Regional News - North America.

 
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New York (AirGuide - Regional News North America) Sep 4, 2011

Petraeus voices concerns about cuts to defense budget Gen. David Petraeus is preparing to take over as head of the CIA. As he leaves the military, he is warning about the consequences of significant cuts to the Department of Defense budget. The military has "relearned since 9/11 the timeless lesson that we don't always get to fight the wars for which we're most prepared or most inclined," Petraeus said. "Given that reality, we will need to maintain the full-spectrum capability that we have developed over this last decade of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere." Sep 2, 2011

Germany stops introduction of American scanners at its airports Germany's Interior Minister said U.S. body-imaging scanners result in too many false alarms, as the country halted its introduction of the devices. Germany had been testing two scanners and determined they led to too many "unnecessary alarms." Such scanners are being used in dozens of U.S. airports. Sep 2, 2011

Black Hawk helicopters help fight New Orleans marsh fires In Louisiana, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are helping to fight fires in a New Orleans marsh. Helicopters from the Louisiana National Guard have dropped more than 1 million gallons of water on the blaze, says Gov. Bobby Jindal. "This type of flying takes a tremendous skill set, and it is the experience of our pilots and crews that have allowed us to work in the tight impact area with numerous aircraft during less than ideal conditions," said Col. Patrick Bossetta, commander of the Guard's State Aviation Command. Sep 2, 2011

Opinion: California lawsuit against aviation gas is misguided David Hadley, head of the Beach Cities Republican Club in California, argues that a lawsuit seeking to block the sale of leaded aviation gas in the state goes too far. Citing the state's 12% unemployment rate, Hadley says general aviation should be encouraged because it provides jobs. "Maybe there is a connection between ever-more-fantastic environmental policies and our state's economic woes," he writes. Sep 2, 2011

Fewer willing to give up civil liberties for security, poll finds Just a quarter of Americans interviewed for a recent poll said they were willing to allow the government to intrude upon their their civil liberties to prevent additional acts of terrorism. That's down from 47% in January 2002. Meanwhile just 22% of participants said they had confidence in the government's ability to protect citizens terror attacks. That's down from 41% a week after September 11, 2011. Sep 2, 2011

Travel agents show their value in times of weather disasters Hurricane Irene proved how travel agents are an invaluable part of the travel industry, with agents across the U.S. scrambling around the clock to make sure none of their clients were left alone in the storm, noted columnist Dori Saltzman. "Our main focus has been to provide unwavering support and guidance to our guests ... while assisting them with reworking cruise, hotel, car and airline reservation needs," said Michelle Duncan, president and CEO of Odyssey Travel. Sep 2, 2011

Rail carloads of automobiles, large equipment rose last week Freight shipments of automobile and other heavy equipment by North American Class I's and regional carriers increased by 5.3% in the week ending Aug. 27, according to the Association of American Railroads. A total of 23,363 rail cars were filled with vehicles and heavy equipment. This is the largest weekly increase since early March. However, total carload and intermodal shipments slipped from year-ago levels. Sep 2, 2011

EPA regulations may strain Texas power grid, power officials say Federal environmental rules would put the Texas power supply "at increasing risk of emergency events," according to a report released by power grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The quick implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, scheduled for Jan. 1, will hinder ERCOT's ability to properly evaluate the potential impacts of the regulation, the operator said. Such a time period allows "no realistic opportunity to take steps that could even partially offset the substantial losses of available operating capacity," according to ERCOT. Sep 2, 2011

Rail incidents FRA reports drop in rail incidents during first half of 2011. Rail incidents in the first half of the year declined by 7.9% compared to the same period in 2010, according to the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis. The initial report was based on 736 reporting railroads. Sep 2, 2011

AAR reports dip in weekly rail traffic The Association of American Railroads on Thursday reported a slight dip in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 299,943 carloads for the week ending Aug. 27, down 0.8% compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 236,051 trailers and containers, down 0.5% compared with the same week last year. Sep 2, 2011

CEA sees growth in sales of in-car Internet radio The Consumer Electronics Association forecasts that in-car Internet radios will account for 10% of U.S. aftermarket deck sales by 2013. That's up from 6% of such sales in 2011, according to the association. Sep 2, 2011

How to avoid common pitfalls that put your data at risk Companies tend to repeat a handful of common mistakes that cost them valuable data, data-recovery firm Kroll Ontrack says. Taking a laissez-faire attitude toward backups creates unnecessary risk, as does having a do-it-yourself approach that fails to take advantage of expert consultants, the firm says. Companies should run an analysis that tells them exactly how much time and money a data failure would cost and should keep abreast of the latest technological developments in the storage market, Kroll Ontrack says. Sep 2, 2011

Scientist touts a better way to board an aircraft Boarding airplanes is a slow, tiresome process because airlines go about it all wrong, argues Jason Steffen, an astrophysicist at Fermilab. Steffen says he found a better way after conducting experiments in which people used different strategies to board a mock airplane cabin. His results suggest it would be faster to let passengers board randomly than to continue the practice of boarding consecutive rows from the back of the plane -- although the best solution involves starting with the window seats and boarding alternating rows at the same time. Sep 2, 2011

It's time for companies to stop bragging about CSR. Green business strategies have gone mainstream, writes Deborah Hill Cone, so companies should stop bragging about environmental efforts. Marketers risk turning off customers with self-complimentary CSR talk, Cone writes. "[M]arketing yourself as green, organic or 'authentic' is not edgy or brave or courageous these days," she warns. Sep 2, 2011

Joint Strike Fighter program faces new threat U.S. Navy Undersecretary Robert Work has questioned whether one of the three versions of the F-35 should be canceled, the latest threat to the Joint Strike Fighter program. Meanwhile, Pentagon experts and program leaders are preparing for a review by the Defense Acquisition Board. Sep 1, 2011

Editorial: Defense cuts endanger economic prosperity Retired Adm. James A. Lyons says that cutting the defense budget could have far-reaching implications. "Economic prosperity depends on a strong national defense," writes Lyons. "Current and future threats make a recognized national-security capability mandated by our Constitution absolutely essential to maintaining our freedom and way of life." Sep 1, 2011

Air Force plans to lift grounding of F-22, sources say The U.S. Air Force has not yet determined what went wrong in the oxygen system of the F-22 Raptors, but still plans to lift the grounding of the fleet, sources said. Officials plan to gather later this week to determine restrictions on the jets. The F-22s have been grounded since May 3 after pilots reported "hypoxia-like" symptoms. Sep 1, 2011

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program faces more budget cuts The U.S. Army's Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program potentially will have $50 million cut from its requested budget of $172 million for fiscal 2012, but it might face even more cuts. "We're looking to take more money out than that," said Col. David Bassett, the Army's project manager for tactical vehicles. Sep 1, 2011

White House is consulting Congress on selling drones to South Korea The Obama administration is consulting lawmakers about the possibility of selling Global Hawk surveillance drones to South Korea, sources say. However, a number of questions remain, including the potential value of the deal for manufacturer Northrop Grumman. Sep 1, 2011

Spaceport is nearly ready, but real challenge is ahead In 2006, then-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson launched construction of the $209 million Spaceport America. The spaceport, which features a 2-mile-long runway and an area for planes, is nearly complete, but it faces an uncertain future. The state's new administration has said that the spaceport will have to cover its operating budget. Sep 1, 2011

TSA aims to shed one-size-fits-all approach A decade after the 2001 terror attacks, the Transportation Security Administration is still trying to make security checkpoints less cumbersome for travelers, writes Scott McCartney in The Wall Street Journal. "The whole idea is to try to continue to move away from one-size-fits-all" screening, TSA Administrator John Pistole said. "We are doing this to try to improve the passenger experience without diminishing the layers of security we have." The TSA also plans to launch a "trusted traveler" program this fall. Sep 1, 2011

Black Hawk helicopters aid in N.C. hurricane relief Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters have deployed from Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia to help relief efforts for Hurricane Irene in North Carolina. "We left [Hunter] Saturday prepared to provide any relief efforts to the citizens of the...

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