Stop, decontaminate and listen: Vanilla Ice tweets from Emirates NYC flight

Vanilla Ice was okay because he was on the upper deck. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Stop, decontaminate and listen: Vanilla Ice tweets from Emirates NYC flight

  • Vanilla Ice was on the plane, but in the safe confines of the upper deck
  • His video has since gone viral, attracting even more attention than the original story

DUBAI: It was a case of Ice – not so nice – baby for the 1990s hip hop sensation Vanilla Ice – as the Emirates plane he was traveling on from Dubai to New York became the center of a health scare on Wednesday.

The 14-hour long flight on the Emirates A380 hit the headlines when several passengers fell ill – but at the time, what many people were unaware of was that the rapper-cum-TV presenter was on the upper deck.

He had been traveling from Dubai after a day’s stopover from South Africa when the plane was met at JFK Airport by a fleet of emergency service vehicles.

Like all good 21st century celebrities Vanilla Ice’s first reaction was to take to Twitter and tell his people what was happening.

“So I just landed in New York coming back from Dubai and now I’m stuck on the runway with like 1000 police, ambulances, fire trucks, this is crazy,” he tweeted.

His claim of 1,000 police was somewhat over the top – but that didn’t stop it receiving hundreds of likes.

Of course, this didn’t stop him, and moments later he was back on Twitter with an update, reassuring us of his wellbeing.

“This is crazy. Apparently there is over 100 people sick on the bottom floor, so happy I’m up top, it’s a double-decker plane 380.”

Obviously concerned for the passengers down below in standard, he then whipped out his phone to produce a viral video which he also tweeted from the comfort of his flatbed chair.

Adding the comment: “So I just landed from Dubai and now there is like tons of ambulances and fire trucks and police all over the place”

Vanilla Ice rose to fame with his hit single “Ice Ice Baby. He later disappeared from pop stardom, but made a comeback with his own DIY show “The Vanilla Ice Project.”

At the peak of his music career he dated the Queen of Pop Madonna, but the couple split up in 1992.

It is not clear why he spent the day in Dubai, but in an earlier tweet he said it was the longest he’d ever flown for.

“Most flying I’ve ever done in my whole life, 29 hours in the air to South Africa and over to Dubai for one day then back home ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ exhausted,” – which seems odd, given he was once embarking on world tours.

An Emirates airline spokeswoman said 10 passengers fell ill on the flight from Dubai to New York. New York media outlets – and Vanilla Ice - had earlier put the number at about 100 passengers.

“Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on board flight EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill,” the spokeswoman said. “On arrival at JFK, as a precaution, they were immediately checked by local health authorities and those needing medical attention will be attended to.”

A later statement from the airline said three passengers and seven crew were transferred to hospital for medical care and that all passengers had disembarked from the aircraft.

Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, said it appeared that some of the ill passengers had come from Mecca, which is experiencing a flu outbreak.

“Health officials are processing tests now to determine the cause. Symptoms still pointing to the flu,” he tweeted.

Later it was revealed the cause of the illness was “probably influenza,” New York City acting Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot said.

He said tests had been taken by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most of the passengers were cleared to continue their travels.

In a statement, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said that Emirates flight 203 landed at 9:12 a.m. “with a report of multiple sick passengers.”

“The plane was taken to a location away from the terminal so that medical personnel from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could board the aircraft to evaluate the situation and provide immediate assistance,” it added.

The plane’s return journey to Dubai was delayed by three hours.

Now let's remind ourselves of what he was best known for so Stop.... Collaborate... And listen:


The ethical gold rush: Gilded age for guilt-free jewelry

Updated 21 April 2019
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The ethical gold rush: Gilded age for guilt-free jewelry

  • Specialized producers now tack a “fairmined” ecologically friendly label on their output
  • Swiss house Chopard last year became the first big name to commit to “100 percent ethical” creations

PARIS: Forget how many carats — how ethical is your gold? As high-end consumers demand to know the origin of their treasures, some jewellers are ensuring they use responsibly sourced, eco-friendly or recycled gold.
Specialized producers now tack a “fairmined” ecologically friendly label on their output, and the Swiss house Chopard last year became the first big name to commit to “100 percent ethical” creations.
The Geneva-based firm, which makes the Palme d’Or trophy for the Cannes Film Festival, says it now uses only verified suppliers of gold that meet strict standards to minimize negative environmental impacts of mining the precious metal.
Among the many certificates and standards claiming to codify “responsible” goldmining, two labels stand out.
They are “fairmined” gold — a label certified by a Colombian NGO — and the more widely known “fairtrade” label launched by Swiss foundation Max Havelaar.
Both support artisanal mines that seek to preserve the environment in terms of extraction methods, along with decent working conditions and wages for the miners.
Such production remains limited — just a few hundred kilograms annually. Global gold output by comparison totals around 3,300 tons.
Concerned jewellers are keen to ensure they can trace the source of their entire supply to an ethical production cycle and to firms certified by the not-for-profit Responsible Jewellery Council, which has developed norms for the entire supply chain.
RJC members must adhere to tough standards governing ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices across the precious metals industry.
The French luxury group Kering, which says it has bought more than 3.5 tons of “responsibly produced” gold since 2015 for its Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo and Gucci brands, has committed to 100 percent use of “ethical” gold by 2020.
“We are trying to maximize the proportion of Fairmined and Fairtrade gold — but their modest production is in great demand so the bulk of our sourcing remains recycled gold, (which is) certified ‘RJC Chain of Custody’,” says Claire Piroddi, sustainability manager for Kering’s jewelry and watches.
Fairmined or Fairtrade gold is “about 10 to 12 percent more expensive. But recycled gold barely generates any additional cost premium,” Piroddi told AFP, since it was already refined for a previous life in the form of jewelry or part of a high-tech product.
Going a step further, using only precious metal from electronic or industrial waste is an original idea developed by Courbet, a brand launched just last spring.
“We do not want to promote mining extraction or use recently extracted gold, so we sought suppliers who recycle gold used in graphics cards or computer processors. That’s because we know today that more than half of gold’s available reserves have already been extracted,” says Marie-Ann Wachtmeister, Courbet’s co-founder and artistic director.
She says the brand’s watchwords are ethical and environmental consciousness.
“In a mine, a ton of terrain might contain five grams of gold, whereas a ton of electronic waste might generate 200 grams,” Wachtmeister says.
“Clients are also demanding an ecological approach more and more — they are aware of their day-to-day impact and consider the origin of what they wear,” she adds.
“The issue of supply really resonates with the public at large,” adds Thierry Lemaire, director general of Ponce, a jewelry firm that was established in Paris’s fashionable Marais district in 1886.
The company is RJC-certified and uses only recycled gold.
“There is a logic to that — if we want to do our work well, then let’s go the whole hog and respect nature. That can be done today because the entire chain has become standardised.
“Studios such as ours that work for major names on Place Vendome are all certified,” Lemaire says, referring to an upscale square in Paris.
He represents the fifth generation of family firm Ponce, which produces 45,000 gold rings a year from recycled gold.
Working in a pungent atmosphere of heated metal, refiners sit hunched over polishing machines, a large leather hide slung over their knees to catch the tiniest shaving.
“Every Friday, we have a great clearout and go over the workshop with a fine-tooth comb to pick up little bits of (gold) dust and shavings,” Lemaire says.
“Nothing is lost, it’s a truly virtuous chain.”