Argentina to attract foreigners by cutting 21 tax on hotels

first_imgTags: Argentina, Goway Travel Posted by Argentina to attract foreigners by cutting 21% tax on hotels Travelweek Group The Mauricio Macri government of Argentina has issued a decree that refunds the 21% VAT (value-added tax) for accommodation services for foreign visitors in an attempts to attract more visitors. This is part of an ambitious tourism plan that aims to generate 300,000 jobs and raise international arrivals to 9 million and spending to $8bn USD by 2020. So far this year, tourism arrivals have fallen by 6.3%. According to the new regulation, foreigners will continue to be invoiced the same values that exist today. However, VAT invoiced for hotel services will be returned in a “direct and automatic” way on debit and credit cards issued abroad.Goway says the new VAT exemption for foreigners means big savings on accommodation in Argentina. “Globetrotters who’ve been dragging their tango heels on booking trips to Argentina may want to take the plunge in 2017,” says Goway. “The elimination of the VAT (value added tax) on hotels for foreigners makes this already very affordable destination even more tempting.”More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Goway offers tours such as Goway’s Argentina Top to Bottom, to innovative Argentina vacations such as Crossing Argentina, which mixes in a taste of Lima, Peru, to short city breaks that show off the best of Buenos Aires. Tuesday, February 7, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

People Madsen returns to JTB as Western Canada BDM

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group [People] Madsen returns to JTB as Western Canada BDM Emma MadsenTORONTO — Philip Rose, the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director in Canada, has announced the appointment of Emma Madsen as Business Development Manager in Western Canada.Starting today Madsen will be responsible for developing the JTB’s sales initiatives in Western Canada.An industry veteran and expert on Jamaica, Madsen previously held the same role with the Jamaica Tourist Board from 2009 to 2013.Prior to that she was a BDM for Sunwing Vacations and Sunquest/Holiday House. She began her career in the travel industry in 2000 as a reservations agent at Fun Sun Vacations.Madsen will be based in Calgary with responsibility for sales in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. She can be reached at emadsen@visitjamaica.com.“We are happy to have Ms. Madsen rejoin our team,” said Philip Rose. “She has an impeccable track record for selling Jamaica and excellent relationships in Western Canada.” Tags: Jamaica, Peoplecenter_img Posted by Wednesday, November 1, 2017 Sharelast_img read more

Contiki launches new agent website featuring info that agents will love

first_imgContiki launches new agent website featuring info that “agents will love” Tuesday, May 1, 2018 Share Tags: Contiki Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Proving its dedication to trade and travel agents, Contiki has launched a brand new agent site as well as a commemorative month-long giveaway.The news, which was made ahead of tomorrow’s Travel Agent Day, reflects the close relationship Contiki has with its loyal agent partners. According to the company, their loyalty “remains vital to the brand’s success”.Available at contiki.com/agents, the new site includes improved functions such as speed, ease of use and look and feel, all key elements when booking Contiki trips faster and more efficiently. The log-in process has been upgraded to a single sign log-in across all The Travel corporation brands, while an intuitive search process will help agents book significantly faster.“We are extremely proud to be launching our new agent website,” said Sheralyn Berry, Vice President of Sales for Contiki Holidays Canada. “It has been designed with the travel agents’ needs in mind. We based all of the site upgrades from feedback and requirements from the agent community.”More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureBerry added that the new site will be “extremely easy to navigate” and that Contiki has “included information that travel agents will love”, such as fams, campaign flyers and marketing assets.To celebrate the official launch, Contiki is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to every agent who makes their first booking on the new site by May 31.The site’s new design replicates a similar look to Contiki’s consumer site, and features the following enhancements:Enhanced New Search Tool: The new site will make it easy to search trips by region, dates and price, plus agents can add more filters on the results page to include deals and travel styles.Detailed & Informative Trip Pages, Maps & Inclusions: All of the information agents need about a trip in one place, which makes it easy to access, email and print.Manage Bookings & Agency History: Agents can easily keep track of and modify their bookings online.Current Deals & Offers: Discounts, promotions and ongoing deals.Online Bookings Made Easy: Contiki’s entire collection of trips, with up-to-date pricing and availability.New Trips: Agents will always know which are the latest trips.ContikiU: Agents can be kept updated on their Contiki knowledge and gain easy access to incentives, discounts and fams.Marketing Material: Personalize, print and download flyers, photos and other marketing materials.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaContiki’s updated agent site will be rolled out around the world throughout the first half of 2018. Initial feedback from agents has been “incredibly positive”.For more information go to contiki.com/agents. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Lithuanian capital launches Gspot ad just before Pope visit

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, August 7, 2018 Tags: Lithuania VILNIUS — Talk about bad timing.Tourism officials in Lithuania’s capital are coming under fire from the Catholic Church for a highly sexualized advertising campaign to promote the city, at the same time Pope Francis is preparing to visit the country next month.The campaign features a woman lying on what looks like a bed sheet printed with a map of Europe, her hand gripping Lithuania in a way that suggests sexual pleasure. The text above her reads: “Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe” and “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing.”Advertising campaign introducing #Lithuania n capital #Vilnius as “the G-Spot of Europe”, is the best for the international market, Vilnius’ Municipality says. https://t.co/MfgARxPNCu pic.twitter.com/faaTqNmBNQ— Lithuania Tribune (@lithuaniatribun) August 4, 2018Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said Tuesday he does not find the campaign, set to be launched Thursday in London and Berlin, offensive to standards of public decency, but acknowledged its timing was “rather weird”.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perks“I think it’s a strange advertising choice, but I believe it does not cross the line in a democratic country,” Skvernelis told Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT.Francis’ Sept. 22-25 tour of Baltic countries is supposed to start in Lithuania, where Catholics are the religious majority.“As to the timing, we are speaking about a very important visit to Lithuania,” the prime minister added, referring to the pope’s visit. “So perhaps these steps should have been co-ordinated, but that’s the decision of Vilnius.”Lithuanian priests expressed concerns that the ad used “women’s sexuality for advertising” and gave “wrong ideas” about Vilnius, a city with a population of 540,000. The government earlier originally asked Vilnius officials to postpone the ad’s launch until after the papal visit.Inga Romanovskiene, the manager of the Go Vilnius tourism agency behind the campaign, called the pope’s visit “a very important event”.Vilnius faces “a very high level of competition from other European cities” when it comes to marketing, and those who presented the campaign had “an extremely engaging idea to drive interest in the city,” she added. By: The Associated Press Lithuanian capital launches ‘G-spot’ ad just before Pope visitlast_img read more

Robert Reed joins ACV as Manager National Accounts

first_img Share MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has appointed Robert Reed, a former director at Transat, as its new Manager of National Accounts.Based in Mississauga, Reed brings with him nearly 30 years of experience in the travel industry, most recently serving as Director, National Accounts at Transat.  Before his four year stint with Transat he was with TravelBrands and before that, Thomas Cook North America, and Fun Sun Vacations. He started his career with US Airways.He will report directly to Erminia Nigro, General Manager Sales Ontario, Manitoba & National Accounts.“Robert’s experience lends itself perfectly to taking on this very important national role and will do much to help us to continue our work supporting our national partners and solidifying our market presence from coast to coast,” said Dana Gain, Senior Director Sales, Groups & Partnerships at Air Canada Vacations. “We are very excited about the contributions Robert will be making at ACV as part of the sales and groups leadership team, and we are very happy to welcome him to the family!” Monday, June 17, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Air Canada Vacations Robert Reed joins ACV as Manager, National Accounts << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New problem discovered with 737 Max jet IATA urges further pilot training

first_imgNew problem discovered with 737 Max jet, IATA urges further pilot training With file from The Associated Press Tags: Boeing 737 MAX, Federal Aviation Administration, IATA Share MONTREAL — A new computer problem has been found in the troubled Boeing 737 Max that will further delay the plane’s return to flying after two deadly crashes, according to two people familiar with the matter.The latest flaw in the plane’s computer system was discovered by Federal Aviation Administration pilots who were testing an update to critical software in a flight simulator last week at a Boeing facility near Seattle, the people said.Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.One of the people familiar with the discovery said it would add one to three months to the timetable for returning the Max to flight. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because the development has not been made public.In response, IATA, which represents hundreds of airlines, pushed again for additional training on the 737. After holding a meeting in Montreal between airlines and regulators, Alexandre de Juniac, head of IATA, said Thursday in a prepared statement that the aviation industry cannot operate effectively without co-ordination between aircraft operators and regulators.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaIf additional training is required, including the possible introduction of simulators for the Max, it could come at a tremendous cost to Boeing.Earlier this month Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, who landed a crippled airliner safely on the Hudson River in 2009, told the House aviation subcommittee that Max pilots should train for emergencies related to flight-control software in simulators – not just on computers, as Boeing proposes. Several others who testified also criticized Boeing’s pilot training for the aircraft, with some saying that Boeing’s zeal to minimize pilot-training costs for airlines buying the 737 Max jet contributed to design errors and inadequate training.Boeing Co.’s 737 Max fleet has been grounded worldwide after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.Shares of Boeing fell 2.6% before the market open.center_img By: The Associated Press Thursday, June 27, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

For the birds Sarapiquí EcoObservatory

first_imgNo related posts. Dorothy MacKinnon On a recent visit to the observatory, I met Judy Bellah, a professional travel photographer from Sonoma, California, in the U.S. She was wrapping up a two-week tour of Costa Rica with a last-shot stop here. I had just asked Dave Landos how many photographer-visitors are women. “One, so far,” he said, indicating Bellah, which made a total of two. With camera, high-poweredlenses, camera bag and tripod slung over her shoulders, it’s easy to see why most nature photographers are male. “I have to work out at the gym to build up my arm strength to carry all this gear,” Bellah admitted.The Canon 300mm f/2.8 lens she had rented for $600 (it would cost about $7,000 to buy), though heavy at 5 pounds, was ideal for blurring the out-of-focus background, creating a soft watercolor-like backdrop, she said. Like many photographers, Bellah subscribes to the purist philosophy of discovering her own photo ops in the wild, rather than relying on bird feeders. But for visitors short on time and still hoping to capture that perfect shot, the Eco-Observatory offers an excellent opportunity to get some first-rate photos, especially in the early morning when bird activity is usually at its busiest.Accessibility is another major plus here, with no steps or slippery trails to navigate, especially for mobility-challenged birders or for would-be nature-documentarians lugging lots of gear. It’s also dry and comfortable. And, best of all, for bird-watchers and photographers accustomed to tucking their pant legs into their rubber boots to avoid itchy bites, there are no chiggers!Going ThereThe Eco-Observatory is located in La Virgen, 14 km west of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí and is open from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Birdwatchers and photographers can roam around the grounds for $15, or take a two- or three-hour guided bird-watching tour for $20 or $30. Photo sessions are $50 for a set three-hour session, 7-10 a.m.; 10 a.m.-1 p.m., or 1-4 p.m. There are also guided night walks, $20, and tree-planting tours, $15. Half-day reptile and frog photography sessions start at $250 per person. More info: 2761-0801; www.eco-observatory.com.Birding is Big Business…You know there’s a profitable trend when Hollywood makes a movie about it. “The Big Year” stars Steve Martin as an amateur birder, counting as many bird species as he can in one year.Here are a few more birding market indicators to ponder:*Historically, birders form the largest single group of eco-tourists. A 1999 study by the Costa Rican Tourism Board estimated that 41 percent of Costa Rica’s $1 billion of tourist income that year came from birders.*A recent National Survey on Recreation and the Environment undertaken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that birding was the fastest-growing outdoor recreational activity in the U.S., and estimated that the number of birders in the U.S. had increased by 332 percent between 1983 and 2002.*The American Birding Association estimates that U.S. birders in 1996 (even before digital photography took off) spent about $7.6 billion on trip-related expenses, including gear, and that 49 percent of their members have gone abroad to bird, spending about $4,000 per trip.*Decades of watching nature documentaries on television, combined with advances in affordable digital technology, have inspired millions to take up wildlife photography, spending between $10,000 and $30,000 on their equipment.Always in the forefront of eco-tourism trends, Costa Rica is catering to this growing flock of amateur and professional wildlife photographers with more and more tours geared to nature photography in the wild, including these Costa Rica-based tour operators:Foto Verde Tours – workshops for serious photographers with professional nature photographer Greg Basco; www.deepgreenphotography.com.Costa Rica Birding Journeys – tours for residents and visitors, limited to 4-6 people, searching photo ops in the wild with bird guide Randall Ortega; www.costaricabirdingjourneys.org.Tropical Feathers – customized bird-watching tour dedicated to photography with guide Noel Ureña; www.costaricabirdingtours.com.Horizontes Photo Safari – for all levels of photographers, from novice to expert; www.horizontes.com.Costa Rica Gateway – custom photography tours with expert guide/photographer Steven Easley; www.costaricagateway.com Facebook Comments From the print edition“Ready for your close-up?”Instead of shooting movie stars, visitors are shooting birds of a different feather at the new Sarapiquí Eco-Observatory in La Virgen, 14 kilometers west of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, in north-central Costa Rica. For nature enthusiasts toting top-of-the-line digital cameras loaded with huge, high-powered lenses, this six-month-old operation offers a picture-perfect outdoor studio. In the midst of one of the birdiest parts of the country, the Eco-Observatory backs onto the 850-acre Tirimbina Biological Reserve rain forest, and is within a 20-minute drive of famed birding mecca, La Selva Biological Station. Not surprisingly, the observatory property is officially designated a birding hotspot by eBird, a birding website, and it also recently became a tour destination for National Geographic Expeditions.This is also one of the wettest parts of the country, so having a spacious, covered deck where you can set up tripods for expensive camera gear is a godsend. Add in Wi-Fi for downloading photos onto computers and flash sticks, electrical outlets for recharging batteries, some comfortable seating and a wrap-around counter to rest elbows on, plus unlimited coffee and cool water, with fresh, clean restrooms nearby, and you have an ideal habitat for both birdwatchers and photographers. Build it and they will come. That was the hope of father-and-son Eco-Observatory owners David and Dave Landos. David managed a citrus farm in the area 25 years ago and snapped up this property when a plantation went bankrupt. Son Dave was born in Costa Rica and lived here until he was 7, before moving to California with the family. But tropical nature was ingrained in his bones, and after completing environmental studies at Santa Clara College, he was keen to return to Costa Rica and turn the family property into a sustainable tourist operation.The birds were already here, 215 species at the latest count. And, so far, more than 600 visitors have setup cameras and scopes on the Eco-Observatory’s viewing decks.What sets this venue apart is the main photo set-up, designed by professional nature photographer Greg Basco, who is based in Zarcero, Alajuela. Similar to those used by professional nature photographers for National Geographic, Animal Planet and BBC nature films, the setup consists of a teepee of branches, with spikes for attaching enticing chunks of fruits. Photographers can request different kinds of branches, moss and leaves to picturesquely frame their avian photo subjects. A swath of grass and garden beyond the arrangement provides the perfect soft, green background for close-up shots, especially in morning light.When the light shifts in the afternoon, photographers focus their cameras on a horizontal monkey-ladder vine, behind the viewing deck. It’s a picture-perfect perch for toucans that generally arrive when the afternoon light is just right. As well as the main birding deck, visitors can meander through the small botanical garden, where pejibaye palms, cecropias, heliconias and an array of plants attractive to birds create a biological corridor between nearby forest patches. At the bottom of the garden is a covered patio with close-up vantage points for observing hummingbirds at feeders. A third viewing deck is perhaps the most spectacular, at least for birders with a scope. It overlooks the Tirimbina rain forest, with an eye-level view into the canopy. Local bird guide and popular bird blogger Patrick O’Donnell recently set up his scope here to scan the treetops for canopy-perched birds, such as snowy cotinga, and raptors such as hawk-eagles and gray-headed kites that frequent the sky above. He recently logged 85 species at the Eco-Observatory in three hours (you can view his trip report at www.birdingcraft.com/wordpress).Visitors can find more potential bird models, such as broad-billed motmots, perched along a well-groomed forest trail that drops 50 meters down to the Sarapiquí River, where kingfishers and sunbitterns are regularly spotted.If reptiles and amphibians are your preferred choice of photo subjects, you can have your pick from more than 60 species, including pit vipers, boa constrictors, pythons, poison-dart frogs and basilisk lizards that live in the neighboring Reptile Learning Center. In partnership with father-son herpetologists Pompilio Campos Sr. and Jr., the Eco-Observatory arranges four-hour photo ops, featuring your choice of eight creatures from the serpentario’s collection. Photographers can shoot away in safety, while Campos Sr. and Jr. pose the animals and share their 25-year store of reptilian lore.center_img Dorothy MacKinnon Photograher Judy Bellah. Birdwatchers atop an observation deck.last_img read more

Costa Rican house size is measured under the roof

first_imgNot all home buyers know what house size they are really looking for. Most would say they’re looking for a 3-bedroom / 2-bath home with a large terrace and a pool, or something like that. Few buyers will say they’re looking for a 2,250 square foot home, would they?The house size may not be the most needed information before buying a home, but it is still important info to make a final decision to purchase. When a buyer sees that a home has only 2,250 square feet, they might think the house is way too small for them, or too large.In some parts of the world, the listed house size is indoor space. That means that the listed size has to be heated or air-conditioned. Not so in Costa Rica.Under the roofCosta Rican house size is the square footage measured under roof. That means that we include not only interior, but also any exterior space that is under the roof, such carports and terraces. Everything else under the roof is measured as full size, although often incorrectly.Good builders and real estate agents will take covered exterior spaces at half size because they’re not fully enclosed. The finished walls are also included in the home size. Double height or slanted ceilings are usually not included in the size, even though they should be. Attics and cellars are either non-existent or forgotten.You will often find that the listed house size listed incorrect. Many sellers and realtors will just measure the length of the home and multiply it by the width. Et voilà: we have the exact home size that everybody thinks it is. I know, it sounds very unprofessional, but that’s how it works.Construction plansEvery house starts with building plans. I have seen hundreds of construction plans in my real estate career, but very few that carry the total size of the construction. Someone interested in finding out what the size of the house is or even the size of any room needs to use a measuring tape and a calculator.In m2In Costa Rica, we measure construction in square meters or m2, which is equivalent to 10.79 square feet. For easy calculation, multiply the home size in m2 by 11. A linear meter is 3.28 feet.You can learn about the secrets of Costa Rica real estate measurement conversion in another Tico Times article.Real estate listingsIn Costa Rica, the legally considered living space does not matter when you place an ad. The property size is measured by a surveyor, then registered in the National Registry. The house size, on the other hand, is not registered in the National Registry and therefore not used in the real estate deed.Nonetheless, in my opinion, the property size on online listings should be as correct as possible. The construction plans are the only documents that possibly prove the correct size. Often, changes are made during construction and rooms are enlarged or added on without the proper permits.The only way to find out the correct house size is to use a measuring tape and a calculator and do it yourself.Additional buildingI always ask our agents to use the house size in the listing overview. Any additional buildings that are not part of the main house can be explained in the property description. That way, gazebos, a guesthouse, a caretaker’s house and a tennis court will not be included in the home size.You will often see parking spaces and storage area included in the floor size of a condominium listing. Whether a parking space has its separate title or is included in the common area of the condominium, I’d prefer to have it shown separately.Exclusive listing or FSBOSellers like to see the correct house size used in a listing. If you plan to have your property listed as an open listing, or as an FSBO, you could measure the home and give everybody the correct size. In case you sign an exclusive listing agreement with a realtor, let the realtor do the job for you.If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can download a measurement app on your phone, although most are not very accurate. Quite a few homebuyers like to see room sizes in real estate listings as they can compare them to the rooms of their own home.Making offersIf you’re the seller, make sure the advertised home size is correct before making an offer on a home, so it can be used to compare with other listings you are untested in. Ask the seller or agent the following questions:Where did the listing house size come from?What is the living area’s square footage and what is the exterior square footage?Are any additions added to the home counted in the square footage?Ivo Henfling, a Dutch expat who has lived in Costa Rica since 1980, founded the American-European Real Estate Group back in 1999 which was the first functioning MLS with affiliate agents from coast to coast. Ivo Henfling can be reached at (506) 2289-5125 / 8834-4515 or at ivo@american-european.net Facebook Comments Related posts:The Tico Times announces 1st English-language media alliance with Costa Rican Chamber of Realtors What $50 million gets you in Miami’s resurgent condo market Mel Gibson in real estate row over Guanacaste beach property Why not get the max out of your house sale?last_img read more

Costa Rica closes 2018 with decrease in homicides

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica court convicts U.S. investor of fraud UPDATE: Suspect in slaying of US-Costa Rican family captured in Nicaragua Liberty Reserve founder gets 20 years in prison for money laundering Michigan fugitive John Saatio to be extradited Saturday For the first time since 2012, Costa Rica closed a year with a decrease in the number of homicides.The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) recorded 587 homicides for the calendar year, Minister of Public Safety Michael Soto announced in a press conference. In 2017, OIJ reported a record-breaking 603 homicides.“This is tremendously relevant, because since 2012 [the number of homicides] registered a significant ascent, and in 2017 a historical record was broken,” Soto said.The encouraging trend comes despite a first quarter of 2018 which was the most violent on record. A new initiative from Soto, who was appointed by President Carlos Alvarado in May, was highlighted as instrumental on helping to curb the murder rate.Dubbed a “Megaoperativo,” the strategy involves twice-weekly coordinated efforts with all the nation’s police force to target high-crime areas at high-incident times.Soto’s goal was to finish below last 2017’s record-breaking murder tally, which authorities blamed on drug trafficking and score-settling between gangs.Despite the reduction in homicides, the 2018 data still works out to 11.7 murders per 100,000 occupants in Costa Rica — above the rate of 10 per 100,000 the World Health Organization considers as a baseline for an “epidemic.”Soto said 2018’s decrease in homicides was accompanied by historical figures in the seizure of drugs and weapons. Last year, 33.6 tons of cocaine, 6.7 tons of marijuana and 470 kilos of heroin were seized.Additionally, 2,155 weapons — the majority of them pistols — were confiscated.This story was updated Jan. 3 at 9:15 a.m. with further information from AFP. Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Correction AfghanNATOs Waning War story

first_imgKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – In a story May 19 about the Afghanistan war, The Associated Press reported erroneously that $4.1 billion would be needed from foreign coffers to pay for the Afghan security forces after 2014 when most international combat troops will leave. The Afghan government is providing $500 million of that figure.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The vital role family plays in society Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

S Africa Rwandan general accuses Kagame

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Nyamwasa testified: “The president of Rwanda ordered the killing of the former president of Rwanda, President Habyarimana.”A missile brought down the plane carrying Habyarimana, a Hutu, in 1994. The current Rwandan government blames Hutu extremists. But Hutu militants blamed the crash on Tutsis, sparking the genocide.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How men can have a healthy 2019 More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories center_img Associated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – A Rwandan general claims Rwandan President Paul Kagame ordered the killing that sparked the east African country’s 1994 genocide.Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa made the accusation Thursday as he testified in a Johannesburg courtroom about an attack on his own life in 2010.Asked why the three Rwandans and three Tanzanians on trial may have wanted him dead, Nyamwasa, who is Rwanda’s former military chief, began to describe a breakdown in his relationship with Kagame. Nyamwasa fled in 2010 to South Africa, where he was shot. Rwanda’s government has denied involvement in the attempted murder. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Civil war leaves Syrian economy cities in ruins

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   “Who will pay these bills later on? Nobody,” he said.The civil war also has brought economic suffering _ both from the destruction and from crippling sanctions imposed by the West against Assad’s crackdown.Vital sources of revenue, such as tourism, have dried up, and much of the economic squeeze has hit low-level merchants and businesses.The country’s currency has weakened _ it now takes 68 Syrian pounds to buy a U.S. dollar, instead of 47 at the start of the conflict. The Syrian central bank says inflation reached 36 percent in June. The price of basic foodstuffs and fuel has increased by much more, straining household budgets and leaving many parts of the country facing severe shortages.U.S. and European Union bans on oil imports, which went into effect this year, are estimated to be costing Syria about $400 million a month.Before the uprising, the oil sector was a pillar of Syria’s economy, with exports _ mostly to Europe _ bringing in $7 million to $8 million per day.This income was a key to maintaining the $17 billion in foreign currency reserves that the government had accumulated from a brief oil boom in the 1990s and maintained until last year. The government has not said what currency reserves it has left, but the London-based Economic Intelligence Unit estimates it to be a little more than $4.5 billion. Associated PressBEIRUT (AP) – In Syria’s cities and towns, entire blocks of apartment buildings have been shattered, their top floors reduced to pancaked slabs of concrete.Centuries-old markets have been gutted by flames and gunfire in places like Aleppo and Homs _ an irreplaceable chunk of history wiped out in a few hours of battle.And then there are the many factories, oil pipelines, schools, hospitals, mosques and churches that have been systematically destroyed in nearly 19 months of violence. When the uprising began, inspired by Arab Spring revolts that brought down longtime dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Syrian forces used light weapons to disperse largely peaceful protesters. As armed elements began to fight back, the Assad regime began using heavy machine guns, artillery and tanks against them.The conflict soon became a full-blown armed insurgency and the Assad regime grew more desperate, introducing military aircraft. In recent months, warplanes have been used daily, pulverizing buildings in an attempt to crush rebel strongholds.On Sept. 29, a fire caused by the fighting swept through Aleppo’s covered market, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Old City, burning more than 500 shops in the narrow, vaulted passageways.Some of the country’s most significant historical sites have been turned into bases for soldiers and rebels, including historic citadels and Turkish bath houses known as hamams.“It’s a dirty war. Nobody is stopping for a minute to consider the damage that they are causing,” said Haytham Manna, a prominent exiled Syrian opposition figure, likening the fighters on both sides to Taliban extremists who in 2001 smashed the 1,500-year-old Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Robert Powell, Middle East analyst for the EIU, said the economy alone probably won’t bring down the Assad government in the near future.“It may be another year or so before the economy falls off the precipice,” he said.Experts say the loss of Syria’s currency reserves is the single most worrying aspect for the country’s recovery prospects.“That’s like mortgaging Syria’s future,” said Jihad Yazigi, editor in chief of The Syria Report, an online economic and business digest. “By burning through the foreign reserves that took really a decade to accumulate, you are putting future Syrian governments, and future generations, without any reserves.”Added Yazigi: “When the war ends, where will the government get the money to finance the reconstruction? They will have to borrow huge amounts and in the end, the people who are going to repay the debt are the Syrian people.”Abdelbaset Sieda, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, told a meeting of Syrian opposition representatives and diplomats in Berlin last month that the country would need a program similar to the post-World War II European reconstruction effort known as the Marshall Plan. The gathering, chaired by Germany and the United Arab Emirates, was designed to address how to prevent the collapse of basic services and infrastructure, and how to revive the economy in the post-Assad era. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis The London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, which compiles statistics from the conflict, said in a Sept. 28 report that 589,000 buildings _ including residential homes, schools, mosques, churches and hospitals _ have been destroyed, with thousands more severely damaged.The group said it used specialized civil engineers to come up with its damage estimate and put the cost of reconstructing residential properties and other buildings at about $40 billion.Before the March 2011 start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad, Syria had prided itself on being an oasis of security in a region wracked by violence and sectarian tensions.Despite the regime’s massive corruption and a repressive political dictatorship, there also were signs of progress: The country had finally shed its socialist legacy, the economy was booming, and its cafes were packed with tourists, young entrepreneurs and businessmen discussing their latest projects.That image could not be more different now.Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its commercial and cultural center, has been hit hardest by the violence, along with the central industrial city of Homs. In both places, large swaths of residential areas have been razed, buildings have gaping holes and scorched facades, and hundreds of factories and manufacturing plants have closed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches “Our estimate is that in the first six months, around $40 billion will need to be spent on reconstruction to allow for refugees and internally displaced people to return to their homes,” he said.He said that with Syrian businessmen and Gulf countries willing to invest in Syria, a future government would not have to borrow heavily.Deep divisions among Syria’s opposition and rebel groups are likely to complicate any international efforts to help in reconstruction. Syrians also are convinced they will get little outside help to rebuild, just as they have had to fight Assad’s regime without a lot of foreign assistance.“We have a long way ahead before we put the country back together again,” Abdul-Hamid said. “But once we do, and we will, it will be our achievement.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Aside from the human tragedy of the many lives lost in Syria’s civil war _ activists estimate the death toll has now passed 32,000 killed _ there is the staggering damage to the country’s infrastructure, economy and cultural treasures.Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said last week that the economic losses from the ongoing conflict have cost the country about $34 billion, with the figure rising daily, while the opposition estimates the loss at about $100 billion.Experts say the real figure cannot be measured with any accuracy, given the continuing nature of the raging violence and the difficulties involved with getting independent observers into the country to assess the damage.Although there are some pockets of Syria that have been relatively shielded from the conflict, the destruction in most of the country’s major cities is staggering. Experts warn that whenever the civil war ends, it will take a monumental international effort, and perhaps a generation of Syrians, to rebuild what has been broken.“In terms of infrastructure, major parts of Syria have effectively been bombed back to Ottoman times,” said Ammar Abdul-Hamid, a Syrian activist and a Washington-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Unlike neighboring Iraq, Syria lacks vast oil reserves that could help finance the reconstruction. Assad’s regime has devastated the public finances and institutions to such an extent that Syria won’t be able to rely immediately on oil revenues and taxes to rebuild, Sieda said.German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged the international community to be ready to provide economic support, and another meeting is set for next month to bring together Syrian businessmen and foreign donors.Manna said the opposition’s $100 billion damage estimate _ which is double the size of Syria’s GDP at the end of 2010 _ includes the physical destruction as well as losses from tourism and oil sectors, the sharp fall in productivity and soaring unemployment from job losses.Syria has only to look to neighboring Lebanon for lessons on reconstruction. Following that country’s 1975-90 civil war, the government borrowed heavily from abroad. It accumulated a debt of about $52 billion, or about 130 percent of the country’s GDP, that Lebanon struggles with to this day.Osama Kadi, general coordinator for the Syrian Economic Task Force, is confident that won’t happen with Syria, which has a more diversified economy than Lebanon. He said the group has been lobbying the international community to organize a donor conference to convene less than a week after the collapse of the Assad regime. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

Sudanese rebels deny recruiting child soldiers

first_img Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   SPLM-North was reacting to comments made by the United States Assistant Secretary of State Anne C. Richard, during an Oct. 31 visit to South Sudan.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix JUBA, South Sudan (AP) – A Sudanese rebel group denied United States accusations that it recruits child soldiers and maintains a military presence in a refugee camp in South Sudan.SPLM-North spokesman Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said Friday the group is committed to international standards that forbid the use of children under 18 years.The SPLM-North has been battling Sudanese government forces in South Kordofan state since June 2011, following disputed gubernatorial elections. The conflict has displaced tens of thousands across the state and more than 60,000 have fled to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. Khartoum says SPLM-North is backed by South Sudan which gained independence from Sudan last year.center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Kerry trip to Djibouti highlights importance of small nation

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis The United States isn’t alone in realizing Djibouti’s geopolitical significance at the junction between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, two of the world’s busiest shipping routes.Members of the U.S. Congress, in particular, have taken note of China’s increased investments in airport, road, railway and port projects, demanding that the Obama administration raise concerns with Guelleh, whom they believe is becoming increasingly anti-democratic while cozying up to Beijing. Guelleh has been president for 16 years.“Djibouti’s strategic importance cannot be overstated,” Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said in a letter sent to Kerry on Tuesday.Late last month, another Republican congressman, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, wrote to Defense Secretary Ash Carter asking that he ensure unfettered U.S. access to counterterrorism assets at Lemmonier.“I am concerned with this,” said Smith, who heads a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, “because of China’s unprecedented investment in Djibouti and worrisome behavior by the country’s longtime leader.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Djibouti also is bracing for the potential arrival of thousands of refugees from across the Gulf of Aden. People of different nationalities are fleeing the fighting between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Saudi-supported government forces.In part to thank the Djiboutian government for its support and to get a closer look at U.S. operations, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled there Wednesday. A day after becoming the first top American diplomat to visit Somalia, he’s likewise the first to make an appearance in tiny Djibouti, which encompasses an area the size of New Jersey and has less than 1 million people.Kerry will get together with President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf. He’ll then meet top U.S. military officials at Camp Lemmonier, which hosts thousands of U.S. troops, contractors and civilian workers as well as aerial drones that fly over Yemen and Somalia.The Washington Post recently reported that conditions at the base have become chronically dangerous, citing cases of air-traffic controllers sleeping on the job and making frequent errors. The Obama administration is pressing authorities to improve aviation safety, said the report, which cited documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober DJIBOUTI (AP) — A sleepy coastal nation in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti was the last French colony to achieve independence. Today, nearly four decades later, the mainly Sunni nation has become a critical part of U.S. foreign policy.With U.S. ground forces out of Yemen amid a civil war, Djibouti is a launching pad for drone attacks on al-Qaida and other extremist groups as well as a key transit point for Americans trying to get home. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Kerry made unannounced trip to Somalia in a show of solidarity with the government trying to defeat al-Qaida-allied militants and end decades of war in the African country. He is the first top U.S. diplomat ever to visit Somalia. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)n Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories The United States appears more content with Djibouti’s support for American citizens trying to get out Yemen amid continued fighting on the ground and the weight of a Saudi-led bombing campaign against the Houthis. Some 500 Americans have fled to Djibouti, with some 200 making their way from there to the United States. Others have remained in the country while they try to secure visas for family members or collect enough money for further travel expenses.The fighting in Yemen shows no signs of abating. Rebels fired rockets and mortars into Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, killing at least two civilians and reportedly capturing five soldiers. Meanwhile, hundreds of families fled the southern Yemeni city of Aden — it’s a boat ride away from Djibouti — after the Houthis advanced into their neighborhoods, firing indiscriminately as they took over surrounding, towering mountains. Saudi officials said “all options are open” as they weigh a response.Aid agencies are undertaking contingency planning for a prolonged conflict in Yemen that could prompt 30,000 people to flee to Djibouti this year, a challenge in a place that is already serving as home for more than 20,000 Somali refugees.last_img read more

Copies of famous artworks replace ads on Tehran billboards

first_img TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — In an unusual move by Tehran’s mayor, hundreds of copies of famous artworks — both of world masters and Iranian artists — have been plastered on some 1,500 billboards across the city, transforming the Iranian capital into a gigantic, open-air exhibition.The 10-day project, which ends Friday, has stirred both appreciation and criticism. But whether people like it or not, the message is simple, according to Ehsun Fathipour. “It says Iranians are art lovers, too,” says the 57-year-old Tehran businessman.There is plenty to look at — from Claude Monet’s iconic Rouen Cathedral, Rembrandt’s Landscape with a Stone Bridge and Mark Tansey’s 1981 work, The Innocent Eye Test, to the 18th century Flowering Plants in Autumn, attributed to Japanese painter Ogata Korin.In a city of 9 million people, 200 copies of works by world masters vie for attention along with 500 works of Iranian artists, such as Still Life by Iranian painter Bahman Mohasses, which is in Tehran’s Arjantin Square. In Jomhouri Street, just a few blocks from the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, known for his love of the arts, stands a copy of the 19th century Indian Fisherman by German Albert Bierstadt.The copies beam down from the city-owned billboards along key throughways, from overpasses and from main intersections and squares.The project was the brainchild of Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf — a former Revolutionary Guard commander who twice lost his bid to become Iran’s president, first in 2005 and then in the 2013 presidential election, when he came second-place to Hassan Rouhani. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Patients with chronic pain give advice With a cartoon, pro-reform Shargh daily suggested the figure in The Scream is horrified at Tehran’s often gridlocked traffic.But art critic Reza Simorgh, who writes for the sq72.com news website, says drivers see the billboards for just a second or two — and that the distraction can be a traffic hazard. “It’s impossible to learn about sophisticated artwork while driving,” he said.Others have criticized the low quality of the copies, saying the harsh sunlight on some billboards does the artworks injustice.Much of Iran’s state-owned collection of priceless paintings by European greats such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro, as well as American 20th century icons like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock were acquired during the reign of U.S.-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi.After the shah was overthrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, most of the art was locked up in the vaults of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, only rarely emerging for brief public displays.Some works, like a semi-nude by Auguste Renoir, still have to see the light of day, banished by ruling clerics as examples of decadent Western culture. Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In 2010, some 11 bronze statues of Iranian national heroes disappeared from Tehran’s public parks. The statues were never recovered. At the time, officials said religious motives appeared to have been behind the theft, and authorities cancelled inauguration of more statues in the city.Many like the billboards, like Sahar Nasiri, a 23-year-old student of Farsi literature. “The city is overwhelmed by advertisements the entire year, so this is a nice break,” she said.Fathipour, the businessman, said he came back from one of his frequent trips abroad and these “fascinating” billboards were just there.Movie actor Behzad Farahani told art website Banifilm.ir he saw “at least 20 good artworks … thanks to the billboards.” Pop singer Ali Ashabi said he hoped the idea would be emulated in other cities — and perhaps subway stations — to “improve people’s culture.”At the Sadr intersection in northern Tehran, Hatam Bagheri occasionally looks up from his stall with strawberries at a larger-than-life copy of Edvard Munch’s The Scream.“I am illiterate, unfortunately. I do not understand this,” says the fruit seller, in his 60s. Many young people stop to look, he added, so “it must mean it’s important.” Qalibaf has built his reputation on a host of quality-of-life projects around Iran’s capital, including parks, expanded subways lines and highways. But he also has faced accusations that he took part in past crackdowns against student protesters before becoming mayor in 2005.Tehran municipality sponsored the exhibit, entitled “An Art Gallery the Size of the City,” saying it wanted to bring art closer to the city’s residents. It has had other usual projects in the past — including converting a prison, a garrison and a slaughter house into a museum and galleries.Jamal Kamyab, who runs the Tehran Beautification Agency, affiliated with the municipality, said the aim was to “improve the artistic literacy of the citizens” and decorate public areas.Tehran-based analyst Saeed Leilaz said the project is likely Qalibaf’s attempt to re-vamp his hard-line image while also courting the middle class’ support — possibly for the next election.“It’s a transition from a hard-line paradigm to a milder sphere, one that caters to the cultural needs of the middle class,” Leilaz told The Associated Press.Few among Iran’s population of 80 million frequent galleries and museums, instead favoring shrines of religious figures and historical sites. From time to time, Iranian artists have also had their works banned, apparently for being deemed insulting to Islamic values. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   In this photo taken on Sunday, May 10, 2015, cars and motor bikes pass a billboard showing a copy of painting “The Innocent Eye Test” by American artist Mark Tansey from New York Metropolitan Museum, over a highway in Tehran, Iran. In an unusual move by Tehran’s mayor, hundreds of copies of famous artworks – both of world masters and Iranian artists – have been plastered on some 1,500 billboards across the city, transforming the Iranian capital into a gigantic, open-air exhibition. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) But for these 10 days at least, art has come out on Tehran billboards.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories last_img read more

US UAE launch antiIS online messaging center in Abu Dhabi

first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The Obama administration has urged Arab allies to do more to combat the media blitz, characterizing the fight on the communications front as a key pillar in the overall effort to defeat the group.The new Sawab Center is one of the most concrete responses to that call yet in the region. Named for the Arabic word for “the right or proper way,” it will be based in Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, a key American ally and a member of the U.S.-led coalition against the IS group.The center released YouTube videos and Twitter messages Wednesday in Arabic and English announcing its launch.Anwar Gargash, the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, and Richard Stengel, the U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, said the center’s aim is to support coalition efforts, challenge IS propaganda and “amplify moderate and tolerant voices from across the region.”“Recent tragic events in the Middle East region and beyond have demonstrated once again the stark contrast between Daesh’s vision for the future and that of civilized people,” the diplomats said in a joint statement announcing the launch. Daesh is another name for the Islamic State group. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories “Through the Sawab Center, we hope to lend a voice to all those people that stand united against terrorism,” the statement added.Stengel, a former Time magazine managing editor, traveled to the Emirates for the launch.Journalists were not allowed to attend the project’s unveiling or visit the center, which has been testing its operations and developing its branding over the past three months.More work still needs to be done. The center does not yet have an active website of its own, and a planned Facebook presence and a dedicated YouTube channel are expected to take several more weeks to develop. Officials say they hope the center will eventually launch “proactive online messaging campaigns” to target IS propaganda.The U.S. separately has been expanding an existing U.S. State Department division set up in 2011 and known as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications that is designed to counter jihadist messages online.___Online: Sawab Center launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVPTv7UaJeE___Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at www.twitter.com/adamschreckCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. and Emirati governments launched a new Mideast digital communications center Wednesday focused on using social media to counter the Islamic State group’s propaganda efforts online.IS supporters have deftly harnessed social media to spread the group’s slickly produced Hollywood-style film clips and other messages aimed at recruiting and drawing support from plugged-in young Muslims. Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

Comfort in coach Air New Zealand unveils the Skycouch

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Air New Zealand Skycouch Air New Zealand plans to introduce the ‘holy grail of economy travel’ to its new Boeing 777-300 aircraft with lie-flat beds. The airline unveiled the revolutionary new “Skycouch” yesterday, which enables economy class passengers to sleep  lying down through a simple innovation that converts three seats into a lie-flat bed. Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe says when the airline takes delivery of its first new Boeing 777-300 ER in November it will redefine the long haul travel experience and set a benchmark for competitors to follow. “Air New Zealand is putting the magic and romance back into flying. For the past three years we have been designing a new long haul experience that will reignite the passion of today’s travellers,” Fyfe told NZ media. “For those who choose, the days of sitting in economy and yearning to lie down and sleep are gone.  “The dream is now a reality, one that you can even share with a travelling companion – just keep your clothes on thanks!”The seats can fold flat all the way to the seat-back in front, creating a space where children can play or people can relax and sleep”.The first 11 window rows in the Economy Class cabin will be transformed to accommodate twenty-two sets of The “Skycouch” will be . For two adults travelling, purchasing the Skycouch will be based on buying two seats at standard prices with the third seat at approximately half price. Full airfare details will be announced when it goes on sale from late April.last_img read more

New Skies becomes unsolved mystery for Virgin Blue

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2a879/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L It seems Virgin Blue still cannot explain why its new Navitaire New Skies system crashed on Friday afternoon.New Skies, which replaced the carrier’s Open Skies platform, was said on Sunday to have rolled out smoothly, with no flight disruptions.However, the story took a turn on Friday afternoon as the $10 million system failed for two hours, delaying domestic flights and causing long check-in queues.The carrier has since begun an investigation into the crash.A Virgin Blue spokesman told The Australian that the booking system broke down when new data was uploaded to Navitaire as part of regular scheduling updates, but could not explain why it collapsed.”We’re still investigating that at this stage,” he said, “I’d need to wait for the outcome.”A Virgin Blue spokesperson was not able to be reached for comment as of publication. e-Travel Blackboard will update this story throughout the day.last_img read more

Holland America Line receives environmental protection awards

first_imgSource = Holland America Line ‘Green’ awards recognise line’s fleetwide efforts Holland America Line has been recognised for its environmental leadership with a series of recent accolades, including the “Gold 2010 Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award” from the U.S. Coast Guard, the “World’s Leading Green Cruise Line Award” at the World Travel Awards in London and a “Blue Circle Award” from the Port of Vancouver. “We work diligently every day to reduce Holland America Line’s ecological footprint, and these awards validate our fleetwide efforts,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “We are grateful that the U.S. Coast Guard and our travel industry and seaport partners appreciate our commitment to the environment and have recognised our dedication to environmental stewardship with these awards.”Holland America Line is a leader in environmental initiatives in the cruise industry with its comprehensive approach to managing impacts and reducing its overall carbon footprint. The line’s Environmental Management System was certified in 2006 and recertified in 2009. The company works diligently to conserve fuel and water, employs the latest technologies for wastewater and oily bilge water treatment, and uses innovative strategies to reduce and manage its solid waste stream. Holland America Line is an industry leader in exploring new environmental initiatives such as a whale conservation and protection program and using shore power in a growing number of ports. The U.S. Coast Guard Benkert Award was bestowed by a panel of experts based on a thorough review of Holland America Line’s comprehensive approach to environmental stewardship. The premier marine environmental protection award recognises organisations for outstanding achievements in all aspects of marine environmental protection. The award was created to recognise outstanding achievements that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards. The World Travel Awards were developed in 1993 to celebrate excellence and achievement in the travel and tourism industry, and winners comprise a “who’s who” of the travel community. The Wall Street Journal has called the awards the “Oscars of the travel and tourism industry.” Nominations for the World Travel Awards featured 5,000 companies from 162 countries across 1,000 categories. The winners were selected by thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide who voted online.Under Port Metro Vancouver’s EcoAction Program for Shipping, the Blue Circle Award is a recognition reserved for only the highest emissions-reduction achievements. The Blue Circle Awards honour a company’s efforts to reduce air emissions, depending on the quality of fuel used and overall emission reductions.last_img read more

QF JAL consider new lowcost carrier

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Qantas Group and Japan Airlines (JAL) are reportedly in talks over the launch of an all-new low-cost carrier in Japan. While both carriers are stressing that nothing has been confirmed, a Japanese business paper has highlighted that the new airline could be launched next year and is likely to serve destinations including Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, The Australian reported. According to media reports, the project would be capitalised between JPY10 billion and JPY20 billion and would see Jetstar and JAL hold 30 percent of shares each.While the shareholder of the remaining 40 percent remains unknown for now, local media said Mitsubishi and Toyota have been invited to take part in the venture.Despite details remaining unconfirmed, last year Qantas offered to lend a helping hand to Japan’s flag carrier, the Australian reported, Qantas offering to assist with the set-up of a low-cost carrier similar to Jetstar.last_img read more