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International air ban over Iraqi Kurdistan comes into effect

ERBIL: A ban on international flights to Iraqi Kurdistan, imposed by Iraq’s central government in retaliation for the region’s vote for independence, went into effect at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Friday, Iraqi state TV said. Baghdad had given the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) until 6:00 p.m. to hand over control of its international airports in Erbil and Sulaimaniya to avoid the ban. The KRG said it would not comply. The last international flight from Erbil, the seat of the KRG, took off at about 5:00 pm (1400 GMT),…

Iraq suspends flights to Kurd region over independence referendum

BAGHDAD: All foreign flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil will be suspended from Friday, officials said, as Baghdad increases pressure on the Kurds over this week's independence referendum. The move by the Iraqi central government marks the first major step taken in retaliation for Monday's vote, which delivered a resounding 92.7 percent "yes". An extended suspension of flights would have significant consequences for the Kurds, who have turned Arbil into a regional transport hub that is home to a large…

India overturns flight ban on sandal-whacking politician

NEW DELHI: India on Friday overturned a travel ban on a controversial politician who attacked a flight steward with his sandal after being refused a business class seat. Ravindra Gaikwad made national headlines after footage emerged in March of the Shiv Sena politician repeatedly striking a steward aboard an Air India flight. He later admitted to whacking the 60-year-old steward roughly two dozen times with his sandal during the altercation over seating on a flight from Pune to New Delhi. Gaikwad was forced to take…

UK issues laptop, tablet flight ban after US warning

LONDON: Britain tightened airline security on flights from Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday, banning laptops and tablet computers from the plane cabin following a US security warning. Passengers flying directly to Britain from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey will be required to place those devices and large phones into hold luggage, a government spokesman said. "The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the…