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THE fear that business travellers on transatlantic flights might have to stop working on spreadsheets and read a good book instead had been palpable. In recent weeks, agents at America’s Department of Homeland Security had been hinting to the media that a ban on large electronic devices in the cabins of flights between Europe and America was likely. After a meeting on May 17th in Brussels, between American and EU officials, however, reports suggest that threat has been averted. Airlines will be rejoicing if so.

America had been expected to announce that all electronic gadgets larger than a smartphone, such as tablets and laptops, would henceforth have to be put in hold luggage. The Trump administration (along with Britain) had already imposed similar restrictions on flights from some Middle Eastern countries in March. It seemed security officials had got wind of a specific terrorist threat, possibly involving Islamic State (IS), and perhaps…


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