Tag Archives: New York

Ukraine International Airlines launches direct Kyiv–New York flights


It takes approximately 10 hours to fly directly from Kyiv to the New York City with Ukraine International Airlines.It takes approximately 10 hours to fly directly from Kyiv to the New York City with Ukraine International Airlines. © flyuia.com

Ukraine International Airlines, the country’s biggest air carrier owned by oligarch and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast governor Igor Kolomoisky, launched direct flights between Kyiv and New York City on April 25.

This comes as a relief for those who regularly travel between Ukraine and the U.S. directly, which can be up to three hours shorter than flights involving transfers, since direct flights have been banned since September 19, 2013 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The American regulator slapped on the ban because it was receiving serious complaints about safety issues regarding Ukrainian airline operators.

Now it takes approximately 10 hours to travel from Kyiv to the New York, while the return flight takes slightly less time, according to Evgeniya Satska, UIA spokeswoman. Meanwhile, Volodymyr Haidamaka, UIA pilot of the Boeing 767-300 that flies this route, says it is possible to cover that distance by a little more than 9 hours.

At the moment, a one-way ticket to the Big Apple from Kyiv on UIA reaches $910, while in August the company plans to cut the price all the way down to $759. The flight schedule covers Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, though UIA is considering making them daily.

UIA’s prices for flights to New York are the lowest on the Ukrainian market, according to Tickets.ua online service. However, the company’s offer has a serious disadvantage – you may not change the date of the flight after you have purchased the tickets.

Passengers travelling to New York have to depart from Boryspol airport’s terminal D, which has been criticized for poor service, since only one café operates, and then with extremely inflated prices, compared to those in Kyiv’s elite restaurants.

Anastasia Fartushna, who regularly travels from Kyiv to New York, says that February is the cheapest month in terms of ticket prices. “Last time I paid $650 to fly to New York through Moscow with (Russian airline company) Aeroflot,” she said.

Flights from New York to Kyiv become especially popular in September and October, when U.S.-based members of the Jewish diaspora travel to Ukraine’s Uman in Cherkasy Oblast to celebrate Rosh-Ha Shana, Jewish New Year. Uman is famous for being the burial place of major Jewish religious leader Nachman of Breslov. Around 1,000 American Jews come to Ukraine annually for these celebrations.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Lufthansa plans to attract more passengers for their Kyiv–NYC flights that go via Frankfurt, Munich or Zurich, through providing the comfortable Airbus A380 a smooth flight.

Flight

Destination

Days

Departure*

Arrival*

PS231

Kiev – New York

1234567

11:00

14:20

PS232

New York – Kiev

1234567

00:30

17:20

Kyiv Post

New York calls for ban on face scrub microbeads


face or body-scrubbing productCredit: Shutterstock

If you’ve ever used a face or body-scrubbing product, it’s likely that it contained plastic microbeads. These microbeads work to slough away dead skin, but just like other plastic products they represent an environmental hazard. For this reason, efforts are being made in New York to ban this plastic pollution from products.

Microbeads are tiny spherical beads made out of polyethylene or polypropylene ranging in size from 0.004mm to 1.24mm. They can be found in products including Clearasil, Clean & Clear, L’Oreal and Neutrogena exfoliating face and body washes as well as some toothpastes. A study estimates that nearly 19 tonnes of microbeads are potentially discharged into the wastewater stream of the State of New York alone each year.

The problem with these microbeads is that they are just washed down the drain. Because they are so small and buoyant, many escape capture by wastewater treatment plants, which tend to filter water through screens that have holes bigger than the microbeads.

The beads go on to act as “sponges for toxic chemical pollutants” and are mistaken for food by aquatic organisms. This means that the pollutants can enter the food chain and contaminate fish that humans eat, as well as birds, turtles and mammals.

A 2012 study of the Great Lakes using a fine trawler net found high counts of microplastic pellets, which matched those found in two national brands of facial cleanser. 58 percent of all microplastic less than 1mm collected in the Great Lakes was found to be spherical — a giveaway that it came from cosmetic products — compared with less than one percent of plastic that size found in the North Pacific. Further surveys were carried out in 2013 to confirm high levels of microbeads.  Continue reading

1964 World’s Fair: Isaac Asimov’s predictions 50 years on


1964 World's FairThe 1964 World’s Fair was held in a park in Queens, New York, just a few minutes away from Manhattan

It is 2014, and we should all be in therapy.

At least, that’s according to Isaac Asimov, one of the 20th Century’s best-known science fiction authors, who in 1964 published an essay predicting what our world would look like today.

The occasion?

Not a mental breakdown – despite his insistence on the importance of psychiatry in the future – but rather the World’s Fair in Queens, New York, which opened 50 years ago today.

Although the official theme of the fair, which ran for two six-month sessions, was Peace Through Understanding, today it is primarily remembered for its vision of the future.

And while some of those futuristic technologies on display never quite went mainstream – underwater housing and levitating cars, anyone? – a closer look at Asimov’s World’s Fair of 2014 reveals that his crystal ball was shockingly clear.

1964 Ford MustangFord unveiled its Mustang at the 1964 World’s Fair

Here’s a look at 2014, through the eyes of 1964.

1. “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.”

Video PhoneThe NY World’s Fair came equipped with video phone call booths

The first transcontinental video call between two places was made on 20 April 1964 using technology developed by Bell Systems (later Bell Laboratories), which may have partly inspired Asimov’s prediction.

However, he would certainly be surprised at the low cost of products such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime: in 1964, a three-minute video phone call from Washington DC to New York cost $16 (£9) – around $118 in today’s money.

2. It will be possible “for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica”.

Antarctic PenguinsIt may be 2014, but Antarctic penguins haven’t figured out how to answer calls

Just dial country code 672 (for some parts – others use New Zealand’s country code, +64).

3. “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”

1964 World's Fair puppetsA technician assembles puppets at the 1964 World’s Fair

Asimov is credited with introducing the word robotics into the English language, so it is perhaps no surprise he was right in predicting that no real robot yet exits that can rival The Jetson’s housemaid, Rosie – first brought to screen in 1962.

But there are projects under way to get robots to pass Japan’s university exam, perform remote surgery, and even cook a gourmet meal.

Asimov also came close to identifying what has become a crucial component of modern life: “miniaturised computers”, also known as smartphones, which he thought would serve as the “brains” of robots (anyone who has tried to navigate a foreign city without the use of a smartphone map might wonder if he really meant brains of “humans”).

4. “As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.”

3D Television ViewersAsimov said ballet performances would be the preference of 3D television viewers

One of the most notable aspects of Asimov’s predictions is that he often nailed the technology, but overestimated the enthusiasm with which such technologies would be greeted.

To give him his due, flat-screen televisions have replaced traditional sets, and 3D television technologies, while not in cube form, have long been a highlight of the electronics trade show circuit.

But audiences have generally shrugged: the BBC said in July it would suspend its 3D programming due to a “lack of public appetite”.

5. “Conversations with the Moon will be a trifle uncomfortable.”

Moon ColoniesGeneral Motor’s Futurama II exhibition showed moon colonies and underwater pavilions

Futurama ll VehiclesThe Futurama II pavilion also showed the vehicles that would be used on Mars – not so different from the Mars rover

Of course, Asimov was bound to have a few duds. The dawn of the Space Age might have made him a bit optimistic about communications with our Moon suburbs – calls would have a delay of 2.5 seconds, he thought – although he was spot on when he predicted that by 2014 “only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars”.

He did not, however, predict the Mars Curiosity’s Twitter account.

6. “Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals’, heating water and converting it to coffee.”

RobotsRobots may not be very smart but they might still enjoy a cup of coffee from an ‘automeal’ machine

Automated coffee machines do indeed exist.

Asimov’s predictions that processed yeast and algae products would be available in a variety of flavours, including “mock-turkey” and “pseudo-steak”, were semi-realised last year when scientists unveiled the first laboratory-grown burger.

Critics might be divided on whether or not Mr Asimov was right about the taste being “not bad at all”: some who ate the burger said they “missed the fat“.

Burger grown in the labThe world’s first lab-grown burger was cooked up last summer by scientists at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands

7. “An experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist.”

ITER is building the world's largest nuclear fusion reactor in the south of FranceITER is building the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France

The joke goes that fusion – essentially, harnessing the power inside stars – is the power of the future, and always will be.

And that continues to be the reality, although there is a $22bn multinational effort under way to get a reactor up and running by 2028 in the south of France.

But Asimov’s predictions about large solar-power stations in desert and semi-desert areas like Arizona and the Negev desert are accurate.

Power stations in space, “collecting sunlight by means of huge parabolic focusing devices and radiating energy down to earth” remains an out-there goal.

8. “Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with ‘robot-brains.’”

Google's self-driving car is controlled by a computerGoogle’s self-driving car is controlled by a computer, but an aquafoil has yet to be added

“Robot-brain” surely has a better ring than “self-driving car”.

Asimov’s other transport predictions – while just as catchy – still remain the stuff of dreams. The aquafoils, which “skimmed over the water with a minimum of friction” and impressed World’s Fair visitors in 1964, haven’t caught on. Neither have their successors – jet packs and hovercraft.

9. “Not all the world’s population will enjoy the gadgetry world of the future to the full. A larger portion than today will be deprived and although they may be better off, materially, than today, they will be further behind.”

Google and Facebook are just two firms focusing on expanding internet access via drones and balloonsGoogle and Facebook are just two firms focusing on expanding internet access via drones and balloons

Asimov predicted more – and got more right, or semi-right – than is possible to list here. His fears about population growth and birth control could be the stuff of an entirely separate article.

But perhaps his most prescient observation, or warning, was that while technology, both then and now, has the power to transform lives, without efforts towards equal access, it can hurt, rather than help, the goal of “peace through understanding”.

Source BBC News.

Your thoughts and comments below please, do any of you have predictions for the next 50 years?

America: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison


Jonathan Fleming, left, reaches to hug his mother Tricia FlemingJonathan Fleming, left, reaches to hug his mother Tricia Fleming in Brooklyn’s Supreme court after a judge declared him free, Tuesday April 8, 2014 in New York. Fleming, who spent almost a quarter-century behind bars for murder, was cleared of a killing that happened when he was 1,100 miles away on a Disney World vacation in 1989. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — From the day of his 1989 arrest in a deadly New York City shooting, Jonathan Fleming said he had been more than 1,000 miles away, on a vacation at Disney World. Despite having documents to back him up, he was convicted of murder.

Prosecutors now agree with him, and Fleming left a Brooklyn court as a free man Tuesday after spending nearly a quarter-century behind bars.

Fleming, now 51, tearfully hugged his lawyers as relatives cheered, “Thank you, God!” after a judge dismissed the case. A key eyewitness had recanted, newly found witnesses implicated someone else and prosecutors’ review of authorities’ files turned up documents supporting Fleming’s alibi.

“After 25 years, come hug your mother,” Patricia Fleming said, and her only child did.

“I feel wonderful,” he said afterward. “I’ve always had faith. I knew that this day would come someday.”

The exoneration, first reported by the Daily News, comes amid scrutiny of Brooklyn prosecutors’ process for reviewing questionable convictions, scrutiny that comes partly from the new district attorney, Kenneth Thompson. He said in a statement that after a months-long review, he decided to drop the case against Fleming because of “key alibi facts that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder.”  Continue reading

IPCC report: Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind


The view from Burrow Mump, Somerset Levels in 2014. Photograph: Matilda Temperley

A United Nations report raised the threat of climate change to a whole new level on Monday, warning of sweeping consequences to life and livelihood.

The report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change concluded that climate change was already having effects in real time – melting sea ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic, killing off coral reefs in the oceans, and leading to heat waves, heavy rains and mega-disasters.

And the worst was yet to come. Climate change posed a threat to global food stocks, and to human security, the blockbuster report said.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.

Motorists in Albany, New York, and across the US north-east were forced to dig out their cars from the heavy snowMotorists in Albany, New York, and across the US north-east were forced to dig out their cars from the heavy snow. February 2014

Monday’s report was the most sobering so far from the UN climate panel and, scientists said, the most definitive. The report – a three year joint effort by more than 300 scientists – grew to 2,600 pages and 32 volumes. Continue reading