Connect with us

American Airlines aircraft at the gates in O'Hare International Airport, Chicago.

Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images

American Airlines aircraft at the gates in O’Hare International Airport, Chicago.

Airlines canceled more than 1,400 flights over the weekend, as severe weather from Virginia to Florida snarled air travel, with disruptions likely to spill over into the work week.

Winter Storm Diego dumped snow and sleet across the Carolinas and Virginia, causing treacherous travel conditions. The storm knocked out power to some 200,000 customers, Duke Energy said.

American Airlines said it canceled 1,100 flights that were scheduled for Sunday, on top of 225 that were called off Saturday, as it wound down operations ahead of the storm at its hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The airport was the most affected on Sunday, with 1,100 cancellations — about three-quarters of its scheduled departures and arrivals, according to flight-tracking site

American waived date-change fees for travelers affected by the storm if they can fly through Dec. 15, and Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways also waived date change fees.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t not charge travelers a flat fee to change their dates, but said customers wouldn’t have to pay the difference in fare for changing their dates, if they can travel within two weeks of the original.

Some travel disruptions are set to continue beyond Sunday. American said it canceled 300 flights scheduled for Monday.

Source link


Poultry threat to US-UK trade deal post-Brexit



An Australorp chicken setting eggs in the hen house of Chef Eric Skokan owner of two restaurants in Boulder, the Black Cat and Bramble & Hare, that are farm to table from the families Certified Organic Black Cat Farm in Longmont. May 8, 2017, Longmont, Colorado.

Joe Amon | Denver Post | Getty Images

The prospect of a post-Brexit trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. could ultimately depend on the outcome of a controversial debate about whether it is acceptable to wash chicken in chlorine.

In setting out its “negotiating objectives” earlier this year, the U.S. suggested Britain should not expect to enjoy softer treatment than any other ally when it comes to chlorinated chicken exported from America.

The U.K. government has repeatedly denied it would accept lower food standards post-Brexit, but senior lawmakers in the ruling Conservative Party appear to be split on the issue.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has hinted the U.K. could accept chlorine-washed chicken in a post-Brexit trade deal, while Environment Secretary Michael Gove — one of the leading candidates to become prime minister — has insisted it would be a “red line” in future trade talks with Washington.

So, what is chlorinated chicken? Is it safe to eat? And why does it matter to a potential U.S.-U.K. trade deal? CNBC takes a look at all you need to know.

What is chlorinated chicken?

Chlorinated chicken, or chlorine-washed chicken, refers to poultry that has been treated with antimicrobial rinses in order to remove harmful bacteria.

These rinses — often referred to as Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) in the industry — are designed to kill potentially harmful organisms such as E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter on the surface of the chicken.

Washing chicken in chlorine has been banned in the European Union (EU) since 1997 amid food safety concerns. The ban has effectively prevented all imports of U.S. chicken meat generally treated by this process.

Instead, the EU insists meat must not be washed with any substance other than water unless it has explicitly been approved by the European Commission.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) believes there are “justifiable fears,” both inside and outside the farming community that, after leaving the European Union, Britain could allow the import of food produced to lower standards.

John Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Advocates of the EU’s so-called “farm to fork” or “plough to plate” approach argue that it leads to higher standards of hygiene and animal welfare. That’s because farmers must take care at every stage of the process rather than relying on a chemical bath to destroy harmful bacteria after chickens are slaughtered.

“We’ve got concerns that if you focus on the end process, you’re more likely to be lax when it comes to observing any risks prior to that,” Gail Soutar, chief EU exit and international trade adviser of Britain’s National Farmers Union (NFU), told CNBC in a telephone interview.

Is the practice safe?

U.S. regulators say yes, chlorine-washed chicken is safe to eat. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved several antimicrobial rinses in poultry processing, including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate and peroxyacids.

European regulators even agree with their U.S. counterparts. The European Food Safety Authority has concluded chlorinated chicken does not pose a health risk to consumers.

But, the NFU believes there are “justifiable fears,” both inside and outside the farming community that, after leaving the European Union, Britain could allow the import of food produced to lower standards.

We don’t need to fall back on this end kind of process treatment… There is absolutely no need for compromise.

Sue Davies

Strategic policy partner at Which?

“It is entirely legitimate to require high standards of food safety, environmental protection and animal welfare but it must be recognized that these things come at a cost. A cost which is often not borne by overseas competitors, potentially putting U.K. farmers at an unfair disadvantage,” the NFU said.

Why does it matter?

A future transatlantic trade agreement is seen as vitally important to the U.K.’s economic future outside the EU.

Chlorine-washed chickens are symbolic of wider concerns about food safety, animal welfare, and environmental standards that could become a critical negotiating tool in any post-Brexit deal.

Agricultural issues were among the main barriers that prevented an agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and the EU in 2016.

The U.S. has since cited the ban on the use of PRTs as one of the stumbling blocks to increased trade with the EU.

Earlier this year, U.S. ambassador to the U.K. Woody Johnson said fears over chlorine-washed chicken and other stateside farming practices were “inflammatory and misleading.”

Packs of “Brexit Selection Freshly Chlorinated Chicken” sit on display at the ‘Costupper’ Brexit Minimart pop-up store, set up by the People’s Vote campaign group, in London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In an article published by British newspaper The Telegraph in early March, Johnson urged the U.K. to accept U.S. farming methods after the U.S. published its objectives for a future U.S.-U.K. trade deal.

In Europe, it is thought that if the U.K. were to accept treating meat with chlorine as the price of a free trade deal with the U.S., it could make it difficult to sell British meat to the EU.

When asked if the prospect of chlorine-washed chicken being introduced into the U.K. post-Brexit raised concerns, Sue Davies, strategic policy partner at consumer group Which?, replied: “Definitely.”

“We need to be very careful, particularly when it comes to food safety. We have come a long way from the dark days of salmonella scares and BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).”

“We don’t need to fall back on this end kind of process treatment… There is absolutely no need for compromise,” Davies said.

What happens next?

There is not expected to be any immediate change to poultry on sale in Britain while the country remains a member of the EU.

But, with the world’s fifth-largest economy under growing pressure to line up lucrative trade deals for life after Brexit, expect the debate to intensify.

Source link

Continue Reading


Facebook investigations by EU Ireland regulator nearing conclusions



The Irish regulator conducting nearly one dozen investigations into Facebook isn’t convinced by Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy push.

The internet giant’s stock fell Wednesday after a report in the Wall Street Journal suggested the Facebook boss has previously been aware of potential issues with privacy, arising from the firm’s business practices.

In a CNBC interview Wednesday, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon said “it’s all going to remain to be seen” whether Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are serious about a shift toward privacy and security on the platform.

In the meantime, Dixon said Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) will continue its investigations into Facebook and other U.S. tech giants as they face increased scrutiny by regulators around the world.

“There will certainly be some of the investigations into Facebook that will reach a conclusion in the coming months,” Dixon told CNBC. She added she has met and spoke with “a number of the senior executives at Facebook.”

Asked whether Ireland’s data protection authorities have been in touch with regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about a possible Facebook investigation in the U.S., Dixon replied “we’ve had some conversations.”

“We’re all coming at the same issues from the different legal frameworks under which we operate under very similar goals in terms of the outcomes and the changes in behavior that we’re hoping to drive,” she said.

Facebook has faced backlash from politicians and regulators over the past year thanks to a series of privacy scandals and data breaches. CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined a “privacy-focused” future for the company in March, while the social media said in April it expects to pay the FTC up to $5 billion over violations of a 2011 consent decree.

Facebook said in a statement Wednesday is fully cooperating with the FTC’s investigation and “at no point did Mark or any other Facebook employees knowingly violate the company’s obligations under the FTC consent order.”

Ireland’s DPC is currently conducting 11 investigations into Facebook and its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram. The inquiries range from Facebook receiving users’ consent to notifying authorities of data breaches within a required 72-hour window.

Because many big tech companies have their EU headquarters in Ireland, the Irish DPC supervises the firms under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR is an EU-wide privacy law that went into effect one year ago. It aims to give consumers more control over their personal information online, for example by allowing them to access and delete their data. Companies that breach the law can face big fines: up to 4% of global annual revenues or 20 million euros ($22.6 million), whichever is bigger. For Facebook, that could result in a fine of more than $2 billion based on its fiscal year 2018 revenue.

So far, Dixon’s office has yet to levy any fines under GDPR. Dixon said “the fine will come where there are infringements” but added it is also key for tech companies that breach the law to change their behavior and set a precedent for other companies going forward.

“The fines are undoubtedly important but they are only part of the picture,” she said.

In addition to its inquiries into Facebook, Dixon said the DPC has launched a total of 20 investigations into multinational tech companies including Apple, Alphabet’s Google and Twitter. She said she welcomed debate in the U.S. about the influence of big tech companies on everything from online bullying to disinformation and privacy issues.

“I think there is evidence that Cambridge Analytica was a turning point in terms of people understanding the business model around monetization of their personal data and how they can be profile and micro-targeted,” she said.

Source link

Continue Reading


How much does a ride cost?



Lilium says its five-seater jets can travel up to 300 kilometers in one hour.


Flying cars have for years been limited to the world of fiction. Now there are plenty of companies hoping to make the sci-fi dream a reality.

One such firm is Lilium, a Munich-based start-up with big ambitions for the future of transportation: a five-seater electric air taxi, due to launch commercial flights in 2025.

The main goal Lilium is hoping to achieve, according to Chief Commercial Officer Remo Gerber, is making such a service an affordable one that people can use just like they would a ride-hailing app like Uber.

Around the time Lilium was established, its founders realized they didn’t want to make a “luxury product” or “something we sell to rich individuals,” but a “service that’s affordable,” Gerber told CNBC in an interview.

To get a better idea of just how much that would cost, the executive used the example of taking New Yorkers from Manhattan to JFK Airport within six minutes for about $70.

For reference, Uber plans to take passengers in its helicopter ride-sharing service from Manhattan to JFK for a roughly $200 flight that takes around eight minutes.

Lilium says its aircraft, which takes off and lands vertically, can travel 300 kilometers in an hour after a single charge. In the U.K. that means it would be able to take someone from London to Manchester — in other words, from the South to the North of England – in one journey.

In terms of general pricing, Gerber explained that a typical short-distance ride would cost about the same as a trip with a ride-hailing firm like Uber or Lyft. Long-distance flights would cost the equivalent of traveling economy class in an airplane, he added.

With a route like London to Manchester in the U.K., Gerber said, customers would have to fork out a similar amount to what they would pay for a train ticket. According to travel metasearch engine Gopili, an average train ticket on that route costs £60 ($76).

The German start-up’s five-seater jet took to the skies for the first time last month, a key milestone for the company. Prior to that, Lilium had tested a two-seater variant in 2017.

Lilium was founded in 2015 by three friends from the Technical University of Munich. To date, it’s raised about $100 million from investors including China’s Tencent and the London-based venture capital firm Atomico.

Six years from now, Lilium will be available in “a number of cities around the world,” Gerber said.

And while Lilium’s aircraft is controlled by a pilot, the firm says it’s putting together a team of experts focused on unmanned jets. According to Morgan Stanley, the market for autonomous flying cars could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.

Other than Uber, Lilium faces stiff competition from major aerospace players Boeing and Airbus, as well as the German start-up Volocopter, which is also working on a vertical take-off and landing air taxi.

Watch: Uber unveiled its flying taxi prototype, which looks like a giant drone

Source link

Continue Reading