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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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
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.
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.”
Girls are being taken to female genital mutilation (FGM) “parties” in cities across England, a charity has warned.
The Black Health Initiative in Leeds says midwives from Africa are being flown into the country to carry out the illegal practice.
West Yorkshire Police said they were aware girls were being subjected to FGM locally.
Latest NHS figures show more than 8,000 women across England have recently been identified as being victims of FGM.
FGM is an illegal practice in the UK and carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail. It is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia, for non medical reasons.
Heather Nelson, Chief Executive of the Black Health Initiative, said: “We know of parties happening here in England, and in West Yorkshire we recently had to break one up, and we’ve stopped another from taking place.
“What we’re finding now is that where once girls were taken abroad to be cut, specialist midwives are now flown over and several girls are cut at the same time, which then leads to a celebration.”
The charity said it had a referral from a school in Leeds last week regarding an eight-year-old girl who they thought was playing truant.
“In fact she was disappearing from class because it took her an hour to go to the toilet, such was the pain she was experiencing,” Ms Nelson said.
“People will say why don’t you call the police if you hear about one of these parties? But when you call the police you find that not every officer has an awareness of what FGM is.”
West Yorkshire Police said they were aware that women and girls in Yorkshire had been subjected to the act of FGM.
Ass Ch Con Russ Foster said: “We are doing everything we can to tackle this issue and it is vital that all our partners continue to work together to make a difference.”
The force said it had no “specific intelligence” about FGM “parties” taking place.
Areas in England with the highest number of recorded FGM victims include Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester.
Fatima, from Sheffield, was subjected to FGM when she was 10 years old while living in Africa.
“One day my auntie came to our house to take me to the place where they were going to cut me, and when we got there five women pinned me down.
“Afterwards I got an infection and that means now I can’t have children.
“I don’t feel like a woman because I can’t feel anything. Everyday I think about it and it makes me very angry.”
A recent report by the Home Affairs Select Committee said it was a “national scandal” that no one in the UK had ever been successfully prosecuted for a FGM offence.
There are no definitive figures that detail exactly how many women in England have actually been a victim of FGM.
A study by the City University of London published in 2015 estimated there were 137,000 women who have been subjected to the practice in England and Wales.
Meanwhile, NHS Digital began collating data in April 2015 about the number of women and girls coming into contact with the NHS who have been a victim of FGM at some point in their lives.
These figures show that 8,718 women have been identified as FGM victims, with 68 females saying the procedure had been carried out in the UK.
By David RhodesBBC NewsBy David RhodesBBC News
Additional reporting by Abi Jaiyeola and Jenny Eells
By publicly insisting that we’ll build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it, President Trump has guaranteed that Mexico won’t pony up a single peso. No Mexican president or political party could do so and survive.
At a time when US citizens don’t know our own history, it may seem absurd to ask them to understand how past relations shape Mexico’s identity. But resolving international problems demands that we view the world from the other side: History is fate.
How would we feel if, a few decades after our War of Independence, a neighboring power had seized over half of our territory?
The Mexican-American War of 1846-48 did just that to Mexico, adding not only the Southwest and California to the United States, but today’s Nevada, Utah and even a bite of Wyoming. As a junior officer in that war, Ulysses S. Grant — who would become our greatest general and then president — believed the conflict was shamefully unjust.
Trump’s apparent “joke,” made over the phone Wednesday to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto about sending troops over the border to fight Mexican gangs, was not well-received, for this and other reasons.
But weren’t we avenging the Alamo and defending Texan freedom? Well . . .
Mexico initially welcomed “Texican” settlers from US territory, but after winning its freedom from Spain, Mexico had outlawed slavery. US arrivals in Texas brought along their slaves and meant to keep them. Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and the Alamo’s other martyrs weren’t defending universal freedom.
Because of our burgeoning wealth and power, we remained a factor with which Mexico had to reckon. At times, we were just a bully. The last Mexican president before the grim Revolution of 1910 famously said, “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.”
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson seized the port of Veracruz to protect American interests. We held it for almost a year. In 1916, the US Army mounted a “punitive expedition” into northern Mexico, an invasion in pursuit of Pancho Villa (we didn’t catch him).
History doesn’t matter to us. It’s over, dead — except when activists can distort it to serve their own agendas. But to the rest of the world, from Mexico to China, Iran and Russia, history, to borrow from William Faulkner, “isn’t even past.”
If you were Mexican, how eager would you be to pay for that wall?
The point here isn’t to side with Mexico. Mexico remains a woefully corrupt state with gross internal abuses. Officials — as I learned first-hand — betray their own government and people. But Mexico has made progress. President Peña Nieto took on the mafia-like teachers’ unions, despite violent resistance (something our own pols lack the guts to do). He moved to break the corrupting state monopoly on energy.
And the government’s gotten much tougher on the drug cartels. Over the past quarter-century, Mexico became a true multi-party democracy.
As for NAFTA, it has benefited both sides. Border trade has boomed in both directions. Mexico’s our third-largest trading partner. And our southern neighbor’s developed a vibrant middle class, the social tier that presses for better government.
Our problems with illegals and gang violence now are largely with Central Americans, not Mexicans. Could Mexico do more to help stop the flow?
Absolutely. But cooperation had improved until the wall squabble erupted. And by the way: A tariff on Mexican products to pay for the wall means that US consumers foot the bill, not Mexico.
As for that wall, there are long stretches of the border where more fencing and surveillance are required. But the barrier we really need is a wall of sound laws that are firmly enforced. It’s unfair to blame Mexico when our domestic non-enforcement encourages illegal entry.
“Sanctuary cities” do graver damage than shrugged shoulders in Mexico.
We’d do better bargaining hard for NAFTA improvements than by scapegoating Mexico for our feckless immigration policies. And our corporate-tax codes drive out more jobs than free trade.
Mexico may always frustrate us, but we’re at least equally frustrating to Mexico. And nobody’s going to tow us away from each other.
So we have a choice: We can grow stronger, safer and richer together, or we can squabble and undercut each other, hurting both economies and wasting energies we should reserve for mortal threats and outright enemies.
The other guy’s story matters.
Ralph Peters is a retired United States Army lieutenant colonel, author, and media commentator.
Despite today’s outrage over President Donald Trump’s refugee executive order, many liberals in 1975 were part of a chorus of big name Democrats who refused to accept any Vietnamese refugees when millions were trying to escape South Vietnam as it fell to the communists.
They even opposed orphans.
The group, led by California’s Gov. Jerry Brown, included such liberal luminaries as Delaware’s Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, former presidential “peace candidate” George McGovern, and New York Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman.
The Los Angeles Times reported Brown even attempted to prevent planes carrying Vietnamese refugees from landing at Travis Air Force Base outside San Francisco. About 500 people were arriving each day and eventually 131,000 arrived in the United States between 1975 and 1977.
These people arrived despite protests from liberal Democrats. In 2015, the Los Angeles Times recounted Brown’s ugly attitude, reporting, “Brown has his own checkered history of demagoguery about refugees.”
Back in 1975, millions of South Vietnamese who worked for or supported the U.S. found themselves trapped behind the lines when the communists took over the country. Vietnamese emigre Tung Vu, writing in Northwest Asian Weekly, recalled the hardships the Vietnamese faced in 1975 as they tried to escape the communists.
“After the fall of Saigon, many Vietnamese chose to leave by any means possible, often in small boats. Those who managed to escape pirates, typhoons, and starvation sought safety and a new life in refugee camps,” Tung wrote.
Ironically, Republicans led by former President Gerald Ford were the political figures who fought for the refugees to enter the United States.
Julia Taft, who in 1975 headed up Ford’s Inter-agency Task Force on Indochinese refugee resettlement, told author Larry Engelmann in his book, “Tears Before the Rain: An Oral History of the Fall of South Vietnam,” “The new governor of California, Jerry Brown, was very concerned about refugees settling in his state.”
National Public Radio host Debbie Elliott retraced Brown’s refusal to accept any refugees in a January 2007 interview with Taft. According to a transcript, which was aired on its flagship program, “All Things Considered,” Taft said, “our biggest problem came from California due to Brown.” She called his rejection of Vietnamese refugees “a moral blow.”
“I remember at the time we had thousands and thousands of requests from military families in San Diego, for instance, who had worked in Vietnam, who knew some of these people,” she told NPR.
Taft recalled another dark reason the liberals opposed the refugees: “They said they had too many Hispanics, too many people on welfare, they didn’t want these people.”
“They didn’t want any of these refugees, because they had also unemployment,” she told NPR. “They had already a large number of foreign-born people there. They had – they said they had too many Hispanics, too many people on welfare, they didn’t want these people.”
Brown echoed his isolationist theme throughout his first term. As recounted by author Larry Clinton Thompson in his book, “Refugee Workers in the Indochina Exodus,” Brown said, “We can’t be looking 5,000 miles away and at the same time neglecting people who live here.”
At the same time as Brown was fighting Washington, Democrats waged an anti-refugee campaign inside the nation’s capital.
Ford appealed to Congress to quickly help the refugees, who included thousands of Cambodians fleeing a genocidal campaign perpetrated by the communist Cambodian Pol Pot regime.
But in Washington, Ford found himself thwarted by many high-profile Democrats.
A review of the congressional debate at the time and recounted by CQ Almanac shows New York’s Elizabeth Holtzman – who was one of the House’s most visible liberal congresswomen — opposed helping the refugees. Like Brown, she tried to pit her constituents against the refugees. She said, according to CQ Almanac, “some of her constituents felt that the same assistance and compassion was not being shown to the elderly, unemployed and poor in this country.”
Rep. Donald Riegle, a liberal representative from Michigan who later would serve as its senator, offered an amendment that would have barred funds for the refugees unless similar assistance was given to Americans. The amendment was rejected by the House, 346 to 71, according to the Almanac.
Another House Democrat even tried to slow down the airlift of Vietnamese orphans. The Almanac reported that Rep. Joshua Eilberg, the Democratic chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and International Law, accused the Ford administration of having acted “with unnecessary haste” in the evacuation of the orphans.
The emergency rescue mission, called “Operation Babylift,” was activated by the United States, Australia, France and Canada after urgent appeals were issued by humanitarian relief organizations in Vietnam. The evacuation faced tragedy on its maiden flight when a C-5A cargo plane carrying the orphans crashed after takeoff, killing 78 children along with 35 U.S. government workers and diplomats.
The Library of Congress also reported liberal congressmen tried to stall the refugee legislation, indicating “they would rather wait for the administration to formulate a plan for the care and evacuation of refugees before approving the humanitarian aid.”
Then-Sen. Joe Biden tried to slow down the refugee bill in the Senate, complaining that he needed more details about the quickly unfolding refugee problem before he would support it. He said the White House “had not informed Congress adequately about the number of refugees,” according to the Library of Congress history of the legislation.
Quang X. Pham, who was born in Saigon and later served as a Marine pilot in the Persian Gulf War, later criticized Biden in an op-ed published by the Washington Post on December 30, 2006. Quang wrote, Biden “charged that the [Ford] Administration had not informed Congress adequately about the number of refugees — as if anyone actually knew during the chaotic evacuation.”
Peace candidate Sen. George McGovern, who had lost in a landslide to former President Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election, appeared the most heartless senator when he introduced a bill to assist those who wished to return to South Vietnam.
McGovern said he thought 90 percent of the Vietnamese arrivals “would be better off going back to their own land,” according to the Library of Congress. His amendment died in a House-Senate conference.
In the end, most of the Democrat complaints appeared to center on the fact that the refugees were escaping communism, which many liberals did not find that objectionable.
“One of the justifications that Ford gave was related to communism. He said these people are all fleeing communism, which was the same criteria that had been used for the Cubans, the Hungarians, other refugee groups that had been processed in the past,” Taft explained.
In recent months we’ve seen news about a range of medical and health issues occurring aboard commercial airline flights. The baby born in the skies between Philadelphia and Orlando on Southwest Airlines. The airborne medical emergency and subsequent death of Carrie Fisher. And the ongoing saga of American Airlines’ new flight attendant uniforms, with up to 2,000 employees claiming they cause rashes, headaches and other health hazards when worn in pressurized cabins.
Because 39,000 feet is a terrible location for a serious or life-threatening medical event, regulators and airline organizations have sought improvements. But challenges remain: MedAire, a company offering medical and travel safety services, published a 2011 white paper noting annual numbers of such events keep steadily increasing, due in part to longer life expectancies. Neurological events are by far the most common.
Many passengers might be surprised to learn in-flight deaths due to medical causes occur more frequently than accident-related deaths, this despite MedAire’s estimate that medical professionals are onboard 50%-60% of commercial flights. The best solution — when possible — is to avoid the likelihood of such occurrences, by consulting with your doctor in advance of flying. Here are some of the conditions for which fliers should pay special attention.
After Carrie Fisher’s in-flight emergency, some health and travel blogs demanded domestic airlines carry defibrillators for heart patients. In fact, they do. In 2001 the FAA regulated all U.S. commercial aircraft weighing more than 7,500 pounds and having at least one flight attendant must carry automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and enhanced emergency medical kits (EMKs); this rule was later updated in 2006.
An FAA spokesperson confirmed these rules still apply for all U.S. domestic and international flights, with no exemptions in place. Regulations dictate this equipment should only be accessed by trained crewmembers, or other qualified and trained professionals. The FAA states: “It would be preferable for flight attendants to check the credentials of passengers holding themselves out as medical specialists.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) advises certain post-op patients should not fly, particularly after gastro-intestinal surgery; abdominal trauma; and certain facial, eye and brain operations.
For those who require constant medication or assistance in-flight, it’s important to learn about a specific airline’s policies, which are available on their sites. The U.S. Department of Transportation provides details about the Air Carrier Access Act online, including provisions explaining the rights of passengers needing assistance and/or using Portable Oxygen Concentrators, mobility aids and assistive devices. The Transportation Security Administration’s site also details policies on devices and medications.
Flying while pregnant
For many years, researchers have attempted to determine if flight attendants suffer higher-than-average miscarriage rates. In 2015 the Centers for Disease Control and other government agencies undertook a comprehensive analysis of 840 pregnancies among flight attendants and found chronic sleep disturbance is a key factor for pregnant women who fly during “normal sleep hours” and across time zones. Those who flew more than 15 hours during normal sleep hours in the first trimester were at increased risk for miscarriage.
The report also addressed pregnancy risks for women whose flights travel through solar particle events, an occurrence that may seem rare for even frequent fliers. Yet a 2001 report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists noted: “For most air travelers, exposure to cosmic radiation are negligible. For pregnant aircrew members and other frequent flyers, this exposure may be higher.” For those worried about such risks, the Federal Aviation Administration offers an interactive tool that lets you estimate potential galactic radiation for a specific flight on a specific date.
When is it safe for newborns to fly? The answer: It depends, and in ALL cases you should consult your doctor first. In addition, airline policies vary, with some carriers requiring a physician’s letter during the first few weeks, so check the airline’s site.
MedAire recently issued guidelines for traveling with babies and noted: “The most common in-flight ailments for infants and children were gastrointestinal and respiratory related.” Parents and caregivers are advised to keep TSA-approved doses of “common medications” such as analgesics, antihistamines and anti-emetics in their carry-ons; ask if you’re unsure.
As for specific issues such as ear pain and infant pain relievers, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers a “Flying with Baby” page. KidsTravelDoc.com, created by pediatric travel expert Dr. Karl Neumann, likewise offers detailed advice on such issues. Also, it’s critical to remember what I’ve written about so frequently here: The SAFEST way for children under 2 to fly is in an approved child restraint.
The question arises, if spending so much time in pressurized tubes at high altitudes affects the health of crewmembers, what effects are felt by passengers, particularly frequent fliers?
Who shouldn’t fly?
IATA, the industry’s global trade organization, offers health tips for passengers and advises that — in addition to newborn infants, some pregnant women and certain post-op patients — those who may not be safe for flying could include anyone with the following conditions:
• recent myocardial infarction or stroke
• uncontrolled extreme hypertension
• angina pectoris
• certain severe chronic respiratory conditions
• infections of the ear, nose or sinuses
• recent psychiatric illness
As always, a medical profession should make the final determination — PRIOR TO BOOKING.
Baltimore may want to omit its latest superlative from the tourist brochure: The city with the most bedbug treatments.
Orkin ranked the city atop its annual Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, a ranking of metro areas based on the number of bed bug treatments the pest control company performed. This year’s list, released Tuesday, is based on visits from Dec. 1, 2015 to Nov. 30, 2016.
The nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C., came in second followed by Chicago and New York.
The pests are starting to become a real problem, said Ron Harrison, Orkin entomologist and director of technical services. And they aren’t limited to mammoth metropolises. Mid-sized cities in the South, Midwest, West Coast and even Hawaii made this year’s top 50 list. In fact, nearly all of the nation’s pest professionals have had to deal with the little buggers.
“We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before,” Harrison said. “They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago.”
But bed bugs aren’t evidence of poor hygiene or cleanliness, Harrison explained. Anyone can get them. All they need is blood to survive and they’re also good travelers, often latching onto luggage, purses and other items during travel. Besides bedrooms, the critters are spotted at movie theaters, in public transportation, offices and libraries.
“We have treated bed bugs in everything from million-dollar homes to public housing,” Harrison said.
Bed bugs are hard to spot. At full growth, they’re the size of an apple seed. The first signs of an infestation are the bugs themselves or the small dark stains they leave.
Here’s how you can combat bed bugs:
– Inspect your home, especially around the bed. Decrease clutter. inspect furniture before it enters your home and dry linens on high heat.
– Survey hotel rooms while traveling. Peek in hiding spots in the mattress, box spring and other furniture. Keep luggage away from the wall. Examine your luggage while repacking and place dryer-safe clothing in the dryer on the highest setting when arriving home.
– If you suspect an infestation, call a pest management professional.