US Lifts Laptop Ban on Emirates, Turkish Airlines Flights
Qatar Airways said Thursday its passengers can once again carry on laptop computers and other personal electronics for direct flights to the United States.
The airline said in a statement that it and its hub Hamad International Airport had met new U.S. security requirements.
In March, the U.S. banned laptops and large electronics from the cabins of direct flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa over concerns that terrorists could hide bombs inside the devices.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security further said last week that the airlines needed to implement sophisticated imaging technology for X-Ray and ultrasound screening of carry-on devices, or continue to ban passengers from bringing the electronics on the plane.
Qatar Airways is the fourth airline to announce this week the restrictions were being lifted for its passengers.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad was the first to say so on Sunday, while Dubai-based Emirates and Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines said Tuesday they had met the new requirements.
An Emirates spokesperson said in a statement new imaging technology was put in place at Dubai International, the world's busiest airport for international travel.
Emirates airlines had reported a decline in the past month in demand for flights to the United States, and consequently cut its schedule from Dubai to five U.S. cities.
The ban still applies to non-stop U.S.-bound flights from airports in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
Pro-Government Attackers Storm Venezuela Legislature
Armed supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stormed the country's opposition-held legislature on Wednesday, attacking lawmakers and holding hundreds of people hostage inside the building for nine hours. At least 12 people were injured, including five legislators and workers at the National Assembly.
National Assembly President Julio Borges blamed Maduro for the situation in Venezuela, where months of political and economic crisis have brought street protests that often turn into violence between pro- and anti-government marchers. Nearly 100 people have been killed.
"The violence in Venezuela is named Nicolas Maduro," Borges told reporters.
The Maduro supporters, who call themselves "colectivos," burst into the legislative chamber at the beginning of the takeover. Shots were fired and detonations were heard, and ambulances took away about 15 injured people, some of them lawmakers with blood streaming down their faces and soaking their shirts.
The armed gangs left the Legislative Palace later, but kept the building surrounded. National Guardsmen patrolled the area but made no move to remove the gunmen or free those being detained inside.
The hostages, including VOA's Alvaro Algarra, could hear gunmen outside the National Assembly building chanting, "It's going to fall. ... This assembly is going to fall."
The National Assembly was meeting in a special session to honor Venezuela's Independence Day when the dozens of colectivos charged into the chamber.
The colectivos have in the past insisted the entire National Assembly must resign, but they announced no demands on Wednesday, Algarra reported. Assembly President Borges told VOA the lawmakers would not yield to any demands by the gunmen.
President Maduro, marching in a Venezuelan Independence Day parade, said he had nothing to do with what he called the "strange events" at the National Assembly.