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BAA was bought by Spanish company Ferrovial two years ago. The Competition Committee's criticism of BAA might look like a bid to bring ownership back to the U.K. However, that is not likely to happen. BAA put Gatwick on the market in August. The top bidders thus far are German and Australian companies. Virgin Atlantic is also trying to organize a consortium of investors to make a bid.
The Scottish airports and Stansted remain in BAA's hands for now. The organization responded to the watchdog's report by saying that there was no compelling evidence proving that the airports, especially Stansted, should be sold.
The Korean adultery law was created in 1953 and has been upheld despite four major challenges over the past two decades. In Ok's case, the judges denied her arguement that the current law was an invasion of privacy and had "degenerated into a means of revenge by the spouse, rather than a means of saving a marriage." Despite the possibility of a two year sentence, Ok was given a eight month suspended sentence. Her lover, a Korean pop star, was given a six month suspended sentence. Neither will spend time in jail. The judge's reasoning: adultery is damaging to the country's social order.
According to the BBC, a recent survey showed that 70% of men and 12% of women have admitted to having sex outside of marriage. Ironic, especially given Ok's statements about the law being used by spouses for revenge.
United responded to the suit, saying "We believe that a lawsuit that suggests that we are somehow responsible for the consequences of a passenger's physical assault on his own wife is without any merit whatsoever."
[via Today in the Sky]
Passengers on the flight were stunned when, 20 minutes shy of De Gaulle, the pilot got on the PA system and, instead of announcing the imminent arrival, said the following:
'Unfortunately I'm not qualified to land the plane in Paris. They are asking for a level two qualification and I only have a level five. We'll have to fly back.'
And fly back they did. The bizarre incident is nothing if not humorous, but I doubt the passengers on the flight were amused.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said that such a situation was rare, but not unheard of. "There are different classifications of aircraft and when an aircraft is updated, pilot's who have flown an older version have to completely retrain."
But yesterday Blatter opened his mouth again. This time he had good news for South Africa: "There definitely is no plan B or C. The only plan is to make the South African event a success." The tournament will undoubtedly be a huge boost for South Africa's tourism industry. Security concerns and lagging construction projects are still problematic, and there is still the risk that bad press during the event could kill any buzz the World Cup could bring to the country. But Blatter's promise not to move the tournament is a huge step for S.A., which can now focus on hosting duties, not on kissing FIFA's ass.
Northwest and Delta have hinted that their merger will lead to an unspecified number of job cuts. The Delta buyouts might allow Northwest employees at hubs in Minneapolis and Detroit to rest a little easier. Delta is offering buyouts to its own employees instead of swooping in to Northwest hubs and giving their own workers the best jobs. The only thing that is certain is that the drama is far from over.
[Via Today in the Sky]
Hitting someone with a shoe or even pointing the soles of your shoes at someone is considered an insult in the Middle East (and in many other parts of Asia as well); feet are the lowest part of the body and considered unclean. It is unclear if President Bush understood the meaning of the shoe throwing incident. I guess if you launch anything at another person's head, you don't think too highly of them.
Throwing shoes seems a bit impractical to me - after all, what are you going to wear when it is time to run away? Here is another Middle Eastern cultural no-no that could have been employed: shake hands or wave with your left hand. Next to the feet, this appendage is considered the dirtiest. For desert nomads past and present, the left hand is used for cleaning oneself after nature calls. Therefore, waving or shaking a left hand is traditionally considered unclean.
On the practical side, Bush's latest misadventure in the Middle East has highlighted some cultural dos and donts that travelers headed to the Middle East might find useful. Remember: don't throw shoes, don't wave your left hand, and don't be named Bush....There, you're good to go.
Monaco had similar designs. As the world's most densely populated country, it would have benefited from the added area. However, the nation's ruler, Prince Albert II, has announced that the current state of the global economy makes such a project inappropriate. Monaco's financial situation is not as dire as many other countries, but the Prince wants Monaco to focus on other infrastructure projects such as hospitals, housing developments, and a new yacht club.
Albert did not rule out restarting the man-made island project at a later date. But, for now, it will just be business as usual in Monaco.
Perhaps top execs at US airlines could learn something from JAL CEO Haruka Nishimatsu. After major lay-offs three years ago, Nishimatsu cut all his perks and then slashed his salary. In 2007, he made $90,000. A tidy sum, but much less than many of JAL's pilots make. He takes public transit to work and eats lunch next to the plebes in the cafeteria.
Perhaps you could chalk up Nishimatsu's approach to cultural differences between the US and Japan. But his explanation of the rational behind cutting his own perks and salary makes perfect sense to me.
"We in Japan learned during the bubble economy that businesses who pursue money first fail. The business world has lost sight of this basic tenet of business ethics."
Is this ethical approach working? JAL is faring reasonably well. Compared to US airlines, it is quite successful. So you can be ethical and successful? Amazing.
But all you smiling, glass-half-full folks out there can take comfort in this: airlines have the highest on-time percentages they've had in a long, long time. According to USAToday, 86% of all flights were on time during the month of October. That is compared to 78% during the same month of 2007.
A plane is considered on time if it reaches its destination within 15 minutes of its scheduled arrival time. I assume they mean less than 15 minutes later than scheduled; although I'm sure there is the odd person out there who might be put off by arriving 15 minutes early.
So look on the bright side of air travel. You may have to spend more for your ticket and your plane is bound to be crowded and, perhaps, noisy. But at least you have a good chance of getting where you are going on time.