Delta Air Lines apologizes for forcing family off flight

Delta Air Lines apologizes for forcing family off flight
A passengers waits for a Delta Airlines flight in Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport, May 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (AFP)
Updated 05 May 2017

Delta Air Lines apologizes for forcing family off flight

Delta Air Lines apologizes for forcing family off flight

Delta Air Lines apologized on Thursday after a couple said they were kicked off an overbooked flight with their two toddlers so their seats could be given to waiting passengers, the latest US airline to apologize over incidents on board their flights.
Delta Air Lines Inc. said in a statement it was “sorry for the unfortunate experience,” a day after Brian and Brittany Schear posted a video online showing them being told to leave a flight or be arrested during a dispute over a seat they had bought for their teenage son.
“Delta’s goal is to always work with customers in an attempt to find solutions to their travel issues. That did not happen in this case and we apologize,” said the airline.
It said it had contacted the couple to refund their travel and provide additional compensation.

The apology came the same day members of a US Senate committee held a hearing on the industry’s customer service failures and issued harsh criticism of airline fees, disputes with passengers and the lack of competition in the heavily consolidated sector.
The video posted on YouTube by the California couple shows Brian Schear arguing with a police officer and a Delta employee as he sat on Flight 2222 waiting to depart from Maui to Los Angeles.
The dispute was about whether Shear was allowed to use a seat he had originally purchased for his teenage son for his toddler son and whether the toddler needed to be in a car seat or sit on the lap of an adult.
“You will hear them lie to me numerous times to get my son out of the seat. The end result was we were all kicked off the flight,” Shear wrote in the caption.
“They oversold the flight. When will this all stop?“
The Schears stayed at a hotel before flying home the next day.
The Delta incident came nearly a month after United Continental Holdings Inc. sparked outrage when a passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight by his hands. The airline reached a settlement with the passenger last month.
Southwest Airlines Co. said after that incident it would stop overbooking its flights.
American Airlines Group Inc. experienced another public relations fiasco last month when a video showing an onboard clash over a baby stroller went viral.


UN ‘extremely concerned’ by Tigray humanitarian situation

A woman attends a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn Tigray People Liberation Front. (FIle/Reuters)
A woman attends a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn Tigray People Liberation Front. (FIle/Reuters)
Updated 13 sec ago

UN ‘extremely concerned’ by Tigray humanitarian situation

A woman attends a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn Tigray People Liberation Front. (FIle/Reuters)
  • Phiri said a WFP-led convoy of more than 200 trucks carrying food and other essential humanitarian supplies was on standby in Ethiopia and was expected to depart for Tigray once security clearances are assured

GENEVA: The UN said it was “extremely concerned” at the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where severe shortages of food and supplies are taking their toll.
The UN’s World Food Programme called for unimpeded access into Tigray to reach the 4 million people facing acute food insecurity and needing emergency assistance.
“The WFP is extremely concerned,” the organization’s spokesman Tomson Phiri said in Geneva.
“The humanitarian response in the region continues to be challenged by a severe lack of sufficient food and other humanitarian supplies, limited communication services and no commercial supply chain.”
He said the WFP had delivered food assistance to more than 730,000 people in parts of the south and northwest of Tigray in the past month.
That figure includes 40,000 people in the Zana area who were reached with food assistance for the first time.
The agency hopes to reach a further 80,000 people in the northwest in the coming days.
“Once this is completed, food stocks in the northwest are likely to run out,” said Phiri.
People in Zana “had been completely cut off and living in dire conditions,” he added.
“These are people who have been displaced and now shelter in schools and other impromptu shelters.”
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray last November to oust the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a move he said was in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps. Though the 2019 Nobel Peace laureate declared victory later that month, TPLF leaders remained on the run and fighting dragged on.
Phiri said a WFP-led convoy of more than 200 trucks carrying food and other essential humanitarian supplies was on standby in Ethiopia and was expected to depart for Tigray once security clearances are assured.
“WFP renews its call for faster, free and unimpeded access into Tigray to reach millions in need of life-saving food,” he said.
Phiri said the WFP’s target was to reach 2.1 million people who are at risk in Tigray. He said it had been projected that more than 400,000 people would be suffering from catastrophic levels of hunger from July onwards.


Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed

Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed
Updated 23 July 2021

Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed

Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed
  • The Philippines has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and related deaths in Southeast Asia
  • Under new restrictions, the Philippines will ban travelers from Malaysia and Thailand from Sunday

MANILA: The Philippines tightened coronavirus restrictions on Friday, after health authorities confirmed local transmission of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
The Department of Health said in a statement on Thursday night that while half of the confirmed delta variant cases are of Filipinos returning from abroad, recent phylogenetic analysis showed the emergence of local clusters related to the more aggressive COVID-19 strain.
The local transmission of the delta variant, which is wreaking havoc in other Southeast Asian countries, has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to approve the recommendation of the country’s pandemic response body to place the metropolitan Manila area — the capital region with more than 13 million inhabitants — under general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” from Friday until the end of the month.
The provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte have been placed in the same quarantine category.
“This action is undertaken to prevent the further spread and community transmission of COVID-19 variants in the Philippines,” Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Indoor sports and tourist venues have been closed, the operating capacity of indoor dining venues was scaled down to 20 percent, and open air dining is allowed at 50 percent capacity. Children between the ages of five and 17 are not allowed to leave their homes.
As part of the new restrictions, the Philippines will ban travelers coming from Malaysia and Thailand from Sunday until the end of July. The two Southeast Asian nations join the other countries on Manila’s travel ban list due to delta variant outbreaks — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Oman, the United Arab Emirates.
With more than 1.53 million infections and nearly 27,000 deaths, the Philippines has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and related deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and its health authorities are increasingly coming under criticism.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has accused the Department of Health of being unprepared in responding to the delta variant crisis.
With the Philippine presidential and vice presidential elections scheduled to take place in May next year, he called on the country’s leaders to find more competent health officials for their cabinets.
“Knowing the delta variant has already gripped India and Indonesia, it seems they have not prepared adequately,” he said. “The first order of the day for the next leader of the country is to scout for a more qualified person at the helm of the Health Department.”


In seasonal makeover, Pakistani barbers decorate camels with ancient motifs

Customers wait as barber Ali Hassan decorates their animal at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)
Customers wait as barber Ali Hassan decorates their animal at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)
Updated 23 July 2021

In seasonal makeover, Pakistani barbers decorate camels with ancient motifs

Customers wait as barber Ali Hassan decorates their animal at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)
  • Most of camel art designs are a continuation of southern Pakistan's thousands of years old artistic heritage
  • Demand for camel barbering increases during Eid Al-Adha when Pakistanis want to buy the best and most beautiful sacrificial animals

KARACHI: When the season comes, Ali Hassan often switches off his phone as camel traders from rural Sindh flood him with orders to decorate their animals with elaborate haircuts and ancient Sindhi motifs.

Now in his fifties, Hassan has been practicing camel barbering for the past four decades and is one of the most famous masters of the art.

Demand for his craft usually peaks in the first weeks of January, and again during Eid Al-Adha when Pakistanis want to buy the best and most beautiful sacrificial animals.

"People reach out to get their camels a new makeover, so much so that at times I have to switch off my phone to avoid the influx," Hassan told Arab News at a camel market in Karachi earlier this week, as he finished decorating a camel's hide with rilli, a complex embroidery pattern used in the traditional art of Sindh.

Camel barbering in Pakistan is a distinctive blend of art and symbolism. The artists make the patterns by cutting the rough hairy coat of the camels with scissors in multiple stages. Later, some of them apply natural henna dyes to color these motifs.

Camel hair tattoo designs at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)

"Not every barber is an artist," Hassan said, "but there are many whose artwork has breathed a new life to the Sindh’s traditional culture."

His hometown, Daulatpur in Shaheed Benazirabad district of Sindh, is particularly famous for camel barbering, with hundreds of craftsmen practicing it in the region. At least 40 of them are Hassan's students.

"I tell my students that you can only learn this craft if you are passionate about it," he said, as it takes lots of time, patience and precision to produce good designs.

Most of the designs are a continuation of Sindh's thousands of years old artistic heritage.

Hassan's customers usually choose Sindhi artwork patterns such rilli and the famous ajrak. But some also ask for ancient cities and forts. Or the moon and stars.

His prices range from Rs1,000 ($6) for Hassan said for a simple makeover to even Rs10,000 for special, more complicated designs.

Despite the price, camel owners still want their animals to be decorated by the best barbers whose touch everyone would notice.

"Artwork on camels costs much more than simple hair dressing, but everyone wants their camel to look different," Allah Bux, a camel owner, told Arab News.

Hassan knows exactly which motif would look best on the animal.

"When I glance at the camel, I instinctively know what to design," he said. "I've been doing this since my childhood. This scissor is my companion. I love the art."

 


UK police investigate after woman threatens ‘Algerian’ man on train

Footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Updated 23 July 2021

UK police investigate after woman threatens ‘Algerian’ man on train

Footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers. (Screenshot/YouTube)
  • In footage uploaded to Instagram, the woman racially abuses fellow passengers, threatening to stab and behead them

LONDON: Police in the UK have appealed for witnesses after footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers.

The incident took place near West Ham station in east London. In footage shared on social media site Instagram, the woman — wearing a purple and white top and skirt, and appearing to be drunk — calls a fellow passenger a “f— Algerian c—,” and tells him she will spit in his face.

She then threatens to “stab him in the f— face” and to “knock him out,” and tells him that if he looks at or raises his hands to a fellow passenger, who appears to be her friend, she will cut his head off.

“I don’t want to have to punch up this Asian guy,” she tells her friend, before calling the man a “n—.” Other passengers can be heard calling her racist and telling her to calm down.

The passenger whose footage was uploaded to Instagram tells her that he has to film what she is doing “for my safety, your safety, his safety, everyone else’s safety.”

In the video, after he accuses her of being racist, she tells him: “You don’t know what country I’m from, I’m half f— Kenyan you little b—.” He responds: “If you’re Kenyan then you should know better.”

Unperturbed, she replies: “Carry on recording me because I don’t care. I don’t give a f—. You’re some civilian mother— from the middle of Essex.”

She later knocks the phone out of his hand, and is seen pushing and slapping another male passenger who pushes her back, knocking her into a luggage rack.

The British Transport Police said it received a report of a racially aggravated public order offense, and urged members of the public to assist with its investigation.


Bankruptcy looms for UK Islamophobe after Syrian refugee libel case defeat

Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, made various unsubstantiated claims about Syrian refugee Jamal Hijazi. (Reuters/File Photo)
Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, made various unsubstantiated claims about Syrian refugee Jamal Hijazi. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 23 July 2021

Bankruptcy looms for UK Islamophobe after Syrian refugee libel case defeat

Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, made various unsubstantiated claims about Syrian refugee Jamal Hijazi. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Court orders Tommy Robinson to pay $137,600 damages, legal costs that could exceed $500k over unfounded claims

LONDON: A British far-right figurehead and anti-Islam activist who lost a libel case against a Syrian refugee he had made unfounded accusations against on Thursday claimed he could now face bankruptcy as a result of damages and legal costs that could amount to more than $637,000.

Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, made various unsubstantiated claims about Jamal Hijazi, including that he was violent toward female students, after the teenager was filmed being assaulted and bullied by his classmates.

Hijazi, a refugee from Homs, a city in western Syria, took Robinson to court over the accusations, which he said were inaccurate and had deeply disrupted his life.

On Thursday, a London court ordered Robinson to pay Hijazi £100,000 ($137,600) in damages and, because of the nature of the English legal system, the English Defence League founder was also on the hook for legal costs for both parties that could total more than $500,000.

Robinson said: “I’ve not got any money. I’m bankrupt. I’ve struggled hugely with my own issues these last 12 months … I ain’t got it.”

He added that he was gobsmacked by Hijazi’s legal team’s costs, which included £70,000 ($96,318) for taking witness statements.

In two videos viewed nearly 1 million times, Robinson accused Hijazi, 17, of beating a girl “black and blue” as well as threatening to stab another boy at school — both claims denied by Hijazi and unproven by Robinson.

The judge said Robinson’s accusations were “calculated to inflame the situation,” and that the abuse Hijazi was then subjected to was predictable in its nature.

“It is my responsibility to make clear that the defendant has failed in his defence of truth, to vindicate the claimant and to award him a sum in damages that represents fair compensation,” the judge added. He also warned that Robinson’s bankruptcy declaration may make it difficult to extract from him the full sum awarded by the court.

Robinson’s accusations had a “devastating effect” on the schoolboy, Hijazi’s lawyers said, and they also landed him with multiple death threats. He was forced from his home and had to abandon his education after becoming the subject of a social media storm.

The judge said: “(Robinson) is responsible for this harm, some of the scars of which, particularly the impact on the claimant’s education, are likely to last for many years, if not a lifetime.”

The court also handed Hijazi an injunction against Robinson, preventing him from repeating the claims. However, Robinson said that he had been commissioned to create a film of the incident, which he pointed out had already been completed.

“It’s left for the viewer to make their mind (up) on what’s happened,” Robinson added, and he told the judge that by granting an injunction, “it will look like you are trying to prevent (the film), but the film will go out in the United States anyway, so I don’t see the point.”

Hijazi’s lawyers said they were “delighted” that the teenager had won his case.

Francesca Flood, from Burlingtons Legal, said: “It took great courage for our client, Jamal Hijazi, to pursue his libel action against such a prominent far-right and anti-Islam activist as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson.

“Jamal and his family now wish to put this matter behind them in order that they can get on with their lives.

“They do however wish to extend their gratitude to the great British public for their support and generosity, without which this legal action would not have been possible,” she added.