The wrath of Doris leads to cancelled flights and rail delays across

first_img Posted by Share Travelweek Group The wrath of Doris leads to cancelled flights and rail delays across U.K. Thursday, February 23, 2017 center_img LONDON — Storm Doris is wreaking havoc across the U.K., causing delays and headaches for more than 10,000 airline passengers whose flights have been cancelled.According to The Independent, dozens of flights set to depart today have been cancelled to and from Heathrow airport. An alert on Heathrow’s website reads: “Strong winds and poor weather forecast for February 23, related to Storm Doris, are expected to cause some flight delays and cancellations across the UK.” The alert went on to advise travellers to check their flight status prior to arriving at the airport.The Independent reports that over 50 British Airways flights have been grounded, including domestic services and two roundtrips to Amsterdam, Munich and Istanbul. In addition, KLM has cancelled three roundtrips from Amsterdam, Lufthansa and subsidiary Eurowings have grounded flights from Cologne, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt, Swiss has cut a return flight between Zurich and Heathrow, and Aer Lingus has cancelled a dozen flights.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthThe storm’s impact has trickled over to rail travellers as well. Passengers within the UK have been warned of disruptions and delays due to speed restrictions. Virgin Trains East Coast has advised passengers booked to travel today to instead travel before 2 p.m. on Friday instead.Other rail services that have either cancelled links, reduced service or announced delays include the East Coast main line, CrossCountry, TransPennine, Grand Central, Southern and Arriva Trains Wales.In Scotland, ferry passengers sailing to and from the Isle of Arran were warned of possible disruptions due to high winds. Tags: British Airways, Eurowings, Travel Alert, United Kingdom << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

¡Vivamos la Democracia a crash course in civic pride

first_imgIn the back corner of “¡Vivamos la Democracia!” paper cutouts line the wall, portraying dutiful citizens lining up to vote. They look happy and proud. They live in Costa Rica, a democratic country, and every ballot counts. Literally, the exhibit’s title translates to “Let’s live the democracy!” But by the time you reach the colorful cutouts, you may think, “Viva democracy!” Period.At face value, the new exhibit at the National Museum should bore us to tears. “Vivamos” is a crash-course in civics combined with a chronology of Costa Rican governance, a middle school textbook in three dimensions, the dullest of the dull. Because the country has no bloody wars or saber-wielding heroes to liven things up, this history lacks overt drama. Without a Gettysburg or Berlin Wall or Ho Chi Minh, how could any body politic be interesting? Bring on the guillotines and toppled statues! Countries must be forged in blood. Let the rest eat cake.But the truth is that “Vivamos” is a painfully beautiful exhibit, and everyone – from proud Ticos to disaffected expats – should spend a half-hour within its two quiet rooms. The beauty of “Vivamos” is its pure ideals and plainspoken history lessons; we read about slavery, women’s suffrage, electoral trends, courts, communists, and even the National Registry. Who knew that Costa Rican elections were once three-day fiestas, with tallied votes posted at the end of each day, like World Series stats? Who knew how difficult it was to actually document every citizen in the republic? Who knew that women weren’t allowed to vote until 1949 – long after, say, Thailand or Turkey? Not this amateur historian.What’s startling about “Vivamos” is its subtlety, and by extension, the subtle evolution of Costa Rican political life. The exhibit foregoes triumphant marches into burning capitals; instead there are legal documents and vintage photographs, painted portraits and explanatory plaques. You can see a facsimile of a typewriter that produced important manifestoes, cameras that took important photographs, ballots and IDs and personal histories. The walls are covered in quotes by wise statesmen about the virtues of democracy. If you have the faintest interest in municipal life, you may walk away from the National Museum with a burning desire to write your legislative deputy.Meanwhile, the curatorship is strangely intimate: Many texts are bilingual, but others are written only in Spanish. One section, “The First Electoral Processes,” makes reference to “nuestros antepasados,” or “our forefathers.” Ticos are meant to take ownership of this history; foreigners, having no native forefathers, can only appreciate from a distance.Yet the exhibit is also painful, because history is still being written, and we live in a difficult chapter. “Vivimos” began showing last week, between Independence Day and San José’s Bicentennial, and patriotic feelings could be strong. But government approval ratings have slumped, corruption dogs the current administration, and a brutal election looms. There is a great chasm between political philosophy and actual politics, and “Vivamos” celebrates mostly the good parts – great ideals, progressive legislation and civic successes. We must remember that Costa Rica did endure a civil war, albeit a small one, and not every couple can legally marry, and no matter how forward thinking the culture, politicians will always be politicians. No matter where or when you live, some part of government is always going wrong.“Vivimos” is a reminder and a rallying cry, and it could not be better timed. In the noise and confusion of daily headlines, it’s easy to forget what a nation-state is for. Within the soothing white walls of the National Museum, you may be surprised to remember: It’s for you. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

UPDATE CNN seems to have bumped special on US mans mysterious death

first_imgRelated posts:High-profile murder retrial underway in Costa Rica for US expat Ann Patton US man stabbed to death in coffee town north of San José CBS to air documentary questioning Costa Rica’s murder conviction of US expat Ann Bender Top 6 crime stories of 2014 UPDATE, Tuesday, March 18, 8:15 p.m.: CNN seems to have bumped its special investigation of U.S. financier John Felix Bender and his wife Ann Bender, which was supposed to air tonight at 8 p.m. Costa Rica time. Instead, we’re watching a lot of speculation on what might – or might not (“Could the plane have landed on water?”) – have happened to the missing Malaysian flight. No word yet on if the piece has been rescheduled. We’ll keep you posted.Original story resumes here: The story of U.S. financier John Felix Bender and his wife Ann Bender has received all sorts of press due to the intrigue and lunacy that surround their tale. The couple moved to Costa Rica and built a plush mansion and wildlife reserve in the jungle. But the wealthy pair started to lose their minds in the rain forest, and soon John Felix Bender was dead.Did Bender kill himself? Or did his wife murder him as she saw their dreams collapse?  CNN is airing their own special report called “Love and Death in Paradise” on the case. The program debuts at 8 p.m. tonight, Costa Rican time, and 10 p.m. on the U.S. East Coast. However, according to sources, it will not run on CNN International, but only on CNN in the U.S.Previously, Outside Magazine did a story of more than 8,000 words on the couple in an article titled “Love and Madness in the Jungle.”  The magazine sums up the story like this: “A spiral of handguns, angry locals, armed guards, uncut diamonds, abduction plots, and a bedroom blazing with 550 Tiffany lamps ends with a body and a compelling mystery.” Intriguing, no? The writer Ned Zeman captures both sentiments of love and madness:Paranoia took hold. When John wasn’t searching for cures to what ailed Ann, he was fortifying the home and buying weapons. At one point, they again fled the country, this time to New Zealand for three and a half months. Again they were advised to cut their losses and move somewhere else. But no. “We chose Costa Rica,” Ann says. “We were in love.”If you have time, give the article a read first.  Then, tune in for tonight’s special. Sources close to the filming say we can expect some surprising conclusions. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Microsoft now supports the middlefinger emoji — whats holding up everyone else

first_imgWhen Microsoft released its Windows 10 operating system for free in 190 countries Wednesday, it also gave the world the finger. Literally.The new operating system is the first, and thus far the only, to include support for the “Reversed Hand with Middle Finger Extended” emoji — aka, the middle finger. As Emojipedia reports, despite the fact that Unicode, the global standards organization for emoji, made the character available more than a year ago, most tech companies have been really, really skittish about giving this particular emoji a go.It’s odd to see major tech companies, like Apple and Google, assume the role of propriety police. It is, admittedly, in keeping with some of their other moralistic design choices: Both iPhone and Android phones don’t recognize swear words, for instance, and Apple’s official dictionary purportedly excludes thousands of other “controversial” words, besides: things like abortion, prostitution, pornography and suicide.Let’s leave aside, for a second, the issue of whether software should even have that kind of soft-censorship power. There’s another argument to be made against Apple and Google’s finger-wagging: Namely, that the finger isn’t all that offensive in 2015.Certainly the gesture raises eyebrows, and tempers, in many more polite circles. But it’s also become a more casual expression of protest, annoyance, excitement and rage, deployed readily by everyone from politicians and government ministers to athletes and celebrities. The middle finger has become “so well ingrained in everyday life in this country and others,” the law professor Ira Robbins told the BBC, that it simply doesn’t carry quite the same shock now as it did in, oh, 400 B.C.Alas, change comes slowly — even in tech. Case in point: Windows 10 will display the middle-finger emoji if you view the character on a website or copy/paste it from somewhere else. But it will still not include the character in its built-in emoji keyboard. At least, not yet.Dewey writes The Post’s The Intersect web channel covering digital and Internet culture.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:The New York Times eyes more changes to meet digital challenge The NSA has surveillance system to record ‘100 percent’ of a foreign country’s phone calls Twitter has a huge problem — and it’s all in your head Will we finally be able to dislike something on Facebook?last_img read more

Costa Ricas Solís calls for more substantive Central America integration

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica to ‘take a hard look’ at its diplomatic missions, foreign minister says after meeting with US Secretary of State Kerry Comedian leads vote in corruption-weary Guatemala In Costa Rica visit, Guatemala president-elect Jimmy Morales reaffirms opposition to drug decriminalization Costa Rica ‘cautiously’ rejoins SICA GUATEMALA CITY – It’s time to leave the rhetoric aside, said Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís as he kicked off a four-day visit to Guatemala Thursday with a call for a “more substantive” Central America integration.“From my perspective, [regional] unity shouldn’t only be an expression of rhetoric, but rather it should clearly express positive action,” Solís said as he was welcomed by newly elected Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales at the National Palace in downtown Guatemala City.The Costa Rican president also will meet with the presidents of both the legislative and judicial branches, and will travel to the northern department of Petén, which borders Mexico and Belize. There he will visit the archaeological site El Mirador among other activities.Solís said his administration would evaluate returning to full participation in the Central American Integration System (SICA) if leaders of other countries on the isthmus formulate specific and effective proposals toward integration. Last December, Costa Rica withdrew from SICA’s political forums after being snubbed by other countries in the region on the issue of helping thousands of Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica after Nicaragua shut its border to them.A slow-paced solution finally was reached with Costa Rica offering flights to the Cubans to El Salvador and Mexico, where they will continue their journey to the United States.Read our extensive coverage of the Cuban migrants here Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís, left, and Guatemala President Jimmy Morales during a bilateral meeting in Guatemala City, on Feb. 18, 2016. (Courtesy Casa Presidencial)But Costa Rica’s return to SICA politics “would require that we start seriously thinking about the challenges Central America faces and how we can meet them with an effective and efficient integration that responds to the needs of our people and their aspirations for unity,” Solís said.“We could be exemplary leaders in the battle against epidemics, disasters, terrorism and organized crime if we united around an efficient system of integration, and one based on substance,” the Costa Rican president added.Morales, a former comedian and political outsider who took office in January, highlight the good relations between Guatemala and Costa Rica and promised to increase the participation of Tico businesses in the Northern Triangle country. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Beware Vacation brain at the beach can be deadly

first_imgRelated posts:Santa Teresa lifeguards get creative to keep beaches safe Drownings in Costa Rica spur experts to call for more lifeguards Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches of 2016 get blue flags Police to streamline crime reporting in far-flung beach spots Update: Thursday, March 24, 1:45 p.m. Red Cross officials reported that Leonardo Rodríguez Fonseca, 42, of San José drowned Thursday morning just before noon at Playa Negra in Puerto Viejo. A Red Cross lifeguard took the body out of the water in front of La Perla Negra Hotel on the north end of Playa Negra’s strip, according to Red Cross spokesman Gerald Jiménez. Jiménez noted that there are three lifeguards supported by various organizations patrolling the stretch of beach from Playa Cahuita  to Puerto Viejo in the southern Caribbean. Original story:Costa Rican and foreign tourists alike are flocking to the country’s famous beaches during the Holy Week break, but the laid-back mentality that comes with vacation could be a risk for beachgoers.Between 2000 and 2014, Costa Rica has seen an average of 50 to 60 drownings per year, according to figures from the National University’s International Ocean Institute. That’s a high number relative to the country’s size.Last year during Holy Week in Costa Rica, seven people died in water-related accidents and more than 50 people were rescued, according to the Costa Rican Red Cross.Most beaches here do not have lifeguards and many tourists, caught up in their good time, ignore basic safety rules. There has already been one drowning reported this vacation week in Puntarenas, according to the Costa Rican Red Cross.Luis Hidalgo, president of the Costa Rican Lifeguard Association, said that vacationers tend to let their guard down at the beach.Plus, visitors to Costa Rica usually aren’t familiar with the water and surf conditions at beaches, and they may be used to swimming at beaches where lifeguards are keeping a close watch for bathers in distress — and have the equipment to carry out sophisticated rescues.Only a handful of Costa Rica beaches have lifeguard programs, and most of them depend on volunteers. The municipality of Jacó funds a lifeguard program at its beach, while other programs are funded largely by local businesses.Recommended: Santa Teresa lifeguards get creative to keep beaches safeSome business owners say visiting beachgoers simply need to take more responsibility for their safety here. Colin Brownlee, owner of Hotel Banana Azul in Puerto Viejo, said coastal businesses shouldn’t be responsible for funding lifeguards because then they would also be held responsible for drownings.“There’s this thing called personal responsibility,” Brownlee said. “I know it doesn’t exist in the United States but outside of the United States, it does. If I’m in a restaurant and I walk outside and I get hit by a car, it’s not the restaurant’s responsibility.”Three people have drowned at the beach in front of Brownlee’s hotel in as many years. He said there are signs on the beach warning people of rip currents, and he said his staff advise guests about water safety upon arrival.“This is public beach. We tell people not to go in and they still go in,” Brownlee said.He also said about eight members of his staff have received training in water safety, and that he has water rescue equipment stashed in front of his hotel at the beach.Read also: Drownings in Costa Rica spur experts to call for more lifeguardsThis year, higher than normal waves cresting at almost three meters and wind gusts exceeding 19 km/hr are expected at Caribbean beaches, according to forecasts from the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology.Janet Jones of Wahoo Fishing Tours in Puerto Viejo, said the southern Caribbean is “not a dangerous place but you have to use the same sense of caution anywhere.“People just get vacation brain,” she said. Jones was one of the first responders when a U.S. man disappeared swimming off Playa Negra in January.On Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, a rash of drownings last year at Flamingo beach near Tamarindo led the community there to organize a private lifeguarding program with help from the Costa Rican Lifeguard Association.Lifeguard Association president Hidalgo said that the majority of drowning victims in Costa Rica are Costa Rican, followed by U.S. and other foreign visitors. “It’s we Ticos who are dying,” Hidalgo said.He thinks some Costa Ricans don’t take water safety seriously because they believe it’s something that only affects foreign tourists.“Accidents are going to happen,” he said, but that doesn’t mean they’re not preventable. “We don’t want a Holy Week in mourning.”Tips for staying safe at Costa Rica beachesAlcohol consumption and rip currents are some of the main causes of accidents at Costa Rican beaches, Hidalgo said. A rip current is a channel of water flowing away from the beach toward the open ocean, sometimes very quickly.If swimmers find themselves caught in a rip current, also known (though incorrectly) as a riptide or undertow, they should not fight it. Often swimmers who get caught in rip currents exhaust themselves trying to swim toward shore against the water’s flow, and that leads to drowning.Instead, swimmers should swim parallel to the shore to get out of the current’s grasp and then, once they escape the current, swim back into shore.Hidalgo shared some other tips for bathers at the beach:Be mindful of alcohol consumption before swimming.Locate nearby emergency services.Ask locals where rip currents or other hazards are if you’re not familiar with the beach.Know your limits as a swimmer. When in doubt, stay out of the water.Stay alert and keep a close eye on children.For more information, check out the following fact sheet on rip currents. Please feel free to print and distribute:Michael Krumholtz contributed reporting. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Girl in Cambodia killed during violent eviction

first_imgPHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – Security forces fatally shot a teenage girl Wednesday during a clash with villagers armed with axes and crossbows in eastern Cambodia, in the latest of several violent evictions aimed at clearing land for development.Cambodia’s system of commercial land concessions, decried by activists as opaque and corrupt, has become a volatile issue nationwide and prompted a U.N. inquiry. Last month, a high-profile activist was slain after investigating illegal logging in a forest concession. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How do cataracts affect your vision? Sponsored Stories Top Stories Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive a week ago suspending new land concessions to private companies and ordering a review of existing ones. The move was announced during a visit by a U.N. human rights envoy who warned that land disputes in Cambodia must be resolved fairly so that they do not provoke violence.The issue garnered worldwide attention last month when Chut Wutty, a prominent Cambodian environmentalist, was shot dead by a military policeman as he was returning from investigating illegal logging in a concession area.The U.N. envoy, Surya Subedi, said Friday that Cambodia’s system of land concessions appears riddled with problems, including low transparency and minimal consultation with affected communities. Subedi is due to make a formal report on the issue later this year to the U.N. Human Rights Council.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family On Wednesday, about 400 police and soldiers raided a settlement in Kratie province after community leaders rejected demands to vacate their farmland for several months, provincial Gov. Sar Chamrong said. The security forces clashed with about 200 villagers armed with axes, crossbows and sticks.He said a 15-year-old girl was critically wounded in the confrontation and later died at a hospital.Government forces secured the area and were hunting for five accused ringleaders who escaped into the jungle, Sar Chamrong said. He alleged that the protesters were trying to set up a self-governing zone outside of the law.Authorities say the land is owned by the government, but the activists say the previously state-owned land already has been awarded to a Russian company to be developed as a plantation.Accused protest ringleader Bun Ratha said about 500 villagers have been farming the land for years and have nowhere else to go. Speaking to The Associated Press by phone just before fleeing the scene, Bun Ratha said he had been briefly detained last month on charges of destroying private property during a protest.The incident is the latest fallout from widespread evictions and land grabs that have sparked unrest nationwide, with deadly force sometimes employed by both public and private security forces. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Indian agency under fire over toilet makeover

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates India has 450 million people living below its poverty level of less than 50 cents a day. The World Bank’s poverty line is $1.25 a day.The lower standard means India counts fewer people as poor enough to qualify for government assistance.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   NEW DELHI (AP) – An Indian government agency is being criticized for spending $63,000 to renovate its toilets just months after setting the national poverty line far below global standards.The admission sparked a public uproar with newspapers and some lawmakers demanding an explanation.The Planning Commission tried Thursday to mitigate the outrage by saying the three restrooms could service up to 30 people at once. The cost included a $9,000 security card system to limit access. The decor of the rooms hasn’t been described. Quick workouts for men Top Stories Sponsored Stories center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How men can have a healthy 2019 Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

UK court convicts man of funding Stockholm bomber

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day LONDON (AP) – A Scottish jury has convicted an Algerian man of funding terrorism in relation to a 2010 suicide bomb attack in Sweden, but cleared him of conspiracy to murder.Nasserdine Menni was found guilty Friday of conspiring with and sending money to Taimour Abdulwahab, who blew himself up amid panicked Christmas shoppers in downtown Stockholm on Dec. 11, 2010.Prosecutors said Menni had transferred funds to Abdulwahab between 2005 and 2010 in the knowledge that the money would be used for terrorism. Menni, who had denied all charges, was cleared of conspiracy to murder, but convicted of funding terrorism at the High Court in Glasgow.Abdulwahab’s bombing injured two people and sent shockwaves across Sweden, a country which until then had largely been insulated from terrorism.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Guyana presidents spokesman convicted of assault

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths He said Wednesday that he planned to appeal and called it a miscarriage of justice.McKoy scuffled with opposition activist Clifton Stewart in October, a few weeks before the presidential election. Both men accused each other of tearing down campaign posters. Police initially accused McKoy of striking Stewart with a gun but the charge was later dropped for lack of evidence.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) – The presidential press secretary in Guyana has been convicted of assault for striking an opposition party supporter during last year’s election in the South American country.A judge also convicted Press Secretary Kwame McKoy of a lesser charge of using threatening language. The 36-year-old spokesman for President Donald Ramotar was given the option Tuesday of paying $350 in fines or spending two weeks in jail. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   center_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Turkish cameraman set free by captors in Syria

first_imgTurkish legislator Hasan Akgol said Saturday that Unal was in Damascus and would return to Turkey later in the day with a Turkish opposition party delegation, which held talks with Assad and other Syrian officials for his release. There was no information on Fahmi’s whereabouts.Unal told Turkey’s NTV television in a telephone interview that he and Fahmi were caught up in the fighting in the city of Aleppo on Aug. 20 that killed Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto. He said that Fahmi was seriously injured in the fighting.The cameraman carried his injured colleague into an apartment building where some Aleppo residents tended to his wound. Unal left the building to seek more help but was captured by a group of people who later handed him over to Syrian government forces.Unal said he had been held locked up alone in a prison cell in Aleppo for the past three months, living on “bread and potatoes,” but was not ill-treated. His captors even took him to hospital for treatment when he became ill, he told NTV television.He was brought to Damascus three days ago.Unal, sounding emotional, said he was happy to be released but was still “in shock.”“I didn’t know I was going to be released until I saw the (Turkish) delegation in front of me. I cried when I saw them,” he said. “I missed my wife, my daughter and my family.” Comments   Share   In the United States, the Broadcasting Board of Governors welcomed news of Unal’s release but expressed concern over the lack of news on Fahmi. The Broadcasting Board of Governors is funded by the U.S. Congress and runs several broadcast networks for foreign news, including the Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti, which broadcasts to Cuba.“We are relieved that Cuneyt will be reunited safely with his family,” said Michael Meehan, the chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and a member of the broadcast board. “The lack of information on Bashar Fahmi is profoundly troubling.”Akgol told reporters in Damascus that the Syrian authorities were investigating what had happened to Fahmi and would hand him over to Turkey if he is found.“We also want to take (Fahmi) to Turkey. But we don’t know if he is alive or not,” the private Dogan news agency quoted Akgol telling reporters. “The Syrian authorities are investigating.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Associated PressANKARA, Turkey (AP) – A Turkish cameraman captured by Syrian forces while covering fighting in the city of Aleppo in August has been released and will return to Turkey, the delegation that negotiated his freedom with Syrian President Bashar Assad told Turkish media on Saturday.Cameraman Cuneyt Unal and reporter Bashar Fahmi _ a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin _ had been missing since August. They were believed to have been captured by Syrian government forces. Both were working for the U.S.-based Alhurra TV. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Parents, stop beating yourself uplast_img read more

Adam Air black box detected search for plane slowed

first_imgA US Navy ship last week is believed to have detected a signal from the black box of the Indonesian aircraft that went missing on New Year’s Day with 102 passengers and crew onboard.  As a result the search and rescue team for the rest of the plane body has been scaled down.Over recent weeks search and rescue teams have found bits and pieces of the Adam Air fuselage in the waters west of Sulawesi, but plane crash investigators are yet to find the flight recorder.The ship that was said to have received the signals was the ISNS Mary Sears, an oceanographic survey ship with equipment suited to the job.In a statement released by the US embassy, it announced that, “During the search of the projected crash site of Adam Air Flight 574, the Mary Sears, using a Towed Pinger Locator, detected pingers on the same frequency of the black box associated with the missing airplane.”The signals that were found originated from a position 2000 metres deep into the sea, and as such the Indonesian government has announced in a statement that they do not have the sufficient technology to retrieve it and are requesting help.A US Ambassador has already announced that they US is ready to help in the retrieval,Meanwhile, Jusuf Kalla, Indonesian Vice-President has been quoted by the local media saying that if the plane’s wreckage is to be lifted from the seabed, then Adam Air would have to foot the bill as the Government’s responsibility was only in search and rescue.The search and rescue teams have so far found a section of the plane’s tail as well as 206 other pieces of debris, 194 of which have been confirmed as coming from the plane.After this announcement, only the Indonesian Navy and Marines will be left to make up the search and rescue parties as well as three naval ships.Ken Johnson, Transportation Safety Board of Canada former executive said in an interview with Associated Press that the crash could be tied to poor maintenance, pilot error, sabotage, weather, structural faults or “a million other reasons” and that, “In the unlikely event the Adam Air crash was a problem with the aircraft, it’s pretty important to find it and fix the worldwide fleet.”The flight data recorder was found at coordinate points of 03 41 02 southern latitude and 118 08 53 eastern longitude in Majene waters at a depth of 2,000 metres in the ocean, while the cockpit voice recorder at coordinate points of 03 40 22 southern latitude and 118 09 16 eastern longitude at a depth of 1,900 metres in the sea. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Tiger plans IPO to help fund new aircraft expansion

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Singapore-based Tiger Airways is planning an initial public offering (IPO) of up to US$500 million to fund 50 new Airbus A320 aircraft and further expansion in Australia. The budget carrier is considering an IPO of $US300-$US500m as early as the first quarter of 2010 and it has hired DBS Group to help manage the float. A source told Dow Jones Newswires the funds were needed to help finace the purchase of new aircraft that Tiger already has on order as well as helping the airlines future expansion into Australia. A Reuters report said 49 per cent shareholder Singapore Airlines had agreed to the float and Citigroup and Morgan Stanley were joint book-runners. Tiger confirmed an IPO was one option being considered by its shareholders.Renewed rumours of a Tiger IPO surfaced in November after Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choon Seng told analysts it was “a project in progress” but a definitive schedule has not yet been set. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Dubai deemed favourite tourist destination

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Dubai is quickly becoming one of the world’s favourite tourist hot spots after experiencing a seven percent increase in tourism during the first five months of this year.According to Dubai Tour Company more and more people are travelling to Dubai not only to experience the shopping and history offered in other destinations but the untouched desert limited to the Gulf.Figured released by Dubai Commerce and Tourism Development Authority showed European travellers making up the highest percentage of total tourists at 46 percent, 25 percent are Gulf Corporation Council travellers, 14 percent from Asia and 10 percent from other Arab countries.The group also found hotel occupancy rates increased by 3 percent from same time last year.”The total number of guests staying in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments reached 637 390, a seven percent increase compared to the 594 105 guests reported for the same period in 2009,” Dubai Commerce and Tourism Development Authority said.last_img read more

Philippine flavours bring a touch of Grace to Sydney

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Yes that’s sand! Philip (Grace), Brett (PAL) and Consuelo (DOT) Putting the ‘master’ in masterchef From 5 to 21 August Sydney-siders can leave behind the winter cold and be transported to the tropical paradise of the Philippines via the Flavours of the Philippines food festival at The Grace Hotel.Sponsored by the Department of Tourism Philippines and Philippine Airlines, the food festival is expected to draw crowds to not only the newly renovated Grace Brasserie but to the Philippines.“We do not eat to live in the Philippines, we live to eat,” Department of Tourism Philippines Australia/New Zealand tourism attaché Consuelo Jones told e-Travel Blackboard, after a particularly sumptuous meal of fresh spring rolls, stuffed milkfish and an impressive  dessert offering.According to Ms Jones, food is an important aspect of travel and destination choice.“Food is often a gateway to a destination.“We’re trying to get people to know the incredible tastes of the Philippines.”As diners indulge on the delicate flavours of authentic Philippine cuisine thanks to the chefs flown in specially for the event, images of the postcard perfect country play on screens in the brasserie.Diners also get the chance to win a return trip to Manila courtesy of Philippine Airlines.And if the sign of a great restaurant is the clientele’s stalking of its chef and the stealing of his recipes, then Ms Jones can expect big things from the popular food festival.So much, so near, so tasty!To book, call 02 9272 6670 or email find out more about Philippine cuisine, click here.Click here to view pictures of the foodlast_img read more

Tiger Australia continues to weigh on parent

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P. Despite trimming its operational loss in the first quarter, Tiger Airways warned it would take some time to turn a profit as a result of increased competition from other airlines.The Australian operation trimmed its losses to S$21million (A$16million) in the three months to 30 June, from S$23 million previously, due to an 11 percent increase in yields, Brisbane Times reportedTiger Airways chief executive Andrew David confirmed that yields would drop during the next six months due to an increase in capacity from Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar, that would push the carrier to reduce fares to remain competitive.“We may see a drop in profitability, but our competitors are going to feel it as well,” Mr David said.Currently the airline is awaiting a response from the Civil Safety Aviation Authority to have all flight restrictions removed, once approved the carrier plans to be operating 64 sectors per day by October this year.Once the airline has returned to full service, the routes to have the biggest increase in seat capacity include Sydney to Melbourne and Melbourne to Hobart.“All the capacity going into the market means there is pressure on prices, and everybody is feeling that, and everybody will feel it for the next six months,” Mr David said.“But we are rebuilding a brand and if we do the basics well, we will work our way through this and the capacity pressure will come off eventually.”last_img read more

WTM London provides £244 million boost to Londons economy

first_imgWTM London provides £244 million boost to London’s economyWorld Travel Market London, the leading global event for the travel industry boosts the London economy by more than £244million.WTM London 2014 – which ran from Monday 3 to Thursday 6 November at ExCeL, London exhibition centre – attracted a record 51,500 participants from the global travel and tourism industry’s most senior executives, who all came to London to profile the hottest travel destinations.Business deals worth more than £2.5 billion were triggered by the event, while £244,340,223 million has been pumped into the economy through money spent on hotels, restaurants, flights and other discretionary spend by those visiting England’s capital city.To put this figure in context, The British Fashion Council’s London Fashion Week estimated it generates £100 million for the London economy*. While Cardiff’s hosting of seven games at the Rugby World Cup will generate £316 million. In fact, out of the 11 host cities of the 2015 Rugby World Cup only Cardiff and London (£1,203m from 13 games at Wembley, the Olympic Stadium and Twickenham) will generate more than WTM does for the London economy.An October 2014 Deloitte report in to London’s hosting of two NFL games in 2013 revealed it was worth £32 million to the local economy. While a London NFL team playing eight games a season would benefit London to the tune of £102million, according to the report.World Travel Market London showcases around 186 countries and regions through its almost 5,000 exhibitors.  The deals agreed at WTM will be the product content in travel companies’ brochures and on their websites, which will ultimately decide where holidaymakers visit in 2015 and beyond.World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “World Travel Market plays a vital role for both the global travel and tourism industry facilitating more than £2.5 billion in industry deals. Furthermore, the event has a massive impact on the London economy with 51,500 senior executives staying in London and spending money on hotels and evening entertainment, totalling more than £244 million.“WTM economic impact on the London economy is more than double the world renowned London Fashion Week’s and is greater than if London was to have its own NFL team.” World Travel MarketSource = WTM Londonlast_img read more

United States hotel revenue growing but slowly

first_imgDoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York – Times Square SouthUnited States hotel revenue growing but slowlyU.S. hotel revenue growth is slowing down, while expenses are on the rise. According to CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research’s 2016 edition of Trends® in the Hotel Industry, operating performance continued to improve in 2015, but at a much slower pace. Trends® is the firm’s annual survey of operating statements from thousands of hotels across the nation. The data for the 2016 survey was processed in accordance with the new 11th edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry.“After five years of strong increases in occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and profits, U.S. hotels reached the top of the current business cycle in 2015,” said R. Mark Woodworth, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research. “Therefore, it is not a surprise that Total Operating Revenues grew just 5.3 percent from 2014 to 2015. What stands out as a concern for hotel owners and operators was the 4.7 percent increase in expenses, especially during a year when inflation was just 0.1 percent.”Other Revenues GrowFrom 2014 to 2015, 56.9 percent of the hotels in the Trends® sample posted an increase in occupancy, down from the 70+ percent marks posted the prior few years. “This clearly is an indicator that hotels are approaching the top of the cycle when occupancy is at near capacity levels, and in certain markets the negative consequences of new supply growth are being felt,” said Woodworth.86.1 percent of the properties in the sample were able to raise their room rates during the year, while 80.5 percent of the hotels were able to enjoy an increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR). On average, the Trends® sample achieved a RevPAR gain of 4.6 percent.“In 2015, we saw continued improvement in the growth of other hotel revenue sources beyond the rental of guest rooms. During the year, Food and Beverage Revenue rose by a healthy 6.6 percent, while Miscellaneous Income (former Rentals and Other Income) grew by 25.4 percent,” Woodworth added. Because of the strong growth in other revenue sources, Total Operating Revenue for the overall sample increased by 5.3 percent from 2014 to 2015.Real Expense Growth“History has proven that hotels are an expensive business to operate. Over the years, annual changes in operating expenses have averaged roughly twice the pace of changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI),” said John B. (Jack) Corgel, Ph.D., professor of real estate at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and senior advisor to CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research. “Therefore, with a CPI increase of just 0.1 percent in 2015, it would imply that hotel operators would benefit in their efforts to control costs.”Hotel expenses increased by 4.7 percent during the year, or 4.6 percent in real terms. The 4.6 percent increase in real expense growth was the greatest annual change in the past 20 years. Two categories that contributed to the extraordinary rise in operating expenses were labor and fees.“In 2015 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a third consecutive year of hospitality industry compensation growth greater than 3.0 percent. This sustained increase in hospitality compensation primarily is attributable to the continued decline in the nation’s unemployment rate,” Corgel noted. “Additional stress on hotel Salaries and Wages is coming from a rise in legislation regarding minimum wage, living wage, overtime rules, and joint-employment regulations.”CBRE did observe a decline in some operating expenses for U.S. hotels from 2014 to 2015. During the year, hotel Utility Costs fell 2.7 percent, while the Cost of Food declined by 3.3 percent. “This is consistent with the declines in both the energy and food price components of CPI in 2015,” Corgel added.Modest Profit GrowthWith revenues increasing at a greater pace than expenses, U.S. hotels enjoyed a sixth year of growth in profits. In 2015, Gross Operating Profits (GOP) increased by 6.3 percent, while Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) grew by 3.6 percent.“After years of achieving record levels of occupancy and double-digit growth in profits, U.S. hotels appear to have taken a breather in 2015. However, it should be noted that the industry is not out of breath. Our Hotel Horizons® forecasts call for continued RevPAR growth in the near-term, which should lead to persistent, albeit modest, gains in profits,” Woodworth concluded. CBRE GroupSource = CBRE Grouplast_img read more

COMO Hotels and Resorts celebrates World Food Day

first_imgCOMO Hotels and Resorts celebrates World Food DayAt COMO Hotels and Resorts, contemporary, flavoursome food is a highlight of the COMO experience, underpinned by a passion for nutrition and sustainability.In celebration of World Food Day on October 16th 2017, COMO’s hotels across Australia, Asia, Europe, America and the Caribbean are supporting a number of cuisine-related initiatives, directly responding to the needs of local communities.COMO Uma Ubud, for example, will assist neighbouring villages to develop kitchen gardens and provide cooking lessons to help utilise these home-grown ingredients, in the UK COMO Metropolitan London and COMO The Halkin will raise funds for a local food bank.COMO The Treasury in Perth will provide support to Parkerville Children and Youth Care, who specialise in protecting and caring for children and youth who have suffered chronic histories of abuse.COMO Hotels and Resorts has also partnered with Mastercard to celebrate World Food Day by highlighting the importance of childhood nutrition. From October 1st to December 31st 2017, the partnership will provide 10 nutritious meals through the Purchase with Purpose programme* for underprivileged children every time a guest settles their bill with a Mastercard.Hans Jörg Meier, Chief Operating Officer for COMO Hotels and Resorts says, “World Food Day is an important day for us. At COMO, we believe that serving our guests well includes providing an assurance of responsible dining. This partnership with Mastercard will allow us to serve at least 35,000 meals to underprivileged children living in the vicinity of our hotels.”Beneficiaries for this year’s Purchase with Purpose programme include:Parkerville Children and Youth Care: Protecting and caring for the most vulnerable children and youth who have suffered chronic histories of abuse. Supported by COMO The Treasury, Perth, Australia.Gawailing Happy Home: Providing shelter, food, psychological support and legal aid to women and children who find themselves in vulnerable situations. Also provides a home to 20 children at any given time, serving three meals daily, year-round. Supported by COMO Uma Paro and COMO Uma Punakha in Bhutan.Panyanukul School: Providing educational and skill-training opportunities to 280 disabled children from Phuket and the surrounding provinces. Supported by COMO Point Yamu, Phuket.Baan Kho NaKa School: A primary school on Naka Yai Island, Thailand serving 30 students, supported by COMO Beach Club in Phuket.Santisuk Foundation: Catering to the needs of 1,100 special needs children living in slum communities in Bangkok. Supported by COMO Metropolitan Bangkok.Yayasan Peduli Kemanusiaan Bali: Providing rehabilitation and education for Balinese children who have physical disabilities, and who are unable to access formal health care facilities. Supported by COMO Uma Ubud, COMO Shambhala Estate and COMO Echo Beach (opening December 2017) in Bali.Maafushi School and Guraidhoo School: Providing primary and secondary school education to 580 children. Supported by COMO Cocoa Island in the Maldives.Thaa Gaadifushi School: Providing primary school education to 50 children. Supported by COMO Maalifushi in the Maldives.The Felix Project: A food bank that collects fresh food from supermarkets, wholesalers and retailers, and redistributes it to charities and schools across West London. Supported by COMO The Halkin and COMO Metropolitan London in the UK.Feeding South Florida: A hunger and poverty advocacy group providing nutritious food and innovative educational programmes. Supported by COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach in the USA.Food for Thought: Food for Thought provides breakfasts to school students in North, Middle, South Caicos, Salt Cay, Provincials and Grand Turk Islands. Supported by COMO Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands.Guests and diners can share in this effort to raise awareness about World Food Day and COMO’s food initiatives by tagging pictures of COMO meals with #WorldFoodDay2017 and #COMOCares on Instagram and Facebook.Find out more about COMO Hotels and Resorts’ sustainability and community investment efforts at and find out more about Mastercard Purchase with a Purpose at*Via COMO Hotels and Resorts, Mastercard donates funds for local partners to purchase 10 meals or its nutritional equivalent for underprivileged children. COMO employees will also be involved in the distribution of these meals as part of COMO’s commitment to community engagement.Source = COMO Hotels and Resortslast_img read more

What will you be doing Tuesday November 7th

first_imgWhat will you be doing Tuesday November 7thWhat will you be doing Tuesday November 7thThis Melbourne Cup network with industry executives at Hotel CBD Club Bar and enjoy a fabulous menu, see the races on the big screen, and be in the draw to win so many fantastic prizes. There will be lucky door prizes, sweepstakes, best dressed and so much more!The Melbourne Cup event is being hosted by Skal International Sydney, North Sydney and Sydney South. “The purpose of Skal is to gather together like minded people from all areas of the travel industry, to talk about what’s happening in our industry, and ultimately to be able to do business amongst each other”, said Walter Nand, Vice President of Skal International Sydney, “but let’s not kid each other, this Melbourne Cup event is also about having fun with our friends”.As well as great food, great company and great prizes, a jazz band will entertain guests while waiting for the race to begin.Hotel CBD is located the centre of Sydney and is easily accessible by public transport. Proceeds from the event go towards sponsoring travel, tourism and hospitality students at TAFE NSW.Register here to attend – more information on upcoming networking events across Australia see = Skål Internationallast_img read more