A Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-900 plane takes off from Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

CHICAGO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) on Tuesday said it would hire 1,500 new flight attendants in anticipation of an increase in demand for air travel next summer.

The announcement comes as many airlines struggle to keep up with a recovery in air travel and are grappling with staff shortages.

Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) last week said it would run fewer flights through the end of the year as a result of a staffing crunch, which disrupted its operations this summer and led to flight delays and cancellations. read more

Delta Air, too, had to cancel about 100 flights in April due to staff shortages. But a company spokesperson said the airline’s operations since have been relatively smooth.

In July, the carrier’s average daily departures totaled 4,377 compared with 2,009 in April.

Including the 1,500 flight attendants hired in early 2020 before the pandemic, Delta aims to have 3,000 new flight attendants to support operations next summer. It is also hiring 1,200 pilots.

“The need here is to support future flying,” the spokesperson said.

Since May, Delta Air has made full vaccination a condition of employment for new hires. On Tuesday, it reiterated that policy, saying all new hires, including current Delta employees who have been accepted into the training program for flight attendants, must be fully vaccinated before their training start date.

Last week, the company said employees who choose not to be vaccinated will have to pay $200 extra per month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan. read more

Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh
Editing by Peter Graff and Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Washington — Seventy-five House members on Wednesday are encouraging President Joe Biden to take “science-based, data-driven steps” to safely reopen international travel to the United States, including loosening restrictions at the Canada border.

The lawmakers highlighted the economic impact of suspended inbound international travel, noting that the travel decline in 2020 resulted in a loss of $150 billion in export income. The United States is on track to lose 1.1 million jobs and another $175 billion by year’s end, they said.

The letter, led by U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Holland, and Brian Higgins, D-New York, urges Biden and the Canadian government to drop all travel restrictions between the two countries for travelers who are fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

The land border with Canada has been closed to non-essential travel for 16 months due to the pandemic. The lawmakers say officials should “follow the science” with COVID vaccinations rising and infection rates down in both nations. 

Sixty-seven percent of Americans and Canadians have received at least one shot of the vaccine. Forty-eight percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 27% of Canadians, according to government data.

Higgins and Huizenga co-chair the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group.

Five House members from Michigan signed the letter in addition to Huizenga: Reps. John Moolenaar, R-Midland; Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township; Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township; Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township; and Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township. 

The lawmakers also want Biden to reestablish travel with the United Kingdom and  increase processing capacity for tourism and business visas. According to the letter, 57 of 237 visa processing sites were fully operational as of April, and 76% of U.S. consulates remained fully or partially closed to routine visa processing.

The Biden administration has set up expert working groups to examine restarting travel between the U.S. and Canada and between the U.S. and U.K. But the White House has provided no updates on a timeline or guidelines or metrics for reopening.

Vehicles are seen traveling from the American side of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit to the Canadian side in Windsor, Ontario.

“We’re working to continue to assess what criteria would need to be in place in order to reopen travel,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. 

“And we know that, in many cases, families are separated. We know that’s a heartbreaking challenge that a lot of people are dealing with. And a lot of people are eager to travel, be with loved ones, or even do work travel. We understand that. We’re eager to do that, as well.”  

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Indonesian basketball took a giant leap forward on Tuesday. It happened the moment that Derrick Michael Xzavierro walked into the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia. Xzavierro is perhaps the best prospect Indonesia has ever produced, and he is the first to join any of the academies the NBA has set up around the world. 

This is an opportunity for the 6-foot-8 Xzavierro to play with and against high school-age players his own size, while learning from coaches with professional experience. It is also a “major milestone,” NBA senior director of international basketball operations Chris Ebersole said — for the academy program, for the league itself and for Indonesia. 

The NBA conducted its first clinic in Indonesia in 2008, in conjunction with the DBL, a league for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Since then it has invested an enormous amount of resources in getting young Indonesians to bounce a ball. In the last seven years, more than 21 million of them have taken part in the Jr. NBA development program. The Jr. NBA coaches academy has taught 53,000 Indonesian teachers how to teach the fundamentals.

Former dunk champ Jason Richardson gets on the court in Jakarta in 2019.
Jr. NBA Indonesia

Xzavierro went to Jr. NBA in 2017 in Jakarta. He remembers making friends there and meeting former NBA player Sam Perkins. In 2019, the league partnered with the Jakarta city government to integrate the program into its physical education curriculum. 

With a population of more than 270 million and a median age around 30 years old, Indonesia represents a golden business opportunity for the NBA. “There’s a growing middle class, there’s an increase in interest for entertainment and they obviously have disposable income,” NBA Asia managing director Scott Levy said. Everything the league has done has been about encouraging mass participation and enhancing the basketball ecosystem. More than 300 Indonesian teachers who went through the train-the-trainers program are now traveling around the country, working as basketball coaches. 

“Kids can learn it in school, teachers can become coaches, coaches can make a living,” Levy said. “They create competitive environments at all levels of competition, and then the elite have a pathway to make it all the way if they have that capability.”

Indonesian prospect Derrick Michael Xzavierro at the NBA Global Academy, Day 1.
NBA Academy

About three months before Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and the 2019-20 season went on hiatus, the NBA’s New York-based international basketball operations staff got a tip from their counterparts in Hong Kong. Most of the players that Carlos Barroca and Natália André encounter at youth tournaments will not go on to an NBA academy or play professionally, but when they saw a 6-foot-8 Indonesian kid with that kind of potential, it was their responsibility to send word. 

At the FIBA Asia

Over the first three full months of the Biden-Harris Administration, the economy added more than 1.5 million jobs, or more than 500,000 jobs per month on average. That compares to an average of 60,000 jobs per month in the three previous months. These three months have seen the strongest first three months of job growth of any administration.

Despite this progress, there’s more work to do to climb out of the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. The Biden-Harris Administration is acting aggressively to ensure that the millions of Americans who remain unemployed, through no fault of their own, can find safe, good-paying work as quickly as possible. That’s why the President is announcing today that the Administration will take steps to remove barriers that are preventing Americans from returning safely to good-paying work and take steps to make it easier for employers to hire new workers.

And, the President and the Administration will reaffirm the basic rules of the unemployment insurance (UI) program. Anyone receiving UI who is offered a suitable job must take it or lose their UI benefits. A core purpose of the UI program is helping workers get back to work, and UI provides laid-off workers with temporary assistance to help pay bills and relieve hardship. By reaffirming these rules and purposes, the Administration will ensure that the UI program continues to support workers and facilitate hiring.

Specifically, today the President is:

REMOVING BARRIERS THAT ARE KEEPING AMERICANS FROM RETURNING SAFELY TO GOOD-PAYING WORK

Accelerating the Provision of Assistance to Hard-Hit Child Care Providers to Get More Parents Back to Work

Between February 2020 and March 2021, 520,000 mothers and 170,000 fathers between ages 20 and 54 left the labor force and have not returned. Many need or want to work but cannot because of child care disruptions. At the same time, early childhood and child care providers – nearly all small businesses, overwhelmingly owned by women and disproportionately owned by people of color – have been hit hard by the pandemic. According to one survey, as of December, about one in four child care providers open at the start of the pandemic were closed, hindering access to care, especially for families of color. Child care providers that have stayed open have gone to enormous lengths to do so and are struggling to stay open: two in five providers report taking on debt for their programs using personal credit cards to pay for increased costs and three in five work in programs that have reduced expenses through layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts. And, there are 150,000 fewer child care jobs today than there were at the beginning of the pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan provides funding to address the child care crisis caused by COVID-19 to help parents who need or want to work to return to their jobs. This includes funding to stabilize the child care industry so that parents can send their children to safe, healthy, stable child care environments and additional

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The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County is continuing to rebound with more businesses re-opening and expanding operations.

The Employment Development Department reported the county had an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in March, down from a revised rate of 9.1 percent in February. The rate moved closer to the year-ago estimate of 7.6 percent and is comparable to the state rate of 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate was at 6.2 percent for the same time period.

The decrease in unemployment in Stanislaus was largely spurred by growth in the government, manufacturing and farming sectors, according to the EDD.

The Government sector added an estimated 600 jobs for the month of March, with most of those coming from local education districts as schools reopened.

The Manufacturing and Farming sectors both added approximately 400 positions for the month. Most of the manufacturing growth came within food manufacturing, according to the EDD. For the year, manufacturing in the county is ahead by about 400 positions, while farming is down by approximately 200 positions.

Other sectors posting job gains for the month were: Educational and Health Services with 200 jobs; Professional and Business Services with 300 jobs; and Other Services with 100 new jobs.

Other sectors were either flat or reported job losses for the month. The two sectors reporting job losses were Trade, Transportation and Utilities, which was down by approximately 400 jobs for the month and 800 from the same time last year; and Hospitality and Leisure, which dropped 500 positions for the month and is down by an estimated 3,700 for the year, according to the EDD.

Stanislaus County had approximately 217,200 people employed and 21,000 unemployed during March, the EDD reported.

Merced County had an unemployment rate of 11.4 percent in March and San Joaquin County came in at 9.2 percent for the month.

For March, Turlock had an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, down from 7 percent in February. Denair’s came in at 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent. Hughson had a rate of 4.8 percent, down from 4.9 percent. Keyes reported a rate of 10.8 percent, down from 11 percent and Ceres had a rate of 9.9 percent, down from 10.1 percent.

The EDD released data regarding the online job vacancies and the companies looking to hire for the month of March. The top 10 positions with the most job ads for the month in Stanislaus County were: Registered nurses – 531, which was up by 42 from the month prior; retail salespersons – 320, which was up by 62 from February; sales representatives wholesale and manufacturing except scientific and technical products – 276, which rose by 64 from February; heavy and tractor-trailer drivers – 245, which was an increase of 57 from the previous month; customer service representatives – 228, which was up by 39 from the month prior; laborer and freight, stock and material movers – 218, which decreased by 2 for the month; first-line supervisors of retail sales workers – 184, which was an

ALBANY – New York has lifted its COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements for international travelers.

The move, which was announced Saturday, follows New York’s decision April 1 to end its quarantine on visitors coming to the state from another state or U.S. territory.

“Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021,” the state Department of Health announced on its website.

The state said that a quarantine, consistent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months.

The loosening of international restrictions is particularly significant in New York, which is a national hub for global travelers.

New York was the hardest hit state in the early months of the pandemic last year, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo contended the spread was due to travel from Europe to the tri-state area.

But as more people get vaccinated and COVID cases dropped from post-holiday season highs, New York and other states have loosened restrictions.

“One in four New Yorkers has been fully vaccinated, which is great,” Cuomo said Monday. “Thirty-eight percent of New Yorkers have gotten at least one dose. We’re working on more supply. Supply is the limiting factor right now. But our distribution network is up and robust.”

The state Department of Health still warned that international travelers need to take precautions when returning from abroad.

“The travel guidelines require all New Yorkers, as well as those visiting from out-of-state or another country, to take personal responsibility for compliance in the best interest of public health and safety,” the health department warned.

Here are some of the guidance still required for international and domestic travelers:

  • Symptomatic travelers must self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.
  • All travelers must complete the Traveler Health Form unless the traveler had left New York for less than 24 hours or is coming from a contiguous state: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Irrespective of a quarantine, all travelers must:

  • Monitor symptoms daily from day of arrival in New York through day 14.
  • Continue COVID safety steps, including hand hygiene, social distancing and the use of face coverings.
  • Self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider and determine if they should seek testing.

To be considered fully vaccinated, two or more weeks must have passed since the traveler’s final vaccine, whether it is the one shot for the Johnson & Johnson one or the two doses for Pfizer and Moderna.

Both the CDC and New York still recommend delaying international travel until the traveler is fully vaccinated.

And international travelers must comply with CDC requirements, which includes proof of a negative test or recent COVID recovery in order to board airplanes headed to the U.S.