Eielson Air Force Base will retain its F-16 squadron even if the installation located outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, becomes the home of two new squadrons of F-35A fighters, officials announced Tuesday. The Air Force had considered moving the base’s 18th Aggressor Squadron late last year after it named Eielson as the preferred alternative for 48 F-35s slated for the Pacific region. But the service determined that Eielson was “the most operationally sound option, as well as the most cost effective,” said Mark Pohlmeier, acting deputy assistant secretary for installations, according to a press release. The Aggressor Squadron plays the role of enemy forces in training exercises.The likely basing of F-35s at Eielson and the retention of the F-16s represents a sharp turn for the base after previous attempts to remove all of its flying units, reported the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The turnaround primarily stems from the nation’s pivot toward the Asia-Pacific.The Pentagon recommended shifting the base’s F-16 and A-10 squadrons and putting the base in “warm” status during the 2005 round of BRAC, but the BRAC Commission reversed the proposal to move the Aggressor Squadron elsewhere. Separately in 2012, the Air Force proposed moving the F-16 unit to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage to save money, but the service eventually shelved the idea.This week’s announcement also signals a significant economic boost for the Fairbanks region, as the construction required for the F-35 squadrons will be greater with the F-16s staying put, according to the News-Miner. The unit accounts for 2,300 military and civilian jobs at Eielson. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Comment AT&T Comcast Mobile Tech Industry Getty Images One way wireless carriers are working to stop the flood of unwanted robocalls is through authentication systems that verify caller IDs. One drawback so far has been that these systems work only on calls to and from the same provider. On Wednesday, AT&T and Comcast said they’ll offer call authentication between networks later this year. Customers will be able to see verified calls from all participating carrier providers. AT&T and Comcast’s authentication system is the industry’s first to verify calls between separate providers, according to the companies’ release. The two carriers verified calls earlier this month between AT&T’s Phone digital home service and Comcast’s Xfinity Voice home phone service, the companies said in the release. “While authentication won’t solve the problem of unwanted robocalls by itself,” the companies said, “it’s a key step toward giving customers greater confidence and control over the calls they receive.”This comes after the Federal Communications Commission said carrier companies need to implement robust call authentication systems this year. In February, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said companies should get the systems installed by the end of 2019 or the FCC will consider “regulatory intervention.” Share your voice 1 Tags
A Jet Airways Boeing 737 aircraft taxis past an Air India Airbus A321 aircraft at Mumbai’s Chhatrapathi Shivaji International Airport February 3, 2013. Picture taken February 3, 2013.Reuters fileThe debt conundrum in two of India’s leading airlines, Jet Airways and state-owned Air India, can be dealt with a silver bullet, experts have said. That silver bullet is nothing but the merger of the two. It may appear foolhardy to marry the two ailing airlines, but industry observers see merit in this option.Jet Airways had earlier brushed aside the option of acquiring debt laden rival Air India, when the latter’s privatisation was floated. Now Jet itself has landed on the block, waiting for a suitor.The irony is that Indian demand for travel continues to grow, with passengers on domestic flights rising by double digits for 46 straight months since September 2014. The market reached the milestone of 100 million travelers in 2017, and shows no signs of slowing down this year.Writing in Bloomberg, David Fickling argues that the merger of Jet airways and Air India will address the key reason behind the recent troubles of both, especially those of Jet. He says that cutthroat price war in Indian aviation scene, which has been forcing airlines into deep discounting, is one of the primary reasons behind the continued struggles at Jet Airways.And the major share of the blame is on Air India, which has no hopes of turning around, even if they didn’t depress prices further. In the event, once-healthy airlines like Jet have been in a losing battle against the state-owned carrier.Besides brutal price competition, the Indian airlines have also been in major fleet expansion drive in the last decade, another byproduct of intense competition. Both the Maharaja and Jet Airways are being crushed under the weight of a reckless fleet expansion drive, he points out.Suicidal discountingIf the only two full service carriers in India were to merge, both could do away with suicidal discounting, he argues. A rationlisation of ticketing will itself be a crucial part of the turnaround of both the airlines, he says. Besides, the “the seasoned professional management that the Maharajah so desperately needs would be on hand in the shape of Goyal, Jet’s chairman, and his executive team,” avers Flickling.Well, this route might may not resolve all of the issues plaguing the two airlines, especially, Air India, with its plethora of legacy issues. However, it does seem to be a step in the right direction, though at the cost of the customers.A look at the way air travel in India is shaping up will baffle observers. India is one of the most thriving airline markets in the world the country has an emerging middle class. Air travel demand is growing each year.The Nikkei daily put this paradox in perspective in a report in August 2018:”The irony is that Indian demand for travel continues to grow, with passengers on domestic flights rising by double digits for 46 straight months since September 2014. The market reached the milestone of 100 million travelers in 2017, and shows no signs of slowing down this year.” ReutersYet, airline companies are bleeding, owing to a factor euphemistically termed as “competitive fare environment.”If major airlines in India have been losing altitude despite the county being one of the biggest markets, then there’s a problem at hand. Many experts have already said the looming crises at Jet Airways and Air India will finally pose a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election bid as well. It would be sad if a private person buys the iconic Air India building: Nitin Gadkari The failure of Kingfisher Airlines is still an unfinished page in the book of great Indian corporate fiascos. Air India was given a very expensive bailout in 2012 and is still on life support system. And Jet Airways is the latest entrant to the roll of dishonour. The government will have to get down and get its hand dirty sooner rather than later.Will a merger of two weak airlines create a healthy airline? That paradoxical proposition is worth a try, by all means. Close
Michael Cryor expounds on OneBaltimore. (Photo by Mark Dennis)In the wake of the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake named Michael Cryor, a well-respected civic leader, to lead the OneBaltimore effort.Rawlings-Blake announced the formation of OneBaltimore, a public-private partnership focusing on improving education,employment, minority and women-owned business opportunities, and affordable housing, among other things. In tapping Cryor to lead the initiative, Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference, “As soon as we launched the OneBaltimore initiative, Michael’s name was at the top of my list as the right choice to lead this effort, and his name was at the top of the list of many, many others, too.“I know that he has the understanding and experience in our city, and the vision for what needs to be done both now and in the long-term, to lead the transformative change that OneBaltimore can create.”Cryor, with a long history of civic and political involvement in Baltimore including co-chairing Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Believe campaign, said that he would first focus on increasing the number of jobs available to high-school student by 50 percent through the city’s Youth Works program.The program is for young people aged 14-21, and the city has provided funds for about 4,500 positions, Cryor said. The problem is that close to 8,000 people have registered for the program, which begins on June 25 and pays a minimum of $8.25 an hour for 25-hours a week of work. The city is looking for private donations to cover the gap.The jobs range from working in an office to working outside. “In many cases it will be work outside; gardening, cleaning up, or what have you,” said Cryor. “When I was young man I worked in the shipyards but I learning many things like getting up when I didn’t want to, following orders, and other things that make you a productive member of society.”Cryor hopes to not just focus on the short term issue of summer jobs, but also long range solutions. “Right now, we have a moment to make some rather substantial improvements not just in services but in the ways we conceive solutions to problems, many of which are long term and systemic,” Cryor said. “In addition, we have the immediate need of providing summer jobs.”Cryor is also staffing the OneBaltimore organization and figuring out where it fits in with the other services the city offers. “I don’t want to be duplicating services other organizations already provide. Right now I need to get a feel for what other organizations are doing,” Cryor said. “I’m not eager to run out and commit to a lot of things I can’t fulfill, nor do I want to sit in a room and answer to 50 or 60 people every week.”The goal of the OneBaltimore program, Cryor said, is to prove Baltimore is more than the images of rioting and fires much of America witnessed over the past few weeks. “We hope to restore some confidence in the city of Baltimore,” Cryor said.“We recognize there are some things to address but we remain a viable city. We have to pull together, we have to deliver on the things we say, and admit there are something we need to improve upon as community.”
DJ Reggie Reg (Twitter Photo)Hundreds of mourners crowded the sanctuary of the Empowerment Temple in West Baltimore Feb. 12 to honor DJ Reggie Reg Calhoun, former 92Q mix master and icon of the local music scene. The “unofficial mayor of Baltimore” died Feb. 6 of congestive heart failure at St. Agnes Hospital. He was 50 years old.“Our hearts are heavy but we know he’s resting well,” the deejay’s former employer WERQ-FM (better known as 92Q) said in a statement on the station’s website. Radio One, the owner of the station, also hosted a Feb. 8 candlelight vigil in his honor.Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also expressed her condolences and hailed Calhoun’s musical legacy, saying, “I was terribly saddened to hear of Reggie Reg’s passing. He was one of the best DJ’s of my generation, with a personality bigger than life. He will definitely be missed.”Born Reginald Calhoun Nov. 5, 1965, to Melinda Calhoun and Charles Wright, Reggie Reg was raised on the 1800 block of N. Payson St. He attended Matthew A. Henson Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Middle school, and Walbrook High School.Even before his high school graduation in 1983, however, Calhoun was already honing his skills as a disc jockey. The teenager was initiated into the art by Skeet T of MixMasters. And, while in school, he spun records on WEBB-AM along with DJ Spen, Kool Rod, Kevin Liles (who went on to become a Def Jam executive), DJ Junie Jam and Big Moses, collectively known as Numarx.Calhoun was later mentored by the likes of Frank “Ski” Rodriguez—one of the pioneers of Baltimore club music, a former WERQ DJ and a dominant force on Baltimore’s radio airwaves in the 1990s.DJ Reggie Reg (Facebook Photos)By the time Calhoun joined WERQ in the mid-1990s—where he remained for a decade—he was already a “force to be reckoned with” in the entertainment arena, friends and family said. His groundbreaking mixes of hip-hop, house and song samples along with his ear for emerging talent transformed urban radio and the local club scene, they said. And he was an avid promoter of the local music and an event organizer and host.Zeke Marshall, former Cornell University basketball star, said he knew Calhoun from their mutual membership at Christian Memorial Church and their involvement in events such as Easter plays.“Reggie Reg pioneered the hard work that it took for music professionals [to] get their due,” he said in a tribute on Facebook. Marshall went on to call Calhoun the “Angel of Baltimore,” and “the true Mr. Baltimore City.”“You did all that you could for your city, church, friends and most important your family…. No matter what block, hood, church, club, house or school party event he would be there.”Calhoun also influenced another generation of disc jockeys, who dubbed him “The Godfather.” He nurtured the careers of radio personalities and DJ’s such as Kenny K, Big Tony, Mike Crosby, K-Swift, Squirrel Wyde, DJ Unique, DJ Boobie and many more.“Reggie was a pioneer in Baltimore radio and paved the way for many who came behind him,” said former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon in a statement on her website. “My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Reggie’s…family, colleagues, friends and to the city of Baltimore for such a great loss.”Calhoun is survived by his daughter, Jazzy Calhoun and a stepson, George Alford, both of Baltimore; two brothers, James Kevin Henson of Philadelphia and Melvin Henson of Baltimore; sister, Betty Covington and mother, Melinda Turner, of Baltimore.
Kolkata: Rahul Thakur (23), a resident of Bijpur in North 24-Parganas was shot dead by his friend following a quarrel.The incident took place at Halisahar under Bijpur police station on Saturday night when both the youths were sitting outside a closed tea stall. Police have arrested the accused, Subhadip Das. Police came to know that both of them were friends for a long time.Thakur used to work as a contractual labourer. According to the preliminary investigation, police came to know that the victim might have had hurled expletives on one of the relatives of the accused. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThis had led to a quarrel between the duo. A scuffle also broke out between the two following which the accused took out a gun and shot Thakur from the close quarter.The accused fired two rounds of bullets at the victim one of which pierced his abdomen while the other injured his leg. Locals heard the sound of the gun shots and rushed to the spot. They took the victim to Kalyani JNM Hospital where he died late on Saturday night. The family members of the victim lodged a complaint with the local police station on the basis of which police have started a probe. They later arrested the accused. The family members of the victim demanded stringent punishment for the accused youth. The police are interrogating the accused and trying to know where the accused had received the gun from.