Monarch Airlines goes into administration
JUST before dawn on October 2nd, passengers booked to fly on Monarch Airlines began to receive texts informing them that their flights had been cancelled. This was the first news that Britain’s fifth-biggest airline had ceased trading and is now in administration.
It is the country’s biggest airline ever to collapse.
October 2, 2017 at 10:15PM
The Real Message of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Shortly after Labor Day, the temperature begins to rise in research
laboratories around the world, a symptom of what one of my mentors used
to call “Nobel fever.” This morning, the fever broke with the news that
Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash, of Brandeis University, and Michael
Young, of Rockefeller University, will share the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine for their work on the circadian rhythm, commonly
known as the biological clock.
Speaking from the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Thomas Perlmann,
the secretary of the prize committee, praised the scientists for helping
to “explain how plants, animals, and humans adapt their biological
rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.”
Like last year’s solo laureate—Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese biologist
who studies autophagy, the process by which cells dispose of their
garbage—2017’s winning trio came as something of a surprise. The three
Americans’ names did not appear on any of the major Nobel prediction lists, and when Rosbash was awakened by the phone call from Sweden, early this morning, he
reportedly said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” Prior to Perlmann’s
announcement, the smart money had been on either immunotherapy,
which uses the body’s defenses to fight cancer, or CRISPR,
the revolutionary gene-editing technique.
(Both remain strong candidates for a future Nobel.) Compared with
advances like these, the circadian rhythm is decidedly less in vogue
right now—so fundamental, perhaps, that many handicappers forgot about
it. Hall, Rosbash, and Young’s work in the field stretches back to 1984,
when they isolated a gene that controls the rhythm in fruit flies. In
1990, Hall and Rosbash co-authored a study with one of Rosbash’s postdoctoral students, Paul Hardin, demonstrating
that the protein encoded by that gene fluctuates over a twenty-four-hour
period, rising at night and falling during the day. Four years later,
Young and his colleagues at Rockefeller discovered another crucial
circadian gene; they named it “timeless.”
The deliberations of the prize committee are cloaked in secrecy, but
years ago I crossed paths with one of its members, who happened to come
from the same region in Eastern Europe as my grandmother. After he had
shared reminiscences of that vanished life, he described in general
terms how the committee selects the winners. Nominations flow in from
across the world, and there is considerable debate about who ought to
get credit for which discovery. But there is also discussion, he said,
about what message is sent by choosing to honor one scientist or
discovery over another. My read of today’s announcement, and last
year’s, is that both are about the divide between basic research—the
pursuit of scientific knowledge for its own sake—and applied research,
which focusses on work with obvious, immediate effects. (The latter is
typified by the prize given, in 2008, to Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and
Luc Montagnier, for the discovery of H.I.V.)
This year’s prize, in other words, is a kind of rebuke. Basic science is
under siege, particularly in the United States. Congressional Luddites
love to highlight federally funded projects that, according to their own
stunted definitions, pursue meaningless questions that don’t readily translate into talking points for a public intent on
curing cancer or preventing Alzheimer’s disease. It is possible that, in
today’s political environment, Hall, Rosbash, and Young would never have
received money for their research. After all, do we really need to know
what makes a fruit fly tick?
But, as the Nobel committee made clear this morning, the science that
informs and occasionally upends our understanding of human health and
disease often comes from unexpected places. Ohsumi used yeast cells to
explore autophagy, but a similar garbage-disposal system exists in you
and me. Similarly, studies of the circadian rhythm in flies have shed
light on the genes and proteins that synchronize our own bodies with the
day; they may lead to treatments for a wide range of maladies, from jet
lag to obesity to heart disease. The joy of science is to learn for
learning’s sake; whatever wondrous insights emerge may then be used to
address the problems that we confront in our daily lives. The message
embedded in today’s Nobel Prize announcement couldn’t come at a better
moment—or a more fraught one.
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October 2, 2017 at 09:41PM
Daily Cartoon: Monday, October 2nd
Brendan Loper’s Daily Cartoon repurposes Donald Trump’s criticisms.
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October 2, 2017 at 09:34PM
Singapore Devalues Mileage Credit For Many United Fares
In 2015 United switched its MileagePlus loyalty program over to a revenue-based earning system in which miles are awarded based on how much you spend rather than how far you fly. Since then, a popular alternative for flyers has been to credit United flights to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program instead. Unlike United or other major Star Alliance partners, Singapore not only awarded miles for United flights based on distance instead of dollars, but also gave 100% mileage credit for all tickets regardless of fare class.
Unfortunately that has come to an end. Effective Sunday, October 1, Singapore has put a new earning chart into effect for United flights:
As you can see, more than half of the United fare buckets are being severely cut on the mileage earning side, with two of them now earning as little as 25% of flown miles and United’s Basic Economy fare (booking class N) earning nothing at all. That’s actually worse than other Star Alliance partners, including Air Canada’s Aeroplan which awards a minimum of 50% of flown miles in all classes (although Basic Economy fares do not earn Altitude Qualifying Miles and therefore don’t count toward elite status):
There’s no new obvious place to credit United flights going forward, but if you have a flight booked in the G, K or N fare buckets, Singapore KrisFlyer is definitely no longer the program to use, as you’ll do better with Aeroplan. Of course, you can always credit to United itself and get 5 points per dollar spent on your ticket as a non-elite, or more if you have elite status. But either way, the days of getting a full redeemable mile for each mile flown are slowly dying.
H/T: View From The Wing
Featured image via Getty Images.
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October 2, 2017 at 09:15PM
Patrick Radden Keefe and Sheelah Kolhatkar on Prosecuting Financial Crimes
Sheelah Kolhatkar and Patrick Radden Keefe compare notes on why financial crimes don’t get prosecuted more aggressively.
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October 2, 2017 at 09:05PM
Emirates Deepens Relationship With Discount Carrier FlyDubai as Profits Tumble
Emirates and FlyDubai are strengthening their relationship. The two airlines have different business models but are owned by the same state-owned sovereign wealth fund. FlyDubai
— Brian Sumers
Dubai’s long-haul carrier Emirates says it will now expand its network into 29 locations flown to by budget carrier FlyDubai as part of a codeshare deal.
Emirates said in a statement on Monday that the codeshare agreement will see trips begin on Oct. 29. Flyers can book trips beginning Tuesday.
The two airlines operate independently, but are owned by the same entity, the Investment Corporation of Dubai. That’s a state-owned sovereign wealth fund of the sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates.
The new agreement comes as Emirates’ profits fell by more than 80 percent to $340 million in the last fiscal year due in part to a slump in demand and U.S. travel restrictions.
Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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October 2, 2017 at 09:00PM
Deal Alert: US Cities to Southeast Asia From $430 Round-Trip
Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency, such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.
Several carriers are offering cheap fares on flights from a variety of US cities to some of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations. Score a round-trip ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok (BKK) for as little as $430 on Xiamen Air. Deals are also available from cities like Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Chicago (ORD) to places like Manila (MNL) and Hong Kong (HKG). These discounted fares are generally available from November 2017 through May 2018, but exact availability will depend on your origin and destination. We recommend doing your research through Google Flights and then booking either directly through the airlines themselves or with an OTA such as Expedia or Orbitz.
Airlines: ANA, Asiana, United, Xiamen
Routes: LAX/EWR/SFO/ORD to SIN/BKK/HKG/MNL/SGN
Cost: $430+ round-trip in economy
Dates: November 2017 – May 2018
Booking Link: Orbitz or Expedia
Pay With: The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok (BKK) for $430 round-trip on Xiamen Air:
Newark (EWR) to Singapore for $472 round-trip on United:
San Francisco (SFO) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) for $530 round-trip on ANA/United:
Chicago (ORD) to Hong Kong (HKG) for $607 round-trip on Asiana:
Chicago (ORD) to Manila (MNL) for $608 round-trip on Asiana:
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
If you’re able to score one of these tickets, please share the good news in the comments below!
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October 2, 2017 at 08:15PM
The Only Times When It’s O.K. to Enter a Subway Car Before People Exit
• There is an empty seat and it’s right next to the love of your life.
• There is an empty seat and it’s right next to the Prime-Time Emmy Award-winning actor Jon Hamm.
• Every single person exiting the subway car went to your high school and is personally responsible for that time you fell down the stairs at prom.
• Jon Hamm is the love of your life and you can do whatever you want because he will always fight for your honor.
• You just got a haircut and you need to brush by people to get the little trimmed hairs off your face and shirt.
• You are so universally loved that it’s become a burden and you need to generate some hate to balance it out.
• Body odor gives you an adrenaline rush and provides an acceptable, healthy substitute for hard drugs.
• You have never been loved and this is the closest you will ever get to receiving a hug. Also, one of the people is Jon Hamm and can you just imagine what a Hamm hug would be like?
• You are a time-traveller and are seeing a subway for the first time. You are preoccupied with the beauty of this man-made vehicular contraption, and also with the fact that you’re underground and the walls aren’t mud.
• You used to date Jon Hamm and he’s exiting the subway car and you need to stride past him, bumping shoulders in a passive-aggressive huff.
• You are a retired football player and you’re feeling nostalgic for running toward people who are rushing at you.
• You are a retired football player and you just want someone to notice you again.
• Your dog ran onto the subway and you must chase after it in a charming and apologetic manner because you are Jon Hamm.
• You are Jon Hamm’s dog and you can do whatever you want because he will always fight for your honor.
• You are an absolutely terrible person with no manners.
• You are Jon Hamm. You won an Emmy. You can do whatever you want.
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October 2, 2017 at 08:01PM
News: Nearly 2,000 jobs go as Monarch goes into administration
The joint administrators of Monarch Airlines and Monarch Travel Group have this afternoon confirmed that some 1,858 employees have been made redundant.
Of these, 1,760 were employees of Monarch Airlines, while 98 were employed by Monarch Travel Group.
Between them the companies employed approximately 2,100 people.
The remainder have been retained by the joint administrators to assist them in the administration process and importantly, to help collate critical information to assist the Civil Aviation Authority with the repatriation of customers who are currently overseas.
Partner at KPMG and joint administrator Blair Nimmo commented: “We know that today has been a very sad and difficult day for the Monarch employees.
“Shortly before the appointment of the administrators, all employees received an email from the company confirming that it was about to enter administration.
“Following this, the absolute priority for me and my team was to try and make contact with all members of staff as soon as possible, in order that we could communicate what the administration means for them.
“Regrettably, with the business no longer able to fly, a significant number of redundancies were made.
“Over the coming days, my team will be doing all it can to assist the employees in submitting claims to the redundancy payments office for monies owed.”
Nimmo, Jim Tucker and Mike Pink from KPMG were appointed joint administrators to Monarch Airlines earlier today.
The group’s engineering operation, Monarch Aircraft Engineering, is not in administration and continues to trade normally.
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October 2, 2017 at 07:28PM
Tom Price Still Has Fans in the Georgia Sixth
Tom Price, the now former Secretary of Health and Human Services, spent more than a million taxpayer dollars on private air travel—since
just May—as Politico reported last week.
“The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes,” Price
responded on Thursday. The former doctor argued his case on television that day,
speaking of “official business” that was “within budget” and “approved
by the normal processes.” Nonetheless, he resigned on Friday, after
reportedly being berated by President Trump in the Oval Office for “about two hours.”
Price previously represented Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, which encompasses Atlanta’s northern suburbs. His behavior has led to
widespread rebukes, including some from conservatives. Trish Regan, a
Fox News TV host, said last week that Price “is the swamp” personified. (She
also called him “sketchy.”)
Price’s congressional seat was filled by Karen Handel, a Republican who
won a widely followed and deeply funded special election in June. Handel did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Jon Ossoff, the
thirty-year-old Democrat and former documentary-film producer whom
Handel beat, sent me an e-mail. “Unethical government starts at the top,
with the Trump family’s nepotism and lies and conflicts of interest,”
Ossoff wrote, sounding a bit less cautious than he’d been as a candidate. “But Tom Price’s legacy isn’t his travel budget. He’s violated the
principles of the Hippocratic Oath by sabotaging insurance markets and
jacking up premiums to serve partisan ends, putting lives at risk and
bankrupting people.” (As Politico noted on Friday, under Price “HHS
shortened the Obamacare enrollment period, reduced marketing and
outreach, slashed enrollment assistance, cut HealthCare.gov’s online
hours—and used Twitter, news releases and YouTube videos to discredit the law.”)
Many of the people who previously voted for Price see things a bit
differently. Over the weekend, I talked to several of his former
constituents and neighbors in Georgia, all of whom voted for him at
least once, to see what they thought of their ex-congressman now. “I
think he was off to a great start as H.H.S. Secretary,” Phil Kent, a
sixty-five-year-old public-relations executive, said. “My view is that
he got some terrible advice on the prices, expenses, and scheduling of
these flights. And it caught up with him. And I think President Trump
thought it was bad optics. Tom Price knew that, so he left.” Did this
episode color Kent’s view of his former congressman? “I think that his
reputation is very well intact. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the
district and around Atlanta since Friday. Not just Republicans. While
there was an unfortunate lapse of judgment, he’s coming home to a lot of
people who still appreciate his decades of public service and medical
Kent’s view was indeed echoed by others I spoke to. “I really would like
to know more about the flights,” Catherine Busse, a fifty-year-old
cloud-computing entrepreneur, told me. “If it’s him and a couple of
staffers, I’m gonna feel one way. If it’s twenty-five people and more
cost-effective, I’m gonna look at the flight issue another way.” Busse
believes that Price’s inability to push Congress to end Obamacare was a
bigger problem. “I think the failure to deliver on a repeal and
replacement, that’s ultimately the catalyst,” she said. “I look at it
largely as a business owner. We expect results.” (Politico, citing
“administration officials, lobbyists and state and federal officials
involved in the repeal effort,” reported on Friday that Price “was never a player on Obamacare repeal.”)
“He was obviously making good money,” Anthony-Scott Hobbs, who has been
active in the local Republican Party for years, told me, referring to
Price’s work as a doctor. “But he never, ever, ever came across that
way. And I’ve known him seventeen years.” Hobbs owns a
marketing-software company in Atlanta. “The majority of the time, he
just wore khakis and a dress shirt. No Italian suits, you know? No fancy
car.” Hobbs added, “I can tell you, he’s one of the most frugal,
cost-minded, average guy out there. Before I truly pass judgment, I
think there’s more to the story.” Asked what more there could be, Hobbs
responded, “Did somebody say to him, ‘This is O.K., Tom’? Were the
flights authorized, and then they weren’t?”
Bob Hagan, who is sixty-one, also suspects that the people around Price
may bear some responsibility. “You know, I don’t know who is to blame,”
Hagan, who owns a chain of nursing homes in Georgia, told me. “I don’t
know all of the reasons behind it. But I guess he felt the need to do
it. Maybe his cohorts, or his people, or the people around him, said,
‘You need to be back here, you need to be back there, at a certain time,’
and this was the only way to do it. I hate to pass judgment on it. I
think he probably made some poor judgments, and I think it’s unfortunate
because I don’t think there was any intent in his heart.” Hagan added,
“He wants to do what’s right, not what’s being said about him. He wants
to do what’s right and he has done what’s right, especially for the
A note of dissent was sounded by John Keclik, a seventy-four-year-old
retired engineer who has lived in the Sixth since 1978, when he
emigrated from Czechoslovakia. “I voted for Tom Price every time there
was an election,” Keclik told me. “I was impressed with his conservative
thinking. I thought he would do a good job as Secretary of H.H.S. But I
just don’t think any government official—besides President,
Vice-President—have the right to spend money like that. A million
dollars! We didn’t send people to Washington, D.C., to spend money like
that. We sent them to drain the swamp.” Keclik added, “A few years ago,
there was some talk on the news that Nancy Pelosi was flying back and
forth to California, spending quite a bit of money also. Do you know
anything about that?” When Pelosi was Speaker of the House, she “had access to government aircraft and frequently took flights back and forth between Washington and California,” as Politico noted last week. In 2010, Price criticized
Pelosi for “flying over our country in a luxury jet.”
Keclik went on, “I’m disappointed, let’s put it this way. I don’t know
whether he has changed his thinking or his politics or whatever. I would
have to think twice before voting for Tom Price again, if he ran again
in my district. I’d rather see a different conservative.”
Phil Kent feels otherwise. “I would have no problem supporting him again
locally,” he said. “He still maintains the trust that he had with us,
the bond he had with us when he was congressman.” He added that he had
some advice for Price. “I’d tell Tom, ‘Take some time off, regroup. The
good news in politics, and in life, is you can reinvent yourself in this
country. Who knows, there may be public service again down the road for
you.’” Hobbs concurred. “I hope they keep some of his repeal-and-replace
ideas in mind going forward,” he told me. “It’s a sad day in the United
States to lose a brilliant guy like that.”
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October 2, 2017 at 07:19PM