LIVE News Updates: Pakistan's PM Imran Khan's address scheduled for today postponed – National Herald

LIVE News Updates: Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan’s address scheduled for today postponed  National Herald

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India: Scheduled international flights suspended until further notice

India: Scheduled international flights suspended until further notice

In a recent development, scheduled international flights have been suspended until further orders. The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to further extend the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights, amid the ongoing speculations around the resumption of international flights soon.

Now, with this announcement, it is clear that scheduled international commercial flights will not operate to and from India until further orders.

In a circular dated February 28, the DGCA elaborated that international cargo flights and flights under air bubble arrangement will continue.

As reported earlier, special passenger flights are operating between India and around 45 countries since July 2020 under air bubble arrangements formed with them.

Currently, India has air transport bubbles with Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Canada, Bhutan, Ethiopia, France, Finland, Iraq, Germany, Kazakhstan, Japan, Kuwait, Kenya, Mauritius, Maldives, the Netherlands, Nepal, Oman, Nigeria, Qatar, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Seychelles, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United States, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.

The Indian Government had earlier planned to resume scheduled international flight operations from December 15, 2021, but couldn’t due to the emergence of Omicron.

International flights were first suspended in March 2020, after a nationwide lockdown was announced to fight the first wave of COVID-19.

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russia : Russia Ukraine crisis affects travel: Norwegian cruise lines cancel scheduled stops at Russia, Ukraine ports, World

Russia Ukraine crisis affects travel: Norwegian cruise lines cancel scheduled stops at Russia, Ukraine ports

Currently, Ukraine is being invaded by Russia. Given the current scenario, several Norwegian cruise lines have either cancelled or changed their scheduled sailings that included halting at Russia and Ukraine because of the ongoing war.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has said that all of its cruise brands, including Oceania and Regent, with sailings scheduled to St Petersburg have been changed. The firm further stated that it will announce the new stops shortly.

The cruise firm Holdings said that they have been forced to change itineraries and cancel sailings to ports in these two countries because of the war. A US cruise is also looking for alternative ports around the Baltic region for its scheduled sailings in the summer season. A spokesperson from the firm said, “We are currently working to confirm replacement ports and will advise all impacted guests and travel advisors as soon as possible.”

Viking and Atlas Ocean Voyages said that they would remove St Petersburg from their current itineraries and replace it with ports in Finland and Estonia.

Atlas President Alberto Aliberti said, “With unrest in Eastern Europe, we have adjusted our voyages. Guests will enjoy these unique and rarely visited destinations and immersive shore excursions to take in the rich cultures and breathtaking vistas of the Baltic.”

On Thursday, Russia invaded Ukraine by land, sea and air in what is being called the biggest attack on a European state since World War II.

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Special evacuation trains scheduled to travel from Kyiv to western Ukraine

Russia President Vladimir Putin is seen in his office during a virtual meeting with members of his security council on February 25.
Russia President Vladimir Putin is seen in his office during a virtual meeting with members of his security council on February 25. (Alexei Nikolsky/TASS/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been very clear about his basic goals in invading Ukraine: He wants to disarm the country, sever its ties to the NATO military alliance and end the Ukrainian people’s aspirations of joining the West.

While guessing exactly how he plans to execute that plan is a different matter, history can serve as a guide for understanding Putin’s possible endgames.

Crimea annexation 2.0

If Russian forces are able to capture Ukraine’s port city of Odessa, it’s possible to imagine a land bridge extending all the way across southern Ukraine, potentially even linking Transnistria — a separatist enclave in Moldova, where Russian troops are stationed — to Odessa, Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine.

A partitioned Ukraine

If Putin has partition in mind, Galician Ukraine and the city of Lviv — close to the Polish border — could potentially be a part of a sort of rump Ukrainian state, while Russia focuses its attentions on the east of the country.

A pro-Russian state

Western intelligence officials warn that Russia is planning to topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government, replacing it with a puppet regime. Putin has suggested he sees the current democratically elected government in Ukraine as illegitimate, and lamented the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Ukraine does have other politicians who might be eager to fill the ranks of a pro-Russian government, installed possibly by force.

An uneasy occupation

Russia says it doesn’t want to be an occupier, but it’s easy to imagine a scenario where Russia tries to impose its form of heavy-handed rule on Ukraine. That would be hard pill for Ukrainians to swallow as they have free press, freewheeling local politics and a tradition of street protest. In the Russian political system, genuine opposition protests are largely banned, or very difficult to organize.

A violent occupation

Putin has had no problem backing violent local strongmen with scant regard for human rights. His own political rise began with the pacification of Chechnya, a breakaway republic in Russia’s north Caucasus.

A republic of fear

Russia has a fearsome domestic security apparatus that jails and persecutes dissidents and keeps potentially troublesome opponents out of politics. Ukrainians living in Crimea — which was occupied by Russia in 2014 and annexed after a referendum widely seen as a sham — experienced first-hand what it’s like to live in a state where the FSB, Russia’s state security service, is all-powerful.

You can read the full analysis here.

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Slow-Moving ‘Superload’ Scheduled to Travel Through Centre County

A 294-ton “superload” is slowly making a 400-mile trek from New York to western Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of PennDOT

A 213-foot long, 294-ton “superload” that’s slowly making its way from New York to western Pennsylvania is scheduled to travel through Centre County overnight on Saturday, according to PennDOT

The giant tractor trailer is hauling an empty fuel tank, decommissioned 25 years ago from a D1G Prototype reactor at the U.S. Naval Nuclear Laboratory’s Kenneth A. Kesselring Site in West Milton. The tank is being taken on a 400-mile trek that began on Wednesday to Alaron Nuclear Services in Wampum, Lawrence County, where it will be disassembled and recycled.

Traveling at a top speed of 30 miles per hour and taking up two lanes, the superload will continue traveling west on Friday night on Interstate 80 through Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Union counties. 

The superload is expected to reach the I-80 Loganton rest area early Saturday morning.

At 10 p.m. on Saturday, it will resume traveling west on I-80, moving through Clinton, Centre and Clearfield counties and into Elk County, according to PennDOT

A rolling slowdown using two traffic lanes will result in traffic stoppages and travel delays.

The majority of the transport is occurring overnight. The superload is expected to arrive at its destination on Jan. 21 — though winter weather conditions could cause delays, with snow expected across western and central Pennsylvania on Sunday night and Monday morning.

In total, the superload travel plan includes 16 counties, ramp maneuvers, unusual traffic patterns and slow-moving vehicles, according to PennDOT.

Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting of Becker, Minnesota, is conducting the transport.

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World’s first space hotel Voyager Station scheduled to open in 2027

(CNN) — If you’re daydreaming of future travels while stuck at home during the pandemic, why fantasize about the beaches of Bali or the canals of Venice when vacationing in space could be in your future?

Back in 2019, Californian company the Gateway Foundation released plans for a cruise ship-style hotel that could one day float above the Earth’s atmosphere.

Then called the Von Braun Station, this futuristic concept — comprised of 24 modules connected by elevator shafts that make up a rotating wheel orbiting the Earth — was scheduled to be fully operational by 2027.

Fast forward a couple years and the hotel has a new name — Voyager Station — and it’s set to be built by Orbital Assembly Corporation, a new construction company run by former pilot John Blincow, who also heads up the Gateway Foundation.

In a recent interview with CNN Travel, Blincow explained there had been some Covid-related delays, but construction on the space hotel is expected to begin in 2026, and a sojourn in space could be a reality by 2027.

“We’re trying to make the public realize that this golden age of space travel is just around the corner. It’s coming. It’s coming fast,” said Blincow.

A hotel like no other

Space-hotel-voyager-station (3)

Space tourism is viewed as travel’s next frontier.

Orbital Assembly Corporation

Renderings of what the hotel might look like suggest an interior not dissimilar to a luxury Earth-bound hotel, just with some pretty specatcular out-of-this-world views.

When the initial designs premiered a couple years ago, Tim Alatorre, senior design architect at Orbital Assembly Corporation told CNN Travel the hotel’s aesthetic was a direct response to the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” — which he called “almost a blueprint of what not to do.”

“I think the goal of Stanley Kubrick was to highlight the divide between technology and humanity and so, purposefully, he made the stations and the ships very sterile and clean and alien.”

Instead, Alatorre and his team want to bring a slice of earth to space via warm suites and chic bars and restaurants. Guests might be in space, but they can still enjoy regular beds and showers.

That’s not to say the hotel will ignore the novelty of being in space altogether. There are plans to serve traditional “space food” — like freeze dried ice cream — in the hotel’s restaurant.

Plus there will be recreational activities on offer that “highlight the fact that you’re able to do things that you can’t do on Earth,” according to Alatorre.

“Because of the weightlessness and the reduced gravity, you’ll be able to jump higher, be able to lift things, be able to run in ways that you can’t on Earth.”

How does it work?

Space-hotel-voyager-station (6)

The goal is for Voyager Station to be operational in 2027.

Orbital Assembly Corporation

So how exactly would the physics of a space hotel work?

Alatorre told CNN Travel that the rotating wheel would work to create a simulated gravity.

“The station rotates, pushing the contents of the station out to the perimeter of the station, much in the way that you can spin a bucket of water — the water pushes out into the bucket and stays in place,” he said.

Near the center of the station there’s no artificial gravity, Alatorre explained, but as you move down the outside of the station, the feeling of gravity increases.

Space-hotel-voyager-station (1)

This rendering offers a glimpse at what the space hotel could look like.

Orbital Assembly Corporation

The hotel’s original name was chosen because the concept was inspired by 60-year-old designs from Wernher von Braun, an aerospace engineer who pioneered rocket technology, first in Germany and later in the US.

While living in Germany, von Braun was involved in the Nazi rocket development program, so naming the space hotel after him was a controversial choice.

This was partly why the name’s been changed, Blincow told CNN Travel.

“The station is not really about him. It’s based on his design, and we like his contributions towards science and space,” Blincow said. “But you know, Voyager Station is so much more than that. It is the stuff in the future. And we want a name that doesn’t have those attachments to it.”

Space tourism is becoming an increasingly hot topic, and there are several companies trying to make it happen — from Virgin Galactic to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

SpaceX’s StarShip system could help get Voyager Station off the ground.

For now, the space hotel isn’t advertising a room rate, but expect it to come with a pretty hefty price tag attached.

Virgin Galactic, for example, plans to launch passengers into sub-orbital space at $250,000 per person, per trip.

However the team behind Voyager Station have said they’re hoping to eventually make a stay at the hotel equivalent to “a trip on a cruise or a trip to Disneyland.”

“Starship culture”

While Voyager Station is perhaps the flashiest of Orbital’s designs, it’s actually just one facet of their space ambitions.

The team is also hoping to build research stations, and spark space tourism and commerce opportunities.

“We’re designing the tools and machines right now that can build these structures very quickly,” Blincow told CNN Travel.

The team imagine government or private companies might use modules for training crews “heading to Mars, the Moon and beyond,” as Alatorre outlined at the 2021 live event.

The next stage in getting the Voyager Station off the ground is bringing more investors into the mix, and continuing with tests on the ground.

The eventual goal, as Alatorre put it back in 2019, is “to create a starship culture where people are going to space, and living in space, and working in space and they want to be in space. And we believe that there’s a demand for that.”

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