The Senate Committee report's summary concludes the CIA mislead the public, Congress, and the White House both about the severity of treatment and about effectiveness of torture.
The Senate began investigating the CIA's detainee program nearly six years ago. It completed a draft of its report two years ago. Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee has finally released the report's blistering executive summary. (The full report remains classified.) What took so long? It's a tale of White House indecisiveness, Republican opposition, and CIA snooping.
This holiday season in the US major companies and advertisers are not inspiring confidence in their practices, in pursuit of more eyeballs and consumers
Air travellers look forward to SpiceJet overcoming its present difficulties and await the arrival of Vistara before Christmas!
Vistara, a Tata Sons-Singapore Airline sponsored carrier, may soon get the air operators' permit (AOP), as they have successfully completed the "proving flight schedule" requirement of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which was the last hurdle in the process. This was stated by CEO Phee Teik, who expects the DGCA to issue them the AOP shortly.
This means, there are chances that Vistara may be able to take the sky as a pre-Christmas present to its passengers.
SpiceJet's woes have worsened, with the DGCA directing SpiceJet to stop booking tickets more than 30 days into the future. This appears to have been done to protect both the airline and its passengers.
Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, is reported to have said that he looks forward to SpiceJet continuing its services, but the DGCA has put the airline under “heightened surveillance" nonetheless.
SpiceJet is in the process of refunding to the passengers, the fares for the flights that have been cancelled, as they have reduced their daily departures from 332 to 239 flights. This restructuring is likely to help the airline bring their financial situation under control.
The DGCA has reportedly asked SpiceJet to come out with a concrete plan for settling dues of all stake holders before 15th December. The AAI (Airport Authority of India), in the meantime, had threatened the airline that they would be put on "cash and carry" if they failed to clear Rs200 crore that SpiceJet owes to the airport operator!
According to information available on 5th December, SpiceJet has an outstanding dues of Rs1,600 crore. DGCA wants them to clarify and has asked for a proposal on how they plan to settle the outstanding balance.
In a separate and interesting development, the Karnataka government is to hold its Assembly session in Belgavi, 500 Kms away from Bengaluru. Most of the MLAs, ministers, officials and others who would attend the Assembly Session were forced to book their flights on SpiceJet. The fares charged ranged from Rs7,800 to Rs18,000! According to the press, there was "inadequate time" to make other alternative arrangements of road transport etc. This will certainly help them reduce their outstanding burden.
The other developments in the airlines industry covers the successful operations of Air Costa and the preparations of Turbo Megha (from Hyderabad) and Air Pegasus (from Bengaluru), who are in various stages of clearances. It may be remembered that Turbo Megha currently operates only charter flights from Hyderabad and their other plans are expected shortly. These airlines are planning to cover tier II and III cities/towns.
IndiGo Air, the largest domestic passenger carrier, who operates a profit-oriented customer-friendly airline, had recently placed orders for A-320 neos, as these planes are expected to consume lesser jet fuel, thus bringing down the operational costs. Air India, too, is expected to lease A-320 neos to save fuel costs and replace its A-320s
Finally, the US Federal Aviation Authority team is already in India to perform an audit of Indian aviation. Hopefully, Indian aviation will get back to the Category I status when it is completed. In the meantime, air travellers look forward to SpiceJet overcoming its present difficulties and await the arrival of Vistara before Christmas!
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)