18 Aug

News guide to Georgia as it holds crucial election

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix He also promised to normalize ties with Russia that were ruptured in a 2008 Russian-Georgian war.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) TBILISI, Georgia (AP) – Here’s a guide to understanding Georgia as it holds a heated parliamentary election that will determine the future of the pro-Western government of President Mikhail Saakashvili.__Q: WHERE IS GEORGIA?A: Georgia is located in the Caucasus Mountains with its western border on the Black Sea. Russia looms over Georgia from the north, while Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan are on its southern and southeastern borders. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1801, Georgia had a few brief years of independence after the 1917 Russian Revolution before being absorbed into the Soviet Union. ___Q: WHY DOES THIS ELECTION MATTER?A: Georgia sits on pipelines carrying Caspian crude to Western markets and has been the subject of tense rivalry between the West and its former imperial master, Russia. This vote ushers in a political reform that will give more powers to parliament and allow the winning party to name the prime minister, who will become more powerful than the president once Saakashvili, the incumbent, steps down next year.Q: WHO ARE THE MAIN PLAYERS IN THE ELECTION?A: Saakashvili’s party is struggling to retain its control over parliament in a battle against the opposition Georgian Dream coalition led by the nation’s richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia.Some 3.6 million people are eligible to vote.Q: WHAT ARE THE CAMPAIGN ISSUES?A: Saakashvili has sought to cast the vote as a choice between further movement toward economic prosperity and integration with the West with him or falling back under Russian domination under Ivanishvili, whom he has accused of serving Moscow’s interests.Ivanishvili, the challenger, has rejected the claim. He has accused Saakashvili of authoritarian trends and promises to make Georgia more democratic while continuing to move toward eventual membership in the European Union and NATO. Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   center_img ___Q: HOW DID IT GAIN INDEPENDENCE?A: Georgia declared its independence in April 1991 as the Soviet Union was crumbling. Its first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was soon ousted in a violent military coup and fled the country in January 1992. Eduard Shevardnadze, who had served as the Soviet foreign minister, returned to his homeland and remained Georgia’s leader until the end of 2003.___Q: WHAT IS GEORGIA KNOWN FOR?A: Georgia is the birthplace of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who was born in Gori in 1878 and ruled the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953.Georgia also is considered the birthplace of wine, with archeological evidence showing that it was where wine was first produced at least 6,000 years ago. The country still takes great pride in its reds and whites.Georgian wines and food were considered the best in the Soviet Union, and Georgian restaurants remain popular in Russia. Georgians also are known for their warm hospitality, with Russian visitors joking that the most difficult part about visiting Georgia today is getting up from the table or freeing yourself from an embrace, despite the chill in relations between the two countries.Georgians were also among the first to adopt Christianity, which they did in the 4th century. Stone churches built in the 10th century still stand, and the patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church is by far the most respected figure in the country today. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

18 Aug

Man appears at his own funeral in Brazil

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “The confusion started when news started circulating that a car washer had been shot dead,” Jose Marcos’ wife, Ana Paula, told the UOL Internet news portal. “Police called my husband and told him that his brother had been killed and his body was at the morgue.”Lima said the confusion was “understandable.”“The two men closely resembled each other and both worked as car washers,” Lima said adding that the man whose body was in the morgue was named Genivaldo Santos Gama. He said further information on Gama was not immediately available.A few hours before the Monday burial “a friend of Gilberto’s saw him walking down the street and told him that his family was mourning him,” he said.“So he went to his mother’s home to let everyone know he was very much alive.”When Araujo showed up at his wake “some people fainted and others were so scared they ran away. It was a big shock,” family friend Maria Menezes told the G1 online news site.Gilberto’s mother Marina Santana told reporters “I am overjoyed. What mother wouldn’t be after being told that her son is dead and then sees him alive.” Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   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 Top Stories SAO PAULO (AP) – A 41-year-old car washer shocked his family when he interrupted a funeral being held for him at his mother’s home in the town of Alagoinhas in northeastern Brazil, police said Tuesday.Police inspector Roberto Lima said by telephone that on Sunday Jose Marcos Araujo identified a body at the city morgue as being that of his brother, Gilberto.Lima said that Jose Marcos took the body to his mother’s home where a wake was held. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

18 Aug

Typhoon Nari leaves 11 dead 5 missing in Vietnam

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ErrorOK ErrorOK Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Nari hit Vietnam’s central coast early Tuesday after crossing the Philippines over the weekend, killing 13 people there.Three people were killed in Quang Nam province, the department said.Two flood victims’ bodies were recovered Wednesday in Quang Binh province, raising its total to five dead and one missing, provincial disaster official Ngo Duc Song said. The floods submerged nearly 19,000 homes in the province, many of them up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) under water, and left four villages isolated, he said.The Gianh river in Quang Binh province reached a record high but was receding slowly, he said.Nearly 5,000 people were evacuated from their flooded homes to higher ground, Song said, adding that soldiers and police officers were sent to help villagers deal with the floods.Floods also killed a teenager in Nghe An province, a disaster official there said.In the neighboring province of Ha Tinh, the floods killed two people and authorities were searching for two others missing there, disaster official Tran Quang Duc said.One person each was missing in Thua Thien Hue and Binh Dinh provinces, the national floods and storms control department said.The department said the floods has disrupted traffic on some parts of several highway and parts of the North-South railway in Quang Binh province. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Rescuers have recovered more bodies after a typhoon flooded thousands of homes in Vietnam, raising the toll to 11 dead and five missing, officials said Thursday.Floods inundated more than 34,000 homes in three central provinces after Tyhoon Nari, which already had destroyed or damaged about 13,000 homes in seven provinces, the national floods and storms control department said. The typhoon damage included homes that collapsed or had roofs blown off by the winds. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Sponsored Stories last_img read more

18 Aug

France wants business world to help curb climate change

first_img Sponsored Stories PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande is calling on business leaders to get more involved in fighting global warming by financing climate-friendly projects and investing in green technologies.France is to host the U.N. Climate Change Conference in December.Hollande stressed Wednesday that an agreement between 196 countries in Paris would have “extremely positive consequences on economic actors, technologies of the future, employment and growth.” Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Four benefits of having a wireless security system New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “You must make commitments, provide us answers, and the success will also be yours,” he said at a Business and Climate summit at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.He also recalled that governments agreed at the 2009 summit in Copenhagen to seek a total of $100 billion from public and private investors to help poor countries tackling climate change.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during the “Business and Climate Summit 2015” at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. CEOs from around the world will present the business solutions for fighting climate change. They will tell governments what they need from COP21 to pursue the world development while achieving the low-carbon transition. (Philippe Wojazer/Pool via AP) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

18 Aug

Eastern Ukraine tense after outbreak of fighting

first_imgUkrainian servicemen from battalion “Kiev1” perform house to house checks in Marinka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday June 4, 2015. A major battle erupted Wednesday on the western edge of the main separatist rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine, leaving more than a dozen dead and threatening to tip the country back into full-blown war. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said at least one person was killed in Marinka, the government-held town where fighting was centered. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) Sponsored Stories Rebel fighters admit privately, however, that they likely lost dozens of men. Ukrainian military spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko claimed about 80 rebels were killed.The task of monitoring what is looking like an increasingly hollow cease-fire lies with a mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe. A special report hastily compiled by the OSCE after Wednesday’s fighting strongly suggests the violence was the result of a rebel initiative.Observers saw at least multiple armored vehicles moving west through Donetsk on the eve of the battle. OSCE reported hearing around 100 outgoing artillery rounds fired at daybreak from a location within separatist-held territory. More heavy fire followed throughout the day.Rebels are sticking to their story, however, and insist they were acting solely in defense against a Ukrainian assault. Their foray into Marinka and their temporary capture of several buildings, including the local hospital, was merely a counterattack, they said.“We pushed them as far as we could, then we held our positions, then we retreated,” said a rebel commander, who identified himself by the call-sign Dikiy. “There was a violent fight, a heavy fight, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.” Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain But the mood among rebel combatants huddled in a wooded base just beyond the Donetsk suburb of Marinka, where Wednesday’s fighting was centered, suggested only frustration at the lack of a clear battle plan.“We can’t just sit here in trenches. I think we should only go forward, forward and forward,” one separatist fighter, who identified himself by his nom de guerre Abaza, told The Associated Press.In the dug-out where Abaza stood, flies clustered over a pool of blood where a wounded militiaman was given emergency treatment the day before.Rebels in Donetsk now appear to be standing down following the clash.An AP reporter who visited Marinka briefly Thursday observed that it appeared to be under the control of Ukrainian government troops, who said they were performing mop-up operations.Even the official tally of fighters killed attests to the battle for Marinka being the biggest that east Ukraine has seen since February, when an internationally brokered armistice was signed.Ukraine says five of its servicemen died in combat Wednesday, four of them in or around Marinka. Eduard Basurin, a separatist spokesman, said 14 rebel fighters and five civilians were killed by Ukrainian fire during the day, but provided no details. OSCE mission spokesman Michael Bociurkiw urged all sides in the conflict to “exercise maximum restraint.”Bociurkiw also told reporters that observers in recent days had found that some heavy weapons which had been pulled back by both sides were missing from the areas where they were being stored.“This suggests non-compliance” with the cease-fire accord, which requires both sides to pull back large weapons in order to create a buffer zone, Bociurkiw said.An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw two Grad missile launchers driving toward the government-controlled town of Artemivsk. Under the cease-fire accord, such weapons were to be withdrawn from that area.The Ukrainian military freely admits that it used heavy arms in its effort to retain Marinka, but said it was left with no choice.A part of their firepower landed a direct strike on the base from which rebel infantry mounted their offensive. The converted stables set in a copse just within the limits of Donetsk were still smoldering Thursday afternoon.Several of the fighters — many among them from Russia — complained wearily that their travel documents were among the personal possessions consumed in the blaze. DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Separatist and government troops in east Ukraine stood nervously poised hundreds of meters apart Thursday in the wake of bloody battle that has threatened to demolish what remains of the brittle cease-fire there.Underscoring anxieties in the Ukrainian capital, President Petro Poroshenko warned of a possible large-scale offensive by separatist forces following the violence on the western fringe of the rebel citadel, Donetsk. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The U.N. Security Council scheduled an open meeting Friday morning on the latest developments at the request of Lithuania, a strong supporter of the Ukrainian government.___Yevgeny Maloletka in Marinka, Dmitry Vlasov in Kiev, Lorne Cooke in Brussels, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ErrorOK ErrorOK Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Russia has strongly denied sending weapons or troops to back the rebels, despite a broad array of evidence indicating otherwise.Asked if President Vladimir Putin could again seek the parliament’s permission for using Russian troops abroad as he did early in the Ukrainian crisis, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Putin has the right, but emphasized the need to fulfill the cease-fire agreement and avoid steps aimed at escalation of tensions.Despite fears of a possible full-blown resumption of combat, offensives reverted Thursday to the sporadic shelling that has become a hallmark of the Ukrainian conflict, which has claimed more than 6,400 lives since April 2014.Vyacheslav Abroskin, the police chief for the government-controlled part of the Donetsk region, said in a Facebook statement that rebels shelled the town of Avdiivka just north of the city of Donetsk. He said an unspecified number of civilians were wounded.The violence has elicited an international chorus of concern. While Moscow pins the blame on Ukraine, the West has been united in its criticism of the rebels and, by extension, Russia.“This escalation followed the movement of a large amount of heavy weapons towards the contact line by the Russia-backed separatists,” EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic. “Renewed intense fighting risks unleashing a new spiral of violence and human suffering.”last_img read more

18 Aug

Carter Iraqi training goal to fall short by 17000 recruits

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help WASHINGTON (AP) — The effort to train Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State militants has been slowed by a lack of recruits and the U.S. will not meet its goal to train 24,000 by this fall, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday.Carter told the House Armed Services Committee that the U.S. had initially envisioned training 24,000 Iraqi security forces at four sites by this fall. But he said the U.S. has received only enough recruits to be able to train about 7,000 — in addition to about 2,000 counterterrorism service personnel. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system Carter testified along with Dempsey, who is finishing a four-year stint as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Dempsey has expressed the view that the U.S. needs to be patient and not give up on the Iraqi government’s ability to fight IS. Many Republicans in Congress, however, are leery and say the U.S. should not rely on the Iraqis.“There is a sense that we are at a particularly perilous time and that U.S. policy and strategy are inadequate,” said committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.Rep. Adam Smith, the committee’s ranking Democrat, cautioned that U.S. military might alone will not defeat IS.“We can drop 200,000 U.S. troops in the middle of this. It won’t solve the problem,” Smith said.Carter’s testimony was interrupted by an anti-war protester who shouted “We need a political solution.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center “Our training efforts in Iraq have thus far been slowed by a lack of trainees. We simply haven’t received enough recruits,” Carter said at a hearing about U.S. policy in the Middle East.So far, the U.S. is advising local Iraqi forces and is not engaging in combat against IS militants who have seized territory throughout Iraq and Syria.The White House announced last week that it was sending up to 450 more U.S. troops to a new base in Anbar province of western Iraq, mainly to advise the Iraqis on planning and execution of a counteroffensive to retain Ramadi, the provincial capital. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that more such U.S. hubs could be opened elsewhere in Iraq as the campaign advances.Asked whether the 450 extra troops will make a difference in the fight against IS, Carter said the numbers are not as significant as the location, which is in the heart of Sunni territory.The U.S. is pushing for a more inclusive government in Baghdad that is representative of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, Iraq’s three major ethnic groups.“As I’ve told Iraqi leaders, while the United States is open to supporting Iraq more than we already are, we must see a greater commitment from all parts of the Iraqi government,” Carter said, adding that the Iraqi leaders understand the need to empower a multisectarian Iraqi force as well as addressing organizational and leadership failures. Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories last_img read more

17 Aug

WA adjusts tourism development laws

first_imgWestern Australia’s government has adjusted its tourism building requirements, to encourage investment in the region’s tourist accommodation development. Announced yesterday, Planning Bulletin 83 has replaced the old system which required tourism developers to build according to residential percentages.The new legislation determines building approval by assessing each case individually.Planning Minister John Day said the government has worked closely with the industry to create a system that would “offer more flexibility” as well as allow local governments to “incorporate tourism initiatives into local planning strategies”.“With major projects under way across WA, these new amendments will offer greater diversity and vibrancy within these projects and tourism developments,” Mr Day said.Tourism Minister Kim Hames added that with the short-stay market demand in Perth among the highest in Australia, the adjustments would tiger “much-needed” tourism accommodation investment in the state.“To sustain the short-stay hotel market – in large part due to resources success – we need to attract more investment in hotel development which is imperative to WA’s future growth,” the Tourism Minister explained.“These amendments will mean greater flexibility in tourism development and are in keeping with the State Government’s overall vision, making WA an even more attractive investment proposition.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

17 Aug

Industry welcomes Jetstar Japan

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Australian travel industry has welcomed the news of a new Qantas’ subsidiary, Jetstar Japan, recognising the benefits the Japan based airline could have on travel into Australia. Expected to launch into the travel market late next year, Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) chief executive Rob Giason said the new service would stimulate fresh demand into Cairns and assist the region reach its target growth.Currently attracting up to 110,000 Japan based visitors annually, the region is aiming to increase its arrivals to up to 200,000 by 2015.“The new airline Jetstar… will give passengers from Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Okinawa the opportunity for a one stop Jetstar flight to holidays in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region, by making added feeder routes with Jetstar to the existing direct services,” Mr Giason explained.Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy added that the move to adjust its international operations and launch a new Asia based carrier would assist the carrier become “a much more viable business”.“To continue to be a strong investor in Australian tourism the airline needs to be cost competitive,” he explained.“Their five year plan unveiled today is about Qantas creating a much more viable international business, which can compete in today’s fiercely competitive aviation landscape and help support our own tourism ambitions.“Further expansion into Japan by Jetstar through the setting up of a new low cost carrier with Japan Airlines is welcome news and will help stimulate what is a struggling top tier market for Australian tourism.”Tourism & Transport Forum chief executive John Lee concurred adding that in the travel industry constant change is needed for survival.”Anyone who’s standing still gets left behind,” Mr Lee said.Meanwhile worker’s unions have expressed outrage against the proposed 1,000 job losses that would result from the carrier’s changes, riding it off as “a five-year plan to kill Qantas international”, Transport Workers Union secretary Tony Sheldon said. Click here for more news on union disputes against proposed redundancies. last_img read more

17 Aug

2 million to Abu Dhabi

first_imgHotels in Abu Dhabi reported a 14 per cent year on year growth in guest numbers for the first nine months, expecting to hit 2 million by January.Australian guests topped the list of countries contributing to the boom with a 31 per cent increase. Gulf Countries reported a 29 per cent rise, followed by France with 19 per cent and UK and Germany contributing 18 per cent. Hotel revenue increased by just over AED 3 billion, approximately AU$880 million, which is up 6 percent, as well as boosting F&B income to AED 1.1 billion, approximately AU$322 million.September’s strong performance will boost the already 1.5 million guests that have stayed in the Emirates’ accommodation sector so far this year.Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Strategy and Policy Director, Lawrence Franklin, said Abu Dhabi will reach the 2011 stretch target of 2 million hotel guests if the trend continues for the remaining three months.”We are optimistic given the destination’s dynamic events programme, including next month’s staging of the third F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix followed virtually immediately by Abu Dhabi Art which will be held on Saadiyat Island in the newly erected UAE Pavilion, which drew over 2 million visitors when it debuted at the World Expo in Shanghai last year adding to our attractions offering,” he said.“This is all backed up by the catalogue of new hotels and resorts due to open which will see the destination cross-marketed throughout the international chains of major hospitality brands entering the market including Rocco Forte, Westin, St. Regis, Park Hyatt and Jumeirah.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

17 Aug

Females travel towards stars single men

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Celebrities and single men are two of the key factors that will influence a female’s travel destination, according to a new travel report.Published by lastminute.com.au the Female Travel and Lifestyle Report found that 21 percent of wommen are likely to pick a destination because it attracts single males compared to 43 percent of men who follow the single women.A further one in four Gen Y females will prefer to ‘vacay’ in the same spots as celebrities. Released last week, the report highlighted one in three woman are also likely to become more stressed leading up to a vacation compared to 17 percent of men.Key factors of stress prior to a trip included packing, forgetting an item, get work out of the way as well as ensuring everything is organised at home and work prior to departure. Of the 90 percent of women who took a short trip over the past 12 months, 26 percent said they hate being stuck at airports, 20 percent despise cattle class and 17 percent wish they didn’t have to spend so much time on a plane.According to the report, 14 percent of Australian women said they take a sleeping pill at take-off to help get to sleep and drown out children and other irritating passengers.24 percent of men said they get through lengthy plane trips by familiarising themselves with the drink cart, compared to 17 percent of women, while 20 percent of men said they are willing to pay extra for the exit row to make it a little cosier compared to 14 percent of women.last_img read more

17 Aug

No love lost for Labor

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Shadow Minister Bob Baldwin Shadow Minister for Tourism Bob Baldwin said the Labor Government had failed to consult the tourism industry on its increase in the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC), highlighting a mismanagement of funds.This week’s Senate Estimates hearing has highlighted the contrast between the Government and Coalition with respect to tourism.Mr Baldwin said Labor had “broken its promise” in regards to increasing the PMC, while the Coalition had worked with the tourism industry in May to defeat the planned indexation.The PMC now stands at $55, indicating a rise of $8 by the Labor Government, with periodic increases forecast for the future.Opposition Leader Tony Abbott assured the tourism industry that “you will never find, from the next Coalition government, changes being sprung on you that we haven’t talked through because that’s not how adult governments operate.”Australia registered a decline in arrivals from its largest inbound market, New Zealand, over the past two months.Mr Baldwin and Tourism Accommodation Australia suggest the decline in visitation from New Zealand is linked to the recent increase in the PMC in the 2012/13 Federal Budget.last_img read more

17 Aug

Virgin Australia Delta codeshare to Mexico

first_imgAussies fly to Mexico on one ticket. Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines have announced an extension to their codeshare agreement, to include services to Mexico.As part of the agreement, Virgin will add its VA code to Delta flights to six Mexico cities, including Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara, San Jose Del Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Cozumel, allowing Australian travellers to book flights to Mexico on a single ticket.Virgin Australia chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said codesharing to Mexico will meet demand to the growing tourist destination.“Mexico is very popular with Australian leisure travellers and I am delighted we can now offer these cities on codeshare flights from Australia,” she explained.Velocity Frequent Flyer and SkyMiles members will be able to earn points and status credits on these new routes.Source = ETB News: NJlast_img read more

17 Aug

Australian passports go astray

first_imgThe Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has reiterated that about 38,000 Australian passports went missing in 2013, following fears two people traveling on Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 were traveling on fake passports. However, the amount lost represent a tiny proportion of the passports currently in issue – 12 million. “The Australian Passport Office takes the matter of lost and stolen passports seriously and takes measures to prevent their possible misuse,” a DFAT spokesperson said. According to DFAT figures, the 37,020 passports were lost over the 2012/13 financial year, with the majority of passports lost in Australia, closely followed by Paris, Madrid, Bangkok, London and Los Angeles.center_img All passports that are lost are cancelled and reported to Interpol, who maintains a worldwide database of lost passports.  Source = ETB News: T.N.last_img read more

17 Aug

Accor announces several changes in New Zealand and Australia

first_imgAccor announces several changes in New Zealand and AustraliaChris Sedgwick, former Vice President Operations Queensland/Northern Territory has been appointed Senior Vice President Operations, New Zealand, Fiji and Polynesia and is relocating to New Zealand. Chris is replacing former Senior VP Garth Simmons who is on the move to Indonesia to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore effective 1 July 2015.Chris’s most recent role with Accor was Regional General Manager, Queensland and Northern Territory since January 2012, overseeing a portfolio of 34 hotels before transitioning to the role of Vice President Operations QLD/NT. Chris was also the Ibis Brand Champion across the Australia network and is currently the Brand Operations Manager for The Sebel.Chris has an extensive hospitality background having previously worked for Ayers Rock Resort, Hamilton Island and Rydges Hotels & Resorts both in Asia, New Zealand and Australia and this combined with his wealth of executive leadership will prove invaluable in his new capacity.Stepping into Chris’s Queensland/ Northern Territory role is Matt Young. Matt’s previous role with Accor was Vice President Operations Western Australia and General Manager Mercure Perth and is currently the brand operations champion for Ibis Styles. Matt has an extensive career in the hospitality industry having held several senior operational leadership roles with IHG and Rydges.Completing the restructure, Accor’s first female Vice President of Operations has been appointed. Gillian Millar will relocate to Perth to take on Matt Young’s previous role as Vice President of Operations Western Australia, based at the Mercure Perth hotel.Most recently Gillian held the positions of Area General Manager for VIC/TAS/SA and General Manager of the Pullman & Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne. She also has the national responsibility for the Pullman brand.Simon McGrath, Accor’s Chief Operating Officer Pacific, said the new changes ensure the best person is assigned to each role as the company moves forward and continues to expand its portfolio.“We are focused very strongly on succession planning at Accor to ensure that our employees enjoy the mobility and development that come from being part of one of the largest hotel groups in the world,” he said. “These executive appointments have been designed to recognise the input of our key executive team and put the best available people into the top roles.”www.accorhotels.comSource = Accorlast_img read more

17 Aug

IMG Worlds of Adventure announces opening date

first_imgIMG Worlds of Adventure, wholly owned by the Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group (IMG Group), provides a sneak peek into Dubai’s first international mega-themed leisure and entertainment destination, announcing that it will open its doors to visitors on Monday, 15th August, 2016.Located in the heart of new Dubai and stretching across 1.5 million square feet, IMG Worlds of Adventure will be the first multi-themed destination to open in the region, and will set Dubai on the map as an international family entertainment hot spot.Mr. Ilyas Galadari and Mr. Mustafa Galadari, Executive Co-Chairmen and Owners of the Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, said, “We are very excited to announce our opening date and look forward to IMG Worlds of Adventure coming to life in August of this year. As the first international leisure and entertainment destination in Dubai, we have designed an entire world of entertainment for our guests.“By offering a fully immersive indoor theme park experience in a temperature controlled environment this enables IMG Worlds of Adventure to be open all year round. With the capacity to welcome more than 30,000 people a day we anticipate 4.5 million guests in our first full year of operation, contributing to Dubai’s position as a leading tourism hub.”As the pioneer in this new sector, IMG Worlds of Adventure will pave the way for other complementary hospitality offers to re-engage with key tourist markets, providing them with yet another compelling reason to come to this amazing part of the world.In support of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the 2020 vision for the future of Dubai, IMG Worlds of Adventure is set to become a “must see” destination for international tourists, encouraging visitors to extend their length of stay in the Emirate.IMG Worlds of Adventure will open in its entirety with the exception of the 12-screen Novo Cinema, which will open shortly thereafter. Tickets will be available from 25th of April onward for online purchase on the website, with adult ticket prices set at AED 300 and children at AED 250 for an all-day adventure offering access to over 20 signature rides and attractions, including live shows and a 5D cinema experience.IMG Worlds of Adventure promises guests a remarkable immersive indoor theme park experience, bringing together the best international and local interactive entertainment and globally recognized characters and superheroes.There will be four unique worlds all under one roof, Cartoon Network and Marvel as well as the IMG Group original concept the Lost Valley-Dinosaur Adventure joined together by IMG Boulevard. This USD $1 Billion project is fully indoors and comprises four zones including 25 original retail concept stores, 28 immersive F&B outlets, over 1,600 employees and 4,500 parking spaces. IMG Worlds of AdventureSource = IMG Worlds of Adventurelast_img read more

17 Aug

Qatar Airways launches spectacular promotion to celebrate its 20th Ann

first_imgQatar Airways launches spectacular promotion to celebrate its 20th AnniversaryQatar Airways is celebrating its 20th anniversary by providing incredible fares across both its Economy and Business Class cabins, in addition to offering 20 lucky winners aPrivilege Club Gold membership and discounts of up to 50 per cent on redemption tickets to select destinations to Privilege Club members across its growing global network.Valid from 1 to 10 November 2017, the 20 Year Anniversary Promotion offers special companion offers in Business Class, as well as amazing savings on Economy Class fares forbookings made for two to nine passengers*. These exclusive offers are valid for travel between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018.Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Ehab Amin, said: “We are delighted to be launching this spectacular global promotion in celebration of our 20th anniversary. This is a veryspecial year of giving back to our loyal passengers, and so we are pleased to offer fantastic fares across our Economy and Business Class cabins, to ensure they too can join us incelebrating 20 successful years of Going Places Together.“Passengers from across the world can take advantage of these truly unique offers as they plan their next business or leisure trip across our global network, which extends to more than 150destinations.”In tandem with the airline’s 20 Year Anniversary promotion, Qatar Airways has launched a 20 day campaign on its social media channels from 26 October 2017. #20ReasonsToFlyshowcases Qatar Airways’ greatest achievements in the past 20 years.The award-winning airline has in previous months launched several successful global promotions, including its ‘Fly with the World’s Best Airline’ campaign, which celebrated QatarAirways’ Skytrax ‘World’s Best Airline’ award, as well as its ‘Global Travel Boutique’ campaign, which offered passengers the opportunity to win once-in-a-lifetime mega prizes, including thechance to fly free for a year to any destination in the airline’s extensive global network.Qatar Airways has added a host of exciting new destinations to its network in 2017, including Dublin, Ireland; Nice, France; and Prague, Czech Republic. It will add many more excitingdestinations to its global network through 2018, including Canberra, Australia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Cardiff, UK, to name just a few.The national carrier of the State of Qatar is one of the fastest-growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 20th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modernfleet of more than 200 aircraft flying to business and leisure destinations across six continents.The award-winning airline has received a number of accolades this year, including ‘Airline of the Year’ by the prestigious 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards, which was held at the Paris AirShow. This is the fourth time that Qatar Airways has been given this global recognition. In addition to being voted ‘World’s Best Airline’ by travellers from around the world, Qatar’snational carrier also won a raft of other major awards at the ceremony, including ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,’ ‘World’s Best Business Class’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.’* Offer valid until 10 November 2017, unless sold out prior. Offer valid on bookings made for 3-8 passengers travelling together in Economy Class, and 2-8 passengers travelling together in Business Class. Fares are valid for departures from 1 November 2017 to 23 October 2018, and all travel must be completed by 31 October 2018. Blackout periods of 15 December 2017 – 10 January2018 (Economy/Business Class), 6 April – 20 April 2018 (Economy Class only), and 7 June – 10 September 2018 (Economy/Business Class) apply. Fares may vary due to currency fluctuations. Seasonal surcharges, weekend surcharges, and blackout periods may apply. For all other terms and conditions please review at time of booking. Canberra flights start 13 February2018, subject to government approval.Source = Qatar Airwayslast_img read more

16 Aug

Madrid becomes the first of seven new destinations of Air India

first_imgThe launch of Air India’s new route to Madrid has marked the start of a period of significant expansion for the national carrier.The new service from Delhi to the Spanish capital, which began on December 1, 2016, marked the airline’s arrival in Spain, with Air India’s Chairman & Managing Director, Ashwani Lohani, revealing that following this launch, the national carrier plans to add a further six destinations to its route map next year.“Madrid connection starts on December 1 to be followed by another at least six new connections in 2017. Great expansion plans for Air India,” Lohani told his social media followers on twitter.While the details of the new routes are yet to be revealed, it has been reported that Air India is planning to launch its first flights to the African continent, as well as Tel Aviv and Washington DC.last_img read more

15 Aug

Initial Jobless Claims Rebound to FourWeek High

first_img First-time claims for unemployment insurance rose 34,000 for the week ended July 14 to 386,000 – the highest level in four weeks – the “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ said Thursday. [IMAGE]Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 365,000 initial claims. The prior week’s total was revised up to 352,000 from the originally reported 350,000. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô rose 1,000 to 3,314,000 from the prior week’s 3,313,000, revised from the originally reported 3,304,000.Initial claims had plunged in the week ended July 7 to a four year low as seasonal adjustments ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô used to correct for sharp changes in raw data due to recurring annual phenomena ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô offset annual furloughs of auto workers when plants re-tooled for the new model year. The increase in claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the largest weekly jump since the week ended April 30, 2011 – was an expected rebound, though the adjustment factors continue to play a role. In the upcoming week adjustment factors ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô already published by the Labor Department ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô should push claims up higher. Furloughed workers qualify for unemployment insurance artificially increasing claims without using a seasonal adjustment. Unadjusted claims jumped nearly 70,000 in the week ended July 7 and another 10,000 in the week ended July 14.[COLUMN_BREAK]Unadjusted initial claims totaled 452,960 in the week ending July 14, an increase of 10,768 from the previous week. There were 470,086 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.This week’s report covered the same period ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the week of the month, including the twelfth calendar day ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in deriving the monthly payroll jobs report and monthly unemployment rate. The Employment Situation report is scheduled for release August 3.The sharp increase in initial claims reflected the holiday shortened week from one week earlier. While newly unemployed individuals can file claims online even when office are closed, clerical staff is not available to process those filings and report them during holiday periods.The four week moving average of initial claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a statistical device used to smooth the more volatile weekly data – fell 1,500 to 375,500 from 377,000.The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose 1,000 to 3,311,750.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on two week lag – for the week ending June 30 was 5,752,116 a decrease of 121,985 from the previous week. According to the latest BLS report, 12.8 million people were officially counted as unemployed in June.States reported 2,524,363 persons claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits for the week ending June 30, a decline of 81,924 from the past week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,154,001 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. According to the Labor Department, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending July 7 were in New York (+22,336), Michigan (+7,602), Ohio (+5,976), Pennsylvania (+4,775), and Wisconsin (+4,615), while the largest decreases were in California (-9,016), New Jersey (-5,282), Connecticut (-917), Massachusetts (-716), and Oklahoma (-671). July 20, 2012 430 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Initial Jobless Claims Rebound to Four-Week Highcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Unemployment 2012-07-20 Mark Lieberman Sharelast_img read more

15 Aug

ATPR adds EVP to grow SmartProp Program

first_img Share June 8, 2015 498 Views in Headlines, News, Technology, Uncategorized Shannon CobbAmerican Tax and Property Reporting, Inc. (ATPR), announced in a press release that Shannon Cobb has been hired to join its leadership team as EVP reporting to President, Alok Datta. ATPR, a subsidiary of SLK Global, is a provider of technology focused solutions for the real estate and settlement services industry.In his new role, Cobb will be responsible for the sales and operations of SmartProp and other planned products in the mortgage lender and real estate information segments, the release says. SmartProp is product of SLK Global that is available through the ATPR sales channel. ATPR also offers tax & municipal lien products through its affiliate company, American Tax Reporting.“Shannon embodies our principal aim of delivering real value to the settlement services industry,” Datta said. “He brings with him tremendous domain expertise, industry knowledge and encapsulates the very essence of the ‘trust network’ tag that a number of customers have already given us. We are working on several additional products we believe lenders, settlement services and other real estate related firms will find interesting and valuable.”Cobb brings more than 20 years of experience in the title and settlement services industry to ATPR, according to the company. Cobb has served as SVP with WFG Lender Services and group SVP with LandAmerica Financial Group. He has also held leadership roles in the Citigroup and General American Corp.“ATPR is steadily growing into the role of trusted provider for many of its clients, and that is what brings me here,” Cobb said. “I look forward to the opportunity to grow that reputation and deliver unmatched value to the mortgage and settlement services industry.”center_img American Tax and Property Reporting Inc SLK Global SmartProp 2015-06-08 Staff Writer ATPR adds EVP to grow SmartProp Programlast_img read more