New island appears off coast of North Carolina

North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore has always been stunning, but now there’s a new wonder for visitors to explore.

A new island has appeared in the ocean almost overnight.

Spotted by eagle-eyed locals on the ground — and photographed by Chad Koczera — the sandbank has grown from tiny isle to large land mass.

Now visitors are braving the waters to explore this new addition to the shoreline.

“Shelly island”

Some have nicknamed the isle “Shelly island,” visitor Janice Regan told The Virginian Pilot.

Apparently it’s the perfect spot to collect seashells.

Koczera, vacationing in the area with his fiancee, was also on the hunt for shells went he spotted the island.

“We originally headed that way to collect shells after a storm,” Koczera tells CNN Travel.

The photographer spotted the mysterious island, but realized he couldn’t access it by foot.

“So I sent my drone up to check it out,” he says.

Koczera was rewarded with spectacular photos of this sandy island.

Island exploring

The island is roughly one mile long and located in surfing hotspot Cape Point.

But officials have warned that people should not attempt to swim to the island.

Waters are deep and the current is strong.

Dave Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, told The Virginian Pilot that Cape Point’s shoreline is constantly changing.

The island could disappear as quickly as it arrived.

But in the meantime, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the ever-changing Cape coastline, as long as they take the necessary precautions.

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Supreme Court order may cause travel chaos

The Supreme Court’s decision green-lighting parts of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban Monday saved many of the prickly questions about the constitutionality of the executive order for another day — but legal experts say that the court’s compromise ruling raises other more practical headaches (and potentially further litigation) for travelers this summer.

“Today’s order will create more confusion, delays, and litigation,” says Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School.

Here’s a look at why.

1. Roll-out plan unclear

When the Trump administration rolled out the President’s first executive order in January, bedlam ensued almost immediately as foreigners from seven predominately Muslim countries tried to enter the US, only to be turned away at the border or separated from loved ones abroad.

This time around, the ban will not go into effect immediately. The President — perhaps looking ahead to a potential court victory — signed a memorandum earlier this month directing administration officials to begin implementation of the permitted parts of the travel ban 72 hours after the court gives the okay.

So when exactly does the clock begin to run?

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on precise timing or a detailed roll-out plan, but said in a statement Monday that implementation will be done with “clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers.”

2. How bona fide is bona fide?

The test for prospective travelers under the Supreme Court’s new decision is whether one has a “credible claim of bona fide relationship” with either an entity or person living in the US — if you do, you can come to the US; if you don’t, you are banned for 90 days if you are from Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan (and 120 days if you are a refugee).

Justices offered several examples of scenarios in which travel ban shouldn’t apply — such as a foreign national who wishes to live with a family member in the US or a student accepted to an American university — but what if the individual’s connection to the US is more attenuated or not as well defined?

“It all depends on what the relationship is and when it is initiated,” explained Yale-Loehr. “If a person thinking about applying to become a refugee emails a church in the US and says ‘please sponsor me to become a refugee,’ that would not qualify as a bona fide relationship, in my view.”

But immigrant rights activists and leaders of refugee resettlement organizations said Monday that based on their reading of the ruling, thousands of refugees should still be able to come to the United States.

“The hope is that this really only impacts a very small number of people,” said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Melanie Nezer, senior vice president for public affairs of HIAS, told reporters that the refugee resettlement agency is trying to reassure its clients who are already in the pipeline. Many of them have family ties in the United States, she said, and have established relationships with US-based resettlement organizations.

The court made clear that nonprofits may not initiate contact with foreign nationals from the banned countries to secure their entry into the country, but left open is whether previous contact between refugees and resettlement agencies in the US counts as sufficiently “bona fide.”

“They have extensive ties here, and it would be hard to say that they don’t,” Nezer said. “This decision makes a strong statement that ties are important, that being in the process still matters, and that the US is not looking to break its promises toward people it’s offered resettlement to.”

3. Even more lawsuits?

Other experts say that the Supreme Court’s decision provides greater discretion to consular officers and border agents.

“Think about how the people at the border, at airports are going to make that decision,” said CNN legal analyst Page Pate. “Who is going to make this decision? If we leave it to the folks on the front line, that’s just going to lead to more litigation.”

At least three justices agreed the standard used by the court will prove “unworkable” in practice and invite a “flood of litigation” over the summer as “courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a ‘bona fide relationship.'”

The dissent from Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch argued the travel ban should be fully implemented.

“How individuals will prove such a (bona fide) relationship, and whether the burden of proof will be on the government or the individuals seeking entry, remains to be seen,” Yale-Loehr agreed. “I predict chaos at the border and new lawsuits as foreign nationals and refugees argue that they are entitled to enter the United States.”

Except this time, the confusion will have been of the court’s own making. Justices won’t hear oral arguments on the merits of the travel ban until this fall.

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US airlines plan next move after Trump announces new policy toward Cuba

For U.S.-based airlines, the coming months will be a wait-and-see game after President Donald Trump announced a new policy toward Cuba that some argue might hinder American travel to the island nation.

The U.S. is now the largest when it comes to capacity into Cuba, offering close to 27,000 seats.

Canada comes in second place with about 17,000 seats.

The top five are rounded out by Mexico, Panama and France.

“A lot got these wrong. A lot felt that the demand to fly into Cuba would be a lot stronger it has actually turned out to be,” Richard Maslen said.

Maslen works for CAPA Centre for Aviation, an organization that delivers market analysis.

He said while several U.S. airlines have already cut back on service to Cuba, several have completely stopped flying to Cuba.

He said Trump’s new policy could likely help with that trend.

“It’s a supply and demand balance, and at the moment, the demand isn’t there,” Maslen said.

While U.S.-based airlines remain on a holding pattern, a new Spanish airline announced that it will start flying to Cuba.

The airline, Plus Ultra, will have a direct flight from Barcelona to Havana, with the inaugural trip scheduled for July 1.

Analysts believe nothing will change in the short term.

The market will continue to be the driving force for airlines in both Europe and America, but U.S.-based airlines are likely already analyzing numbers on daily flights to Cuba.

“I think what you may see is if one airline starts to make some cuts, then others may follow suit,” Maslen said.

If that’s the case, ticket prices to Cuba are expected to go up.

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Airbnb manages to get its logo on display at luxury hotel in Miami Beach

In an ironic twist of fate, the Airbnb red company logo was all over Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

As the top sponsors of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the short-term rental marketplace’s company managed to get their logo on the chest of mayors from around the country — including Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine.

The logo was a part of the event’s hanging identification badge that Levine and other participants of the nonpartisan organization’s 85th annual conference were required to wear while at the luxury hotel.

“Airbnb is a fantastic, amazing company,”  Levine said. 

The mayor added that Aibnb works beautifully in other cities, but not in Miami Beach. The irony had Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis and Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman and others laughing.

The powerful members of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, who included a bottle of tanning lotion in the welcome bags for the conference, had Levine on their side when they moved to neutralize Airbnb’s reach in Miami Beach. 

Airbnb hosts in South Beach were stunned when commissioners voted unanimously late last year to tighten regulations on the short-term rentals. City officials threatened Airbnb hosts with fees as high as $20,000 per violation. They issued millions in fines. 

Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s policy chief, said he noticed there was “a little bit” of an irony in their presence, but said it wasn’t planned. Airbnb sponsored the event last year and has partnerships with many of the participant cities in the U.S. 

Lehane said the company hasn’t lost hope in developing a relationship with Miami Beach. Lehane said last year’s conference helped the company to work out a deal with New Orleans.

“As we say to Miami Beach, we are always interested and happy, excited to sit down with a city,” Lehane said.  But only “when it is ready to do so.”

Lehane also had a confession to make about where he was staying until the end of the event on Monday. He was staying at an Airbnb outside of Miami Beach. 

Local 10 News Michael Seiden and Andrea Torres contributed to this story. 

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JetBlue flight bound for Fort Lauderdale lands in Charleston after reports of smoke in cabin

A JetBlue flight that was bound Friday for Fort Lauderdale landed in Charleston, South Carolina, after reports of smoke in the cabin, JetBlue spokesman Brian Mazur said in an email to Local 10 News.

According to a statement from the airline, Flight 913 from White Plains, New York, diverted to Charleston because of the smoke.

The airline said the flight safely landed at 10:30 a.m.

All 122 passengers and crew members were evacuated from the plane.

Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden spoke to one of the passengers on the phone, who praised the crew for keeping everybody calm and informed.

“About 10 o’clock, the airplane started to get a little stuffy and hot and they said, ‘We have a problem with the air conditioning,'” Frank Migliorelli said. “And then, all of a sudden, you started smelling like an industrial or an electrical kind of burning and they said, you know, there’s obviously a problem.”

Migliorelli said the airline is working to get all passengers rebooked onto other flights to Fort Lauderdale. He said he was pleased with how the crew handled the situation.

“The crew was amazing,” Migliorelli said. “The captain got on and just said, ‘Look, we know this plane, we’re trained on this plane, we know how to handle emergencies, we have this under control.’ And, you know, the crew was up and down the aisles talking to everybody and just saying, ‘Everything’s going to be alright, everything’s good. If you have any questions, whatever.’ Nobody panicked.” 

Airline officials said no one was injured during the incident.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport officials said the passengers are expected to arrive in South Florida later in the day.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. 

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