Tags: Australia, Travel Alert Posted by Wednesday, August 3, 2016 SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — International air passengers are being warned of potential disruption and delays when union members in Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection go on strike for 24 hours on Aug. 12.Staff including Border Force officers will walk off the job from midnight on Aug. 12 at international airports, ports and other sites around the country. Additionally, quarantine and biosecurity staff at airports will also strike for a one-hour stop-work meeting on that day.Departing and arriving passengers on international flights are advised to allow for extra time and be prepared for possible delays during the industrial action.A release from the Community & Public Sector Union states:“We have written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seeking an urgent meeting to resolve his Government’s public sector bargaining mess. We’re also preparing to take action in the Fair Work Commission around the Government’s lack of good faith in bargaining and resume our successful community campaigning to hold MPs and Senators to account.”More news: Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?“Prime Minister Turnbull can avert future strike action, including the prospect of broader industrial action across the Commonwealth public sector, by working with us to fix this mess. All these workers want is to hang onto their existing workplace rights, particularly family-friendly conditions and a fair wage outcome given their wages have been frozen for the past three years.” Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Australian airport strikes expected next week
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share IATA reports strong year for air travel demand, says “aviation is the business of freedom” GENEVA — In light of the U.S. immigrant ban that has sparked controversy and protests across the country, IATA, in its full-year global passenger traffic report, says that “aviation is the business of freedom” and that its social and economic benefits must be defended “from barriers to travel and protectionist agendas.”According to the report, air travel demand had a strong year in 2016, closing out the year on a high note with an 8.8% increase in December. Demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) rose 6.3% compared to 2015, well ahead of the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Capacity also rose 6.2% compared to 2015, pushing the load factor up to a record full-year average high of 80.5%.“Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination. Demand for air travel is still expanding.”More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”De Juniac also added: “Our freedom to connect through air travel drives prosperity and enriches societies. That freedom can only be given its fullest expression when governments facilitate the movement of people and goods.”International passenger traffic rose 6.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, with all regions recording year-over-year increases in demand. Middle East carriers had the strongest regional annual traffic growth for the fifth year in a row, with RPKs expanding 11.8%. Asia Pacific carriers came in a close second with a demand increase of 8.3% compared to 2015.North American airlines had a good year as well, seeing demand rise 2.6% in 2016. Most of the growth occurred in the second quarter, and traffic was strongest on Pacific routes. In contrast, North Atlantic has been fairly flat. Capacity rose 3.3%, reducing the load factor for 0.5 percentage points to 81.3%.Domestic air travel rose 5.7% in 2016. Capacity rose 5.1% and load factor was 82.2%, up 0.5 percentage points over 2015. All major markets except Brazil showed growth, with India and China being the standout performers (RPK expansion of 23.3% and 11.7%, respectively). Tags: IATA Travelweek Group Thursday, February 2, 2017 Posted by
Another swipe at the GDS channel with Lufthansa’s latest fee Posted by TORONTO — Starting June 13 passengers flying Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss will pay a higher fee for their first bag, plus that fee will also be subject to a surcharge if booked through the GDS via Sabre, Amadeus or Travelport (Worldspan/Galileo).According to industry reports first bag fees will increase from £12 (Cdn$21) up to £21 (Cdn$37). For first bags paid for through GDSs, Lufthansa is levying an additional £4 charge, for a total of £25 (Cdn$44).So far the extra fee applies to Economy Light fares, a fare class typically booked for the airline group’s flights within Europe.Lufthansa says the move is a “further step towards a personalized and differentiated offer within airline distribution”.The Lufthansa Group implemented a 16 euro surcharge on GDS bookings in 2015, a move that was widely criticized by travel agent groups. Two months after Lufthansa’s surcharge came into effect, some 42% of business travel agencies said they had cut back on booking the Lufthansa Group.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesIn the intervening months Lufthansa has hammered out direct booking arrangements with industry players including major travel agency chains.Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has said he would be “very surprised” if other airlines don’t bring in GDS surcharges of their own. Last month British Airways parent IAG announced that British Airways and Iberia bookings made through indirect channels including GDSs would be hit with a £8 (Cdn$14) surcharge effective Nov. 1. Share Thursday, June 8, 2017 Tags: GDS, Lufthansa Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Q&A with Agencia Global: “Listening to what agents want” Share Tags: Agencia Global Travelweek Group Posted by Monday, March 12, 2018 TORONTO — For agents who find it time-consuming – and confusing – to search through countless airfares for their clients, Agencia Global has a solution.The online-based platform provides the lowest consolidator airfare on the market, says the company, and empowers travel agents with a simple and effective tool at no cost to the user. It has no booking fees and no markup on net fares.Travelweek talked to Ryan Saroli, CEO of Agencia Global, to learn more about the B2B platform and how it can benefit agents:Q: Tell us about the company’s origins.A: Voyages A La Carte is based in Montreal and began as a traditional travel agency in 1991. In 2012, Voyages A La Carte shifted its business model toward the air consolidation business it is today. In 2013, Voyages A La Carte USA was formed to offer content from POS USA, and in 2014 Voyages A La Carte acquired Alio, a tour operator. Then in 2017, we launched our new B2B platform, Agencia Global.Q: What kind of products do you offer, and which suppliers do you work with?A: Currently, Agencia Global offers airfare, travel insurance and will soon complete the integration of hotels and car rentals. We are currently working with Manulife, CSA Insurance, CarTrawler and Booking.com. We also have contracts with over 160 airlines.More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJQ: How many passengers and flights can agents book at a time?A: Currently, Agencia Global allows an agent to book up to nine passengers on one PNR. Also, Agencia Global can facilitate multi-city flights for up to five different destinations for the same passengers. Additional passengers and flights must be reserved on a separate booking.Q: What is unique to Agencia?A: Agencia is the only consolidator tool available to travel agents that has no cost to sign up, no booking fees and no markup on nets. Agencia also provides the easiest, fastest and cleanest consolidator tool online while providing customer support based in Canada to support all of our tools.Q: How many Canadian travel agents are currently registered? And what do they receive with their registration?A: Agencia Global already has several thousand agents registered with the tool. It is free to register. After registering, travel agents gain access to Agencia’s full suite of travel tools, as well as our customer support.Q: What has been the secret to the company’s success?More news: Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterA: I’d say it’s that we consider ourselves a technology company first, which is much needed in the travel industry. We’re able to provide effective travel solutions for our travel agent customers for a fraction of the price our competitors charge. This allows travel agents access to more comprehensive content without the fees or markups they’re used to.Q: What are the biggest challenges Canadian agents face today, and how can Agencia help them overcome them?A: I don’t think Canadian travel agents or home-based agents have a simple and effective tool that makes the booking process enjoyable. Agents are also at the mercy of consolidators when it comes to the rates they pay. The inefficiencies of consolidators have cost travel agents money, and we’ve developed a product that solves that problem.Q: What’s new for the company in 2018/2019?A: Agencia will constantly be improving the website and add features that travel agents are looking for. Our development team is constantly looking at user experience and our support team is listening to what the agents want.For more information on Agencia Global’s suite of offerings, go to agenciaglobal.com.
Travelweek Group Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Sunwing favourite Grand Sirenis Cocotal has sun, sand and two new dining options Thursday, April 11, 2019 TORONTO — Recent renovations at Punta Cana’s Grand Sirenis Cocotal have given this popular resort a makeover.The newly refurbished rooms complement two new dining options serving up Tex-Mex and French cuisine.Guests at the resort also get access to Sirenis Aquagames, one of Punta Cana’s largest water parks with slides and sprinklers for all ages.Says Sunwing: “Family fun and adult adventures are waiting on the shores of Punta Cana at the Grand Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort Casino & Aquagames. This resort is surrounded by one of the biggest coconut groves in the area and is located on a massive, golden-sand beach.”A full roster of activities is available – everything from learning how to scuba dive to archery to beach volleyball game. For dining the resort offers two buffets, Macao and Sanoa, as well as more than half a dozen à la carte restaurants. The new offerings, El Rancho and Le Relais Gourmand, join Cinecitta, Ikebana, Las Barcas, Route 66 and ‘La Gira’ Rodizio.There’s also a long list of bars plus live evening performances, an on-site nightclub and a casino. For more details see sunwing.ca. Tags: Grand Sirenis Cocotal, Punta Cana, Sunwing
Share Aeroplan sale price lands at $516 million after post closing adjustments Tags: Aeroplan, Aimia Inc, Air Canada Tuesday, June 4, 2019 MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. says the final price for the sale of Aeroplan to Air Canada has increased to $516 million following the finalization of all financial adjustments after the deal’s January close.Air Canada signed a definitive agreement last November to buy the flagship points program from Aimia, a loyalty analytics company, at an initial price of $450 million in cash. It was increased to $497 million after original adjustments.The airline, which will gain better access to customer data through the deal, also assumed $1.9 billion in liabilities to points holders, partially backed by two banks that offer Aeroplan credit cards.Aimia says it will receive a final payment of $19 million to complete the transaction. It says the post-closing adjustments stem mainly from favourable working capital relative to the target working capital set out in the agreement.The Montreal-based company also says the Canada Revenue Agency has told Aeroplan Inc. following an audit for the 2012 and 2013 taxation years that the program owes $11 million, on top of the $24 million already handed over to Ottawa.More news: Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalAimia says it plans to file a notice of objection in the coming weeks. << Previous PostNext Post >> By: The Canadian Press
Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Costsaver has brought back Asia for a second year, with two new destinations added to the list after the program’s successful launch in 2019.The newly unveiled 2020-21 program also heralds the official unveiling of Costsaver’s new ultra-flexible ‘Mini Breaks’ for Asia, along with four new tours, expanding the total brand offering to 10 trips across eight countries.Building on Costsaver’s commitment to delivering value tours without compromise, the 2020/2021 series includes all the quality essentials that are the bedrock of the brand with even more optional experiences to allow clients to tailor their dream holiday, says the company. Costsaver is part of The Travel Corporation.“We were overwhelmed by the positive response to our launch into Asia,” said Janice Farnum, Director of Product for Asia. “Clients are loving the Costsaver way to travel that gives them everything they need for a great holiday and the tools to tailor it to perfection. It’s a refreshing way to explore Asia, and we’re so excited to introduce our new trips, showcasing even more of this stunning continent.”New for 2020/2021, Costsaver has added a 22-day Essence of South East Asia itinerary exploring Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The trip includes hand selected 3 and 4-star hotels, transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches, internal flights and visits to some of the most iconic sights in each destination, such as a cruise through Halong Bay, an unforgettable trip to Angkor Wat and an eye-opening journey to Thailand’s Golden Triangle.More news: Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureTo allow clients the full flexibility to personalize their holiday, carefully curated optional experiences are available throughout the trip in addition to plenty of free time to explore the destinations their own way with the help of their Travel Director’s expertise.The new program also sees Costsaver clients exploring further south on the Asian continent into Malaysia & Singapore. The new 15-day Thai and Malaysian Odyssey is the first Costsaver trip to Malaysia and includes for the first time, a number of destinations in the Southern region of Thailand, such as the popular tropical hub of Krabi and an oceanside stay in the secluded beach town of Bang Saphan Noi.And in response to the popularity of its 2019 4-day Hong Kong Highlights trip, the brand has introduced a new category, ‘Mini Breaks,’ which includes an exciting new destination as part of its Amazing Singapore tour. This 4-day micro trip is the perfect embodiment of the new ‘Mini Breaks’ travel style which lets clients explore a single destination as a short standalone holiday or as an add-on to another itinerary.More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaCostsaver says it revised its China itinerary for 2020/2021 to include a 3-night cruise down the Yangtze River, seeing sites like The Goddess Stream of the Three Gorges, the monasteries and shrines of the 2000-year-old Ghost City and the other sites along the iconic riverway.The success of the 2019 season has shown the brand that travellers are craving a unique travel style which Costsaver provides, offering the ease and comfort of a guided holiday with the freedom and flexibility of individual travel at a great value price point, just like its tagline ‘value tours without compromise’ suggests, says Farnum.Optional experiences include a food tour in Vietnam, a cultural exchange with a hill tribe in Thailand and a Kung Fu show in China. Two new destinations with Costsaver’s 2020-21 Asia collection Posted by Tags: Asia, CostSaver Share Friday, July 19, 2019
No related posts. A National Household Survey on Drug Abuse conducted in 2010 shows 2 percent of Costa Ricans smoked marijuana in the last month before being surveyed. Survey results were released Monday by the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Institute (IAFA).The study also found that most Costa Ricans who use pot began smoking it when they were 16 years old.The number of marijuana users tripled from 0.6 percent in a 2006 household survey to 2 percent of the population of 4.6 million in the 2010 survey, about 92,000 people. Margarita Odio, of IAFA, said in a press release that the results reflect “the low perception of risk that young people have in regards to consuming marijuana.”She added that access to marijuana is easier now, and that “there is a rise of cultural movements where cannabis is part of a lifestyle that attracts many young people.”IAFA claims that earlier use of marijuana can lead to a greater dependence on the drug as teen brains are more susceptible to THC, the potent chemical in marijuana. Facebook Comments
Related posts:US Sen. Bill Nelson: Costa Rica has a place in the future of space flight Ex-NASA astronaut Franklin Chang talks about ‘The Martian,’ Hollywood’s take on his VASIMR engine Gravitational waves: Are scientists about to open a new window on the universe? Crowdfunding campaign to orbit Costa Rica’s first satellite surpasses goal MIAMI – Astronomers hunting for another Earth have found what may be the closest match yet, a potentially rocky planet circling its star at the same distance as the Earth orbits the Sun, NASA said Thursday.Not only is this planet squarely in the Goldilocks zone — where life could exist because it is neither too hot nor too cold to support liquid water — its star looks like an older cousin of our Sun, the U.S. space agency said.That means the planet, which is 1,400 light-years away, could offer a glimpse into the Earth’s apocalyptic future, scientists said.Known as Kepler 452b, the planet was detected by the U.S. space agency’s Kepler Space Telescope, which has been hunting for other worlds like ours since 2009.“Kepler 452b is orbiting a close cousin of our Sun, but one that is 1.5 billion years older,” NASA said in a statement.Its star is four percent more massive than the Sun and 10 percent brighter.If the planet is rocky, and scientists believe that it has a better than even chance of being just that, then it could be in the midst of a fearful scenario, as the heat from its dying star evaporates Kepler 452b’s lakes and oceans.“If Kepler 452b is indeed a rocky planet, its location vis-a-vis its star could mean that it is just entering a runaway greenhouse phase of its climate history,” said Doug Caldwell, a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute scientist working on the Kepler mission.“The increasing energy from its aging sun might be heating the surface and evaporating any oceans. The water vapor would be lost from the planet forever,” he added.“Kepler 452b could be experiencing now what the Earth will undergo more than a billion years from now, as the Sun ages and grows brighter.” Planetary catalog The Kepler mission launched in 2009 to search for exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, particularly those about the size of Earth or smaller.“Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years — another Earth,” NASA said in a statement.On Thursday, NASA released the latest catalog of exoplanet candidates, adding more than 500 new possible planets to the 4,175 already found by the space-based telescope.“This catalog contains our first analysis of all Kepler data, as well as an automated assessment of these results,” said SETI Institute scientist Jeffrey Coughlin.The new catalog includes 12 candidates that are less than twice the diameter of Earth and which are orbiting in the habitable zones of their stars.Of those 12 new candidates, Kepler 452b “is the first to be confirmed as a planet,” NASA said.Kepler identifies possible planets by watching for dips in the brightness of stars, which could be caused by a planet passing between the star and the telescope.Other scientific tools are needed to judge whether the planet is gassy or rocky.The Kepler mission has cost NASA about $600 million, and the US space agency said in 2013 that two of its orientation wheels had lost function, leaving the space telescope beyond repair.But scientists have years to pore over the data it has returned in order to narrow the search for Earth-like worlds. Facebook Comments
NEW YORK — The Rolling Stones, who in their fifth decade remain some of the top earners in the live music business, announced a 2016 tour of Latin America on Thursday. Members of the legendary band are all in their 70s but have kept up an active touring schedule and keep fetching some of the industry’s highest ticket prices.The Rolling Stones’ last tour was a 15-date swing through North America earlier this year, which grossed more than $100 million according to an estimate by industry journal Billboard.“People said 30 years ago, ‘Yeah, this will be your last tour.’ An old expression now — it’s like, okay, we don’t believe we’ll ever stop,” a band member, who was not identified but sounded like drummer Charlie Watts, said on the video.The Stones have not released an album of new material since 2005’s “A Bigger Bang,” which was accompanied by the second highest-grossing tour in history at more than $600 million, topped only by U2.But Richards, who earlier this year released solo work, recently said that the Stones would return to the studio after the Latin America tour to record a new album. Related posts:Kevin Johansen and The Nada to join illustrator Liniers in live art-music show in Escazú Jazz Café to host first annual Costa Rican Women in Music Festival Selena died 20 years ago – why we’re still talking about her The legendary Will Smith returns to rap with Colombia’s Bomba Estereo Facebook Comments The English rockers, who last played Latin America in 2006, will start the tour Feb. 3 at the National Stadium in Chile.“The audiences in Latin America are some of the best there (are). The atmosphere is electric,” guitarist Keith Richards said in a promotional video.The tour will mark the first time that Mick Jagger’s band performs in Colombia, Peru and Uruguay, despite decades of globetrotting.The Stones will also play four dates in Brazil, three concerts in Argentina and close the tour on March 14 in Mexico City.Watch the Stones’ promo video announcing the tour:
Starbucks partners and shareholders, including Lisa Haeg of Puyallup, Washington, took part in a virtual reality tour of the Starbucks Costa Rica coffee farm, Hacienda Alsacia, before the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on March 22, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.Earlier this year, Starbucks started selling coffee from the farm in its cafés in Costa Rica. The farm is located on the slopes of Poás Volcano in the province of Alajuela, is also home to Starbucks’ Global Agronomy Research & Development Center, where the company conducts research to develop new coffee varieties.Starbucks acquired the 240-hectare farm in 2013; it is the company’s first and only experimental farm. Facebook Comments Related posts:Starbucks introduces exclusive coffee from its Costa Rica farm Hurricane Otto caused $15 million in losses for Costa Rican coffee sector Starbucks shares decade of research with Costa Rica coffee institute Coffee expo showcases ‘vandola,’ the Costa Rican coffee pour-over brewer
___AP correspondent Karin Laub contributed to this report from Beirut.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The vital role family plays in society Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, has called for a series of massive protests this week over the amateurish movie produced in the United States, which depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child-molester. Nasrallah has called the video an “unprecedented” affront to Muslim people all over the world.Two Hezbollah-led protests took place earlier this week, and they are expected to continue through the weekend. But Hezbollah appears to be trying to ensure the gatherings don’t descend into violence, planning them only in areas where the group has control. None of the rallies targets the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy in the hills outside Beirut.At Friday’s rally in the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek in the eastern Bekaa Valley, tens of thousands of people marched peacefully, shouting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”“We are all, Sunnis and Shiites, united against our common enemies,” said Batoul al-Bazzal, an 18-year-old student. “The Sunni-Shiite divide has been created by politicians and the media to serve the U.S. and Israel,” she claimed. Al-Bazzal stood among thousands of overwhelmingly Shiite protesters carrying a yellow Hezbollah flag in one hand. Moreover, a U.N.-backed special tribunal has accused four Hezbollah members in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s most powerful Sunni leader. Hezbollah says the tribunal is a tool of Israel and the West.Hezbollah still is Lebanon’s single most influential player with considerable support among Shiites and unprecedented political clout. It holds a dominant role in Beirut’s government and the prime minister is an ally, after the fall of the previous government sidelined Hezbollah’s opponents, the U.S.- and Western-backed factions led by Hariri’s son, Saad. As a result, its extensive arsenal of weapons and rockets is virtually untouchable for the moment.Jihad Bahlo, a 23-year-old salesman in a Beirut clothing shop, said differences between Shiites and Sunnis are largely over politics, and that followers of the two sects often get on well on a personal level. A Sunni, he said his co-workers included Shiites and Christians, and no one discussed politics at work “because we are sick of it.”However, Sunnis tend to be fearful of Hezbollah’s military might, said Bahlo, who is from a Sunni village in the predominantly Shiite Bekaa Valley. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project The rallying cry for both demonstrations was the same: Outrage directed at America and Israel over what they believed was a grave insult to Islam’s prophet.But participants in the two demonstrations could not be further apart, underscoring a years-old divide that has been exacerbated by the crisis in Syria, where the overwhelmingly Sunni opposition is struggling to oust a regime dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Islam. The 18-month armed rebellion against President Bashar Assad has claimed nearly 30,000 lives, according to activists.Hezbollah’s Sunni opponents accuse the group of using the protests against the movie to distract from the group’s support for its ally Assad in the civil war.“They are doing this so they will move the eyes from what is happening in Syria,” said Ahmed Honeneh, a 37-year-old toolmaker among a few thousand at the Beirut rally Friday called by a Sunni firebrand preacher, Sheik Ahmad Assir.Sitting with friends in a row of white plastic chairs lined up in Beirut’s Martyrs Square, Honeneh said he expects Hezbollah’s popularity to drop further because of its backing to Assad. He hopes that will offer a chance for Lebanon’s Sunnis in Lebanon to gain some of the ground they have lost. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Backed by Syria and Iran, Hezbollah is Lebanon’s dominant political faction and, with its well-armed guerrillas, the most powerful armed force. But as the Syria war rages, it is treading carefully to retain the power it has built up over the past 30 years in Lebanon, a deeply divided country where its strength is resented by Sunnis and some in the Christian community.Its main strategy for doing so appears to avoid aggravating the volatile fault line between the Sunni and Shiite communities, which each make up about a third of Lebanon’s population of 4 million.It is to Hezbollah’s advantage that the crisis over the film has reinvigorated militant rhetoric that U.S. and Israel are the real enemies of Muslims, taking the heat off of both Assad and his loyal and powerful ally in lebanon.But Hezbollah’s flagrant support for Assad’s regime which stands accused by much of the international community of war crimes has angered many Arabs.The presenter of a political show on Future TV, owned by Sunni Lebanese leader Saad Hariri, went on a 15-minute rant against Hezbollah this week, accusing its leader of “hypocrisy” in calling for the anti-film protests while remaining silent over Assad’s deliberate destruction of mosques in Syria and killings of his Muslim countrymen. Sheik Assir, speaking at the rally Friday, took a jibe at the Hezbollah protests without naming the group, saying it was shameful that posters of the “butcher” Assad were held up during Lebanese protests against the anti-Islam movie.In remarks earlier this week, he accused Hezbollah “exploiting” the movie to recover some of the group’s lost popularity and accused Nasrallah of trying to “snatch” leadership of the Islamic world.“Why didn’t Sheikh Nasrallah do anything when the prophets of freedom were martyred in Syria?” he asked.Assir’s rapid rise and growing following are symptoms of the deep frustration among Lebanon’s Sunnis who resent the Hezbollah-led Shiite ascendancy in Lebanon.The 44-year-old, bespectacled, skinny cleric with a long beard typical of hardline Sunnis was previously little known, a preacher at the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque in Sidon. Now he is openly challenging and taunting Hezbollah like few have dared before, even taking aim at Nasrallah, a revered figure usually considered a red line in Lebanon.Sunni bitterness still runs deep over clashes in May 2008, when Hezbollah gunmen swept through Sunni neighborhoods in Beirut after the pro-Western government of that time tried to dismantle the group’s crucial telecommunications network. More than 80 people were killed in those clashes. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments Share Sponsored Stories Associated PressBAALBEK, Lebanon (AP) – The urge to defend Islam’s most unifying figure, the Prophet Muhammad, wasn’t enough to bring together Lebanon’s divided Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The two sects, which have been locked for years in a sometimes violent political rivalry, held separate protests Friday against an anti-Islam movie.Tens of thousands of supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement held a raucous protest in the eastern Lebanese city of Baalbek. Soon after, a few thousand supporters of a hardline Sunni cleric held gathered in the capital, Beirut.
NEW DELHI (AP) – The parents of an Indian woman who suffered a miscarriage and died after being refused an abortion in an Irish hospital slammed Ireland’s abortion laws Thursday.Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she miscarried and died last month. Ireland’s government confirmed Wednesday that Halappanavar suffered from blood poisoning and died after being denied an abortion, reigniting the debate over legalizing abortion in the predominantly Catholic country. Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Parents, stop beating yourself up Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How men can have a healthy 2019 Comments Share Three separate investigations are looking into the cause of Halappanavar’s death.Ireland’s constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling said the procedure should be legalized for situations when the woman’s life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening circumstances.An estimated 4,000 Irish women travel next door to England every year, where abortion has been legal on demand since 1967. But that option is difficult, if not impossible, if the woman’s health is failing.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories “In an attempt to save a 4-month-old fetus they killed my 30-year-old daughter. How is that fair you tell me?” A. Mahadevi, Halappanavar’s mother, told several Indian television stations. Her daughter actually was 31 when she died.“How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians,” she said.Savita Halappanavar’s father, Andanappa Yalagi, said the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter’s death.The spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said in a Twitter post that the Indian Embassy in Dublin was “following the matter.”Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, said doctors at University Hospital Galway in western Ireland determined that his wife was miscarrying within hours of her hospitalization for severe pain on Oct. 21. He said over the next three days, doctors refused their requests for an abortion to combat her searing pain and fading health.It was only after the fetus died that its remains were surgically removed. Within hours, Savita was placed under sedation in intensive care with blood poisoning, her husband said. By Oct. 27, her heart, kidneys and liver had stopped working, and she was pronounced dead the next day. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy
The changes include transferring some of its 500 jobs from a centralized London base to 10 regional hubs around the world _ part of an effort to be closer to the hotspots where human rights violations occur. The organization says it’s not really sure how many jobs will go, and that uncertainty has caused frustration and anger among its employees. Amnesty’s British workers, meanwhile, reject the notion of handing over more money to international operations _ as their jobs might be at risk.Amnesty’s creation goes back to 1961, when a British lawyer learned that two students in Portugal had been imprisoned for seven years for drinking a toast to liberty despite being under a dictatorship. Peter Benenson’s response was simple, and became radical: He wrote an article in Britain’s Observer newspaper based on the premise that prisoners of conscience might be released by writing letters to governments.That appeal spawned a movement, marking the beginning of Amnesty International, which from that humble start grew to a worldwide movement of 2.1 million members, its symbol of the candle circled by looping barbed wire becoming an icon to the oppressed.But the group’s current crisis is raising questions about its ability to remain a leading human rights advocate in a world no longer defined by Cold War era divisions. Top Stories That broadening mandate has led in part to a fraying at the edges of the venerable organization as it tries to adapt to a changing world. Managing that change has led to problems _ an indication of which emerged in 2009, when Amnesty handed over about 800,000 pounds ($1.2 million) to two former executives as part of a confidential payout upon departure.Meanwhile, the global economic crisis strained fund-raising. Donations which come from individuals, foundations and other charities totaled 907,000 pounds last year, compared with about 2.8 million pounds in 2007. Amnesty says the 2007 figures were buoyed by a pair of one-off donations and that their reporting periods changed, skewing results.Over the same five-year period, the number of people employed by the organization rose 15 percent. There’s been an even bigger jump in those making big salaries.Last year, Amnesty paid 36 people more than 60,000 pounds a year and seven of them received more than 100,000 pounds. In 2007, there were only seven people earning more than 60,000 pounds, three of whom received more than 100,000 pounds. Amnesty says those changes came after a review and were influenced by currency exchange fluctuations. Associated PressLONDON (AP) – Amnesty International workers in London walked off the job on Tuesday for the second strike in as many months in an embarrassing setback for an organization that campaigns for the rights of workers and is considered one of the world’s pre-eminent human rights advocates.The walkouts are a public airing of staff complaints that have been building for years, with tensions rising dramatically in recent weeks as Amnesty’s international operations prepare to re-organize. Sponsored Stories “Transnational groups such as Amnesty are now strategizing how to best expand their global coverage in order to remain relevant to evolving human rights challenges, though this is usually being done without an … increase in resources,” he wrote. “Across the world of foundations and NGOs, the trend is away from centralization and towards more experimentation at the regional and local levels. Whether this will lead to more effective advocacy practice remains an open question.”___Associated Press Writer Frank Jordans contributed to this story.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments Share Last week, Amnesty’s program director for the Americas, Susan Lee, resigned, expressing shock at “senior management’s failure to honor its commitments to treat staff fairly and with respect.” The next day, the union voted to strike, saying it had “lost all confidence in senior management because it lacks integrity, competence, transparency and accountability.”“The organization’s ability to conduct research and campaigning in defense of human rights has been undermined, and the organization faces a threat to its very existence,” the resolution said.Not so, Amnesty’s management says. The restructuring will make the organization stronger, said Amnesty’s senior director of campaigns and communications, Thomas Schultz-Jagow.“The overall aim for this is to maximize the impact our organization has for justice and human rights,” he said.From its humble start, its programs now go beyond some of the classical issues for which it made its name, such as the campaign against the death penalty. It started fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples against the perils of poverty and for corporate accountability for human rights abuses. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project “It’s been like a perfect storm for Amnesty,” said Gerald Steinberg, the head of NGO Monitor, an organization that offers information and analysis on human rights groups. “They really are in trouble. They’ve been in crisis for a number of years.”Schultz-Jagow makes no apology for the reorganization, saying that Amnesty has to adapt _ though he noted with regret that some staff members will likely be forced to leave. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, he argued that the complexity of human rights violations has increased and the organization needs to move with the times.“The main driver for this is our belief that we need to be based and operate much closer to where human rights violations take place,” he said.Meanwhile, other organizations have moved into territory where Amnesty once enjoyed exclusivity. Human Rights Watch, for example, with its critical reports, has steadily gained in influence and has the backing of wealthy philanthropist and financier George Soros.While Amnesty has its issues, they are not alone among human rights groups in the struggle to adapt.Alexander Cooley, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Barnard College in New York, said in a statement that two significant pressures are currently besetting several international advocacy groups: funding and global restructuring. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like
JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s prime minister on Tuesday refused to confirm whether his country carried out an airstrike along the Syrian-Lebanon border, but said he would do everything possible to protect the security of Israeli citizens.Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his vague answer hours after Lebanon’s state news agency reported that Israeli aircraft carried out two airstrikes late Monday. While Israel’s military refused to comment, Israel has carried out similar airstrikes in the past on suspected weapons shipments believed to be bound from Syria to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. At a news conference with the visiting German chancellor, Angela Merkel, he said Israel’s policy is not to discuss what others claim it did.“We do all that is needed to protect the security of Israeli citizens,” he said.Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a stalemate. Israeli officials believe Hezbollah has restocked its arsenal with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, some of which are capable of striking virtually anywhere in the Jewish state.Although Israel has refrained from taking sides in the Syrian civil war, Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to take action to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining “game changing” weapons from its ally Syria. Past Israeli airstrikes are believed to have targeted Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and guided missiles from Iran. Israel has never confirmed the airstrikes.Lebanon’s National News Agency said the air raids took place near Nabi Sheet, a remote village in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley. The agency did not say what was targeted in the attack. The porous border is frequently used by fighters and smugglers to move people and weapons between Lebanon and Syria. Hezbollah has a strong presence in the area. Arab media reports said Hezbollah had suffered casualties, though neither the group nor the Lebanese military confirmed an airstrike had actually taken place. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Earlier this week, Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, accused Iran, a key backer of Syria and Hezbollah, of “handing out torches to the pyromaniacs.” He spoke during a tour of the Golan Heights, a strategic area near Syria and Lebanon.“Right now we’re in the Golan Heights and it seems quiet and peaceful. I suggest that everyone keeps in mind that underneath this quiet, a storm is brewing _ day, night and in every setting,” Gantz said. “We have very advanced abilities to deal with the security challenges in this region. This comes alongside improving response at the operational level, and acting speedily in every sphere: air, sea, ground, intelligence and all the support systems that work with them.”Eyal Ben-Reuven, a former deputy head of the Israeli military’s Northern Command, said he doubted Hezbollah would retaliate since it had its hands full fighting the Syrian civil war. Having said that, he said Hezbollah was still a dangerous foe and it was imperative that Israel maintain its ability to operate freely in the skies and in the seas and block any more advanced weapons from reaching Hezbollah.“Israel has always stayed as the main objective for Hezbollah and Iran,” he said. “A terror organization gets these kinds of capabilities not for deterrence, but for acts. This is the difference between states and organization. This is something that we have to keep in our hands to prevent this kind of transfer of game-changing weapons,” he said. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement KFC has more than 4,600 restaurants in China.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. BEIJING (AP) — Restaurant operator KFC said Monday it filed a lawsuit against three companies in China whose social media accounts spread false claims about its food, including that its chickens have eight legs.The case filed by China’s biggest restaurant operator comes as the government intensifies a campaign to clean up rumors on social media. Internet marketers have been convicted of trying to manipulate online sentiment on behalf of clients by posting false information about competitors or deleting critical posts. In an announcement posted on its Chinese website, KFC said one of the best-known fake rumors was that chickens used by the company are genetically modified and have six wings and eight legs.KFC is demanding 1.5 million yuan ($242,000) and an apology from each of three companies that operated accounts on the popular mobile phone app WeChat. It is also seeking an immediate stop to their infringements. Shanghai Xuhui District People’s Court has accepted the case, according to a press officer who would only give her surname, Wu.KFC’s China CEO Qu Cuirong said in a statement that it was hard for companies to protect their brands against rumors because of the difficulties in collecting evidence. “But the stepped-up efforts by the government in recent years to purify the online environment, as well as some judicial interpretations, have offered us confidence and weapons,” she said.The companies being sued were named as Shanxi Weilukuang Technology Company Ltd., Taiyuan Zero Point Technology Company and Yingchenanzhi Success and Culture Communication Ltd. in Shenzhen city. Calls to numbers listed for the companies either rang unanswered or were not valid.Authorities launched a renewed campaign two years ago to clean up what they called online rumors, negativity and unruliness. Critics say the campaign was largely aimed at suppressing criticism of the ruling Communist Party. Commentaries in state media have argued that a cleanup was needed. Comments Share Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 must play golf courses in Arizona 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories
Sponsored Stories CAIRO (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near a major tourist site in Egypt’s southern city of Luxor on Wednesday, wounding four people, including two policemen, but no tourists were hurt in the attack outside the Karnak temple.It was the second such incident this month in Egypt, after a drive-by shooting killed two policemen near the famed Giza Pyramids near Cairo last week, in a marked escalation by Islamic militants aiming to destabilize the government. The attacks also raise concerns for the country’s key tourism industry, just as it was beginning to recover from years of tumult following a 2011 popular uprising. Here is a look at attacks on sites in Egypt visited by tourists and foreigners over the past two decades:–June 3, 2015: Gunmen on a speeding motorcycle open fire outside the famed Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, killing two police officers.–Feb. 16, 2014: An explosion tears through a bus filled with South Korean sightseers in the Sinai Peninsula, killing three Korean tourists and an Egyptian driver.–Jan. 24, 2014: A truck bomb targeting Cairo’s security headquarters kills four people and causes heavy damage to the nearby museum dedicated to Islamic arts and history.–Feb. 22, 2009: A bomb explodes at a crowded square near Cairo’s popular Khan el-Khalili bazaar, killing a French teenager and wounding 24 other people, mostly fellow students on a class trip.–April 24, 2006: Three nearly simultaneous bombings hit the Sinai’s seaside resort of Dahab, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 60.–July 23, 2005: Two car bombs and a bomb in knapsack rip through a hotel and beach promenade in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 64 people, mainly tourists.–April 7, 2005: Suicide bomber kills two French citizens and an American near a market. Check your body, save your life Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility –Oct. 7, 2004: Bombings in the Sinai Peninsula resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan kill 34 people, including 11 Israelis.–Nov. 17, 1997: Islamic militants kill 58 foreigners and four Egyptians in an attack outside Luxor at the 3,400-year-old Hatshepsut Temple on the west bank of the Nile. Police kill all six assailants.–Sept. 18, 1997: Two gunmen kill nine German tourists and their driver in attack on tour bus outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.–April 18, 1996: Four Islamic militants open fire on Greek tourists in Cairo, killing 18 people outside the Europa Hotel.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Security forces stand guard at the site of a suicide bombing, near Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. A suicide bomber blew himself up on Wednesday just steps away from the ancient Egyptian temple in Luxor, a southern city visited by millions of tourists every year, security and health officials said. No tourists were killed or hurt in the late morning attack. (AP Photo) Comments Share Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies
In this photo taken Nov. 10, 2014, Neera Tanden, president of Center for American Progress, speaks in Newark, N.J. The nation has an opportunity to finally change the subject on health care now that the Supreme Court has again upheld President Barack Obama’s law. There’s no shortage of pressing issues besides “Obamacare,” including prescription drug prices, high insurance deductibles and long-term care. But moving on will take time. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Look for these changes to continue at full speed, aided by the spread of computerized medical records and increasingly sophisticated data analysis.There could be a downside, says Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. “You’re getting hospitals merging, and they are becoming mega-operations,” she said. “Small doctors’ groups feel like they are just being swallowed up.”___CONTROLLING COSTSWhen all is said and done, the U.S. still spends too much for health care. After a lull the last few years, spending is expected to pick up again. The government has its fingers in practically every pot, with a jumble of laws and regulations that create conflicting incentives, said economist Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan public policy center.“We’ve got multiple and largely uncoordinated subsidies and rules,” said Steuerle. “On the cost side, what I see is more and more efforts to put budget constraints on the system.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments Share Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Also, it’s difficult to start new conversations when political divisions are so raw, and there’s a big disconnect between what people perceive as problems and the priorities of policymakers, business and the health care industry.Democrats say a change in focus is long overdue.“I do think the energy has already shifted,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, a think tank often aligned with the White House. “It would be great if the health care conversation moves to where people are, not relitigating these insurance issues.”Wishful thinking, say Republicans.“The politics of this has gotten so unpleasant that we’re locked into ‘repeal-and-replace’ for the next year and a half,” said lobbyist Tom Scully, who ran Medicare in President George W. Bush’s administration. “It may not be great for America, but that’s the reality.”Scully says Republicans may be able to make substantial changes but not repeal Obama’s law entirely.What would a different health care conversation sound like? Some possibilities:___PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICESNearly three-quarters of the general public see prescription drug costs as unreasonable, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey. That concern seems to be driven by new breakthrough drugs that can cost $100,000 a year and even more. Last year it was Sovaldi, a cure for liver-wasting hepatitis C infection. Next it could be skin cancer drugs in the approval pipeline. Yet covering the remaining uninsured will be a challenge. Much depends on some 20 states — mainly GOP-led — that have not accepted the health care law’s Medicaid expansion. The ruling may budge a couple, but probably not Texas, the biggest prize.“The people who are going without coverage in states whose leaders are denying them a chance to get Medicaid are pawns in a political game,” said former California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the main authors of the health law.___LONG-TERM CAREEconomist Gail Wilensky, an adviser to Republicans, says the patchwork system for caring for frail older people and the disabled “is an issue that isn’t going away.” She’s involved with an informal discussion group that spans the political spectrum, looking for long-term care ideas that might find support. It could take years.“I don’t see any stomach for taking on these issues post-King v. Burwell,” she said, referring to the name of the Supreme Court case decided last week. “People are going to need time.”___PAYING FOR QUALITY AND EFFICIENCYRevamping the way hospitals and doctors are paid for their services is the top issue for employers, insurers and government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Everyone wants to get away from compensating providers on a piecemeal basis for the sheer volume of services. But defining what constitutes quality care turns out to be not so easy, and it’s unclear whether the new approaches will produce significant savings. Quick workouts for men WASHINGTON (AP) — The country finally has an opportunity to change the subject on health care, after the Supreme Court again upheld President Barack Obama’s law.There’s no shortage of pressing issues, including prescription drug prices, high insurance deductibles and long-term care.But moving on will take time, partly because many Republicans want another chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act if they win the White House and both chambers of Congress next year. Economist Len Nichols of George Mason University in Virginia says the cost of new medications is “unsustainable,” but government price controls could stifle innovation.Most patients are not exposed to those excruciating cost pressures because the vast majority of prescriptions are for lower-priced generic drugs. Overall, only 1 in 5 people taking prescription drugs say it is difficult to afford their own medications, the same survey found.___HIGH INSURANCE COSTSThe value of a health insurance card is being eroded as employers and insurers impose higher deductibles, copayments and other cost-sharing on top of premiums.“When people ask me what is the No. 1 change I want to make in the Affordable Care Act, my answer is that it’s not affordable enough,” said John McDonough, a former Democratic Senate aide who helped steer the health law to passage. “Moving forward, one of the challenges is how we’re going to address this new world of cost sharing.”___GETTING EVERYONE COVEREDWhen the health care law passed, a little more than 80 percent of people under 65 — the age to qualify for Medicare — had health insurance. That share is now up to around 90 percent, largely the result of the law. The vital role family plays in society
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Expedia has released plans to split its group into two, with TripAdvisor launching into its own traded company.Expedia brand will be made up of Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Hotwire while TripAdvisor will include TripAdvisor.com as well as up to 18 other travel media and advertising brands, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.In a statement the online booking site said, pending on shareholder approval, it expects the company division to be completed by the third quarter of this year. TripAdvisor stock would be distributed amongst Expedia stockholders.Since the announcement was made yesterday, Expedia stock increased AU$2.95 per share to AU$25.47.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Destination NSW has welcomed AirAsia X flights to Sydney with a two year marketing partnership in conjunction with Sydney Airport and Tourism Australia that is expected to bring around 55,000 more international visitors to the State every year.Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase said yesterday at the official AirAsia X launch that the new route will accelerate Sydney’s presence in key Asian markets. The daily service will inject nearly $138 million into NSW every year and is a step towards the goal of doubling overnight tourism expenditure by 2020.“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with AirAsia X to increase visitation from some of our key international markets,” Ms Chipchase said. In the year ending September 2011, the state welcomed 46,000 visitors from Malaysia that generated spend of approximately $142 million. A majority of these travellers visit Sydney and NSW for holidays and to visit family and friends, with nearly 70 per cent of Malaysian visitors making repeat visits to NSW.AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani said yesterday that he was delighted that Sydney will be joining the airline’s expansive network.