What actually closes in a US government shutdown?

President Donald Trump pauses during his address to the March of Life participants from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on Friday. (AP)
Updated 20 January 2018

What actually closes in a US government shutdown?

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of thousands of US government defense workers, park rangers and business regulators could be temporarily out of work if Congress fails to pass a budget before a midnight Friday deadline.
But the looming government shutdown due to lack of funding — which would be the second in five years — does not mean every office closes its doors.
Vital services will still be provided by law enforcement, immigration officers, the central bank, veterans’ hospitals and the military.
During the two-week shutdown in October 2013, around 800,000 workers were furloughed.
This time, about 850,000 workers, out of a total 3.5 million, could be told to stay home — without pay — until Congress reaches an agreement, the American Federation of Government Employees estimates.
The following is a rundown of who is and isn’t affected in a government shutdown:

The 1.5 million uniformed members of the US military, mostly in the Defense Department but also 40,000 with the Department of Homeland Security, will remain at work.
“All military personnel performing active duty will continue in a normal duty status,” the Pentagon ordered Thursday.
But a large number of civilians in both departments, including about three-fourths of the roughly 740,000 civilians who work for the Pentagon, will stay home.
That will slow many operations, and could impact the huge defense private sector, which depends on Pentagon contracts.
Officials of the Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services will remain on the job checking and processing people entering the country by land, sea and air.

The White House, Congress, federal courts and the Veterans Administration will all continue to operate. The US Postal Service will continue to deliver the mail.
The investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Russians and President Donald Trump’s election campaign will remain active.

The US capital is funded by the federal budget, which could have affected some services, but Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that all city employees will report to work and no services will be interrupted.
“I want to be perfectly clear that Washington, DC is open. DC government will continue to provide services to our residents,” she said.
Bowser also said that the city will pick up trash at the multiple national park properties around the city while park employees are furloughed.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees air traffic control, will remain at work, and airports will remain open for travelers.

According to tentative plans, national parks and museums will remain open, but some public employees at the parks could be furloughed while private contractors, who supply food and other services, will maintain operations.

Disease monitoring and prevention will slow. About 61 percent of the staff of the Centers for Disease Control will be furloughed, according to The Washington Post, and much of the research-focused National Institutes of Health will be shuttered.

Other agencies will largely shut down, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, the Commerce Department, the Labor Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
That means people and businesses will not get documents and permissions processed, contractors will have difficulty moving ahead on their projects, and disaster relief will slow.

Pakistan’s national airline to formally invite newlywed British royals to visit

Updated 22 May 2018

Pakistan’s national airline to formally invite newlywed British royals to visit

  • Formal invitation letter will be delivered to the British High Commission, PIA spokesperson tells Arab News
  • Pakistan International Airlines hopes that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will visit the northern areas of the country, just as Princess Diana did in 1991

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will formally invite Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the newlywed British royal couple, to visit the scenic northern areas of the country, the airline’s spokesman told Arab News on Monday.
“We have prepared the official draft of the invitation that will be delivered to the British High Commission in Pakistan on Tuesday,” said Mashood Tajwar, the spokesperson of the country’s national flag carrier.
“We are offering them to visit and enjoy the beauty of the northern areas of Pakistan on behalf of our managing director,” he added, saying that the royal couple would also enjoy the warm hospitality of the people of Pakistan.
In an apparent marketing move, PIA had earlier invited the newlyweds via a Twitter message to experience the splendor of the country’s northern areas, reminding them of Princess Diana’s four-day solo trip to the region in September 1991.
The princess had visited Peshawar and Chitral where she was presented with the area’s traditional cap, adorned with a beautiful feather, and an embroidered coat.
PIA also posted a picture of her wearing Gilgit-Baltistan’s traditional dress and sitting with two local children. The airlines offered to send the royal couple one of its aircraft if they accepted the invitation.
“We watched the Royal Wedding and remembered Princess Diana and her trip to the northern areas of Pakistan, and we thought how wonderful it would be for the newlyweds to visit our northern splendors as well. So, Prince Harry and Princess Meghan, we are ready, just let us know when,” PIA tweeted.
The invitation drew mixed responses on social media.
Some people expressed their readiness to welcome the royal couple, with some saying it was a nice gesture.
But others lambasted the airline for what they thought was its poor performance. “By the time they get to Lahore, the royal couple will have their first child,” mocked one social media user.
The country’s loss-making national flag carrier is aggressively working towards rebuilding its public image. However, it has been losing around Rs45 billion ($389.3 million) per year and its accumulated losses are estimated to be about Rs316 billion.
Recently, the Economic Coordination Committee approved a Rs20 billion bailout package for PIA — the fifth of its kind in one-and-a-half years.
The government has developed a strategic business plan to improve the performance of the airlines. The plan will prioritize segregation of non-core functions from core functions, product improvement, route rationalization, and cost reduction/optimization. It will also develop HR capability and modernize its IT systems.
PIA has refurbished its fleet of 32 aircraft. It has also abandoned unprofitable routes and increased the number of flights on profitable routes such as Saudi Arabia and China.