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‘I hope I can inspire others’ British teen youngest person to row solo across any ocean | UK News

A British teenager has become the youngest person to row solo across any of the world’s oceans.

Lukas Haitzmann – The Wild Oarsman – rowed 3,000 miles (4,800km) from the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Arriving in Antigua on Saturday, the 18-year-old, from Windsor, Berkshire, beat two world records by becoming the youngest person to row across any ocean solo, and the first Austrian – his father is from Austria – to row solo across the Atlantic.

He was also the fastest solo rower from the 2018 challenge, completing it in 59 days, eight hours and 22 minutes.

While most young people leaving school last summer were thinking about the universities they would be going to, the jobs they could get or where they would travel, Lukas decided he needed a serious challenge.

Having grown up rowing and sailing, he decided to put university off for a year to row across the Atlantic.

Lukas Haitzmann, 18, said he didn't miss having a phone too much while at sea for two months

Lukas Haitzmann, 18, said he didn’t miss having a phone too much while at sea for two months

His dyslexia was put to the test trying to fundraise enough money to buy a specially-built ocean rowing boat and everything he would need, from food to suncream.

He told Sky News: “To be honest, the fundraising bit was harder for me than the training – I already had the fitness from rowing for the past five years.

“I really like to challenge myself and think it’s important to. My mum wasn’t so impressed when I first told her but I managed to persuade her eventually.

“I didn’t realise I was going to be the youngest person to ever cross an ocean solo until I started doing a bit of digging, because others who have done it have broken some records.

“It wasn’t why I did it, but that did help push me along during the row.”

Lukas said the most difficult part was when his water changer broke

Lukas said the most difficult part was when his water changer broke

Many people who do the Atlantic Challenge hallucinate and struggle with the loneliness, but Lukas said he felt it was quite peaceful.

He would sleep for about five hours in the middle of the night as his boat drifted, then a couple of hours around lunchtime to get his energy back up in the heat of the day.

“I didn’t really talk to myself, it was more talking my thoughts out loud. My music ran out after a month so that was a bit hard for the second half.

“I think the most difficult part was my water changer broke after 10 days so I had to use a manual pump to change sea water into drinking water which was very tiring, but I finally managed to fix it.”

During his nearly two months at sea Lukas said he saw dolphins, which he swam with, a whale swam under his boat, and he saw a turtle and fish.

“I had a storm petrel, a type of bird, following me for a while which was really great, he kept me company, although he wasn’t great at conversation!

“I thought I’d see a lot more though, it wasn’t like there was wildlife every single day, which was quite sad.

“I did see a lot of pollution, some which had been there for a long time, which was awful.

“Being out on the ocean for that long made me really respect it. There’s no messing around, and you really have to have your wits about you.”

The teenager is hoping his feat will help inspire other youngsters to push themselves at whatever they want.

Lukas said he hopes he can inspire people of all ages to challenge themselves. Pic: Atlantic Campaigns

Lukas said he hopes he can inspire people of all ages to challenge themselves. Pic: Atlantic Campaigns

“I’m just a normal kid really, I’m not Superman, I just really enjoy a challenge and this was a way of really pushing myself,” he added.

“I hope it shows people that no matter what age you are, you really can do more than you think. If you don’t succeed, it doesn’t matter, just keep trying and try something else to challenge you if that doesn’t work.”

Not one to remain on terra firma for long, Lukas is going to use his time in Antigua to go sailing with his family before going back to the UK where he wants to go to university.

“After uni, we’ll see, I want to get an education, and actually being at sea really made me appreciate learning more because I couldn’t Google what fish that was, or why the clouds were forming like they were.

“I did miss not being able to pick up my phone all the time, but actually I really relished it because it made you appreciate the ocean.”

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EU mulls $20bn tariffs on US goods over Boeing subsidy row

The European Commission has published a list of $20bn (£15bn) worth of US imports it could hit with tariffs, in an aircraft subsidy dispute that has dragged on for nearly 15 years.

The European Union’s competition watchdog released the 11-page list of US imports it could target on Wednesday, which include agricultural produce from dried fruit to ketchup, fish, tobacco, handbags and suitcases

The commission also singled out hardware such as tractors, shovels, helicopters, planes as well as video game consoles.

The published list will now be open to consultation until 31 May and could then be revised.

The move by Brussels was in response to proposals last week by the Trump administration which targeted a seven-page list of EU products for tariffs, ranging from large aircraft to dairy products and wine.

The US said the proposed tariffs would counteract harm done by EU subsidies for Airbus worth an estimated $11bn.

America and European Union have been battling at the World Trade Organisation over the subsidies given to US plane maker Boeing and its European rival Airbus, since October 2004.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: A model poses for the Kate Spade presentation (bag detail) during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on February 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)

The EU has published a list of American imports including handbags that could face tariffs
Following partial victories on both sides, the countries are seeking WTO arbitration to determine the level of countermeasures each can impose on the other.

“The EU remains open for discussions with the US, provided these are without preconditions and aim at a fair outcome,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement.

In both cases, WTO arbitrators have yet to set an amount, but the US case against Airbus is further along and could see a possible ruling in June or July.

The EU case against Boeing could come early in 2020.

Both sides have said they would prefer a settlement that did not lead to the imposition of tariffs and earlier this week the EU said it was ready to start formal trade talks with the US.

The Commission plans to begin with two sets of negotiations – one to cut tariffs on industrial goods, and the other to make it easier for companies to show that their products meet EU or US standards.

But more room for tensions arose after the EU insisted that agriculture not be included in negotiations, something the US wants to be part of any talks.

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Hopes fade for Jet Airways return as shares plunge

Hopes for Jet Airways are fading as its shares plunge and rivals rush to fill the supply gap.

The airline, once India’s largest private carrier, cancelled all flights indefinitely on Wednesday after lenders led by the State Bank of India refused to extend funding.

On Thursday, the carrier’s shares fell 26.9%, leaving it valued at around $260m (£199m) – far from its 2005 peak of $1.6bn (£1.2bn).

Jet Airways and its lenders had been trying for weeks trying to find a solution to the airline’s £900m debt problem.

But on Wednesday Jet announced that, with no emergency funds forthcoming from the lenders or any other source, it could no longer pay for the fuel and services required to continue operations.

Lenders said they were “reasonably hopeful” that a bidding process for up to 75% of the company would result in a solution.

In a statement on Thursday, they said: “The lenders after due deliberations decided that the best way forward for the survival of Jet Airways is to get the binding bids from potential investors who have expressed EOI (expressions of interest) and have been issued bid documents on 16 April.”

Pilots fly a Jet Airways aircraft

Pilots are among those who have not been paid for months
It was reported by Mumbai-based CNBC-TV18 that those investors are private equity firms TPG Capital and Indigo Partners, Indian wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), and UAE-based Etihad Airways, which already owns a 24% stake.

“Lenders are reasonably hopeful that the bid process is likely to be successful in determining fair value of the enterprise in a transparent manner,” the statement concluded.

This bidding process is due to conclude on 10 May.

But commentators such as Shukor Yusof, the head of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, were doubtful that this would be soon enough.

He said the company’s value was “dwindling with each passing day”.

Loizos Heracleous, an aviation expert at Warwick Business School, said: “Finding new investors was always going to be a tall order for Jet Airways.

“Increases in industry profitability after 2011 were aided by lower fuel prices. With fuel prices on an upward trend since 2016, the performance of some airlines has taken a hit.”

Jet Airways employees hold placards as they gather for a silent march at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi on April 13, 2019

There are concerns for Jet Airways’ 20,000 employees
Meanwhile, rivals are preparing to step in.

SpiceJet has promised an extra 27 planes will be added to its fleet over the next fortnight and India’s biggest airline IndiGo is also rapidly expanding.

Edelweiss Securities analyst Vijayant Gupta added: “Rivals are looting available slots because of Jet’s shutdown.”

SpiceJet shares were at their highest since February last year, up as much as 15%, while shares in IndiGo’s parent company InterGlobe Aviation were up 3%.

Meanwhile, there are concerns for the future of Jet’s 20,000 staff, some of whom have not been paid for up to three months.

In a note to employees reported in the Times of India, Jet Airways chief executive Vinay Dube said: “We don’t have an answer today to the very important question of what happens to employees during the sale process.”

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Iran speaks on Trump’s ban of IRGC

Iranian president, Hassan Rowhani on Thursday hit back at U.S. President, Donald Trump in response to decision to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist group.

He added that Iran was capable of withstanding “conspiracies between the U.S. and Israel”, and declared that the Islamic republic “will not be intimidated.”

“The air force, ground forces and the navy have never been as powerful as today,” dpa quoted Rowhani as saying at an annual military parade in Tehran,” he said.

Trump announced the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organisation on April 8 in a White House statement that called the corps the Iranian government’s “primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.’’

A week later, the Iranian parliament branded the U.S. a state sponsor of terrorism and designated Centcom, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East, as a terrorist organisation.

Rowhani argued that the IRGC has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, including against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The IRGC has fought alongside the forces of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, in Syria since the start of that country’s conflict in 2011.

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