AMEX cardholders to get perks including bypassing long security lines at Pearson

AMEX cardholders to get perks including bypassing long security lines at Pearson AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 18, 2012 6:39 pm MDT American Express Canada will send its premium cardholders to the front of more security lines at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport under a deal that gives the credit card company prime ad space in Canada’s busiest air hub.Platinum cardholders will be able to skip more long security clearance queues by flashing their cards throughout terminals 1 and 3 as part of a marketing partnership announced Monday.“Select priority lanes are in place virtually in all airports around the world,” said Pamela Griffith-Jones, chief marketing and commercial officer for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.“At this point they’re available to frequent fliers through their airlines so this program just allows us to expand it to include these card members.”Passing through a special lane doesn’t prevent passengers from actual security screening.The credit card company wouldn’t discuss financial terms of the initial three-year agreement which American Express believes is the first of its kind in the world. It said the concept could be expanded elsewhere, but there are no immediate plans in place.American Express cardholders will also receive complimentary valet services, a 15 per cent express and daily parking discount and designated taxi and limousine lines.Access to premium lounges, including Air Canada Maple Leaf lounges, will continue for holders of premium American Express cards.Griffith-Jones said the partnership with American Express will also enhance services available to all travellers, even those without this credit card, which is a priority for the operator of Canada’s busiest airport.“We know sometimes that airports can be a source of great anxiety for our travellers and we’re constantly looking at new ways we can offer new services that will enhance the experience, reduce the anxiety and increase the efficiency of travelling through our airport.”Even those without the credit card will have American Express sponsored access to free Wi-Fi throughout the airport and entertainment services under development.American Express offers privileges that come with membership such as Front of the Line access to special events.David Barnes, Canadian advertising and sponsorships vice-president, doesn’t expect any backlash from passengers, including those with regular American Express cards, who have to wait in regular pre-security clearance lines.“By having another lane, it’s actually going to alleviate some of the traffic going through the regular lanes as well,” he said in an interview.“I think it’s a balance between providing services specifically to our premium card members and also having benefits that are available to everyone.”Consumers’ Association of Canada president Bruce Cran doesn’t see any problem with the fast lanes for certain credit card holders.“I don’t see this as anything ominous, quite the opposite I’d say this is a demonstration of competitive practices,” he said from Vancouver.Several passengers questioned at Pearson airport also gave their thumbs up to the plan, especially if it can speed up lines.“I think anything to go faster through security checks will be great. In some airports in the country it’s slower than here so anything to help,” said Ron Simard, 54, a retail district manager.Surendra Thapa of Niagara Falls, Ont., said the service would be appreciated by frequent business travellers to reduce the hours they spend waiting at the airport.“I don’t think I would mind too much,” the 40-year-old engineer said when asked if he would be upset with people using their credit card to avoid a long line.Aeroplan, the main loyalty program affiliated with Air Canada, welcomed the new initiative with American Express, one of its other main partners.American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum cardmembers have access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges, priority check-in and priority lane access at Pearson, said spokeswoman Christa Poole.The agreement doesn’t lock out credit card competitors from having a presence at the airport, but as the preferred partner American Express will have access to prime advertising spots, Barnes added.American Express said the new collaboration will promote its brand and help Pearson strengthen its position as a major North American gateway.About 33 million travellers pass through the Toronto airport annually with the average visitor spending 2.5 hours at the large facility. read more

Company says Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will close be decommissioned by end

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Dave Gram, The Associated Press Posted Aug 27, 2013 9:26 am MDT Company says Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will close, be decommissioned by end of 2014 MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s only nuclear power plant will shut down by the end of next year, ending a nasty legal battle over the future of the 4-decade-old plant, Entergy Corp. announced Tuesday.The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station is expected to cease power production after its current fuel cycle and will begin being decommissioned in the fourth quarter of 2014, the company said. The station will remain under the oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission throughout the decommissioning process.The New Orleans-based company has been battling with the state since 2010, when the Vermont Senate voted against a measure that would have authorized granting Vermont Yankee a permit to operate for an additional 20 years. Lawmakers were concerned about the plant’s safety, age and misstatements by plant management about components at the reactor.“This was an agonizing decision and an extremely tough call for us,” Leo Denault, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Vermont Yankee has an immensely talented, dedicated and loyal workforce, and a solid base of support among many in the community. We recognize that closing the plant on this schedule was not the outcome they had hoped for, but we have reluctantly concluded that it is the appropriate action for us to take under the circumstances.”Denault said that when it closes, the plant will be placed in “safe-store,” in which federal regulations allow it to be mothballed for up to 60 years while its radioactive components cool down before removal.Reaction from state leaders was swift and nearly unanimous: The closure is overdue and welcomed.“This is the right decision for Vermont and it’s the right decision for Vermont’s clean energy future,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has been critical of the plant.Others said the company’s plan to close the plant over several decades is unacceptable.Vermont’s U.S. senators, independent Bernie Sanders and Democrat Patrick Leahy, both said they would push the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject Entergy’s plan, speed up decommissioning and ensure that Entergy pays for the full cost.The NRC said in a statement it would “continue its rigorous oversight of the plant through the rest of its operations and into and through decommissioning. We have a decommissioning process that the details steps that would have to be taken by Entergy going forward.”The decision to close Vermont Yankee was based on a number of financial factors, including low wholesale energy prices, high costs and what the company called a flawed market design that artificially deflates energy prices.Nuclear plants have been under significant price competition due to the recent natural gas boom in the United States. Vermont Yankee, among the oldest and smallest plants in the country and located in a state with one of the nation’s strongest anti-nuclear movements, had long been considered among the most likely to be shuttered.State Rep. Tony Klein, chairman of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, said he wasn’t surprised Entergy decided to shutter the plant, given the economic issues at hand.“I commend Entergy for giving the state and the workers a year and a half notice … so there’s as minimal economic impact as possible,” he said.Rich Sedano, director of U.S. programs for the Regulatory Assistance Project, said the nuclear plant’s small slice of New England’s power supply — about 2 per cent — means the closure will have little effect on consumers. It will require more reliance on natural gas and may push the region toward more solar and wind production, especially as states try to meet mandated standards of energy from renewables.An industry group was not so positive.“This closure will be a great loss to the state of Vermont, the regional economy and consumers, and the environment,” said Marvin Fertel, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute.Vermont Yankee opened in 1972 in Vernon. In the past it has provided as much as a third of the state’s electrical supply but today nearly all of its power is shipped to electric companies in neighbouring states.After being granted the federal license it also needed for continued operation, Entergy sued the state and won a first round in federal court in Brattleboro.The state appealed but largely lost earlier this month although Attorney General Bill Sorrell said the court overruled a part of the lower-court decision saying the state had violated the U.S. Constitution by trying to demand cut-rate power from Vermont Yankee if it were allowed to continue operating.The company employs about 630 people, a staffing level that will gradually be reduced as the plant moves through the stages of decommissioning. read more

Urban Meyer Braxton Miller will play against Florida AM if healthy

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) lays on the field after injuring his knee during a game against San Diego State Sept. 7, at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-7.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State coach Urban Meyer said that if junior quarterback Braxton Miller is healthy enough to play Saturday against Florida A&M, he will.“Braxton – we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Meyer said.Miller is “probable” to play against FAMU, Meyer said, who also said that backup Kenny Guiton could see the field.“Kenny Guiton’s earned some time,” Meyer said. “He’s done a nice job. If he’s one of the best 11 (players), then the obligation is to get him on the field.”Guiton’s success early in the season during the time that Miller has been a big confidence boost for Meyer in his backup quarterback.“If you’re going to buy stock in anybody, buy stock in Kenny Guiton,” Meyer said.Meyer also addressed the return of senior Carlos Hyde, who is finally eligible after being suspended for his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar this summer.“As of right now, he’s back. He’s done a really good job, running the scout team,” Meyer said. “We’re anxious to get him back.”Meyer said that he was not sure how Hyde would fit into the offensive game plan.“I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that,” Meyer said. “It’s a good issue to have. Jordan Hall has certainly earned the right to touch the ball. In a big way.”Meyer cited how it was “every coach’s dream” to have depth at every position and that competition helps develop players. read more