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What awaits tourists hit by Thomas Cook crisis?

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The possible bankruptcy of British tour operator Thomas Cook, which was fighting for survival on Sunday, would be a bombshell for European holidaymakers and trigger a mammoth repatriation operation.

Here are the implications for tourists should the 178-year old giant collapse.

What happens in the event of bankruptcy?

If the embattled company fails to secure the £200 million (?227 million) rescue funds or find an alternative plan, it will have to file for bankruptcy in Britain.

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The group’s activities would cease immediately, forcing its travel agencies to close, grounding its planes and leaving the group’s 22,000 global employees — 9,000 of whom are in Britain — out of a job.

Directors, probably from audit firms, will be appointed to try to find a buyer, restructure its debt or sell assets.

Some 600,000 tourists worldwide would have to be repatriated, including 150,000 Britons, making it the largest such operation in the country since World War II.

The operation could take two weeks, the maximum duration of most of Thomas Cook’s package breaks.

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Who would lead the operation?

The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would be responsible for organising the repatriation, as it was during the bankruptcy of British airline Monarch in October 2017.

The bill is expected to run to several billion pounds, including £600 million in the United Kingdom alone.

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The CAA has already drawn up an emergency plan called “Operation Matterhorn”, named after an American bombing operation against Japanese forces during World War II.

A telephone number will be provided for affected holidaymakers.

What protections do holidaymakers have?

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Thomas Cook assured its British clients that they are protected by the “ATOL guarantee”.

This system, which is based on a European directive, is managed by the CAA and covers tourists who have purchased all-inclusive trips with flights and hotels.

Tourists already on holiday will be able to finish their stay and then return as normal, with other companies providing the services.

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Those who have not yet left will get a refund or offered an alternative holiday.

The European Package Travel Directive applies to package holidaymakers who booked in other EU countries, guaranteeing refunds and repatriation in the event of bankruptcy.

CAA has vowed that everything will be done to bring tourists back on the scheduled day.

Travellers who have only purchased airline tickets from Thomas Cook are not covered by ATOL but can turn to their credit card provider or insurers for refunds.

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Republican leader accidentally confesses to Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seemed to accidentally confess that there was a "quid pro quo" between President Donald Trump and Ukraine when he spoke to CNN reporter Manu Raju.

Raju asked McCarthy about Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor's testimony that Trump delayed all Ukraine military aid until President Volodymyr Zelensky announced he would do a probe into former Vice President Joe Biden.

“There was no quid pro quo - it is not and no one has ever said in there it is a quid pro quo,” insisted McCarthy.

But in his next comment, McCarthy seemed to indicate he was confused what the "quid pro quo" actually means in this situation and who was responsible for it.

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Sondland is done trying to defend Trump after he was outed by Ukraine ambassador: associate

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European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland spent a lot of time trying to downplay the testimony from Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor. But after Taylor, who kept detailed notes, gave specifics about their conversations, Sondland has abandoned trying to defend President Donald Trump.

Politico wrote Wednesday that it was Taylor who raised questions about whether Trump confessed to withholding military aid in exchange for an international investigation of Trump's political rivals.

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‘Be very scared’: GOP lawmaker warns Americans that they could be impeached too

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Rep. Earl Leroy "Buddy" Carter (R-GA) fearmongered against the impeachment inquiry during remarks to reporters on Wednesday.

"Ladies and gentlemen, if a government can do this to the President of the United States, they can do this to you as well," he argued.

Under the United States Constitution, only people who work for the federal government can be impeached, with the penalty being the loss of their job.

Still, Carter argued that Americans should be terrified of being impeached themselves.

"You need to be scared," Carter warned. "You need to be very scared."

https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/1187085576354201600

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