United adding European destinations ahead of summer travel rebound


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Chicago-based United Airlines is adding five new transatlantic destinations in Spring 2022 as it prepares for a potential bounce back in summer travel between the United States and Europe next year.

The expansion would be the largest transatlantic expansion in the company’s history and includes destinations in Spain, Portugal, Norway, the Spanish Canary Islands and Jordan.

“Given our big expectations for a rebound in travel to Europe for summer, this is the right time to leverage our leading global network in new, exciting ways,” Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United, said in a Thursday news release. 

United will be the first North American carrier to fly to the five new destinations.  

  • Bergen, Norway: Starting May 20, United will offer flights three times a week between New York/Newark and Bergen on a Boeing 757-200. 
  • Azores, Portugal: Flights between New York/Newark and Ponta Delgada in the Azores begin May 13 with a new Boeing 737 MAX 8. This will be United’s third Portuguese destination, along with flights to Porto (which return in March) and Lisbon (which are being operated from New York and are set to resume from Washington, D.C. next summer).
  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain: Travelers can fly from New York/Newark to the beach destination in the Balearic Islands in a Boeing 767-300ER starting June 2. United will offer flights three times a week. 
  • Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands: United is set to launch a new flight from New York/Newark to the Tenerife on June 9, offering service three times a week via a Boeing 757-200. 
  • Amman, Jordan: Flights from Washington, D.C. to Amman begin May 5 with service three-times-weekly with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. 

Tickets for Bergen, Azores, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife go on sale Thursday, and Amman tickets should follow soon after. 

The airline is also adding new flights to five European destinations (Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Munich and Rome) “in anticipation of a resurgence in visitors” and relaunching seven routes that had been paused during the pandemic to Bangalore, Frankfurt, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Nice and Zurich, all of which are subject to government approval. 

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The expansion would follow the launch of a new air travel system in the U.S. in early November that will ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nations.

While international flight capacity saw gains this year, it has a ways to go before catching up to pre-pandemic levels. International passenger demand dropped 76% between 2019 and 2020, the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history according to the International Air Transport Association.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz





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NBL tracking towards 99% vaccination ahead of season tip-off


NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger has revealed 99% of the league’s players have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

With the season opener still seven weeks away, scheduled for Dec. 3, Loeliger says there’s been a strong reaction to an education campaign aimed at clubs and their playing rosters.

“The really pleasing element is that 99% of our players are already either completely vaccinated or had their first dose,” Loeliger said on Tuesday.

“It’s fantastic that they’ve taken such a proactive response to being prepared for the season.

“We’ve ensured that we’ve delivered a really extensive education program for clubs and players to ensure that they are aware of the implications of not being vaccinated, both from a health perspective but also from a practical perspective and what that could mean in terms of crossing between state borders or international borders.

“And what it could mean in terms of potentially not being permitted access to venues as well.”

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NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger says the league has cemented itself as a consistent pathway for players to reach the NBA.

NBL competition owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman was proud of the position taken by players, which he said showed care for the community.

The NBA rate is about 95%, including players who have had one vaccination.

NBL clubs have taken a firm stance on vaccinations with the New Zealand Breakers and Tai Webster parting ways when the Kiwi international refused any vaccination.

Import guard Travis Trice, who spent time with Cairns and Brisbane before playing in the NBA’s G-League and Europe, had signed with the Illawarra in July for this coming season.

But the Hawks said they couldn’t carry a player who wasn’t vaccinated as he wouldn’t be able to freely travel between states or to New Zealand.

“It’s an outcome that I think every sport can be proud, of any business can be proud of,” Kestelman said on Tuesday.

“I’m proud of the outcome that we’ve been able to achieve and the 99 per cent is just amazing and I’m confident we’ll get the season up and running with that not being an issue. “



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Latest news updates: Thailand relaxes travel rules for tourists ahead of year-end holiday season – Financial Times



Latest news updates: Thailand relaxes travel rules for tourists ahead of year-end holiday season  Financial Times



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Don’t travel unless ‘absolutely necessary,’ Hajdu reminds Canada ahead of holiday season – National


As the weather starts to get colder and Canadians start eyeing sunny destinations to the south, Health Minister Patty Hajdu has a reminder: non-essential travel is still not advised.

Hajdu said prospective travellers should keep that in mind as they consider going to visit relatives or think about taking a beach vacation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ll remind Canadians that, as annoying as it is…we still have travel advisories in place recommending that people don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Hajdu said, speaking during an interview with The West Block host Mercedes Stephenson.

Read more:
4th wave of COVID-19 no longer growing, cases could decline in coming weeks: PHAC

There are “a couple of reasons” why the travel advisory is still in place, Hajdu added, including the fact that there are “a number of places in the world” where “COVID is still very, very out of control” — including some American states.

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Hajdu also pointed out that travel rules can change in different jurisdictions “very quickly.”

“We’ve seen a number of stories over the last 18 months or so of Canadians finding out, when they’ve arrived in another country, that the rules have changed and that they now have hurdles to get back to Canada or challenges to get into the country in which they’ve just arrived,” she said.


Click to play video: 'The cost of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic'







The cost of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic


The cost of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

Her comments come on the heels of news that the fourth wave in Canada is starting to show signs of slowing, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

While progress has been uneven across the country, new modelling presented by PHAC on Friday suggests that if current transmission levels are maintained, the number of new daily cases could decline in the coming weeks.

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Overall, the numbers give “reason for optimism” said Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada.

“With the level of vaccine coverage that we have achieved in Canada to date, we are much better protected going into the respiratory infection season,” Tam said.

“By maintaining basic and less restrictive measures such as masking and limiting close contact, we could reduce the impact of COVID-19 this winter.”

Read more:
Federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate: Here’s what we know, what we don’t

Meanwhile, the government has been preparing for a time when COVID-19’s spread slows sufficiently to allow Canadians to travel recreationally once again.

Hajdu said the government is working with other countries to try to ensure that when Canadians do travel, their vaccines are accepted — even in cases when an individual received two different kinds of COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is something that I think all countries are working through — which vaccines will they accept as proof of vaccination for entry into the country — and we’re going to continue to work with our American counterparts to share all the data they need to to move on this issue,” she said.

The Americans have yet to make a decision as to whether they’ll consider Canadians who received two different COVID-19 vaccine doses as being fully vaccinated.

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Click to play video: 'Current COVID-19 vaccine coverage leaves Canadians ‘better protected’ heading into winter, Tam says'







Current COVID-19 vaccine coverage leaves Canadians ‘better protected’ heading into winter, Tam says


Current COVID-19 vaccine coverage leaves Canadians ‘better protected’ heading into winter, Tam says

Hajdu would not reveal whether the U.S. administration appears open to recognizing COVID-19 vaccine dose mixing, but said Canadian officials will “continue to, obviously, press the Americans to recognize” it.

“I suspect that this will continue to be a work in progress for countries, including the United States, including Canada, about how we ensure that we have the confidence in vaccines that we haven’t had the ability to fully review from a scientific data base,” she said.

“That’s the work that we’ll continue to do here in Canada, and I’m confident our international partners will do so as well.”

— with files from Global News’ Leslie Young





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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CDC Recommends Unvaccinated Americans Avoid Domestic Travel Ahead of Holiday Season




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Expo 2020 unveils the Opportunity Pavilion ahead of grand opening | News


Expo 2020 Dubai is unveiling the inspiring visitor experience for Mission Possible – the Opportunity Pavilion.

An interactive exhibition journey that addresses the most fundamental global challenges of our time, it is designed to shed light on what can be achieved when individuals and communities work together.

As the pavilion that brings the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to life, Mission Possible will also be the home of the United Nations’ physical presence at the World Expo, featured through a dedicated space, the UN Hub.

The Mission Possible experience welcomes visitors with three parallel ‘tracks’ that focus on water, food and energy –resources that were chosen as they are basic human needs, and form part of the SDGs – illustrating how unlocking opportunity at a local level can be used for the greater global good.

Visitors are ‘guided’ through the tracks by three individuals whose innovative projects were implemented with minimal resources, yet had a life-changing impact.

Firstly Abel Cruz from Peru addresses water shortages through fog nets that harvest fog and turn it into water, while UAE National Mariam Al Juneibi is a sustainable organic farmer who promotes sustainable farming and healthy eating practices, while encouraging people to grow their own vegetables.

Finally, Fatma Juma Haji, a master trainer who teaches other women to install solar panels, helps to create sustainable energy in Zanzibar, where less than four per cent of the population has access to electricity.

The community members of each ‘guide’ share how their lives have been improved far beyond access to water, food and energy, demonstrating the interdependency of different SDGs, and how meeting basic human requirements unlocks other opportunities.

The thought-provoking experience concludes with the Pledge Room, an upside-down space entered ‘through the clouds’, where visitors are asked to commit to a course of action that will make a difference in their own and their community’s lives.

Their pledges are transported to the ‘garden’ – a representation situated on the ceiling of the room.

Building on the interactive visitor journey, the UN Hub will provide a dynamic set of programmes throughout the six months of Expo 2020 that will inform, inspire and engage visitors to take impactful action towards a thriving future for people and planet by contributing to the SDGs.

Meanwhile, Mission Possible hosts Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme, which spotlights simple but effective initiatives linked to the SDGs that can be adapted, replicated or scaled for enhanced global impact.

The Best Practice Area showcases the 50 projects supported under the Programme, echoing the same message as Mission Possible: it is collective action that leads to a better world.

Reem Al Hashimy, director general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The pavilion will serve as a beacon of hope and source of inspiration for all visitors, reminding them that no matter where they come from and regardless of age or gender, they have the power to make a difference and now is the time to do so.

“The engagement of the UN, and the UN Hub at the pavilion, reinforces this collective message.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration and push forward our joint efforts in order to create a better future for both people and planet.”

Designed by AGi Architects, Mission Possible – the Opportunity Pavilion was conceived as a large plaza to reflect its aim of providing a platform for social and cross-cultural engagement.

Floating 32 metres above the ground, the pavilion’s canopy represents clouds, which are in constant transformation, and the dreams that we all aspire to achieve, while a terracotta ‘carpet’ covers the ground and the pavilion’s facade, representing Earth and inviting visitors to share their experiences.

The pavilion’s exhibition has been designed by ALEC Fit Out and ICARIA Atelier.





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Expo 2020 unveils official song ahead of opening | News


With less than a week to go until it opens its doors to the world, Expo 2020 Dubai has launched its official song.

Titled This Is Our Time, the piece highlights pride in the United Arab Emirates’ culture, celebrates the future and brings together nations from around the world.

The song, available to listen here, features Hussain Al Jassmi, one of the biggest artists in the country and an Expo 2020 ambassador, accompanied by Lebanese-American Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Mayssa Karaa.

The latter who is also artistic director of Expo’s all-female Firdaus Orchestra.

Also involved is 21-year-old Emirati singer-songwriter, Almas.

Marjan Faraidooni, chief experience officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “World Expos bring people together, and we are pleased to welcome a collection of incredible talents to lend their voices to the official Expo 2020 Dubai song – combining the past, present and future, and providing an inspiration to all.

“In less than ten days, we look forward to welcoming the world and creating once-in-a-lifetime memories for millions of visitors.”

One of the first global mega-events to take place since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 will run from October 1st until March next year.

It invites millions of visitors to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture, with music providing a unifying, uplifting force.

Al Jassmi said: “This Is Our Time is a tribute to the UAE for all it has been, is today and will achieve in the years to come.

“It’s a song about pride, faith and unity, and I hope that it brings a smile to the faces of everyone who hears it, wherever they may be in the world.

“Being a part of such an iconic event in the UAE’s history is extremely exciting and rewarding.”

Give the song a listen below:





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COP26: Boris Johnson to travel to UN and White House to push for climate action ahead of crunch summit | Climate News


Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit President Joe Biden next week in a bid to drum up support ahead of the COP26 Summit on climate change.

Mr Johnson will travel to New York for a meeting at the UN on Monday, before travelling to Washington to meet Mr Biden at the White House for the first time for discussions on climate, COVID and international security.

It is hoped the meetings will help galvanise momentum in the lead up to COP26 – crunch climate talks the UK is hosting in Glasgow in November.

Speaking ahead of the visit, the prime minister said: “World leaders have a small window of time left to deliver on their climate commitments ahead of COP26.

“My message to those I meet this week will be clear: future generations will judge us based on what we achieve in the coming months.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are greeted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before posing for photos at the G-7 summit, in Carbis Bay, Britain, June 11, 2021. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS
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Mr Johnson and Mr Biden made a series of climate promises when they met at the G7 in Cornwall in June

While in New York Mr Johnson will make a speech at the UN General Assembly and meet a group of world leaders to discuss actions that can be taken to help mitigate the impact of global warming on developing countries.

Around 100 world leaders are confirmed to attend COP26, which represent a once in a generation opportunity to make progress to keep global warming below 1.5C.

The prime minister’s trip to Washington is his first since Mr Biden took office.

He will also meet Vice President Kamala Harris and senior members of the US House of Representatives and Senate.

These discussions will be an important opportunity to build on the climate commitments made by leaders, including the Mr Johnson and Mr Biden, at the G7 Summit in Cornwall.

At the meeting in June, the G7 agreed to take action to tackle climate change and drive green growth around the world, including by mobilising $100 billion in climate finance and phasing out the use of coal internationally.

They will also discuss the situation in Afghanistan and how to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

At a virtual meeting of G7 leaders, Mr Johnson, President Biden and other leaders agreed to work together on a collective international response.

This work will be bolstered by the UN Security Council Resolution, driven by the UK, US and France, which calls for urgent humanitarian access to Afghanistan.

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The UK has committed £286m in aid to Afghanistan this year.

Earlier this week the UK, US and Australia announced the formation of a new defence pact – AUKUS – to promote stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.



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Holiday travel and delta: 5 tips for planning ahead amid the surge


To avoid potential cancellation fees, meanwhile, Keyes recommends booking your holiday flights now, while fares are cheaper, with frequent flier miles. While details can vary from airline to airline, doing so should mean that if something doesn’t work out with your plans down the line, you’ll be able to cancel your award flight and get your miles back, without any extra fees.



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Travel picking up ahead of winter holidays


After about a year and a half at home, many people are catching the travel bug. Whether you want to get away this holiday season or sometime next year, the time to book is now. With the pandemic still a concern, there are a lot of things to consider before doing so.

The most popular international destinations right now include Caribbean islands, like the Dominican Republic and Mexico, according to AAA.

A travel agent can help coordinate your travel and pay attention to changing regulations.

Resorts, hotels and cruises are filling up fast, according to Geri Van Alstine, an international travel consultant with AAA. Prices are better if you book far in advance and travelers guarantee themselves a room, she said.

“If they’re booking at 50% capacity and people are saying, ‘Oh, we’re going. We’re getting married next year and we’re going on a honeymoon,’ so they’re booking it because they know that they’re definitely going to do that,” said Van Alstine. “So it’s always better at least get the land part. Airline tickets you can’t do that far out.”

Tour operators are less flexible about canceling or rebooking than they were earlier in the pandemic, so protect yourself in case of last-minute changes, Van Alstine said. There are a variety of insurance types you can purchase for your trip, but do your research before buying. The options vary by state and trip provider.

“You really have to be careful, look it over, decide which insurance is the best for you to cover you while you’re traveling as well,” said Van Alstine. “If you cancel for any reason, a lot of time, it’s just a future travel credit, not money back.”

Cancel-for-any-reason insurance is not available in New York State. There is a chance, however, that if your travel provider is out of state, they may provide it, according to Van Alstine.



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