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COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

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In our efforts to mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has today published guidelines to ensure EU passenger rights are applied in a coherent manner across the EU.

National governments have introduced different measures, including travel restrictions and border controls. The purpose of these guidelines is to reassure passengers that their rights are protected.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “In light of the mass cancellations and delays passengers and transport operators face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission wants to provide legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights. In case of cancellations the transport provider must reimburse or re-route the passengers. If passengers themselves decide to cancel their journeys, reimbursement of the ticket depends on its type, and companies may offer vouchers for subsequent use. Today’s guidelines will provide much-needed legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights in a coordinated manner across our Union. We continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation, and, if need be, further steps will be taken.”

This guidance will help passengers, the industry and national authorities in this unprecedented situation, with important passenger travel restrictions imposed by national governments and knock-on effects on transport services across the EU. By introducing clarity, the guidelines are also expected to help reduce costs for the transport sector, which is heavily affected by the outbreak. The guidelines cover the rights of passengers when travelling by air, rail, ship or bus/coach, maritime and inland waterways, as well as the corresponding obligations for carriers.

If passengers face the cancellation of their journey, for example, they can choose between reimbursement of the ticket price or re-routing to reach their final destination at a later stage. At the same time, the guidelines clarify that the current circumstances are “extraordinary”, with the consequence that certain rights – such as compensation in case of flight cancellation less than two weeks from departure date – may not be invoked.

Background

The EU is the only area in the world where citizens are protected by a full set of passenger rights – whether they travel by air, rail, ship, bus or coach. Carriers have to offer reimbursement (refund of tickets) or re-routing to passengers whose service has been cancelled. Carriers must also offer care in terms of meals and accommodation. In respect of compensation, the rules differ between transport modes. 

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Global manufacturing production drops sharply due to economic disruptions caused by COVID-19

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World manufacturing production already indicated an overall economic slowdown in 2019 but, in the first quarter of 2020, manufacturing output growth registered a sharp decline of 6.0 per cent. This decline is attributable to China’s lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, as well as ongoing uncertainties due to restrictions on trade between the US and China and the so-called Brexit.

A massive decline of manufacturing output for industrialized, as well as developing and emerging industrial economies (excluding China), is expected in the following period as a large number of industrialized countries partially shut down their economies as a containment strategy for COVID-19 from March 2020 onwards.

In the first quarter of 2020, industrialized economies registered a contraction in manufacturing output of 2.5 per cent. Among Asian industrialized economies, manufacturing output remained almost unchanged, mainly due to the solid performance of South Korea and Taiwan, ROC.

In Europe, manufacturing growth was much lower in Eurozone economies compared to other European Union (EU) countries, as already experienced in previous quarters. Italy registered one of the steepest output declines of 11 per cent because of the early outbreak of COVID-19. Among non-EU economies, manufacturing output dropped by 6.0 per cent in the United Kingdom, mainly due to Brexit and related uncertainties.

China’s manufacturing output in the first quarter of 2020 was hit hard by the pandemic and dropped by 14.1 per cent in a year-over-year comparison. Almost all Chinese industries experienced negative growth rates, including motor vehicles (27.3 per cent) and textiles (22.5 per cent).

Manufacturing production in developing and emerging industrial economies (excluding China), not yet affected by COVID-19, recorded a reduction of 1.8 per cent.

Developing economies in the Asia and the Pacific region registered a negative year-over-year growth rate of 2.5 per cent for the first quarter. Viet Nam was among very few countries in the region that maintained a high manufacturing growth, whereas India’s manufacturing output further dropped.

The upcoming economic crisis due to COVID-19 is expected to further weaken economies in the Latin America region which already witnessed a reduction in manufacturing output of 2.8 per cent in year-on-year comparison.

Africa’s manufacturing output indicated a slight increase of 0.2 per cent for the first quarter of 2020.

The full report World Manufacturing Production, Quarter 1, 2020 is available here.

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Top Paying Careers In Criminal Justice

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Crime is at large, now more than ever. We get to hear of unimaginably heinous misdeeds every day that can be nerve-wracking for the people who suffer from it. The motivations behind these actions could base on religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, castes, and everything else that creates a bias in our society. The harsh reality is that it exists on every level and every scale, and people from all age groups and genders are equally prone to it.

Fortunately for us, we have adequate and competent law enforcement agencies to protect our interests and ensure the safety of our lives against these perpetrators. It might be risky, but is a highly noble profession that guarantees a respectable career. And with the development of proper governing bodies, this field has also adapted an efficient system to function with several branches.

Individuals who feel strongly about the security of others, or harbor a strong sense of morality readily line up to join this line of service. Besides securing the people from crimes, they also obtain a steady source of income for themselves. One with sufficient room for professional growth, although that is dependent upon the branch of law enforcement which they serve.

Choosing to pursue a career in this field can be a bold decision, but its many rewards make it worthwhile. If you can also see a future in this area, then here are the top-paying options that you should consider before picking any categories. These should help make your career even more exciting than it already could be.

1. DEA AGENTS

A DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent works as part of a team that tackles drug trafficking and apprehends people involved in it. Because they deal with a range of tasks while performing their duties, a dea agent salary can be rather appealing for most people. Serving in this profession requires them to be proficient in several languages, have an apt understanding of body language, be remarkably flexible, and an expert in paying attention to details and decision making. You can expect an average yearly income between $60,000 and $90,000.

2. LAWYERS & ATTORNEYS

Criminal justice lawyers and attorneys can enjoy a comfortable living, thanks to the magnitude and abundance of cases for them in this area. They function by advising their clients in civil and criminal trials and informing them of the possible course of actions within their legal rights. Besides that, advocating before the court of law is a primary part of their job. They need to spend a total of seven years in undergrad and law school to consider bar exams and licensing for practicing. Upon completion, you can enjoy a yearly income of above $70,000.

3. DETECTIVE & PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

This section of the criminal justice body specializes in active law enforcement practices and maintain order in a city. Detectives rank higher than police officers and work on solving specific cases by examining records, collecting evidence, and apprehending criminals. Most of them are advance from the position of a police officer by clearing specializing exams that test their physical and mental competence. Once they promote this level, they can get a salary of up to $90,000 in a year.

Private investigators offer similar services, but since they are not part of a system, they are more flexible with their work. They may be unlicensed and undertake all nature of cases. Thus, making them more suitable for private investigations.

4. POLICE OFFICERS

Police officers play a more significant role in the day to day activities of our lives. They maintain order, file reports, make arrests, apprehend offenders of the law, and respond to calls for individual assistance. Qualifying for this job requires them to clear training and pass several medical, physical, and written exams. After completing them, they can serve state or federal agencies following the defined code of law. You should expect to earn $40,000 to $60,000 a year. To get into a higher pay scale, try to apply getting done with your undergrad.

5. FEDERAL MARSHALS

Federal marshals perform a more narrow scope of duties. They are prominent members of the US government’s executive branch. Their job description involves providing adequate security to court officers and officials and ensuring the smooth functioning of the judicial system. Part of their job also requires them to convey and fulfill court orders, like arrest warrants or prisoner transfers. Individuals can join this field after completing a degree in criminal justice and three years of practice in this area. They are likely to start from a pay scale of above $38,000 a year.

6. FORENSICS ANALYSTS

Forensics analysts are the Sherlock Holmes of the world of criminal justice. They collect and analyze evidence related to criminal cases and make reasonable deductions or draw appropriate conclusions from their findings. They work closely with medical examiners, officers, and lab technicians to perform their duties. Exhibiting a sound understanding of ballistics, fingerprinting, biochemistry, and other implicit details of cases is essential for their jobs. People wanting to work in this branch need to complete a bachelor’s in criminal justice and get a forensic science specialization through enforcement agencies. They can start working with annual pay of $37,000 and expect gradual growth with time and experience.

7. PROBATION OFFICERS

Probation officers work on rehabilitating and reforming the lives of law offenders, convicts, and people still waiting for their sentencing. They supervise the activities of released criminals and run background checks on arrested individuals to help with the sentencing. A vital part of their job also involves providing recommendations on matters related to sentencing and reviewing court orders. They offer rehabilitation assistance and referrals to counseling, training, and community service programs for offenders. That makes their job rather important in intercepting and eliminating crime from our streets. These can start their careers from $35,000 and expect to go up to $60,000 a year with gradual growth.

8. COURT CLERKS

Court clerks provide clerical support with matters related to the municipality and court systems, as well as federal licensing agencies. They perform all the associated services and administrative duties for the judicial system. That involves issuing licenses, collecting fees, maintaining fiscal accounts, and verifying the propositions made in the court. They need to complete a 2-year associate degree and other technical programs from vocational schools. Depending on their performance, experience, and work, they can earn between $20,000 and $75,000 a year.

SUMMARY

These are top-paying career options in criminal justice that you need to consider for your future. Make sure to prepare for rigorous physical and mental exercise for all of them, as this field deals with everyone identically. Rest assured, you can envision a respectable and satisfying life ahead of you after joining this field.

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EU Politics

Explainer: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List

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What is the EU Air Safety List?

The EU Air Safety List (ASL) is a list of air carriers from non-EU countries, which do not fulfil the necessary international safety standards. The carriers on the ASL are banned from operating to, in and from the EU. Also, carriers that do not operate to the EU can be put on the ASL, in order to warn the public travelling outside of the EU about their unsafe status. If the safety authorities of a third country are not able to fulfil their international safety oversight obligations, all the carriers of such country can be put on the ASL.

The EU Air Safety List, while evidently not popular with the affected countries, has developed into a very powerful, and internationally recognised tool to help improve the safety of international aviation. This is the case both for flights to the EU, but also for aviation outside of the EU. The ASL is also seen as a strong preventive tool, because countries, which are under scrutiny, tend to improve their safety oversight to prevent seeing their air carriers on the list.

Which carriers are currently on the EU Air Safety List?

After the update of June 2020, the 35th update, 96 air carriers are banned from EU skies:

  • 90 airlines certified in 16 states*, due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states;
  • Six individual airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

An additional three airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Who is responsible for the updates to the EU Air Safety List?

For the purpose of updating the list, the Commission is assisted by the EU Air Safety Committee (ASC), which is composed of aviation safety experts from all the EU Member States and chaired by the Commission, with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Acting on a proposal by the Commission, the Air Safety Committee adopts its opinion by qualified majority, which is then submitted to the European Parliament before final adoption by the Commission and subsequent publication in the Official Journal. To date, all decisions taken by the Commission to impose or to lift restrictions have always been reached with the unanimous support of the ASC. Equally, every update of the ASL met with the unanimous support of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee.

What is the procedure for updates to the EU Air Safety List?

All Member States and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have the obligation to communicate information to the Commission, which may be relevant in the context of updating the ASL. The European Commission and the Air Safety Committee use a variety of sources of information when assessing whether or not international safety standards are respected. These sources include ICAO, FAA, EASA, SAFA** and TCO*** reports, as well as information gathered by individual Member States and the Commission itself. It is important to note that this assessment is made against international safety standards (and not the EU safety standards, which are sometimes more stringent), and notably the standards promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

To whom does it apply?

The rules establishing the list of banned carriers apply to all air carriers irrespective of their nationality – EU and non-EU ones. The rules apply only to commercial air transport, i.e. to air transport of passengers and cargo for remuneration or hire. The rules do not apply to private and non-commercial flights (e.g. positioning flights for maintenance purposes).

How often is the list updated and what is the timeframe for this? Is there not a risk that it will quickly become obsolete?

The Air Safety List may be updated whenever the Commission deems it is necessary, or upon request of an EU Member State. The ASC normally meets two or three times every year, as necessary. In cases of emergency, a specific procedure is foreseen.

How can an airline be cleared and taken off the list?

It is possible for states and air carriers to be removed from the air safety list. If an airline considers that it should be taken off the list because it complies with the relevant safety standards, it can address a request to the Commission, either directly or through its civil aviation authority. To enable a ban to be lifted, sufficient evidence needs to be provided to the EU to prove that the capacity of the airline and of its oversight authority to implement international safety standards is of a sufficient level. The Commission services will then assess the evidence presented by the airline and/or its oversight authority to substantiate its request for being withdrawn from the air safety list, and if the result of the assessment is positive, the Commission will make a proposal to the EU Air Safety Committee.

Notwithstanding the case of individual air carriers, if the underlying reason for an air carrier being on the ASL is due to the poor level of compliance with ICAO standards by its safety oversight authorities, it will require the state to address the significant non-compliances before that air carrier can be removed from the list.

In practical terms, this involves the air carrier and its state providing written information, attending meetings with the Commission and Member States, sometimes being subject to an on-site visit led by the Commission, and taking part in hearings in front of the Air Safety Committee.

How is an airline added to the list?

If the Commission or a Member State acquires and confirms evidence indicating serious safety deficiencies on the part of an airline or its oversight authority anywhere in the world, the list will be updated to include such airline or all the airlines of such country.

Does the inclusion of an airline in the air safety list always mean that it is no longer allowed to fly in Europe?

YES. As long as the air carrier is subject to a total ban, it cannot operate with its aircraft and personnel in the Union’s airspace. The airline is included in Annex A to the regulation whereby the Air Safety List is updated. Equally, as long as an air carrier is subject to a partial ban it can operate only with the aircraft stipulated in the Regulation. The airline is included in Annex B to the regulation whereby the Air Safety List is updated.

Banned airlines can, however, use the aircraft and personnel of other airlines, which are not on the ASL, on the basis of contracts called “wet-lease agreements”. In this way, passengers and cargo can still be transported on the basis of tickets sold by a banned airline, whereas the actual flight is operated by airlines which fully comply with the safety rules. Furthermore, aircraft which are used for government or state purposes (e.g. transport of the heads of state and/or government, humanitarian flights), do not fall under the safety requirements of ICAO. Such aircraft are considered to be operating “state flights” and they can fly into the EU even if they are banned from operating commercial flights to the EU. However, such flights do need a special authorisation (“diplomatic clearance”) from all the Member States, which the state aircraft overflies, as well as from the state of destination.

In essence, banned airlines cannot enter the sovereign airspace of any Member State and fly over their territory while they are banned (totally or partially).

Does the list prevent EU Member States from taking individual safety measures at a national level?

NO. The general principle is that whatever measure is considered at national level must be also examined at Union level. When an air carrier is considered unsafe and therefore banned in one Member State, there is an obligation to examine this measure at EU level with a view to applying it throughout the European Union. Nevertheless, even where a ban is not extended to the EU, there is scope for Member States to continue to act at national level in certain exceptional cases, particularly in emergencies or in response to a safety issue specifically affecting them.

What are airlines’ “rights of defence”?

Airlines that have been banned, or that are being investigated in view of a potential ban, have the right to express their points of view, submit any documents, which they consider appropriate for their defence, and make oral and written presentations to the Air Safety Committee and the Commission. This means that they can submit comments in writing, add new items to their file, and ask to be heard by the Commission or to attend a hearing before the Aviation Safety Committee, which then formulates its opinion based on these proceedings and the materials submitted prior to or during the hearing.

Is the Commission approach a punitive one?

The Commission’s sole aim is to improve aviation safety, which is in everyone’s interest, and in no way to affect a country’s economic or social development. Countries affected can put in place technical assistance measures to help airlines achieve a satisfactory level of aviation safety. While in the past the focus has been to put countries and carriers on the ASL, the Commission is now also focusing on working with affected states to help them improve their safety situation, in order to allow them to be released from the EU Air Safety List once the necessary safety levels have been reached.

How is the public informed about the EU Air Safety List?

The latest version of the list is made available to the public online at https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/air-ban_en. The Commission also liaises closely with European and international travel agent associations each time that any changes are made to the list in order that they may be in the best possible position to aid their clients – the passengers – in making informed decisions when making their travel arrangements. Moreover, the “Air Safety List” regulation also obliges national civil aviation authorities, EASA and airports in the territory of the Member States to bring the ASL to the attention of passengers, both via their websites and, where relevant, in their premises.

In what way does the EU Air Safety List provide rights to European travellers?

The Air Safety List Regulation establishes the right of any passenger to know the identity of every airline they fly with throughout their trip. To this effect, the contracting carrier is required to inform passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier or carriers when making a reservation, whatever the means used to make the booking. The passenger must also be kept informed of any change of operating carrier, either at check-in or, at the latest, when boarding. The Regulation also gives passengers the right to reimbursement or re-routing if a carrier with which a booking has been made is subsequently added to the Air Safety List, resulting in cancellation of the flight concerned.

In what way does the publication of the EU Air Safety List help European citizens travelling beyond EU territory?

The ASL does not only ban unsafe airlines from operating to, from and in the EU. The publication of the list also provides useful information to people wishing to travel outside the European Union, in order for them to avoid flying with these airlines. The list also safeguards the rights of consumers who have bought a trip at a travel agent, which includes a flight operated by an airline on the ASL.

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