AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.That’s why we must reform this presidential-nomination system that has finally run itself amok. This column will propose the one reform that can make us all relevant again – without giving any regionally based candidate an overwhelming regional advantage. It’s called “time zone” primaries and caucuses. And we’ll get to how they work – after we review just how amok things have been run. Here’s what has happened: A few politicians in a handful of states have decided to play a political game called Campaign Calendar Leap-Frog. Just to make themselves and their states seem important, they have leaped their state’s caucus/primary dates ahead of the original dates for the two traditional first contests – the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. The Calendar Leap Froggers to date: Florida, Michigan, South Carolina and Wyoming. So Iowa leaped still earlier; its first presidential caucus will be Jan. 3, 2008 – and it may be in 2007! New Hampshire will leap any day now, to either the beginning of 2008 or end of 2007. Seven states will vote in January. On Feb. 5, 2008, there will be 22 state primaries and caucuses. But it will be a hodgepodge and nightmare for candidates, as California and New York will be voting that day and candidates will be stretched too thin, having to crisscross the nation in a gigantic waste of the precious resources of special interests that lobbyists have stuffed into their piggy (see also: pork) banks. We will almost surely have our two major-party presidential nominees chosen before winter has waned. And they will have eight long months when the candidates will be trash talking, attacking or boring the bejabbers out of us before Election Day. By Martin Schram You may think that this is the election when you’re finally going to be a gung-ho political activist. A stir-’em-up conservative. A shake-’em-up liberal. A straight-ahead independent. Ready to volunteer to work the phones or the blogs. Whatever it takes to help your presidential candidate carry your state. But you are so gung-ho that you don’t realize that you’ve just been gung-had. In the 2008 presidential sweepstakes, you have been banished to the ranks of the Silent Majority. Make that the Silenced Majority. The System is saying the presidential nominees will be chosen earlier than ever – way before you and your state ever get to vote. This may be even worse: With caucus/primary season starting Jan. 3 or (insert your own expletive) in December 2007, candidates will be campaigning desperately through the holiday season. Conjure this: slash-and-burn attack ads pouring out of the TV, sandwiched between “Silent Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” (that Hanukkah hit by the Three Tops). True believers will be tugged from campaign negativity to the Nativity. By day, shopping mall Santas will be asking children if they always tell the truth; by night, politicians will be on the tube, making the kids look saintly by comparison. It’s time to reform. The National Association of Secretaries of State has endorsed a system in which Iowa and New Hampshire would go first, followed by four regional state primaries/caucuses – Northeast, South, Midwest and West – on the first Tuesday of March, April, May and June. The date when each region votes would be selected in each election year. But this has one major negative: A candidate who is strong regionally but weak nationally could have a huge advantage if her or his region votes first. But there is a way to avoid that built-in regional bias: design the regions according to time zones. With the states grouped according to time zones, there would be no traditional regional bias. For example, no Southern regional vote. Georgia and South Carolina would vote with Pennsylvania, New York and Maine. So, too, Minnesota and Texas. New Mexico and Montana. California and Washington state. If this notion seems a bit familiar to some loyal readers, it may be because this columnist has been pushing the idea since 1988 – which gives a reader an accurate insight into this column’s powerful influence. But the time for reform is today. In fact, it was yesterday. This year it looks like we are in for a holiday of glad-handing, glib-promising candidates trying desperately to march in step with the Little Drummer Boy’s pa-rum-pum-pum-pum. Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Agents dealing with cancelled Qantas services can contact the carrier’s QIC and Qantas Group Sales between 11.00am and 3.00pm today.The Australian flag carrier said it opened the department today specifically to help agents assist their clients after the airline announced it had grounded its entire fleet yesterday as an attempt to urge unions compromise fairly in ongoing pay disputes.The carrier’s chief executive Alan Joyce said the unions “demands” were “impossible and could not agree to them because they would put the carrier at risk.Earlier this week he said the impact of industrial action was “now very serious”.In an online statement the carrier’s head stressed that the three unions holding industrial action on a weekly basis over the past two months has cost the carrier up to $15 million per week in lost revenue.To date the total amount has reached up to $68 million, a cost Mr Joyce said will continue to rise if the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) and Pilot’s Union continue to walk-out.“Agreeing to the union’s unreasonable demands would have a far greater cost on the company including risking the future of Qantas,” he said.“We remain committed to our strategy to build a better and stronger Qantas.”Meanwhile, up to 10,000 passengers Qantas passengers faced travel disruptions on Friday as the carrier’s ground workers held one-hour strikes across the nation over pay.Strikes kicked off from 7.00am Friday at Brisbane and Cairns ports and moved onto Melbourne and Sydney at 8.00am, will move down to Perth, Darwin and Adelaide at 1.00pm and finish in Canberra at 4.00pm.The recent action comes only days after the TWU said it was delighted to hear Qantas confirm that it had no intention of off-shoring any jobs and called off strikes for Wednesday and Thursday this week.However, on Thursday the union declared the Australian flag carrier’s confirmation a bluff highlighting that the airline said on Wednesday that it would outsource entire operations areas and not employ a single new person on Qantas conditions. “Qantas employees had hoped tomorrow’s stop work would be to ratify the company’s promise of job security under the next enterprise bargaining agreement,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said. “Regrettably, after a week of untruths and subterfuge by the company, the meetings will instead consider a wholly inadequate ‘offer’ and a further round of stoppages.”However, Qantas stressed in a statement that it would be impossible for the carrier to outsource TWU members jobs and denied that it would not be hiring any more employees in Qantas or its subsidiaries.“The reality is that TWU members – baggage handlers, ground handlers and catering staff employer are in Australia,” Qantas Group executive operations Lyell Strambi explained. “These roles will always be based in Australia.”Representatives from TWU, the ALAEA and the Pilot’s Union will make an appearance at the carrier’s Annual General Meeting, to be held today.Mr Sheldon said the Groups would be addressing “the company’s mismanagement and plans to outsource thousands of Australian jobs”.While Qantas struggles to reach an agreement with its worker’s union, American Airlines announced this week it had signed a tentative agreement with its TWU for its fleet and ground service employees.In an online statement the airline said the deal would increase compensation and offer other enhancements to its workers as well as additional holidays, sick time and vacation.For more information on Qantas’ AGM click back onto e-Travel Blackboard on Monday. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
ANA presented with two SKYTRAX Category AwardsANA presented with two SKYTRAX Category AwardsAll Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest and 5-Star airline for seven consecutive years, today won “World’s Best Airport Services” and “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” at the SKYTRAX World Airline Awards, in a special ceremony in Paris at Musee de l’Air et de l’ Espace, Paris Air Show.The awards, hosted by London-based airline industry rating company SKYTRAX, are determined by the results of a worldwide passenger survey. This is the seventh year that ANA has earned “World’s Best Airport Services” since 2011, and it is the very first time ANA has been awarded “Best Business Class Onboard Catering,” reflecting the airline’s commitment to ensuring a quality experience to its passengers in both service and experience.“We are delighted that SKYTRAX recognized our commitment to our customers both on and off our aircrafts,” said Hideki Kunugi, Executive Vice President of ANA. “As a global leading airline, ANA continues to provide our passengers with the best hospitality from the moment they check in until they leave the airport at their destination as these awards make clear. We’d like to thank our dedicated team members on the ground and on board and to our customers for recognizing these efforts and continuing to make ANA Japan’s leading airline.”For the “World’s Best Airport Services” award, passengers recognized the efforts of ANA’s ground staff at airports for having exceptional customer service with its flyers and going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction is a top priority. In addition, the following initiatives by ANA have been commended:An increased number of automatic check in baggage machines “ANA Baggage Drop” to ensure check-in procedures are as smooth as possible.Revamped domestic ANA LOUNGES in Itami, Fukuoka, and Naha airport, designed by world famous architect, Kengo Kuma.The ANA LOUNGE in Narita Airport expanded to create a more spacious environment for flyers.Extended opening hours of ANA’s lounge at Haneda International Terminal to provide comfort and convenience to passengers.Lobby service training for staff to help the needs of customers at both check-in and at ANA’s lounge.ANA has also been awarded for “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” for the following reasons:Increasing the volume of the international cuisine’s main dish as well as more options of cheese.In order to answer to the various demands, ANA has added continental breakfast, cereal and yogurt as additional choices.ANA have added a symbol to represent vegetarian meals in-flight.ANA have enhanced the meals on flights departing outside of Japan by collaborating with famous chefs for flights departing from Germany and Belgium.“ANA is a very strong performer in the World Airline Awards and this is demonstrated by these two major customer awards,” said Edward Plaisted, CEO of SKYTRAX. “World’s Best Airport Services award covers all front-line processes from check-in, lounge service, arrivals, transfer and boarding, and in the opinion of customers, ANA is providing the very best experience for both staff efficiency and the quality of staff service. We congratulate all the ANA staff who worked so hard to achieve this No 1 ranking. It is also a great achievement for ANA to win the award for World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering, because this is a very competitive category amongst the world’s leading airlines.”While it is ANA’s pride and honor to receive the two awards in addition to the 5-Star rating, which we won for seven consecutive years, we will continue striving to provide the best hospitality as a global leading airline.Source = All Nippon Airways