United Kingdom and the US ban laptops, tablets and kindles

The US has banned passengers from carrying electronic devices on direct flights to the US from eight Muslim-majority countries.

The US has banned passengers from carrying electronic devices larger than a smartphone on non-stop flights to the US from the ten airports across eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The banned devices will only be allowed on board in checked baggage.

The nine airlines affected by the new policy are:

Qatar Airways
Etihad Airways
Royal Jordanian
Egypt Air
Turkish Airlines
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Kuwait Airways
Royal Air Maroc
US officials said the airlines had been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to implement the ban. Currently, the ban has no end date.

Critics have accused the US of another attack on Muslim-majority countries, after the Trump administration have repeatedly attempted to enforce an executive order banning citizens from six Muslim-majority countries entering the US.

Tech experts say the new rules appear to be at odds with basic computer science. They say that if there are concerns about laptops on board being used as explosives, it would work just as well in the cargo hold. Additionally, most modern smartphones, which are not included in the ban, have the same capabilities as larger devices – a smartphone is a computer.

Interestingly, the Federal Aviation Administration have previously raised concerns that the shipment of lithium batteries in aircraft cargo poses a serious fire risk. This ban will increase these concerns.

The Department of Homeland Security said terrorists were constantly seeking “innovative methods” to bring down commercial aircraft. The electronics ban has been under consideration since the US government learned of a threat several weeks ago.

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