As the ink dries on their Air Berlin deal Lufthansa now eyes

As the ink dries on their Air Berlin deal Lufthansa now eyes

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Air Berlin, Alitalia, Lufthansa As the ink dries on their Air Berlin deal, Lufthansa now eyes Alitalia << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MILAN — The Italian daily Corriere della Sera says Lufthansa is preparing a 500 million-euro ($590 million) bid for large parts of bankrupt Italian carrier Alitalia, including the fleet, pilots, air crew and air slots.Alitalia, which declared bankruptcy in May, faces a Monday deadline for binding offers.Citing three unidentified sources, Corriere said that Lufthansa’s plan calls for cutting 6,000 jobs and reducing the airline’s short- and medium-haul routes, which have suffered under the pressure from low-cost airlines. Alitalia declined comment.Lufthansa recently reached a deal to buy parts of the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin. Both Air Berlin and Alitalia have been controlled by Gulf airline Etihad, which has ceased financing.The Italian government has offered bridge loans, including a new 300-million-euro extension, to keep the airline operating. Monday, October 16, 2017 Sharelast_img read more

Swoop adds 4th plane increases schedule to YHM ahead of June 20

Swoop adds 4th plane increases schedule to YHM ahead of June 20

first_imgTags: Swoop Swoop adds 4th plane, increases schedule to YHM ahead of June 20 launch Share Posted by CALGARY — Swoop hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet and it’s already increasing frequency and adding planes to its fleet.The moves, which come only seven weeks after coming into market, can be seen as a sign of confidence for WestJet’s new low-cost carrier. Taking flight on June 20, 2018, Swoop has announced a fourth Boeing 737-800 aircraft and an increased weekly frequency schedule out of John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM) beginning Aug. 16, 2018.The addition of a fourth aircraft will mean an increase of 13 weekly flights that will almost double the daily frequency between Hamilton-Edmonton and Hamilton-Abbotsford. It will also add one weekly flight to the schedule for Hamilton-Halifax and Hamilton-Winnipeg, which will now be offered daily.“We’re excited to get growing with the addition of our fourth aircraft,” said Steven Greenway, President of Swoop, who joined the company earlier this month. “The increased frequency schedule allows us to offer travellers even more opportunity and flexibility to explore Canada or visit family and friends during the peak summer season.”More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesCathie Puckering, President & CEO of YHM, said that the addition of 13 weekly flights is good news for the hundreds of thousands of passengers flying out of the airport to key regional destinations. “Last year 599,146 passengers flew to and from Hamilton International and we are excited about the growth we are already seeing in 2018,” she said.The increased service is as follows:Hamilton-Edmonton increases from 7 to 13x weeklyHamilton-Abbotsford increases from 6 to 11x weekly (from Aug. 16-Sept. 5 only, reverting to 6 weekly flights from Sept. 6-Dec. 13, 2018)Hamilton-Halifax increases from 6 to 7x weeklyHamilton-Winnipeg increases from 6 to 7x weeklyOverall, the increase will see Swoop operating 59 weekly flights as of Aug. 16.To celebrate its fourth aircraft and increased frequency schedule, Swoop has released 3,500 seats at special fares if booked by March 27, 2018 for travel between June 20-30 and/or Aug. 16-Dec. 13, 2018. For example, Abbotsford-Edmonton starts from $49 one-way, while Hamilton-Abbotsford starts at $99 one-way. For more details go to FlySwoop.com/deals.center_img Travelweek Group Thursday, March 22, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Intrepid now accepting applications for mystery trip into the unknown

Intrepid now accepting applications for mystery trip into the unknown

first_img Share NEW YORK – Do you have what it takes to travel ‘blind’ on a mystery trip? Ten intrepid travellers will soon find out.Intrepid Travel is calling for applications for a one-off ‘Uncharted Expedition’ that will see 10 travellers take a 2,200-mile trip into the unknown. Featuring towns and villages that can’t be found on Google Maps, the 22-day expedition traverses a route that Intrepid has never travelled before.The only known variables about the trip are the start and end points: Astana, Kazakhstan and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, respectively. Other than that, participants will be going in blind with only small hints of what’s to come.Intrepid Travel co-founder Darrell Wade says this ‘mystery’ trip is unlikely to appeal to anyone but the most courageous travellers.“You won’t know where you’re going, what you’ll see, where you’ll stay or what you’ll be eating. There’ll be long travel days, intermittent electricity and Wi-Fi, a few cold showers and a few treats along the way though, including fermented mare milk,” he said. “But it’s going to be a real adventure. One day you could be hiking through the world’s most remote and breathtaking landscapes, the next soothing your aching muscles in a sauna in the middle of nowhere.”More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthThe expedition, which will depart on June 30, 2019, will coincide with the company’s 30th anniversary.“When we first started out and we wanted to go somewhere new, we’d place a classified ad in the newspaper calling for intrepid people to join us on research trips,” added Wade. “Thirty years later, we go to more than 120 countries and we still get a thrill out of discovering new places with our most curious travellers.”The Uncharted Expedition is part of Intrepid Travel’s Expeditions range, a style of tours that the company still uses to discover new destinations and test new trip ideas. Participants will be asked to provide feedback, which will determine if the tour is added to Intrepid’s 2020 Expeditions offering.The Uncharted Expedition is available from today, at US$5,650 per person, excluding flights. Space is strictly limited to one departure only. For more details or to apply go to https://www.intrepidtravel.com/us/uncharted-expedition. Tags: Intrepid Travel, Kazakhstan, Mongolia Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Intrepid now accepting applications for ‘mystery’ trip into the unknown Tuesday, June 19, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

FlamingoPotrero News

first_imgNo related posts. Our sincerest sympathy goes to our local friend Jorge Granados who lost his father on Friday, Sept. 28. Our thoughts are also with Ivan Granados, Jorge’s grandfather. Jorge and Ivan are with family at this time.Ladies: The 3rd Annual Gold Coast Women’s Group event will be held Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Mar y Sol Restaurant in Flamingo from 5-8 p.m. This year, the show is being sponsored by Azul Profundo of Tamarindo. “We will be taking your taste buds and fashion sense on a world tour,” organizers say. For each country being showcased, there will be representative beverages, food, fashion and music. Valet parking is gratis, but carpooling is highly encouraged. Individual tickets are $30 and a table of eight is $200. Ticket purchase locations include ReMax Real Estate office located next to BCR, Azul Profundo in Tamarindo (azulprofundoboutique@yahoo.com), Maureen Thompson (costaricamom@gmail.com), Anne Scalf (annescalf@gmail.com).During the magnitude-7.6 earthquake on Sept. 5, the public school in Brasilito, Costa Rica, sustained significant structural damage, rendering it unsafe. Classes are now being held in the community salon. Please consider joining local community groups, churches and schools, as well as those around the globe, to help address both the temporary and long-term needs to keep the kids in school. If you are interested in being involved, please contact Randy or Kim Toltz at rantol@me.com. You can also visit the Facebook page for Brasilito school’s earthquake repair/relief effort. The International Red Cross is taking donations to provide relief to Costa Rica and the school.–Babe Hopkinstbabehopkins@gmail.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

In a Superstorm New Yorkers hit the bars

first_imgNo related posts. NEW YORK – You’ve heard all about Sandy’s damage: her floating cars, downed trees, unprecedented power outages and 75 casualties (and counting). Although the storm was eventually downgraded to a tropical storm, it was one of the most devastating natural disasters the region has seen.Although I live in Costa Rica, I happened to be staying with my friend Amy in the East Village when the storm barreled through. I saw the devastation firsthand, but I also saw something you might not expect in the middle of a storm: exuberance.The evening began with Amy and me  huddled in the living room, surrounded by the supplies we had purchased: food, water, flashlights. The storm began to pick up at around 8 p.m., battering the massive trees outside the window and occasionally causing our lights to flicker. I found out around 8:30 p.m. that my brother, who lives in a high-rise in the Financial District, had lost power and was trapped. Apparently 10 inches of water surrounding the building were creeping inside. My brother told me not to worry, though; he was playing pool and hanging out with other residents. He was having a really good time, he said.About an hour later, as I was trying to finish up some work on my computer, the sky flashed green. There was a loud boom, and then the sky flashed green again. That, I found out later, was a Con Ed sub-station blowing up. We lost power shortly after, but continued working in the dark. When it became clear that the power wasn’t coming back and our computer batteries were getting low, we started getting restless.Amy and I peered out the windows, attempting to see from her fifth-story apartment what was going on below. The wind had died down a little and flashlight beams shined up and down the streets. Every now and then, a flashlight illuminated what should have been the street, but it was a river.Were all those people evacuating? Or were they surveying the damage? Might they be on their way to the bars? That’s what Amy thought. “New Yorkers are crazy,” she said.We decided to get dressed and be part of whatever was going on down there.Stepping out of her building on 6th Street between B and C, we saw water from the East River rolling up the block. Cars were submerged, emergency vehicles were splashing through and debris was everywhere. Basically, high tide was coming to Alphabet City. Meanwhile, people were snapping photographs, stomping around in the water and making plans.“7B is open,” we overheard somebody saying. 7B is a dive bar in the East Village, and I used to hang out there back in grad school.The flooding appeared to be getting worse, and we knew if we went to the bar that we might not be able to get back into Amy’s apartment. We decided it was worth it.7B felt like an old speakeasy, packed with bodies and dark except for a couple of battery-powered emergency lights. A harried bartender was losing her temper, but everybody else seemed delighted. At one point, an Associated Press news team entered the bar, and the patrons cheered loudly. Then a man with an accordion came in and played an Irish folk tune. People started to dance, but the bartender didn’t like it. “You. Accordion Guy. You’re out,” she said.The crowd booed, and the bartender invited anyone who disagreed with her to join the accordion guy outside. Eventually, the emergency lights faded and the bartender kicked everyone out.Amy and I met up with some other friends and wound up walking a few blocks with the rejected accordion player and some guy from South Africa, dressed only in boxer shorts. He had just been swimming in the flood.On the corner of St. Marks and 1st Avenue, the accordion player selected OMC’s “How Bizarre” and started an impromptu dance party. From there, our ever-growing group of people found an open convenience store where the owner was giving away ice cream. “But you have to vote for Obama,” he stipulated.The freezer shelves were full of Ben & Jerry’s, and some guy began calling out the flavors and tossing the cartons over his shoulder. I got “Half Baked.”From there, we went to a pizza place with a wood-fired oven. People were drinking beer and hanging out, and one man was dressed in a banana costume.Next we headed to another friend’s apartment, where a guy who we call “Z” passed out on the couch. Z is known for doing this, and there’s a game that is played when he does. It’s called Zenga.In Zenga, people take turns sticking playing cards in Z’s mouth, until he wakes up. In the first game, we got 16 cards in Z’s mouth before he woke up. “Are you playing Zenga?” he asked us immediately, then counted the cards to see how we did. “Not bad,” he said.In the second game, we got the whole deck in there, which hasn’t happened in years. We left Z with the cards and walked home through the powerless, ruined city beneath a glowing orange sky. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Guatemala quake death toll increases to 42

first_imgNo related posts. GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan rescuers searched Thursday for people trapped in the ruins of homes after apowerful earthquake killed 42 people and left thousands spending the cold night outside.Twenty-two people were still missing a day after the magnitude-7.4 quake in the southwestern region of San Marcos toppled homes and cut off power in several towns.The search had been called off during the night for safety reasons.Thousands of people in the town of San Marcos wrapped themselves in blankets to keep warm outside overnight as aftershocks continued to rock the mountainous region. Rescuers found three more bodies in the town of San Cristobal Cucho on Thursday and another one in El Recreo, an emergency response spokesman said.President Otto Pérez Molina said Thursday the death toll had risen to 42. Power was restored in 95 percent of homes, he added.The San Marcos Department, located at the border with Mexico and some 250 kilometers west of Guatemala City, bore the brunt of the earthquake, which crushed cars and spread debris on roads.In San Cristobal Cucho, an entire family of 10, including six children, died when their home was buried in rocks and earth that slid from a hill after the quake, Mayor Pedro Cardona said.Some 16,000 people were affected by the temblor, which was the country’s most violent seismic event since 1976, when almost 23,000 people perished. Authorities opened 11 shelters that can house 800 people.The earthquake was felt as far away as El Salvador and Mexico City. Thousands of people fled homes, offices and schools in the Mexican capital when the quake hit on Wednesday morning. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tax Administration to fight evasion with technology citizens help

Tax Administration to fight evasion with technology citizens help

first_imgRelated posts:Tax on Costa Rica corporations is unconstitutional, says court Social Security System wants tourism businesses to settle $6.8 million debt Finance Ministry could lower Costa Rica income tax brackets Costa Rica ponders tax on fast food, soft drinks The Finance Ministry last week launched a public awareness campaign to encourage tourists and citizens to report hotels, restaurants and other businesses that fail to issue receipts for products or services.The campaign uses mass media and social networks in an effort to improve taxpayer compliance with laws, with support from customers.Finance Minister Helio Fallas said the campaign is part of a short-term strategy to improve the filing and payment of sales tax, especially during mid-year vacations when the country sees an increase in tourism and spending on entertainment and commerce.Vice Minister Fernando Rodríguez said the success of the campaign would depend on support from citizens. The Tax Administration will primarily address complaints it receives from the public and from tourists, at their offices and by email at: tributaciondenuncias@hacienda.go.cr. The public also can file complaints on the administration’s social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter, or via the “Denuncias” (“Complaints”) link on the ministry’s website, www.hacienda.go.cr.Rodríguez said the campaign will continue through the end of the year, with renewed attention during important holidays, such as Mother’s Day (Aug. 15), Children’s Day (Sept. 9), Christmas and New Year.He called on the public and visiting tourists to report businesses that fail to issue receipts from products or services provided. Those businesses could be sanctioned and even closed, he said.Fallas also said he asked the stated-owned Internet and telecommunications provider Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. (RACSA) to move forward with a technology platform that is required to implement electronic invoicing, starting next year.An electronic invoice is a digital document with the same value as a printed one. Customers receive the invoice in an email similar to those from public utilities. It includes a file used by the Tax Administration for oversight and one that allows customers to print a receipt.The system already has been used in a limited number of businesses in the country since April 2012. At the time, then-President Laura Chinchilla announced its implementation “soon will be mandatory.” But the project was never fully implemented during her administration, from 2010-2014.President Luis Guillermo Solís is seeking to make its use mandatory starting in 2015. But Fallas said the government does not have the appropriate infrastructure or technology to make use of the information generated by the new invoicing system.The information generated by electronic invoices will be used to cross-check data at public agencies and to combat tax evasion.“We currently are in conversations with RACSA, and we are ​​updating the ministry’s Informatics Department,” Fallas said. “We also are providing training to our programmers and asking for an equipment upgrade to move faster in the implementation of the system.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Rosi Garitas astrological paintings decorate the National Theater

Rosi Garitas astrological paintings decorate the National Theater

first_imgIf you stand far enough away, Rosi Garita’s paintings look like extremely stylized portraits of women. Each figure is richly colored and romantically posed, like the subjects ofGustav Klimt. The textures are sublime, and you could easily imagine each painting hanging in a funky little den. Garita’s series is handsomely displayed in the López Escarré Gallery in the café of the National Theater, the perfect décor for coffee and kibitzing.But look closer, and you’ll find that the women’s bodies are actually composed of hundreds of little faces. The faces are photographic, apparently snipped out of magazines and pasted onto the canvases. Everywhere a woman’s body is exposed, her skin is actually made of tiny human heads, like flesh-toned scales. The faces are young and old, showing every ethnicity, hairstyle and color.Look very closely, and you’ll see tiny constellations painted into the backgrounds.Garita’s series is called “Globalización Humana y Constelaciones,” which roughly translates to “Human Globalization and Constellations.” The title is unwieldy in English, and it’s perhaps a little overwrought in Spanish as well, but Garita’s intentions sound epic. According to a printed statement: “I chose the constellations because, in the Celestial Universe, they are the feminine representation, just as woman herself is the feminine representation in the Terrestrial Universe. Here we see a bridge or a very special form of communication, just as an artist, upon creating a work, creates a connection of the unconscious and the subconscious in order to create it.”Whoa, nelly. You’d be forgiven for having no idea what Garita is talking about. Depending on your aesthetic eye, you may not even notice the constellations in her portraits, much less see them as a special bridge to the Celestial Universe. Generally, visual artists should refrain from trying to verbalize their intentions, and Garita is no exception.But Garita’s work speaks wonderfully for itself, and if you find yourself in the Plaza de la Cultura between now and October, you might consider spending some time among her paintings. The face-based skins may inspire two contrasting reactions. First, you might feel inspired, because they could represent the human family, or the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, or the fact that only women can gestate life. On the other hand, you may also feel alarmed, because scores of faces are staring back at you, and at first you didn’t even notice them. Like a Magic Eye picture, the miniature visages appear all at once. They are so smoothly incorporated into the paintings that they make you feel as if you’ve unveiled a secret.Garita is Costa Rican and Canadian, and she is both an artist and a published poet. Most of her titles have mythic names, like “Pegasus,” “Phoenix,” “Andromeda,” and “Leo,” and the astrological references are clear. One of the most interesting portraits is “Scorpius,” which incorporates Chinese characters and what appear to be diagrammatical notes. Whatever her original objective, the paintings have a mysterious quality, as if, like the stars, each must be decoded for hidden meaning. Like great verse, a good painting get more complex the more you look at it. So get close. There’s always more to see.“Globalización Humana y Constelaciones” continues through Oct. 3at the López Ecarré Gallery, National Theater, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: Gallery website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates 20 years of provocative exhibition Art installation ‘Exchanged Glances’ proves moody and mysterious National Theater opens exhibit in Bank of Costa Rica lobby Dual exhibits at National Gallery highlight student creativitylast_img read more

Costa Ricas Solís authorizes strategy to fight money laundering terrorism financing

Costa Ricas Solís authorizes strategy to fight money laundering terrorism financing

first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís signed on Friday a presidential decree authorizing the National Strategy to Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. The strategy waspresented Thursday by his administration during the opening of the two-day XXXI Plenary Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT), held in San José.“I want to once more ratify Costa Rica’s opinion in the sense that those ills — organized crime, terrorism — must be fought off in all ways possible by the international community,” the president said.“And that leads to increasing levels of coordination and collective action, such as those you promote, and I’m particularly pleased by the attention GAFILAT puts on financing and money laundering, which are the foundation [those crimes] are nurtured by.”“I believe there’s a necessary deepening of the activities against those ills, universal ills … where the financial issue takes on a leading role,” the president remarked.Nevertheless, “we have much to do on the issues of terrorism … organized crime in all its forms, with drug trafficking, of course, as one of the most perverse and one of the closest to the Latin American experience,” he pointed out.Solís admitted, however, that “major advances have been made, major progress has been achieved,” adding that countries have at their disposal organizations such as GAFILAT, “methodologies for common action, harmonized public policies and political will translated into decrees and national legislation – such as the one I signed this afternoon.”Among other points, the decree sets up an Inter-institutional Technical Committee to support coordination and planning of actions, by both the public and private sectors, aimed at preventing and combating money laundering and terrorism financing.The National Strategy to Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing responds to the three components of GAFILAT’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) system: prevention, detection and intelligence, investigation and criminal justice, according to government officials.The initiative’s main aim is to have its contents included “in state policies that strengthen the AML/CTF system.”The strategy also seeks to “reinforce joint work and inter-institutional coordination, allowing progress toward adequate prevention, detection and repression” of both crimes, and “sets specific aims and actions for the three components of the Anti-Laundering System.”The Financial Action Task Force of Latin America was born out of a similar body that included nine South American countries, founded in December 2000 to combat money laundering. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the group broadened its reach, to include terrorism financing.GAFILAT now counts 16 Latin American nations as members. It functions under the umbrella of the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) created in 1989 by the Group of 7 to fight money laundering on a global scale. Facebook Comments Related posts:From ‘America’s Mayor’ to international security guru: Rudy Giuliani sends experts to El Salvador Costa Rica submits to money laundering probe by Latin America task force Lula’s bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft Elites in Honduras, not just gangs, the target of latest US money laundering indictmentlast_img read more

Public worker unions announce strike in October threaten media

Public worker unions announce strike in October threaten media

first_imgRelated posts:Underwhelming Costa Rica strike mostly affects health service access Costa Rica’s Solís denies secret agreement with unions on Monday’s strike Costa Rican lawmakers go to battle against President Solís’ reversal of labor reform veto Public employee protest takes over San José’s Second Avenue Fabio Chaves, the leader of a coalition of seven public worker unions from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), threatened reporters Tuesday to “abide by the consequences” of what they report about job perks and benefits received by public employees.Chaves made his remarks at a news conference where he said public workers will stage a nationwide strike in October in order “to defend public employees and the negotiations that granted [our] benefits.”Costa Rican media have published numerous reports in recent weeks about public workers’ salaries, special schedules, bonuses and other perks. Union leaders say these reports are intended to turn the population against them and even “criminalize them,” Chaves said.Leaders of the Costa Rican Oil Refinery union (SITRAPEQUIA) and Atlantic Port Authority union (SINTRAJAP), the National Association of Public and Private Employees and the National Union of Nurses also said they will join the protest.A date for the strike and public demonstration hasn’t been set but union leaders assured that it will take place.“We’ve had it up to here with these disgusting campaigns against public workers. You [the press] will be responsible, as well as all those right-wing leaders, for whatever happens,” a visibly upset Chaves told reporters. He also reiterated his argument that most media are “criminalizing public employees and their fights for their rights.”Following his remarks reporters asked Chaves to further explain his words. “You can interpret them as you want,” he said.Chaves also said the media would be responsible if violent incidents were to occur during the public demonstration. “If we are attacked [by the media] we will respond, legally, but also on the streets,” he said.Following the news conference SINTRAJAP’s Secretary General Ronaldo Blear and SITRAPEQUIA’s leader Manuel Rodríguez said they would not back any kind of aggression against members of the press.Threats to reporters ‘unacceptable’The Institute of Press and Freedom of Expression (IPLEX) condemned Chaves’ threats in a public statement, and said the union leader’s speech represented a clear, and unacceptable, message of intimidation.IPLEX president Alejandro Delgado Faith said any call to violence against those who are doing their job to keep society informed cannot be tolerated.“Anyone who feels our media are exceeding their duties should follow the appropriate procedures as stipulated by our legal system. Any other way is unacceptable and we know the Costa Rican people will not approve of it,” Delgado said.The Costa Rican Journalists’ Association also voiced its disapproval of Chaves’ words. In a public statement, the association’s president Marlon Mora Jiménez said the group didn’t want to imagine a scenario where reporters here feel insecure or afraid to do their job.“We don’t want to witness any attacks on our colleagues by a mob emboldened by the incendiary language of a union leader,” Mora said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

A look at China visitation numbers to the US

first_img The vital role family plays in society Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 0 Comments   Share   (AP) – Chinese visitors to the U.S. have increased in recent years. Here’s a look at the numbers:_ 2004: 203,000 visitors_ 2005: 270,000_ 2006: 320,000_ 2007: 397,000_ 2008: 493,000_ 2009: 525,000_ 2010: 802,000_ 2011: 1.09 millionChina has also catapulted into the top 10 list for countries with the most visitors to the U.S. The top 10 in 2011:1. Canada: 21.03 million visitors2. Mexico: 13.41 million New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like 3. United Kingdom 3.84 million4. Japan: 3.25 million5. Germany: 1.82 million6. Brazil: 1.51 million7. France: 1.5 million8. South Korea: 1.15 million9. China: 1.09 million10. Australia: 1.04 million_ Top 10 countries visiting the U.S. in 2010:1. Canada: 19.96 million2. Mexico: 13.47 million3. United Kingdom: 3.85 million4. Japan: 3.39 million5. Germany: 1.73 million6. France: 1.34 million7. Brazil: 1.2 million8. South Korea: 1.11 million9. Australia: 904,00010. Italy: 838,000___Source: U.S. Department of Commerce(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementslast_img read more

Kazakh court jails opposition politician

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Observers have described the trial as politically motivated and designed to stifle robust opposition in the authoritarian ex-Soviet nation.Kazakhstan, a vast and energy-rich Central Asian nation positioned between Russia and China into which U.S. and other international businesses have invested billions of dollars, is eager to be embraced as a modernizing state. Still, 72-year old President Nursultan Nazarbayev has shown no desire to loosen his two decade-long grip over the country.The charges relate to clashes in mid-December in the town of Zhanaozen between local people and police that followed a seven-month occupation of the central square by striking oil laborers. At least 14 people died when police opened fire on rioters.Alga’s property is also to be confiscated, effectively leading to the abolition of the authorities’ most robust critic.Speaking in an interview on state television on the eve of the verdict, Nazarbayev described the bloody culmination of the labor dispute in Zhanaozen as the result of “malicious people taking advantage of the situation.”Rights activists say the timing of his remarks underlines a lack of judicial independence in Kazakhstan. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis How men can have a healthy 2019 Comments   Share   MOSCOW (AP) – A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a vocal opposition leader to 7 1/2 years in prison for allegedly seeking to overthrow the government, ending a trial that has undermined the Central Asian nation’s claims to being an emerging democracy.A judge in the city of Atyrau ruled that unregistered Alga party leader Vladimir Kozlov incited oil workers to violence in a remote western province as part of a plot hatched together with an exiled businessman and government foe, the politician’s wife Aliya Turusbekova said. (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 Phoenixcenter_img “From Nursultan Nazarbayev’s interview it became obvious, in my view, that the sentence had been pre-agreed and that he would be found guilty,” rights advocate and lawyer Yevgeny Zhovtis told Radio Azattyk, the Kazakhstan service of Radio Free Europe.Kozlov and two fellow defendants, who were given suspended sentences for similar offenses, visited and consulted with the workers in Zhanaozen demonstrating in a demand for higher salaries.For the government, this outreach work constituted an incitement to revolt. Kozlov argues he was performing activism common in any nation that aspires to inoculate itself against social unrest.Observers have noted that the real target of the trial was likely businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov, a self-exiled Nazarbayev foe. Prosecutors described Ablyazov in their indictment against Kozlov as the head of an extremist, criminal conspiracy bent on “seizing power by inciting civil strife and hatred.”Kozlov and Ablyazov have been political allies for more than a decade and consulted regularly over political strategy.Ablyazov is wanted by Kazakhstan authorities on charges of siphoning off billions of dollars from BTA Bank, which is based in the country’s business capital, Almaty. Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Diplomats Traces of chemical weapons agents found in Syria

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because the OPCW meeting was closed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How men can have a healthy 2019 UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Diplomats say experts have found traces of deadly nerve agents used to make chemical weapons at a site in Syria where they were not supposed to be.The discovery of traces of sarin and VX have renewed fears that Syria did not disclose all aspects of its chemical weapons program when it joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013 and agreed to destroy its chemical arsenal.A U.N. diplomat said Wednesday that chemical weapons experts told the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last week that they found the traces at a site the Syrians had declared — but they said Damascus hadn’t declared that sarin and VX were produced there.center_img Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The vital role family plays in society Comments   Share   last_img read more

UAE executes woman found guilty of killing American teacher

first_imgDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Monday put to death a woman with links to Islamic extremists who was convicted of murdering an American teacher with a butcher knife in an upscale Abu Dhabi mall.The execution, carried out just two weeks after the country’s top court delivered a guilty verdict, marked a swift end to a case that has rattled this Western-allied Gulf country, where violent crime is rare. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall ___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. Parents, stop beating yourself up 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   The Federal Supreme Court convicted Alaa Bader Abdullah al-Hashemi, a 30-year-old Emirati mother of six, of deliberately murdering 47-year-old schoolteacher Ibolya Ryan in a mall restroom stall on the capital’s upscale Reem Island.Authorities say the killer, shrouded in a traditional black garment and veil, later planted a homemade bomb outside the home of another American. It failed to explode.Al-Hashemi also was found guilty of sending money to al-Qaida in Yemen and of publishing information aimed at harming the reputation of the Emirates, a seven-state federation that also includes the commercial hub of Dubai.The verdict was not eligible for appeal.Ahmed al-Dhanhani, attorney general for the state security prosecution, told state news agency WAM that al-Hashemi was executed Monday morning following the approval of the president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.Ryan had three children and had been living in Abu Dhabi with her 11 year-old twins. She previously worked at Palmer Elementary School in Denver.Executions are rare in the Emirates, and are typically carried out using firing squads.The most recently reported execution, of a Sri Lankan migrant worker convicted of intentional murder for running over a man, was in January 2014 in the emirate of Sharjah. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Sepp Blatter deserves the Nobel Prize Vladimir Putin says

Sepp Blatter deserves the Nobel Prize Vladimir Putin says

first_img MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin and Sepp Blatter just can’t stop praising each other.The Russian president, speaking with Swiss TV on Monday, said the embattled head of FIFA deserves a Nobel Prize for his work.Two days after Putin and Blatter hosted the preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup, Putin said “people like Blatter … deserve special recognition.”Blatter had opened the draw ceremony Saturday — held at a palace in St. Petersburg that is an official Putin residence — and warmly congratulated his host. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “Thank you, President Putin, you make us happy and comfortable,” said Blatter, who was making his first trip outside his native Switzerland since American and Swiss investigations of corruption in soccer were revealed in May.Besides Blatter, Putin suggested to Swiss state broadcaster RTS that heads of international sports federations and Olympic committees would also be worthy recipients.“Let’s have Nobel Prizes for people like that,” said Putin, who approved lavish spending on the 2014 Sochi Olympics that cost $51 billion to prepare and stage.On Saturday, Blatter told Putin that the Russian people “can be proud” of him and that FIFA says “yes to Russia, we are providing our support.”Russia’s successful bid to host the World Cup is central to the Swiss federal investigation. That case also focuses on the 2022 bidding campaign, won by Qatar.The American case has named three former FIFA vice presidents among 14 soccer and marketing officials indicted in May on widespread racketeering charges. A further four men have made guilty pleas in the widening case that is also expected to target Blatter and the 2018-2022 World Cup bid contests. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous ofcenter_img Putin said in the Swiss interview, recorded Saturday in St. Petersburg, that he was sure Blatter was not corrupt. He added that, by making allegations against FIFA, the Americans and their allies in Britain were continuing to fight the World Cup bidding contest. Both the United States and Britain bid for the tournaments won by Qatar and Russia.Blatter made a similar comment in his first interview after being re-elected president of FIFA on May 29.Four days after the interview aired on RTS, Blatter announced he would step down within months. The new election is scheduled for Feb. 26.Blatter has long coveted a Nobel Peace Prize for FIFA on behalf of world soccer, but the corruption cases appear finally to have ended that hope.On June 15, the Nobel Peace Center in Norway terminated its cooperation with FIFA in a project called “Handshake for Peace.” FIFA criticized the Nobel organization the next day for lacking fair play and announcing the split via the media.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right, adjusts his glasses during a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the preliminary draw for the 2018 soccer World Cup in Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, July 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Virgin Blue OK after new glitch scare

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Virgin Blue announced that its reservation and check in systems are up and running, after the airline was again reverted to manual check in after a new glitch halted systems earlier this morning. The airline announced that its systems were back to normal as at 8.30am this morning. “There are no cancellations, guests should go to the airport as normal,” the airline announcement read. Earlier this morning, it looked like Virgin Blue was to be thrown into its fourth consecutive day of disrepair, as a new computer glitch brought systems to a halt, forcing customers to check in manually. The airline says it had some “problems with tests” which caused the delays, News.com.au reported. The airline’s computer had slowed down around 5.15am for 40 minutes, according to a spokesperson. Inbound flights to Brisbane airport were listed as delayed earlier in the morning. Outbound flights from Melbourne were also listed as delayed.The latest glitch follows the massive system failure on Sunday, which left over 100,000 travellers stranded and searching for accommodation, many of them camping out in airport terminals. Over 100 flights were cancelled as a result of the system crash, which was blamed on “external supplier’s hardware failure”.Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson apologised yesterday for “a terrible 24 hours”, in which the airline’s airport staff had come under widespread criticism for their response to the crisis and their inability to communicate the problems to the passengers.last_img read more

Qantas still waiting on 787 delivery

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Three years after the initial delivery date and Qantas is yet to receive its Boeing 787.The flag carrier’s chief executive Alan Joyce told The Australian that the airline has not received a definite date but has projected delivery during late 2012.”We’re still looking at the 787 for the last quarter of 2012,” Mr Joyce told the source. “We haven’t got any firm dates at the moment. “I think they’re probably waiting until ANA takes the first aircraft before firming these things up.” The aircraft manufacturers head Jim McNerney said with high-risk test conditions completed, he was “confident” the planes would begin delivery this year. Boeing said the first of the aircraft to All Nippon Airways is due out in the third quarter this year and expects to also distribute up to 20 others jets towards the end of the year.Mr McNerney added that the Dreamliner would be moving into the Everett factory in Washington to alter the schedule and increase the number of aircraft in production.”We understand the work statement, the fix, the work-around, the change that has to be made, and it’s a matter of scheduling it and getting it done,” he said.The move will allow the company to meet the planes backlog of up to 3,400 aircraft, through the production of 2.5 planes a month, an increase from the current two.last_img read more

Travellers Choice profits spike

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Australian retail travel group has more than doubled its pre-tax operating results for the year ending June this year, with a profit of up to $1.18 million compared to the corresponding year 2010.Reporting a 62 percent increase for the year, the Group contributed the rise to its focus on supporting strategic suppliers and vowed to return 95 percent of its profits to its shareholders.The company said its stakeholders will receive redistribution in the form of 30 cents per share.Despite welcomed a $340,000 surplus over profits recorded during the fiscal year 2009/10, the company’s managing director Gary Allomes said the industry remains challenging.“This year’s result is therefore very pleasing because it is underpinned by our members’ disciplined approach to selling our expanded range of preferred suppliers,” Mr Allomes said.   “Given their efforts it is only appropriate that Travellers Choice members now receive the maximum possible benefit from the profit result.”  The Group concluded that although doubling its pre-tax profits this year, it is aiming for a ten percent rise over the new financial year.last_img read more

Adventure calling Aussies off the beaten path

Adventure calling Aussies off the beaten path

first_imgAustralians embarked on a record 8.2 million overseas holidays last year. But while New Zealand, Indonesia (Bali) and the US remain the most visited countries, adventurous Aussie travellers are increasingly travelling to off-the-beaten-track destinations, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).    After Japan (29%), which continues to rebound following the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the nations that showed the most growth as destinations were Nepal (27%), Tahiti (26%) and Chile (26%). Pakistan (24%), Sri Lanka (22%) and Poland (19%) also showed strong growth.In explaining the numbers, Flight Centre executive general manager – marketing, Colin Bowman said lesser known destinations were figuring more into Australians’ holiday plans because of the rising experience of Aussie travellers, News.com.au reported.”They have done Bali so they might think: ‘What about Tahiti?’,” Mr Bowman remarked.”They are looking for adventure and a different experience so that’s why you’re seeing places like the Cook Islands, Nepal and Mexico becoming more popular.”According to News Limited, despite the emergence of newer hotspots, Mr Bowman said traditional destinations were seeing bigger rises in terms of actual numbers.”There’s lots more choice for people going to the US in terms of carriers,” he said.”A lot of Australians are travelling to Hawaii because there’s great deals there, New York is back on the radar and Qantas is flying to Dallas.”Fastest-growing destinations in 2012 (ABS)1. Japan +29%                                                                    2. Nepal +27%                                                       3. French Polynesia (includes Tahiti) + 26%     4. Austria +26%                                                     5. Chile + 26%                                                       6. Pakistan +24%                                                   7. Cook Islands +23%                                           8. Sri Lanka +22%                                                 9. Poland + 19%                                                  10. Ireland + 19%                                                  Top 10 destinations in 2012 (ABS)1. New Zealand +0.25%                                       2. Indonesia (Bali) +4%                                        3. United States +8%                                             4. Thailand +13%                                                 5. UK +1%                                                             6. China +3%                                                        7. Fiji -1%                                                                                8. Singapore +6%                                                 9. Malaysia +0.5%                                                10. Hong Kong +2%                                               More Australians are making the pilgrimage to Nepal. Image: The William Hinman Foundation Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

Excite Holidays expands global team

Excite Holidays expands global team

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Excite Holidays’ newly appointed director of sales and marketing, Joana Bonto, has hit the ground running in her new role.Ms Bonto is leading the expansion of Excite Holidays’ global customer service division and allocating resources towards extensive training for current and new members of the team.  “As a company, we have always been committed to evolving our business in order to best serve our agents, our booking technology is made for agents, but we also know that when issues arise, travel consultants like to speak to a real person and, for us, this personalised customer service is of the utmost importance,” Ms Bonto said.While Australia will remain the primary customer service support centre for Excite Holidays’ Australia and New Zealand based agents, the company will also be expanding its customer service teams in Asia and Europe. The expansion of the team, both in Australia and overseas, will enable the company to reduce telephone wait times and respond to all email queries within 24 hours. “With more Australians than ever set to travel overseas this year, our strategically located teams in Europe and Asia will be vital in communicating with our global network of hotels to pre-empt and resolve any issues without delay,” Ms Bonto said.  last_img read more