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Monday, May 31, 2010

Michaels surprise performer on the "American Idol"

Michaels was a surprise performer on the "American Idol" finale Wednesday night when Lee DeWyze beat out Crystal Bowersox for the Season 9 title, and Paula Abdul returned to say farewell to departing judge Simon Cowell. "My darling Simon, I've worked with a lot of people over the years, hot cheerleaders, big movie stars, world famous recording artists, but if I'm being truly honest, none of them holds a candle to you my friend," Abdul said in her emotional tribute.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Volcanic Ash Brings More Flight Disruptions

PARIS — Aviation authorities closed airspace over Ireland, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland on Tuesday as a new cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland revived memories of the devastating shutdown of Europe’s skies last month.
Initially, at least, the closure seemed far more limited than the six-day disruption that spread chaos across the globe, with flights canceled from Sydney to New York, as a layer of fine, high-altitude ash forced the closure of many of Europe’s busiest airports including London,, Paris and Frankfurt.
Around 100,000 flights were canceled and the shutdown cost airlines between $2 billion and $3 billion in losses.
On Tuesday, by comparison, the Irish aviation authority said flights would resume at 1 p.m. local time.
The British Civil Aviation Authority said no-fly zones, declared late on Monday, were in force over Scotland’s remote Outer Hebrides. The airspace over Northern Ireland was closed from 0600 GMT on Tuesday because concentrations of volcanic ash exceeded the levels that airplane engine manufacturers regard as safe, the authority said.
Britain’s National Air Traffic Service said flights over mainland Scotland were not immediately affected.
Eurocontrol, the Brussels-based agency charged with coordinating air traffic management across the region, said that it did not expect any significant flight disruptions on Tuesday, with roughly 28,000 flights scheduled in Europe — in line with a normal weekday.
Experts in Iceland told the BBC that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano had started spewing larger amounts of ash four days ago and a changing wind had blown it south. But the plume was not as big as last month’s. The particulate ash is dangerous for airplanes because it can damage jet engines with potentially catastrophic consequences. Airports in Belfast and Derry will be closed in Northern Ireland while the Irish Aviation Authority said the decision to halt flights was “based on the safety risks to crews and passengers as a result of the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud.”.
The ash was said to be at a low enough level to permit continued overflights by planes crossing Irish airspace at higher altitudes from the Atlantic to and from mainland Britain and continental Europe.
But while the flight ban was in force, thousands of passengers were stranded as airlines including Aer Lingus and low-cost Ryanair canceled flights.
The disruption on Tuesday spilled into Britain’s national election campaign, the BBC reported, upsetting plans by David Cameron, the leader of the opposition Conservatives, to fly to Northern Ireland.
Amsterdam’s main airport listed flights to Dublin as canceled for most of Tuesday. In Germany, aviation authorities said there were no immediate plans to close German airspace.
The latest closures coincided with a scheduled meeting in Brussels of European transport ministers to discuss closer coordination after last month’s travel chaos. The continent’s halting response to that crisis drew widespread criticism that European nations had been slow to address a situation that once again showed cohesion in the European Union to be more of an aspiration than a reality.
On Tuesday, the concern among aviation specialists was that last month’s shutdown had begun with what initially seemed isolated reports of airports closing in northern Scotland. But the situation rapidly worsened as the cloud of ash spread across Europe.
Airlines soon began to insist that aviation authorities had been too quick to close airspace and too slow to reopen it. But the authorities insisted that their caution was prompted by concerns for passenger safety.
In Iceland, meteorologist Ole Arneson said the Eyjafjallajokull volcano was emitting a slightly higher level of ash Monday than on previous days The Associated Press reported.