Scotland rebels on aviation passenger tax

first_imgA blow has been struck against the world’s biggest travel tax, with Scotland resolving to half the controversial Air Passenger Duty, which slugs visitors to the UK up to £73 per head ($US91.25) – and double that in premium economy, business class or first class.The governing Scottish National Party has announced it will cut the APD in Scotland by 50 per cent from April 1, 2017, and aim to abolish it completely “when resources allow”. The move is also supported by the opposition Scottish Conservative Party and has been welcomed by the airline industry, which has long claimed that the APD is a tourism and jobs killer.However, one of the consequences of the Scottish move is that it will encourage a “chicken run” across the border when airlines landing in Scotland have to charge travellers only half the tax they pay England. “This is a major step towards the complete abolition of this stealth tax that hinders economic growth, tourism and jobs,” said Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, the holding company that owns British Airways. “However, the piecemeal reduction of APD will only serve to undermine airports in the north of England as passengers will rush across the border to get cheaper flights. “This will create a domino effect across the whole country which is not sustainable. The Treasury must acknowledge that partially scrapping APD will not work and that the solution is simple.”Walsh said that UK GDP would gain 1.7 per cent and create 61,000 new jobs over the longer term if the APD was abolished – a finding also supported by Edinburgh Airport.An Edinburgh Airport report estimated that the 50 per cent cut in APD would create nearly 4000 jobs and add £1 billion ($US1.25 billion) to the Scottish economy by 2020. When it was introduced in 2007, the APD was characterised by the then British Labour government as an environmental tax designed to reduce aircraft emissions.However,  it has since grown into the world’s biggest travel tax. The lowest amount paid, by an economy-class passenger on a flight of less than 2000 miles (3220 kilometres), is £13 ($US16.25) and can rise to as much as £146 ($US182.50) for a passenger in a premium-class cabin travelling more than 2000 miles.Even in economy class,  the impost for long-haul travellers is $US365 for a family of four. “This is an important moment in the ongoing debate around APD, as it is clear that there is now cross-party support for reductions in the tax to take place in Scotland from April 2018,” said Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade association representing UK airlines.Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive, Gordon Dewar, said cutting the travel tax by 50 per cent was vital for Scotland’s international ambitions by increasing direct flights and would make holidays abroad more affordable for Scottish families. “The case against freeing up Scotland from this regressive tax is flimsy,” he said. “It is one-dimensional and completely ignores the economic benefits of more spending and more jobs.”Meanwhile, airlines have hit back at claims by a company specialising in compensation payouts that they are using “dirty tactics” to avoid reimbursing customers for delays and cancellations. EUclaim – one of a raft of companies established in recent years to chase claims under EU261, the European Union rule that awards  passengers compensation of up €600 ($US630) for delays — said it had employed university graduates to go through the claims process on airline websites and that, in some cases, it had taken them up to 15 minutes to even find the correct form. It said British Airways, Jet2, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair, as well as holiday charter airlines Thomson and Monarch, had tried to shirk their responsibilities. EUclaim manager Tjitze Noorderhaven accused BA of trying to confuse passengers with “legal gibberish” and criticised Thomson’s claim response time of up to 56 days. However, many of the company’s claims were disputed by independent British travel journalists and were criticised by the airlines.”Along with other airlines, we would strongly question the validity of this report,” a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said. “We do everything we can to respond as quickly, clearly stating how and where our customers can apply.” Ryanair, which was accused in the report of changing its terms and conditions to illegally limit passengers’ rights, said the claims were untrue. “Ryanair’s terms and conditions are perfectly legal,” a spokesman said. “We wish to ensure that all Ryanair customers will receive 100% of their EU261 compensation without deduction of claims chaser fees, which can amount to 50 per cent of the compensation payable to the passenger.”Since Ryanair customers can claim this compensation directly from us with no fees, these ‘claims chasers’ provide no useful service whatsoever. Claims chasers don’t like our terms and conditions, because they are designed solely to protect our customers and ensure they receive 100 per cent of the compensation they are due.”last_img read more

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Use of mobile phones can make men infertile: Experts

first_imgSoon after fears of mobile phones causing cancer, the latest addition to the list of dangers posed by the gadget is that it cuts chances of conception by 30 per cent.This was revealed in studies conducted by experts from Queen’s University. Men glued on to their mobiles could have poor quality sperm and less sperm count, the experts pointed out. It was found that though men using cell phones excessively had higher levels of testosterone, they had lower levels of luteinising hormone (LH), an important reproductive hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. With nearly one in five healthy young men in India having an abnormal sperm count, male infertility is a worrying issue.”I get 30 couples with infertility problems every month, of which the male factor is 30-40 per cent. Though the exact reason is unknown, one reason behind male infertility is definitely the influence of environmental toxins,” says Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, director and fertility consultant at ISIS. The research found that those who were always on the phone or close to it experienced a 30 per cent drop in sperm count.The sperms that did survive showed abnormal movement. Experts explain that electromagnetic waves emitted by cell phones have a dual action on male hormone levels and fertility. These waves may increase the number of cells in the testes that produce testosterone, and the LH level takes a dip.Studies show that the sperm count of a normal adult male in India has plunged to around 20 million per ml, one-third of what it was three decades ago. Experts say the best way for men to protect themselves is to carry mobiles in a bag.advertisementFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

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a month agoChelsea No1 Kepa: I don’t bother with nerves

first_imgChelsea No1 Kepa: I don’t bother with nervesby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga admits nerves do not affect him.Kepa says he rarely feels pressure ahead of a match, whatever the stage and whoever the opponents, instead focusing on his love of the game in the moments building up to kick-off.”I’m not really a person that is prone to anxiety, or feeling nervous,” he told chelseafc.com. “I generally don’t feel that way before a game. What I always think is, at the end of the day, it’s football – that’s what it is – and football is what we do, it’s what we like, and it’s what we enjoy.”Of course, when there are really important games there is a bit more tension, a bit more adrenaline, but I wouldn’t call it nervousness.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Parents Urged to be Main Influencers in Children’s Lives

first_img The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) is imploring parents to become the primary influencers in the lives of their children, in order to create more positive outcomes for their future.Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NPSC, Kaysia Kerr, said that the responsibility of the parent is a major one, which cannot be taken lightly.She said that there has been a gradual shift in responsibility, which has contributed to a decline in values, accountability and integrity in the society.“We encourage parents not to give up the reins of leadership to external individuals or entities. We must recognise that we are the first role models for our children and they depend on us for guidance,” said Ms. Kerr.She argued that the danger of reneging on one’s role and responsibility as a parent is that an avenue opens up for negative forces to become the role models for children.“We have seen where young people are increasingly idolising and emulating a number of players in both local and international popular culture, some of whose values may be questionable, and the effects are being felt in the display of deviant behaviour within our society,” she pointed out.Ms. Kerr said the NPSC is committed to empowering parents with the necessary information and guidance to ensure that they are fully equipped to lay the proper foundation for the development of their children.“We want to remind parents that the concept of leading by example is not just a cliché. If we are going to make any inroads into addressing some of the existing social ills, we must begin at home by modelling ideal behaviour patterns for our children,” she pointed out.The NPSC is making preparations for Parent Month in November, during which a number of activities will be held under the theme ‘Be the Influence’.Among them are parent villages in Kingston and Montego Bay, a national church service as well as sensitisation sessions in several communities across the island. The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) is imploring parents to become the primary influencers in the lives of their children, in order to create more positive outcomes for their future. The NPSC is making preparations for Parent Month in November, during which a number of activities will be held under the theme ‘Be the Influence’. Ms. Kerr said the NPSC is committed to empowering parents with the necessary information and guidance to ensure that they are fully equipped to lay the proper foundation for the development of their children. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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Amazon plans to open new distribution centre in Edmonton area hire 600

first_imgNISKU, Alta. — Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. is opening a new distribution centre in Leduc County, just south of Edmonton, with plans to create 600 full-time jobs by 2020.The e-commerce company says the approximately 92,900-square-metre (one-million-square-foot) centre in Nisku, Alta., will be the company’s 11th distribution facility in Canada, and its second in Alberta.It already operates a similar facility in Rocky View County in southern Alberta, where it employs more than 1,500 full-time workers.Amazon’s other fulfillment facilities are located in British Columbia and Ontario.The Seattle-based company says workers at the new centre will be responsible for picking, packing and shipping larger items such as outdoor equipment, patio furniture and bicycles.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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EU court rules annuls regulator move to block UPSTNT merger

first_imgBRUSSELS — The European Union’s top court says a decision by anti-trust regulators to block a merger between U.S. delivery giant UPS and Dutch firm TNT must be annulled.The European Court of Justice confirmed Wednesday a lower court finding that UPS’s rights to defence were infringed by the European Commission, which polices competition issues.The Luxembourg-based ECJ says the blocking decision should be annulled if UPS can show that “it would have had the opportunity better to defend itself” if it had full access to Commission analysis of the merger.The Commission said the planned merger would restrict express deliveries of small packages in Europe by reducing the number of players in the market, and so drive up prices.But the EU’s General Court annulled that decision last March.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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2 held with 52 illegal firearms in Rohini

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Police Special Cell arrested two persons with 52 illegal firearms in Sector-15, Rohini, police said on Wednesday.Police identified the accused Amarikan (25) and Sheetal Singh (22) both from Badwani in Madhya Pradesh. The duo was arrested after a brief chase on March 31 in Sector-15, Rohini. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said that accused are indulged in manufacturing and supplying of illegal firearms for more than 10 years. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccused Amarikan disclosed that he himself used to send the consignments of illegal firearms to Delhi, UP, MP, Maharashtra. “Amarikan and Sheetal Singh have the expertise to prepare any weapon including sophisticated pistols. They sell these pistols in bulk. Pistols supplied by them in Delhi/NCR finally reaches to dreaded criminals/gangsters of Delhi and adjoining states,” said DCP Yadav. DCP further said that this is their ancestral profession, probably more than 80 years old, which they continued for want of livelihood. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsMost of the village families are indulged in this illegal trade of manufacturing and supplying of firearms in various parts of the country including Delhi. Police said that the Special Cell of Delhi Police is persistently after the notorious arms syndicates active in Delhi/NCR areas. In this crusade, the discreet surveillance transpired that illegal weapons are pumped into Delhi mainly from the areas of Khargaon, Dhar & Burhanpur in M.P and from Munger in Bihar. Concerted efforts made so far, yielded in busting several interstate firearm syndicates in recent past too.last_img read more

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Arunachal polls 131 crorepati nominees CM Khandu richest

first_imgItanagar: Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who is seeking a re-election from Mukto Assembly seat for the third consecutive term, is the richest among 184 candidates contesting the state polls, with assets more than Rs 163 crore, according to a election watchdog report. Polling for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections will be held in the state on April 11. A thorough analysis of the affidavits submitted before the election office found that 131 of 184 Assembly poll candidates are crorepatis, the report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said. As many as 67 candidates (36 per cent) have wealth above Rs 5 crore, while 44 candidates (24 per cent) possess assets to the tune of Rs 2-5 crore, it said. Khandu, who defected to the BJP from the Congress in 2016, has movable assets worth Rs 1,43,87,82,786 and immovable assets worth Rs 19,62,75,356, as declared in his affidavit. Lombo Tayeng, the Congress candidate from Mebo constituency, is the second-richest candidate in the state with wealth of more than 148 crore – movable assets of Rs 1,13,52,21,594 and immovable assets of Rs 35,01,84,400. Another BJP candidate Tsering Tashi, who is contesting the polls from Tawang Assembly constituency, ranks third on the list with assets worth over 109 crore – movable assets of Rs 97,10,97,522 and immovable assets of Rs 12,32,96,250. The average assets of the candidates contesting the Assembly polls were recorded at Rs 9.86 crore, the election watchdog report stated. In the 2014 assembly elections, of the 148 candidates in the fray, 88 (60 per cent) were crorepatis. Among the major parties, the BJP leads the tally this time with 54 crorepatis, accounting for 90 per cent of its candidates in the fray. The opposition Congress has 30 crorepatis (65 per cent), while the National People’s Party (NPP), which is contesting the state polls for the first time, has 11 (73 per cent) crorepatis. Five of the eleven independents in the race have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore. Making an exception, Congress candidate from Tali assembly constituency has declared zero assets. Among those who were found to be possessing nominal assets is Janata Dal (Secular) candidate from Lekang constituency Takam Paleng, with Rs 5000. Another JD(S) nominee from Longding-Pumao constituency, Wangshu Wangsu, has declared assets worth Rs 75,365, while Congress candidate from Liromoba seat, Marjum Karbak, possesses wealth to the tune of Rs 1,20,000. The report added that none of the candidates have declared their ITR details, while two of them have not provided their Permanent Account Number. According to section 10(26) of IT Act, 1961, a Scheduled Tribe (ST) member residing in specific areas of Arunachal, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura or Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir is exempted from paying income tax. Barring one, all seats in the 60-member Assembly in Arunachal Pradesh are reserved for Scheduled Tribe. On the educational qualification front, the election watchdog reported that 108 candidates are graduates, while 68 of them have studied between Classes 5 and 12. Five candidates have been found to be illiterate. A total of 35 candidates have declared their age to be between 25 and 40 years, while 130 have mentioned their age between 41 and 60 years and 19 nominees have submitted their age between 61 to 80 years, the report added.last_img read more

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Pet dog saves farmer from cobra in TN

first_imgThanjavur: In a heroic battle exemplifying its loyalty, a pet dog saved its master from a cobra, killing the venomous reptile and laying down its own life in the process at a village near here.Seeing the five-foot long cobra about to attack Natarajan (50), a farmerof Vengarayankudikaadu village while on his way to his field, the dog ‘Puppy’ jumped to his rescue Saturday. While the dog and the snake fought a pitched battle, the farmer rushed to his nearby house to fetch a stick to chase the reptile away. But, by the time he could return, Puppy killed the snake, but tragically died due to bites suffered earlier, the farmer said. News of Puppy fighting off a venomous reptile spread and residents gathered at the farmer’s house to pay homage to his pet. Natarajan, who turned emotional, picked up the dead dog, and held it close to his chest before giving it a tearful burial near his house, neighbours said.last_img read more

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