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Six dead in Munich mall shooting manhunt underway

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Six dead in Munich mall shooting; manhunt underway Tags: Germany Share By: Michael Faulhaber And Frank Jordans Source: The Associated Press MUNICH — A manhunt is underway for a shooter or shooters who opened fire at a shopping mall in Munich, killing six people and wounding others, police and media reports said. The city transit system shut down and police asked people to stay inside their homes and otherwise avoid public places.“At the moment no culprit has been arrested,” police in the Bavarian capital said on social media. “The search is taking place at high speed.”The city of Munich sent a smartphone alert telling people to stay indoors and German rail company Deutsche Bahn stopped train traffic to Munich’s main station.Police said witnesses reported seeing three people with guns near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall.Munich police spokeswoman Claudia Kuenzel told The Associated Press there were “several dead and wounded” in the shooting. She could not provide exact numbers. Bavarian public broadcaster Bayrischer Rundfunk and Munich-based Focus magazine, citing sources they did not identify, said six people were killed.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesMunich police spokesman Thomas Baumann told German news agency dpa the attack started at a fast food restaurant in the mall shortly before 6 p.m. local time.Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that shops in the centre of Munich had closed with customers inside though police said reports of shots fired at a location downtown had been a false alarm.Police responded in large numbers to the mall in the northern part of Munich, not far from the city’s Olympic Stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.It was the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan wounded four people in an axe-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police.The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teen likely acted alone. Friday, July 22, 2016 last_img read more

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Vacationcom members invited to Focus on Success at fall regionals

first_img Share TORONTO — At Vacation.com’s 18th annual Canadian Fall Regional Conferences, taking place in Ontario next week and Alberta and B.C. in mid-month, members will have the opportunity to hear about the upcoming benefits that the ‘Power of One’ will bring under the TL Network brand.Building on its branding, the theme for this year’s series of Fall Regional Conferences is ‘Focus on Success’. Registration is still open and there is limited space available for all four upcoming Regional Conferences:Toronto East/Markham, Oct. 4, Edward Village, 50 Valhalla Drive, MarkhamToronto West, Oct. 6, Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel, 801 Dixon RoadVancouver, Oct. 18, Terminal City Club, 837 Hastings St.Edmonton, Oct. 20, Matrix Hotel, 10640 100 AvenueEvents will feature over three hours of classroom sessions that will cover the technology, marketing and selling tools available to members, front line agency training, and Vacation.com program updates.New to the upcoming Fall Regional Conference is Power Speaker Jim Nathan, Vice President of Marketing, Vacation.com, who will lead the Power Speaker Sessions by providing valuable industry and marketing insights to teach members how to strategically leverage marketing programs and social media tools to help grow business.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong Kong“Vacation.com’s Canadian Fall Regional Conferences provide ideal opportunities for both our owner/managers and front-line agents to maximize each program and to learn how to tailor them to their own business needs,” said Christine James, Vice President, Canada for Vacation.com. “Each will offer an memorable day of learning and networking that has proven both popular and successful year after year.  In the process, they’ll be encouraged how to ‘focus on success’ to help grow business and get the most out of their valuable Vacation.com membership.”Following the educational sessions for each conference, members will meet and network with more than 30 partners during a one-hour trade show, followed by a full-course plated dinner, where several grand prizes will be drawn.All attendees will be eligible to win one of the several travel prizes including a pair of airline tickets courtesy of Sunwing Airlines and WestJet Vacations, gift cards and more.“The ultimate goal for Vacation.com members who attend a Canadian Fall Regional Conference is to learn realistic ideas that will make a positive impact on their business and are easy to implement.  We strongly encourage our members to sign up today and take advantage of every opportunity they have to network with our supplier partners who are here to help them grow,” added James.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalMembers should visit agentuniverse.com for full details and to register for the events. Tags: Vacation.com Posted by Vacation.com members invited to ‘Focus on Success’ at fall regionalscenter_img Friday, September 30, 2016 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Top sellers honoured at CXs Travel Agent Awards event

first_img Posted by Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Top sellers honoured at CX’s Travel Agent Awards eventcenter_img TORONTO — There was plenty of glittering hardware handed out at Cathay Pacific’s Travel Agent Awards Dinner at the Shangri-La Toronto.Taking home awards at the gala event were: American Express Global Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Charming Holidays, Citizens Travel, Flight Centre Travel Group, Global Travel Agency, Goway Travel, Hello Pacific Travel, HRG North America, Huntington Travel, Jade Tours, Mandarin Holidays, Merit Travel, New Sky Travel, NGH Travel, Royal Scenic Holidays, Sebang Travel, Silk Holidays, SkyLink Travel Inc., Sogo Travel, Tai Pan Tours, The First Travel Inc., Tian Bao Travel, Tour East Holidays (Canada) Inc., TravelBrands, Ucruising, Vision Travel Solutions and Your Choice Holidays.Cathay also handed out three special awards. Tour East Holidays (Canada) Inc. took home the award for Front-end Growth. Huntington Travel got the top prize for Premium Economy Growth. And Mandarin Holidays was recognized for Overall Growth. Monday, June 12, 2017 Tags: Cathay Pacificlast_img read more

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DRs new hotels to accommodate high tourism demand

first_img Posted by Tags: Dominican Republic, Trend Watch D.R.’s new hotels to accommodate high tourism demand Share Thursday, October 26, 2017 center_img TORONTO — The D.R. is posting strong numbers this year, with Punta Cana leading the country in leisure tourism, welcoming 2.73 million international visitors in 2017. Top feeder cities were Toronto and Montreal, along with New York and Miami.The Punta Cana region is also the leader in hotel occupancy with a consistent 85% occupancy rate. The D.R. as a whole is seeing an average occupancy rate of 80%, the highest it has been in 15 years. Punta Cana is followed by La Romana and Bayahibe with occupancy rates of 84%. An increasing number of visitors are using alternate lodging platforms, such as Airbnb, with approximately 25,000 properties, notes the tourism board.With new flight options to the DR on Sunwing, Azur Air and Eurowings, hotel developments and renovations such as Casa de Campo’s new Minitas Beach Club, and new airport amenities – including a VIP lounge with outdoor pool at Punta Cana airport – the D.R. is ready to accommodate the steady increase of tourists, says the tourism board.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongThe country sustained little damage from both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, and tourism operations were able to continue as normal. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Tightest security ever for Times Squares New Years after attacks

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: New York Friday, December 29, 2017 By: Colleen LongSource: The Associated Press Tightest security ever for Times Square’s New Year’s after attacks Share NEW YORK — Police are promising a bigger security detail than ever before in Times Square for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which will cap off a year that saw a number of deadly attacks on innocent crowds, including a vehicle rampage at the very spot where revelers will ring in 2018.In addition to its usual army of snipers, bag-inspecting officers and metal detectors, the department this year is relying on help from a growing corps of “vapour wake” dogs, which are trained to sniff out trace amounts of explosive particles that trail behind someone carrying a bomb.All 125 parking garages in the vicinity of Times Square will be emptied in advance of the celebration and sealed off, so no one has a chance to sneak in a car bomb, police said.Detectives already have been assigned to all of the dozens of high-rise hotels in the area, with the aim of preventing the type of attack that happened in Las Vegas in October, when a gunman firing from a casino hotel killed dozens of people at an outdoor concert below. Police wouldn’t discuss whether guests at area hotels would be screened in advance of the celebration, but Police Commissioner James O’Neill said officers already are working with hotel security.“This is going to be one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world,” O’Neill said.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?The extra precautions follow two recent terrorist attacks in the city. A man detonated a bomb in the city’s subway system on Dec. 11, injuring only himself. On Halloween, an Islamic State-inspired attacker drove down a bicycle path, killing eight people before he wrecked his truck and was shot by police.Times Square itself was targeted in May by a man, said by police to be high on drugs, who drove through crowds of pedestrians for more than three blocks, killing an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan. The speeding vehicle was eventually stopped by one of the squat metal barriers that have been installed around the square’s pedestrian plazas.Those attacks were reminders that New York City’s massive security apparatus can only do so much, but city officials insisted they will be able to keep people safe on New Year’s Eve.“The fact is, they will absolutely be safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.The police department doesn’t reveal the strength of its security force for the event, but it gave some details about the operation at a news conference Thursday.Officers will have help from roughly 1,000 security cameras installed in and around Times Square.An area roughly 22 city blocks long and three long blocks wide will be sealed off from both vehicle and pedestrian traffic with cement blocks, sand-filled garbage trucks and other vehicles blocking the streets leading into the area.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backPartygoers entering that secure zone will be screened at a dozen access points where they will encounter metal detectors, the vapour wake dogs and officers with portable radiation detectors. Large backpacks are not allowed. All small bags will be searched.From there, people go through a second round of security screening when they enter spectator pens where they are essentially confined for the night. People who leave the pens aren’t allowed to re-enter – so no bathroom breaks.Those who make it through will get to see live performances from Andy Grammer, Nick Jonas and Mariah Carey. A cascade of confetti and fireworks will ring in the new year when the Waterford Crystal ball drops.In addition to the officers at the scene, dozens of analysts will be combing Islamic State propaganda and deciphering data.Police also will be out in force at Coney Island, where live music and fireworks were expected to draw large crowds, and at a midnight event for runners in Central Park.“The takeaway from our preparations is this: People will be safe, and they should feel safe, too,” O’Neill said. “Because the NYPD and our partners are well-prepared.”last_img read more

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Costa Rica offers new delights for railroad buffs

first_imgMaybe it’s the ubiquitous traffic jams on the streets and highways that make us long for a more comfortable way to go. Maybe it’s our vision of ultramodern high-speed rail travel in Europe and other parts of the world, or memories of those beloved childhood train sets. Whatever the reason, everybody likes trains, and in Palmar Sur and Río Grande de Atenas, two attractions provide a way to learn more about the role of railways in the country’s history.The latest tribute to railroad rides in Costa Rica is brand-new: The restoration and dedication of Engine Number 84 in Palmar Sur, in the country’s Southern Zone, took place at a program sponsored by the National Museum on Aug. 8. This small Baldwin engine began its runs in 1940 to haul tons of bananas from the fields to the port in Golfito. It was  an essential tool for banana production because it stopped at banana farms along the route and sometimes hauled as many as 40 carloads of bananas. It also carried passengers, but was mainly a working tool. Known as the black engine, it was made by the Brown company.Because of the hot, humid climate in the Southern Zone, the locomotive deteriorated and was abandoned when the banana farms closed down, but the Development Association of Palmar Sur recognized it as a part of local history, raised funds and organized volunteers to bring it back to life. Locomotive Number 84 now proudly stands across the street from the central park in Palmar Sur.In Río Grande de Atenas, about 30 minutes northwest of San José, the Museo Ferroviario, or Railroad Museum, contains a hodgepodge of tools, seats, tickets and memorabilia that will fascinate anyone who wants to know about train travel or is fond of antiques. It’s housed in the original station built in 1923, when trains were a vital way for people and cargo to come and go.Unfortunately, this little local museum, which is easy to find by the train tracks on the main road into town, is understaffed and underfunded. Former railway worker Juan Ramón Arguedas works virtually alone to maintain the collection and show visitors around.  The museum is only open on Sundays from 10 a.m. on, but visitors can also call Arguedas at 8757-6953 on other days, and he will come over from his house across the tracks to open up. There is no entrance fee, but contributions will help.Arguedas is pleased to explain why, where, when and how things worked. Visitors learn that on curves, the outer rail is higher than the inner rail, and that the electric trains that were used in 1923 were made by the AEG company in Germany and were powered by an electric line running from San José to Caldera. An electric engine sits on a spur line outside.The building has an office, a passenger waiting room that houses the rail collection, a cargo room now stocked with agricultural antiques, and smaller rooms for home implements, all from the Atenas area. A little room with homemade toys includes miniature oxcarts made from sardine cans, along with wheels and other amusements from the past.Photos and newspaper clippings tell more about life along the line. An added adventure is a walk along the rails (about 500 meters) to the scary old bridge spanning the Río Grande. Although trains no longer pass this way, small rail cars carrying maintenance crews do. According to the National Railroad Institute, there are plans to reactivate this route to the Pacific coast, but not in the near future. Facebook Comments Related posts:Loud train whistles in San José traffic might be a good thing, says Sala IV Dueling Anthems: ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ vs. ‘Hermosa Bandera’ Tico stand-up, founding father, and other happenings around Costa Rica Palmares festival, Allende play, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Ad Astras deep space rocket moves into new testing phase with help from

first_imgRelated posts:NASA selects Franklin Chang’s Ad Astra Rocket for $50 million contract Franklin Chang’s VASIMR plasma engine readies for key test Ad Astra wins $10 million NASA contract for deep space rocket Costa Rica to host UN meeting on space technology Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang’s companyAd Astra Rocket has finalized a $9 million contract with NASA to help push the company’s VASIMR deep space engine one step closer to flight, according to a statement from the company this week.Early tests for the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, were conducted at the Ad Astra facility in Liberia, the capital of the northwestern province of Guanacaste. But a new phase of high power, long duration testing will take place in Texas per the terms of the three-year contract with NASA.Though this latest stage of the engine’s development is taking place at Ad Astra’s U.S. lab, the company’s Costa Rica facility will continue to support VASIMR’s development, the Liberia facility’s chief scientist, José Antonio Castro, told The Tico Times.The testing made possible with NASA funds will fire the engine in a vacuum chamber for 100-hour continuous durations at a power level of 100 kilowatts. That power level is roughly equivalent to the 134-horsepower engine found in a Mini Cooper, Castro said.The thrust of a sport compact might not inspire visions of deep space travel, but the power requirements of in-space travel are very different from those required to launch a shuttle into space, Castro explained.“The problem with acceleration on Earth is air resistance. The faster you go the greater the air resistance,” Castro said, “But in space — in a vacuum — there’s no air to hold you back.”That’s where the VASIMR comes in. The VASIMR engine uses plasma, an electrically charged gas that can reach extreme temperatures, and magnets to release controlled pulses of thrust. Engineers designed VASIMR as a scalable, high-efficiency, low-weight solution to space propulsion.In space, that Mini Cooper could deflect an asteroid heading toward Earth.The plasma engine isn’t powerful enough to lift a spaceship into orbit, but it can propel ships or cargo already in space faster and more efficiently than chemical propulsion systems, like those that have traditionally launched rockets.The funding for the engine’s long-duration testing was awarded through NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP). Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Outraged citizens protest in Costa Rica in support of stabbed good Samaritan

first_imgTico Times photographer Alberto Font contributed to this story. Facebook Comments Related posts:Good Samaritan in Costa Rica brutally stabbed after posting viral video of sex aggressor Citizen groups want street harassment criminalized in Costa Rica Costa Rica protesters march against street harassment Video shows suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz, who confronted man filming up skirt University students and other groups on Thursday tacked poster board on a wall outside Calderón Guardia Hospital, in downtown San José, and asked people to write messages of support for Gerardo Cruz Barquero, who wasbrutally stabbed Wednesday night just days after a video he took of a man apparently trying to shoot video up a woman’s skirt went viral on social media.Pedestrians soon filled the wall with messages such as “Hang in there Gerardo,” “Stop Macho Violence,” and “Thank you Gerardo!” Other messages urge harsher punishments for perpetrators of sexual harassment.Cruz, 22, made headlines worldwide earlier this week after he posted a video on his Facebook page confronting another man who he caught recording video with his cellphone up a woman’s skirt.Cruz’s mother Ana Patricia Barquero said Thursday afternoon that her son was stabbed on his way to a relative’s house where he was supposed to give an interview to Channel 6 Noticias Repretel.He received several wounds to his chest and has already undergone two surgeries. Calderón Guardia’s medical officials reported Cruz’s current condition as “still critical.”Cruz has one child and his wife Carolina Zúñiga is five months pregnant. He is currently in the hospital’s intensive care unit, while various relatives remain outside the medical center awaiting updates.Groups of protesters remained in front of the hospital Thursday afternoon and called the population through social media to attend at least two public demonstrations and vigils in downtown San José on Thursday and over the weekend.Police say they can’t confirm whether the attack on Cruz was related to the filming incident. They have no suspects yet.last_img read more

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At least 14 dead after raid by progovernment forces in southwest Nicaragua

first_imgAt least 14 people are dead after government and paramilitary forces clashed with protesters in southwest Nicaragua, according to a human rights group. The clash, which came a day after President Daniel Ortega refused to hold early elections, threatens the ongoing national dialogue.Heavily armed men in black hoods and civilian clothing entered Jinotepe and Diriamba, in the department of Carazo, at 6 a.m. along with police. According to witnesses and human rights groups, the government forces tore down barricades that protesters had erected, causing a violent firefight.“This has been a horror. We have a minimum of 14 dead, but it could be more. That includes at least one anti-riot officer, one paramilitary member, and two police officers,” Vilma Nunez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), told AFP of the raid in the Diriamba and Jinotepe areas.Police blamed the death of their officers on “armed terrorists” that were at the barricades.The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua said they “seriously value continuing the dialogue” that the Catholic leadership has been mediating after an eruption of violence left more than 250 dead in almost three months of protests.“We can’t keep sitting down with a government that lies, that doesn’t accept responsibility, and continues attacking and slaughtering its people,” said Silvio Báez, the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua. In Nicaragua 2018, living is resisting A disproportionate attackThe incursions into Diriamba, 45 kilometers from Managua, and Jinotepe, 40 kilometers away, left dozens wounded and 21 in custody. Police and paramilitary members were also blockading hospitals, according to local humanitarian groups.A dozen people barricaded themselves in the San Sebastián basilica in Diriamba, which was under siege by armed men, according to witnesses and religious figures. Police surrounded both municipalities and citizens were left without access to internet or phone lines.Bulldozers tore down barricades and government media outlets celebrated that the zone was finally clear. More than 350 cargo trucks, which had been stuck for over a month because of the blockade, were finally able to pass.Paulo Abrao, the executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said that the situation in Managua is “still critical” and warrants “special attention from the international community.”Abrao said it’s urgent for the “repression” to stop, and that repressive pro-government paramilitary forces that have been acting with impunity need to be disbanded.In Matagalpa, in northern Nicaragua, at least one person died on Saturday among violent protests, according to the Pro-Human Rights Association of Nicaragua (ANPDH).Ortega, who reappeared with a crowd of supporters after not having appeared in public for almost a month, called protesters “murderers” and “delinquents” that had thrown the country into chaos. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (R), accompanied by his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, speaks to supporters during the government-called “Walk for Security and Peace” in Managua on July 7, 2018. AFP Photo / Inti OconHistory will judge themAs a mediator between the government and the opposing Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, the church proposed moving the 2021 elections up to 2019.But on Saturday, Ortega, who’s been in power since 2007 and is serving his third consecutive term, refused to move the elections up.Báez warned that the church will keep promoting the dialogue, but if talks fall apart it will be because the government “didn’t want to find a peaceful solution to a national crisis that they themselves started.“History will judge them for being uncompromising, arrogant liars,” the prelate said. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:As Nicaragua elections approach, banned opposition decries Ortega’s budding dictatorship Madelaine Caracas: the fierce Nicaraguan artist who stood up to Daniel Ortega Nicaragua scraps presidential term limits Nicaragua expels three US officials: State Deptlast_img read more

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Syrian civil war shakes DamascusBeirut ties

first_imgAssociated PressBEIRUT (AP) – The Syrian civil war has spilled over into Lebanon, bringing with it sectarian street clashes, mob violence and general government paralysis in Beirut.But it was the dramatic arrest earlier this month of a former Lebanese government minister and prominent supporter of Syria’s embattled president that has suggested the conflict may be causing Lebanon to slip further away from Damascus’ long domination. The bloodshed in Syria has drawn Lebanon deeper into the unrest _ a troubling sign for a country that has gone through its own 15-year civil war and has an explosive sectarian mix as well as deep divisions between pro- and anti-Syrian factions, many of which are armed.The chaos could give Sunni Muslim fighters in northern Lebanon more leeway to establish supply lines to the rebels inside Syria in their battle to oust President Bashar Assad.Tensions and intermittent fighting in the northern Lebanon city of Tripoli continued Wednesday following two days of clashes between pro- and anti-Assad groups that killed at least six people and wounded more than 70.In New York, United Nations political chief Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council Wednesday that as the crisis in Syria continues to deteriorate, “the situation in Lebanon has become more precarious and the need for continued international support to the government and the Lebanese Armed Forces increasingly important.”Feltman said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern about two-way arms smuggling across the Syrian-Lebanese border, which poses risks to both countries and violates a council resolution that ended the month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, which dominates Lebanese politics. Two days later, a military court indicted Samaha, along with Syrian Brig. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks inside Lebanon. Mamlouk, who was appointed last month by Assad to head Syria’s National Security Bureau, was indicted in absentia on charges he furnished the explosives to Samaha.According to a senior Lebanese police official, Samaha confessed after he was confronted with audio and video footage taken by a double agent using a camera-equipped pen. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.The case stunned many in Lebanon, where political assassinations have occurred with impunity for decades. While Syria has been blamed for many of the killings, no one has been held accountable.Syria’s allies in Lebanon _ including Hezbollah _ were mostly silent following Samaha’s arrest, apparently believing that the evidence against him was solid.“I think the policy (in Lebanon) has been shifting away from alliance with Syria,” said Ayham Kamel, a Middle East analyst at the Eurasia Group in London. “The Syrian regime has been under intense pressure, so its allies in Lebanon have recalibrated.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories “The Syrian regime’s allies are shrinking. The Lebanese government, which was `Made in Syria,’ was among the regime’s last allies, and they seem to be losing even that,” said Hadi Hobeish, an anti-Syrian lawmaker.Syria accuses Sunni groups in Lebanon of trying to establish a supply line to Syrian rebels across Lebanon’s northern frontier, bringing across fighters and weapons.The Lebanese military has been deployed along the porous border area to try to prevent the smuggling efforts, but if Beirut turns against Damascus, such operations could become easier to carry out.Even Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group backed by Iran and Syria, has sought to distance itself from the turmoil in Syria. When Shiite clans abducted scores of Syrians in Lebanon last week in retaliation for a kidnapping by Syrian rebels in Damascus, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the mayhem was out of the group’s control.Analysts say Assad still has the tools and the allies he needs to stir up trouble in Lebanon.“I don’t think the Syrian regime has fully lost influence in Lebanon,” said Kamel, the Eurasia analyst. “But definitely it has less ability and even willingness to intervene on the same level in Lebanese politics,” he added. Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Syria’s opponents in Lebanon cited the Samaha case as proof that Damascus was trying to incite sectarian strife in its neighbor to deflect attention from its own problems, and they called for the Syrian ambassador to be expelled.In unusually bold comments by a Lebanese head of state, President Michel Suleiman said he expected Assad to explain the situation.“When any relationship with a foreign entity harms Lebanon, we end it. And when the relationship is again in Lebanon’s interest, we reinstate it,” Suleiman said in an apparent reference to Syria. His comments were published in the Lebanese media.Analysts say Suleiman is aiming to be the new face of a more independent Lebanon, taking advantage of a weakened regime in Syria.Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who heads a government dominated by Hezbollah and pro-Syrian groups, said he isn’t taking sides in the Syria crisis, adopting a policy of “disassociation.” Critics say that has led to a general government paralysis in which authorities are afraid to take sides when it comes to Lebanon’s feuding pro- and anti-Syrian camps.Mikati commended the security operation that resulted in Samaha’s arrest, saying it saved Lebanon from “major disaster.” Hanin Ghaddar, managing editor of the Lebanon opposition website NOWLebanon, said Lebanon is at a significant crossroads in its relationship with Syria.“Assad’s aura in Lebanon is fading,” Ghaddar wrote last week.___Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the U.N. in New York.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Seventeen times bigger than Lebanon and four times more populous, Syria has long had powerful allies here, including the Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group that now dominates the government. For much of the past 30 years, Lebanese have lived under Syrian military and political domination.That grip began to slip in 2005, when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in Beirut. Widely accused of involvement_ something it has always denied _ Syria was forced to withdraw its troops. But the killings of anti-Syrian figures continued and opponents of Assad’s regime say he has maintained his influence through allies who now control the government.All this made the Aug. 9 arrest of former Information Minister Michel Samaha all the more shocking.Samaha, one of Syria’s most loyal allies in Lebanon who has long acted as an unofficial media adviser to Assad, was plucked from his bed at dawn by special police forces who burst into his summer mountain home. Within hours, various leaks began emerging that Samaha had confessed to having personally transported explosives in his car from Syria to Lebanon with the purpose of killing Lebanese personalities at the behest of Syria. Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img
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Gunmen kill former head of Brazil extortion ring

first_imgSAO PAULO (AP) – Officials say gunmen shot and killed a former police officer who served more than 25 years in prison for leading an extermination group that killed at least 50 people.Inspector Vicente Legioto tells reporters that two gunmen killed Florisvaldo de Oliveira Wednesday night as he was driving to his home in the town of Pindamonhangaba. Two other men in the car with Oliveira were unhurt.Oliveira was known as Corporal Bruno when he was sentenced to 117 years in jail in the early 1980s. He was found guilty of leading a militia group that extorted protection money from Sao Paulo store owners. He was released 35 days ago for good behavior after serving 27 years of his sentence. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix In jail he became a pastor of an evangelical church.(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 Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they mean 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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AP PHOTOS Peruvians seek relief from ills at the seaside

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In this April 9, 2015 photo, Rosa Esquibel, 50, enters the Pacific Ocean on Fishermen’s Beach in Lima, Peru. Under overcast skies, the bathers practice thalassotherapy, which derives from the Greek “thalasso,” for “sea,” and draws on the ocean’s healing properties. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Top Stories Most of the bathers practice an informal, self-directed sea therapy. Others work with leaders such as natural therapy promoter Jose Cusquisiban.“The sea is the pharmacy of humanity,” said Cusquisiban. “It has many minerals, vitamins.”He has his patients jog barefoot on the sand. “Then we make a harmonious circle of prayer. Afterward, we sing, we practice laugh therapy, we hug and finally we enter the sea and teach those who don’t know how to swim,” Cusquisiban said.Other medical practitioners at the beach include chiropractor Felix Retamoso, who treats people for back problems.Oswaldo Salaverry, an expert at Peru’s National Institute of Health in intercultural medicine — the combination of native and Western medicine — said that “being in contact with the sea, with cleaner air, with a certain type of sand, can grant general health benefits.”Salaverry said there is no evidence that it cures chronic illnesses.But the people who come here have faith in the sea.Sitting on the beach recently, 25-year-old Gisela Sanchez described how rheumatoid arthritis in her joints makes her feel “as if my bones were breaking.” She’s been unable to walk for four years and at times isn’t even strong enough to hold a glass of water. Comments   Share   center_img LIMA, Peru (AP) — They arrive at Lima’s coast shortly before dawn and wade into the Pacific Ocean, seeking relief from the ailments doctors have been unable to cure.Some come in groups, jumping, laughing and running along the shore. Others bathe alone silently in the calm, gray sea.Under overcast skies at Playa de Pescadores, or Fishermen’s Beach, the bathers practice thalassotherapy, which derives from the Greek “thalasso,” for “sea,” and draws on the ocean’s healing properties. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Men’s health affects baby’s health too Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “The sand calms the inflammation in my joints and the sea gives me tranquility,” said Sanchez, who traveled from Patapo, a village at the foot of the Andes mountains about 700 kilometers (1,690 miles) north of Lima.Other bathers include Berto Nestaris, a 55-year-old sociologist. He smears himself with sand — a massage he says helps his circulation and nervous system. Graciela Meneses, 67, works out in the sea using a makeshift float, and says it has helped her lose 39 kilograms (85 pounds).Fabian Espinel said he has been coming to the beach early every morning for 10 years to treat his gout. The 65-year-old also feeds the birds while he’s here.“The sea heals,” he said, “gives strength, is essential.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

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Vaticans No 3 fights allegations in Australian abuse probe

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility SYDNEY (AP) — Cardinal George Pell has been dogged for years by allegations that he mishandled the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in his native Australia, and now the scrutiny is more intense than ever. Australia’s latest inquiry is as high-level as it gets, and since Pell is now the Vatican’s third-most-powerful official, the same can nearly be said for him.Pell, whom Pope Francis placed in charge of the Vatican’s finances last year, is accused of creating a victims’ compensation program mainly to protect the church’s assets and of using aggressive tactics to discourage victims’ lawsuits, all while he was a bishop in Australia. 0 Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In a report following a hearing on the Ellis case, the Royal Commission found that Pell accepted legal advice to vigorously fight Ellis’ claim partly to discourage other victims from suing the church. Pell admitted to this in his testimony last year and subsequently apologized to Ellis, saying he and others in the church had failed in their moral and pastoral responsibilities to him.“There’s a profound disappointment and anger that … someone in such a position of power and trust, and who is a moral compass for so many, at a fundamental level does not appear to understand the scope and the scale and the horror of the devastation that survivors have experienced,” says Cathy Kezelman, president of the Australian group Adults Surviving Child Abuse.Several church leaders have defended Pell, including seven Australian archbishops and bishops who issued a statement of support on Wednesday.“He is a man of integrity who is committed to the truth and to helping others, particularly those who have been hurt or who are struggling,” the archbishops wrote. “His style can be robust and direct; he does not wear his heart on his sleeve. But underneath he has a big heart for people.” “Some days I don’t know who I am angrier at,” David Ridsdale told the commission. “Gerald for being a sick monster, or George for the way he reacted and dealt with the issue.”Pell issued a statement denying that he offered the nephew a financial incentive to stay quiet and said he had spoken to him after his uncle was already under investigation — meaning there was no reason to keep the case quiet since authorities already knew about it.The allegations are unlikely to threaten Pell’s position, since they were already known when the pope made him prefect. But they have been closely watched by members of the pope’s sexual abuse advisory commission, which is expected to discuss Pell’s case at a working group meeting this week in London, said commission member Peter Saunders.Saunders criticized Pell’s response to the abuse crisis in an interview with Australia’s “60 Minutes” this week, prompting Pell to threaten legal action and the Vatican to issue a statement emphasizing that Saunders had spoken from a personal standpoint and not on behalf of the pope’s commission.“Cardinal George Pell has always responded carefully and thoroughly to the accusations and questions posed by the competent Australian authorities,” the Vatican statement said. “And his position has been made known again in recent days by a public declaration on his part, which must be considered reliable and worthy of respect and attention.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The Royal Commission, which the government launched in 2012, has no power to criminally charge a person. But commissioners can note in their final report whether they believe someone has broken the law — such as concealing a crime — and can refer the matter to police and prosecutors.Pell declined to comment to The Associated Press. In his testimony to the Victoria inquiry and a statement to the Royal Commission, he rejected each allegation against him as false and called child abuse “profoundly evil.” Pell denies allegations that he was involved in moving Gerald Ridsdale — Australia’s most notorious pedophile priest — between parishes, and said he never tried to buy the silence of one of Ridsdale’s victims. Pell said he has no memory of ignoring warnings in the 1970s that a teacher was abusing students.The bribery allegation has been the most explosive one to emerge from the Royal Commission. Ridsdale’s nephew, David Ridsdale, told the commission that in 1993 he spoke by phone with Pell — then an auxiliary bishop of Melbourne and family friend — about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his uncle.David Ridsdale testified that Pell began talking about the needs of Ridsdale’s growing family, pointing out that he may soon need to buy a car or house. David Ridsdale testified that Pell then said: “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.” ___Winfield reported from Rome.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The commission is looking at how the Catholic Church and other institutions dealt with decades of abuse across Australia. Given the scale of abuse in Catholic institutions, much of the attention has focused on how the church — and Pell — responded.“The buck has to stop somewhere,” abuse survivor Paul Tatchell recently told the commission. “And in Australia, it’s George Pell.”The commission has just wrapped up two weeks of hearings in the city of Ballarat, where scores of children were abused by Catholic clergy from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many victims in Ballarat and elsewhere in Victoria state killed themselves, in one of the worst clusters of clerical abuse trauma in the world.Anthony Foster’s daughter was one of them. Repeatedly raped as a child by priest Kevin O’Donnell, she committed suicide when she was 26. Her sister was raped by the same priest and began binge drinking to dull the pain, Foster says. One day while intoxicated, she was struck by a car when crossing the road and is now severely disabled.Foster and his wife met with Pell in 1997 to discuss the abuse. Foster said Pell, then the archbishop of Melbourne, was cold and confrontational, dismissing his concerns that the archdiocese’s compensation program was unfair.center_img Top Stories Pell has said the Melbourne compensation program he launched in 1996 was groundbreaking within the church, given that Australian law at the time made it difficult for victims to sue the church. It initially paid abuse survivors up to 50,000 Australian dollars ($39,000) in exchange for them giving up their right to further litigation. But some victims have dubbed it an inadequate, intimidating tactic to prevent them from suing.In its final report, the Victoria inquiry found that the program was hardly an independent body as Pell asserted, that the amounts it paid out were not commensurate with the suffering endured, and that the waiver victims were forced to sign made clear they were to keep quiet, creating the perception that it was “hush money.” The inquiry concluded that, while 97 percent of the claims were approved and some victims were satisfied with the program, it ultimately benefited the Melbourne archdiocese by limiting exposure and protecting its reputation.The protection of the church and its finances came into sharp focus in the case of John Ellis, a former altar boy who was abused by a priest in the 1970s. Ellis initially offered to settle with the diocese for AU$100,000, but the church rejected that request, eventually spending over AU$1 million to fight Ellis’ claim in court. The vital role family plays in society Years later, Foster would testify before a Victoria inquiry into institutional child abuse –a lower, state-level investigation separate from the Royal Commission — that Pell showed a “sociopathic lack of empathy.”“He was bombastic, certainly overpowering, verge of anger. He was telling us if we didn’t like it, go to court,” Foster says today. “It was adversarial at that point and from that point on.”Pell has acknowledged having an “unfortunate encounter” with the Fosters, but testified at the Victoria inquiry in 2013 that he believed compassion is best expressed through actions. He noted that the church compensated the family and paid for their counseling, and called the case a great tragedy.After Pell’s meeting with the Fosters, the church sent the family a letter offering compensation, dubbing it a “realistic alternative to litigation that will otherwise be strenuously defended.” That phrasing was used in all church offer letters sent to Melbourne victims in the 1990s, and was perceived by many to be a way of discouraging legal action.Under questioning at a Royal Commission hearing, Pell rejected a suggestion the wording was meant to be menacing, and said it wasn’t intended to deter victims from going to court. Still, he described the phrase as inappropriate because it could upset victims. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2004 file photo, the then Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell celebrates a special mass in Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral. Pell, now the Vatican’s third-most-powerful official, has been dogged for years by allegations that he mishandled the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in his native Australia, and now the scrutiny is more intense than ever. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File) Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Pell is also facing accusations from earlier in his career when he was a priest and auxiliary bishop and not in the ultimate position of authority: that he ignored warnings about an abusive teacher, bribed the victim of a pedophile priest to stay silent and was part of a committee that moved that priest from parish to parish.Pell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and defended his record on confronting the abuse scandal as archbishop of Melbourne, and later of Sydney. But the investigation by Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is raising eyebrows in the Vatican, where the pope promised to hold bishops accountable for failing to protect children and care for victims.The Vatican’s position was further complicated this week when Peter Saunders, a member of Pope Francis’ sexual abuse advisory commission, spoke out against Pell. The issue has now become so fraught that three Vatican offices have issued statements trying to limit the damage by distancing themselves from Saunders’ comments and, to some degree, what is happening Down Under.Pell testified twice last year before the long-running Royal Commission — the highest form of investigation in Australia — and with pressure mounting, he offered to appear again. On Monday, the commission took him up on that, asking him to testify at a later date.last_img read more

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French minister says double plant blast was criminal act

first_img Sponsored Stories The smoke spreads in the sky from a fire in a tank of the U.S. Lyondellbasell chemicals group refinery, in Berre l’Etang, southern France, Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Two parallel explosions have rocked tanks at a chemical plant near Marseille Provence Airport . Authorities have launched an inquiry into the incident which occurred Tuesday morning as the country began celebrations for its national Bastille Day. Some 120 firefighter and 50 vehicles have been deployed to the petrochemical site, LyondellBasell, and air quality authorities are assessing if the fumes pose a threat to the quality of the air in the surrounding areas. There have been no reports of casualities.(AP Photo/Stringer) Comments   Share   How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation How men can have a healthy 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Quick workouts for mencenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies PARIS (AP) — France’s interior minister says a double blast in two huge fuel tanks at a petrochemical plant in southern France is of criminal origin.Bernard Cazeneuve told lawmakers on Wednesday that “the motive has not been established” to explain the explosions Tuesday at the plant near the Marseille Provence Airport.The double blasts in two tanks 500 meters apart threw plumes of black smoke into the sky visible for miles. No one was injured. The prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Dominique Moyal, said on iTele TV that the blasts were “quasi-simultaneous,” occurring about three seconds apart, which excludes a natural spreading of the blaze.The blasts at the site operated by petrochemical company LyondellBasell were initially treated as a “coincidental accident.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

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Agents encouraged to sell domestic

first_imgOprah’s whirlwind tour down under has given brand Australia a huge confidence boost with travel agents being encouraged to promote Australia to Australians. With Australia Day on the horizon, wholesalers are urging agents to encourage their clients to explore Australia. “Australia Day gives many people the chance to sit back and appreciate the natural beauty, sensational scenery and fascinating culture which makes up our nation,” AAT Kings managing director Tammy Marshall said. “Many are relishing the ‘Oprah effect’ and after witnessing Oprah and her dedicated fans getting a taste of iconic sights such as Australia’s Red Centre, The Whitsundays and Tasmania, Australians are now looking for a way to develop their own ‘Ultimate Australian Adventure.” According to Ms Marshall, more and more Australians are looking for a holiday “close to home”. As well as experiencing the majesty of Australia’s iconic landmarks, she said “domestic clients also feel great passion and pride when experiencing their dream Aussie holiday”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: A.Hlast_img read more

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2011 Golden i Award Finalist Announced

first_imgThe Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia (VCAWA) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 West Australian Newspapers Golden i Award.Five nominations were received from across the State and included Barbara Hugill (Kalbarri), Danielle Robertson (Kalgoorlie), Justine Nagorski (Denmark), Natasha Mahar (Broome) and Yvonne Bradfield (Armadale).The desktop assessments have now been completed by the judging panel and according to the Chair of the panel, Robyn Fenech “The standard of this year’s entrants was terribly high and our judges were simply amazed to see what these Visitor Centre Managers are achieving considering the resources they are working with. It’s always very encouraging to see the passion and dedication within the Visitor Servicing industry in WA”.Of these five nominations, the judges have advised there are two (2) entrants who have been selected as finalists. These include Danielle Robertson from the Kalgoorlie Visitor Centre and Justine Nagorski from the Denmark Visitor Centre.Both Danielle and Justine will now participate in a telephone interview with the judging panel and the winner of the 2011 West Australian Newspapers Golden i Award will receive a cash prize of $1,000 thanks to the West Australian Newspapers.West Regional Newspaper Group General Manager Ian Jones said “The company through its regional network was closely aligned with the aspirations of local communities. We are very pleased to be associated with this award and congratulate all those who work so hard to make the tourism experience extraordinary in WA. In particular, I congratulate Danielle and Justine for their outstanding efforts on behalf of their local communities”.The winner will also receive a free registration to the 2012 Visitor Servicing Conference as well as taking home the perpetual trophy and a small replica to keep.The 2011 West Australian Newspapers Golden i Award winner will be announced as part of the Top Tourism Award Gala Dinner on Thursday the 20th of October in Kununurra, which forms part of the Annual Visitor Servicing Conference.For further information on the 2011 West Australian Newspapers Golden i Award, Top Tourism Award Dinner or for the Annual Visitor Servicing Conference please contact the Dee Smith, Executive Officer on 1800 134 112. Source = Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia (VCAWA)last_img read more

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Silver Choice Award winners in San Francisco

first_imgSilver Choice winners get the thumbs up (L to R): (Back row) Fiona Omacini (Capricorn Travel), Peter Oliver (Windsong Travel), Sarah Hay-Hendry (Four Corners Travel), Trish Miller (Hills Cruise & Travel), Jen Phillips (Moss Vale Cruise & Travel), Christian Hunter (Travellers Choice), Jenny Strong (Global Village Travel), Marisa Burns (Springfield Cruise & Travel); (Front row) Di Bajjalli (Travel House Group), Michelle Everson (Jamison Travel) Travellers Choice’s Silver Choice Award winners* enjoying themselves last week on an exclusive educational to San Francisco courtesy of Trafalgar Tours and Qantas Airways.Led by Travellers Choice General Manager Christian Hunter, the Silver Choice Award winners took take part in a Trafalgar Tours eight-day ‘San Francisco and Wine Country Delights’ coach journey. Highlights included Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, and Napa Valley’s world-renowned restaurants and vineyards. :: Silver Choice Award winners in San Francisco :: *Each year Travellers Choice presents a total of 30 Choice Awards across three categories – Gold, Silver and Bronze – with winners judged on their support for preferred suppliers. The 2011 Choice Awards will be presented at the group’s Annual Shareholders’ Conference, which will take place from 28-30 October at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.center_img Silver agents, Golden Gate (L-R): (Back row) Fiona Omacini (Capricorn Travel), Marisa Burns (Springfield Cruise & Travel), Di Bajjalli (Travel House Group), Sarah Hay-Hendry (Four Corners Travel), Jenny Strong (Global Village Travel), Christian Hunter (Travellers Choice), Peter Oliver (Windsong Travel); (Front row) Michelle Everson (Jamison Travel), Jen Phillips (Moss Vale Cruise & Travel), Trish Miller (Hills Cruise & Travel) Source = Travellers Choicelast_img read more

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Korean Air Q4 results positive

first_imgKorean Air Lines, South Korea’s leading airline has reported that its earnings rose almost fivefold in the fourth quarter year on year.According to the airline the positive result was on account to an increase in both passenger and freight traffic.An airline statement revealed that the carrier’s net profit came to KRW146.1 billion (US$130 million) during the October-December period, up KRW498.8 percent from a KRW24.4 billion profit a year earlier.Additionally, the airlines sales increased by 8.5 percent to KRW3.18 trillion in the fourth quarter, while operating profit plunged 34.5 percent on-year to KRW76.6 billion, which was mainly attributed to a dramatic increase in jet fuel costs. For the whole of 2011, Korean Air reported a net loss of KRW98.2 billion, compared with a profit of KRW623.9 billion tallied in the previous year. However sales for the airline carrier increased 5.4 percent on-year to KRW12.3 trillion last year, while operating profit dropped 62.8 percent to KRW459.8 billion.In other news Korean Air has confirmed that commencing 29th April 2012, the airline will begin a new three times weekly service from London’s Gatwick Airport and Seoul.The new service will be in addition to the daily service currently available from London Heathrow Airport. Korean Air recorded positive Q4 resultsImage source: justflying.com Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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Top marks for Lufthansa First Class

first_imgSource = Lufthansa Five stars for Lufthansa First Class in the top tier of the latest Skytrax rankingsLufthansa has been awarded a 5-Star ranking for its First Class product and service package.On board Lufthansa aircraft, the Skytrax rating system singled out the superb comfort of the First-Class cabin with ergonomically contoured seats, which convert into a fully flat, two-metre long bed. Top marks also went to Lufthansa in-flight entertainment, which offers movies in up to eight languages, a variety of TV and radio channels as well as a selection of CDs and audio books. Additionally, Skytrax awarded outstanding marks to Lufthansa’s First-Class cabin staff for their onboard service quality, which had lent an added note to the 5-Star rating and which had shown marked improvement over the past twelve months.On the ground, the First-Class Terminal in Frankfurt scored 5-Star ratings across many of the assessment categories. Aside from exclusive service from personal assistants for HONs and First-Class passengers from a greeting on arrival at the airport through to check-in for their flight, the dedicated Terminal won acclaim for its comfortable armchairs and sofas as well as other amenities including quiet rooms with daybeds. A separate cigar lounge, spacious bathrooms offering high-quality toiletries as well as an extensive choice of hot or cold meals, cocktails and fine wines contributed to Skytrax top-tier ranking.“This great award by Skytrax confirms that our First Class belongs to the top rank worldwide,“ commented Marlene Sanau, General Manager Lufthansa Australia. “We’re very pleased with this 5-Star ranking and it encourages us to make the First Class experience on board and on the ground even more appealing for our passenger.”The quality analysis was conducted by the Skytrax research institute which specialises in rating airline products and service standards. At each airline, it scrutinizes widely diverse aspects related to customer satisfaction and service quality. Besides an airline’s onboard product, the study looks at all areas of an airline’s product and service standards on the ground. Skytrax introduced its independent, yearly star-ranking program in 1999.last_img read more

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Innovative businesses to be recognised by Queensland Tourism Industry

first_imgQueensland tourism businesses will have an opportunity to win a share of more than $30,000 in prizes in the inaugural Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) Prize for Innovation in Tourism.The program is open to micro and small to medium sized Queensland tourism enterprises that have developed and adopted innovative products, services and processes.QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said encouraging innovation within the tourism industry is imperative for the ongoing sustainability of businesses and future growth of the sector.“The QTIC Prize for Innovation in Tourism is an opportunity for Queensland tourism businesses to be publicly acknowledged for their dedication to develop products, services or processes designed to drive the industry forward,” Mr Gschwind said.“We hope tourism operators will see the QTIC Prize for Innovation in Tourism as their opportunity to having their hard work recognised by peers and the wider business community. “Tourism directly accounts for 124,000 Queensland jobs and directly contributes $8.4 billion to Queensland’s gross state product.  The QTIC Prize for Innovation in Tourism reinforces the value of continually innovating in order to cultivate industry prosperity.”Entrants in the QTIC Prize for Innovation in Tourism have an opportunity to win an array of substantial prizes.1st Prize Business support valued at $25,000 comprising Stage 1 and 2 of the Velocis Program (provided by the Queensland Government and delivered by the Australian Institute for Commercialisation);Travel voucher valued at $2,000 (provided by Qantas Airways);Development and distribution across Australia and Asia Pacific of a dedicated Public Relations (PR) Case Study in partnership with EC3 Global. Source = QTIC Businesses entering the QTIC Prize for Innovation in Tourism must have developed and adopted the innovative product, service or process between January 2012 and June 2013 within Queensland.QTIC acknowledges the invaluable contribution from our program partners the Queensland Government, Qantas Airways Limited and EC3 Global.center_img Runner Up Free membership to the EarthCheck International Certification program valued at $3,800 (provided by EC3 Global and EarthCheck).last_img read more

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