All hands on deck as catastrophic Hurricane Irma forces airlifts cruise cancellations

first_img Posted by Wednesday, September 6, 2017 TORONTO — Tour operators, airlines and cruise lines are racing to get travellers out of Hurricane Irma’s path as it roars up the northeastern Caribbean with wind speeds clocking in at 297 kilometres per hour, making it the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.Updates:What’s open, closed & damaged in the Caribbean as Irma moves up Florida – Sept 11, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> All hands on deck as ‘catastrophic’ Hurricane Irma forces airlifts, cruise cancellationscenter_img Travelweek Group Tags: Caribbean, Florida, Travel Alert Irma is bearing down on the northeast Caribbean, following a path predicted to rake Puerto Rico, the D.R., Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida.Air Transat has launched an evacuation operation to get all its travellers out of the D.R. by sending a total of 10 aircraft: 7 to Punta Cana, 2 to Puerto Plata and 1 to Samana. All aircraft were scheduled arrive in the D.R. this morning and passengers should be back in Canada this afternoon or early evening, says the airline.Transat has also implemented its hurricane policy for flights scheduled until Sept. 11 for the following destinations: D.R. (Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana, La Romana); Cuba (Varadero, Cayo Coco, Santa Clara, Holguin); and Haiti (Port au Prince).Air Transat also said its scheduled flights on Thursday to Punta Cana departing from Toronto and Montreal have been cancelled. The airline said it would contact affected customers and offer them travel at a later date, travel to another destination subject to conditions, or cancellation with a full refund excluding travel insurance costs.Regular updates will be posted on the company’s websites.Credit: nhc.noaa.govMeanwhile Sunwing has cancelled all flights into St Maarten/St Martin and the D.R. until after Sept. 7 and is also keeping an eye on Cuba. Sunwing has invoked its hurricane policy for all affected destinations, giving customers scheduled to travel Sept. 6 – 10 inclusive the option to change destination or rebook for travel at a later date.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesSunwing’s flights out of St Maarten, originally scheduled for Sept. 7, into Toronto and Montreal were brought forward and operated Sept. 5, bringing passengers home early. The company also added two unscheduled flights for today, Sept. 6, to bring customers home early from Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.All new Sunwing flight times will be posted at as they become available. “We regret that this extreme weather event has disrupted our customers’ vacation plans and are currently reviewing options for compensation on a case by case basis.”Air Canada and WestJet have also sent planes to the Caribbean to bring passengers home. WestJet has so far sent 5 planes to the Caribbean, according to reports: 3 to Punta Cana, 1 to Puerto Plata and 1 to Turks & Caicos.Cruise lines are also on high alert, diverting some itineraries due to the storm and cancelling others outright. Here’s a look at the latest updates from the major cruise lines:Carnival has so far cancelled two sailings: the Sept. 7 departure of Carnival Liberty and the Sept. 8 departure of Carnival Victory. Carnival is automatically processing full refunds, including any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures, Fun Shop purchases and beverage packages. The refund will be processed to the original form of payment within 3 weeks.Carnival is now looking at other sailings departing from Central and South Florida this weekend and says it will provide another update by 1 p.m. today (Sept. 6).Royal Caribbean has just announced it is cancelling the Sept. 9 departure of Empress of the Seas.Also cancelled are the Sept. 8 Enchantment of the Seas departure, and the Sept. 8 Majesty of the Seas cruise.Royal Caribbean says the cruise fare and fees will be 100% refunded to the original form of payment. The cruise line is also offering a 25% future cruise credit, based on the cruise fare, if a new cruise is booked in the next 30 days.The following Royal Caribbean cruises are so far departing as scheduled: Adventure of the Seas: September 9 Southern Caribbean cruise; Grandeur of the Seas: September 7 New England/Canada cruise; Liberty of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise; Serenade of the Seas: September 10 New England/Canada cruise; Vision of the Seas: September 7 New England/Canada cruise.Several itineraries have also been altered due to the hurricane. See Royal Caribbean is providing updates on any impacted sailings no later than 2 days in advance of departure.Royal Caribbean also says it will delay the return of Oasis, Harmony and Allure of the Seas until the storm has passed. “Due to the unpredictability of the storm, we plan to keep all of our guests currently sailing on these ships safely out of harm’s way.”MSC Cruises has altered the itinerary for its Sept. 2 MSC Divina sailing currently at sea. Pre-paid shore excursions will be credited to onboard accounts and passengers will have the option to apply this credit to an excursion in the new ports or get a refund.NCL has cancelled its Sept. 8 sailing of Norwegian Sky, and its Sept. 9 sailing of Norwegian Escape. Passengers will receive a full refund plus a 50% future cruise credit.Passengers currently onboard Norwegian Escape’s Sept. 2 cruise and Norwegian Sky’s Sept. 4 cruise will have amended itineraries and will receive a refund for the missed days of their cruise, along with a 25% future cruise credit of the cruise fare paid towards a future sailing on Norwegian. Passengers who need to make changes to any flights will be reimbursed for any change fees up to US$300 per person. With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Presslast_img read more

Summer heats up in the Cayman Islands with discounts of up to

first_img Travelweek Group TORONTO — Summer in the Cayman Islands is already heating up, with up to 30% savings on accommodations, attractions, water sports, dining and more.Savings are available as part of the Summer Only In Cayman campaign, to clients who book a vacation by June 30, 2018 for travel between May 1 and Dec. 15, 2018.Participating partners that are offering reduced rates of up to 30% off are as follows:ACCOMMODATIONS:Grand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortWyndham Reef Resort Grand CaymanWestin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and SpaThe Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanSunshine Suites ResortSunset Cove Treasure Island CondosThe Avalon CondominiumsColonial ClubThe Heritage ClubLuxury Cayman VillasMargaritaville Beach Resort Grand CaymanATTRACTIONS:Cayman Spirits Co.Cayman Islands National MuseumPACKAGES:Tripcentral.caWATER SPORTS:Captain Marvin’s Watersports Ltd.SHOPPING:Rocky’s Diamond GalleryEclipze Hair Design & Day SpaThe Cayman Islands is also enticing families to book a vacation with the brand new ‘Kids Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’ program. With this program, children can sign up for hands-on cooking classes and farm-to-table culinary tours at participating shops, restaurants and hotels, while parents enjoy some much-deserved downtime.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckTo get clients to the Caymans, Air Canada is offering convenience access to Grand Cayman with nonstop flights from Toronto, plus easy connections through Toronto from seven Canadian gateways.For more information go to Friday, March 23, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bycenter_img Summer heats up in the Cayman Islands with discounts of up to 30% off Tags: Cayman Islands Sharelast_img read more

AmaWaterways new brochure highlights new ships activities programs

first_imgAmaWaterways’ new brochure highlights new ships, activities & programs Share Wednesday, June 20, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Tags: AmaWaterways AmaWaterways’ new brochure also includes Early Booking promotional offers and specific itineraries, and is also available in print by calling 1-800-626-0126. Posted by CALABASAS, CA – Three new ships, over 60 wine cruises and a new program for golfers are all highlighted in AmaWaterways’ new 2019 Europe, Asia & Africa Extensive Brochure.The brochure, available to download at, introduces the line’s “incredible new ships, amenities and programs in 2019”, which Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways, says provide even more opportunities for guests to personalize their river cruise vacation. “All our teams onboard are wholeheartedly dedicated to the complete happiness of our guests and are committed to providing the most authentic and luxurious river cruise experience available today.Here are a few brochure highlights:NEW SHIPSIn 2019, AmaWaterways will add three ships to its European fleet: AmaDouro, AmaMagna and AmaMoraAmaMagna will begin sailing the Danube in May 2019, and is nearly twice the width of traditional European river cruise shipsAmaMagna also boasts more onboard amenities than ever before, including enhanced dining options, an expansive Zen Wellness Studio, and the Water Sports Platform where complimentary tours will be offered on the Sundowner vesselAmaDouro will carry an intimate 102 guests and was specially designed to showcase the UNESCO-designated Douro River ValleyAmaMora will carry 156-guests on the Rhine River and is the sister ship to AmaLea and AmaKristinaMore news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongNEW GOLFAmaWaterways’ Concierge Golf Program, exclusive to AmaMagna, provides guests with the chance to golf at five of Europe’s most prestigious courses in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany and the Czech RepublicWith the program, guests will be transported from the ship by a private luxury Mercedes to the golf courseThe Exclusive Concierge Golf Program is available on both the ‘Romantic Danube’ and ‘Melodies of the Danube’ itineraries from May to mid-OctoberNEW ACTIVITIESThe line’s popular Wellness Program will be expanded to feature on all European ships in 2019Led by professionally trained Wellness Hosts, guests can join group exercise activities including morning stretches, core strengthening and resistance band workouts, all complemented by healthy eating optionsIn 2019 AmaWaterways will offer more than 60 hosted Wine Cruises that feature North American Wine HostsWine Cruises include onboard wine tasting and discussions, plus specialty shore excursions to celebrated cellars and wineries – at no additional costMore news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyNEW LAND PROGRAMSNew in 2019, the company will offer an optional pre-cruise land extension for every cruise, with new ways to explore cities like Amsterdam, Budapest, Lucerne, Munich, Zurich and ReykjavikNew, included excursions range from tours in historic cities to exploring the countryside of RomaniaThe company is also adding new pre-cruise extensions in Bilbao and san Sebastian, Spain prior to embarkation on its ‘Taste of Bordeaux’ itinerary, as well as a post-cruise option in Rwanda, Africa, which can be added to each of its five Zambezi Queen itineraries on the Chobe RiverMore shore excursions will be available to guests in 2019 as the company adds to its menu that already includes up to 20 complimentary options during a seven-night cruiselast_img read more

Air Canada opens Maple Leaf Lounge Express at Toronto Pearson

first_img Monday, June 17, 2019 Travelweek Group Posted by Share Air Canada opens Maple Leaf Lounge Express at Toronto Pearsoncenter_img Tags: Air Canada, Toronto Pearson Airport MONTREAL — Air Canada has unveiled the brand new Maple Leaf Lounge Express, its second premium lounge product at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1.Located in the transborder departure area, the lounge joins the existing Maple Leaf Lounge and is available to customers departing to the U.S. from Toronto-Pearson. Business Class customers or those with select Altitude Status, as well as Star Alliance Gold members departing on an Air Canada or United Airlines flight will be eligible to access the Maple Leaf Lounge Express.Just steps away from departure gates F84-F99, the Express lounge has seating for 50 customers and features a self-serve bar, a wide selection of beverages including Canadian wines and Lavazza specialty coffee, and a selection of light snacks. Business travellers planning to work on site may also take advantage of complimentary Wi-Fi.“We are excited to welcome Air Canada and Star Alliance customers travelling to the United States in our new Maple Leaf Lounge Express. This unique space has been created to enhance the overall travel experience of our premium customers and represents a commitment to our transborder product,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada. “This all-new lounge is just steps from the Air Canada commuter gates, making it easy to enjoy comfort on the go before flying to the U.S. Customers will be warmly received by a premium agent, and enjoy a calm environment in which to work or relax before their Air Canada flight.”More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedA new commuter facility was recently opened at Toronto Pearson Terminal 1 to provide additional access and to better service commuter narrow body aircraft flying to the United States. This new commuter facility was developed by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and improves airport efficiencies within the new Terminal 1 building. The new Maple Leaf Lounge Express further enhances the customer experience in this gate area.Air Canada offers eligible customers access to 23 Maple Leaf Lounges worldwide including 17 at Canadian airports, plus the Signature Suite at Toronto Pearson global hub featuring five-star dining. Customers travelling abroad may also enjoy lounges at New York-LaGuardia, New York-Newark, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Hanging Music intrigues

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionA guitar with breasts. A silk shirt playing the flute. A sweater cradling a miniature xylophone. At the opening of this whimsical exhibition by Costa Rican artist Erika Stanley, onlookers were nodding at the creativity, then getting closer to squint at the details.“There’s so much work in each piece, each seems to tell a story,” said visitor Ana Lourdes Acuña. “The more you look, the more you see.”Called “Hanging Music,” the exhibition includes nearly two dozen of Stanley’s mixed media pieces, on display at the Omar Dengo Foundation. The bohemian, richly colored sculptures entail Stanley’s own shirts and other clothing items positioned to seem as though they are playing instruments. Nearly all the instruments, such as a violin, guitar, symbols and flutes can be removed from their garments and played.“Each piece entails womanly movement,” Acuña said.In 1997, Stanley studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in the University of Costa Rica. Her work is seen in expositions in Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, the United States and Germany. She lives in the Netherlands with her husband and 5-year-old daughter, giving her the opportunity to explore European art.Before she pursued a career in art, Stanley’s sculptures filled her parent’s home. Although she did not travel to Costa Rica for the opening, her father shared a few words on opening night.“Even before she could read, Erika loved to scan the pages from a book we had in the house about the Belgian painter Magritte,” Rodolfo Stanley said. “Today she’s still influenced by his work.”Though he’s also a painter, Rodolfo Stanley disagrees with the idea that his daughter follows in his footsteps. “My studio was away from the house, and she only saw my pieces when they were finished and hanging on the wall,” he said. “Her work is so different in its shape, theme and color scheme. She’s her own artist.” Gallery visitor Acuña completes her circumvention of the gallery and returns to where she started. “There’s so much to see, so I’m going to have to see them all again,” she said.Erika Stanley’s “Hanging Music” showing Aug. 8-Sept. 18 in the Omar Dengo Foundation, 100 meters south of the Sagrado Corazón Church in San José. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas strange earthquake pairings

first_imgFrom the print editionBy Thomas Clark | Special to The Tico TimesCosta Rica sits in one of the most seismically active regions in the world and certainly is no stranger to the rumblings of earthquakes. According to Marino Protti of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori), the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or greater in a “normal year” approaches 5,000 here. Generally the population feels only 50 of these.But some of the stronger temblors of the past have resulted in unusual consequences even by Costa Rican standards. Double destructionThe first is the so-called “terremotos gemelos,” or the twin earthquake effect.According to Guillermo Alvarado, geologist for University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network, twin earthquakes occur when two seismic events having the same destructive power happen within a close period of time. The city of Cartago, the old colonial capital east of San José, was dealt a severe blow in 1842 when two quakes hit the area six months apart. A rebuilt Cartago had the misfortune of experiencing terremotos gemelos yet again in 1910. A quake in April that year was followed a month later with a devastating magnitude-6.7 temblor that killed 700. In 1911 and 1912, twin earthquakes at Toro Amarillo were spaced 10 months apart. The earthquake of Dec. 22, 1990, in Alajuela, was shadowed by another seven months later in Puriscal. And on Jan. 8, 2009, a magnitude-6.1 quake near San José killed at least 20 people. A magnitude-5.9 followed in October 2010.Fish, Crabs and Water DenizensA second phenomenon occurred when an earthquake struck the town of Aguas Zarcas, in the north-central canton of San Carlos, Alajuela, on Sept. 28, 1911. The quake moved more than just the earth: An entire river dried up and disappeared. According to a New York Times article on Sept 28, 1911, “A feature of the earthquake was the drying up of the Caño Grande River. The stream, which in places is nearly 200 yards across, was diverted from its course for more than 12 hours. The river is a part of the Toro Amarillo River, and it is believed the upheaval threw the waters back into the mother stream.“The lack of water caused the death of great quantities of fish, crabs and other water denizens. The water is now flowing again, but the stream is half its former size.”As strange as this was, almost exactly 100 years later, in July 2011, it happened again when a quake swallowed the Guacalito River. Villagers living nearby reported the river disappeared and was almost completely dry.  Cursed ChurchesThe towns of Cartago and Aguas Zarcas have a shared earthquake experience. The 1910 earthquake in Cartago and the 1911 earthquake in Aguas Zarcas largely destroyed these villages. But the quakes also have played a special role in redefining both their spiritual history, particularly when it comes to their churches.In the case of Aguas Zarcas, the 1911 quake wiped out the 200-year-old structure, killing an older caretaker while she was in the church. (The 1912 Toro Amarillo temblor also damaged Aguas Zarcas.)While Aguas Zarcas largely escaped the destructive wrath of quakes during the previous 200 years, Cartago unfortunately had a longer and more tragic record. Cartago’s first recorded event dates back to 1718, when a quake damaged the church, leading to extensive repairs. Another quake struck in 1756, again requiring repairs, but the church stood up.Not so on Sept. 2, 1841, when the San Anto-lín quake finally destroyed it. The next several decades resulted in aborted attempts to rebuild.In 1870, the last attempt to rebuild commenced. The new parish was to be built and designed by engineer Luis Llach and German architect Francisco Kurtz, with a Romanesque style, the only one found in Costa Rica. Its construction was halted for 30 years and was restarted again in 1903, before being completely canceled in 1910 after the Santa Mónica temblor. The structure is not a ruin in a strict sense, but an uncompleted church due to the lack of confidence that it would survive future earthquakes.According to popular legend, the curse of the Cartago church dates to the 16th century and centers around two brothers. One of them was an unwed young man and the other a priest. A rivalry arose between them as both fell in love with the same woman. The woman married the lay brother. The priest was infuriated and did everything he could to destroy his brother. Then, in 1577 during New Year’s mass, he saw his brother in the church and killed him with a knife. In penance for his mortal sin the priest built a new church for the city, but one year later an earthquake destroyed it. Each time it was rebuilt, another new quake destroyed it, until 1910, when it was canceled and thought to be a cursed site. It also is said that on foggy nights, it is possible to see the headless priest inside the ruins, wandering for eternity as his penance for desecrating a holy site.Costa Rica and earthquakes share a long history together. But the strange parings of terremotos gemelos, rivers gone missing and cursed churches suggest the cause emanates not entirely from beneath the earth. Facebook Comments Related posts:Magnitude-6.6 earthquake rocks Costa Rica on Tuesday night Costa Rican government: $50 million estimated for repairs after Nicoya earthquake Costa Rican officials: A strong earthquake could still occur in Guanacaste Following 7.6-magnitude earthquake, 1,200 aftershocks hit Costa Ricalast_img read more

Gas prices bus fare and electricity rates all likely going up in

first_imgThe Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) is pondering nine public-service rate hikes for this month.The National Oil Refinery requested a hike of ₡30 ($ 0.06) in the per-liter price of super and plus gasoline, due to the variation of prices in the international market.The Costa Rican Electricity Institute asked for a 14 percent increase in electricity rates, which would mean an extra ₡2,100 ($4.20) for a family’s average monthly consumption.Five bus routes also are asking for fare hikes, including those traveling between San José and Peñas Blancas (the border with Nicaragua), three from the Northern Zone and one from the eastern province of Cartago.People interested in attending the hearings to oppose increases can call ARESEP for schedules at: 8000-273737. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Liver cancer cited in death of Thai text prisoner

first_img Top Stories BANGKOK (AP) – A preliminary autopsy shows liver cancer killed a Thai prisoner who was serving a 20-year term for sending insulting text messages about Thailand’s royal family.An observer at Wednesday’s autopsy said Amphon Tangnoppakul had late-stage liver cancer that likely developed after his 2010 conviction. Cherdchai Tontisirin said there were no signs of physical abuse.The case of 62-year-old Amphon drew attention to Thailand’s severe lese majeste laws. Known as “Uncle SMS,” he had denied his guilt and testified he didn’t know how to send text messages. Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths He lawyer had said Amphon died Tuesday, a few days after complaining of stomach pains. He also had mouth cancer.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Heavy snow surprises Bosnians after a hot weekend

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – Sunbathing one day, snowstorm the next: Bosnians are getting whiplash from the latest crazy weather to hit the Balkans.Weeks after Bosnians had stashed away their winter clothes and their memories of last winter’s unbearably heavy snow, residents had to drag out the shovels Monday after waking up to a blanket of snow in the middle of an otherwise unusually hot May.Some 50 remote villages in a mountainous area near the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo lost power due to the snow. The unseasonal weather followed a week of summer-like temperatures with 27 C (80.6 Fahrenheit) registered in Sarajevo on Saturday.Temperatures hit 5 Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) on Monday, causing traffic jams as people struggled to get to work.The cold spell is forecast to last until at least the middle of the week, when the snow is expected to be replaced by heavy rain.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

UK man who failed to overturn euthanasia law dies

first_imgIn January, the 58-year-old asked the High Court to declare that any doctor who killed him with his consent would not be charged with murder.Last week, the court turned down his appeal, a decision which Nicklinson said had left him “devastated and heartbroken.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy LONDON (AP) – Lawyers for a British man with locked-in syndrome who failed in a bid to overturn his country’s euthanasia law say he has died at home.Tony Nicklinson died Wednesday his lawyers at Bindmans LLP said in a statement. They offered no details on the circumstances of his death.Nicklinson suffered a stroke in 2005 that left him unable to speak or move below his neck. He required constant care and communicated mostly by blinking, although his mind had remained unaffected and his condition was not terminal. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories last_img read more

More than 2 million workers strike in Indonesia

first_imgThe workers want an increase in the minimum wage, health insurance and social security for all employees and a revision of government policies that allow companies to hire temporary workers without benefits, said Yoris Raweyai, chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Union.“We warn the government that we can do worse to the country’s economy if they continue ignoring our three main demands,” said Said Iqbal, a protest organizer from the Indonesian Workers’ Assembly.Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled in January that hiring contract laborers is unconstitutional and violates workers’ rights.The government is still drafting a revision of the labor law following the ruling, which may be finished by the end of the year, said Suhartono, spokesman for the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.He said he believes the number of strikers was lower than union estimates, but did not provide a figure.President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called the strike unfortunate because it could discourage foreign investment, his spokesman Julian Pasha said.Factory workers in Indonesia earn an average basic salary of just over $120 a month. The economy grew 6.5 percent last year, the fastest pace since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, and the cost of living has been increasing, making it harder for workers to pay for food and basic necessities. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Protests are common in Indonesia and are generally peaceful.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – More than 2 million factory workers went on a one-day strike across Indonesia on Wednesday to demand better benefits and protest the hiring of contract workers, union officials said.Hundreds of thousands of laborers from more than 700 companies in 80 industrial estates also took to the streets to demonstrate, national police spokesman Col. Agus Rianto said.About 200,000 workers marched in the industrial city of Bekasi, just outside Jakarta, while waving flags and chanting “Workers unite! We can’t be defeated!” How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Guinea expels 26 suspected rebels from Mali

first_imgCONAKRY, Guinea (AP) – A military official says that 26 Malian nationals who are suspected rebels are being expelled from the country. They are being driven to the town of Kouremalen, located at the Guinea-Mali border where they will be handed over to Malian authorities.Cmdr. Alpha Barry, spokesman for the Guinea’s paramiltary police, said on Tuesday those being expelled are from Gao in northern Mali and they arrived around a month ago and set up boutiques in the Matoto neighborhood of the Guinean capital. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Barry said, “They were holding meetings every week, which was suspicious. So we took them in for questioning.”Hamidou Tely, a Malian living in Conakry who knows those being expelled, said they are not rebels, just refugees who had come from Mali’s troubled north to earn a living.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice Quick workouts for men 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

Flooding forces 20000 Russians from their homes

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober MOSCOW (AP) – The worst flooding in 120 years in Russia’s Far East has already forced about 20,000 people from their homes and also made it necessary to airlift two captive brown bears to safety, the Emergency Situations Ministry said Monday.Ministry spokeswoman Irina Rossius said the evacuations were underway in three regions along the Chinese border in the Far East, 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) east of Moscow, and some of those evacuated have moved into 166 emergency shelters. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk “People will not be expected to cross the flooded areas on boats just to tick a box on a ballot,” Nikolai Nevdomsky, the head of the Amur election commission, said in a statement. He said a decision would be made Aug. 27.More than 30,000 people were involved in the rescue operations, the ministry said.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The flooding, set off by torrential rains, has already affected 140 towns and villages across the broad area, the ministry said.The Amur region has been the worst affected, but the ministry said the flooding there has passed its peak. As the rains move east, however, the situation was expected to worsen in the neighboring Kabarovsk and Jewish autonomous regions, Russian news agencies reported, citing Alexander Frolov, chief of the Russian Meteorological Service.The Amur River, which has reached a record high, is still rising and could flood Komsomolsk-on Amur, a major city in the Khabarovsk region, Frolov said.Rescuers decided to move the brown bears to higher ground from their home in a tourist camp near the city of Blagoveshchensk as the flood waters approached, the ministry said. Video posted on the ministry’s site shows a helicopter transporting the bears, with them dangling below the aircraft in a cage.The ministry said it has delivered about 53 tons of food, water and clothing to people affected by the floods, while humanitarian aid and monetary donations also were being sent from around the country.The floods have called into question mayoral elections in the Amur region on Sept. 8, when local elections will be held across Russia.last_img read more

3 Mexicans 6 Guatemalans guilty in drug massacre

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top holiday drink recipescenter_img GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – A Guatemalan court on Friday convicted three Mexican men and six Guatemalans of murder and kidnapping for the 2011 massacre of 27 farm workers. It sentenced them to 106 years in prison each.Judge Jeannette Valdez Rodas said in announcing the verdict that the evidence showed “a scene of terror” at the killing site at a ranch in the northern Peten region.The killers showed “maximum cruelty, with minds that display the maximum degree of dehumanization,” said Valdez Rodas, noting that one of the victims had been essentially gutted and had the letter “Z” carved into his stomach. Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Comments   Share   One of the Mexican men sentenced Friday, Jorge Hernandez Mendez, denied he had committed the crimes. “The truth is, I don’t regret it, because I didn’t do it.”One of the Guatemalan men, Luis Caal Bol, also denied he killed the victims, saying “if we had a little more courage, we would say who did it.”The killers are believed to have been working for Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel. They decapitated most of the victims. The bodies were so badly mutilated that authorities originally put the death toll at 29 because there were so many body parts lying around.The court said the killings appear to have been a revenge attack on the ranch’s owner, Otto Salguero, for allegedly having stolen a Zeta drug shipment.Police found a message written in blood at the scene saying: “Salguero, we’re coming for you.”The Zetas have been blamed for extremely brutal mass killings in Mexico, like the 2010 slaying of 72 migrants in northern Mexico.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Farright Hungary mayor imposes tough conditions on Gypsies

first_img Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Jobbik now runs about a dozen Hungarian towns and holds 12 percent of the seats in the national parliament. It is also the most popular party with young voters. If the trend continues, the party could pose a serious challenge to Fidesz in 2018 parliamentary elections.Since Janiczak won power in Ozd — whose population of 34,000 is about one-third Gypsy — members of the minority who work on city-run farmland and other public projects have seen their work conditions get much harsher. The mayor has imposed longer hours, fewer breaks and soon the introduction of surveillance cameras to ensure that they don’t slack off.Janiczak, 28, suggested that the tough work conditions were at least in part intended to drive Roma away. “Every person in Ozd has two options — they either live in order and integrity and build the city, or they destroy it,” Janiczak told The Associated Press. “The majority of these destructive people are Gypsies, without whom … it would be easier for the city to develop.”With fewer Roma, Janiczak said, the city would spend less on social benefits and people would feel safer. Jobbik often uses the term “Gypsy crimes” to refer to petty thefts and other law-breaking rarely investigated by police. If efforts to integrate the “destroyers” are unsuccessful, he added, “authorities will use the full force of the law.” On a recent spring day, a crew of about a dozen laborers was preparing some farmland for planting on the outskirts of town. Rakes and hoes in hand, their complaints ranged from getting only one 5-minute break an hour to a lack of drinking water and toilet facilities. Their work day now starts as much as two hours earlier than before Janiczak took over, meaning many need to walk to work because there are few public transportation options so early in the day.Indignation was strongest over a clause in the new work contract allowing officials to take video and photos of their work performance.“This is only about intimidation,” said Bela Biro, a Roma former steel mill worker who works on the city-run farming project. “We don’t dare sit down for five minutes. They said we can’t, even if blood is running from our nose.”Janiczak said he is only carrying out existing laws. “We want nothing else but to enforce order, enforce employment regulations and educate these people to work,” he said. “I think their issue is not with walking, but with … having to do actual work instead of just showing up.”As for the surveillance, Janiczak said the city had spent 340,000 forints ($1,260; 1,100 euros) on eight video cameras, including two which look like eyeglasses, not just to oversee workers but also to protect supervisors from threats and attacks. Top Stories Sponsored Stories OZD, Hungary (AP) — The workers wake up in the middle of the night and walk miles to get to their jobs by 6 a.m. Taking up hoes and rakes, they toil for hours with little chance of rest. Soon surveillance cameras shaped like eyeglasses will track their every move.The workers are mostly Gypsy men and women, and their boss is a new far-right mayor who is cracking down on a group his Jobbik party often casts as an enemy. David Janiczak’s leaderhip in Ozd gives clues into what Hungary might feel like if the surging Jobbik managed to unseat Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s conservative Fidesz party — which is slumping in popularity. “This is going to clear up many disputes,” said the mayor. “In the developed, civilized world every workplace has cameras. Why should the public workers be exempt from this?” Those in the public employment program, he said, should “get used to being observed.”Janiczak said the surveillance plan had been cleared by an official investigation, and that recordings would be made on “exceptional occasions.”Human rights activists said the measures amounted to harassment.“To burden the already defenseless public works employees with the issue of surveillance is unacceptable and embitters their lives,” said Mate Szabo, a director of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. “It would be more justified to keep the job inspectors under surveillance instead and monitor their treatment of the workers.”Kriszta Bodis, a rights advocate who has been working with the Roma in Ozd for many years, said the mood in the community had deteriorated since Janiczak’s victory.“I think the humiliation is what is much stronger now than before,” Bodis said.The new mayor said he his job-creation plans would potentially draw back many of the 15,000 Ozd residents who left over the past two decades. As part of that plan, Janiczak has nominated Ozd as the location for one of several new prisons being built by the government by 2019, which could add 250 jobs. A prison “also deters criminals,” the mayor said. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home FILE – In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo candidate for the Mayor of Ozd of the oppositional Jobbik party David Janiczak gestures during a campign rally before the repeated mayoral election in Ozd, 153 kms northeast of Budapest, Hungary. “Every person in Ozd has two options _ they either live in order and integrity and build the city, or they destroy it,” Janiczak said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “The majority of these destructive people are Gypsies, without whom, if they were not in the city, it would be easier for the city to develop.” (Janos Vajda/MTI via AP, File)n New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis The vital role family plays in society Jobbik is using Ozd as a “laboratory of government,” experimenting with policies and ideas at the municipal level as its support grows across the country, said Peter Kreko, director of the Political Capital Institute, which has been closely following Jobbik for years.While Jobbik’s electoral campaigns last year presented candidates with their families or pets — and downplayed the party’s radical views — Kreko said that Ozd showed that beneath the surface Jobbik has not really changed.“The intentions and plans of Jobbik and its treatment of the public works employees clearly refute its efforts to soften its image,” Kreko said. “What is functioning is a very ideological, discriminative racism.”During the communist era, Ozd, 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of the Hungarian capital of Budapest, had a steel mill which employed some 14,000 people. After the mill and a coal mine closed in the 1990s, the unemployment rate jumped to over 20 percent and unskilled Roma were among the most affected.Roma laborers make up the bulk of 1,300 Ozd residents taking part in a public employment program that was introduced across Hungary in late 2013 by the Orban government. After Janiczak took office last year he enforced the rules in a stricter way and implemented new ones, such as the use of surveillance cameras. Net pay for unskilled workers is around 51,000 forints ($180, 165 euros) per month, and many are glad to take it as the government has also greatly cut unemployment benefits, which are now called “work search allowances.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Many of the local Roma live in dire poverty in slums where they lack running water and where the city does not come to remove their garbage. They share a communal water pump and burn garbage nearby.Bodis, who runs the Your Place foundation which mentors disadvantaged Roma students, argued for a more compassionate approach.“Discipline and order are important,” Bodis said. “But it is more important to provide opportunities.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Aussie travellers risk health skip vaccinations

first_img73 percent travelling Aussies risk health As the Aussie dollar drives more Australians overseas travellers need better travel health awareness, according to a survey that found that up to 73 percent of Aussies are not receiving their vaccinations before taking-off.The Fit2Travel survey discovered that of 1000 Aussies, 73 percent do not receive vaccinations before travel and up to 52 percent were not aware that they required a vaccination for their travel destination, Whitsunday Times reported.According to survey commissioners GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and people travelling overseas have a 50 percent of catching a travel-related illness.Although they are usually minor, short term problems, researching and receiving appropriate vaccinations could help reduce and prevent the “small number of Australian return[ing] from overseas with a serious illness”.Travel advice compiled on highlighted that major illnesses include typhoid, cholera, meningococcal disease, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and yellow fever.GSK Vaccines associate medical director Cheryl Keech explained that the site was organised because of the lack of information available on health and travel.“The site encourages people to take a proactive approach to their health and help prevent infection and maintain immunity throughout their life,” Dr Keech said.“There is an interactive world map that provides travel health information for each selected country and a specific iPhone app.”Dr Keech added that vaccination needs vary depending on the individual’s health, age and previously received vaccinations.“For example, children today are vaccinated for diseases that can also be acquired in adulthood, such as Hepatitis B, yet most adults have probably never received this vaccination,” she added.“Because of possible increased risk of exposure, individuals should discuss with their doctor whether vaccination is appropriate as they plan their travels.”According to the survey, Asia is among the most popular overseas travel destinations for Aussies followed by New Zealand. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Harry Potter orchestra selected to promote UK at Closing Ceremony

first_imgAs a key opportunity to promote the region to the world, Britain’s leading orchestras has been selected to record the core orchestral soundtrack for the 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremonies.Announced last week, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games announced it had selected the London Symphony Orchestra who recently recorded soundtracks for Twilight: New Moon as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts 1 and 2).London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe explained he was “delighted” that the Orchestra would record music for the shows and stressed the Games were a key event for the region to expose itself to travellers across the globe.“The London 2012 Ceremonies are an opportunity to promote the UK’s world leading culture and creative industries to over 4 billion people around the world,” Mr Coe said.Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremonies artistic director Kim Gavin added that “music has been Britain’s strongest cultural export of the last 50 years and we intend to produce an Olympic Closing Ceremony that will be a unique promotion of great British popular music”.“For the Closing Ceremony, which will be titled ‘A Symphony of British Music’, we will not only be working with our most globally successful musicians, but we also want to use this opportunity to showcase our stars of tomorrow,” the artistic director concluded. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Sunsail celebrates forty years

first_imgTUI Marine’s yacht charter and flotilla sailing brand, Sunsail, celebrated its fortieth anniversary in style on a crisp, sunny afternoon at the Sydney Yacht Squadron in Kirribilli last week.Since embarking on its first Flotilla Holiday in 1947 when it was still a small sailing school, Sunsail has gone on to become the largest sailing and watersports holiday company, offering a variety of on-the-water, value-for-money holidays with a fleet of more than 800 yachts through 27 locations around the world, including the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Whitsundays, Indian Ocean and Europe.Along with yacht charters and flotilla sailing holidays, Sunsail also offers beach clubs, sailing schools, team building and events, yacht ownership and Sunsail racing, catering to a wide variety of clientele.“Flotilla Holidays have always played a key part in Sunsail’s offering and forty years of constantly improving these experiences has allowed us to deliver the best there is,” TUI Marine head of distribution Australia and Asia Pacific, David Reid said.Whether you’re an active family with five kids or a honeymooning couple that prefers privacy with a touch of luxury romance, Sunsail Holidays are all about seeing the world from a different perspective, discovering unspoilt spots only reachable by water and experiencing adventures that will have a lasting effect.“With 23 routes designed around making the most of customers’ time on the water, each stop is the best in that area, each restaurant offers the best cuisine and each bay the best scenery.”Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichlast_img read more

Travel South USA appoints Kent Marketing

first_imgAt Travel South’s recent International Showcase in New Orleans which finished on December 7th, Liz Bittner, executive director, announced the appointment of Kent Marketing as the In-Country Representative for Australia.Travel South has been working with Kent on a project basis over the past 3 years and Kent Marketing organised the successful sales mission to Australia in June this year.There are some interesting ​statistics that Travel South released about Australians travelling to the southern USA states, the region attracted 8.3 per cent of all Australian visitors to the USA in 2013.Also the area saw a growth of 13.6 per cent, nearly double the growth of all visitors to the USA, and Australians purchased some of 318,000 room nights throughout the region, spending on average 12 nights per person.​Kent also organised a tour operators group to attend the Showcase in New Orleans which will be the 3rd year it has been held.A group of 6 Australian tour operators participated including Jacqui Browne from Travel Corporation, who said that Travel South USA is a great network to work with.“Travel South USA International Showcase is a one of a kind, ​a unique platform to network, build relationships and discover new product.  Add to this great networking events, music, entertainment and opportunity to visit some of the best southern destinations in the USA and you have a winning formula,” Ms Browne said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Vietjet bags Best Ultra Low Cost Airline Award 2018

first_imgVietjet bags Best Ultra Low Cost Airline Award 2018Vietjet bags Best Ultra Low Cost Airline Award 2018New age airline Vietjet is certainly no stranger in the aviation arena, making headlines for its innovative campaign executions and exponential growth in recent years.It comes as no surprise that the airline was recently bestowed the inaugural Best Ultra Low Cost Airline Award 2018 title by – the world’s only air safety and product rating review website. Joining the likes of Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines, Vietjet was named a winner of the Airline Excellence Awards by the website which promotes excellence in the airline industry.Geoffrey Thomas, Editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings,com said, “Vietjet is a real innovator bringing very affordable, safe and enjoyable travel with an outstanding product to millions across Asia and Vietnam. The airline has done the impossible – bringing top class travel to the region at amazing prices and ultimate flight experiences.”“The new award, taken out by Vietjet, celebrates a new breed of airlines that offer extraordinary value to passengers, while not compromising on product or service,” added Thomas.Since its debut in December 2011, Vietjet has rapidly grown its fleet and expanded its route networks to include a number of local and international destinations, opening up affordable travel to all across the region.To date, the airline has flown over 40 million passengers, and been presented with numerous awards including 32 domestic and nine international accolades such as being named ‘The Pioneer Airline’ by The Guide Awards 2017 at the annual festival of national tourism 2017 Vietnam and the ‘The Best Asian Low-Cost Carrier 2015’ at the TTG Travel Awards 2015.At the helm of Vietjet’s success is its Founder and CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao who was recently listed in Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.“I have always aimed big and done big deals. I have never done anything on a small scale and this is the same driving force behind the growth of Vietjet. It is my goal to continue propelling Vietjet forward and leading it to its highest point of success,” said Thao. Vietjet plans to open six new routes in the fourth quarter, increasing its total new routes by 19 for the year 2017.The Airline Excellence Awards, judged by six editors with over 180 years’ industry experience, combines major safety and government audits, with 12 key criteria – up from nine last year – that include: fleet age, passenger reviews profitability, investment rating, product offerings, and staff relations.Source = Vietjetlast_img read more