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Destiination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part IV of IV: The Lure Below

May 16th 2019

Edwin Black

When the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement [BDS] mounted a campaign against Israel, it targeted more than Israel’s economy, including tourism—which has nonetheless flourished beyond any expectation. The "D" in BDS stands for delegitimize. So the anti-Israel movement also targeted the country’s very identity and legacy. A people’s future cannot be stolen unless first their history is abducted. BDS not only attacked Israel’s tourism industry, but also the country’s single greatest and most meaningful attraction—its multi-faith religious roots.

Yes, Israel features excitement and awesome beauty in its museums and architectonic urban spaces, stem to stern coastline, as well as the country’s deserts, caves, hill treks, river trips, zip lines, and jeep excursions, not to mention its nightlife. Then again, many nations offer outstanding museums, mountains, and wilderness. However, there is one unique tourist attraction that Israel possesses that no other nation can offer, and which the people of all nations crave—its unrivaled religious heritage. This heritage is inextricably woven into the country’s national identity.

All three major Abrahamic religions are anchored in Israel.

Christians constitute the majority of tourists visiting Israel—many on religious quests. Generally speaking, Christian pilgrims are completely detached from Palestinian and Israeli political dynamics. Christian tourists can be seen on any day. On April 27, 2019, Holy Saturday before Orthodox Easter Sunday, some 10,000 Christian pilgrims from across the world tried to squeeze into the hopelessly overcrowded Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City for the 1,200-year old "Holy Fire" rite. On Ramadan, Muslims crowd into Jerusalem. In 2019, on the first Friday of Ramadan, 180,000 peacefully attended prayers—a 50 percent increase over 2018. In 2018, on the last day of Ramadan, some 200,000 Muslims gathered at the Al Aqsa Mosque for their prayers.  The faithful generally include hundreds from Arab and Islamic countries lacking diplomatic relations with Israel. For example, until a recent bilateral spat, Indonesians were regularly issued visas to tour Jerusalem.

Read more ..

Destination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part III of IV: The Crazy Restaurant Scene

May 2nd 2019

Edwin Black

Israel’s adversaries in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement [BDS] thought they could starve Israel through economic warfare that included even its food sector. Many remember the BDS furor over SodaStream, Sabra hummus, ordinary fruits and vegetables, as well as Israeli cuisine and the country’s culinary scene. But none of it has stopped Israel’s restaurant sector from exploding into an audacious, red-hot success, now leading the planet in culinary excellence and bravado.

As far as the Israeli restaurant scene is considered, "BDS" stands for only one thing: "Breakfast, Dinner, and Sweets." Across the country, Israeli restaurants sizzle with celebrity chefs and horizon-expanding culinary wizardry.

Decades ago, Israel’s culinary scene was largely defined by omnipresent falafel, shawarma and pizza stands, tomatoes and cucumbers sliced with endless variation, carrot juice vendors, over-glitzed coffee and pastry bars, and truck stop-style roadside eateries offering spiced Moroccan-style salads in drab arrays. Sameness and no sophistication were the main flavors of the day—every day. All that’s over.

In recent years, highly trained and innovative, if feisty, chefs have been opening one trendy restaurant after another. Now hip dining spots can be found everywhere—from hotel rooftops with majestic views to disused warehouses, converted old homes, tight alleys and sidewalks, rooftops, seaside balconies, hilltop niches, spots overlooking the seashore, a hillside, or even a wall—and the sometimes just the cramped space between two other cramped spaces.

What is called "Israeli cuisine" is an undefinable fusion-on-steroids of 150 or so indigenous and immigrant cuisines that have left their traces on an unrestrained determination to re-imagine past foods for the palate of the future. Most ingredients are obtained within a 15-minute to 60-minute drive—meaning unparalleled same-day freshness. Unchained—yet somehow tethered to a Jewish and regional past—today’s Israeli cuisine re-blends European, Arabic, and Asian traditions in a visual audacity that erases taste borders. Israeli celebrity chefs, such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Eyal Shani, and Mike Solomonov have burned their stamps on kitchens worldwide.

Read more ..

Destination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part II of IV: Luxury Hotels Beckon

April 5th 2019

Edwin Black

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement [BDS] has taken particular aim at Israel’s tourism industry. Tourism accounts for about 11 percent of global GDP and 350 million jobs worldwide—more than ten percent of employment on the planet. In Israel, tourism is more than just sun, seashore, and spirituality; it infused Israel’s economy with $6 billion in 2018. Tourism is also the geopolitical inhalant that allows Israel to sustain its diplomatic and sovereign niche in the world.

For all its efforts to isolate Israel—including convincing Airbnb to remove Jewish listings in Judea and Samaria—BDS has failed to even dent Israel’s triumphant tourism growth. In 2018, a record 4.1 million visitors streamed into Israel from all over the world. Massive tourist influxes are now seen from the Chinese and Indian travel markets as well as America’s Christian community.

The escalating global demand has created an increasingly acute hotel room shortage. Year-round occupancy—with many seasonal and situational carve outs—now averages some 70 percent nationally for the country’s approximately 55,000 rooms. But on many days, Nazareth achieves 85 percent, Jerusalem hits 83 percent, Tel Aviv tops 79 percent, Haifa reaches 75 percent, and Eilat scores 72 percent. About half those rooms are taken by overseas visitors, not domestic tourists. An estimated 20 percent of all foreign visitors aren’t even using hotels, opting to stay with friends and family, rent apartments, or utilize alternative short-term boarding.

At times, the sheer volume can overwhelm capacity. One tourism insider indicates that a single American company, not of Jewish ownership, will be bringing 6,000 individuals to Israel in fall 2019 as part of a corporate incentive program. That one program is so large that no single city can host it. The company’s travelers are being split between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Read more ..


Destination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part I of IV: The Air Bridge

March 28th 2019

Edwin Black

The virulently anti-Israel movement known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—BDS—is roiling through campuses, overflowing into city councils, encroaching into corporate boardrooms, and now chomping at the essence of Israel’s special niche in the world: its travel and tourism industry. Everywhere, the boycotters have been asking to isolate Israel. BDS even convinced Airbnb to stop listing Jewish locations in Judea and Samaria—also known as the West Bank (a term invented after Jordan invaded in 1948, when the UN’s partition suggestion failed to create two states). In Ireland, a bill advancing through Parliament may criminalize visiting the old city and even purchasing lunch or a keepsake.

Whereas similar boycotts against other countries have inflicted withering effects on national economies, in Israel—it simply hasn’t worked. The opposite is true. Yes, boycotters are busy demonizing Israel, but, despite this, Israel’s tourism industry has rocketed to a singular triumph and now employs tens of thousands. Flights are packed and new non-stops are being added across the globe. Even though new luxury hotels are going up as fast as the Mideast sun will dry concrete, rooms remain under high demand and are thus scarce and expensive. Israel has become world famous for creative cuisine and trendy eateries, so if you want to get a table at the most popular restaurants, you’ll need to book weeks in advance.

Travel and tourism to Israel has dramatically changed. It’s not just synagogue sisterhoods and Jewish organizations. Swelling up from Israel’s "Start Up Nation," world famous top chef culture, and hard-won penetration of markets beyond America and West Europe, as well as its sophisticated travel industry burnishing, the Jewish State is now a destination for the entire world. Traditional Jewish-American travelers from Miami to Seattle must now compete with Silicon Valley techies, Chinese students, Indian tourists, East European Christian pilgrims, and diverse businessmen from across the planet. The numbers are multiplying. Read more ..


Safe Travel

US Set to Ban Lithium Batteries as Cargo on Passenger Aircraft

March 4th 2019

Battery-single-use

US regulators are set to formally ban passenger aircraft from carrying lithium ion batteries as cargo. Batteries in cargo aircraft will have to follow the rules of only a 30 per cent charge, a ruling that has been in force for the last year on an interim basis.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), issued the Interim Final Rule (IFR) to enhance air safety by revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for lithium ion cells or batteries transported by aircraft.

“This rule will strengthen safety for the traveling public by addressing the unique challenges lithium batteries pose in transportation,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

This IFR prohibits the transport of lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.  In addition, the IFR requires lithium ion cells and batteries to be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only aircraft.

Read more ..

The Edge of Air Travel

Gigantic New Boing 777X Could Change Flying Forever

January 20th 2019

airplanes shadows

Some of the world’s most prestigious airlines are on tenterhooks as the first flight of an aircraft that could change long-haul travel for decades looms ever closer.

Executives at Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways, among others, will have their eyes cast to the skies this spring when Boeing is expected to fly one of its new 777X planes for the first time.

The 777-9, the first of the X family to be developed, will have the biggest jet engines ever seen, attached to the longest wings of any aircraft ever made by the Seattle-based manufacturer.

The 777X has been said to be the result of the very best of the existing 777 plane, as favoured by the likes of British Airways et al, and the game-changing 787 Dreamliner, which has been praised as one of the most technologically advanced aircraft in history, garnishing plaudits from passengers on BA, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic alike. Read more ..


AirBnB on Edge

SF fines Airbnb Landlords $2.25 Million for Illegal Rentals

November 23rd 2018

Hotel lavabo

Airbnb crime doesn’t pay.

That’s the message San Francisco wants to send after a well-heeled couple who turned 14 city apartments into illegal hotels through the vacation-rental service agreed to a $2.25 million settlement.

Darren and Valerie Lee agreed to pay that amount for penalties and investigation costs. In addition, they are barred for at least seven years from offering short-term rentals in any of the 17 San Francisco buildings they own or manage. The couple had to pledge their real estate as collateral to make sure they pay the fine and comply with the injunction, which was approved Monday in San Francisco Superior Court.

“The serious financial penalty is an important deterrent,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “It sends a clear message to those looking to illegally profit off of San Francisco’s housing crisis: Don’t try it. We will catch you.” Read more ..


AirBnB on Edge

Class Action Suit Filed in Jerusalem Against Airbnb

November 22nd 2018

Shomron

Four attorneys filed a class action suit against Airbnb in Jerusalem District Court on Thursday to protest the US-based company’s decision to drop listings in West Bank settlements from its vacation rental website that hosts ads from 191 countries.

“The law in Israel forbids discrimination based on the place where you live, and what Airbnb has done is by all means discrimination based on the place where you live,” said attorney Aviel Flint, a partner in the law firm Yossi Levy & Co.

This is a case of Israeli law and not antisemitism or politics, Flint told The Jerusalem Post. The case is based on a 2000 law against discrimination in products and services, which was amended in 2017 to include place of residence. Read more ..


Destination Israel

Ten of the Best Boutique Olive Oil Brands in Israel

November 12th 2018

Shomron

Olive trees have an ancient presence in Israeli land and culture, so it’s no wonder that this rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is a pretty big deal here. Olive oil is yet another avenue in modern Israeli cuisine where tradition, revival and gourmet trends intersect. After gaining traction in recent years, the ancient craft of olive oil-making in the region has had a rebirth. The national and international awards won by hundreds of boutique brands all over the country are the proof in the pudding.Treated like fine wines made up of curated blends or single varietals, Israeli olive oils are meant to be tasted critically for subtleties such as body, mouth feel and flavor notes that stem from the cultivation, processing and types of olives used.

Read more ..

Hotel News

Dan Hotels Opens New Tel Aviv Link

May 24th 2018

Israel-Center

Dan Hotels, Israel has announced the opening of a new business property in the center of Tel Aviv. At an investment of NIS 40 million, this new hotel is aimed at the new generation of business traveler and tourists, offering a concept of "connecting" contemporary design, Tel Aviv’s vibrant social scene, street art and advanced technology. Located on Shaul Ha’melech Boulevard, it is close to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Opera House; Cameri Theatre; Rabin Square and the popular Sarona Market and conveniently situated for two railway stations.

The eight-floor hotel with 94 guestrooms, and meeting rooms of various sizes is part of a new brand to be launched by Dan Hotels which will offer an urban atmosphere, relaxed and attractive surroundings as well as comfortable work space. The Hub section is situated on the lower level of the building with 700m2 of space, including the Kitchen & Bar, nine meeting rooms, shared worktables, electronic and board games and a 9ft Pool Table. Read more ..


The Digital Age

8 Gigabit Data Connection to Aircraft Successfully Tested

May 17th 2018

airplanes shadows

Internet access in passenger airplanes today is expensive and not really high-performance. Really fast Internet for passenger is available nowhere yet; passengers can only dream of accessing online videos and music streams. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded for the first time in establishing a data link to an 8 GB/s aircraft. Is the fast Internet for airplane passengers coming now?

The researchers achieved the data rate of 8 GB/s by using the frequency range between 71 and 76 GHz for an air-to-ground radio link. In this frequency range, large bandwidths are available to achieve multi-gigabit data rates, and this frequency band has recently been released by the authorities for such purposes. With the technology developed, both broadband Internet and video-on-demand could be available in passenger aircraft in the future.

Read more ..

The Edge of Food

Does Wine Get Better With Age?

May 6th 2018

Taittinger 2002

I was sitting in a fabulous sea-side Tel Aviv restaurant the other day where a friend is the wine buyer. He asked me, “Jeff, can you taste this 1996 Krug Champagne that I just opened?” (Krug is one of the greatest names in bubbly, renowned for being ageworthy.)

“Twist my arm,” I joked. Rarely do I get to taste 22-year-old Krug, which was priced at 3000 shekels (about $800) on the wine list.

It was as good as I imagined it would be. The rich, nutty aroma that comes with age in older Champagnes was followed up by a creamy but still fresh texture in the mouth. The bubbles were quite small, however. This is what happens to Champagne over time as the carbon dioxide gas (which creates the bubbles) dissipates. It’s perfectly normal, as long as some effervescence remains. I personally prefer smaller bubbles anyway. Big bubbles are distracting. Read more ..


Destination Bangalore

Introducing The Den Hotel In Bangalore-- Lush Luxury Hotel Overlooking International Tech Park

March 28th 2018

Indian Spices

THE DEN, a 226-room luxury hotel is now open in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru (Bangalore). Known for its centrality to India's high-tech industry, the "garden city" of Bangalore is also a must on many tourists' itineraries in the world's second-most-populous country.
The tower hotel is located in Whitefield, adjacent to Bangalore's wealth of IT parks and business areas. Offering spectacular views of the bustling International Tech Park (ITPL) district, it is also perfectly located for visits to sights such as the Vidhana Souda - India's largest legislature, and the magical Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. Another plus for VIP travelers is the rooftop helipad.

THE DEN fulfills the needs of the demanding business and leisure traveler, offering an assortment of room grades - each equipped with state-of-the-art technology, a work space, high-speed internet, smart-screen televisions and decorated in post-modern style. All 63 rooms within the property's highest room category, The Den Club Room, include express check-in/check-out, airport assistance, lounge facilities and board meeting spaces with tea and coffee service throughout the day. The property also offers four suite categories: The Den Suites, The Loft Suites, The Townhall Suites and The Paramount Suites.
Read more ..

Inside Airports

Growing Questions about CNN's Airport Monopoly as Network Veers Left

March 24th 2018

United Airlines jet liner

CNN’s ubiquitous presence in airports -- where it broadcasts from thousands of screens to a captive audience of millions -- is facing new scrutiny after the cable network's hard left turn.

The CNN Airport network dates back to when CNN was known for straightforward news programming -- and has been a fixture at airports since before competitors MSNBC and Fox News even existed. But critics are now asking if busy travelers should be subjected to CNN’s increasingly ideological programming -- at gates, bars, food courts and baggage claims -- which can include on-screen chyrons or subtitles that gleefully mock President Trump. Many travelers have even taken to Twitter and started online petitions to urge airports to change the channel.

Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News that CNN has become more partisan than MSNBC since Trump moved into the White House and travelers should have the option of not watching the network. Read more ..


Destination America

Brand USA's New Doc Uses Music To Attract Inbound Travel

February 15th 2018

Stature of Liberty Sunset

Read more ..

Destination Jamaica

Jamaica Issues State of Emergency

January 22nd 2018

Caribe Crucero

Read more ..

Destination India

Dan Hotels Opens First Overseas Property in India

January 16th 2018

Indian Tech

The newly opened The Den in Whitefield, Bengaluru is beautifully appointed and situated near to the city’s IT parks and business areas. This property reflects the innovative and progressive elements that make modern day Bengaluru come alive, and is the smartest choice for luxury business travelers in the area. 

With four different categories on offer, providing a total of 226 guestrooms and suites, guests can find the accommodation best suited to their needs. Carrying the Dan brand of excellence and service, visitors will be able to choose from various dining options, conference rooms and leisure facilities. Ideal for business and leisure guests, each room features the latest in-room technologies; mini bar; electronic safe; an exclusive espresso machine and 49” Smart Screen.  Read more ..


Destination Israel

King David Again Voted Jerusalem Israel's Leading Hotel

December 20th 2017

King David Hotel

In the recent World Travel Awards, the King David, Jerusalem was once again voted the country’s leading hotel. This luxury property. situated in the heart of Jerusalem, regularly hosts, kings, queens, presidents and VIPs from all over the world. In addition, the superb luxury Jerusalem Suite was nominated as Israel's Leading Hotel Suite 2017. Located on the 6th floor, this magnificent corner suite offers panoramic views of Old and New Jerusalem. The bedroom has “his” and “hers” bathrooms, a separate meeting and dining room for up to 10 people, jacuzzi, bath and guest powder room.

Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with its Grand Tour – a series of regional gala ceremonies to recognize excellence within each continent. Its annual programme is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the global industry. Read more ..


Airports

LaGuardia AirTrain Plan Gets $55M Boost from Port Authority

November 24th 2017

United Airlines jet liner

On Thursday, November 16, the Port Authority unanimously voted with no questions asked for granting another $55 million to the planning for an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport.

The project backed by Governor Cuomo for an AirTrain to connect Mets-Willets Point and the airport, has received approval by agency board members for additional funds to supplement to already $20 million allocated.

According to The Daily News, “The board heard a brief presentation about the next phase of the planning, but no members had any questions on it before voting. The money for the new transportation — a modern necessity for supporters of Cuomo’s transformation of the city’s airports, and a potential boondoggle to its critics — would cover technical planning, design work and developing an environmental-impact report.” Read more ..


Hotel News

Ronen Nissenbaum Takes Helm at Israel's Dan Hotels

November 1st 2017

Dan Carmel Haifa
Dan Carmel

Michael Federmann, Chairman of the Dan Hotels’ Board of Directors, announced today the board’s unanimous decision to appoint Ronen Nissenbaum as the next President and CEO of the Dan Hotels Corporation, effective January 1, 2018. "I would like to wish Ronen success in this position and am confident that, with his extensive experience, he will contribute greatly to the success and prosperity of Dan Hotels," Federmann commented.

Married with three children between the ages of 22, and 16, Ronen Nissenbaum brings with him a rich and extensive background in the hotel industry in Israel and overseas. He studied hotel management in Switzerland and received an MBA from Emory University. In the last 18 months, Nissenbaum served as Vice President of Luxury operations for Hilton Hotels in the Americas, a grouping that includes the Waldorf-Astoria and Conrad Hotels, and was responsible for 15 hotels and three hotels in pre-opening stages. Read more ..


Choosing in Travel

Caribbean Tourism and Anti-Israel Voting

October 27th 2017

British-Virgin-Islands

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) late in 2018 is one shot across the U.N.’s bow. Notoriously hospitable to dictatorships, hostile to Israel and mismanaged as well, UNESCO deserves the warning.

But what does the U.S. do about U.N. member countries consistently voting against it and against Israel without even a national policy excuse for doing so? Not enough, yet.

The countries in question are not adversaries like Russia or Iran, which pursue policies inimical to American interests. Rather, they are either beneficiaries of U.S. aid or states whose own concerns would seem to parallel those of this country, or at least not oppose them. Read more ..


Inside Hotels

From Goa to Greece, Airbnb Wants the Travel-mad Indian Millennial to Ditch the Hotel Room

October 23rd 2017

Waldorf Jerusalem.jpg

From roping in Bollywood celebrities to partnerships with local state governments, Airbnb, the online marketplace for accommodation, is trying to get the Indian millennial hooked to its global community of travelers.

The California-based company is flexing its marketing muscles in Asia’s third-largest economy, where affluent and increasingly experimental Indians are travelling a lot more. This, even as it continues to add to its relatively small network of 24,000 listings in India.

So far, a million Indians have used the room-sharing and rental platform, both at home and abroad. Now, the company is stepping up efforts to get more Indians—those travelling overseas as well as those booking weekend trips to local destinations—to plan their travel using Airbnb. Edited excerpts from an interview with Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager, Airbnb India. Read more ..


Air Turbulence

Irish Passengers Stranded In France By Ryanair Cancellation

September 25th 2017

airport crowd

A group of 80 Irish people was stranded in France on Saturday night, when a flight back to Dublin was unexpectedly cancelled by Ryanair.

They had been on a mission to Lourdes with Oblate Youth Service when the 3.15pm return flight was cancelled, although it was not included on the airline's list of cancellations.

Fidelma Roe, whose son was on the trip, said the group was "pretty much abandoned". According to Oblate Youth Service's Facebook page, the group was told to make its own travel arrangements.

"After a very challenging yet rewarding week caring for the sick and elderly in Lourdes, we were making our way home when our flight was cancelled by Ryanair," it said.

"They have been extremely unhelpful and have only offered us 30 seats on a flight from Carcassonne on Tuesday and told us to make our own travel arrangements, which is next to impossible with 79 people which includes 45 17 and 18-year-olds." Read more ..


Destination India

Top 10 Street Foods of Northern India

August 17th 2017

India Street Scene

One of the greatest pleasures of street food in Northern India is to discover that there is more to Indian cuisine than chicken tikka masala.

For many first-time travellers to India one of the greatest pleasures is discovering its amazing street food. Surprisingly, there’s infinitely more to subcontinental cuisine than the rather bland offerings of tikka masala and chicken korma.

Street food, whether sweet or savoury, fiery or mild, is eaten by all and it’s not unknown for there to be lively debate amongst friends and family about which is the best. As well as giving your stomach a treat, trying street food helps support hard-working vendors, many of whom have been plying their trade with great skill for many years. So here’s our guide to the best street food of northern India – try each one with a steaming cup of the nation’s rocket-fuel, masala chai. Read more ..


Destination Israel

Where to Find 9 of Israel’s Trendiest Beaches

July 16th 2017

El Al Boeing 747-200

It’s beach season in Israel! If you’re looking for the trendiest beaches along the 185 kilometers (115 miles) of sandy Israeli Mediterranean coastline, as well as the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), you’ve come to the right place.

ISRAEL21c gives you the inside scoop on the best places to join locals enjoying beach parties, overnights at a “kanta” or “zoola” (pretty much means camping at the beach) or simply grabbing a cold beer at sunset.

Let’s count down to our favorite trendy spot in the sand.

  1. Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv

Do like a local does and hit the Tel Aviv sand strip for some fun in the summer sun. Start with Gordon Beach, right in the heart of the city, which boasts paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, windsurfing and the endless volleyball games for which this beach has become so famous. Read more ..


Safe Travel

Lithium-ion Battery Shipping Sees new Regulations

April 13th 2017

Battery-single-use

IATA, the International Air Transport Association, has changed its IATA DGR (Dangerous Goods Regulations) concerning the shipping of lithium batteries. Since January 1, 2017 lithium batteries that were previously not covered by labeling requirements have become partially subject to them.

The FBDi e.V. (German Professional Association of Component Distribution) summarizes the most important changes as follows:

Labeling requirement – The number of shipment items not subject to labeling requirements according to Pi 967 and PI 970 (max. 2 batteries / 4 cells) is limited to 2 per shipment. This affects lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries integrated into a device. They require a label even where not more than 2 batteries or 4 cells per shipment are contained per shipment item (not subject to labelling), but more than 2 shipment items per shipment are shipped.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

Court Decision Upholds Trump's Travel Ban

March 25th 2017

airplanes shadows

A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday against blocking President Trump’s executive order that called for temporarily stopping the entry of immigrants from six majority-Muslim nations and refugee admittance overall.

 
Judge Anthony Trenga of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found on Friday that President Trump indeed has the authority to impose a travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries, while he also agreed that the president’s executive order does not discriminate against Muslims. Linda Sarsour -- a Muslim activist who was an organizer of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington -- had initiated an injunction against the executive order with legal counsel from an attorney of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Read more ..

Destination Israel

Visiting Israel Can Be Life-Changing for Christians

August 30th 2016

Western/Wailing Wall

For centuries, not only Jews but also Christians have made pilgrimages to Jerusalem -- that City of Peace that has nevertheless seen countless wars and strife over the centuries. It is the city where Jews aspire to find their final resting place and be among those at the dawn of the end of Time when the Messiah reigns. Jerusalem is for Christians the place of the Passion and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is for sentiment and in the hope of spiritual rebirth that Christians have sojourned to the Holy Places and the Holy Land in order to walk where Jesus did and where he died and was resurrected. 
 
So important is Jerusalem to Christians that the First Crusade brought Europeans crusaders at great personal cost to the Holy Land one thousand years ago to ensure the safety of Christian pilgrims who were enslaved and taxed by the Muslim overlords who had wrested it from Byzantine Christian control. Many years later, the modern State of Israel guarantees access to the Holy Places in a manner worthy of respect, admiration, and gratitude.
Read more ..

Destination Israel

For Many, Israel is Geopolitical Tourist Destination

April 28th 2016

El Al Boeing 747-200

For a hard-core segment of travelers to Jerusalem, when the sun sets at the Sabbath, the magic in the air is not just the serene image of a peaceful dusk in an enchanted land. It is the empowering knowledge that the sun still shines on a Jewish State surrounded by fiery military and diplomatic turmoil. Israel remains a nation determined to survive and preserve its sense of magnetic amazement. In the minds of many, a visit to Israel is more than just a vacation. It is a geopolitical destination. Traveling to and enjoying Israel makes a statement to the world and to history. It reflects the steeled determination to be happy and fulfilled in one of the most treasured places on earth, despite a virtual siege around every corner. Read more ..


Destination Israel

Israel Ministry of Tourism Launches Effort To Increase Incoming Flights To Israel

April 22nd 2016

Israel-Center

Some 100 world airlines operate regular flights to Israel, but the country's Ministry of Tourism wants more. It has launched an initiative to encourage direct flights from "new" gateways to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). In recent years, dozens of airlines have inaugurated service to Israel, and while El Al, Israel's national carrier, remains the number one airline operating flights to and from Tel Aviv, EasyJet has become the airport's number two airline, with multiple daily flights from 10 major European gateways.
 
Within its scope of promoting tourism to Israel, the Ministry views tourism trade professionals as strategic partners and wants to participate in the marketing efforts of airlines that initiate flights from "new" gateways to Israel. For eligibility, flights must operate from November 1, 2016 through October 31, 2017 and possess measurable potential to bring additional tourists to Israel. To be considered a "new" gateway, airports must be located more than 120 kilometers from an airport already servicing direct flights to Israel.
Read more ..

The Digital Edge

Phone Batteries Leak your Browsing History

August 5th 2015

Smart phone running voice recogniton

A European team of security researchers have identified a potential privacy invasion 'black hole' that could exploit phone batteries to pinpoint their owners and track them around the internet. The security issue centres around afeature of the HTML5 specification that allows websites to find out how much battery power a visitor has left on their laptop or smartphone. The security researchers, Lukasz Olejnik and Claude Castelluccia from INRIA Privatics with Gunes Acar and Claudia Diaz of KU Leuven, ESAT/COSIC and iMinds warn n their paper entitled ‘The leaking battery: A privacy analysis of the HTML5 Battery Status API’ that the information can be used to track browsers online.

The battery status API is currently supported in the Firefox, Opera and Chrome browsers, and was introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 2012 to help websites conserve users’ energy. The energy saving feature enables a website or web-app to check when the phone user has little battery power left to allow the phone to switch to a low-power mode by disabling extraneous features to eke out the battery's energy.  The same information can be used to identify phones as they move around the internet, allowing people to be tracked. Read more ..


Destination the Seas

Crossing The Atlantic On The QM2

July 21st 2015

Queen Mary 2

If you wish to avoid the indignities nowadays associated with international air travel  and can afford the luxury of spending seven days at sea, there is no better way to cross the Atlantic than on board Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2. You will be pampered, wined, dined and entertained around the clock and you will no longer have to wonder why some people yearn for the “good old days” because you will be experiencing them.

Weighing in at 150,000 grt, the QM2 is the largest, longest, tallest and widest passenger liner ever built and with lower berths for just 2,620 guests, she is also the most spacious of the world’s great liners. You will notice this the moment you enter her six-storey Grand Lobby with its dramatic staircase and exquisite works of art. This sensation of spaciousness is one of the ship’s hallmarks and you will be surprised that even when she is fully booked, she never feels crowded. Read more ..


Destination California

Navigating Napa Wine Country

May 16th 2015

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The Napa Valley, about an hour's drive north of San Francisco, is well known as one of the world's foremost wine producing regions. Less known, however, are its many unexpected attractions which include an authentic 13th. century Tuscan castle-winery, a vintage train, thermal springs, Michelin-rated restaurants, museums and art galleries galore as well as biking trails, golf courses and even bocce ball. All this plus more than 400, mostly family-owned, wineries can be found in a narrow, 30-mile valley with a welcoming climate year-‘round.

On our recent visit, we made downtown Napa our headquarters. We had a wide choice of hotels and settled into the elegant Napa River Inn, located in the 1884 Historic Napa Mill complex right on the bank of the Napa River on Main Street. This allowed us to explore this charming and pristine town on foot, to "window shop" some of its stylish stores and to admire nearby residential areas with their neat Victorian-era homes and flower-filled gardens. Read more ..


Travel Safe

Fatal Train Wreck Renews Calls for Automated Trains

May 15th 2015

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This week’s deadly Amtrak is sparking fresh calls for automated trains on the nation’s rails, even as industry groups press for an extension of this year’s deadline to implement the technology.

Railroads have until December to install “positive train control” under a law passed in the aftermath of 2008 commuter rail crash in California. But just six weeks before Tuesday’s wreck, which killed eight people, a GOP-backed measure pushing the deadline to the end of 2020 cleared a key Senate panel.

After Tuesday’s crash, Democrats wasted little time criticizing Republicans for the effort to delay the automated train mandate. "The Amtrak disaster shows why we must install Positive Train Control technology as soon as possible,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif), who sponsored the original legislation containing the 2015 mandate, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Read more ..


Travel Safe

Lithium Battery Shipments on Passenger Planes Face Ban

March 13th 2015

Boeing 787

Boeing Co has declared that high-density packages of lithium batteries pose fire risks and should not be carried on passenger planes until safer methods for carrying them are developed. Boeing adds another voice to the growing clamour to stop bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries on passenger aircraft. This week Reuters quoted a Boeing statement as saying that the risk is "continually increasing (and) requires action to be taken".

Boeing is part of an industry group including other plane makers such as Bombardier Inc and Airbus Group NV , that found current firefighting systems on airliners cannot "suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries" thereby posing an "unacceptable risk" for the industry. Read more ..


Europe on Edge

EuroVision 2015 in Austria Offers Schmaltz, Kitsch, and Genocide Remembrance

February 15th 2015

The Armenian Apostolic Church is preparing to declare the sainthood of the thousands of victims of genocide at the hands of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Scheduled for April 23 at the patriarchal headquarters of the Catholicosate at Echmiadzin in Armenia, there will be a solemn liturgy to recognize the sanctity of the 1 million to 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide that began one hundred years ago near the end of the First World War.

In a statement released on February 3, Patriarch Karekin of Echmiadzin said "The Armenian Church does not sanctify. It recognizes the sanctity of saints or of those people that is already common among people or has been shown with evidence. The Church recognizes only what happened, that is, the Genocide." Read more ..


Personal Travelog

Visiting the Jewish Side of Cuba

January 23rd 2015

Cuban Capitol

I joined this trip because my brother with whom I was traveling with knew the trip leader, Leanne Shamash, the Educator at Beth Elohim in Acton, MA.  Leanne's husband, Hooshang (Benny) Shamash, a friend of my brother, served as our prayer leader.  Benny immigrated to Worcester MA from Iran in order to attend College, and prays in the Sephardic style.

First minyan was in a meeting room the Crown Plaza Miami Airport on Erev Cuba for those needing to say Kaddish. Everyone else already had met but I knew two other people in the room, Rodney Hass who I went to high school with and Pam Weil, who I had met at conferences and who was once a teacher at Sherith Israel. Among the thirty of us there were two Early Childhood Educators and three synagogue educators. Read more ..


Travel Edge

Ten Hot Tips to Avoid Frostbite on Cold Days

January 7th 2015

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After a warm December, winter returned with a vengeance this week to Michigan and the rest of the Midwest.

And as sure as snow in January, Dr. Brad Uren and his colleagues at the University of Michigan Department of Emergency Medicine have started to see the first patients suffering the effects of super-cold weather.

He’s got the inside track on winter weather – after all, he was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Here’s what he wishes everyone would do, to stay healthy – and stay out of the emergency department this winter. Some of his tips may surprise you!

1: Cover up: The colder it gets, and the faster the wind blows, the more likely you are to suffer frostbite on exposed or poorly protected skin. Read more ..


Destination Israel

EL AL Israel Airlines Inaugurates Only Nonstop Flights Between Boston and Tel Aviv

January 6th 2015

Israel-Center

Today, EL AL Israel Airlines has opened bookings for the only nonstop service between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. Launching June 28, 2015, the flight schedule will include three weekly nonstop flights (every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evening) on a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, conveniently departing Logan International Airport at 9 p.m. and arriving the following day at Ben Gurion International at 3:05 p.m. in the afternoon. The return nonstop flights will also depart Ben Gurion every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 12:30 am and arrive in Boston the same day at 5:45 a.m.  

The 767 aircraft will be configured with 218 seats, including 22 bed-like seats in Business Class and 28 in Economy Class Plus, an affordable class of service offering great value, extra legroom and additional seat recline, a curtain for privacy and more.

All passengers will enjoy a selection of movies, Israeli TV programs, children’s world, games, music and more on an in-flight entertainment system that is based on advanced streaming technology using their own personal device. Read more ..


Looking for America

Las Mañanitas: Tradition of Faith Gains Ground in New Mexico

December 20th 2014

On the evening of December 11th, the pews quickly filled as parishioners and visitors alike patiently waited to hear singers, mariachis, and other musicians sing “Las Mañanitas” to the Virgin of Guadalupe at the stroke of midnight. They gather faithfully each year at her namesake parish in Albuquerque’s historic Los Griegos neighborhood to continue a vibrant cultural and religious tradition that supersedes the modern U.S.-Mexico border.

For 18 years now, the red brick parish has been standing room only on the eve of December 12, the Virgin of Guadalupe’s feast day, as traditional serenades and dances that have traveled up and down the Camino Real for centuries are performed in Spanish. The first Mañanitas at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Parish was held in 1996, under the leadership of retired Rev. Ramón Aragón, and has become a major event in the local Hispanic community. Read more ..



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