The Olympic Council of Asia, which governs the games, reportedly balked at including bridge, which in the eyes of some is linked with card games such as poker, black jack — and hence, gambling.To be fair, bridge would be as out of place in a casino as bullfighting in Bhutan.The auditoriums set up for bridge are hushed, dotted with dozens of card tables with four players at each. At one session, curious photographers were given access for just five minutes, and then ushered away. Fans can watch the hands that are dealt — and how they are played — on large television screens filled with the red and black symbols for spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.“The photographers really wouldn’t matter because the top players zone out these distractions,” Aaida Abu-Jaber, a player from Jordan told The Associated Press. “They are in their zone and focused and they don’t know what’s happening around them. They are just looking at their cards and thinking.”Abu-Jaber called it “athletics of the mind, rather than the body.”ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In this Aug. 21, 2018, photo, spectators watch bridge match on a screen at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The card game of bridge is being included for the first time in the Asian Games. At least two players are over 80. The main promoter of the sport at the games is 78-year-old Indonesian billionaire Michael Bambang Hartono. He is also playing. One player likened bridge to being the “athletics of the mind.” (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)JAKARTA, Indonesia — What’s left of Finton Lewis’ thinning hair is spiked and dyed an orange-red color.The 64-year-old Lewis says the haircut keeps him feeling younger on the outside, and playing the card game of bridge keeps his brain nimble on the inside.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES There’s no age limit, and no language barrier. Abu-Jaber said she’s played against dozens of nationalities — on-line and in-person. The game has a universal language everyone understands, driven by English-rooted words like “no trump, slam, pass”and so forth.“You can play with anybody, even if you can’t understand their language and they can’t understand yours,” she said.Though age is no problem, attracting a younger generation is.Asadullah Khan, who is playing for Pakistan, joked that many of the players have “no hair and protruding bellies. Most of us are smokers and losing our cognitive skills.”For the record, 54-year-old Khan has all his hair — gray hair and a gray mustache.“It’s going to be an extinct game if the younger generation doesn’t take it up,” he said. “The younger people are not enthusiastic about bridge, not excited about it unless it runs in the family.”Khan said attracting younger players might be easy since bridge offers sedentary thrills, perhaps like computer games.He argued that “defending a (card) hand well or making a special play” was just as exciting as serving an ace in tennis.He even pushed for inclusion in the Olympics, which seems unlikely.“It surely should be in the Olympics,” Khan said. “Getting exposure like this helps.” MOST READ Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal “I know I’m not as physically fit as most sports people are,” said Lewis, who is playing for India in the bridge competition at the Asian Games.Being fit doesn’t matter much in bridge, which is being included for the first time in the Asian Games. Fans like to talk it up as a “mind game” in the same realm as chess.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Yang Kong Te of the Philippines is playing in the Asian Games at 85. Lee Hung Fong of Malaysia is 81. Indonesian billionaire Michael Bambang Hartono is a mere 78, and the big reason why bridge is on the schedule. His reported net worth in about $17 billion, a fortune made in tobacco, banking, and communications.To be fair, the median age of the field is about 50, which is still generations away from 9-year-old Indonesian skateboarder Aliqqa Novvery — the youngest of the more than 11,000 competitors in the Asian Games. Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Olympic champ Balandin considers quitting after Asian Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced View comments
3 Manchester City v Liverpool is live on talkSPORT at 5.30pm on Saturday 21 November.Jurgen Klopp faces his biggest test yet in his short time in England as he takes his Liverpool side to title favourites and Premier League leaders Manchester City.But how well equipped is the German to deal with such a challenge? Is he walking into the lion’s den with nothing but a ball of string?Yes, Klopp is considered the better manager from his time with Borussia Dortmund, but just how many of his current Reds squad would get a look in under Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad?Raheem Sterling doesn’t seem to think many would, implying he is now working with much better players that he was at the Reds’ Melwood training ground following his £50m summer transfer.“I go into training every day and see the players of that calibre that I am work with – like Vinny [Vincent Kompany, Sergio [Aguero], David [Silva], Joe [Hart],” he said.“There is only one thing you can do and that is improve with players like that, who have been around for many years and achieving stuff.” 3 And Sterling may indeed have a point.Let’s compare the calibre of players. Joe Hart is the superior goalkeeper and what about the rest of the defence? It is unlikely Vincent Kompany is gazing longingly towards the Merseyside skyline, hoping for a centre back partner better than the ones he currently has.Liverpool fans will protest Nathanial Clyne, England’s first choice right back, deserves an inclusion in this combined XI. But is he better than Bacary Sagna, a player who has won the FA Cup, has been named in the PFA Team of the Year twice and played in the World Cup?Would he even make the bench ahead of two-time Premier League champion, and World Cup and Copa America runner-up, Pablo Zabaleta? Unlikely.But Liverpool fans knew that. Their strengths lie further up the field.However, a fully fit Jordan Henderson or Emre Can are not quite on the level of Yaya Toure or Fernandinho. James Milner was called upon many a time by Pellegrini during his spell in Manchester, and although he left on his own accord, if City had wanted to keep him, they would have. Philippe Coutinho? The Brazilian is undoubtedly Liverpool’s best player and one of the best no.10s in the Premier League. Nevertheless, David Silva is better.No player in the league, never mind in Klopp’s squad, would displace Sergio Aguero and on current form, the same can be said of Kevin De Bruyne.Therefore, Liverpool’s greatest strength in this fixture is their manager.For someone who has plotted the downfall of Bayern Munich and took Dortmund to an unlikely Champions League final, humbling Real Madrid en route, beating City should be more straightforward.And if Klopp is the mastermind his reputation leads us to believe, then it may not matter how many Liverpool players would get into a Manchester City side on paper.Pellegrini has the players, but come Saturday evening, we will see if Klopp has the brains to outmaneuver them.How many Liverpool players do you think would get into the Man City team? Let us know with a comment below. Would you have Philippe Coutinho over David Silva? 3
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Advertisement Arcand was living on the streets in 2014 when a stranger heard him playing a piano in Churchill Square downtown. The music was so beautiful that Roslyn Polard asked if she could take a video of his performance.More than three years later, the video of Arcand playing the song he wrote has been viewed more than 11 million times on YouTube.As the page views started to add up in 2014, people from around the world wanted to learn more about the pianist.The CBC met Arcand a few days after the video hit the internet. A friend had told him his performance had gone viral on YouTube. One of Edmonton’s most famous musicians died peacefully last week.Ryan Arcand, known as the city’s piano man, didn’t play at the Winspear Centre for Music or at the Jubilee Auditorium. But his fingers danced over piano keys in public squares and churches, and finally in the supportive housing facilities that became his home in the final years of his life.He was 46. Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Facebook
Dennis WardAPTN National NewsThe tension between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, its supporters and police is high.Now people trying to stop a section of the pipeline on sacred land are dealing with email@example.com
After United’s 5-1 victory at Cardiff City on Saturday, Gary Neville says it’s time the players put in the work and prove they can produce a consistent level of performance.Former United player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came back to the club as interim manager after Mourinho was sacked last week Tuesday.He took charge of his first game away at Cardiff City on Sunday, and United produced an impressive performance in a 5-1 victory.Neville questioned whether the result was because of the team they faced or turning a new leaf under a new manager, but has called for hard work in order to finish strong this season.“There was an immediate bounce and impact from Ole, however, it was Cardiff and we need to see if they can do it over six months,” Neville told Sky Sports.Maguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…“If they can do that then they will get the opportunity to play for the club next season. If they do it over six games and then drop back they won’t play for the club next season.“The most important thing for Manchester United is sailing the ship into shore calmly, with some people needing to disembark and not come back, and some needing to come on and sail out to seas in the future. That’s the nature of the next six months.“The hard work starts now for United. Anybody who thinks sacking Jose Mourinho is the answer, it is not, the hard work starts now and I am sure the people in the club are wise enough and knowledgeable to know that.”
A pilot program that aims to save developers money was approved Tuesday by Clark County commissioners, even after they heard from engineers who said they would not recommend it to developers.Under the developer certification program, developers could opt out of having county staff conduct a final engineering review.That would save, for example, $4,845 for a 20-lot subdivision.However, liability would be put on the developer’s engineers.Jerry Olson of Olson Engineering said the program may leave solo practitioners or small companies unable to bid for projects as they often can’t afford $1 million in general liability insurance and $1 million in errors and admissions insurance that will be required. The county required the insurance so taxpayers won’t be on the hook for shoddy work.Olson also said he relies on the county’s final engineering review, which happens before construction starts, because private engineers aren’t as well-versed in the details of state and county codes.Thomas Dennis and Greg Jellison of HDJ Design Group shared Olson’s concerns.Jellison, who serves on the county’s Development and Engineering Advisory Board — which opposed the program — said there have been a lot of improvements at the county regarding the review process. He said county engineers have done much better at only making changes to plans to comply with codes, and not suggesting changes based on personal preference.Commissioner Steve Stuart emphasized the program, which was initiated by commissioners, was optional.Stuart asked Jellison what he would do if a developer wanted to use the pilot certification program.“We’d probably have a long discussion,” Jellison said. He said he would not recommend it.The county won’t have an approved list of engineers; any engineer licensed in the state of Washington who carries the appropriate insurance can participate. Eligible projects include short plats, subdivisions and site plans. The county would still do a construction inspection and make sure everything was in order before issuing a final occupancy permit.
A group of Rohingya refugee people walk in the water after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf. Photo: ReutersInternational relations experts said Bangladesh should be vocal against Myanmar in the international arena following Myanmar’s apathetic attitude over Rohingya repatriation and the recent Rohingya pushback from India and Saudi Arabia.The first phase of Rohingya repatriation, scheduled to begin November last year, was not possible due to Myanmar’s failure to ensure a safe environment for Rohingyas there. The repatriation faces another setback following recent clashes between Myanmar army and the Arakan Army in the Rakhine state.Under these circumstances, the international relations experts said this is the time for Bangladesh to be vocal about repatriation of Rohingya people to Myanmar.As Bangladesh’s relations with India and Saudi Arabia are good, the country should take up ‘silent diplomacy’ to stop further Rohingya penetration from these countries.Diplomatic sources at the Dhaka and Yangon think that Myanmar must initiate the return of the Rohingyas as this depends on a congenial atmosphere on their side.Officials of Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said the new foreign minister has also given priority to Rohingya issues, but Bangladesh should do more in this regard.Some of the foreign ministry officials said Bangladesh should change its diplomatic strategy over Rohingya repatriation.Former foreign secretary Towhid Hossain said, “We had kept silent over Rohingya crisis in the past. We didn’t even go hard against neighbouring Myanmar. It’s brought nothing good for us. Thus this is the time to make our voice louder.”Towhid Hossain thinks India remains limited to humanitarian aid to Rohingya. Rohingya penetration from India should be discussed at the highest political level rather than just in diplomatic circles.The country should tell Saudi Arabia that it stood beside the country in every crisis. This is Saudi’s turn to help Bangladesh out as international relations depend on mutual cooperation, he pointed out. Bangladeshi diplomats also said the Dhaka is thinking of ‘silent diplomacy’ over Rohingya infiltration from India.CR Abrar, a professor at Dhaka University’s international relations department, said, “India hasn’t voiced a single word over Rohingyas’ infiltration to Bangladesh territory. As Rohingyas are not nationals of Bangladesh, this is not a proper attitude of a good neighbour.”The government should also be vocal about Rohingya pushback from Saudi Arabia.The government should tell the Saudi authorities that relations should not be one-sided as it invariably displays blind support to the kingdom on every international issue.Meanwhile, United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and met foreign minister AK Abdul Momen.Yanghee Lee, who is assigned to submit a report over state Rohingya people in Bangladesh, is facing a travel ban in Myanmar since 2017.After a meeting with the UN rapporteur, foreign minister Abdul Momen said, “We want to improve relations with them [Myanmar]. We’ve taken them [Rohingyas] in as a humanitarian cause.””It’s not the responsibility of Bangladesh alone to send them back and resolve their problems. But it’s a responsibility of all people and all the countries in the world,” said minister Momen.31 Rohingyas in no man’s landAs Bangladesh denied entry to 31 Rohingya trying to enter from India, they have been staying in no man’s land on the border along Brahmanbaria district for the last four days.The Border Security Force (BSF) of India is trying to pushback the Rohingyas into Bangladesh.Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) 25 battalion’s commander Golam Kabir told Prothom Alo that the Rohingya have health and refugee cards of Jammu Kashmir state of India.He said they informed the BSF authorities about the matter in a flag meeting, but BSF denied Indian citizenship of the refugees.*This piece originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam
The human hauler is seen at the spot as a Maitree Express hit it in an unguarded level crossing in Sirajganj on 13 April. Photo: CollectedAt least three people were killed as Dhaka- bound Maitree Express train hit a human hauler on an unguarded level crossing in Koyelgati area of Kamarkhand upazila in Sirajganj, reports UNB.The deceased were Surja Mia, 34, son of Raham Ali of Udaypur village, Rafikul Islam, 35, son of Bishaw Mandal of Pakuria village, Nehar, 37, son of Abdul Hamid of the same village in the upazila.Officer-in-charge of GRP police station Harul Majumdar said the train hit the human hauler when it was passing through the level crossing, leaving one of its passenger dead on the sopt.Two other passengers died at hospital.
As India got a giant new satellite launch vehicle that opened more commercial opportunities, the crew module–CARE (Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment)–splashed down into the Bay of Bengal after it separated from the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle(GSLV Mark-III).The successful test of the atmospheric re-entry of the 3.65 tonne unmanned capsule came around 730 seconds after the three-tonne rocket on its experimental mission lifted off at 9.30 AM from the Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIWhile the rocket cost ISRO Rs 140 crore, the crew module has taken another Rs 15 crore, officials said.Three levels of parachutes specially designed by Agra- based DRDO lab Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment helped the crew module descend safely into the sea, about 180 km from Indira Point, the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.”This was a very significant day in the history of Indian space programme,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K S Radhakrishnan said from mission control, as fellow scientists clapped and broke into a round of cheers. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindPresident Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among other leaders who congratulated the ISRO scientists for the feat that will help carry heavier communication satellites.”Successful launch of GSLV Mk-III is yet another triumph of brilliance & hardwork of our scientists. Congrats to them for the efforts. @isro,” Modi tweeted. The Lok Sabha also hailed ISRO for the new achievements.GSLV Mk III Project Director S Somanath said the country has made it again and it has a new launch vehicle. “India, you have a new launch vehicle with you. We have made it again,” he said.”We have made it again…ISRO’s capability of launching heavier payloads has come to shape and this will change our destiny and our capability has significantly enhanced.”The 2.7 metre tall cupcake-shaped crew module with a diameter of 3.1 metre features aluminium alloy internal structure with composite panels and ablative thermal protection systems and can carry two to three astronauts.The module would be shipped to Kamarajar Port in Ennore near Chennai, from where it would be taken to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala for further study.Though it would take at least 10 years for India to send humans into space, this experiment has helped the space agency to test the module for safe return of humans from space, according to ISRO.As for the objective of validation of the complex atmospheric flight regime of GSLV Mk III, Radhakrishnan said the two active S200 and L110 propulsive stages “performed as expected.””We have got the signal from the beacon in the crew capsule. Indian Coast Guard ships have received them and they are some 100 km away from the site presently moving to recover it,” S Unnikrishnan Nair, Project Director of ISRO’s Human Spaceflight Programme, said.
Kolkata: Jadavpur University on Wednesday formed a two-member committee that will conduct an inquiry to find out whether there were any procedural or other lapses in the evaluation of answer scripts of all the six Humanities subjects for which the varsity had conducted admission tests.”We had the meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) today (Wednesday) where we have unanimously decided on the probe. A retired Justice and an external academician will be part of the committee. If they want, they can also rope in other members to assist them in the process. They will submit a report after the probe,” Pro Vice-Chancellor, JU Pradip Ghosh said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeEC sources said former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University Ashutosh Ghosh will be a member of the committee. It may be mentioned that there were allegations of improper evaluation of History answer scripts and the varsity had to re-evaluate those with the help of external academicians.It was found that there was significant variation of marks secured by the candidates in the first and second round evaluation. The first evaluation was conducted by professors of the History department, while the second one was done by external experts. It may be mentioned that there were as many as 15 changes on the revised selection list for History. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA total number of 15 candidates, who were on the waiting list after the earlier evaluation, made it to the selection list after re-evaluation. There were cases — where a student, who had scored 6 out of 100, got 32 after re-evaluation. A total of 344 scripts were re-evaluated.Apart from History, admission tests were held in English, Bengali, International Relations, Philosophy and Comparative Literature. “There were hardly any questions raised based on the evaluation of the other five subjects. However, the probe will be conducted for all the subjects to ensure transparency,” an EC member said.
A Word Thrice Uttered: Stories on Life’s Realities is a collection of reality inspired short stories. The compilation published by ‘Niyogi books’ was launched at India International Centre.Organized on December 5, the book launch coincided with the death anniversary of Asrarul- Haq Majaz, noted Urdu poet.Every short story in the book by Parveen Talha, author, portrays diverse realities of life through the protagonists – children, women, men, animals and even some supernatural beings. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfReaders meet fascinating women who confront irresponsible and evil men. But nothing stops these women from taking the first step for a leap into liberation and self-empowerment.The chief guest for the event was Muzaffar Ali, Filmmaker, Fashion Designer and Activist. Among the other esteemed guests, Professor Nalini Jain, Academic and Author, Sadia Dehlvi, Columnist, Writer and Activist and Saif Mahmood, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, marked their presence. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAt the launch, Muzaffar Ali shared his viewpoints on the book. He opined that Parveen’s ability “to sense the human (and that of animals as well) predicament in the most sensitive manner and then to express these dialectics in a cinematic way are her greatest strengths. The fact that she was from Lucknow said a lot about that place too”. On the other hand Saif Mahmood, who is also the co-author of Tahir Mahmood’s magnum opus ‘Muslim Law in India and Abroad’ said, “Not many know that the practice of ‘triple talaq’, banned by the SC recently, was not just unconstitutional but also un-Islamic. Prevalent only among India’s Muslim community, who follow the Hanafi Islamic school of law, this practice is not recognized anywhere else in the Muslim world. In fact, Islamic law is a progressive law, and only one of its kind, which seeks no evidence for divorce. Speaking further, he said, “The beautiful tehzeeb of Lucknawi culture, which sparkles in her writing, is the most stunning quality of her craft.” David Syiemlieh, Chairman UPSC, expressing his opinion said, “The small, insignificant and countless problems that people go through every day are presented evocatively”. Parveen Talha, who belongs to an old family of Awadh, settled in Lucknow after her retirement. She is involved with social service which includes working for animal rights. Veteran journalist Sadia Dehlvi, who engaged Parveen Talha in a conversation around the book along with Nalini Jain, spoke about Talha’s love for animals in real life and the unparalleled beauty with which she expressed every nuance of life in her book. Lastly, Trisha De Niyogi urged the readers to treat this book as a work of fiction. “Though the title points out to the burning issue of Triple Talaq and touches upon various social concerns like women empowerment, children psychology, Ganga Jumni tehzeeb, and others. Our concern for live issues should not detract the merit of the book as a creative writing.”
February 5, 2018 This story originally appeared on PCMag Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global If you haven’t seen it by now, Amazon’s Super Bowl LII commercial is fairly clever. Kudos to the company for coming up with a fun way to mash together celebrities and Alexa without it feeling overly cheesy or trying-too-hard. More importantly, a big thanks to Amazon’s engineers who came up with an ingenious way to broadcast the “A word” without it triggering everyone’s Echos — whatever version of the device you own.The most annoying thing about watching any YouTube video or televised commercial that mentions Alexa is that it typically triggers your Echo device to get ready to respond to a query. Or worse, the person you’re watching who says “Alexa” just keeps on babbling, which then makes your Echo do something you didn’t want it to do — or just apologize for being unable to do whatever commands it tried to interpret.And since Amazon definitely wanted its Super Bowl LII to mention she-who-shall-not-be-named, and refer to her frequently, the company had to come up with a different way to do so in order to avoid hacking off everyone who already owns an Echo device.The solution? Acoustic fingerprinting.”The trick is to suppress the unintentional waking of a device while not incorrectly rejecting the millions of people engaging with Alexa every day,” said Shiv Vitaladevuni, a senior manager on the Alexa Machine Learning team, in an Amazon blog post.Though Amazon isn’t detailing the specific techniques its using to keep your Echo from triggering from its Super Bowl advertising, Bloomberg notes that a Reddit user, Asphyhackr, might have figured out Amazon’s secret.”I did a little research tonight and found that the Echo, while it’s processing the wake word, searches the Audio Spectrum and if is significantly quieter in the area of 4000hz to 5000hz, she will not wake for the word,” Asphyhackr writes.”I found that when I analyzed the spectrum of them saying her name, the spectrums were significantly quieter in the range of 3000hz to 6000hz. In some of those recordings, those frequencies appeared to be non-existent. In others it appeared like the boosted the surrounding frequencies to make the Echo see a gap in the spectrum.”In other words, if your Echo (Best Price at Amazon) notices something strange happening in the audio spectrum, it realizes that it should ignore whatever is being said — like “Alexa.” And while this works well when Amazon has a planned announcement to make, like an advertisement, the company has to get a bit more creative when it can’t anticipate the large-scale broadcast of its digital helper’s name.”When multiple devices start waking up simultaneously from a broadcast event, similar audio is streaming to Alexa’s cloud services. An algorithm within Amazon’s cloud detects matching audio from distinct devices and prevents additional devices from responding. The dynamic fingerprinting isn’t perfect, but as many as 80 to 90 percent of devices won’t respond to these broadcasts thanks to the dynamic creation of the fingerprints,” reads Amazon’s blog. 3 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.
TORONTO — WestJet says it is working on contingency plans to minimize any impact to its passengers in the event of a pilots strike and says that WestJet will offer passengers a full refund if travel plans are disrupted.The latest statement from Lyell Farquharson, Vice President Sales & Distribution, WestJet Airlines also notes that if the ALPA’s Master Executive Council (MEC), the union representing WestJet’s pilots, decides to call for a strike, they are required to provide WestJet with a 72-hour notice of the strike. “Strike mandates are a relatively common collective bargaining tactic. It does not mean that a strike will take place,” says Farquharson, adding that the strike authorization does not include WestJet Encore.As reported earlier, to support the progress being made at the bargaining table the ALPA has committed to WestJet that no industrial action will take place over the Victoria Day long weekend. “This will allow the bargaining teams to meet every day next week, working towards reaching a mutually-supported agreement,” says Farquharson.He adds: “I recognize and appreciate the frustration this uncertainty brings. We are working diligently towards a negotiated settlement.”WestJet’s pilots union may be armed with a strike mandate but both the union and the airline are still negotiating in good faith and the ALPA says it’s committed to staying at the bargaining table for as long as it takes to get a first collective agreement.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesThe latest statement from WestJet echoes the union’s determination to hammer out a deal. “We remain at the negotiation table to drive a sustainable agreement, in the best interest of our pilots, 13,000 WestJetters and the 70,000 guests who fly with us daily,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO.Sims added: “We acknowledge the outcome of this vote and recognize the mandate WestJet pilots have given ALPA.”As reported yesterday WestJet pilots voted overwhelmingly to give their union a strike mandate, and could walk off the job starting May 19.The Air Line Pilots Association says members voted 91% in favour of strike action. About 95% of WestJet’s 1,500 pilots and WestJet Encore’s 500 pilots voted.The result was announced with eight days remaining in the 21-day cooling-off period after which the union can launch a strike or the airline can lock out employees.Although the pilots will be in a legal position to start job action on May 19, the union says it has committed to not strike over the Victoria Day long weekend as bargaining continues.“We are certain our guests will appreciate that this update confirms their travel will be unaffected over the Victoria Day long weekend,” said Sims.WestJet and its pilots have been in contract negotiations since September. A major issue for the union is the company’s hiring of outside pilots for its new ULCC Swoop, set to launch in June.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”On April 27 Farquharson has released a letter to the airline’s partners to ease concerns. “Our President and CEO, Ed Sims, is committed to negotiating a successful agreement with ALPA and I can assure you that our flight operations continue uninterrupted.“We remain focused on working with ALPA and continuing the momentum we have achieved through the bargaining process, which is scheduled to continue in April, May and June. We are confident we will reach a successful conclusion.”Soon after the strike vote results were announced Air Canada sent out a statement saying it was adding capacity on key transcontinental routes by up-gauging aircraft on certain flights from Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, from Vancouver to Calgary, Edmonton, and from Calgary to Montreal.Meanwhile WestJet’s negotiations with the ALPA continue in Halifax.“We’re making progress on some of the smaller issues that we hoped to clear up quite some time ago but I believe we’ll be addressing a lot of the major issues in the coming week,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of the WestJet association’s master executive council.With files from The Canadian Press Clock is ticking as WestJet, ALPA head back to the bargaining table Tags: WestJet Share Friday, May 11, 2018 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group