Category Archives: Travel

UK Travel Alert: Terror advice video for holidaymakers shows hotel attack

UK terror-threat-levels

A video advising UK holidaymakers what to do in the event of a terror attack abroad has been released by police.

The four-minute film depicts a firearms attack unfolding at a hotel and uses the “run, hide, tell” safety message.

Thirty British tourists were among 38 people killed when a gunman attacked a Tunisian beach resort in June 2015.

Counter terrorism police said there is no specific intelligence Britons will be targeted this summer and the film is part of a general awareness campaign.

But Det Ch Supt Scott Wilson told the BBC it was “only right” to offer advice following the terror attacks in London and in Sousse, Tunisia.

“These people are not there to steal a mobile phone or steal your watch, they are there to kill you, you have to get yourself out of that danger zone,” Mr Wilson told the BBC.

“It’s very unlikely [that you will be caught up in a terror attack].

“It’s very much like the safety briefing you get on an aeroplane before it takes off – it’s very unlikely that plane is going to crash, but it’s very important you are given that knowledge of what you should and what you shouldn’t do.”

The video has been produced with the Foreign Office and travel association Abta.

Mr Wilson said 23,000 representatives from major UK holiday companies at resorts all over the world had been trained in what to do in the event of a terror attack as well as how to spot suspicious items and activity.

Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “While there is no specific information that British holidaymakers will be targeted this summer, it sets out some simple steps we can all take to minimise the impact of an attack if one does take place.”

The run, hide, tell message was first introduced by police in December 2015.

 Run

  • If there is a safe route run
  • Insist others go with you, but do not let their indecision slow you down
  • Leave belongings behind

Hide

  • If you cannot run, hide
  • Be aware of your exits
  • Find cover from gunfire
  • Try not to get trapped

Tell

  • Call the police when it is safe (112 for the EU)

Protests or Riots? G20 Summit Ends With Almost 500 Injured Police Officers

G20 2017

Germany is second-guessing its decision to host the G20 summit after 476 police officers were injured during a weekend of violence in Hamburg.

Injuries include cuts, firework burns and eye damage from laser pointers. Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz praised police for their “heroic job” while slamming rioters for destroying the city.

“This cannot take place,” Scholz said Sunday. “This is unforgivable and indefensible.”

Just 186 people out thousands of rioters were arrested throughout the weekend, and authorities expect a difficult job identifying more perpetrators. Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel compared violent protestors to neo-Nazis, calling the events an “orgy of brutality.”

“The offenders do not differ at all from neo-Nazis and their fire attacks,” Gabriel said in an op-ed in tabloid Bild am Sonntag.

Scholz and Chancellor Angela Merkel both defended the decision to host the summit despite harsh criticism from the German press.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the unchained violence and unrestrained brutality that the police faced repeatedly during the G-20,” Merkel said Saturday during a press conference at the end of the summit. “Apparently, there are people who have no interest in the issues and instead go on a rampage of blind destruction in their own neighborhood. Tough police measures are the only response to that.”

One police officer asked Merkel directly if she thought it was worth hosting the summit considering what the police force had to go through.

“You have protected something that I would say was worthy of protection,” Merkel replied.

JACOB BOJESSON The Daily Caller

 

UN Disrespects The Tomb Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob

Cave of the Patriarchs

It’s the burial site of the Bible’s Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah . . . and also the final resting place of the United Nations’ integrity.

In a Friday vote in Krakow, Poland, the 21-member heritage committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, passed a resolution declaring the world’s most ancient Jewish site, the Cave of the Patriarchs, a part of the State of Palestine.

A state that doesn’t actually exist — the real point of the measure actually being to help bring it magically into being, and to slap Israel because, well, Jews.

It’s just the latest in a string of UNESCO outrages; the week also saw a 22-10 vote to declare Israel an “occupying power” in the Old City of Jerusalem, home of the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews. Another recent resolution listed the Temple Mount itself as a Palestinian, but not Israeli, historic site.

Friday’s measure also puts the Cave of the Patriarchs on UNESCO’s “in danger” list — obscenely implying that Israel might destroy this “Palestinian” treasure.

In fact, the reverse is true: Palestinians are the ones with the history of destroying Jewish sites — like torching Joseph’s Tomb in 2000, followed by sacking and burning the ancient Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho. Not to mention the Palestinian gunmen who took over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted, “Only in places where Israel exists . . . is freedom of worship guaranteed for all. Everywhere else in the Middle East, mosques, churches and synagogues are being destroyed. We’ll continue to safeguard the Cave of the Patriarchs, freedom of religion and truth.”

UNESCO, meanwhile, should stop pretending, and strike “educational” and “scientific” from its name.

New York Post

It’s 2017, But Venezuela Looks Set To Be Choosing Communism

Communist Venezuela

If you think Latin American communism and idyllic subsistence farming is the way to go, boy does South America have a nation for you.

You might think it’s the 1950s or the middle of the Cold War when American-style capitalist democracy was waging a war against Soviet-style communism. It seems that everywhere you look, the market has spoken, for better or for worse. Russia has gleaming steel towers and a stock exchange. China is like the biggest thing since sliced bread apparently, with Davos going so far as to herald it as the poster child of globalization at this year’s World Economic Forum. Even Cuba is inching its way out of Castro-style communism by opening up to the United States. Meanwhile, across the sea in Venezuela, the Socialists United Party (PSUV) of the late Hugo Chavez is sticking to their narrative of savior Simon Bolivar and how the powers of a repressive, foreign capitalist system is bad, very bad, for the lumpen proletariat of South America. Communism is clearly better.

Too bad for Venezuela that PSUV has squandered much of the country’s wealth, sending some of it into south Florida housing. Their central bank has $10 billion left to its name. They can keep raising the minimum wage, but where is all of this money coming from? Venezuela is nowhere near becoming a  socialist-democratic society like Europe, with state run health care and free colleges and high taxes to pay for the best of it all. Venezuela is running out of middle income people to tax. The rich are either in Miami, Spain, Italy, or working for PSUV. (Or spending all their money on private security.)

Yet, despite the fact that the evidence is clear — socialism is not working in Venezuela — its leader Nicolas Maduro is hellbent on making it happen. It’s 2017, and communism is back, baby!

This week moved Venezuela closer to a communist autocracy. Maduro called for a constituent assembly of allies, which appears to be yet another step towards staying in power forever. Speaking at a May Day rally on Monday, Maduro told state employees and PSUV fans that a new constitution was needed to protect the state from a “coup d’etat”.

There are no details on why Maduro needs to re-write the constitution other than to turn Venezuelan democracy into something more closely related to communism. He says the opposition is waging an economic war against him, as if the millions of people who have marched against PSUV since September are shooting themselves in the foot by hoarding food, medicines, and forcing oil prices so low that oil firm PDVSA is hanging by a thread. This narrative of economic warfare is the narrative of foreign colonial powers versus the indigenous population. It is a narrative of old world banana republics, popularized by the late Hugo Chavez who had $150 oil to save him. PDVSA had a lot of money then. The government took that money and redistributed to the poor. It was a good game. You win the hearts and minds of a large portion of the population, and you even gain support among the middle class who own stores and dental shops that now catered to a lower class that had money to spend.

Those days are gone.

“We assume this represents at best a distraction technique to avoid the election cycles or a worst an attempt to further consolidate power,” says Siobhan Morden, managing director for Nomura Securities in New York about Maduro’s latest power grab.

The constituent assembly is really a move towards one-party rule. It is formed via “communes or workers” as opposed to the democratically elected political parties. It escalates the political crisis to a new phase of intensity with the risk of backlash from the diplomatic community, led by the Organization of American States, or OAS. Venezuela isn’t worried about the backlash from foreign political entities, especially ones with strong ties to Washington.

Long time Chavez supporter, Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington pointed out recently in a Huffington Post editorial that Venezuela has no friends in the OAS and is right to leave it.

“Venezuela needs a negotiated solution because it is still a polarized society,” he says, pointing out that some 25% of the population still support Maduro, which is more than can be said for Brazil, Mexico and Colombia’s presidents. The problem there is that 75% do not support him, at the very least, which is not a polarization of society at all. It is quite an obvious and massive disdain for the ruling PSUV.

Moreover, corruption is so deeply embedded in the government, and touches so many actors within the ruling system, including ranking members of the military, that there is too much at stake for these individuals to let PSUV throw in the towel.

“It appears unlikely that we will see any substantive change of government in the short term, and even if Maduro steps aside, a change in leadership will not necessarily equate to a change in government, in which case the same story is likely to prevail,” write Center for Strategic and International Studies analysts led by Adam Sieminski in a note on May 1.

Everything in Venezuela politics today uses the language of communism, from “collectives” to actual “communes” that are part of the executive branch. Sources in Caracas tell me that armed collectives keep the urban poor at bay, making it harder for them to join protesters in the streets. This has made it easier for PSUV to say that the opposition represents a bourgeoisie that does not have the poor’s interest in mind.

It’s not clear why Maduro chose to announce a revamp of the constitution in favor of one-party rule. He could’ve just waited for protest fatigue.

The local headlines reflect skepticism on the constituent assembly process with the member participation based upon direct selection from within the “Communal Power” registered by the Minister of the Popular Power of the Communes.

Venezuela is rebranding itself into a communist state. Maduro’s constituent assembly is just another step in that direction.

Kenneth Rapoza Forbes

UK Government Disrespect of Judaism

UK Government & Judaism

An English religious school for Orthodox Jewish girls age three to eight may be forced to close “because it does not teach its students about gender reassignment or homosexuality,” reports Eliot Kaufman at National Review.

The UK’s Office of Standards in Education says it will “not relent in its application of the 2010 Equalities Act” against the Vishnitz Girls School.

The law is being interpreted to “force prepubescent girls to learn about sexual orientation.

And if that violates the teachings of their faith, the bureaucrats maintain, the faith shall have to change. If it won’t, the kids will have to lose their school.” Ironically, officials admit the school “appears to excel at teaching secular subjects — a challenge for many Orthodox schools.”

But they’re demanding full exposure to “fundamental British values.” This, says Kaufman, “is nothing short of the imposition of secular dogma.”

Silence on Otto Warmbier Torture: ADL?

Otto Warmbier Torture

Otto Warmbier, the American college student imprisoned and tortured by North Korea who died this week after being returned to his parents in a coma, was active in his campus Jewish community.

Yet Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League chief among them, were all but silent on Warmbier’s ordeal. Asks Tablet’s Liel Liebovitz: Why?

Liebovitz points out that Warmbier had aroused not sympathy but angry attacks from the social-justice left: “When the young college student was arrested last year, the regressive left’s flagships, from Salon to the blessedly defunct Nightly Show, gleefully mocked Warmbier, arguing that white privilege was the real reason for his predicament.”

Such bigotry “is toxic to all Americans, but it’s particularly hazardous to Jews, whose suffering is too often explained away these days as an acceptable byproduct of excessive power and influence.” All of which makes Jewish groups’ “silence” on Warmbier’s murder “shameful.”

New York Post

EUROPE FAIL: Candles Don’t Stop Terrorism

Dale Yeager Blog

“Kindness is a luxury on the battlefield, where survival takes priority over everything else,” says Richard Fernandez at PJ Media, and “the UK is running low on counter-terror resources,” with not enough police to watch the reported “23,000 jihadist extremists living in Britain.”

Indeed, all “Europe is beginning to admit it doesn’t have enough hard force to deal with the new threats” — hence “the reliance on candles, tweets, dimmed lights,” and so on. But “when the candles stop working, they will be forced to Plan B” — “making the descent from the Marquess of Queensberry Rules to street fighting inevitable.” In the end, “an unsustainable program of political correctness killed the very thing it swore to protect.”

Flight Attendants Share 13 Of Their Favorite Travel Hacks

Travel Help Dale Yeager Blog

For flight attendants, who often spend more than 80 hours in the air a month, traveling can become almost second nature.

So who better to turn to for travel tips and tricks than the people with extensive knowledge on the matter?

We asked flight attendants to share their best travel hacks with us and scoured the internet for more.

Here are 13 things that could help make your travel experiences easier and more enjoyable:

Get more attentive service from your flight attendants

“While most passengers tend to choose seats that are at the front of the aircraft so that they can disembark first and have a better chance of securing their preferred meal option, flight attendants know that if you’re sitting towards the back, you’ll receive the most attentive service.

“The reason is simple: We like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way. This can cause a problem since planes often don’t have enough extra vodka, pillows, earplugs, and toothbrushes, or the time on shorter flights to deviate from the service schedule.

“For passengers sitting near the back of the plane, however, it’s much easier to slip in that second mini bottle of wine.”

Iron your clothes faster

“Use your flat iron to touch up your clothes when you’re in a rush and there’s no time for the ironing board.”

— A flight attendant with 30 years’ experience 

Always sleep in clean sheets

“Don’t sleep on hotel sheets that don’t have creases from being folded; someone slept on them already.”

— A flight attendant with 19 years’ experience

Keep the hotel room dark

“Use the clips on the pants hangers in the hotel room to clip your curtains together so there is no light coming through.”

— A flight attendant with 15 years’ experience

Avoid doing damage to your hearing

“Avoid flying if you have a severe cold. It can damage your eardrums, and you may lose your hearing. It happened to me once — I couldn’t hear properly for a week, and it hurt like hell.”

Source: Quora

Avoid being seated near a baby

“While there’s no escaping (or blaming) the shrill of an upset child, you can lower your odds of sitting directly next to one by choosing a seat that’s located far from the partitions on board.

“These partitions, which go by the technical name ‘bulkheads,’ are the only places on an aircraft where a parent can safely secure a baby’s bassinet — and are, therefore, where most children under one year old will be situated.”

Source: Oyster

Fight jet lag

“What helps me sleep is having a bedtime ritual. Stop using electronics one hour before bedtime, have a cup of tea, and read a bit. Usually that does the trick, but if I can’t sleep after an hour I just get up, do something else, and then try again.”

Source: Quora

Pack lighter

“Before your trip, call your hotel and check to see if they have a washer/dryer available. If so, bring a couple detergent packs and dryer sheets in a Ziploc bag, and it eliminates two to four days’ worth of clothes, depending on your stay.”

— A flight attendant with one year of experience

Get through customs in a jiff

“Pay for Global Entry — it’s totally worth it.”

— An anonymous flight attendant

Save space in your suitcase

“My favorite travel hack is definitely the clothes-roll technique. I am often gone from home for several days, even up to three weeks, and I save space by rolling my clothes instead of folding them.”

— A flight attendant with one year of experience

Never miss out on free breakfast

“If you know you’re not going to be able to attend whatever complimentary meal they’re offering because you’re leaving before it starts or you know you’re not going to be up until after it’s over, check with the hotel to see if there’s some kind of snack or sack lunch they can provide before or ahead of time. Usually it’s just a piece of fruit, a bottle of water, and a thing of string cheese, but that’s saved my growling stomach on several occasions.”

— A flight attendant with one year of experience

Get a cheaper upgrade

“Some airlines do offer reduced-price upgrades the day of the flight — there’s sometimes even first-class flights available. So be in the boarding area good and early during boarding, because this is when you’ll hear the announcements for last-minute upgrade purchases you might be able to get. It’s not for every airline, but it does happen.”

— A flight attendant with three years of experience

Don’t miss out on the first-class upgrade if you qualify for it

“I think it’s great we don’t have to travel in suits and high heels anymore. You can be comfortable. But you can also be classy and comfortable. Check your air carrier’s rules — there are still dress codes sometimes in first class and, who knows, maybe, miracle of the day, you’ll get that cheap upgrade to first class. Be comfortable, but if you can avoid wearing your pajamas, that’s great.”

— A flight attendant with three years of experience

Colombia On Its Way To Becoming Venezuela? The Scary Facts.

Colombia Mess

In mid-April, President Trump had a brief, cordial exchange with two former presidents of Colombia — Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana — at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. After the Miami Herald reported the encounter, critics suggested it might “undermine” the Colombian “peace deal” struck by the current president, Juan Manuel Santos, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

In fact, it’s less a peace agreement than a pathway to dictatorship for a key US ally and to an expansion of drug trafficking here — developments that would pose grave challenges to Trump’s national security agenda and fight against opioid addiction.

Remarkably, this disastrous course will likely be partially financed with nearly half a billion US taxpayer dollars — promised by then-President Barack Obama — unless Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan deny the appropriation to implement the deal.

For 52 years, the Marxist narco-terrorists of FARC have financed their mayhem with the production and export of cocaine and heroin to the United States. FARC has committed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 murders and ravaged the country. It remains a US-designated foreign terrorist organization.

Uribe and Pastrana each attempted to negotiate a just and stable peace, but FARC’s demands proved too onerous and no agreement was reached.

Santos got a farcical one-sided agreement so damaging to Colombia’s democratic system and FARC’s victims that the people demanded a national referendum. Last October, the deal was voted down.

Circumventing the will of his own people, Santos pushed a revised agreement through the Colombian Congress three weeks later as a way to avoid having to hold a second referendum and risking another defeat.

The terms of the “very bad deal”(for which Santos won a Nobel Peace Prize):

  •  Drug-trafficking will no longer be a major crime.
  •  Money-laundering will no longer be a crime.
  •  Extradition of major narco-terrorists to the United States won’t be permitted.
  •  All criminal records of FARC members will be erased.
  •  There will be no punishment for any member of FARC, including its leadership, even if they’ve committed crimes against humanity. But members of the military and national police who’ve received long sentences for events related to the conflict will remain in prison.
  •  FARC will have the right to establish a third political party, nominate candidates for president and enjoy the protection of a paramilitary “security organization” armed and paid by taxpayers — but under FARC control.
  •  A special court — half of which will be made up of FARC-appointed judges — will be created outside the constitutional judiciary to investigate and adjudicate all matters related to the conflict.

And what did the FARC concede for the deal? Little beyond pledging to surrender an easily replenished fraction of its weapons and voluntarily reduce the drug acreage it controls but only by a small amount — promises it’s already slow-walking.

As with Obama’s Iran deal, every concession is given to FARC upfront for a promise of future compliance. But taking a page from the Palestinian playbook, FARC split itself into two entities: a) the political FARC, to negotiate and abide by the agreement and participate in politics, and b) the business FARC, which, unbound by the terms and not forced to disarm, would likely continue its illicit drug production and exports.

Santos now effectively controls the three branches of government, the independence and integrity of which have been grossly compromised. Colombia’s democratic system is in danger of steaming toward either a dictatorship controlled by narco-terrorism and radical socialism a la Venezuela or a military takeover likely resulting in bloody chaos.

The situation offers Trump a major opportunity to make good on two key campaign promises: stemming the flow of drugs here and protecting American taxpayers.

Santos desperately wants Obama’s promised $450 million annually to implement the deal — which will include direct distributions to FARC members and government grants of millions of acres of prime agricultural land while providing no compensation to the victims of FARC crimes. Such a gift, whether whole or in part, would be interpreted as US support for the agreement.

When Santos arrives in Washington this month, Trump should make clear that neither the appropriation nor approval for the deal will be forthcoming.

The FARC agreement needs significant changes in order to preserve democracy in Colombia. The Colombian people desire peace, but its price should not be the handover of the government to the narco-terrorists or military — with a substantial assist in blood money from US taxpayers.

Monica Crowley is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Restriction on Guns and Knives Increase Acid Attacks In Britain By 70%

Acid Attacks On the Rise UK

On April 21, police in Manchester in northern England, said a pregnant woman and a man suffered “severe discomfort” when someone threw bleach in their eyes from a passing car.

“It’s a growing problem, there’s no question,” said Jaf Shah, executive director of Acid Survivors Trust International, a London charity that supports victims, predominantly in South Asia, where acid attacks are more common.

Shah said acid attacks in other countries usually involve men targeting females. The reasons are often over spurned marriage proposals or sexual advances. In Britain, young men are mainly targeting other young men in violence that is often gang-related. British law is not specific about banning acid as a weapon, so gang members may use it to avoid prosecution, he said.

Even so, acid attackers are often convicted of assault or a more serious charge of grievous bodily harm, which carries a maximum life sentence. Since 2015, the government has required vendors to report suspicious transactions involving sulfuric acid to police because it can be used to manufacture explosives.

“(Corrosive substances) are extremely easy to get hold of (in Britain). You can buy them from hardware stores and don’t have to register why you’re purchasing it or what you want to use it for,” said Simon Harding, a professor of criminology at London’s Middlesex University.

“If you throw (acid) in someone’s face it’s going to affect their eyes and eyesight so you have a high chance of getting away with it. It’s a very easy thing to do. You can ride up to someone on a bike and throw it at them.”

By contrast, guns are very hard to get in Britain, unlike in the United States. As a result, there are only 50 to 60 gun homicides in England and Wales each year, a rate of about one for every 1 million people, according to the Geneva Declaration of Armed Violence and Development, a multinational organization. In the U.S., about 30 per 1 million people are killed in gun homicides. The Gun Violence Archive, a database of gun-related violence in the U.S., says 13,286 people were killed and 26,819 injured by firearms in the U.S. in 2015.

Victims of acid attacks say they must deal with life-long repercussions. Australians Prue Fraser, 20, and her sister, Isobella, 22, were among those sprayed at the Mangle club.

“I ended up in the middle of this fight and I was thrown over the barrier near the bar with all my stuff,” Prue Fraser told the London Evening Standard.  “Getting up I could feel my arm was burning. It was like boiling water had been poured over me but like I was cut as well. I have never experienced anything like it, it was excruciating. We saw six other girls who had it in their eyes, faces and chest areas they were screaming and crying.”

Isobella Fraser said she sustained third-degree burns on her arms and back.

Daniel Rotariu, 31, of Leicester in central England, was blinded in both eyes and suffered burns to 32% of his body when his lover, Katie Leong, threw sulfuric acid on him as he slept following an argument last July. Leong, 52, was convicted of attempted murder in March and sentenced to life in prison.

“I have nightmares. … I see it every day, every hour, like it was yesterday,” Rotariu said in his victim-impact statement in court. “More than half of my life I’m gonna have to live it like this. … Sometimes I wish I was dead and I didn’t survive.”

Jane Onyanga-Omara , USA TODAY