Category: travel

U.S. Imposes Severe Travel Restrictions On Chinese Communist Party Members : NPR

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, also general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, leads the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CCP, in Beijing in October. The U.S. State Dept. Thursday tightened travel restrictions on members of the CCP and their families.

Liu Bin/AP


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Liu Bin/AP

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, also general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, leads the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CCP, in Beijing in October. The U.S. State Dept. Thursday tightened travel restrictions on members of the CCP and their families.

Liu Bin/AP

The Trump administration is imposing sharply tighter restrictions on travel to the United States by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members and their families, a move Beijing describes as part of a “deep-rooted Cold War mentality.”

The restrictions target holders of business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visas, reducing the travel documents’ maximum validity to one month, down from the current maximum of 10 years.

“This is in keeping with our ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. Government to protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence,” an unnamed State Dept. official wrote in a statement emailed to NPR.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spent much of the year bolstering his tough-on-China approach. He’s blasted China for human rights abuses against its Uighur and other Muslim minorities, its crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy and its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The unsigned statement accuses the CCP and its members of trying to “influence Americans through propaganda, economic coercion, and other nefarious activities” and says the State Dept. has the authority to “limit visa validity of groups of individuals hostile to U.S. values.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson calls the new restrictions “an escalation of political suppression by some extreme anti-China forces in the U.S.”

The CCP has roughly 90 million members, effectively making the State Dept. visa action the Trump administration’s most sweeping and direct attack on the Party’s legitimacy. The administration has previously imposed sanctions on Chinese businesses and individuals, and has appealed to the people of China to reject the Party.

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Airports reject vaccine requirement as travel debate intensifies

By Allison Lampert and Jamie Freed



a group of people standing next to a sign: FILE PHOTO: Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport, as Britain launches its 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain


© Reuters/TOBY MELVILLE
FILE PHOTO: Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport, as Britain launches its 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain

MONTREAL/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Aviation industry opposition to requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for passengers has intensified as impending drug approvals trigger a debate over their role in air travel.

Airports Council International, which represents airports worldwide, joined most airlines in calling for a choice between testing or vaccination, fearing a blanket rule imposing pre-flight inoculation would be as disruptive as quarantines.



FILE PHOTO: Vaccination against the coronavirus disease in Domodedovo


© Reuters/MAXIM SHEMETOV
FILE PHOTO: Vaccination against the coronavirus disease in Domodedovo

Qantas Airways triggered the debate last week when it said a COVID-19 vaccination would be necessary for passengers on its international flights, which remain largely idle because of Australia’s strict border controls.

But other airlines, and now global airports, are worried that waiting for vaccines would bar people from traveling until they are rolled out widely, crippling business in regions, such as Europe that have relatively small domestic aviation markets.



FILE PHOTO: Vaccination against the coronavirus disease in Domodedovo


© Reuters/MAXIM SHEMETOV
FILE PHOTO: Vaccination against the coronavirus disease in Domodedovo

“Just as quarantine effectively halted the industry, a universal requirement for vaccines could do the same,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira told Reuters.

“While we welcome the rapid development and deployment of vaccines, there will be a considerable period before they are widely available,” he added.

“The industry cannot wait till vaccination becomes available worldwide. During the transition period, tests and vaccines together will play a key role on the industry recovery.”

Australia has indicated people arriving from abroad will need to be vaccinated or to self-isolate in one of a limited number of hotels.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the policy could spread to other countries, noting proof of vaccination is already required for yellow fever for some destinations.

    “Other governments are moving in that direction,” he told reporters on Thursday.

TESTING OR VACCINES?

But the head of airline trade group IATA, which last week downgraded its financial outlook for the sector as a second wave of COVID-19 cases swept Europe and the United States, believes making vaccines compulsory would not work globally.

Systematic testing is “more critical to reopening borders than the vaccine”, IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac told Reuters.

Shukor Yusof, head of Malaysia-based aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, said Southeast Asian countries would take different approaches on vaccine requirements. Asian countries have some of the lowest case numbers of the novel coronavirus globally.

Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Wednesday that COVID-19 “passports” to show inoculation and infection history are a good idea, but hard in practice. [L1N2II0FV]

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on Thursday for a common set of global recognitions for COVID-19 vaccines.

Some experts say vaccines will be difficult to mandate because of limited supply and a range of quality.

Dr David Freedman, a U.S. infectious diseases specialist, believes more countries will follow Britain’s lead and use testing

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10 Best CBD Oils For Dogs

According to the latest report commissioned by the veterinary charity PDSA, 26% of UK adults own a dog and one quarter of those owners take their dogs on holiday with them. Another UK survey showed that 56% of dog owners said that they choose to travel with their dog as they enjoy their holiday more. In the United States, the latest surveys of pet owners, by the American Pet Products Association, revealed that over 63 million households own a dog, with nearly 50% taking their dogs on vacation by car, plane or train.

Most airlines allow small pets in the cabin for a small additional fee if it’s organised in advance. Trains in Europe and Amtrak in the US are happy for dogs to accompany owners too. But this doesn’t mean travelling with one’s pet is smooth sailing, especially at an airport where passing through security is essential. This can be stressful for both dogs and their owners so an effective means of calming an animal is appealing. Likewise, owners look for ways to make a journey with dogs, who get agitated in a car or train, more relaxing. Using a CBD supplement made especially for dogs could relieve some of that tension. The American Kennel Club says that while there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s good anecdotal evidence from dog owners on its anti-anxiety impact. CBD (cannabidiol), a compound found in cannabis and hemp, is also touted for its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects and appetite stimulation. With this in mind, here are ten companies that produce some of the best CBD oils and treats for dogs.

1.Verma Farms (oils, treats)

Hawaii-based Verma Farms sells some of the world’s bestselling CBD oil for dogs. Their CBD dog edibles are also top notch. The highly praised, tasty, CBD-infused steak bites ($59.99 for eighteen 100 mg treats), suitable for mature dogs or pups, are THC free. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties, is to be avoided unless prescribed by a vet. Verma Farms’ CBD is sourced from Hawaiian-grown, pesticide-free Cannabis sativa plants that are rich in nutrients and freshness. While their real beef treats are justifiably popular, Verma Farms also recommends buying CBD for dogs as a liquid so dosage can be adjusted drop by drop and administered in small doses by mixing it into food or treats. Verma Farms’ products are at a premium price for good reason: not all CBD oils are equal. For highest effectiveness, the oil should be organic and THC and additive free. Look at

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Many Americans Ignored Thanksgiving Travel Warnings From CDC, Data Show : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

More Americans stayed home for Thanksgiving this year compared with last year — but by relatively small margins.

An NPR analysis of mobile phone location data showed that 42% of Americans with smartphones remained home, up from 36% last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly urged people to avoid holiday travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the warnings, 13% of Americans still traveled a significant distance, the data showed, although that number was down from 17% last year.

Ali Mokdad, from the University of Washington, said that ideally, more people would have stayed home given the high case rates. “This level of travel will unfortunately lead to a rise in cases,” said Mokdad, who is the chief strategy officer for Population Health.

Data, provided to NPR by SafeGraph, are based on tracking the locations of about 18 million mobile phones across the United States. NPR analyzed the anonymized data to determine the percentage of people who stayed at their “home” location for Thanksgiving as well as the percentage who traveled 31 miles or more.

Thanksgiving week is usually one of the busiest travel periods of the year, but 2020 was expected to end an 11-year trend of travel growth going back to the 2008-09 Great Recession. Car travel had been expected to decrease by at least 10%, while accounting for a higher overall proportion of travel, as fewer people were expected to fly, according to AAA.

In fact, air travel this year was less than half of what it was for the same holiday period in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Despite the decrease, the number of air passengers hovered at around 1 million per day for a majority of the week leading up to Thanksgiving, the highest it has been since mid-March, when the pandemic began to ramp up in the U.S. Air traffic has been steadily increasing the last few months, even as the country recorded some of its highest new daily coronavirus case counts. In the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day alone, the U.S. saw about 1 million new cases.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein noted there had been no issues with passenger volume on Thanksgiving Day. To account for more travelers during the travel period, the TSA “opened additional checkpoint lanes to help ensure low wait times and allow for social distancing.”

SafeGraph’s metrics cannot capture what people did when they left home or what safety measures they took to mitigate their risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. SafeGraph’s data also cannot account for whether those who left home went to houses within their social bubble.

If you were one of the people who traveled for Thanksgiving, it’s not too late to reduce the risk involved. Quarantining, wearing a mask near others, limiting interactions outside the house and getting tested if any symptoms develop can all reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

“The best way to prevent further spread of the disease is to stay home, avoid gatherings,

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US imposes restrictions on travel visas for Chinese Communist Party members

The State Department is imposing new restrictions on travel visas to the United States for members of the Chinese Communist Party, a State Department spokesperson confirmed Thursday.



a close up of a screen: International flights arrivals are listed on a screen at Los Angeles International Airport on March 12, 2020 one day before a US flight travel ban hits 26 European countries amid ongoing precautions over the Coronavirus.


© Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
International flights arrivals are listed on a screen at Los Angeles International Airport on March 12, 2020 one day before a US flight travel ban hits 26 European countries amid ongoing precautions over the Coronavirus.

Under the new rules, the travel visas of CCP members and their immediate family members will change from 10 years to one month and will be single entry.

The move, taken less than two months before the Trump administration leaves power, is the latest in a series of actions that have ratcheted up tension between Washington and Beijing.

“This is in keeping with our ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. Government to protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “Under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of State has the authority to limit visa validity of groups of individuals hostile to U.S. values.”

The spokesperson claimed that the Chinese Communist Party “sends agents to the United States to unabashedly monitor, threaten, and report on Chinese nationals and Chinese-American groups engaging in legal, honest, and open activities that are protected under freedom of speech and freedom of assembly clauses.”

“For decades we allowed the CCP free and unfettered access to U.S. institutions and businesses while these same privileges were never extended freely to U.S. citizens in China. Interaction with free societies, economies, and access to Western technologies certainly helped China develop, while the CCP only doubled down on Marxist-Leninism and hostility to the free world,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pursued a series of aggressive actions against the Chinese government as tensions between the US and China continue to rise.

It has designated more than a dozen Chinese media companies operating in the US as foreign missions. China has expelled journalists from a number of US media outlets. The Trump administration has also imposed restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the US, and in July ordered Beijing to shutter its consulate in Houston.

The activities of consulate officials in Houston “are a microcosm, we believe, of a broader network of individuals in more than 25 cities that network is supported through the consulates here,” a US Justice Department official told reporters at the time.

In response, the Chinese government ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu.

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Coronavirus live news: Italy reports record deaths after close to a thousand Covid-linked fatalities in 24 hours | World news

Rich nations stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in economic output over the next five years if poorer countries do not get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, a report has said as concerns grow about “vaccine nationalism”.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to plug funding gaps in its ACT Accelerator programme for global Covid-19 treatments, researchers said their findings showed there was a financial – as well as a moral – case for ensuring equal access.

“Governments are increasingly focusing on investments that can help their own economies to rebound,” said Hassan Damluji, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which commissioned the report by the Eurasia Group research firm.

“The ACT Accelerator is precisely one of those investments. It is both the right thing to do, and an investment that will pay dividends by bringing the global economy back from the brink, benefiting all nations.”

As nations prepare to roll out mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes, with Britain becoming the first to approve a vaccine for use this week, there has been concern that “vaccine nationalism” could see poorer countries left behind.

The WHO says the programme needs $38bn (£28bn) – of which about $28bn is still outstanding – without which lower-income countries will not be able to get prompt access to Covid-19 drugs including vaccines.

Thursday’s report assessed the economic benefits of ensuring swift, equal global access to vaccines to 10 major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

It found boosts to the global economy as a result meant they stood to gain at least $153bn in 2020-21, and $466bn by 2025, in an analysis based on IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts of varying vaccination scenarios.

The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the report, and said contributing to the ACT Accelerator was “the smart thing for all countries – socially, economically and politically”.

Its findings are in line with an earlier study that found wealthy countries stood to lose $119bn a year through uneven vaccine access, said Andrea Taylor, a researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute’s project tracking Covid-19 data.

“It is in the best interests of wealthy nations to invest in equity and it will cost all of us more if we don’t, both in terms of mortality and GDP,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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The Top Women’s-Only Travel Tours That Offer Flexibility For Booking

In the past few years, women’s-only tours have grown in popularity. Right now, travel is at a standstill and no one knows for certain when it will resume—but that isn’t stopping female-identifying people from booking future travels to remain optimistic and someday soon experience one of these tours for themselves.

Of course, you might be a little hesitant to book a tour right now. What you want is a company that prioritizes safety and allows you to book with confidence. What women’s only tours can consumers consider that offer flexibility with booking and a generous change policy? Here are TK tour companies to consider.

Purposeful Nomad

Purposeful Nomad specializes in small group tours that focus on culture and use local guides. They practice and preach sustainable travel by working with responsible organizations for authentic community connection and a meaningful impact. Some of their destinations include Mongolia (new for 2021), Georgia, and Tanzania. Trips are confirmed at least 60 days prior to departure, but if the company must cancel then clients are refunded completely.

Intrepid Travel Women’s Expeditions

Intrepid Travel launched their Women’s Expeditions because they found that some experiences in certain countries weren’t possible in co-ed groups. Some unique experiences include getting to know Bedouin women in Wadi Rum, Jordan, or relaxing in a women’s only salon in Iran. Intrepid offers a new Flexible Bookings Policy, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip, with no change fees.

Origin Travels

If you’re looking for a women’s-only tour that doesn’t feel like a typical travel tour, check out Oirgin Travels. Their Kenya trip is a perfect example: whereas many Kenya tours focus solely on the safari experience, Origin Travels connects travelers with local women who are changemakers, and the tour heads to the coast. They offer payment If your trip is cancelled to COVID-19 related reasons, a rescheduled date will be offered, or the full trip amount can be credited towards a future departure. 

Wild Terrains

Wild Terrains tours don’t just cater to women—they’re also powered by women. They partner with incredible women locally for all of their tours, including their most recent destination, Argentina. This tour company’s booking policy has always embraced flexibility. They ask for a 50% non-refundable

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UK nursing home residents may have to travel for vaccine, official says

A British official on Thursday said that some nursing home residents may have to travel to receive the coronavirus vaccine.



UK nursing home residents may have to travel for vaccine, official says


© istock
UK nursing home residents may have to travel for vaccine, official says

“The [National Health Service], the [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] are working really hard, right now, to try and find a solution, so that we can get this into care homes if we possibly can … at this point, there is no absolute assurance of that,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam told ITV’s “This Morning,” according to Reuters.

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The UK on Wednesday became the first country to grant emergency authorization to Pfizer’s vaccine for the virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to decide on a similar authorization for the drug next week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the government is still working out the challenges of distributing the vaccine, which must be stored in extremely cold temperatures. Van-Tam said that the drug can be kept in refrigerator temperatures for up to five days, it cannot be removed from refrigeration and replaced indefinitely.

“One thing we can’t do is … end up with a vaccine that’s been handled incorrectly, and then isn’t properly viable at the end of the distribution chain,” he said, according to the news service.

Nursing home residents and workers are among those the British government has said will take priority in the initial rollout of the vaccine.

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens added that regulators will need to sign off on splitting the vaccine’s dose packs before they can be delivered to individual facilities.

“If the MHRA … as we expect they will, give approval for a safe way of splitting these packs of 975 doses, then, the good news is that we will be able to start distributing those to care homes,” he said, according to Reuters.

Philipp Rosenbaum, the Senior Infectious Diseases Analyst at data and analytics firm GlobalData, said the UK’s size, health care system and population density, make it an “ideal” test case for distribution.

“If problems do arise, this will not bode well for distribution in countries with longer distances to vaccine distribution centers [or] less-developed infrastructure,” he said.

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N.J. superintendent scolds parents for keeping quiet about kids with COVID-19, holiday travel

A Morris County schools superintendent says some parents have not been cooperating with coronavirus safety protocols by sending children to school when sick, not reporting positive COVID-19 results and ducking questions about Thanksgiving holiday travel.

Students returned to Chatham High School on Monday, and by Tuesday the district had received reports from parents of seven confirmed coronavirus cases, Superintendent Michael LaSusa said.

LaSusa told parents in a letter that school officials and nurses have “experienced challenges in some cases with obtaining accurate information from some parents about exposure to COVID, symptomatology of students, and travel over the long weekend.”

The high school has suspended in-person instruction until Dec. 16 “due to 7 reported cases in such a short period of time and reports of additional exposures over the holiday weekend,” LaSusa told NJ Advance Media on Thursday.

LaSusa said that most parents have been cooperating with school officials and nurses.

“The overwhelming majority of our parents are working with us and doing everything they can to be proactive and collaborative with the school district to help keep our schools open,” he said in an email.

“However, in a small number of cases, we have had parents send their children to school sick, not inform us of a positive test result for their child — which in turn delays or inhibits our ability to help the local health department with contact tracing, or argue with our nurses about protocols for quarantining or isolating,” LaSusa said.

Additional coronavirus cases have not been reported since Tuesday, but LaSusa noted that there often is a delay in receiving results.

“Our ability to keep our schools open depends upon keeping our staff healthy and out of quarantine, so I appreciate all of the sacrifices and efforts the overwhelming majority of parents have made to help make that happen,” he added.

In-person instruction is continuing at the other five schools in the School District of the Chathams, a regional K-12 district for more than 4,000 students in Chatham Township and Chatham Borough.

New Jersey’s 21 counties all are reporting “high” coronavirus levels — a designation that, according to state health guidelines, means they should should “consider implementing fully remote learning” in their schools.

If coronavirus levels reach the “very high” benchmark, all-remote learning would be required, but at least for now, local districts retain discretion.

The Chathams school district’s website on Saturday posted a reminder from LaSusa that anyone traveling to states other than New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania must quarantine for 14 days upon returning to New Jersey, and that the same standard applies if anyone in the household begins experiencing “COVID-compatible” symptoms.

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Rob Jennings may be reached at [email protected]

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©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

Visit NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J. at www.nj.com

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6 Best Travel Stocks for 2021

It’s almost time to turn the calendar to 2021, and many of us are looking forward to doing everything we couldn’t do in 2020. One market segment that could bounce back in a big way next year is the travel sector.

Families that have been cooped up for months will be looking for a change of scenery. Businesses will be looking to close deals in person. Folks who love to travel have been making plans.

Which names in the travel space are setting up for a strong year in 2021? To find the answer, we divided the sector into subgroups. Here’s what we found:

Online Travel

Technically speaking, this is one of the strongest groups within the sector. My top pick in this space is Expedia  (EXPE) – Get Report.

At the time of this writing, Expedia was nearing its year-to-date high. The stock was on the verge of a breakout from bullish pennant formation (black lines in the chart below). That consolidation pattern projects Expedia to the $160 area. 

Source: TradeStation

Source: TradeStation

The runner-up in this subset is Booking Holdings  (BKNG) – Get Report, operator of Priceline.com and several other popular travel websites. Booking Holdings has formed a pattern similar to Expedia (see below). Based on that pattern, the stock could climb to $2,500 per share.

Source: TradeStation

Source: TradeStation

 Honorable mentions in this space include Sabre Corp.  (SABR) – Get Report and Travelzoo  (TZOO) – Get Report

Hotels

Hotel stocks would seem to have a lot of upside, but investors have been lukewarm to this group. None of the major brands has reached its pre-Covid-19 highs, but two names are getting close.

Choice Hotels  (CHH) – Get Report closed at an all-time high of $108 in February. Then, the stock was halved during the ensuing Covid-19 downdraft. However, by November, Choice Hotels had climbed back above $100.

Choice has formed a large ascending triangle pattern (see chart below). If the stock can break above $108, it could cruise all the way to $140.

Source: TradeStation

Source: TradeStation

The chart of InterContinental Hotels Group  (IHG) – Get Report, below, has a similar look. Based on its pattern, IHG appears to be headed to $85.

Source: TradeStation

Source: TradeStation

Honorable mentions: Hilton Worldwide Holdings  (HLT) – Get Report and Marriott International  (MAR) – Get Report.

Airlines

There is little good news to report in this sector. The best airline chart belongs to JetBlue  (JBLU) – Get Report, shown below. This stock has formed a rounded bottom pattern (semicircle), and recently closed at its highest level since the pandemic hit.

Source: TradeStation

Source: TradeStation

That said, JetBlue doesn’t have a great chart. There’s no increase in volume behind the stock’s attempted breakout (shaded yellow). This tells us that JetBlue’s attempted breakout is likely to fizzle.

Like JetBlue, none of the major air carriers is near its pre-Covid-19 highs. The chart of American Airlines  (AAL)

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