Airline passenger complaints nearly double after high-profile incidents

The Transportation department reported 1,909 complaints for April 2017. There were only 1,123 in Apri last year.

United Airlines wasn’t the only airline that faced blowback from the public over its infamous use in April of armed security guards to drag a passenger from an overbooked flight. Airlines across the United States recorded 70% more complaints that month from the same month last year, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation statement Wednesday.

The Transportation department reported 1, 909 complaints for April 2017. There were only 1,123 in Apri last year.

This year’s spike follows the widespread backlash against Incidents such as United’s forced removal of David Dao from his seat on an April 9 flight. Viral videos that recorded Dao hitting his head and breaking his nose during the removal provoked a massive outcry against the airline and the practice of overbooking in general. But Paul Hudson, founder of the passenger rights group Flyersrights.org, said that the public backlash may have emboldened customers to speak out about other airline issues that displease them, and that this is why complaints are up.

“A lot of people have realized that things are bad and that they can complain about it,” said Hudson.

Most complaints did not involve broken noses or head trauma, however. Cancellations and flight delays were the sources of most complaints, followed by overbooking.

Flight delays and cancellations also rose, according to the Transportation department report. It found that 78.5% of April 2017 flights arrived on time, down from 84.5% the prior April. And whereas 0.9% of April 2016 flights were cancelled, 1.9% of flights were cancelled in April 2017.

American Airlines was on the receiving end of the most complaints, with 324 for the month. Delta and United came in second and third with 297 and 265, respectively.

Africa’s richest man plans to invest $50 billion in U.S., Europe

He said that he is currently focusing on investment projects in his home country, including $5 billion of agricultural initiatives and an $11 billion oil refinery.

Energy industries in Europe and the United States may get a big boost courtesy of Africa. Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian billionaire, announced in an interview with Bloomberg Markets Magazine that he plans to invest $20 billion to $50 billion by 2025 in European and U.S. renewable-energy companies and petrochemicals, as well as other industries.
He said that he is currently focusing on investment projects in his home country, including $5 billion of agricultural initiatives and an $11 billion oil refinery. But he plans to shift heavily toward putting his money in enterprises in other parts of the globe after 2020.
“Beginning in 2020, 60 percent of our future investments will be outside Africa, so we can have a balance,” said Dangote, adding that “I think renewables is the way to go forward, and the future. We are looking at petrochemicals but can also invest in other companies.”
Dangote is founder and chair of Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer, and also owns stakes in salt, sugar, and flour-manufacturing companies. He has a net worth of $13.2 billion, which puts him ahead of many U.S. billionaires, including Donald Trump and Charles Schwab, whose wealth totals respectively $3.5 billion and $8.3 billion, according to Forbes.
Food companies and farming have been priorities for him, he told Forbes, because many African countries rely heavily on food imports. He said that the region would benefit from cultivating more domestic food production in order to increase “food security,” and that “I believe Dangote Group is in the right position to drive this trajectory.”
Energy is increasingly drawing his interest nowadays, as well. Starting with African energy: Dangote is now constructing gas pipelines to reach from Nigerian oil fields to Lagos, Nigeria’s main commercial hub; and he’s been working on plans for a new oil refinery since 2015.

Access to water cut off as battle for Mosul wages on

The battle for Mosul has cut off access to running water for thousands of citizens.

The battle for Mosul has cut off access to running water for thousands of citizens.

The city of Mosul has been under ISIS control for over two years and is now being retaken by the federal government of Iraq. Islamic State soldiers have been surrounded in their battle against Popular Mobilization militia, Sunni Arab tribes, and the Iraqi federal government for the ISIS stronghold city. Earlier in the month, Popular Mobilization Shi’ite militia announced that they had overtaken the last western route out of Mosul, essentially trapping ISIS soldiers inside.

It is now being reported by the United Nations and CNN that over half a million people in the Iraqi city are now without access to running water. According to the United Nations, one of the three main water pipelines in Mosul was struck as Iraqi federal troops battled with Islamic State soldiers in the eastern half of the city. The affected pipeline is in a portion of the city still inhabited by ISIS fighters and so cannot be accessed to be repaired according to UNICEF.

According to witnesses inside of Mosul, the story that a pipeline break has occurred is not the worst news in the city. There are now allegations that ISIS has also played a part in the water shortage. According to many, Islamic State soldiers are intentionally cutting off water supplies to multiple neighborhoods that are close to conflict zones. News about the ISIS affected water shortage came from Mosul City Council official, Zuhair Hazem al-Jabouri, who monitors and supervises the water and energy services for the city.

Advanced biometric features predicted in iPhone 8

The phone will also commemorate Apple’s 10th anniversary, and as usual, alleged leakages are already flooding on social media and news outlets of the features of the new iPhone.

The much-anticipated iPhone 8 is due to be launched this year. The phone will also commemorate Apple’s 10th anniversary, and as usual, alleged leakages are already flooding on social media and news outlets of the features of the new iPhone.

The most eye-catching claim is on the iPhone’s new security of the iPhone 8 where it is alleged it will do away with the touch ID that was used in the previous iPhone 7. The new rumor in town is that Apple will use a more advanced security feature that will incorporate biometrics and probably face ID.

According to the latest word from Cupertino, although not official, the iPhone 8 will have more enhanced sensors, which will likely include a facial recognition system that will be incorporated into the iPhone 8 and all future iPhones. What is not clear though, is whether the new enhanced security system will ultimately replace the touch ID feature, or it will be added to the phone so that the two can work hand in hand.

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who also specializes in Apple products is of the opinion that due to the radical changes expected in the design of the phone, security will also be enhanced in the iPhone 8.

He says Apple has already shown a keen interest in biometric technology and will most probably bypass the Touch ID security. Other experts had predicted an iris scanner, but Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple will go the facial recognition way.

100 talented workers offered free trip to New Zealand by

Justin Lester, the city’s mayor, said their tech sector has been growing at annual rate of 14 percent over the past five years.

Officials and businesses in Wellington, New Zealand, are offering 100 talented workers from around the globe a free trip to New Zealand, in an effort to boost the city’s growing tech hub.

The offer has piqued the interest of many, with 12,000 people completing the applications so far. Thousands more are registering as the March 20 deadline.

Justin Lester, the city’s mayor, said their tech sector has been growing at annual rate of 14 percent over the past five years.

“The problem we need to solve is that we have a whole lot of businesses that are struggling to keep up with recruitment,” the mayor said.

The campaign is dubbed LookSee and was first promoted in tech hubs like San Francisco, which is more than 6,000 miles from Wellington.

Approximately a third of the applicants are from the United States. However, that mix is changing as more people from around the globe find out about the offer.

“This is the first time a city has approached recruitment this way,” said David Jones, who is assisting oversee the campaign at the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency.

Successful applicants will get free flights to New Zealand and free accommodation during their four-day visit to Wellington.

The candidates will also get a chance to visit some of the City’s sights, and also meet tech leaders. They are expected for three jobs each, but are under no obligation to accept any offer.

The campaign will cost 850,000 New Zealand dollars ($588,000) and will be paid for by a combination of taxpayer money and contributions from local businesses.

16 service members killed in tragic training flight crash

Sixteen military service members — 15 Marines and a sailor — were killed Monday when a military transport place on a training flight crashed in Mississippi.

Sixteen military service members — 15 Marines and a sailor — were killed Monday when a military transport place on a training flight crashed in Mississippi.

The Marine Corps KC-130 airplane went down in Leflore County Mississippi, about 4 p.m. local time, a report by ABC News said. The flight originated from the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, and disappeared from radar somewhere over Mississippi.

According to the Marine Forces Reserve, the cause of the mishap is unknown and is still being investigated. The names of the dead will not be released until loved ones are notified.

“While the details of the incident are being investigated, our focus remains on providing the necessary resources and support to the family and friends of these service members as they go through this extremely difficult time,” a Marine Forces Reserve statement said.

A local farmer told reporters that he heard a boom and saw the airplane “spinning down.”

Officials from the Marine Corps revealed in a press conference Tuesday that ammunition was on board the aircraft and that due to its presence, restrictions were placed on those who could approach the crash scene.

The Marine Corps is being helped in the investigation by various agencies, including the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau and Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives.

President Trump addressed the plane crash on Twitter.

“Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!” tweeted Trump early Tuesday.