2 percent of Costa Ricans smoke marijuana each month survey finds

first_imgNo 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 Commentslast_img read more

NASA discovers Earthlike planet orbiting cousin of Sun

first_imgRelated 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 Commentslast_img read more

Rolling Stones to tour Latin America

first_imgNEW 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:last_img read more

Starbucks shareholders take virtual reality tour of Costa Rican farm

first_imgStarbucks 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 brewerlast_img read more

In Lebanon antifilm protests underscore divide

first_img___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.last_img read more

Parents slam Irish abortion laws after woman dies

first_imgNEW 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 dairylast_img read more

Amnesty International workers start strike

first_imgThe 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.center_img 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 likelast_img read more

Israeli PM deflects report on Lebanon airstrikes

first_imgJERUSALEM (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 societycenter_img 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 helplast_img read more

KFC sues Chinese companies for online rumors about its food

first_img 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 last_img read more

A look at militant attacks on tourist areas in Egypt

first_img 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 drywallcenter_img 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 academieslast_img read more

High court ruling offers chance to alter health law debate

first_imgIn 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 academiescenter_img 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 societylast_img read more

Expedia splits TripAdvisor trading

first_imgSource = 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.last_img read more

AirAsia X flights key to Aus Destination NSW

first_imgSource = 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.last_img read more

Habitat HQs hat trick

first_imgSource = Habitat HQ Habitat HQ was awarded the coveted “Favourite Backpacker Accommodation in Victoria” title at the 2012 TNT Golden Backpack Awards Backpacker Industry Gala Dinner in Sydney last Thursday, 8th November. This makes it a ‘hat trick’ as it follows on from consecutive wins in 2010 and 2011. This much deserved accolade reflects a superb level of guest satisfaction. The Golden Backpack Awards are highly regarded within the industry and much sought after, as they are the only consumer voted awards for the independent travel industry in Australia and New Zealand. In 2012 the Australian industry awards were voted for by 80,000+ online independent travelers.Karyn Harte, Business Development and Marketing Manager proudly received the award on behalf of the staff at Habitat HQ commenting “This accolade rewards a passionate team committed to providing guests with exceptional service and travel experiences that create lifetime memories. As a people’s choice award, this is the greatest compliment our guests can give, and acknowledges that the Habitat HQ team is certainly delivering in every way!” This was backed up with a nomination as Finalist in the “Best Backpacker Night in Melbourne” category. Continually striving to achieve excellence within the Industry, Director Peter Beaconsfield comments “Our goal is to be the Number One Backpacker destination in Australia. Receiving this people’s choice award for the third consecutive year reflects the tireless commitment displayed by our team in delivering a dynamic events program and superior customer service.“ As the first Melbourne-based carbon neutral hostel, Habitat HQ continues to develop innovative and unique initiatives that support and encompass St Kilda, Melbourne and Tourism Victoria, promoting the best local, Melbourne and Victorian sights, activities and events on offer. Habitat HQ is located on St Kilda Road, St Kilda, in Melbourne’s premier bayside tourist precinct, providing dorm and motel style accommodation for over 230 guests. Other awards in 2012 include the STAY WYSE Green Initiative Award, City of Port Phillip Business Excellence Award, bronze in the Australian Tourism Awards and a finalist in the 2012 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards to be announced next week.last_img read more

Shipload of Aussies head to sea with Cunard

first_imgCunard Cruise Lines’ 2015 Australian bookings have spiked by more than 40 per cent due to the popularity of its world voyages and new Mediterranean fly-cruise program.Speaking at the World’s Leading Cruise Lines Summit, Cunard international development director David Rousham said 61 per cent of Australians which booked with the line’s Queen Mary 2 this year were newcomers to the brand, compared to an average of 38 per cent across other nationalities.Meanwhile, 39 per cent of Australians on Queen Victoria had been first-time Cunard patrons, compared with the average of 18 per cent for other nations.Australia is Cunard’s third largest market, after the UK and US, with a higher proportion of first-timers than any other country.In 2014, Queen Elizabeth newbies have accounted for 43 per cent of Australian guests, compared with an average of 29 per cent from other countries.Mr Rousham attributed the growing attraction of Cunard to the cruise line’s increased presence in the Australian market since 2007, when Queen Mary 2 first toured Australia, sharing Sydney Harbour with Queen Elizabeth 2.Source = ETB News: Megan Tranlast_img read more

New Zealands TIA refreshes its identity

first_imgTourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has recently been launched as the new identity for New Zealand’s peak tourism industry organisation.Formerly known as the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand, TIA has more than 1500 members representing about 85% of total New Zealand tourism business turnover. It is the only private sector organisation to advocate for every sector of the industry, including accommodation, transport, tourism services, activities and attractions.The organisation’s new name is supported by new branding and a new website, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.“The tourism industry has changed and grown considerably in the last few years and we feel our new identity better reflects TIA’s role as the voice of New Zealand’s tourism industry,” Mr Roberts says.“It clearly signals that we are not simply a membership association but are strongly focused on being the advocate for the whole tourism industry. By incorporating Aotearoa into our name we are also deliberately referencing the culture which is the unique attribute of our country’s tourism offering.”Mr Roberts says there has been a degree of confusion with the organisation sometimes referred to as NZTIA or TIANZ.“The correct abbreviation is TIA but those three letters have not previously appeared in our branding. Now there are just two ways to refer to us – Tourism Industry Aotearoa or TIA.”TIA’s new logo represents the connectivity and alignment which TIA offers the industry. The natural green and blue of New Zealand’s landscape is complemented by the ‘Takahe’ pink of its native birdlife. It incorporates a koru design that references Maori culture and represents a link to TIA’s previous logo.The new website highlights the diversity and vibrancy of New Zealand’s tourism industry while also making it easier for users to find information relating to their sector or interests.In July, a new TIA members’ section will be launched which will give users an improved and more personalised experience.“We are really excited about this step forward in TIA’s evolution. Our mission remains the same – through leadership, influence and action, to achieve tangible benefits for the tourism industry and Aotearoa-New Zealand – and our new identity will play an important part in helping us to succeed,” Mr Roberts says.TIA was formed in 1953 as the New Zealand Travel and Holiday Association. In 1970 it became the New Zealand National Travel Association, then the New Zealand Tourist Industry Federation in 1984. It has been known as the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand since 1993.Throughout the last 63 years, the organisation has continually championed the interests of its members and the tourism industry.TIA’s new identity was revealed at TRENZ 2016, the New Zealand tourism industry’s premier international trade event. TRENZ brings together about 300 New Zealand tourism operators (exhibitors) with targeted international travel and tourism buyers and media from New Zealand’s key established and emerging tourism markets. The event directly helps to grow New Zealand’s $30 billion tourism industry. View the new TIA websiteSource = Tourism Industry Aotearoalast_img read more

AirAsia Top LCC

first_imgSource = AirAsia AirAsia Top LCCAirAsia named Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the fourth time, also wins first Asia’s Leading Inflight Service awardDA NANG, 18 October 2016 – AirAsia has bagged top honours at the World Travel Awards (Asia and Australasia) here on Saturday, winning the prestigious Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline title for the fourth time.Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers carried and jet fleet was crowned the region’s top budget airline, ahead of Jetstar Airways, West Air, GoAir, JetKonnect, Air India Express, Nok Air and FireFly.AirAsia also won Asia’s Leading Inflight Service for the first time, beating a field of full-service carriers such as Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, China Southern Airlines, Air India and Hong Kong Airlines.The World Travel Awards (Asia and Australasia) serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel and tourism industry in Asia Pacific, as chosen by thousands of travel professionals and high-end tourism consumers.Airlines are judged on customer satisfaction and service quality, overall business performance, product innovation, staff relations and development, corporate social responsibility and contribution to local community, commitment to sustainable policies and fulfillment of long-term corporate vision.AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “It’s an honour to be named Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the fourth time. This is further affirmation that we are, without a doubt, the best budget carrier in the region.“I’m also super proud that we’ve won our first ever Asia’s Leading Inflight Service award. AirAsia made history last year by becoming the first low-cost carrier to be named Asia’s Leading Cabin Crew, and we have built on that achievement. Our success shows it wasn’t a flash in the pan, and that our service isn’t only best-in-class but the best of both low-cost and full-service as well.“I’ve always said we have great inflight service, with our amazing cabin crew and great products like Premium Flex for business travellers, roKKi inflight wifi and our Asean-inspired Santan menu.“And we’ve only just started. We have many more innovative ideas that we’re working on right now to make our inflight service even better and I can’t wait to share them with our guests, so keep watching this space.”AirAsia has also been nominated in six categories in the global World Travel Awards that will be held in the Maldives in December.The categories are World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline, World’s Leading Inflight Service, World’s Leading Cabin Crew, World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Website, World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline App and World’s Most Efficient Low-Cost Airline.AirAsia is Asia’s leading low-cost carrier, with an extensive network of more than 120 destinations in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Africa. It is also the only airline to fly direct to all 10 Asean countries, including some 60 unique routes in the region.AirAsia was also named World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for the eighth year in a row at the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards in July. AirAsialast_img read more

Travel Counsellors understand the Power of Storytelling

first_imgTravel Counsellors understand the Power of StorytellingFred van Eijk, Managing Director of Travel Counsellors, comments that many parents will have experienced the rush home to do bedtime duty – getting the children’s PJs on and settled for a bedtime story. Or have the guilt of not doing as often as you would have liked or perhaps should have. Fortunately, flexible working now enables more people to be good parents and have a career too.But it’s not just the kids that love a good story – they are what make us tick, whether it’s a plot in a soapie, a good book, a play or snappy headline that captures our attention, such as the recent ‘Australian Travel Counsellor helps his customer to pack her suitcase’. Indeed, every sales person in travel will have a story of how they have done something for a customer that has made that customer feel special.In an ever-evolving industry where businesses are focused on data, profit and margin, we must remember what makes us different. The ability to create and share these stories is that differentiator, and it is more important and relevant than ever before.According to a recent study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte, about 35% of current jobs are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years. You can google ‘will a robot take my job’ and see how future proof your profession is, or indeed the professions our children may be considering. Out of interest, travel agents score a relatively low chance of being automated (that’s a relief!). However, I also think this could be a little misleading.If a ‘travel agent’ just does the booking for the customer, the risk of automation is high and indeed already with us. We have already seen the development of travel websites, supported by on-line virtual travel agents. However, whilst robots may be able to recount a story, they can’t create one. The travel advisers that stand out are the ones with the stories of how they have helped people. Most studies show that people buy based on emotion rather than logic, and stories and anecdotes will stir the emotion more than anything else. As cognitive scientist Roger C. Schank said; “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”So, great travel advisers are also great storytellers and ‘social sharers’. Social media gives us the ability to collate our stories and share them across a global network of current and potential customers. We see daily occurrences of this with our Travel Counsellors. Here’s just one example…Earlier this year two of our customers missed their flight for their Caribbean Cruise; their Travel Counsellor Nikki went above and beyond to get them re-booked so the holiday was unaffected; the customers were so grateful Nikki received a huge bunch of flowers that afternoon; Nikki shared her story on Facebook with a picture of the flowers. The result? Her most engaging post to date and several new enquiries from people who like the sound of her service.These stories are free PR, the clearest sign of what you are about and they create the narrative and personality for the business and your personal brand. And don’t let the doom-mongers or defeatists convince you of anything to the contrary. In Daniel Pink’s bestseller ‘A Whole New Mind’, he states that “the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathisers. The people, artists, investors, story tellers, caregivers, consolers, will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”That is why those jobs that are least likely to be automated are those that require the highest amount of human qualities such as empathy, including nursing, care workers and psychologists. The message for us in the industry, and those we want to encourage to join it, is simple – ramp up the care and empathy with a customer; focus on how you make them feel more than the price of what you offer; and ‘bring it to life’ by sharing the stories of the things you do naturally for customers because you care and you operate in a culture that fosters doing what is right for the customer.So, when you’re telling those bedtime stories tonight remember that it’s all good practice for the office too! Travel CounsellorsSource = Travel Counsellorslast_img read more

Wind Wine Croatia launches a new adventure travel company

first_imgVis island_CroatiaWind & Wine Croatia launches a new adventure travel companyCroatia has been making wine for 2 millennia and is home to the oldest continuously-planted vineyard in the world — yet many people have never tasted Croatian wine.Wind & Wine Croatia is on a mission to change that. This adventure travel company takes small groups on week-long luxury sailing trips and organizes custom, curated winery experiences in the Dalmatian Islands. Travelers will experience the adventure of sailing and sleeping on a modern yacht while visiting six hand-selected wineries and exploring six historic islands and towns.Wind & Wine Croatia is co-founded by seasoned wine professional Lizann Grupalo and life-long sailor and certified yacht master Ivan “Pale” Paškvan. Both have over 20 years of experience in their respective fields and formed this company to share their two passions – wine and sailing – with others.Co-founder LIzann Grupalo in NapaValley_Stags Leap District vineyard“Wine in Croatia has a celebrated history of more than 2,500 years and offers more than 130 indigenous grape varieties,” said Lizann Grupalo, co-founder of Wind & Wine Croatia. “The vineyards are planted in some of the most stunning regions of the country. With each passing year, Croatian wines garner more accolades and awards, yet they remain relatively undiscovered globally. We hope to change that with our wind & wine tour!”What You Will ExperienceWind & Wine Croatia is currently booking trips for June – August 2018. The itinerary includes one-way navigation under sail from the city of Trogir/Split, ending in Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the Mediterranean known for its white limestone streets and ancient city walls. Along the way, visitors will explore a variety of popular and off-the-beaten path islands such as Brač, Hvar, Vis, Šćedro, Pelješac Peninsula and Korčula. With options to hike, explore, swim and snorkel by day, the afternoons and evenings will provide ample opportunity to visit local wineries, enjoy olive oil tastings and sample the local cuisine, all while strolling the streets of these quaint and charming towns.Guests can choose between a modern, state-of-the-art sailing yacht or catamaran experience. Each yacht, with skipper and host, will accommodate six guests and be part of a small 4-boat flotilla, which provides travelers space to explore each island on their own or, if they wish, engage with other like-minded travelers as they discover the history and complexity of Croatia, its wines and its people. Each yacht offers modern amenities including the tranquility and privacy of double bed cabins, each with their own bathroom. Priority is given to full boat bookings. Customized solutions are also available upon request.About Wind & Wine CroatiaWind & Wine Croatia is an innovative adventure travel company that takes small groups on week-long luxury sailing trips and organizes custom curated winery experiences in the Dalmatian Islands.  Learn more and book your trip at windandwinecroatia.com. Follow @WindWineCroatia on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Source = Wind & Wine Croatialast_img read more

The Rees Hotel Queenstown wins Best New Zealand Hotel

first_imgThe Rees’ Lakeside ResidencesThe Rees Hotel Queenstown wins ‘Best New Zealand Hotel’The Rees Hotel Queenstown was again the winner of the prestigious ‘Best New Zealand Hotel’ Award at the 2018 HM Awards for Accommodation and Hotel Excellence held at the ICC in Sydney on Friday night. The award was hotly contested with a high calibre of entries. The achievement caps an outstanding year for The Rees with the highly anticipated opening of its luxury Lakeside Residences and an array of new hotel initiatives, culinary events and more international awards. The HM Awards are the leading industry awards in the region and celebrate the best properties, departments, people, chains and brands in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Over 1500 different properties are nominated each year for the HM Awards with finalists and winners decided by a judging panel of 20 industry professionals and travel media. The Rees was nominated as a finalist in five categories: ‘Best New Zealand Hotel’ (won previously), ‘Best General Manager’ (won previously by Mark Rose), ‘Best Hotel Chef’ (won previously by Mr Batterbury), ‘Best Communications Associate’ (Caroline Davidson) and ‘Australasian Hotel of the Year’.General Manager Mark Rose has been responsible for The Rees Hotel’s continued success and impressive growth since its opening in 2009. He recently oversaw the construction and implementation of five luxury Lakeside Rees Residences as well as the introduction of groundbreaking housekeeping technology Optii keeper and the Hotel’s ‘Rees Bees’ apiary eco initiative amongst many other achievements.These initiatives, along with the outstanding level of service and hospitality at The Rees, have further secured its reputation as an exceptional luxury Queenstown accommodation choice.Mr Rose said, “It is an absolute honour to accept this award on behalf of The Rees Hotel Queenstown. We are truly blessed with an incredible team and their commitment, effort and support make this accomplishment possible. Each year we strive not only to meet but exceed guests’ expectations. This award is a great reminder that we are maintaining an outstanding level of excellence”.In other awards, The Rees Hotel was crowned ‘Best New Zealand Ski Hotel’ at the 2017 World Ski Awards and this year achieved two of the NZ tourism sector’s highest official marks of quality, the ‘Qualmark 5 Star Hotel and Gold Tourism Business Sustainability Awards’ for the second year running. The Rees’ fine dining restaurant True South Dining Room was also awarded a 2018 Wine Spectator ‘Best of Award of Excellence’. The Rees Hotel Queenstown blends chic five star accommodation with all the comforts of home and the service and facilities of an elite international hotel. Situated on the absolute lakefront, The Rees’ terraced construction delivers complete privacy and showcases panoramic views overlooking Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables Mountains in Queenstown, New Zealand.Its landmark restaurant is the True South Dining Room.For Hotel bookings and enquiries phone: +64 3 450 1100 Or email: reservations@therees.co.nz Source = The Rees Hotel Queenstownlast_img read more