Category Archives: Uncategorized

Turkish and Emirates Air Exempt from US Laptop Exclusion

Passengers traveling on two major middle eastern airlines, Turkish Airways and Emirates Airlines, will be allowed to bring laptops into cabins during their flights to the United States, according to David Lapan, a spokesman for Homeland Security in Washington, DC.

A third airline is also exempt from the new US restrictions, Abu Dhabi’s-Etihad Airlines.

The reasons for the lenient approach to these carriers is still unclear, leaving some wondering what these companies do differently to ensure that terrorists do not smuggle explosives on to airplanes through electronic devices. In Turkey, the use of CT scanners to examine electronics just before boarding has recently been instituted, helping heighten the level of security on flights to the USA.

Both airlines informed the US Department of Homeland Security that, “they are ready to comply with the enhanced security measures.”

“Protecting the American people and raising the global baseline on aviation security remains the top priority,” Lapan said. “We will continue to closely observe operations in these airports to ensure these enhanced measures are implemented effectively and to the required levels.”

Dubai International Airport is now the world’s busiest for international traffic, mostly due to the great expansion of Emirates Airlines, whose hub is in Dubai.

Emirates said in a statement that it has been able to “implement heightened security measures and protocols” to the standard that meets the requirements of the United States. What those measures are, exactly, was not discussed, but it followed a similar permission granted to Etihad earlier in the week.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the U.S. and local authorities for their support and thank our customers for their understanding and patience during the last few months when the ban was in place,” Emirates said.

Turkish Airlines sent Twitter messages to their passengers heading to the US that they should, “fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your own electronic devices.”

The airline said that over the past 102 days the ban on laptops in cabins originating in the Middle East to the US they had taken away more than 81,000 electronic devices, storing them in special protected baggage.

The ban on laptops in airplane cabins on flights to the US still applies to seven international airports in the Middle East: Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Cairo; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; and Doha, Qatar.

Poll Shows Most Voters Want to Stay in Paris Climate Accord

A survey conducted between June 2 and 4 showed that almost 60% of Americans are against President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. The poll was done by the Washington Post and ABC News.

The results were that 57% of registered voters asked said they oppose the decision, while 33% were in favor.
President Trump announced his intention to withdraw on June 1.

Opinions about the decision were highly correlated with the party voters were identified with. Among Democrats, 82% were opposed to withdrawal and 8% in favor. Among those identifying as Republican who took the survey, 67% agreed with Trump’s decision and 25% were opposed. Sixty-three percent of those identifying as independent were against an exit from the agreement and 22% were in support.

The subjects were also asked if they thought withdrawal from the accord would harm or help the US role as leader in the world. The poll showed that 56% of registered voters thought withdrawal was harmful to the US, while 22% thought it would help.

People were also questioned about their opinions on whether withdrawal from the accords would help or hinder the US economy. The results showed that 37% of registered voters answering the survey felt withdrawal would help the economy, while 42% said they thought withdrawal would harm the economy.

Despite the President’s decision to withdraw the US from the landmark agreement, many companies, government bodies and academic leaders and institutions plan to continue to follow the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Recent Nominations to the Trump Administration

In recent news, there have been a number of nominations for positions in the President Trump government that were just announced.

Elaine McCusker has been nominated as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, comptroller. She is the Director of Resources and Analysis at U.S. Central Command. Before this, she was a staff member on the Armed Services Committee, the Department of Navy Headquarters and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller).

Another nominee, James Donovan, has been with Goldman Sachs since 1993 and has now been nominated to be Deputy Treasury Secretary. In this position, he will be the assistant to Steven Mnuchin and will work to carry out the administration’s economic policies. Jim Donovan became a partner at Goldman Sachs in 2000 and he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Another nominee is David Norquist for Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller. He is currently a partner at Kearney and Company and he has been a staffer on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Homeland Security. Norquist previously had this job from 2006 to 2008.

Cuba and US Opening Air Routes Between Them

Cubana Yak-420 CU-T 1704. Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

Cubana Yak-420 CU-T 1704. Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

It has been fifty years since the United States and Cuba allowed commercial traffic to enter and leave their respective air-spaces. Now, since last Tuesday, a deal signed by the two parties paves the way for the restoration of commercial flights between Cuba and the US. As soon as the deal was signed the US Department of Transportation started the bidding on as many as 110 US-Cuba flights per day by American airline companies. Although there are flights now between the two countries, they are all charter flights.

This decision is the most significant deal between the US and Cuba since the signing of the trade agreement between the two countries by President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro in late 2014.

“Today is a historic day in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx after he and Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez of Cuba signed the deal in a ceremony at Havana’s Hotel Nacional. “It represents a critically important milestone in the U.S. effort to engage with Cuba.”

FAA Issuing Drone Permits for Several Industry Uses

Drones-Photo by Halftermeyer

Drones-Photo by Halftermeyer

A study conducted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group for the burgeoning drone industry, investigated what businesses are increasingly using drones to improve efficiency and the bottom line.

Of the 500 first permits granted to drone operators by the Federal Aviation Administration, 153 were granted to drone operators who use drones to showcase properties with videos taken from the air. In second place with 128 permits were aerial land surveys. General aerial photography users garnered 125 permits, while 106 were given to operators to use in agriculture.  Aerial inspection operators received 86 of the 500 permits.

Across the country drone use is also growing. The state requesting the most permits was California with 70, 46 in Texas and 40 in Florida. Illinois received 18 permits while Arizona 17.

“To me, the diversity of industries that are coming forward in this initial phase and saying we’d like to fly using (drones) is the most significant element,” said Brian Wynne, the association’s CEO. “We think there’s a ready-made market out there.”

History of US Business On Exhibit at Smithsonian

Alexander Graham Bell, between 1914 and 1919

Alexander Graham Bell, between 1914 and 1919

July 1st will be the opening day of a brand new exhibition entitled, “American Enterprise” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The exhibit will explore the history of business in the US, its positive side as well as its negative aspects.

According to Smithsonian sources, visitors “will be immersed in the dramatic arc of labor, power, wealth, success and failure in America.”

On display in the 8,000 square foot gallery space in the Mars Hall of American Business will be such essential items from the great American innovative past as the cotton gin created by Eli Whitney; a Fordson tractor; an experimental telephone developed by Alexander Graham Bell, and a New York Stock Exchange booth from 1929, the year of the great crash.

“American Enterprise will convey the drama, breadth and diversity of America’s business heritage along with its benefits, failures and unanticipated consequences, through four chronological eras from the 1770s to present,” says John Gray, the museum’s director.

Alibaba Expanding to California in a “Very Strategic” Move

Silicon Valley by  Revol Web

Silicon Valley by Revol Web

China’s gargantuan e-commerce company Alibaba is opening a cloud computing hub in Silicon Valley, its first such center outside of China. The move is in synch with their global ambitions despite tough competition in their niche.

The California hub is at an undisclosed exact location, kept secret for security reasons.  It is situated somewhere in the hi-tech capital fondly referred to as Silicon Valley, denoting an area south of San Francisco. Alibaba enters an already crowded marketplace dominated by such on-line giants as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

The data center, Alibaba’s Aliyun cloud division, will first provide service to Chinese companies that have branches in the US. Included are retail, internet and gaming companies. In the future the center will seek out US companies that would like to expand out to the Chinese market.

Ethan Yu, an Alibaba vice president in charge of the firm’s international cloud business explained:

“This is a very strategic move for us,” Yu said. “International expansion is actually a company strategy in the coming few years. Eventually we may expand to other regions, for example the East Coast or middle part of the U.S., if our customers have the demand for that.”

Tesla Offers Sweet Deal on Model S Leases

Introducing the 2015 Tesla Model S Sedan

Introducing the 2015 Tesla Model S Sedan

In another burst of “out-of-the-box” thinking, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk wrote in a blog on October 25 that customers leasing the company’s new Model S electric car will have the option of returning the car within 90 days and have the remainder of their lease obligation nullified.

This offer is for purchasers of cars in the United States. A limitation on this deal is that if the car is returned after 3 months the purchaser will not be allowed to lease another Model S immediately.

Musk’s blog post also said that US Bank will be offering the lease for those interested in buying the Model S, lowering monthly lease payments by as much as 25 percent.

The new Model S was launched earlier in October. Among its features are the ability to park itself and recognize road obstacles.

Last year’s offer, in partnership with Wells Fargo & Co and US Bank, was an offer of 10 percent down towards the purchase of a Model S sedan.

Barrett Wissman Turns Around IMG

barrett pianoAs written in the International Arts Manager magazine, Barrett Wissman’s involvement with IMG has changed the face and future of the company. While IMG struggled in the early part of the new century, especially with the death of Mark McCormack in 2003, they have found new energy and spirit.

Barrett Wissman offered to buy a majority share of IMG”s artists management business. Rebranded as IMG Artists, Wissman owns 70% of the company and IMG owns 30%. With Barrett Wissman at the helm, turnover increased by 40% in two years and it was expected to grow between 10% and 15% more in 2006. They opened a Singapore office in October 2005 and another opened in Italy.

Wissman said, “There is so much going on around the world today, not just in our kind of music but in all areas, that we are in danger of losing our audience if we don’t nurture it. We as an agency cannot behave as we used to, simply booking artists into engagements the world over and taking commission. We have to work on building our audience. We have to give our artists the opportunity to be involved directly with the public. We have to re-enliven the arts and not just take money out. Our job as arts managers is to move in new directions and, because we’re in touch with so many artists at the same time, we’re in a perfect position to do exactly that.”

Wissman believes in having smaller offices all under one management umbrella. As he said, “Local knowledge is vital. It is important to be global because we need to be aware of all the potential opportunities for our artists. Without knowing what is happening on the ground, though, we would never discover these opportunities. The reason we have offices in all these places – which now includes New York, London, Paris, Lucca, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – is build relationships with local organizations, ministries of culture and so forth.”

As he explained some of his philosophy, “The notion of arts management as a booking service is gone. The landscape has changed dramatically in terms of funding and in terms of what people actually want. We have to keep the business alive and at the moment I don’t see other agencies doing this. It might mean that we don’t get rich but we have to generate successful platforms for our art. If our festivals are of a high enough quality and create the right atmosphere then they will be such platforms. As long as we don’t actually lose money, its worth it to me.”

Clint Greenleaf Loves Doing Business in Texas

Greenleaf Book Group

CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, Clint Greenleaf moved his company from Cleveland, Ohio to Austin, Texas in 2004. There were several reasons Greenleaf made the move; among them the most important were the difficulty of hiring in Ohio, and the absurdly high taxes there.

Greenleaf explained that in Texas there would be no requirement of city, county, regional or state taxes, as there were in Ohio. Austin had an energized work-force with an accompanying “entrepreneurial spirit.”

After the move Greenleaf prospered in Texas. They were able to increase revenue ten times in the last eight years. Mr. Greenleaf believes that his company is “on track for its best year ever.”

“Texas has been great to Greenleaf Book Group and we will continue to run our business here. If another state wants to encourage us to move, they’ll have to show us they can provide more for our business, and our people,” added Greenleaf.