PORTLAND, Ore. – A Libyan-American who says he was forbidden from returning to the United States and questioned by FBI agents in Tunisia after visiting neighboring Libya insists he has done nothing wrong.
“I do intend to protect my rights. I do intend to clear my name,” 55-year-old Jamal Tarhuni said after arriving at Portland International Airport Tuesday morning from Amsterdam.
Tarhuni belongs to a Portland mosque that has been under scrutiny by federal investigators in years past.
He traveled to Libya last fall to help deliver humanitarian supplies. Tarhuni said he was barred without explanation from flying home on a flight from Tunis, Tunisia, on Jan. 17 and that he was told he should report to the U.S. Consulate.
Tarhuni said when he went to the consulate he was told he was on a no-fly list and was questioned by two FBI agents about his religious beliefs, whether he believes in Sharia law and about his mosque.
He said when the agents asked him to waive his Miranda rights he called his attorney, Thomas Nelson of Portland. Nelson advised Tarhuni to stop the interview with the agents, which Tarhuni did, and then he left the consulate.
Nelson flew to Tunisia and returned with Tarhuni on Tuesday. Asked why Tarhuni was allowed to leave, Nelson said the pair “raised hell” with the help of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
“They didn’t have a case,” Nelson said. “I said this is not an investigation, this is coercion.”
Nelson said the U.S. Consulate in Tunisia told him earlier this month they thought Tarhuni could travel, but neither Tarhuni nor his attorney was certain he would be allowed into the U.S. until they reached Amsterdam.
Wyden spokesman Tom Towslee confirmed that the senator had inquired about Tarhuni’s case, but said “there’s a lot we don’t know.”
“It’s hard to be concerned without knowing what’s going on,” Towslee said. “Obviously the FBI has something going on there.”
Towslee said of Tarhuni: “We’re glad he’s home.”
The FBI refused to comment.
The Portland mosque where Tarhuni worships, Masjid al-Sabr, has attracted the interest of federal investigators since the first years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
Mohamed Mohamud, a Somali-American awaiting trial on a charge of plotting to detonate a bomb at Portland’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in November 2010, worshipped there occasionally.
The mosque’s imam, Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, was arrested at Portland International Airport in September 2002 by an FBI-led anti-terrorism task force. He pleaded guilty to using a fraudulent Social Security number and defrauding a state health insurance program for the poor by underestimating his income. A federal judge sentenced Kariye to five years on probation.
Most recently, three Muslim men from Portland traveling abroad have discovered they are facing travel restrictions.
They include Tarhuni as well as another Libyan-American, 60-year-old Mustafa Elogbi. Like Tarhuni, Elogbi traveled to Libya after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. Elogbi went to visit family.
He planned to return last month. Elogbi got as far as a connecting flight in London before he was sent back to Tunisia, he said earlier this month. He said he was held in a British jail for two days and told by British authorities that the U.S. government was preventing him from flying home.
Elogbi is still in Tunisia but says he has been told he will be allowed to return to the U.S. this week.
Last year, Portland resident Michael Migliore, a Muslim convert, traveled to England by boat because of his apparent placement on the U.S. no-fly list. He was detained upon arrival and later released by British authorities.
Tarhuni said that when he was interviewed by the FBI agents in Tunis, they were interested in activities at the mosque.
“They wanted to know about people, what they do in there,” Tarhuni said. “For them to try to link people to a certain place and assume that they are part of a group, that is wrong.”
Tarhuni and Elogbi are getting support from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has asked the Justice Department to investigate the tactics of FBI agents in Portland.
Contact Associated Press writer Nigel Duara at http://www.twitter.com/nigelduara
SINGAPORE – Global airlines will need $3.5 trillion of new planes through 2030, with more than a third of that demand coming from Asia, Airbus’s chief executive said Wednesday.
The aviation industry will require 27,800 new planes of 100-plus seating capacity between 2010 and 2030 while Asia will likely take delivery of about 9,370 of those planes worth $1.3 trillion, CEO Tom Enders said.
“Our business isn’t moving to the East, it has moved to the East,” Enders said during a news conference at the Singapore Airshow. “We’re focused on Asia because that’s where most of our growth comes from.”
Airbus is wrestling longtime rival Boeing for the burgeoning Asian market. Asia provided half of Airbus’s 1,600 firm orders last year. Boeing scored its biggest deal ever in November when Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air agreed to buy 230 planes for $22 billion.
Boeing said earlier this week it expects airlines will need 33,500 new planes worth $4 trillion by 2030, with Asia accounting for about 35 percent of that total.
Asia is expected to account for 33 percent of global air passengers by 2030, up from a current 28 percent, according to Airbus. Europe will likely drop to 23 percent from 27 percent and the U.S. will fall to 20 percent from 27 percent, Airbus said.
Enders reiterated that Airbus is fixing small cracks found on the wings of some of its A380s. Airbus is inspecting all 69 A380s it has delivered so far after carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Qantas reported small wing fissures in December.
Airbus delivered 22 of the super jumbos to Asian carriers last year and expects to deliver 30 more worldwide this year.
“We made a mistake and it will cost the company quite some money,” Enders said, declining to specify how much money. “We understand the root causes and we’ll soon have a final fix.”
“This plane is absolutely safe to fly,” he said.
The A320neo, which seats up to 180 passengers, has become a favorite of Asia’s growing budget airline sector. Airbus delivered 546 of the planes to Asia last year.
Asian banks are also taking a bigger role in financing plane purchases, accounting for 20 percent of deliveries to the region last year, Enders said.
“If we should lose some financing capacity in Europe, I’m quite confident we can substitute that in Asia,” Enders said.
Enders said Airbus isn’t worried that orders may fall this year as the global economy slows because the company has an order backlog of 4,500 planes and is currently producing about 550 a year.
“We’re really not concerned if we have a year or two where the order intake is considerably less than 2011,” Enders said.
No large new plane orders have been announced so far at the Singapore Airshow, which runs February 14 to 19.
France-based Airbus is the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer. Chicago-based Boeing is the second-largest.
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario – Daredevil Nik Wallenda is set to walk an 1,800-foot tightrope across Niagara Falls this summer.
The Canadian Parks Commission approved the stunt Wednesday, removing the final obstacle after New York changed state law in September to allow it.
Wallenda plans to install the rope between American and Canadian parkland and walk from one country to the other. The drop will be 70 feet at its highest, with a dip that Wallenda will walk down into the mist from the gorge.
The Canadian parks officials had initially refused to allow the stunt. But Wallenda got the backing of the Ontario Tourism minister, who helped convince them to reverse course.
Wallenda is a seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallendas. He has a deal with Discovery television to broadcast the spectacle live.
BOSTON, MA, Feb 15, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –
After years of preparation, it’s now just a matter of months until
the July 27 Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Though Londoners have been counting down since they won the bid seven
years ago, the rest of the world is only now recognizing just how
soon the world’s greatest competition will commence.
Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel
deals, shares how you can to get into the spirit without paying an
Olympic price with its tips on How to Have an Olympic Experience for
Less featuring frugal ways to take part in the Games experience
whether or not you are planning to be in London this summer.
Although tickets to the Games may be out of reach both in terms of
availability and cost, below are suggestions from Cheapflights.com’s
tips on How to Have an Olympic Experience for Less offering
alternative ways to join in the fun of the Games without breaking the
bank. The advice also features money-saving tips for those traveling
to London this summer.
-- Check out free events -- Some of which include: The marathon course at this year's Olympics will start and end at The Mall near Buckingham Palace, passing a number of London landmarks. Pick a spot along the way for either the men's (Sunday, Aug. 5) or the women's marathon (Sunday, Aug. 12) and watch as well-paced athletes earn Olympic glory for both themselves and their counties. It's a great way to have a view of all the competitors in one spot -- and for no cash (note:The Mall -- start and finish -- will be ticketed). -- Review the London Visitor Charter -- Buy from companies that are listed in the London Visitor Charter. The likes of Eurostar, the Tower of London, Tom Aikens' restaurants and Indian eatery chain Masala Zone have all pledged "fair pricing and practice during the Games." -- Join the crowds at the London Live Sites-- From the big three locations in London -- Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and Victoria Park -- to the 20-plus other locations across the United Kingdom, there will be big-screen viewings of medal ceremonies and competitions, free concerts and contests -- all designed to include locals and visitors alike in the Olympic experience as it unfolds. -- Skip London altogether -- For less crowds and costs, try events taking place outside of London. Some venues, such as those for mountain biking, kayaking, rowing and canoeing are a mere 20-50km away. A tad farther away, Wales, Scotland and spots along British coastline and across the countryside will host Olympic events. Soccer tournaments (in Manchester, Coventry, Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff) and sailing events (in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbor) will make for a very different summer getaway destination than London. -- Take a pre-Olympics tour of London -- London has been prepping like crazy to host the world at the upcoming Games. The city will look its best in the months and weeks leading up to the Olympics and, with last year's Royal Wedding and this year's Queen's Diamond Jubilee (early June) as feathers already in its cap, London has proven it's ready to take the stage. With billions of pounds invested in updating and readying the city -- from public transportation to landmark destinations to the creation of the Olympic Park -- this is a chance to see the best of London and get an insider's view of the final preparations for the main events and venues. -- Attend the Paralympics -- Every four years, after the national network trucks and camera crews roll out of town, the much more intimate and often more inspiring Paralympians take over the village, competing in virtually all the same sports. As some of the world's most impressive athletes, these competitors have put aside injury, illness and inequality to rise to the top of their sports. The crowds and prices for the Paralympics, running from August 29 - September 9, are less overwhelming, but the performances and achievements are arguably more so.
The remaining tips from Cheapflights.com’s guide on How to Have an
Olympic Experience for Less feature advice for those wanting to steer
clear of London during the Olympic craze yet still participate in the
excitement of the Games. Ideas include: Following the torch relay;
visiting a past Olympic host city; watching the qualifying rounds;
surrounding yourself with adorable Olympic paraphernalia; and finally
playing virtual Olympics. To read more about these tips and for
Cheapflights.com’s complete guide on How to Have an Olympic
Experience for Less, go to
About Cheapflights Media
Cheapflights Media is an international
media network helping over 11 million visitors a month find top
travel deals. Our Cheapflights brand was launched in 1996 and
pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users. Today,
users compare a wide range of deals from hundreds of partners
including online travel agents, consolidators and airlines to find
the very best flight deals. With a mission to be the starting point
for travel, Cheapflights works to deliver the industry’s best airfare
bargains, expert tips and inspiration. There are currently
Cheapflights sites in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia
New Zealand, France, Italy and Spain. For more information, visit
www.cheapflights.com . Our newest brand, Momondo, is a leading travel
search engine for finding comprehensive worldwide pricing and
availability on airfares. Winner of several awards, the site is ideal
for users on specific travel schedules. For more information, visit
Contact Information: Dalia Blumenthal Publicist Tel: +1 416-926-1967 Mobile: +1 416-788-4573 E-mail: Email Contact www.cheapflights.com
Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.
I’m not sure if “leapling” is really a word, but if you are one – someone born on leap day — you may stay free at Mammoth Mountain ski resort on Feb. 29. There’s finally snow, too (about a foot from a recent storm, as of Tuesday) at the resort that got off to a snowless start in December and January.
The deal: Leap Year Babies Stay Free offers a choice of one free night (with a second person) at Juniper Springs Resort, the Village Lodge, Tamarack Lodge or Mammoth Mountain Inn on their birthday. Reservations are required, and valid ID showing your birth date must be shown at check-in.
When: The offer is good for Feb. 29 only.
Details: If you want to tack a second night on to the free room, I found availability for a studio condo at the Village Lodge for $289 plus tax for March 1. If you plan to go skiing or boarding, an adult lift ticket will cost $89.
Contact: Mammoth Mountain ski resort, (800) 626-6684
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Maldives’ national museum reopened Tuesday without some of its most valuable exhibits a week after a mob of suspected religious extremists smashed images from the pre-Islamic era of this Indian Ocean archipelago.
About 35 exhibits — mostly images of Buddha and Hindu gods — were destroyed in the attack. Some of the artifacts dated back to the sixth century, museum director Ali Waheed said.
Waheed says 99 percent of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic artifacts from before the 12th century, when most inhabitants were Buddhists or Hindus, were destroyed.
“Some of the pieces can be put together but mostly they are made of sandstone, coral and limestone, and they are reduced to powder,” he said.
The mob of suspected Muslim extremists attacked the museum during the Maldives’ unfolding political crisis. The country has seen weeks of protests and last week President Mohamed Nasheed stepped down. He later said he was forced to resign at gunpoint.
The attack was the latest blow to the island nation that is best known as a high-end tourist destination.
“We are very sad. This is the physical and archaeological evidence of the country, we have nothing to show (of the pre-Islamic history),” Waheed said.
The items had been preserved since the museum opened in 1952. Waheed said the the attackers did not understand that the museum exhibits were not promoting other religions in this Muslim country.
Practicing or preaching any religion other than Islam is prohibited by the Maldives constitution, and there have been increasing demands for conservative Muslim policies to be implemented.
Last year, a mob destroyed a monument given by Pakistan marking a South Asian summit with an engraved image of the Buddha in it. Pakistan is an Islamic republic that also has a Buddhist history.
There have been strong objections to former president Nasheed’s ties with Israel and selling alcohol outside tourist resorts.
But Maldives’ new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan rejected claims of rising Muslim extremism in the country.
“I don’t tolerate it and it is not acceptable at all,” he told reporters last week after the museum attack. “I can assure you there is no extremist violent action in this country.”
Police spokesman Ahmed Shyam said investigations are ongoing into the museum attack, but no one has been arrested.
HONOLULU – Hawaiian Airlines says it is the first airline to receive verified carbon credits for reducing emissions.
The airline announced Monday it has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 22,000 metric tons over the past six years by using environmentally friendly engine washing technology.
A carbon credit is a way to measure the reduction of industrial carbon dioxide emissions. One credit equals removing one ton of carbon dioxide. The airline says its credits have been certified by a leading independent standard for measuring and verifying greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of carbon credits.
The airline says its engine washing system has had the equivalent of taking 700 cars off the road annually.
LONDON – A fire that broke out at Olympic Park caused no major damage or injuries, London 2012 event organizers and the city’s fire brigade said Tuesday.
The brigade said the fire in containers holding 100 kilos (220 pounds) of dry wood ash at the renewable energy center on the north plaza of the park started late Monday .
Four engines and 25 firefighters responded to the 10:30 p.m. GMT (1730 EDT) blaze, extinguishing it in the early hours of Tuesday. Some remained at the park for safety reasons.
Olympics organizers described the cause of the blaze as mechanical, but did not elaborate.
“It was dealt with quickly and safely,” the committee said in a statement. “There is no permanent damage and work on the Olympic Park continues as usual. We are working with the fire brigade and contractor to investigate the cause.”
FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines flight attendants and ground workers are protesting plans to outsource jobs and cut pay and benefits under a bankruptcy reorganization.
About 200 protesters marched Tuesday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
American and its parent, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29 after running up billions of dollars in losses over the past decade. Two weeks ago, AMR laid out a plan to cut 13,000 jobs, kill its pension plans, reduce benefits and make other changes such as longer hours for some of its 88,000 employees.
Flight attendants’ union President Laura Glading (GLAD-ing) says protests might not change the company’s mind but that workers want to show they won’t back down without a fight.