Burn Bag: If an email server goes down and the Embassy doesn’t make a sound …

Via Burn Bag:

“It appears that a certain U.S. diplomatic post in sub-Saharan Africa has been without official email communications for a whole week.  How can this happen in a time of frequent security concerns and emergency evacuations from the region?

No one in Washington seems to know or care. AF bureau appears clueless, not even working to help out. So if an email server goes down and the Embassy doesn’t make a sound, does that outpost even exist anymore?”

computerslam

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India’s 4th most populous metro area turns into an island; USCG Chennai to close until Dec 7

Posted: 1:01 pm EDT
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USCG Chennai is headed by Phillip A. Min who assumed post last year. We’ve asked @USAmbIndia how USG employees are holding up in Chennai but have not received a response.  Post did issue an updated emergency message on December 4 saying that ConGen Chennai has sustained major flood damage, and is closed for all services Friday December 4 and Monday December 7. Travelers are asked to defer all travel to the area. The Ambassador to India Richard Verma tweeted that he is “Thinking of all in Chennai & monitoring situation closely – hoping for drier days ahead.”

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Via The Indian Express:

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said Chennai has turned into an island. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that. Since the day before, Chennai has been cut off from all national and state highways,” said Singh, responding to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the flood situation in the country’s southern region. […] The minister added that in the 24 hours beginning December 1, 8.30 pm, Chennai has received 330 mm of rain, which exceeds the rain the city receives for the entire month of December, thereby “breaking a 100-year record”.

According to World Population Review, Chennai has an estimated population of 4.9 million, with an area that has grown from 176 square kilometers to 426 square kilometers after a 2011 expansion. The urban agglomeration, which includes the city and suburbs, has a population estimated at 9 million. This makes it the 4th most populous metropolitan area in India and the 31st largest urban area in the world.

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Delta to Stop Accepting Pets as Checked Baggage With One Notable Exception (Not the Foreign Service)

Posted: 12:59 am EDT
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On November 16, Delta announced that it will no longer accept pets as checked baggage, but will continue to transport allowable pets in all cabins of service except Delta One, effective March 1, 2016. Customers may also ship pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo. There is only one notable exception to this new policy: Members of the military with active transfer orders will be allowed to transport a pet as checked baggage. Delta says it will continue to accept service and emotional support animals that comply with federal regulations including proper documentation.  Below is part of the announcement:

“Many of us at Delta are pet lovers and we know that they are important members of the family,” said Bill Lentsch, Senior Vice President – Airport Customer Service and Cargo Operations. “This change will ultimately ensure that we have a high-quality, consistent service for pets when their owners choose to ship them with Delta Cargo.”

Pets that are transported via Delta Cargo are monitored closely by customer service teams during their travel. While at airports, pets are handled in temperature-controlled holding areas and vans. Also, Delta Cargo enlists professional kenneling services if overnight stays are required.

With the change effective March 1, customers will be able to travel with a pet as checked baggage through Feb. 29. Also, Delta will contact customers with bookings after March 1 that are known to include pets as checked bags.

Guidance for customers traveling with pets can be found at delta.com, but customers choosing to ship a pet with Delta Cargo should note that:

— A separate booking from their flight itinerary is required.  Additional fees and charges may apply.

— A pet shipped domestically via Delta Cargo cannot be booked until 14 days prior to departure.

— Pets are not guaranteed to be shipped on a customer’s same flight or flight schedule.

— Shipping a pet requires dropping it off at a Delta Cargo location at least three hours before departure time at a location separate from passenger check-in.

— Picking up a pet will also occur at a Delta Cargo location.

— Delta Cargo will only accept international pet shipments from International Pet and Animal Transportation Association members. International customers should visit ipata.org to find an approved member to assist with their transportation requirements.

A member of the Foreign Service who spoke with Delta multiple times including a supervisor was told the airline will NOT extend the exception to Foreign Service or any other USG employees, only to active duty military members on orders. We’ve verified with Delta, see below:

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The Fly America Act, 49 U.S.C. App. 1517, as implemented in the Comptroller General’s guidelines, Decision B-138942, March 31, 1981, requires Federal employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and others performing United States Government financed foreign air travel to travel by U.S. flag air carriers.

As of this writing United and American Airlines still allow travel with pet as checked baggage. Plan ahead!

UnitedU.S. military and State Department pet exceptions | Select military and government personnel and their dependents may transport their pet dog or cat as checked baggage when they are traveling on official orders.

American Airlines: Traveling With Pets

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