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Help! I am Allergic to Apples and Was Kicked Off a Plane

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Passengers traveling with carriers based in the United States, or with foreign carriers going to or from the United States, can file official disability-related complaints with the Transportation Department. And they should: Earlier this year, after reviewing a consumer complaint, the agency determined that passengers with food allergies must be allowed to pre-board — so they have time to wipe down seats and tray tables.

That’s incremental progress. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is also advocating for planes to stock epinephrine auto-injectors, and for airlines to be required to track allergy-related medical emergencies.

In the meantime, because allergy policies vary so widely by airline, travelers have choices. Aer Lingus doesn’t serve peanuts (or derivatives), period. Delta won’t serve nuts if they are tipped off to a passenger with allergies. Some airlines, including JetBlue, will create buffer zones around passengers with food allergies. Emirates serves nuts on all its flights.

Also note that foreign carriers like Emirates are required to report to the Transportation Department the number of disability-related complaints they receive about flights to or from the United States. In 2017, Emirates received 197 complaints, one of nine foreign carriers — of the nearly 160 — with more than 150 complaints. Again: choices.

I made one last-ditch effort to get you closure. First I contacted StudentUniverse, the online travel agency where you originally purchased your plane tickets. The company parallel-tracked efforts with Emirates and came up short. But your experience inspired them to publish an online guide for traveling with allergies. Finally, I emailed the U.A.E. Department of Transport with the details of your complaint. I don’t have high hopes that anything will come from it, but I will keep you posted.


Sarah Firshein formerly held staff positions at Travel + Leisure and Vox Media, and has also contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, Bloomberg, Eater and other publications. If you need advice about a best-laid travel plan that went awry, send an email to travel@nytimes.com.


52 PLACES AND MUCH, MUCH MORE Follow our 52 Places traveler, Sebastian Modak, on Instagram as he travels the world, and discover more Travel coverage by following us on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our Travel Dispatch newsletter: Each week you’ll receive tips on traveling smarter, stories on hot destinations and access to photos from all over the world.





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Apple may be forced to ditch Lightning charge cable amid new EU rules

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On September 7th Apple will release the highly anticipated iPhone 7. Design changes to the new model are suggested to affect the 3,5mm headphone jack, to be replaced with the proprietary Lightning jack.

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The European Union (EU) is revamping plans that could force smartphone makers, such as Apple, to share the same charging method.

European policymakers want to make life easier for consumers as well as to reduce electronic waste across the 28-country region. As a result, they are looking at introducing a single universal charging cable. This would be particularly relevant for Apple given its different charging options.

“We are drowning in an ocean of electronic waste,” Roza Thun und Hohenstein, a European lawmaker said at the European Parliament Monday. “We cannot continue this way,” she added.

Old chargers generate more than 51 000 metric tons of electronic waste per year, according to the European Parliament. Lawmakers want one single charger that fits phones, tables, e-books and any other portable device. Apple’s Lightning connector cable, which is used to charge and sync different devices, would therefore be at risk.

However, Apple believes that the EU’s plan would hurt innovation.

“Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it. Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers,” Apple said in a feedback form issued to the European institutions last year.

Apple, of its own choice, has already stopped using Lightning on the 2019 version of the iPad, moving to the USB-C port used on MacBooks. USB-C and micro-USB are also used on Android devices.

“This has been a long-term objective of the industry,” Dexter Thillien, a senior industry analyst at Fitch Solutions, told CNBC Friday. “Most Android devices already use the same charging system (USB-C and micro-USB), so it would impact Apple more than anybody else.”

However, Thillien also noted that Apple is already using USB for some iPads, “so it wouldn’t be completely new for them, and would only apply to future models.”

The EU pushed for a single charging mechanism back in 2014. At the time, the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm, tried to encourage smartphone makers to develop a solution among themselves. However, the voluntary scheme did not achieve what European policymakers wanted and they are now looking at putting it into law.

“It is never too late for industry to come up with a suitable proposal, but we now must consider the legislative approach,” a Commission source told CNBC via email.

The future is wireless

Smartphone developers, including Apple and Samsung, have presented devices that are charged wirelessly. Though the technology is still at its early stages, analysts believe this is the future.

“As tech wants to prove it’s becoming greener, (implementing a common charger system is) a move they might make without too much opposition. And obviously the future is wireless charging, so no need for cables,” Thillien told CNBC.

Apple shares are up by more than 100% over the last 12 months.



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New policy on Science, Technology & Innovation being framed by Centre

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The government is working on a new National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, to replace the existing policy framed in 2013, which will be forward-looking and have both a vision document as well as an action plan on the fundamental research required in crucial areas such as space, health, atomic physics and bio-technology, a senior official has said.

The Department of Science & Technology is steering the exercise and will soon initiate stakeholder interaction on what the new policy should include, said Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister K Vijay Raghavan in an interaction with journalists.

Nothing wrong with the existing policy

“There is nothing wrong with the existing policy. But it was made keeping in mind a snapshot of what the world was then (in 2013),” Vijay Raghavan said, adding that the older policy focussed more on what the problem areas were than on what was to be done.

There was no strict timeline at the moment for completing the exercise of drafting the new policy, but the stakeholder consultation process, which will be at four levels, would kick-off soon, he said.

The Principal Scientific Advisor pointed out that private investment in India in R&D was still very low and a suitable environment needed to be created to induce entities to invest. “One way to increase R&D spend in the country is to make it attractive for companies to invest,” he said.

Restoring the 200 per cent income tax deduction for in-house R&D spend, which was reduced to 150 per cent from April 1 2017, could be one way to encourage investment in the area. This has been a demand of the industry for a long time, Vijay Raghavan said.

Of the total R&D investments made in the country, 70 per cent is made directly by the government while 30 per cent of the investment comes from the industry. As much as 90 per cent of the industry investment is also made by the public sector units with private sector accounting for just 10 per cent (of 30 per cent), he added.

Consultation process

Sharing details of the consultation process for framing the new Science, Technology and Innovation policy, the Principal Scientific Adviser said that in the first level of consultations, the scientific community and industry representatives would talk to citizens of the country to find out what kind of scientific break-through and innovation were they looking for. This would help narrow down the field of new research for scientific development and innovation.

At the second level, the Centre would talk to State governments to discuss how both could work together to make a policy that would help them develop world-class products.

The third level of stakeholder consultations will be with various Ministries and Departments such as Railways, Shipping and Water Resources to find out what science and technology advantage would they need in their respective areas.

The fourth level of interaction would be horizontal, focussing on basic research needed in fundamental areas such as condensed matter physics, solid state physics, material research, etc. “We have to see where are we in these areas and what more needs to be done,” Vijay Raghavan said.





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Google owner Alphabet becomes trillion-dollar company | Technology

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Google’s owner Alphabet has become a trillion-dollar company for the first time, making it only the fourth US firm to reach the bumper valuation.

Alphabet’s value, based on the price of its Wall Street-listed shares, passed $1tn in the final minutes of trading on Thursday night, with shares closing at a record high of $1,450.16 each.

It marks a stellar rise for Alphabet, which floated as Google for $85 per share in 2004. After its initial public offering, the Silicon Valley firm was worth $23bn.

It has followed its tech rivals Microsoft, Apple and Amazon over the $1tn mark, amid a long rally in so-called Faang stocks.

Google’s value has steadily surged as it has tightened its grip on the search market, boosted its advertising revenues from web searches and YouTube, created and grown its Android mobile operating system, and launched a series of smart-tech products including Google Home and Google Assistant.

Alphabet may be headed for fresh milestones, with some analysts predicting it could hit the $2tn mark. Christopher Rossbach, the CIO of the private investment firm J Stern & Co, believes Alphabet’s share price will continue to climb.

“As Alphabet joins Apple, Microsoft and (from time to time) Amazon among tech companies that have reached this level, it marks just the start for the company. It still has significant further room to grow, both in its core online advertising business as it innovates in advertising monetisation and formats and in its cloud computing business,” Rossbach said.

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“It is also disrupting new multitrillion-dollar markets, for example, healthcare, with this technology. Its sizeable investments give Alphabet a sustainable competitive advantage as it applies this technology across its business.”

“Alphabet can be a $2tn company in the near future and is a compelling opportunity for long-term investors.”

However, the tech sector is also facing calls for stronger privacy and antitrust regulation. Earlier this month Google was accused of “losing its way” by its former head of international relations, who says it prioritises profits over human rights.

Alphabet is now the third most valuable US company, behind Apple at $1.4tn and Microsoft at $1.27tn, with Amazon currently worth $931bn.



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