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U.S. Bans Laptops and Tablets on Flights From Major Middle Eastern Airports and More in Politics Today

by Countable | 3.20.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1.The US Has Banned Laptops And Tablets On Flights From Major Middle Eastern Airports

The US is barring passengers from bringing laptops, tablet computers, and other electronic devices as carry-on items on nonstop flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

The ban was revealed Monday after two Middle Eastern airlines began telling passengers about the new restrictions. A representative of Saudi Arabian Airlines, based at JFK International Airport in New York, told BuzzFeed News that the ban begins immediately, and covers all electronic devices, excluding cell phones. The airline said the ban applies on flights headed to the US.

Read more at Buzzfeed.

2. No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California

An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.

The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers.

Read more at The Guardian.

3. Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April 5-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers for a U.S. visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, U.S. officials said on Monday, a step allies may see as putting Moscow's concerns ahead of theirs.

Tillerson intends to miss what would be his first meeting in Brussels with the 28 NATO members to attend President Donald Trump's expected April 6-7 talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, four current and former U.S. officials said.

Read more at Reuters.

4. Ivanka Trump set to get West Wing office as role expands

Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House.

As her role in the White House grows — a role that comes with no playbook — Trump plans to adhere to the same ethics and records retention rules that apply to government employees, [ Ivanka’s lawyer, Jamie] Gorelick said, even though she is not technically an employee. But ethics watchdogs immediately questioned whether she is going far enough to eliminate conflicts of interest, especially because she will not be automatically subjected to certain ethics rules while serving as a de facto White House adviser.

Read more at Politico.

5. Trump promises the GOP unprecedented power if it votes with him

After Trump met with House Republicans on Tuesday morning, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) told reporters Trump promised that the party would gain 10 seats in the Senate if they pass the bill and tax reform, but that they would lose their majorities if they don't.

We can say one thing about the prediction: It's not crazy — at least not completely. Democrats are actually defending Senate seats in 10 states that Trump won in last year's election...it would also be is unprecedented. Republicans currently have 52 seats in the Senate, and winning 10 would give them 62. They have never held this many Senate seats in the history of the chamber.

Read more at The Washington Post.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: FEMA Photo Library / Public Domain)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(76)
  • Kim
    03/22/2017
    ···

    Hi I am an American working in the oil services industry. I travel to the Middle East for work and am required to carry a work laptop. The ban for laptops in checked luggage is an unnecessary regulation that will prevent me from traveling with my laptop. My company bans checking the laptops, and it is unsafe to have lithium batteries checked. I am very disappointed with this decision because it is an example of the unnecessary regulations the Trump administration has been promising to remove. I also assert this is another example of religious discrimination perpetrated by this administration. I expect my representatives to have the interests of American travelers in mind, and I will be monitoring your response to this action.

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  • Deva
    03/21/2017
    ···

    This is discrimination. Unless you do this for all flights, you can't just single certain countries out. Besides, more white American males commit more acts of terrorism each year than Muslim ones.

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  • Mary
    03/22/2017
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    No laptops? ! Makes no sense - especially if phones are allowed . Maybe the new administration doesn't know that "smart phones " are just little computers.

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  • Megan
    03/22/2017
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    This has more to do with our domestic airlines wanting to monopolize business- and first-class travel from these destinations. Notice that the ban is carrier-specific; they are all airlines that US airlines have complained get "unfair" support from their governments. (That one country regulates an industry and another doesn't isn't an issue of fair or not fair). Now that high income travelers cant use their devices on these local carriers, they'll be more inclined to buy first- or business-class tickets on the American ones where they can.

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  • Zahra
    03/22/2017
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    Please overturn this. Baggage theft is going to skyrocket now. Also, why only these specific airlines? Terrorists can also be born and raised in Western countries too...

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  • Lori
    03/22/2017
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    It's about time we are doing something to protect our citizens. It is unreal that the President's travel order was stopped--you do realize there are known terrorist training cells from those countries, there were over 300 terrorist incidents from those countries and it was the same list Obama created. Liberals seem so desperate to hate and obstruct either from lack of paying attention to the facts or just because they lost the election, that you are willing to jeopardize our country for your politics. It's sad that Kate Steinle died because of an illegal and none of you care. It is sad that a 14 year old girl was raped by two illegals in Baltimore and none of you care. But then again none of you care that thousands of unborn children are killed by their mothers under the guise of "women's health". So I guess there is no surprise that you think we should not take some common sense precautions to avoid catastrophes. Thank goodness we have a President that is working hard to protect all of us despite yourselves. Common sense ain't so common on the left.

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  • Diana
    03/21/2017
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    This is ridiculous! As an American living abroad I can say that many of the middle eastern carriers are excellent and I know for years American airline carriers have resented their sales. Was this done in part to appease US carriers and increase their sales? This sets off a terrible tit for tat that will impact so many people living and working abroad as well as scientists and business persons coming from or transiting through the Middle East!

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  • Crystal
    03/21/2017
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    Tillerson to skip NATO meeting and go to Russia instead? WTH!! No!

    Like (4)
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  • First
    03/22/2017
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    This move only makes sense from a political standpoint, banning electronics from middle eastern countries won't actually reduce terrorism. This move just make the less intelligent in the country believe they are safer. TSA itself is another matter altogether, it doesn't actually improve security. TSA is a system known as "security theater" It's not designed to make us safer but instead to make us feel safer. Things such as terrorist prevention squads, reinforced cockpit doors, and increased passenger awareness are the things that actually make us safer. I'm not saying TSA should go away, it just needs to be less invasive to our privacy and a lot more effective.

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  • Gerald
    03/21/2017
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    You should ban all young men from the same airports

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  • Sarah
    03/22/2017
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    Please stop this reprehensible and xenophobic action!

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  • Molly
    03/21/2017
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    No insurance for poor children? Sick people without insurance go to the ER at hospitals. Who pays for this most expensive health care? We all do. This not saving money for all Americans. Can't we all agree that healthy Americans make for a stronger country - in our schools, businesses, public transportation and all public places. Preventative care works. Trump's and Ryan's American Health Care proposal will put all of us at risk and increase abortions. Fix...don't repeal the AFFORDABLE health care act.

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  • Mia
    03/22/2017
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    This is just another way that they're trying to enforce the Muslim ban and if it walks like discrimination and it talks like discrimination, then IT'S DISCRIMINATION.

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  • mhk0604
    03/22/2017
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    Can't they just improve their security searches? We already have no personal privacy in TSA lines now. It's a bomb, supposedly. I am not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that should be detectable.

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  • Linda
    03/22/2017
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    Although laptop/tablet ban does not affect me, it seems a bit extreme considering our global society. I think if someone is going to detonate something, they will find a way--with or without electronics. Why punish all, because a few are fearful of the possibility?!

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  • Crystal
    03/21/2017
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    Do not support the visa ban om these Africans who want to come to the trade summit meeting at USC in California. Keeping partnerships open is important.

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  • Maren
    03/22/2017
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    The U.K. Is doing this as well. It might be possible that they know something we don't know. This helps us all stay safer with just a tiny measure. I am more than happy to put my electronics away while traveling to make sure we all get safely to our destinations.

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  • Crystal
    03/21/2017
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    Ivanka may not serve as a de-facto adviser in the WH. They have so much conflict of interest that they are dodging it is really sickening to the stomach....

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  • Pam
    03/22/2017
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    Such an inappropriate political move.

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  • HockeyGuy
    03/22/2017
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    This is just another ploy by the TSA to confiscate electronic devices from Muslims. Discrimination at work here! Stop this nonsense!

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