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Syrian refugee teen to take part in epic sailing expedition for Canada 150

Nineteen-year-old Abdul Fettah Al Masoud arrived in Edmonton with his family last February. They are Syrian refugees from Aleppo who spent several years in Lebanon after fleeing their civil war-torn country in 2013. The teenager is now preparing to embark on another journey. He was chosen to represent Canada as a youth ambassador on Canada C3, a 150-day sailing expedition from Toronto to Victoria that follows the Northwest Passage. Three hundred Canadians including youth, scientists, artists, historians and elders will visit communities along the route, conduct research and collaborate on artistic projects. The opportunity, run by the Students on Ice Foundation and funded in part by the federal government, drew nearly 5,000 applications, including 1,300 from young people. Of the 33 youth selected, Al Masoud is the only representative from Edmonton and one of three newcomers to Canada.

We could tell immediately from Abdul s video application that he embodies the spirit and energy of the Canada C3 project, said Lisa (Diz) Glithero, the education team lead for the expedition.

She said the review committee was struck by his genuine nature and curiosity to learn more about Canada. The trip is supposed to engage with four Canada 150 themes: diversity and inclusion, reconciliation, youth and the environment. Michelle and Ryan Young, two members of a large community group in North Glenora helping to resettle the family, saw an advertisement in a newspaper about the trip and encouraged him to apply. His leg of the trip the 11th of 15 will travel from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, to Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., in early September. The itinerary includes joining community members in Kugluktuk on their annual pilgrimage to Kugluk Falls and visits to the Smoking Hills and Fiji Island.

Al Masoud said he s excited about the trip but a bit nervous particularly about talking in front of a camera. When asked about his goals for the adventure, he said he wanted to learn more about the country.

And I want to be a leader for young people, he added. After finishing off the 2016 school year at Ross Sheppard High School, he spent the summer studying at Jasper Place High School, where his English skills developed more rapidly. Now he s a student at Centre High Campus with aspirations of working in the construction industry or becoming a mechanic or security guard. He s interested in studying at NorQuest College, where his parents are learning English, and he works two days a week. He spends his free time playing soccer and basketball.

Though he misses home, and a sister still in Lebanon, he said he loves Canadians and feels welcome in Edmonton.

Abdul is completely endearing, said Michelle Young.

He is excited to be a Canadian, he s grateful to be a Canadian and he comes with an openness that people could learn from.

Military jets scramble to escort Honolulu-bound flight after cockpit incident

Two military fighter jets escorted a Honolulu-bound American Airlines[1] aircraft on Friday after a man allegedly tried to break into the cockpit. The airline said Flight 31, an Airbus A321 aircraft, landed safety at Honolulu International Airport at 11:35 a.m. local time. The flight originated from Los Angeles International Airport.

“Two Pacific Command F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard scrambled this morning in response to a reported disturbance on a civilian airliner making an approach to Honolulu International Airport,” U.S. Navy Commander Dave Benham told CNBC in an emailed statement. According to the U.S. Pacific Command spokesman, the fighter jets “escorted the airliner to the airport in accordance with homeland defense procedures. Local law enforcement responded once the civilian airliner was on the ground.”

“Due to a disturbance during the flight, the crew requested that law enforcement meet the aircraft upon landing in Honolulu,” American said. “American is in touch with federal law enforcement.”

One of the passengers on the flight has since posted video on Instagram[2] that appears to have been filmed after the plane landed. It shows a handcuffed individual being taken off the plane by FBI agents.

The incident happened about two hours before the flight landed in Honolulu, according to the FBI’s Honolulu field office.

“A disturbance aboard a flight alarmed flight crew to the point where an off-duty law enforcement officer and others subdued a passenger,” the FBI office said in a statement. It confirmed the individual who caused the apparent disturbance was taken into custody when the plane landed. Also, the FBI said passengers were escorted off the plane and interviewed as part of the agency’s ongoing probe into the incident. The FBI identified the man as a Turkish national, Anil Uskanil. FBI special agent Paul Delacourt told reporters Friday the government was preparing a complaint to charge Uskanil for interference with a flight crew. As a precaution, the FBI also said he was taken for a medical evaluation.

The 25-year-old Uskanil was involved in another incident early Friday morning that caught the attention of law enforcement, according to police at Los Angeles International Airport.

LAX police said in a statement they received a radio call around 2:45 a.m. local time on Friday about a passenger going through a door from the terminal concourse that led onto the airfield ramp. They said Uskanil, a ticketed passenger who had gone through U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening, was allegedly spotted by an alert contractor and detained.

Police said they investigated the incident at LAX and “Uskanil was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, cited, given a pending court date and released from custody.”

The Turkish national was allowed to board Flight 31 for Hawaii despite the morning incident at LAX. A spokesman for TSA defended allowing him to get on the passenger plane.

“From our perspective, he met the requirements that we had to get him on an airplane,” TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said Friday “He did something post-security that police dealt with as they thought they should.”

The aircraft departed at 8:34 a.m. local time from LAX with 181 passengers and six crew members on a flight that lasted about six hours.

“Several hours in, passengers and authorities said, he allegedly tried to break through the cockpit door, throwing himself up against a beverage cart as he tried to force his way into the first-class cabinet,” HawaiiNewsNow[3] reported. NBC station KHNL of Honolulu interviewed several passengers who described the terrifying scene.

“I was just laying there sleeping, I get up, hear a noise,” passenger Tainoa Foster recalled. “Everybody’s like kind of freaking out. I look up and a man has a blanket over his head, and they’re like can somebody please help.”

Added Foster, “I thought he was like tripping at first but I guess …. [he] rushed the cockpit.”

“Well, it was all kind of surreal,” passenger Peggy Lorenzen told the Honolulu station. “It all transpired … so quickly him rushing the cockpit. It was pretty serious what was going on.”

Added Lorenzen, “There were some sturdy guys back there that were
helping hold him down.”

The FBI said interviews confirmed that the cockpit door of the American Airlines plane was not breached. They also confirmed the suspect was in the aisle way of the plane but said it was “unclear” exactly what his motivation was at the time. Bomb technicians searched the jetliner and personal belongings of the suspect, and no explosives were found, according to the FBI. American Airlines said the aircraft returned to service Friday night.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Secretary John Kelly was briefed on the incident. “DHS is prepared to assist other federal and local law enforcement agencies as they investigate the incident,” DHS said.

“This unfortunate incident highlights the tremendous professionalism of American’s team members, and specifically, in this situation, our flight attendants,” American Airlines said in a statement Saturday. “Their decisive actions ensured the safety of everyone onboard the flight.”

References

  1. ^ American Airlines (data.cnbc.com)
  2. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/BUSkQQBB-xo/ (www.instagram.com)
  3. ^ http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/35473697/passenger-subdued-after-trying-to-break-into-cockpit-of-honolulu-bound-flight (www.hawaiinewsnow.com)

Local airport unveils new TSA security device

Posted: |

Updated: Fri 8:15 AM, May 19, 2017

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — TSA’s job is to keep the traveling public safe, and the use of advanced imaging technology is another important layer to mitigate known and evolving threats.

Local Airport Unveils New TSA Security Device

Charity Zich, Airport Director of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport says, “This technology safely screens passengers for both metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives, without physical contact. Currently, there are about 820 units at 215 airports nationwide.”

Imaging technology not only enhances security, it reduces the need for pat-down searches. In addition, the scan only takes a few seconds. TSA deployed the first generation AITs in early 2010. These next-generation units, knows as AIT-2, have a smaller footprint. This unit, as well as all AITs, is equipped with automated target recognition software, which is designed to enhance privacy by using the same “cookie-cutter” outline for all passengers, regardless of gender. The machine uses Millimeter Wave technology, which uses harmless electromagnetic waves to detect potential threats, which are highlighted on this generic outline of a person on a monitor attached to the unit. It is safe, and the energy emitted is 1,000 times less than international limits and guidelines. AIT is especially helpful for passengers with joint replacements, since these often alarm the walk-through metal detectors.

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