and that's for all the bills and the rent. It's extremely cheap for this area.That was one of the reasons I was able to move up here so quickly. I had no savings when I moved. I came up with just the rent for the first month. Then I've been working from there and slowly, slowly building up my savings.Boyd enjoying the views of a Massachusetts neighborhood.Courtesy of Harmony Boyd.Chelsea has a deep history and sense of place. Everything in Florida has basically only been built since the '50s, so nothing really feels settled or old at all — it feels very recent and ephemeral, or transient.Nothing feels like it was built with real permanence to it. It all feels cheap.It's not the same Florida that I grew up in. It's a lot darker. And maybe it's just because when I was a kid, I didn't see it, but it doesn't feel like the same place anymore.The things I miss in Florida are a lot of stuff that are not really there anymore. Even the Swap Shop (a flea market in Lauderhill, Florida) is kind of a ghost of its former self.I miss the ideas of a lot of places, but I don't actually have a strong desire to return to them in their present form, because they're not as they used to be.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 30th, 2023Related News

20 Best Luggage Brands Heading Into 2024

In this article, we are going to present the 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024. If you’d like to skip our discussion, you can see the 5 Best Luggage Brands Heading Into 2024. There are conflicting reports about the size of the global luggage market. According to P&S Market Research the global luggage market […] In this article, we are going to present the 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024. If you’d like to skip our discussion, you can see the 5 Best Luggage Brands Heading Into 2024. There are conflicting reports about the size of the global luggage market. According to P&S Market Research the global luggage market was $38.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a 7.5% annual rate through 2030. According to Mordor Intelligence the global luggage market was valued at $165.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 7.1% over the next 5 years. Mordor believes that consumers are currently leaning towards luxury brands and some of the major players in this industry are LVMH, Kering, Chanel Limited, Hermes International SA, and Tapestry (NYSE:TPR). Out of these companies Tapestry Inc. (TPR) looks like an interesting stock to invest in. Tapestry shares were trading at $40 five years ago which means, the stock’s total return over the last 5 years is close to zero after adjusting for dividend payments. That’s mainly because of the significant contraction in its price-earnings multiple. Tapestry Inc (TPR) shares currently trade at less than 8 times its trailing earnings and offer a dividend yield of 4.5%.  Selecting the appropriate suitcase for your holiday can significantly reduce the time and inconvenience associated with packing, navigating the airport, and unpacking at your destination. Whether you opt for lightweight suitcases or complete luggage sets, there is a wide array of choices available when it comes to investing in top-notch luggage. The evolution of suitcases has been notable since their introduction to the market in the 19th century, coinciding with the rise of mass tourism. The prospect of purchasing luggage can be both intimidating and enjoyable. Along the way, you might encounter the best and worst luggage brands. Given the different variations of sizes, types, and brands available, selecting the right suitcases can be challenging. Opting for luggage or suitcase sets provides a practical solution to this dilemma, offering a range of options tailored to diverse travel styles and plans. Additionally, these sets often feature a nesting design, serving as a valuable space-saving bonus. When choosing a luggage, most people are torn between a 4-wheel or a 2-wheel option. Each type comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Four-wheeled cases offer ease of movement in any direction. Another perk is the ability to stack additional bags on top. They also exhibit better balance, reducing the likelihood of toppling over. However, it’s worth noting that the extra wheels can occupy more space within the case. If traversing rocky terrain or cobblestones, 4-wheel versions may not be as maneuverable as their 2-wheel counterparts. Once you’ve exited the airport, and you’re more likely to be pulling your case, the 2-wheel rollers are better suited for this task. Another factor to take into account is the outer shell, specifically whether you prefer a soft or hard one. Soft cases provide more flexibility, allowing for a less rigid packing approach. The materials used for soft cases are typically synthetic and durable, making them easy to clean. While soft side cases are lighter than their hard case counterparts, they may be more susceptible to rips and tears. On the other hand, hard cases offer enhanced protection for delicate items and provide a safeguard against inclement weather. If you’ve ever experienced the inconvenience of having your luggage exposed to wet and windy conditions on the tarmac, you’ll appreciate the significant advantage of hard cases in such scenarios. Dealing with damp belongings at the beginning of a vacation is a situation most would prefer to avoid. In addition to checking the luggage’s storage capacity, it’s crucial to consider the inclusion of extra features such as built-in luggage tags, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, and internal compartments with zippers. However, the assessment shouldn’t stop there. Factors like price and quality should be part of the top considerations. When choosing a piece of luggage, the saying “you get what you pay for” often holds true, with price correlating directly to the product’s quality and durability. Prioritize durability and scratch resistance, not only in external materials but also in handles and wheel mechanisms. Pay attention to the resilience of zippers and fastenings, as these components typically endure the most wear and tear. Meanwhile, if your travel plans involve less frequent trips and fewer airport visits, you might find that you can compromise on the durability of your luggage. However, for those with more regular and diverse travel itineraries, investing in sturdy, well-crafted luggage becomes an important and wise choice. alphaspirit/ Our Methodology To compile our list of the top 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024, we conducted comprehensive research, gathering data from a variety of credible sources. We assigned points to each brand based on references in these sources, encompassing reviews that touched upon aspects like pricing, appearance, and quality. Starting with an initial pool of over 30 brands, our systematic approach enabled us to distill the selection to the top 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024. Our approach guarantees that the brands included in this list have substantial customer reviews, providing valuable insights for individuals looking to invest in luggage that enhances their travel experience. So, without further ado, let us now discuss our list of the 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024 internationally. 20 Best Luggage Brands Heading into 2024 20. FPM Milano FPM Milano is among our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024. Established in Italy in 1946, FPM stands as a distinguished leather goods and luggage brand, renowned for its exceptional interpretation of Italian prowess in beauty and craftsmanship excellence. Continuing to produce its products in Italy, FPM Milano injects a touch of La Dolce Vita into their inherently functional line of polycarbonate suitcases. Notably, the Bank model, inspired by vintage trunks, features a leather lining on the inside, adding an extra layer of luxury to the design. 19. Globe-Trotter Ranking 19th in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024 is Globe-Trotter. Exemplifying vintage British luxury, Globe-Trotter’s leather cases, inspired by old-school aesthetics, embody a harmonious blend of functionality and meticulous craftsmanship. Handmade in Hertfordshire, these luggage are crafted from materials reminiscent of 20th-century vintage trunks, establishing them as sought-after collaborators with esteemed brands such as Gucci, Berluti, and many more. 18. Rockland Melbourne  Rockland Melbourne ranks 18th in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024. The Rockland’s Rockland Melbourne 20 is an affordable hard-sided spinner featuring a 360-degree rotation capability. With its clamshell design, it provides a straightforward, open layout. Equipped with four double-wheel spinners and a telescoping handle, the suitcase ensures relatively smooth maneuvering whether you’re rushing to catch a flight or checking in at a hotel. 17. Monos Taking the 17th spot in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024 is Monos. Monos adheres to a “less is more” design philosophy, emphasizing simplicity and timelessness to steer clear of fleeting trends. The brand prioritizes high quality, ensuring that its bags withstand the test of time. The majority of their hardside bags are crafted entirely from polycarbonate, while some incorporate a combination of polycarbonate and aluminum for enhanced durability. Additionally, Monos integrates practical packing features, such as wide compression straps, to facilitate efficient use of space within the case. 16. Calpak While style is undeniably crucial for luggage, considering it as an accessory, one shouldn’t compromise on quality and functionality. Calpak strikes a balance by offering well-crafted cases with distinctive designs. Although their collection may be more curated compared to some larger brands, Calpak provides a diverse selection of materials, including sleek hardside polycarbonate, printed ABS/polycarbonate blends, and durable ripstop polyester. 15. Amazon Basics Securing the 15th spot in our list of the 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024 is Amazon Basics. Finding quality luggage priced under $100 can be challenging, but Amazon’s luggage options rise to the occasion. With a variety of softside and hardside styles, as well as garment bags and duffels, there’s a diverse selection to suit different preferences. Amazon emphasizes extensive testing to ensure durability, and while it may not rank as the absolute best in terms of quality, the unbeatable price makes it a compelling choice. Of course, Amazon Basics is also among the 20 best luggage brands heading into 2024 in Amazon. 14. Eagle Creek Eagle Creek ranks 14th in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024. Whether you’re embarking on international backpacking adventures or exploring a national park, Eagle Creek provides the ideal combination of convenience and durability in a bag. Certain options come equipped with multiple compartments, facilitating organization or allowing you to separate items like shoes and dirty laundry. Additionally, some bags feature backpack straps, offering a hands-free option when needed. 13. Delsey Paris Delsey Paris is also included in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024. Delsey’s Chatelet from Delsey Paris, distinguished by faux leather accents and rounded edges, presents a compelling option. Crafted from polycarbonate, this suitcase combines durability with a lightweight design and encompasses numerous impressive features. These include multidirectional double-spinner wheels, a USB port for electronic charging, a recessed TSA-approved lock, and an ergonomic handle. Additionally, the suitcase is equipped with practical accessories like laundry and shoe bags, along with mesh-zippered pockets. 12. Osprey Osprey, a well-regarded brand for backpacks, particularly catering to women, offers travel backpacks meticulously designed to suit the female form. Available in feminine colors such as teal and purple, these backpacks are easily recognizable on the baggage carousel. Additionally, Osprey’s convertible luggage proves convenient for seamless transitions between traditional luggage and backpack use, especially in challenging terrains. 11. L.L.Bean Whether you’re planning an extended trip or simply have a substantial amount to pack, L.L.Bean’s duffels offer ample space to accommodate all your necessities. Available in options with or without wheels and varying sizes, the extra-large bag stands out for its remarkable durability, making it a preferred choice for family vacations. The duffel’s versatile shape allows for convenient storage under your bed, making it an ideal choice for college students or individuals with limited storage space. Crafted from robust, water-resistant nylon fabric, it ensures longevity regardless of the destinations you explore. 10. Tumi Ranking 10th in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024 is Tumi. Originating in New Jersey, TUMI stands as one of the most reputable and recognized luggage brands. Renowned for their commitment to high quality, they provide a diverse range of styles crafted from premium materials such as ballistic nylon, leather, and aluminum. The expandable hardside suitcase offered by TUMI features four spinner wheels, a TSA lock, and a shell made from recycled polycarbonate, ensuring a lightweight and flexible design without compromising on durability. 9. Travelpro Specializing in soft case bags, Travelpro, founded by a former pilot credited with inventing the roll-on bag, is recognized for its expertise. Travelpro luggage sets consistently receive high praise in reviews, particularly for their durability and weight, solidifying their status among the top travel luggage brands in 2024. The Platinum Elite Hardside Luggage from Travelpro adheres to check-in size restrictions, boasts self-aligning magnetic spinner wheels, and incorporates an ultra-strong hard shell crafted from 100% polycarbonate with aluminum corner guards. Moreover, Travelrpo luggage can be recognized as one of the best lightweight luggage for international travel. 8. Antler Antler ranks 8th in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024. With a legacy as a British heritage brand, Antler has been crafting elegant, hand-finished luggage long before the emergence of contemporary quirky start-ups. Despite the competition, Antler maintains its lead in innovation and eco-credentials. The brand has recently introduced its inaugural collection of bags, crafted entirely from recycled materials, offering a comprehensive range that includes everything from wash bags to check-in size suitcases. 7. July Crafted from elegant German polycarbonate with aluminum handles, July, an Australian brand, delivers suitcases that encompass a wide range of features at an attractive price point. These suitcases are not only robust and sturdy but also lightweight, emitting a whisper-quiet operation. Despite their expansive storage capacity, they manage to weigh only a few kilos, making them a versatile and practical choice. 6. Rimowa Securing the 6th spot in our list of the best luggage brands heading into 2024 is Rimowa. Rimowa has consistently been a pioneer in luggage materials, introducing the first polycarbonate suitcase in 2000. Specializing exclusively in hardside luggage, Rimowa offers various collections, catering to different needs. These collections span from the Essential Lite, recognized for being the lightest and most affordable, to the Original, constructed from durable aluminum and featuring intelligent packing compartments.   Click to continue reading and see 5 Best Luggage Brands Heading into 2024. Suggested articles: 10 Stocks Hedge Funds Are Talking About 25 Most Racist States in America Ranked by Hate Crimes 25 Richest Criminals of All Time Disclosure: None. 20 Best Luggage Brands Heading into 2024 is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyNov 30th, 2023Related News

Russia Takes Control Of Iraq"s Biggest Oil Discovery For 20 Years

Russia Takes Control Of Iraq's Biggest Oil Discovery For 20 Years By Simon Watkins of Preliminary estimates suggested that Iraq’s Eridu oil field holds between 7-10 billion barrels of reserves. Senior Russian oil industry sources spoken to exclusively by last week said the true figure may well be 50 percent more than the higher figure of that band. In either event, the Eridu field - part of Iraq’s Block 10 exploration and development region – is the biggest oil find in Iraq in the last 20 years, and Russia wants to control all of it, alongside its chief geopolitical ally, China. This is in line with Moscow and Beijing’s objective of keeping the West out of energy deals in Iraq to keep Baghdad closer to the new Iran-Saudi axis and to “end [the] Western hegemony in the Middle East [that] will become the decisive chapter in the West’s final demise,” as exclusively related to The approval last week by Iraq’s Oil Ministry for Inpex – the major oil company of key U.S. ally Japan – to sell its 40 percent stake in the Block 10 region that contains the huge Eridu discovery leaves the way clear for Lukoil to take total control of the entire oil-rich area. Lukoil had held a 60 percent stake in the entirety of Block 10, with the remainder held by the Japanese firm. However, from March it has been looking for ways to push Inpex out of the Block, and with it the last remnants of Western influence in the area. March saw Iraq’s state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC) formally approve the development of Block 10’s reserves, including for the whole Eridu field. Block 10 lies in the southeast of Iraq, approximately 120 km west of the key oil export route from Basra, and just south of the huge oil fields in and around Nassirya. The contract for Block 10 awarded to Lukoil and Inpex back in 2012 in Iraq’s fourth licensing round gives a relatively high remuneration per barrel rate of US$5.99, although at that point the vast Eridu field had not been discovered. In 2021, after some preliminary testing, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said it expected peak production of at minimum 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Eridu by, at that point, 2027. The senior Russian oil industry sources exclusively spoken to by last week, believe peak production could run at least 100,000 bpd higher than the previous figure, contingent on whether the new reserves estimates are correct, although given delays in development since 2021, the date at which that will be achieved is now toward the end of 2029. Back in 2021 – at least before the U.S. formally withdrew from Iraq by ending its ‘combat mission’ there at the end of December – it was clear that Washington knew what Russia and China were up to long term in the country, and how the U.S. was being manipulated by Iraq. In a moment of insight, the then-U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Dana Stroul, said: “It’s […] clear that certain countries and partners would want to hedge and test what more they might be able to get from the United States by testing the waters of deeper co-operation with the Chinese or the Russians, particularly in the security and military space.” This view could equally have been aimed, not just at Iraq, but also at most other countries in the Middle East at that time - most notably Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. That said, this profound insight had no effect on Washington at that point, and posed no impediment at all to either Russia or China’s continued drive to entirely push the U.S. out of the Middle East, as analysed in depth in in my new book on the new global oil market order. For Iraq, the endgame has been apparent from Russia’s effective takeover of the oil and gas industry of the country’s troublesome semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in the north. This occurred in the chaos that followed the brutal put-down of the region after 93 percent of its inhabitants voted for full independence from Iraq in September 2017. Russian control over Iraqi Kurdistan was secured via the state’s corporate proxy, Rosneft, through three means, as also analysed in full in my new book. Subsequent to this, Russia has manipulated the region into such a toxic standoff with the central Iraq government in Baghdad that the final stage of the plan to effectively incorporate the Iraqi Kurdistan region into the rest of Iraq, is now proceeding at full throttle. Given this, Russia and China are now moving to secure their dominance over the rest of Iraq, with the removal of Inpex from the vast Eridu field being only the latest example of their broader strategy at work. Multiple field exploration and development deals, plus countless lower-profile ‘contract-only’ agreements, with Russian and Chinese firms allow the two countries plenty of scope to leverage these out into a harder geopolitical presence across the country, including into the very fabric of its key infrastructure. At a recent Iraq Cabinet meeting, it was agreed that the country should now give its full support to rolling out all aspects of the wide-ranging ‘Iraq-China Framework Agreement’ signed in December 2021, but agreed in principle more than a year before that. This agreement is very similar in scope and scale to the all-encompassing ‘Iran-China 25-Year Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement’, as first revealed anywhere in the world in my 3 September 2019 article on the subject and fully examined in my new book. A key part of both deals is that China has first refusal on all oil, gas, and petrochemicals projects that come up in Iraq for the duration of the deal, and that it is given at least a 30 percent discount on all oil, gas, and petrochemicals it buys. Another key part of the Iraq-China Framework Agreement is that Beijing is allowed to build factories across the country, with a corollary build-out of supportive infrastructure. This includes - importantly for its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ – railway links, all overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies on the ground in Iraq. The railway infrastructure in Iraq will be completed out after the network in Iran has been finished, and this began in earnest in late 2020 with the contract to electrify the main 900-kilometre railway connecting Tehran to the north-eastern city of Mashhad. As an adjunct to this, plans were put in place to establish a Tehran-Qom-Isfahan high-speed train line and to extend this upgraded network up to the north-west through Tabriz. Tabriz - home to several key sites relating to oil, gas, and petrochemicals, and the starting point for the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline – is to be a pivot point of the 2,300-kilometre New Silk Road that links Urumqi (the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province) to Tehran, and will connect Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, before it then runs into Europe, via Turkey.  These plans, in turn, link into corollary plans by Russia and China to turn the entire southeast region of Iraq - that culminates with the major oil export hub of Basra - into a region criss-crossed by Russian- and Chinese-controlled oil and gas fields and transportation hubs, as also analysed in full in my new book. One such cornerstone deal was Baghdad’s approval of nearly IQD1 trillion (US$700 million) for infrastructure projects in the city of Al-Zubair just to the south of Basra. The city’s Governor at the time the deal was struck, Abbas Al-Saadi, said China’s heavy involvement in the projects was part of the broad-based ‘oil-for-reconstruction and investment’ agreement – part of the general ‘oil-for-projects’ idea signed by Baghdad and Beijing in September 2019. The Al-Zubair announcement came shortly after the awarding by Baghdad of another major contract to another Chinese company to build a civilian airport to replace the military base in the capital of the southern oil rich Dhi Qar governorate. The Dhi Qar region includes two of Iraq’s potentially biggest oil fields – Gharraf and Nassiriya – and China has said it intends to complete the airport by 2024. This region is also to the immediate north of the huge Eridu oil field and to the northwest of Basra. The airport project will include the construction of multiple cargo buildings and roads linking the airport to the city’s town centre and separately to other key oil areas in southern Iraq. This, in turn, followed yet another deal that will involve Chinese companies building out Al-Sadr City, located near Baghdad, at a cost of between US$7-8 billion, also within the framework of the 2019 ‘oil-for-reconstruction and investment’ agreement. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/29/2023 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 29th, 2023Related News

This Central Valley airport is ‘least reliable’ in the nation, new study says. Here’s why

This Central Valley airport is ‘least reliable’ in the nation, new study says. Here’s why.....»»

Category: topSource: yahooNov 29th, 2023Related News

Low-cost carrier Breeze Airways adds new California route

Low-cost air carrier Breeze Airways announced Wednesday it will be adding nonstop flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to an destination that currently isn’t being served from the airport......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 29th, 2023Related News

I saved $200 on flights by traveling on Christmas Eve last year. I"d do it again in a heartbeat.

After flying from Boston to Paris last Christmas Eve, a Business Insider reporter says she'd do it again to save money and avoid crowded airports. I flew from Boston to Paris on Christmas Eve and was met with shorter security lines and a less stressful travel experience.Mikhail Starodubov/ShutterstockLast year on Christmas Eve, I flew from Boston to Paris with my family of four.The flights were the cheapest we could find, and the airports were quiet and easy to navigate.I don't regret celebrating Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in a nontraditional way.For as long as I can remember, I've always spent Christmas Eve surrounded by my familyLast year was no different — although the setting for our Christmas Eve celebration was on a crowded airplane, and our holiday meal was provided by Virgin Atlantic.In 2022, my parents, younger brother, and I decided to shirk our usual Christmas traditions — a Christmas Eve dinner party with relatives, then opening gifts underneath the tree on Christmas morning — and book a trip to Paris for the holiday instead.Instead of gifts, we pooled money together and saved where we could in order to spend the week abroad, exploring a city that we had only been to together when I was very young.To save money, we flew on Christmas EveA flight leaving from Boston's Logan Airport, where we departed from.Darren McCollester/GettyWe found the cheapest flights from Boston to Paris if we booked them for Christmas Eve.This personal revelation was also backed up by research.According to a 2023 study from the flight-search site, Christmas Eve is the best-priced departure date for the holiday season.The report — based on airfare data for 11,000 flights over the holiday season — says that flying on Christmas Eve could save you close to $120 compared to December 22, which is ranked as one of the most expensive days for holiday air travel. You'd save a similar amount by flying on Christmas Day, another less desirable travel day for the holidays, according to the same report.We ended up saving roughly $200 on each of our flights.At first, I was disappointed to miss out on our usual Christmas Eve celebrationsThe author stands in front of a Christmas tree at home; the Champs-Élysées in Paris decorated for Christmas.Erin McDowell/InsiderI was worried that we would be tired and jet-lagged on Christmas Day once we got to Paris since we were taking a red-eye flight.However, I quickly found it was a more pleasant travel experience than I'd expected.Even though our flight was full — many others must have had the same bright idea as us — we found the airport was quiet due to the holiday and also festively decorated. When we traveled, we found the airport being less crowded also meant shorter security lines, less expensive Uber rides from the airport to our hotel, and a generally more relaxing travel day — especially for the holidays, which are a notoriously stressful time to travel.Thankfully, I was also able to sleep on the overnight flight so that once we arrived at our hotel and had a quick nap, we were ready to hit the ground running.Holiday decorations in Paris.Chesnot/Getty ImagesUltimately, it was worth itIn Paris, we were able to enjoy being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world all decorated for the holiday.At the Christmas markets, which pop up all over the city around the holidays, I drank mulled wine and ate potatoes covered in gooey raclette cheese, which I still dream about to this day. I also got to gaze in wonder at the holiday lights on department-store facades and along the Champs-Élysées.We truly couldn't have chosen a better time of year to visit.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 29th, 2023Related News