Basketball Travels To Purdue For Big Ten / ACC Challenge

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. ( — Florida State, which has a 2-0 record in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge against Purdue, travels to play the Boilermakers on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.  The Seminoles have won four of their last five games in the Challenge including a 69-67 overtime win over Indiana in 2020 and a 73-72 win over Purdue in the 2018 challenge.  Florida State enters its game against Purdue having won a season-high four consecutive games including two in the Jacksonville Classic (over Loyola Marymount of the West Coast Conference and Missouri of the Southeastern Conference) to claim the championship of the tournament on Florida’s famed First Coast.  Following Tuesday’s game against No. 3 Purdue, the Seminoles play host to Syracuse on Saturday, December 4 at 4:00 p.m. as they open their 20-game conference schedule.  Against the Orange, Florida State will look to tie the all-time ACC record of 26 consecutive home ACC victories.

Florida State will travel to face Purdue in the 23rd annual ACC / Big Ten Challenge on November 30, 2021 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.  The game will mark the third meeting between the two teams in the Challenge with Florida State holding a 2-0 lead in Challenge games.  The Seminoles defeated the Boilermakers in challenge games during both the 2005 (97-57 in Tallahassee) and 2018 (73-72 in Tallahassee) seasons.  Florida State most recently defeated Purdue by a 63-60 score in overtime in the championship game of the 2019 Emerald Coast Classic and lead the all-time series against the Boilermakers by a 4-0 margin.  Matt Painter, the head coach of the Boilermakers since the start of the 2005-06 season, has faced the Seminoles three times – with Florida State defeating his first Purdue team in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge in 2005, his 2018-19 team also in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge and his 2019-20 team in the Emerald Coast Classic.  Boilermaker assistant coach Brandon Brantley has coached against Florida State twice (in the 2018 ACC / Big Ten Challenge and the 2019 Emerald Coast Classic) and is 0-2 as a coach against the Seminoles.  Terry Johnson, who is in his first season at Purdue, faced Florida State as an assistant coach at Butler – a 67-64 Bulldog win on December 23, 2010 at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.  Paul Lusk, who is in his first season (and second stint) as a Purdue assistant coach, was a Boilermaker assistant coach on November 29, 2005 when Florida State took its first win over the Boilermakers in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge.  Elliott Bloom, Purdue’s Director of Basketball Administration and Operations, was the sports information director for the Duke men’s basketball team during the 2000-01 season.

With is 81-80 overtime victory over Boston University on November 24 in Tallahassee, the Seminoles won their 12th consecutive overtime game to set a new NCAA college basketball record for consecutive overtime games won.  The Seminoles have won each of their overtime decisions since a 101-90 double overtime win over Syracuse on January 13, 2018 in a game played at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. The Seminoles now hold the all-time national record for consecutive overtime victories as they moved past Louisville (1968-75), UMass (1991-96) and Virginia (1991-96) who each won 11 consecutive overtime decisions.

Redshirt senior Malik Osborne, who led the Seminoles to victories over Loyola Marymount and Missouri, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Duval Bracket of the Jacksonville Classic.

Entering Tuesday’s game against Purdue, Florida State is 78-21 (.788 winning percentage) since the start of the 2018-19 season. The Seminoles finished 29-8 in 2018-19, 26-5 in 2019-20, 18-7 in 2020-21 and are 5-1 this season. Since defeating Clemson, 72-53, on December 8, 2019, the Seminoles have won nearly 80 percent of their games with a record of 42-11 (.792 winning percentage)

…Defeat Purdue and win its fifth consecutive game against the Boilermakers.  The Seminoles have an all-time record of 4-0 against Purdue;
…Defeat Purdue and gain a victory over a top-five ranked team for the first time since defeating No. 2 Virginia, 69-59, in the semifinals of the 2019 ACC Tournament on March 15, 2019 in Charlotte, N.C.
…Defeat Purdue and gain a win in its fourth different Big Ten venue during the Big Ten / ACC Challenge.  The Seminoles have played at Iowa, at Minnesota and at Rutgers in their challenge history.

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Men’s Basketball schedule: The Vulcans open the season at a tip-off challenge in Charleston (W.Va.) Nov. 12-13


Jeff Helsel

California University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team, Nov. 2021

The California University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball program announced its schedule for the 2021-22 season on Thursday afternoon.

The schedule consists of 28 games with 22 contests mandated by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), as 16 games are versus divisional opponents and six contests are against crossover schools. The league features a balanced nine-team structure in both the Western and Eastern Divisions.

The Vulcans open the season at a tip-off challenge hosted by Charleston (W.Va.) on Nov. 12-13. Cal U will face the host Golden Eagles on the initial day before playing Glenville State after both teams advanced to the semifinals of the 2021 Mountain East Conference (MEC) Tournament.
Cal U will play its first home game in 625 days on Nov. 16 when it hosts Franklin Pierce (N.H.), which advanced to the semifinals of the 2020 Northeast-10 (NE-10) Conference Tournament. The Vulcans then face 2021 MEC Champion Fairmont State at home on Nov. 18 before traveling to face Shippensburg, which advanced to the finals of the 2020 PSAC Championship, in non-conference play on Nov. 23.

In December, the Vulcans start PSAC Crossover play with a weekend road trip to Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg on Dec. 3-4. Cal U returns to the Convocation Center for three games following Finals Week, starting on Dec. 15 versus Carlow. The Vulcans close out the 2021 portion of their schedule with back-to-back home games against West Chester and Millersville on Dec. 18-19.

Cal U starts 2022 with a home crossover contest against Kutztown on Jan. 2 before opening PSAC West play against 2020 PSAC Champion IUP on Jan. 5. The Vulcans then travel to face Pitt-Johnstown on Jan. 8 before playing their final crossover game of the season on Jan. 10 at Shepherd. Cal U hosts Slippery Rock on Jan. 12 before beginning a three-game road trip at Edinboro on Jan. 15. The Vulcans then play at Clarion on Jan. 19 and travel to face Mercyhurst on Jan. 22. Cal U closes the month of January with three games in a week, starting with home games versus Gannon on Jan. 24 and Seton Hill on Jan. 26 before starting the second round of divisional play on Jan. 29 by traveling to Slippery Rock.

In February, Cal U plays Pitt-Johnstown at home on Feb. 2 before having an idle Saturday. The Vulcans return to action on Feb. 9 at IUP before hosting Edinboro on Feb. 12. Cal U travels to nearby Seton Hill on Feb. 16 before playing consecutive home games against Clarion on Feb. 19 and Mercyhurst on Feb. 23. The Vulcans close the regular season with a road game against Gannon on Feb. 26.

The PSAC Tournament is slated to start on Feb. 28 with the top-six teams from each division qualifying for the event. The semifinals and finals of the tournament will hosted on March 5-6 at the top remaining seed from the Western Division.

Note, games, dates, locations and times are subject to change.

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Challenge Tour Grand Final preview and best bets

Ben Coley takes a rare look at the Challenge Tour Grand Final, where Wilco Nienaber can boss a 45-man field and earn full European Tour status.

It’s not my intention to branch out beyond the two main men’s tours. Generally speaking I believe it can be enormously advantageous to a golf punter not to have to cover every event there is. Leave that to the oddsmakers, and focus on areas of expertise.

However, the Challenge Tour Grand Final is a fascinating tournament and one in which I’m surprised WILCO NIENABER isn’t a clear and popular favourite.

Nienaber, who has gained notoriety for being among the longest hitters in the sport, had a difficult decision to make this week. He could’ve played the Portugal Masters, in which he was 14th last year, and had he gone close he’d have perhaps sealed full European Tour status for the 2022 season.

The other option was to return to the Challenge Tour for the first time since May, and his decision to do so looks the right one. Nienaber is 24th in the Road to Mallorca rankings, and the top 20 at the end of this week will gain European Tour status. He’s there thanks to victory in the Dimension Data Pro-Am back in the spring and would’ve surely sailed through had he focused on the second tier rather than take opportunities earned at a higher level.

My belief is that Nienaber would’ve been priced up around 50/1 had he gone to Portugal, and that no player in this Challenge Tour field would’ve been as short. I also believe that while volatile and somewhat difficult to grade, finishes of 14th and 31st on the PGA Tour this year are more than I’d have expected of anyone else here. We can say for certain that none of his main rivals have been as close to winning on a major tour as he was in the Joburg Open (second) less than 12 months ago, not for some time at least.

It’s true that the likes of Santiago Tarrio Ben and Julien Brun have experience of T-Golf which Nienaber does not, and the latter in particular is respected. Brun has always had bags of talent and he’s been rewarded for taking some tough decisions, including moving to Prague, with a string of victories on both the Pro Golf Tour and now the Challenge Tour.

But Nienaber is the player here with genuine world-class aspirations and it’s a month since he was sixth in the Open de Espana, finishing well ahead of Tarrio Ben. His subsequent form reads fine, and it was only an off week with the putter which cost him a weekend tee-time in Mallorca. In turn, that performance probably keeps him from the very head of the betting here.

As for T-Golf’s suitability, there are three par-fives, two of which might be beyond the reach of the majority of the field. Not Nienaber, who can also take on at least one and possibly as many as three par-fours off the tee.

The fact that he’s just outside the top 20 is another potential positive as his focus is clear. It may also be to his benefit that unlike those around him, the South African knows he’ll have conditional European Tour status next year regardless, and may yet have another tournament in Dubai through which he can improve his category.

There are negatives — his power and swing speed can come at a cost, and I would’ve preferred less wind and rain in the forecast — but they’re outweighed by the positives which should entitle him to clear favouritism. Ondrej Lieser won this title a year ago because he dominated the par-fives. Nienaber can do the same, and is a bet at 12/1 and upwards.

Hoey has plenty in his favour

I’ll also suggest a smaller play on MICHAEL HOEY, one of the handful of players here whose experience, nous and general skill set should ensure rotten weather is welcome.

It’s 10 years since Hoey won the Dunhill Links, the pick of seven professional titles, and he’s best by the coast: he’s shown as much not only there, but in Madiera and Morocco, too.

Hoey was an excellent 25th back at the Dunhill Links three starts ago and it’s absolutely not a coincidence that his best effort of the campaign came when 11-under was enough to win the B-NL Challenge Trophy in the Netherlands, where he was part of a play-off. That was also the winning score here last year and conditions look set to be tougher.

He needs a massive week to get back on the European Tour but will know that wind and rain increase his prospects. There are others who are in a similar boat, the likes of Matteo Manassero, Daan Huizing and Stuart Manley among them, but it’s Hoey who looks the best alternative to Nienaber.

Posted at 1145 GMT on 01/11/21

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Valley News – Column: Facing COVID travel challenge to find a place of peace

Oh, for the days when all you had to worry about was whether Bernoulli’s principle could really sustain you in midair over 3,000 miles of open water. Now it’s COVID-19 tests, before, after and during travel, passenger disclosure and attestation forms, passenger locator forms, prebooked rapid antigen tests, pages of entry requirements to read and fill out to get into the country you are traveling to, and pages of instructions to (with hope) allow you to return home.

But I prevailed, and so one misty autumn evening I found myself trundling off a tiny ferry onto the pier of Iona again. Iona is just a mouthful of an island, a small comma on the map of Scotland, nearly invisible on a map of the world. I have been here before, but was preceded by Columba, an Irish monk who landed in its cove in 563 A.D.

Depending which history you read or believe, Columba was either a scoundrel or a saint. Whichever he was, he was certainly a man of immense energy. On Iona he founded a monastery and then took off for the mainland, the Western Islands and Orkney to convert the Picts to Christianity. No buildings remain from Columba’s time. The large, present-day abbey dating from about 1200 A.D. was already in complete ruins in 1773, when Johnson and Boswell visited.

But in 1938, George MacLeod, a Presbyterian minister and socialist, settled a new community on the island and began rebuilding the abbey. His belief that Christianity must be centered on practical endeavors to help others attracted many to the Iona Community. The restored abbey is beautiful, a large, honey-colored cathedral. And the ethos of the Community and MacLeod — to work for equality for all — must contribute to the atmosphere of intense peace here.

I booked a room in the Argyll Hotel, built in 1858, which, fronted by a small garden, sits directly on the water. I had stayed here before. The timeless quality of the place, with peat fires burning in the lounges, and a large, old-fashioned dining room, suits my taste. I turned the brass key to the door of my room (no fiddly computer cards here) and took it in at a glance: a single bed hugged up against one wall, its headboard upholstered in Harris tweed, a small Scots pine bedside table just large enough for a reading lamp, my book and an apple. Two pretty watercolors hung on opposite walls, and a sizable window opened up onto a fuchsia hedge. The bathtub was huge and the towel rack was hot. It felt exactly right.

The island, just 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, is perfect for exploring on foot, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had come to this island to find my center, to reflect and renew, to discover where I’d gone wrong and to reset my sails.

On the first morning, I headed to the north, through the pink granite ruins of the Augustine nunnery, and then past the restored abbey, which I had explored many times before. I walked on, following the road to its end and then took a grass pathway that meandered onto a raised beach. Waves crashed onto the rocks below, sheep bleated in the high grasses around me, a brisk sea breeze ruffled my hair and I relaxed in a deep and profound way, a way I have been unable to do in my day-to-day life.

The path curved around a headland and down to a beach where two intrepid swimmers played in the waves. It then led up over a hillock onto a heathered moor and onward to a large field. Here I became confused. And so, in the end, the day was fine and the walk was mostly flat, except that somewhere, somehow, I got lost and climbed a small mountain by mistake. This certainly seemed to be a metaphor for my life.

The next day, I planned to go to the other end of the island, Martyr’s Bay, where Columba had landed. I had done this before and packed with anticipation: water bottle, rain gear, snack and eyeglasses tucked in my upper left hand pocket. The walk began on the single-track road ringing the island, narrow and requiring me to jump up onto the verges when a car drove by. I walked for about 15 minutes, occasionally leaving the tarmac to make room for a car. And then I absentmindedly felt my pocket and realized, to my distress, that my glasses were gone. Impossible, I thought, and then noticed that the seam on this pocket had unraveled. The glasses had fallen through, sometime in the previous 15 minutes.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just retrace my steps. And carefully I did, scanning the road and combing the grass verges. I was so sure I would find the glasses that I constructed a parable. Nothing is ever really lost, I said to myself. This experience should remind me not to give up hope, always to assume the best; to be positive, to be strong.

But despite my optimism, I did not find the glasses. Never mind, I said to myself, I’m sure I’ll find them later, and I set off for Martyr’s Bay, determined to have a good time. After some confusion again, I found the path, over a golf course — what felt like the most remote golf course on Earth — through a herd of highland cattle, rumored to be friendly but who really knows, and over the brow of a hill, past a lochan, or small lake. Soon the path plunged down and I was rewarded by a vast sweep of high green grass leading onto a rocky beach, edged by a turquoise sea.

A scattering of small islands leads the eye to the horizon, which curves eventually toward the Irish coast from which Columba had sailed. Here I spent a happy afternoon, daydreaming, thinking and writing.

On the way back, I looked for my glasses again, without luck. Maybe I just thought I pocketed them, I mused, still sure they would turn up. But later, after a thorough search of my small room, I still hadn’t found them. The next day, before boarding the ferry to leave the island, I retraced my steps again. Now I had to admit it: Despite the first law of thermodynamics, some things really are lost.

So I changed my parable: This is a lesson on learning how to live with loss, I told myself. An important reminder that loss is a part of life and that what remains is more than what has been lost; a reminder that joy can blossom again after loss and that the way misplaced can be recaptured.

And I thought, leaving a small token of myself, however inadvertently, on this island isn’t a bad thing. It’s a link between me and a place of peace and beauty and growth.

Joan Jaffe lives in Norwich.

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Sooners Travel to Texas for Jim West Challenge

Oct. 17-18 / 54 Holes / San Marcos, Texas / Kissing Tree Golf Club / Live Scoring

NORMAN – The Oklahoma women’s golf team travels to Texas for the second time during their fall campaign to compete in the annual Jim West Challenge Oct. 17-18 at the Kissing Tree Golf Club – a par-72, 6,287-yard course. Competition will begin Sunday with 36 holes and conclude Monday with the final 18 holes. Both days will feature an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start and be broadcast on ESPN+.

The Sooners last competed at the Illini Invitational at Medinah Golf Club. OU was led by Meagan and Libby Winans, who each finished tied for 27th with a pair of even-par 216s. It marked the second tournament of the fall slate that M. Winans led the OU contingent. 

L. Winans is at stage-2 of LPGA Q-school and will be absent in the lineup for the first time this fall. 

Hannah Screen, Mikhaela Fortuna, Maria Fernanda Martinez and Nina Lang finish out the lineup for the Jim West Challenge. 

Screen finished third in the lineup at the Illini Invite, and tallied a 2-over 218 (T37th). She has been in the lineup for all three fall states with Fortuna and M.Winans. 

Fernanda Martinez returns to the lineup after not competing last weekend, while Lang competes in back-to-back tournaments for the Sooners after playing in the Schooner Fall Classic as an individual. 


Meagan Winans, Fr., Richardson, Texas: Made first career appearance in the Crimson and Cream at the Sam Golden Invitational … Finished tied with Screen at the Sam Golden with a 1-under 216 … Led the OU lineup at the Schooner Fall Classic, finishing with a 4-over 214 to finish tied for 22nd … Tied with sister, Libby Winans, for the team lead at the Illini Invitational … Sister, Libby, is a senior on the OU women’s golf team. 

Hannah Screen, Sr., London, U.K.: Two NCAA Regional appearances (2021 at Columba, 2019 at Auburn) … In second season with the Sooner after transferring from Houston where she was All-AAC and led the Cougars to an AAC title … 71.70 scoring average would be lowest in program history … Led Sooners at five tournaments in 2020-21, including T4 at Big 12 Championship … 2021 All-Big 12 honoree … 2021 All-American honorable mention.

Mikhaela Fortuna, Sr., Manila, Philippines:  Two NCAA Regional appearances (2021 at Columbus, 2019 in Norman) …  Second-lowest scoring average (72.85) in OU history … Played in four events for the Sooners in the spring of 2021 after sitting out fall season … Posted T12 finish at the Big 12 Championship and was in second after the first round … Six of her nine rounds in 2021 are par or better … Career-best finish is T7, accomplished three times … 3-0 at Big 12 match play in 2021 … Second-lowest single-season scoring average (71.90) in OU history as a sophomore … Led OU at the 2021 Sam Golden Invitational, firing off rounds of 70-68-69 for a 9-under 207.

Maria Fernanda Martinez, R-Jr., Veracruz, Mexico: First appearance at an NCAA Regional in 2021 in Columbus, Ohio … Career scoring average of 74.34 is 12th-lowest in OU history … Tied career-best finish of T19 at the Big 12 Championship, posting back-to-back 70s to close the tournament … Advanced to round of 32 at the USGA Women’s Am Four Ball with sister Maria Jose, who plays at Houston … Made two appearances in the OU lineup this season … Tallied a career-low 68 at the Sam Golden Invitational.

Nina Lang, So., Ingoldtadt, Germany: Competed at Baylor in 2020-21 .. Finished inside the top-20 in three of her four events with the Lady Bears … First appearance in the OU lineup was at the Illini Invitational … Competed as an individual at Schooner Fall Classic, finishing tied for 27th. 


No. 2 Oklahoma State 

No. 14 Texas A&M

No. 16 Florida State

No. 22 TCU

No. 24 Texas Tech

No. 30 (RV) Oklahoma

No. 34 (RV) Miami


Kent State


New Mexico


Texas State




All three rounds will be played at Kissing Tree Golf Club (par-72, 6,287 yard course).


Fifty-four holes will be played over two days with 36 holes being played Sunday, Oct. 17 and the final 18 on Monday, Oct. 18. Both rounds are an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. 


The tournament will be streamed on ESPN+ with Sunday’s broadcast starting at 11 a.m. and Monday’s beginning at 8:30 a.m.


Live scoring and final results will be posted on A full recap will be posted on following the completion of rounds each day.

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Tip-Off Announced For Big 12/SEC Challenge Against Arkansas

The Big 12 and the SEC announced the times and broadcasts for the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge that takes place in January.

West Virginia is planning to travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Jan. 29. The tip-off will be at 2 p.m. The potential top 25 matchup will be broadcasted on ESPN or ESPN 2.

Arkansas is coming off of an Elite-8 run as the No. 3 seed in the south region of the NCAA Tournament. The Eric Musselman coached Razorbacks defeated Colgate, Texas Tech and Oral Roberts, before losing to the eventual National Champions in Baylor.

Musselman is entering his third season as coach at Arkansas. The former NBA coach previously coached Nevada and took them to three-consecutive NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 once.

This game will mark the homecoming for WVU forward Gabe Osabuohien, as he played for Arkansas for two seasons from 2018-19. Osabuohien entered the transfer portal once former head coach Mike Anderson left for St. John’s. Osabuohien is entering his third season with the Mountaineers and will get the opportunity to play against his former school in January.

Welcome to the new home of WVU football and basketball breaking news, analysis and recruiting. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check us out on YouTube. And don’t forget to subscribe for all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

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LSU men’s basketball team gets morning tip time for Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup at TCU | LSU

The LSU men’s basketball team will get a head-start on its fellow conference members in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which will be played Jan. 29, 2022.

ESPN and the SEC previously announced that LSU would travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to face TCU in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in the ninth annual challenge.

Game times and television networks for all 10 games were announced Wednesday. The schedule has LSU and TCU meeting in an 11 a.m. contest with the game televised by ESPN2.

All 10 Big 12 teams and 10 of the 14 SEC-member  institutions will participate in this year’s event.

The SEC claimed the 2021 Challenge with five wins in the nine games played. The SEC holds a 25-24 advantage in the past five seasons.


All Times Central

11 a.m. — LSU at TCU (ESPN2)

1 p.m. — West Virginia at Arkansas (ESPN/2)

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1 p.m. — Oklahoma at Auburn (ESPN/2)

1 p.m. — Missouri at Iowa State (ESPNU)

3 p.m. — Baylor at Alabama (ESPN/2)

3 p.m. — Oklahoma State at Florida (ESPN/2)

3 p.m. — Kansas State at Ole Miss (ESPNU)

5 p.m. — Kentucky at Kansas (ESPN)

5 p.m. — Mississippi State at Texas Tech (ESPN2)

7 p.m. — Tennessee at Texas (ESPN)

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Report: American, JetBlue Alliance to Face Justice Department Challenge

The U.S. Department of Justice will file a lawsuit to challenge American Airlines and JetBlue’s partnership on antitrust grounds, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The carriers’ Northeast Alliance in January received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation with some concessions, including a requirement to divest some slots at Washington Reagan National and New York’s John F. Kennedy airports. That was in the last days of the Trump administration, however, and the Biden administration is operating under an executive order earlier this summer “promoting competition in the American economy.” The lawsuit will claim that the alliance could harm competition and lead to higher fares, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The lawsuit could come as soon as Tuesday, according to the report.

In a statement provided to BTN, American Airlines countered the claim that its alliance was anticompetitive. Since February, the alliance has resulted in 58 new routes out of JFK, LaGuardia, Boston and Newark and 18 new international routes that either have launched or will start by 2022.

“[The alliance is] already providing more choices and better service for customers with more code sharing, new international and domestic routes, better schedules and expanded frequent flier program benefits,” according to American Airlines’ statement. “It’s also provoking a competitive response from other carriers in the region by compelling them to step up their own products and services, delivering clear wins for consumers.”

The lawsuit would be the second action in recent weeks showing the Biden administration plans to take a hands-on approach regarding airline competition. Last week, U.S. DOT issued a notice that it plans to identify a low-cost or ultra-low-cost carrier to operate 16 peak afternoon or evening slots at Newark to “provide air travelers with more choices and lower prices,” according to Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg.

DOT also is working on rules to enhance passengers’ rights when they decide to cancel a flight that is still operating because of government restrictions and to increase transparency of ancillary fees, according to the department.

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Joe Biden’s challenge at his first UN General Assembly: Convince allies he’s not another Trump


By Kevin Liptak, CNN

When President Joe Biden mounts the iconic green marble rostrum inside the hall of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, he will face an audience skeptical he really is as different from his predecessor as he likes to claim.

For world leaders who were alternately addled and amused by former President Donald Trump — who once encountered mocking laughter from the UN crowd in the middle of his big speech — Biden represented hope for a different era in American foreign relations. He spent his first foreign trip in June declaring across Europe that “America is back.”

He continued that message in his first appearance in New York when he met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The strong partnership between the United States and the U.N. is based on common values and principals, and at this moment, those bonds are more important than ever. America’s back and we believe in the United Nations and its values,” Biden said.

Yet this week he finds himself under intense scrutiny from allies who have been disappointed his election has not done away entirely with the “America First” policies Trump espoused during the former President’s annual speeches to the UN. They have complained bitterly about being left out of key decisions. In increasingly public fashion, foreign officials have begun unfavorably comparing Biden to Trump — an insult to a President who ran as the capable and experienced alternative to Trump’s global tumult.

In his first address as President to the General Assembly, Biden will seek to allay those fears, making the case for a collective approach to simmering world problems like the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. He will argue for a wholesale recalibration of priorities away from the wars of the past two decades and toward threats emerging today.

The President is expected to make the case for “rallying allies and partners and institutions to deal with the major challenges of our time,” a senior administration official said. Like in almost every aspect of his foreign policy, China will loom large, and Biden will warn in his speech against the world devolving into a new Cold War that divides the globe into spheres of influence.

Still, the growing wariness of once-enthusiastic allies isn’t lost on the President or his aides.

“I think the President’s view, having been on the world scene for 50 years, is that you always have to work on your relationships. That includes with global leaders,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “He believes our relationships are sustaining over the course of many decades, and every step he has taken since the moment he took office was with the intention of rebuilding alliances and rebuilding those partnerships that were frayed over the last four years.”

Psaki said that didn’t mean countries would always agree with each other, but argued over the long run, global relationships would be made stronger by Biden’s approach.

A high-profile moment on the world stage

The annual appearance at the UN is one of the highest-profile opportunities for any president to spell out his foreign agenda, though this year’s gathering has been scaled down due to the pandemic. Biden will not engage in the usual flurry of pull-aside sessions in the corridors of UN headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side and he will return to the White House by Tuesday afternoon.

Officials view Biden’s speech and the other events surrounding it — including a Covid summit on Wednesday and a meeting of Pacific leaders on Friday — as a critical moment for the President to articulate his foreign policy vision and lay out what he believes should be the world’s priorities.

He arrived in New York reeling from setbacks in his quest to restore American leadership. France is fuming over a deal to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which deprived Paris of a lucrative contract for conventional subs and, in the telling of French officials, came as a total surprise to America’s oldest ally. Biden has asked to speak soon with French President Emmanuel Macron to lower the temperature.

Uncertainty surrounding Biden’s domestic agenda will have ramifications for his designs on harassing the global initiative to combat climate change. Democrats remain divided on the massive spending bill that amounts to the bulk of Biden’s plan to cut carbon emissions.

And his decision to end the war in Afghanistan, which resulted in a messy evacuation, created waves of refugees in Europe and the United States and left some allies frustrated at how the exit was planned. Biden’s vows of continued effective counterterrorism efforts were undercut by the revelation last week an American drone strike in the war’s final days killed 10 civilians instead of ISIS-K targets.

Still, Biden will not shy away from his decision to end America’s longest war during his speech, according to senior administration officials. Instead, he will place the war’s end at the center of his message, arguing it was a necessary decision to propel the world into a new, more cooperative era of confronting the challenges of today.

“The President will essentially drive home the message that ending the war in Afghanistan closed the chapter focused on war and opened a chapter focused on purposeful, effective, intensive American diplomacy,” a senior administration official said in previewing the speech.

Biden aims to show off a shift in priorities

Downplaying rifts that are emerging with foreign allies, the White House said Biden’s multiple summits this week — on Covid-19, climate change and partnership in the Indo-Pacific — were evidence of a multilateral approach that contrasts directly with the approach of the previous administration.

And the announcement Monday that the United States would ease travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated foreign visitors, replacing a patchwork of bans that had begun to cause fury in Europe, was cheered in foreign capitals.

The travel ban had been expected to be a major point of contention in a meeting later Tuesday afternoon with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will make his first visit to Biden’s White House.

Biden also plans to convene a virtual Covid-19 summit on Wednesday, calling on leaders of developed nations to step up vaccine sharing commitments and boost the global supply of oxygen. And he’ll end the week hosting his first in-person summit of the QUAD nations — Japan, Australia and India — to discuss the pandemic and security in Asia.

That summit underscores Biden’s broader goal of shifting focus away from places like Afghanistan and toward the threat from China, whose military and economic moves have caused a deterioration in ties with the West.

Biden’s decision to partner with the United Kingdom and Australia on the nuclear-powered submarines was a sign of his willingness to look beyond traditional alliances — like with France — to better address security challenges in Asia.

Spat with Paris surprises White House

That approach hasn’t been welcomed in Paris, where officials accused the Biden administration of operating in secret to deprive France of important defense contracts. France’s outsized reaction has been surprising to some in the White House, and one official said France’s behavior, including recalling their ambassador for consultations, was an overly dramatic response to the rift.

For now, there is a general belief that the dust-up will not permanently damage relations with France, but officials acknowledge the spat remains in its early days. Biden has asked to get Macron on the phone to “directly” address the matter, an official said.

“We understand the French position,” the official said. “We don’t share their view in terms of how this all developed.”

The submarine spat underscores larger differences between Biden’s approach to China and the views of certain European leaders, who have sought a more conciliatory approach to a major trading partner. Those rifts were on display at this summer’s G7 summit, though eventually the grouping emerged with a collective statement admonishing China for its human rights abuses.

In his speech on Tuesday, Biden will seek to underscore the US isn’t seeking conflict with China or its leader Xi Jinping, with whom he spoke by phone earlier this month.

“President Biden will communicate tomorrow that he does not believe in the notion of a new cold war with the world divided into blocks. He believes in vigorous, intensive, principled competition that does not tip over into conflict,” the official said.

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Travel Start-up to Challenge Industry

NEW YORK, May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — With the travel industry recovery in full swing, new tour operator Niarra Travel launched in May 2021. By adhering to their principles of radical transparency and utmost purpose, the team of experienced travel advisors aims to challenge the industry status quo and move towards a more respectful, equitable and mindful form of travel.

Currently, channel commissions of up to 35% have to be paid by the local hospitality industry, diminishing funds available for initiatives supporting their community, sustainability and conservation efforts. By reducing commission while still offering competitive prices, Niarra will operate a more progressive business model leaving more funds with the places and communities that carry conservation and socio-economic responsibilities.

“Tourism is the largest and should be the most sustainable economic driver supporting the preservation and expansion of natural wilderness both land based and marine. We at Borana thank and support Niarra Travel’s philosophy towards ensuring that more money flows into the landscapes that we are all dependent upon not only for the survival of our business sector but more importantly the survival of our planet and all species,” said Michael Dyer, Managing Director of Borona Conservancy, a partner property of Niarra Travel.

Niarra Travel wants to lead an industry change towards less economic leakage within the tour operating sector. Leading by example, the company will launch with a significantly reduced commission structure of 10%, hoping to create a ripple of change that will ultimately leave more money with the people on the ground that need it the most.

Founder and Managing Director Byron Thomas says: “If all we do is make money, then we’ve failed. Niarra Travel wants to help get more money back into the destinations to ensure local communities and the surrounding environment benefit the most while ensuring our travellers get the most unforgettable experiences in some of the world’s most incredible and inspiring places. One key to achieving this goal is transparency.”

About Niarra Travel
Niarra Travel is a start-up premium travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently. It operates according to its two guiding principles of transparency and purpose to ensure that each trip has a positive impact on the ground.

SOURCE Niarra Travel

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