Tags: Contests, Trafalgar Monday, April 16, 2018 Posted by Tweet Travelweek Group [PEOPLE] Trafalgar draws winner of ‘Best of Devon and Cornwall’ contest TORONTO — Greg Seid from Expedia CSC Kerrisdale is the lucky winner of Trafalgar’s travel agent contest that ran in the 2018 Europe Edition of Travel Professional.Trafalgar’s ‘Best of Devon and Cornwall’ is an eight-day tour that will include visits to Royal Windsor, the Roman Baths in Bath, Longleat house in Warminster, Lacock village, the seaport of Bideford, the artists’ colony of St. Ives, the stone circle at Stonehenge and John Constables in Salisbury.“We were so surprised and thrilled by Travelweek’s e-mail regarding my win of the eight-day Best of Devon and Cornwall – Trafalgar Guided Vacation. We have sold Trafalgar Tours before and now to truly experience it ourselves will be wonderful,” said Seid about his win.For more about Trafalgar, go to trafalgar.com.For more travel agent contests, go to travelweek.ca/contests. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Facebook Comments From high-powered assault rifles to camouflage-clad police officers perched on top of heavily armored vehicles, the violence gripping the Missouri town of Ferguson has highlighteda growing militarization of U.S. law enforcement seen by many as disproportionate.Since the death on Saturday of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, shot dead by a police officer, Ferguson has exploded into a seething morass of peaceful protests and urban riots and looting. But it is the police response to the unrest that has unsettled many across the United States.While police have used traditional crowd control tools such as teargas in Ferguson, they have also deployed body-armored officers toting M4 assault rifles and stun grenades.One image of a police officer wearing fatigues and carrying a sniper’s rifle while sitting on an armored car quickly went viral.The detention of journalists reporting on the violence on Wednesday also has angered many, with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) denouncing the “intimidation” of reporters from the region.President Barack Obama sought to cool the roiling fury on Thursday, stating that while there was “never an excuse” for violence against police, neither could “excessive force” by officers be justified.Nathan Bethea, an ex-infantry captain in the U.S. Army who completed a 13-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, said he had been appalled by police tactics witnessed in Ferguson.“I retweeted a picture of a guy they had pinned a laser on — a kid who was not even wearing a shirt and much less a weapon,” Bethea said. “Using incendiary grenades, flash bang grenades, tear gas. It seems completely disproportionate to the threat.” In St. Louis, Mo., demonstrators protest the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church, while Brown’s family met with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests to discuss the killing. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP‘America, not Fallujah’“It’s America, not even a huge city and you see them acting like it’s the invasion of Fallujah in 2004,” Bethea added, referring to the bloody battle for the Iraqi city a decade ago.Many see the scenes in Ferguson as the logical consequence of the “1033 program.” Launched in the 1990s, the scheme allows the Pentagon to recycle military grade equipment to law enforcement across the United States. The police in Ferguson are one of 8,000 local forces which have benefited from the scheme.“Since that time local police have been stockpiling arsenals of weapons that are built for combat,” said Kara Dansky, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).In a study titled “War Comes Home” published in June, Dansky denounced the “excessive militarization” of U.S. police forces.The increasingly frequent use of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams was often hard to justify, Dansky said.“For our investigation we looked at over 800 examples of SWAT raids that took place over the course of two years and we found that only seven percent of those were for real emergency situations, close to 80 percent were raids on people’s homes often to look for small amounts of drugs,” Dansky told AFP.Escalating risksOften, Dansky said, the tactical approach proved to be counterproductive.“We saw over and over again that the unnecessary use of paramilitary equipment and tactics escalates the risk of violence and puts people at risk,” Dansky said.So why do so many U.S. police forces believe it is necessary to arm their officers to the teeth in certain situations?Larry Amerson, sheriff in rural Calhoun county in Alabama, said his force recently took possession of an MRAP armored vehicle designed to withstand a blast from roadside bombs.For Amerson, the hardware is a welcome addition.“In 2000 I was sheriff and we had an incident where we had to deal with a mentally deranged man,” he explained. “In that incident he shot three law enforcement officers. We could not get personnel to where the officers were because the man was still armed and the shooting ongoing.“We had no way to get close to rescue those injured people because we couldn’t protect ourselves. So, that piece of equipment gives us the capability to move in dangerous environments in a safe manner,” he said.Many remain unconvinced. Rand Paul, the Republican senator for Kentucky seen as a potential candidate for the 2016 presidential election, believes the militarization of U.S. police forces needs to stop.“There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response,” he argued in a commentary in Time magazine. “The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.”Paul claimed the federal government had “incentivized the militarization of local police precincts” by helping local government “build what are essentially small armies.”“That goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement,” Paul said. Related posts:Following Ferguson, US police use of military gear to be reviewed US Justice Department to launch probe of Ferguson police in wake of recent violence Grand jury declines to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson White House protester Concepción Picciotto dies after 35-year vigil
President Luis Guillermo Solís on Tuesday evening sent the Legislative Assembly a bill proposing the cancellation of a backlog of sales taxes, interest and fines for tourism businesses as stipulated by a new provision of the country’s Sales Tax Law that took effect Aug. 1.In August, the Finance Ministry ordered tourism businesses to collect sales tax on tourism activities that were previously exempt based on an interpretation of the Sales Tax Law from 1982. The new regulation resulted in a decree requiring all recreational activities including rafting, diving, surfing, ziplining, hiking and others to be taxed retroactively up to four years.Tourism businesses have since been urging Solís to block the decree, arguing that collecting retroactive taxes would lead to business closures, layoffs, a loss of competitiveness and a decrease in investment.“We fully understand the importance of tourism for our economy. This initiative we are sending today to lawmakers demonstrates the government’s understanding of the needs of the tourism industry and their will to keep providing benefits and profits to Costa Rica,” Solís stated in a press release.Vice President Ana Helena Chacón said one of the reasons the decision to cancel the debts was made was because “there was never a warning issued to the tourism sector that they would be charged [sales] tax on recreational activities that were previously exempt.”Chacón added that Costa Rica “would be charging taxes and interest to business owners who were hurt by a drop in tourism visits in 2008-2009 caused by the international financial crisis.”The bill states that companies that paid taxes after the decree’s approval would be unable to receive refunds because those taxes were paid by customers.On Wednesday, the National Liberation Party’s top lawmaker, Rolando González, said he agreed with the decision to support the tourism sector, “one of the country’s hardest-hit sectors by the financial crisis,” but his party would not accept a bill that fails to calculate how much the move would cost the government in lost tax revenue.González’s comment referred to a statement by Vice President Chacón on Tuesday that the government is unaware of the actual revenue the Tax Administration would lose, or the number of businesses that would benefit if the bill is approved.Chacón said the administration likely would conduct that study in coming weeks. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tourism entrepreneurs urge President Solís to block retroactive sales tax Solís blocks added sales tax on national park entrance fees, a decree passed days before he took office Tourism chambers outraged over latest Tax Administration order for businesses to collect sales tax on tourism activities Tourism chamber leaders vow to escalate fight against added sales tax
Related posts:US Justice Department to launch probe of Ferguson police in wake of recent violence Islamic State terrorists talked of entering U.S. through Mexico Elena Poniatowska: Mexican student massacre reminiscent of concentration camps Sentencing in Chile begins to bring closure in 41-year-old murder cases of US citizens Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman “L’état c’est moi”(I am the State) is a phrase commonly attributed to Louis XIV of France. Although there is no proof that he actually said it, the phrase has survived for centuries, and today is often used to refer to states and governments that abuse their power. Democracy has many meanings and interpretations, but one of its core principles is that it is incompatible with tyranny – that many people are the state, and no one person can determine a country’s destiny. The world has come a long way in understanding this concept. Never before in human history have so many people been aware that a politician, a policeman or a bureaucrat must not impose his will on citizens or override their rights.This level of awareness has also been accompanied, to varying degrees, by better institutions, regulations and practices for the exercise of public power – but the task is far from complete. Unfortunately, a strong belief in democracy has not translated automatically into better democratic states that are able to protect their citizens while respecting their freedoms. Recent headlines have highlighted this in unsettling ways. The abduction of more than 270 schoolgirls in Nigeria seven months ago; the more than 20 people murdered every day in Honduras, the most violent country in the world without an armed conflict; and the disappearance of 43 students in the city of Iguala in Mexico are just three internationally infamous examples of states’ failure to keep their citizens safe. What’s more, daily occurrences of street crime, terrorism and overall violence are even worse in these and many other countries. And the public unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, because of the killing of young Michael Brown by a police officer has shown that even in consolidated democracies like the United States, state institutions are not exempt from being discredited and losing public support.Recommended: When ‘politician’ is a dirty wordThat’s what’s at stake here, after all. Events like these result not only in the loss of human lives, but also of confidence in the state’s institutions to prevent such tragedies, and to judge the responsible parties. People demand security and justice. When they get neither, the result is a serious rupture of the bond between the state’s institutions, the people and their representatives. An opposition student writes an anti-government slogan on a shop window in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 8, 2014. Juan Barreto/AFPSo how should we respond to situations like this? How can states facing such tragedies protect citizens’ safety as well as their liberties? The answer is not simple. Determining the extent of state powers and of citizens’ rights has been a political dilemma for centuries. And yet, we have states and we have to deal with them the best way we can to protect and enhance liberty. That, at least in modern liberal democracies, is the ultimate goal. Immediate political interests, however, have sacrificed the end for the means by increasing the powers of the state. Think of the the “mano dura” (strong hand) policies in Latin America to fight crime, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plans to “reform” the police force, or the anti-terrorism laws enacted all around the world with little or none inclusive debate. This is not the best answer, and our representatives and we know it. Granting draconian powers to leaders or police forces has proved wrong in the past, and it’s wrong now. Moreover, it is wrong in essence. It is also most often a political show, especially when those leaders or forces are also weak or corrupt.The only way to prevent tyranny while guaranteeing security is through reasonable and permanent debate within political parties, civil society organizations, and academic institutions within the formal and informal mechanisms of discussion in a democracy. There is a difference – a big one – between citizens agreeing on legal, legitimate and reasonable limitations to the exercise of certain freedoms to provide security, and governments imposing limitations. Societies that openly discuss the scope of their security policies, the extent of their rights, and the necessity of their laws, are the only ones able to counteract any attempt of tyranny from their public authorities. The leadership and structure of these discussions should come from our legislatures. Unfortunately, legislatures are the democratic institutions with least public support – but that’s an issue for another column. A man holds a sign as he protests on Aug. 15, 2014 the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Joshua Lott/AFPThe solution, of course, also includes pragmatic measures like having better and more transparent judiciaries, prosecutors and police forces, which requires reform, training and the corresponding investment. However, as hinted above, the solution is not only monetary. It is also moral, and that requires deeper changes. It requires changes from those in power: People are right to be angry because their fellow citizens are dying and disappearing, sometimes because of the indolence and inaction of the highest authorities. In the case of Mexico, for example, protesters on the streets are not only angry because of what happened, but also because their president is not listening to them.It also requires changes from citizens. Our democracies are at risk when some citizens remain indifferent to tragedies like the ones I’ve mentioned here, while others die or live with fear every day. That is a sign not only of inequality but also of democratic rupture. A failed state is a reflection of a failed society. All citizens are responsible for the state they have. No doubt bad political representatives can aggravate social situations by inaction or via erroneous laws and policies, but in the long run states are enhanced or weakened by everyone.There’s another quote attributed to Louis XIV: “I leave, but the State shall always remain.” Protests in Mexico, Nigeria, United States and many other countries are showing that citizens believe that if some states will endure beyond our generation, they must change. Building the type of state we want is the hard task. But the painful events in recent headlines have shown us that there is something we know: We as citizens are clear about the type of state we do not want to have.Read previous Politic(o)s columns here Tomás Quesada-Alpízar is pursuing his doctoral degree in politics at the University of Oxford. In “Politic(o)s,” published at the start of every month, he explores current events and political issues in Costa Rica and around the region. He welcomes reader questions and comments at email@example.com. Facebook Comments
Related posts:Costa Rica named top tourism destination in new global survey Road to Monteverde closed starting next week Costa Rica Coast Guard rescues injured US tourist in Las Catalinas Life jackets not distributed before Costa Rica catamaran began sinking, killing 3, says president’s office Facebook Comments You and your friends are strolling along the sidewalk in a Costa Rican beach town when someone approaches you, suggesting a horseback tour at a price way below those offered in the tour guides. It sounds like fun, and it sure is a good deal. But is it a good deal for the horses?Horseback riding is a popular activity for visitors to Costa Rica, and there is a wide of variety of horse tours in a range of prices and locations – from easygoing rides for those not use to the saddle, to longer ones for the experienced. However, tourists can help by attempting to ensure that the companies or guides they choose to use care for their horses well.This is a new goal for members of McKee Jacó, the organization known for low-cost spay-neuter programs on the Pacific coast. With posters and flyers showing an overworkedcartoon horse, they hope to raise awareness among tourists and Ticos alike.“There are operators of house tours that approach tourists on the beaches or along roads offering horse riding at low, low prices. Tourists, thinking of saving money, accept,” says McKee’s Katya Bader. “But the horses may be in bad condition, overworked or dehydrated, or they may have sores. These tours do not offer insurance in case of accidents, and are probably illegal,” she adds.The National Animal Health Service (SENASA), Costa Rica’s animal health agency, is concerned about horse treatment here, including hoses used for tours and riding academies. The agency issues a certificate called a Certificado Veterinario de Operación, or CVO, to tour operators who comply with the agency’s requirements and national laws governing animal welfare. Visitors can ask to see operators’ CVO certificate to verify that the operation is on the up and up and that the horses meet health standards.Horses rank in popularity right behind dogs and cats here, for riding, petting, work, and for topes, the horse parades which can draw thousands of horses and riders. Horse events are also included at community festivals and parades, and the police department has 70 horses for their mounted police units. SENASA’s veterinarians are kept busy trying to make sure horses are kept in good condition.Other measures tourists and horse enthusiasts can take, according to Baker, are booking horse tours through hotels or reputable tour agencies, and doing some homework on any tours offering low prices. Some hotels are helping the Jacó-based project by posting signs in their parking lots or putting up stickers in their reception areas. Further plans are for a brochure for tourists on what to look for in a healthy horse tour.For more information on McKee Jacó or this campaign, visit the organization’s Facebook page.
Related posts:Dreaming of a weekend trip Slow and steady Sunday Bring on the high season A piece of paradise Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or a photo of your upcoming special event? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Comments PHOTOS: The agony, the ecstasy at the Zapote bullfights As the New Year approaches, many Costa Ricans are heading to the annual festival in Zapote to eat plenty ofchurros, take a spin on the rides and watch the renowned, controversial bullfights of the end of the year.Read more: Tico bullfights and horse shows: Tradition or torment?
San José— In a display of the movement’s continued momentum, tens of thousands of protesters once again shut down streets throughout Costa Rica’s capital Wednesday.A wave of people stretching nearly two miles from Paseo Colón to the Legislative Assembly reasserted their displeasure against Law 20.580, Strengthening of Public Finances, which public-sector unions say would place a disproportionate burden on the working class while protecting large industries and the rich. The fiscal reform is meant to help address Costa Rica’s deficit. The nation finished 2017 with a 6.2 percent deficit, and the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) warned the country’s economy could deteriorate without significant tax reform. Tuesday, BCCR issued the government a loan of nearly 500 billion colones (about USD $470 million) in order to pay their expenses for the third quarter of 2018. While union representatives and the government have met in recent days to resolve their’ disagreements on how to approach tax reform, talks have stalled. As a result, strikes continued with renewed vigor in a demonstration nicknamed “March of the Cats,” a tongue-in-cheek response to those who believe the movement represents a small minority of Costa Ricans. When Costa Ricans refer to a small group or poor turnout, they may call it “cuatro gatos,” four cats. Many of the protesters Wednesday wore cat ears, donned custom-made T-shirts, or carried feline-themed signs. The cat-themed march was a sarcastic response to the idea that only a few people and their cats showed up to the strikes. (Alissa Grosskopf / The Tico Times)But even those in costume voiced a serious message: That the government ought to recognize how many of its constituents are willing to speak out against the proposed tax reform. Sergio Garro Mora, a farmer from Los Santos, said he joined the march to represent the poorest citizens of Costa Rica. He drew cheers and applause as he rode through the crowds in a traditional painted oxcart, pulled by two of his animals which he transported to San José. He was followed by a procession of tractors, each overflowing with people. Since the government doesn’t regularly visit the farms, Mora explained, he wanted to bring it to them. Several farmers brought oxen to the March of the Cats on Sept. 26, 2018. (Alissa Grosskopf / The Tico Times)“I come from the fields, but I’m no fool — I’m informed,” he said. “We are paying taxes, and the rich are stealing from us. We farmers are on the streets telling the government that we cannot support this. “We hope that something positive comes of this. This fight is for the people who are the least protected.” The march remained mostly peaceful, though La Nación reported a person was detained after her car hit at least five protesters near the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) building. The daily also reported transit police stopped more than 20 buses from deviating from their scheduled routes to transport protesters into San José. But mid-afternoon, thousands of people packed the streets and parks surrounding the Legislative Assembly. Protesters gathered outside the Legislative Assembly after the March of the Cats on Sept. 26, 2018. (Alissa Grosskopf / The Tico Times)That crowd included Sedias Morales Luis, one of about a dozen members from the indigenous territory Tjai-Cabecar who demonstrated near the Parque Nacional with signs written in Spanish and in the Cabécar language. Morales said many indigenous communities throughout Costa Rica already feel “exploited” by multinational industries and worried the proposed tax reform could worsen malnutrition in his town. “As Costa Ricans, we need to be fighters to defend our rights,” he said. “Whether you are indigenous or not, we all deserve the right to march.” He shared that sentiment with thousands of others, who marched despite the government’s efforts to declare the strike illegal. In an open letter to the country Tuesday, President Carlos Alvarado said his government “reiterates its willingness to … clarify or fix” portions of the proposed reforms but that Costa Rica’s future rests on fiscal changes being made. “What we do as a society in the coming days will determine the future of our nation and our families,” he said. “Time has run out. The time to resolve this has arrived.” But Wednesday’s march proved things are far from purr-fect. Protesters outside the Legislative Assembly building on Sept. 26, 2018. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times) Facebook Comments Related posts:Unions and government start talks to end strike Costa Rican government seeks agreement with unions to end strike Dialogue to end the strike comes to a standstill Government tables draft bills aimed at approving fiscal reforms
Related posts:Costa Rica’s Rincón de la Vieja Volcano explodes again Turrialba Volcano registers increase in activity Tourism Chamber: Please support businesses outside Poás safety perimeter President Solís tours Poás Volcano region following strong explosion Costa Rica announces increased security measures for active volcanoes Rincón de la Vieja Volcano is located in the eponymous national park in the Guanacaste province. The National Park attracts visitors due to its unique flora and fauna, natural water attractions and periodic geothermal activity.In 2017, more than 82,000 people visited Rincón de la Vieja National Park.This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Rincón de la Vieja erupted early Sunday morning, sending volcanic rock into nearby rivers, according to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI).OVSICORI data indicates a five-minute eruption occurred at 1:26 a.m. Sunday. The organization said it could not calculate the height of the ash plume due to lack of visibility.Rocas Incandescentes vistas desde Gavilán de Upala.El día de hoy 20 de enero 2019 a la 1:26 a.m. hora local, se registra una erupción en el volcán Rincón de la Vieja, se desconoce la altura alcanzada por la columna debido a las condiciones de visibilidad del sitio. pic.twitter.com/PL7GeQQqFl— OVSICORI-UNA (@OVSICORI_UNA) January 20, 2019OVSICORI shared a collage of images showing incandescent material near the Rincón de la Vieja crater (top) and volcanic material being carried by northerly rivers (middle and bottom).20 enero 2019. Imagen superior. Material incandescente observado en la cima del V. Rincón de la Vieja, desde Sensoria por medio de webcam de OVSICORI. Imágenes inferiores materiales arrastrados por la corriente del Río Azufrado. Imágenes por Oscar Alvarado “Mapache” pic.twitter.com/T3ZB8mr4Eg— OVSICORI-UNA (@OVSICORI_UNA) January 20, 2019Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) has not yet issued a statement. The CNE recently announced increased security measures at the nation’s active volcanoes.
Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The Simon Wiesenthal Center lists Zentai among its 10 most wanted for having “participated in manhunts, persecution, and murder of Jews in Budapest in 1944.”The decision “appears to ignore numerous legal precedents which in the past facilitated the prosecution of the leaders of the Third Reich and additional Nazi war criminals,” the center’s Israel director Efraim Zuroff said in a statement. “In practical terms, it signals a dismal conclusion to Australia’s totally unsuccessful efforts to bring to justice any of the numerous Nazi war criminals who found refuge in the country.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s highest court ruled Wednesday that a 90-year-old citizen cannot be extradited to Hungary to face accusations he tortured and killed a Jewish teenager during World War II.The High Court upheld a lower court’s decision that reasoned war crimes charges former Hungarian soldier Charles Zentai may face did not exist at the time of the slaying, a conclusion criticized by the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center. Comments Share Hungary says Zentai is suspected of beating the teen to death in Budapest in 1944 for failing to wear a star identifying him as a Jew. Zentai, who migrated to Australia in 1950 and later became a citizen, has denied the allegation and has been fighting extradition since 2005.Last year, the Federal Court found that because the offense of “war crime” was not on Hungary’s statute books when the teenager died in 1944, it was not an offense for which Zentai may be surrendered under Australia’s extradition treaty with Hungary.The government appealed, but on Wednesday, the High Court upheld the lower court’s decision. Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare confirmed in a statement that the ruling means Zentai cannot be extradited.Zentai’s son, Ernie Steiner, has argued that his father _ who has been free on bail _ is too ill to survive the trip to Hungary.Zentai told reporters in the western city of Perth that he was prepared to supply answers if Hungary sent investigators to Australia to question him.“I’ve been so stressed, in the last few days in particular. Now, I just don’t know how I feel,” Zentai said.Steiner said his father was innocent and was not even in Budapest when the teen died. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Four benefits of having a wireless security system 3 international destinations to visit in 2019
5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) – U.S. Africa command head Gen. Carter Ham met with Mauritania’s president and an official says the two are discussing a possible military intervention, likely West African-led, in north Mali against al-Qaida-linked group members and their allies.Tuareg rebels helped overtake Mali’s north earlier this year after a coup in Mali’s capital. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Islamist allies later took over the territory. The official spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. No further details were available.Mali’s interim government has asked for support to restructure its military. The European Union says it is considering requests to support West African-led military intervention.Mauritania in August said it will not intervene militarily in the north Africa region, but it has conducted several operations against AQIM bases in response to threats to the country’s interests.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Comments Share 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
BAA was also criticised by Virgin Atlantic and British Airways (BA) for not keeping the airlines informed on when they would be able to resume flights.”It was pretty galling on that Tuesday to hear from the Prime Minister on the media that the runway was reopening that afternoon,” Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway told MPs. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: V.V BA operations director Andrew Lord also weighed in.“At the end of the day, if the airport operators do not provide a service to us it is our customers that suffer and that is a situation that is not acceptable to us,” he said. British Airports Authority (BAA) admits it failed to manage London’s Heathrow Airport during December’s snowstorm that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The Telegraph reported BAA chief executive Colin Matthews fronted British MPs last week, who demanded reasons why Heathrow was unable to cope with the extreme weather.Costs for the partial or total closure of Heathrow before Christmas last year cost BAA about £20 million, the MPs were told.“We should have had a plan which envisaged much more snow,” he said.“We certainly should have done better and will do better in the future.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Virgin Australia’s (VA) decision to fly additional regional and interstate services has coincided with the release of the airline’s new major marketing campaign, dedicated to the customer experience.Virgin Australia will increase flights on popular corporate routes between Brisbane and key regional cities Emerald and Rockhampton and also between Brisbane and Newcastle in New South Wales.“Demand from the corporate and resources sectors for more flights for each of these key regional cities has been strong,” Virgin Australia Group executive alliances network and yield Merren McArthur said.“Not only are we providing more choice of flight times but we have adjusted schedules to provide better onward domestic and international connections beyond Brisbane,” Ms McArthur said.Additional services between Brisbane and Emerald will commence on 29 October 2012, while new flights will commence between Brisbane and Newcastle and also Brisbane and Rockhampton from 12 November 2012.Virgin Australia’s innovative new campaign includes a 60-second television commercial, featuring Virgin Australia employees and was filmed on the salt plains of Western Australia.“We have completely overhauled the customer experience, transforming the look and feel of travelling withVirgin Australia both in the air and on the ground,” VA chief customer officer Mark Hassell said. “We now have a brand new product that can compete with the best airlines in the world,” Mr Hassell said. Popular Australian director Daniel Askill was commissioned to direct the soundtrack for the campaign’s commercial which features vocals from Australian artist Megan Washington performing ‘S’Wonderful’.The new advertisement was seen by thousands as part of the AFL Grand Final broadcast last weekend, while one of VA’s new Airbus A330 aircraft made a fly-over before kick-off at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).You can check out the new clip from Virgin Australia’s YouTube page below.http://www.youtube.com/user/virginaustralia/virgin
Source = ETB News: L.B. Malaysia Airlines will introduce a third daily Sydney to Kuala Lumpur service as of 5 February 2014. The new daily service from Sydney Airport will be on Malaysia Airlines’ new Airbus A330-300 aircraft, complete with new interior, mood lighting, extra storage space, individual screens and lie flat business class seats. “This additional service on the Sydney to Kuala Lumpur route will increase capacity to the growing demand by adding an extra 207,000 seats a year,” Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said. Malaysia Airlines has announced it will launch a third daily service between Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, to commence in February 2014. “We estimate the additional flights will deliver AU$124 million in inbound visitor expenditure to the NSW economy per year, providing a great boost to tourism and business.” From 21 November, Malaysia Airlines will increase its current double daily operations from Sydney to 18 flights per week with an additional four services per week and from 5 February 2014, the airline will increase to 21 flights per week with a triple daily service.
Wotif faces a yearly profit drop of 15.4 per cent to AUD $43.2 million, following greater competition with its rivals and some uncertainty over regulatory approval for its purchase by Expedia.The Australian company’s hotel room night bookings system for Australia and New Zealand declined by 9.4 per cent but its accommodation margins increased by 13.7 per cent because of increased hotel commission rates.Expedia is currently offering AUD $3.06 a share and a AUD $0.24 fully franked dividend via a Wotif scheme of arrangement.Wotif has previously struggled to compete against Booking.com and Expedia.The ACCC is expected to make a decision on 10 September and the NZ regulator will make a ruling on 10 October.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Air New Zealand launches Sustainability FrameworkAir New Zealand has today launched a new Sustainability Framework as part of its commitment to helping supercharge our nation’s success.Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon unveiled the framework along with several sustainability initiatives at an event for business leaders in Auckland this morning (NZ time).“We see the success of our business as being inextricably linked to the success of our country – Air New Zealand needs a strong and prosperous New Zealand and in turn, New Zealand needs a successful and thriving national airline,” says Mr Luxon.“Given the significance of this business to New Zealand we have signed ourselves up to a mission and purpose bigger than ourselves – that is to supercharge New Zealand’s success – socially, environmentally and economically.”The airline’s new Sustainability Framework sets out how it will contribute to supercharging New Zealand’s success. The economic, social, and environmental pillars of the framework are supported by six key focus areas – the airline’s people; the communities it operates within; carbon, nature and science; tourism and trade and enterprise.Mr Luxon says Air New Zealand recognises that to be successful in its sustainability journey the airline requires advice from global experts. It has formed a Sustainability Advisory Panel made up of New Zealand and international experts with specialist knowledge. They are:· Sir Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder and Director, Forum for the Future (United Kingdom)· Dame Anne Salmond, New Zealand anthropologist, writer and distinguished professor of Maori Studies, University of Auckland (New Zealand)· Rob Fenwick CNZM, entrepreneur, director and conservationist (New Zealand)· Derek Handley, social entrepreneur, Founder of Aera Foundation (New Zealand)· Suzanne Hunt, Founder and President, HuntGreen LLC and biofuels expert (United States)· Brian Pearce, Chief Economist, International Air Transport Association (Switzerland)Mr Luxon and Air New Zealand’s Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, who has responsibility for sustainability at the airline, also sit on the panel.Sir Jonathon Porritt emphasised how important it is to see a large New Zealand company take sustainability seriously, both for the company itself and for the New Zealand economy as a whole.“We’ve been able to convene a group of people with enormous expertise in different areas of the sustainability agenda. What excites us is the opportunity to support Air New Zealand in its goal of becoming one of the world’s most sustainable airlines.”Mr Luxon says the actions to be delivered under the sustainability framework have been driven in part by insights gleaned from its staff and customers.“Earlier this year we conducted a significant piece of research, asking how people thought Air New Zealand should ‘supercharge New Zealand’s success’. Key themes to emerge from the research were around enabling knowledge and inspiration as well as helping young Kiwis and emerging businesses to succeed. In the coming year we’ll be launching several significant initiatives that support these themes.”Source = Air New Zealand
Booking.com presents 5 Fun Food FestivalsBooking.com presents 5 Fun Food FestivalsMore than one in five global travellers said they have travelled especially to attend a food festival with more than half saying that they travel specifically for the thrill that comes with exploring global cuisines*. To celebrate the harvest this autumn, Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, is presenting five beautiful destinations that are perfect for celebrating food, immersing yourself into a new culture and pleasing your palate with different and unique flavours.Zibelemärit (Onion Market) – Bern, SwitzerlandThe historical and picturesque city of Bern is nestled within the banks of the Aare River and is highly endorsed for its old town, sightseeing and history. Every year, on the fourth Monday of November, it hosts the traditional Onion Festival, where 50 tons of onions are sold and transformed into tasty delicacies.Where to stay: With a central, yet quiet location in the city centre, Bed and Breakfast Wildrose offers spacious rooms and complementary full English breakfast that guests can enjoy on the terrace during sunny days.Seafood Festival – O Grove, Spain Around two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water – just think of all the delicious fish, succulent squid, and juicy shellfish out there! Every October, for the last 53 years, the picturesque coastal town of O Grove organizes the Seafood Festival. Travellers from all over the world have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of delicious local dishes with fresh seafood from Ría de Arousa in a destination highly rated for seafood, beaches and scenery.Where to stay: Offering a sun terrace and beautiful views of O Grove, Habitaciones Castelao is a great place to stay to enjoy all the activities of the festival. All rooms at the property have a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, a coffee machine and a kettle.Castagnades (Chestnut) Festival – Meyras, FranceFor travellers looking for something less busy, in the heart of Ardéchois villages, the Castagnades festival invites guests of all ages to a friendly atmosphere with gastronomic competitions and local products made of chestnuts. Set in a valley between the Ardèche and Fontaulière rivers, the small village of Meyras, hosts the Chestnut Festival on 15 October. Meyras is highly endorsed by Booking.com travellers for tranquillity, nature and gourmet food.Where to stay: When it comes to places to stay, look no further than Maison Sous Le Pont B&B. This traditional stone house features a beautiful terrace among the trees, where guests can enjoy delicious local dishes made of fresh local products.Hawaii Food and Wine Festival – Hawaii, USA If you really want to savour Hawaii’s great cuisine, there’s no better way to taste it than durning the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, which takes place from 20 October until 5 November on the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Oahu and Hawai’i . The festival hosts popular chefs, cooking demonstrations, delicious local dishes and various wine tastings to wash it all down. Booking.com travellers have endorsed the islands of Hawaii for their beaches, nature, tranquillity and the relaxation they offer.Where to stay: The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas are luxury villas set between North Ka’anapali Beach and the mountains of West Maui, offering spacious villas with views of the ocean or island. The property has three onsite restaurants and two bars serving an array of cuisine from Italian to American.Mid-Autumn Festival – China The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival is the second most important festival in China and eating mooncakes is the most common activity of the day. Although this is technically not a food festival, it is a great opportunity to taste the delicious, sweet Chinese pastry.Where to stay: A world-renowned gem, sprawling Beijing is highly endorsed for history, culture and food and is a great destination to experience this unique festival. Positioned in the central hub of Beijing, the Rosewood Beijing is an artistic masterpiece of modern and old, featuring a lush garden, an outdoor pool and tastefully designed dining spaces.Source = Booking.com
Market Research Division of Ministry of Tourism compiles data on foreign and domestic tourist visits to States/Union Territories (UTs) received from Departments of Tourism of various State Governments and UT Administrations.Foreign Tourist Visits (FTVs) to States/ UTs during 2014, the number of foreign tourist visits (FTVs) to the States/ UTs was 22.57 million as compared to 19.95 million in 2013 and 18.26 million in 2012.The number of FTVs to States/UTs registered in 2014 a growth of 13.12% over 2013 as compared to a growth of 9.24% in 2013 over 2012.The top 10 States in terms of number of FTVs (in millions) during 2014 were Tamil Nadu (4.66), Maharashtra (4.39), Uttar Pradesh (2.91), Delhi (2.32), Rajasthan (1.53), West Bengal (1.38), Kerala (0.92), Bihar (0.83), Karnataka (0.56) and Haryana (0.55). The contribution was about 88.8% to the total number of FTVs in the country.The top 10 States in terms of FTVs in 2014 almost remained the same as those in 2013 except Goa which was at 10th position in 2013 got replaced by Haryana.Domestic Tourist Visits to States/ UTs during 2014, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/ UTs was 1282 million as compared to 1145 million in 2013 and 1045 million in 2012.The number of domestic tourist visits to States/UTs registered in 2014 a growth of 11.93% over 2013 as compared to growth of 9.59% in 2013 over 2012.The top 10 States in terms of number of domestic tourist visits (in millions), in 2014, were Tamil Nadu (327.6), Uttar Pradesh (182.8), Karnataka (118.3), Maharashtra (94.1), Andhra Pradesh (93.3), Telengana (72.4), Madhya Pradesh (63.6), West Bengal (49.0) Jharkhand (33.4) and Rajasthan (33.1).The contribution of top 10 States was about 83.28% to the total number of domestic tourist visits during 2014. Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have maintained the first and second rank respectively in terms of DTVs in 2014, whereas Karnataka and Maharashtra have come at 3rd and 4th position, respectively due to split of the state of Andhra Pradesh (dropped down to 5th rank) and Telengana (6th rank).Madhya Pradesh has slipped to rank 7th in 2014 from rank 6th in 2013 where as West Bengal has improved to rank 8th in 2014 from rank 9th in 2013. Jharkhand has entered into top 10 States improving its rank to 9th in 2014 from 14th in 2013.
Tamil Nadu has emerged as a critical market accounting for about 10% of the overall leisure business with a year-on-year growth of 23%. With leisure business expected to see a growth of 20-25% this year as a result of increasing outbound from tier II, III and IV Indian cities, Thomas Cook (India) suggested the growth is due to policy reforms over the years.Romil Pant, Senior Vice President – Leisure Travel, Thomas Cook (India) said, “This year, we’ll be focusing on strengthening our presences in tier II, III and IV cities by launching regional tours, which includes regional language speaking operator, co-travellers and regional cuisine. Since its launch in Tamil Nadu, we’ve received an encouraging success.”Highlighting the emerging trends that as visa procedures become easier, people are excited to explore the newer market. On the domestic front, he said the emerging trend was to combine religious travel with a domestic trip.
W Ibohal Singh, Director of Tourism, Government of Manipur stated in a press conference of HODs organised by DIPR for highlighting the activities and achievements of the Government of Manipur held at DIPR Complex, Moirangkhom, Imphal that the tourism department is giving its priority to promote eco-friendly and sustainable tourism in the state.He said that a good hospitality is must promote tourism in the state and the tourism department is doing its best to promote economic growth and provide sustainable livelihood to the people of the state.Manipur Sangai Festival was attended by 50,000 national and international delegates and exhibitors, Shirui Lily Festival, NorthEast Development Summit, International Polo tournaments and few others were organised by the tourism department. These festivals have helped Manipur receive about 158,000 domestic tourists and 3,600 foreign tourists in the last fiscal year.Singh also averred that the Government is putting in more efforts to conserve and preserve the Manipuri Pony in the state by developing an exclusive Pony Sanctuary at Heingang area.Infrastructure Development of Tourist Destination of Santhei Natural Park, Andro, Infrastructure Development of Tourist Resort at Sendra Hillock, development of Marjing Polo Complex at Heingang and development of Manipur Adventure and Allied Sports Institute Complex (MAASIC), Keirao which were inaugurated in the past one year are some of the major upcoming tourism projects, said Singh.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-04-23 Tory Barringer Share New,Former Nationstar VP Joins Stearns Lending “”Stearns Lending, Inc.””:http://www.stearns.com/, a nationwide mortgage lending institution encompassing retail, wholesale, and correspondent business channels, announced the appointment of Aaron Samples as VP of strategic development.[IMAGE]Samples comes to Stearns from Nationstar Mortgage Special Servicing, where he was responsible for the acquisition of mortgage servicing rights, subservicing residential loan portfolios, outsource portfolio refinance, REO financing, and outsource loan originations. While at Nationstar, he held numerous sales management positions for the company’s correspondent, outside sales, inside sales, and wholesale divisions. His latest position at the company was VP of business development.In addition, Samples has held management positions with RealManage, LLC and CTX Mortgage.””Aaron is a welcome addition to the Stearns leadership team. His extensive knowledge of lending strategies, credit quality, risk analysis, and mortgage servicing will be vital to Stearns as we pursue new opportunities for growth of our mortgage servicing portfolio,”” said Stearns Lending CEO Brian S. Hale. “”He also brings a proven track record of success in sourcing opportunities that will further the Company’s loan production capabilities across all three of our lending channels.””Stearns is very pleased to have Aaron Samples on our team as we continue to be the employer of choice for extraordinary talent,”” Hale added. April 23, 2013 572 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing