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BRAZIL - HEALTH - Pan American Health Organization issues warning regarding an outbreak of the zika virus in Brazil and the potential of the virus to spread to other countries. Details
TAIWAN - HEALTH - Centers for Disease Control issues warning Friday of the growing threat from MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) in the country after neighboring South Korea reports its first three such cases earlier this week. Details
THAILAND - BOMB HOAX - Bangkok - Bomb hoax by a passenger delays Flight FD3002 of Thai AirAsia with 141 passengers and six crew members on board, from Phuket to Don Mueang airport of Bangkok Friday morning. Details
CHILE - EARTHQUAKE - 5.2 magnitude 170km W of Copiapo Details
SOLOMON ISLANDS - EARTHQUAKE - 5.7 magnitude 56km SE of Honiara. Details
KENYA - SECURITY - Garissa County - Al Shabaab militants attack the Yumbis village, north of Garissa, but are driven back by security forces swiftly mobilizing and engaging the militants in a gun battle. No casualties were reported. Details
YEMEN REPUBLIC - SECURITY - Dhahran Province - Cross border rocket attack launched from inside Yemen kills one Saudi citizen, wounds two others in the village of al-Hosn in the southern province of Dhahran. Details
INDIA - TRANSPORTATION - Delhi/Mumbai - 70 trains affected, 10 of them cancelled and others diverted on the busy route connecting Delhi and Mumbai, as hundreds of protesters sit overnight on rail tracks in Rajasthan's Bharatpur district, demanding reservation in the state for Gujjars. Details
BURUNDI - SECURITY - Bujumbura - Update May 22nd - Heavy gunfire heard all day in suburbs of Bujumbura, with intense bursts of automatic weapons. Police in Musaga sent to restore order "whatever the cost". Details
NIGERIA - TRANSPORTATION - Country facing prolonged fuel-supply crisis leading to a severe toll on the economy, living conditions, and basic services. Increasing number of drivers in Lagos have stopped using personal vehicles, while prices for commuters on public transport have more than doubled. Details
CHILE - SECURITY - Valparaiso - 20 injured as police and protesters clash during rally by 6,000 protesters outside the Congress building in the port city of Valparaiso. Details
Napa, CA - EARTHQUAKE - A magnitude 4.1 earthquake jolts the Napa Valley. The quake sent light tremors through Napa and Sonoma, with weak shakes reaching the Bay Area and Sacramento's suburbs. Details
ITALY - PROTEST -Rome - Coalition of Italian trade unions to rally in Rome on May 23 at Piazza dell' Esquilino and march to Piazza Santi Apostoli.
HONG KONG - STRIKE THREAT - Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendants' union plan to move forward with a strike on August 18-31. Union may change its plans regarding the strike depending on discussions with the airline's management. Details
UNITED KINGDOM - FLIGHTS - London Stansted - Possible security delays at London Stansted Airport until May 31. Travelers are recommended to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to the flight departure time, to allow ample time to clear airport security. Details
United is introducing a redesigned, significantly upgraded food and beverage experience in June on trans-Atlantic flights; service between the United States and Argentina, Brazil and Chile; and most trans-Pacific flights.
Complimentary beer and wine
United will offer beer and wine at no charge in United Economy on intercontinental flights with multi-course meal service.
Hearty three-course meal service
United Economy will feature an appetizer followed by creatively inspired main courses and new salads with artisan bread. Desserts include gelato, ice cream or mousse.
Customers may choose from an expanded menu of fresh, packaged, high-quality snacks for purchase to eat at leisure.
Complimentary pre-arrival service will be enhanced to include a croissant with jam, a warmed sandwich or a hot meal served with fruit and a roll.
US major airlines "can't compete" with the Gulf major airlines
The U.S. government has launched a proceeding to examine charges made by American, Delta and United that they can’t compete with Gulf carriers like Emirates because of the lavish support those lines allegedly receive in violation of Open Skies treaties between their governments and the U.S. Any “interested” party will be able to weigh in and the comments will be open to the public, which should make for interesting reading given the controversy this dispute has stirred thus far. Three U.S. government departments – Commerce, State and Transportation – will be accepting comments and are expected to begin reviewing them at the end of May. While various travel groups have taken sides, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and the Airports Council International are all lining up against the U.S. big 3 and labor unions. ASTA hasn’t taken a position. The USTA said it has concerns over the wisdom of reopening Open Skies treaties that have vastly expanded international air travel.
The Gulf airlines have strongly denied the charges – detailed by the U.S. in a 55-page report – that they’ve benefited from subsidies to the tune of $42 billion over the past decade.
The Business Travel Coalition (BTC), among others, has said that the U.S. airlines stance is the end result of the wave of consolidation that has swept the industry.
“Since there are only three big airlines left, they don’t want any competition coming in here,” he said.
In fact, the U.S. airlines aren’t united on this front. JetBlue is in favor of the status quo—not surprisingly since it code-shares with Etihad and Emirates.