Monthly Archives: August 2019

Another strong month reports IATA despite some shocks to the travel industry

first_img GENEVA — Global passenger traffic remains strong, says IATA, which in its February traffic results report a second month of demand to begin 2017.Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 4.8%, compared to the same month last year. Although this was below growth achieved in January, year-to-year comparisons are distorted due to the fact February 2016 was a leap month. Adjusting for the one fewer day this year, the underlying growth rate was estimated at 8.6%, just under January’s increase of 8.9%. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.7%, and load factor rose 1.6 percentage points to 79.5%, which was the highest ever recorded for February.“The strong demand momentum from January has continued, supported by lower fares and a healthier economic backdrop. Although we remain concerned over the impact of any travel restrictions or closing of borders, we have not seen the attempted US ban on travel from six countries translate into an identifiable traffic trend. Overall travel demand continues to grow at a robust rate,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalFebruary international passenger demand rose 5.8% compared to February 2016, which was down compared to the 9.1% yearly increase recorded in January. Adjusting for the leap year, however, growth actually accelerated slightly compared to January. Total capacity climbed 3.4%, and load factor rose 1.8 percentage points to 78.4%.European carriers saw February demand increase by 6.5% compared to a year ago, while Middle East carriers had the strongest growth, with a 9.5% demand increase. North American airlines’ traffic climbed 0.3%, which was the slowest among the regions. However, adjusting for the leap year, growth was estimated at 3.4%.The bottom line? “The year has opened with some shocks”, says IATA, like the attempted travel ban to the U.S. and the electronics ban from certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa on direct flights to the U.S. and the U.K. The potential implications of the Brexit talks on the air transport industry are significant and the political rhetoric of protectionism and closing of borders is adding to the ambiguity.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughts“It’s intolerable that governments continue to add to the uncertainties facing the air transport industry by failing to engage airline operational know-how on issues that can damage public confidence. The introduction of restrictions on the carry-on of large electronic devices was a missed opportunity and the result was a measure that cannot stand-up to the scrutiny of public confidence in the long term. Although Australia’s measures were also implemented without consulting the industry, they at least demonstrate the potential to mitigate the threat with less disruptive means. We all want to keep flying secure. And we can do that most effectively by working together,” said de Juniac. Share Posted by Another strong month, reports IATA, despite some “shocks” to the travel industry Tags: IATAcenter_img Thursday, April 6, 2017 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air Canada pilot comes to the rescue of stranded passengers by doing

first_img Thursday, March 7, 2019 Tags: Air Canada, Food, Funny Posted by FREDERICTON — Not all heroes wear capes – some of them wear wings.An Air Canada pilot is being heralded as a modern-day hero for ordering 23 pizzas for passengers left stranded on the tarmac.Air Canada Flight 608 took off on Monday from Toronto to Halifax but was unable to land due to inclement weather. Instead, it was diverted to Fredericton where, upon landing, the 150 passengers onboard were forced to stay on the plane to allow for other diverted aircraft to also land, reports CBC News.As history has shown, any time passengers are stuck on the ground in a plane usually ends in complaints (at best) or 911 calls (at worst). But not this time!Enter Superhero Pilot, who called Minglers Restaurant and Pub to deliver 23 pizzas – cheese and pepperoni – directly to the plane.On tarmac in Fredericton on flight #608 flight diverted from HALIFAX PIZZA had arrived! #cbc #aircanada pic.twitter.com/VlXxdbiOty— Bill Karsten (@bill_karsten) March 5, 2019According to Isabelle Arthur, media relations with Air Canada who spoke to Daily Hive, “Our flight attendants and several pilots from our Air Canada Express partner JAZZ jumped in to help serve the pizza and made sure everyone was comfortable.”More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsPassenger Philomena Hughes told CBC News that everyone appreciated the pizza and that the atmosphere onboard was “pretty cheery”, a major feat considering passengers were stranded on the tarmac for approximately eight hours.An eight-hour pizza party? Sounds like a blast! This just proves that pizza – whether it’s plain cheese or topped with pepperoni – makes everything better. Air Canada pilot comes to the rescue of stranded passengers by doing this simple heroic actcenter_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Onwards and upwards

first_imgWe, the species homo sapiens, like to think of ourselves as the dominant species on Earth, but that boast wears a bit thin in the Gobi Desert, where the common house fly, by sheer weight of numbers, can well claim dominance, or Northern Canada in summertime, when the giant mosquito is king. And in the aspect of selfless cooperation between individuals, the ant wins hands down. But in terms of physical achievement, which is what counts in environmental competition, we keep the crown. And in mental development, too, we are second to none.We can confidently describe the first microseconds in the formation of the Cosmos itself, we understand and can duplicate the specific steps in self-replication, and we are on the verge of conquering disease.Fine, but like every individual who ever existed, our life span is intolerably brief, and our species itself a mere flash in the pan on the road to cosmic domination. True, there walk among us at this moment the next generation, developing specific plans for exploiting our solar system and clearing up unanswered questions about the Cosmos: reconciliation of Quantum Theory with gravity, elucidation of dark matter, dark energy and co-existence of parallel universes.Even so, there is a limit to progress along the present lines. Neanderthals actually had larger brains than ours, but Neanderthal women failed to develop a pelvic girdle wide enough to deliver the oversize cranium, condemning that species to early extinction in the usual way. We ourselves sidestepped the problem by intensive miniaturization of the neural network and development of the Caesarian section as a stopgap, but Band-Eid solutions are not the way evolution makes a leap.A tour through our hospitals or our response to any threat to Medicare will convince you that we are approaching an end to purely organic development.Fortunately, an inorganic solution is already within our grasp. Development of the MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, has reached the point where every part of the body can be faithfully recorded on tapeor disc, and can be reproduced in full-color 3-D. We still lack a machine to infuse the construct with life, but one more decade of research should suffice.Then we can launch Electromagnetic Man into the Universe, traveling at the speed of light accompanied by electronic instructions for reincorporation using inexpensive, locally-available materials. And thus neatly avoiding the horrific delays associated with rocket travel.But looking still further into the future, we can forget reincorporation techniques and become truly bodiless entities, radiating forever into the outer darkness searching for new environments to dominate, What a pity you won’t be there! Facebook Comments Related posts:The royal baby: A bouncing bundle of international obsession In for a future shock Neanderthal poo shows cavemen ate their veggies Meet CambYoCar: the first car to be designed and built in Costa Rica Jack O’Briencenter_img Our journey from bacterium to human has been a long one: more than two billion years, with many casualties along the way. But who or what is the ‘our’ I so boldly speak for? Certainly it cannot be my own species, because it has traveled only a negligible fraction of the way. No, the ‘our’ I refer to is actually an ‘it,’ an idea: the concept of dominance over the environment.last_img read more

Regulatory authority cancels concession for taxi service at the Juan Santamaria International

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican taxi drivers, language-school workers arrested in fake English diploma scam Taxi fares to increase this month Rates going up for Costa Rica taxis Taxis drivers block capital roads to demand crackdown on ‘piratas’ The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) ordered the elimination of a concession granted to private cab company Taxis Unidos to provide transportation from the Juan Santamaría International Airport, the biggest in Costa Rica.The ARESEP ruling followed an investigation prompted by various complaints against the company for not using the mandatory taximeter to establish trip rates.Investigations began in 2009 after the regulatory authority received several complaints, mostly from tourists. The use of a taximeter is mandatory under ARESEP laws.The company filed an appeal of the agency’s ruling, but the Supreme Court’s Civil and Administrative Law Branch, or Sala I, dismissed the appeal last month and announced its ruling this week.The ARESEP board of directors said the cancellation of the contract must happen within three months.ARESEP also notified the Public Works and Transport Ministry and the Public Transportation Council, which will now have to arrange for a new company to provide taxi service to and from the airport. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Aid work in the 21st century a profession on the edge

first_imgIn 2011, a record 308 humanitarian workers around the world were killed, kidnapped or wounded, according to the latest available statistics from Humanitarian Outcomes, a U.S.-based group whose data is used by the U.N.Most attacks took place in a small number of countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.Kidnappings especially have been on the rise: In 2012, 87 humanitarian workers were kidnapped worldwide, compared to just 24 in 2002, according to Humanitarian Outcomes.“If you look back 10, 20 years, we have moved from being caught in the crossfire, which was purely incidental, to being … really targeted,” Amin Awad, emergency security chief at the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, tells AFP.UNHCR workers preparing to go out into the field are also subjected to mock hostage takings, kidnappings and other stress situations – and also in some of the world’s most peaceful spots, in Germany, Sweden and Norway.“The humanitarian space is shrinking, the environment where we work is becoming increasingly insecure, and staff have to be prepared for the worst,” Awad says.The U.N. provides basic training for everyone going out on a mission, and for the past five years has also been offering more specific training for each conflict zone, says Jens Laerke, spokesman for the world body’s humanitarian affairs agency.The training program “has been professionalized a lot in the past four to five years, but it’s still a work in progress,” he says.According to Laerke, the humanitarian profession is basically suffering from its popularity, as there are probably 10 times more aid workers in the field today than a decade ago.“There are a lot more organizations, more people out there going into a lot more places, so obviously more get kidnapped and killed, unfortunately,” he explains.Philippe Ruscassier, who heads training for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in France, agreed, pointing out that “when you have 10,000 NGOs, people no longer know” who you are, which can cause problems for workers with neutral NGOs like MSF and the Red Cross, who may get confused with more partisan organizations.As he prepares to go back into such a reality in Beirut, Tamine says the ICRC training is important.“It is really good to have an idea of how to act to stay safe,” he says. Facebook Comments GENEVA – “Go, go!” shouts a soldier at five Red Cross aid workers crammed into a 4×4 truck speeding into the woods as explosions go off nearby, sending up plumes of white smoke.The scene feels menacing and real. But it is in fact taking place far from an actual battlefield and just a stone’s throw from a city renowned for its international peace efforts, in one of the safest countries on the planet.Welcome to Alpesia, an imaginary land created by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 15 years ago in the woods of Geneva. Here the Sequane Liberation Front rebels are facing off against the authorities in a “conflict” tailored to teach new aid workers how to face the increasingly dangerous world they will soon be ushered into.Nearly 200 participants, who have to be between 25 and 35, pass the simulation test each year before joining a profession where armed attacks, kidnappings and hospital bombings are becoming ever more prevalent.In the Swiss woods, they get a taste for what life could be like on mission: military checkpoints, visits to destroyed hospitals and a refugee camp – all within eight days of practical and theoretical training.Split into groups of five, the new ICRC delegates drive into the forest in 4x4s en route for a refugee camp. But before long they are stopped at a checkpoint.Some of the aid workers are separated from the group by a soldier who keeps them in check with a real – though hopefully not loaded – assault rifle.Now it is up to the aid workers to talk their way out of the situation and demonstrate they can keep calm, pick their words carefully and convincingly explain their neutrality and their mission.“Sometimes, fake ICRC soldiers take it up a notch if they are not satisfied with the behavior of the new delegates,” spokesman Philippe Marc Stoll tells AFP.After the role play, the debriefing is harsh.Today, “soldier” Benjamin Eckstein chastises the group for allowing an armed soldier to get into their vehicle, effectively turning it into a “legitimate military target.”“The simulation on the ground was really realistic,” says 29-year-old Italian Gaia Pallechi, who is being sent to work in Bogotá, Colombia.The training makes it possible to correct mistakes and “avoid them on the ground,” says Moroccan Nezar Tamine, 26, who has already begun a stint in Beirut but is in Geneva getting the skills he needs.Once accidentally caught in crossfire, now a targetBut even the best of hostile environment training cannot avert all dangers.Last year “was the most difficult year for the ICRC in security terms since 2003 and 2005,” the organization’s chief, Peter Maurer told reporters last month.In Syria, 20 local Red Crescent workers have been killed since the bloody conflict began in March 2011.Humanitarian groups are facing ever more difficult conditions as conflicts, like the one in Syria, stretch on for longer and longer. Lebanese Red Cross volunteers transfer a patient who was wounded in the Syrian city of Qusayr to a hospital on June 8 in the city of Shtora, in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley. The Red Cross launched an operation to evacuate the wounded as pro-government forces captured Qusayr on June 5 after a nearly three-week assault by troops and the Hezbollah. AFP/STR center_img No related posts.last_img read more

Carl St Clair appointed music director of Costa Ricas National Symphony Orchestra

first_imgNo related posts. If you only looked at his résumé, Carl St. Clair would seem to have lived many lifetimes: Born in 1952, the Texas native has served as music director of orchestras in Michigan, New York, California and even Germany. He has recorded albums. He has headed music festivals. He has collaborated with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.Now, St. Clair prepares for a new incarnation – as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. Last Friday, it was announced at a press conference in San José that St. Clair would sign on for a one-year contract. He is expected to arrive in Costa Rica in March 2014.“The National Symphony Orchestra has gone for three years without a leader,” St. Clair told The Tico Times this week. “That’s a long span of time. I have been very impressed that they have maintained their discipline and performance level, but obviously there needs to be a cohesiveness, a homogeneity of sound and tone. For me, it’s more about gathering people and unifying their aims and goals.”For 25 years, St. Clair has served as music director of the Pacific Symphony, based in Orange County, California. Three years ago, St. Clair was invited to guest-conduct for the National Symphony in Costa Rica, and the collaboration clicked. He returned for a second stint the following year, then a third in 2013.“I really enjoyed working with the orchestra,” St. Clair recalled. “The relationship with the musicians and my professional relationship with [Director of National Music Center] Guillermo Madriz was wonderful. Sometime between my first and second visit, we began talking about a position.”The orchestra has lacked a full-time music director since the Culture Ministry’s dismissal of Daniel Nazareth in 2011. For Costa Rica, the orchestra has gained a conductor with a wealth of background and experience. For St. Clair, the appointment is an opportunity to refine the orchestra, cultivate new talents and schedule a season of performances.But St. Clair is also married and the father of two children, ages 11 and 12, and the decision to relocate to Costa Rica required some exposure.“I brought my family down this past July for two weeks,” St. Clair said. “We had a wonderful family vacation. We were scheduled to go somewhere else, but we decided we should all know about [Costa Rica], as a family.” They toured the Pacific coast and spent some time in the highlands and around Arenal Volcano. “We just had a great time. The whole family just fell in love with the country. It was important that this be a family decision.”Having worked extensively with the Staatskappelle Weimar and Radio-Sinfonieorchester – both preeminent orchestras in Germany – St. Clair describes his family as “bi-continental.” At the same time, “this came very late in my life,” St. Clair said, and there are copious preparations to make before his arrival. Among his many tasks: studying what the National Symphony Orchestra has accomplished in the past 10 years and deciding where to steer them next.“I’m going to try to compliment what’s been going on by bringing some new composers into the fold,” St. Clair said. He commended their repertoire so far – a diverse spectrum of symphonies and choral works – but St. Clair may introduce less-played artists, such as Shostakovich, Strauss, Wagner and Haydn. “There are a lot of details for next season. We have a lot of planning to do.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The link between Venezuela and Cuba

first_imgCuba and Venezuela are linked as foreign policy challenges for many U.S. lawmakers because of the close ties between the two socialist regimes. Former Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez was an unabashed supporter of Fidel Castro, and helped ensure that Venezuela used its oil wealth to help prop up Cuba’s ailing economy. Chávez repeatedly sought medical treatment for the cancer that eventually killed him in Cuba, and the close relationship between the two countries has continued even as both have moved on to other leaders. Nicolás Maduro was one of the feted guests last summer when Cuba celebrated the 60th anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution.While Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “Bolivarian revolution” was modeled on Cuba’s, the South American oil giant replaced the Soviet Union as the island country’s main economic patron, underwriting the Cuban economy to the tune of billions of dollars a year.Some estimates of the scale of Venezuelan support for Cuba, including more than 130,000 barrels a day of oil but also salaries for thousands of Cuban officials working in the country, suggest Caracas gives Cuba more than $10 billion a year, or between one-fifth and one-sixth of Cuba’s gross domestic product. That comes close to the level of economic support that Cuba received from the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, before the Soviet collapse abruptly ended Moscow’s economic aid to Fidel Castro.In other words, some lawmakers believe, further unrest or even a change in the regime in Venezuela could represent a direct threat to the continued rule of Raúl and Fidel Castro in Cuba. From left, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Cuban President Raúl Castro and Bolivian President Evo Morales participate in a torch march, on Jan. 28, 2014, to celebrate the 161th anniversary of Cuban National Hero José Martí’s birthday. Yamil Lage/AFPHowever, a lot has changed since the end of the Cold War. Cuba has slowly tried to reform its economy and find more than one “sugar daddy” to prop it up. Brazil, for one, is increasing investment and trade in Cuba, and just helped construct a major port not far from Havana. Cuba, recognizing the peril that reliance on Venezuelan oil poses for its economy, has also repeatedly sought to tap what it believes are abundant oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, but so far without success.“Do you drive Cuba off the edge of the earth by strangling Venezuela? Nothing the United States has done in 50 years has caused that to happen in Cuba,” Julia Sweig, a Latin American expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Foreign Policy. “My expectation is that Cuba has been planning for this for a long time, and even if they’re not 100 percent ready, they are prepared enough,” including deeper economic ties with Brazil, the European Union, Canada, and China, she said.Oil is at the heart of Venezuela’s support for Cuba, but it is also at the heart of Venezuela’s own woes. Much of the popular anger in Venezuela is a reaction to the government crackdown on students. However, widespread dissatisfaction with the Maduro government’s economic mismanagement has prompted even the middle class — hammered by soaring inflation, empty store shelves and a cratering currency — to join the protests. The New York Times captured the mood this week talking with one such protester: “Look. I’ve got a rock in my hand and I’m the distributor for Adidas eyewear in Venezuela,” Carlos Alviarez told the newspaper.RECOMMENDED: Adiós, El Chapo: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto might want to think twice about popping the champagne.And that economic malaise is due in part to the systemic mismanagement of Venezuela’s oil wealth over the past 15 years. Blessed with the largest oil reserves in Latin America, and the second largest in the world, Venezuela has struggled to attract the foreign investment needed to increase oil production, especially in challenging oil fields laden with thick, heavy oil.Production has remained constant, at about 2.3 million barrels per day in recent years, in part because rampant inflation has made it hard for foreign firms to boost output there and partly because the Chávez and Maduro regimes have used oil income to underwrite expensive social programs at home, to the detriment of productive investment in the industry. A billboard of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) is seen at the entrance of the Cienfuegos oil refinery, 250 km southeast of Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 11, 2013. Jean-Herve Deiller/AFPExports, which account for about half the Venezuelan budget, have plummeted since the advent of Chavismo. Venezuelan oil exports peaked in the late 1990s at about 3 million barrels, but have since fallen to about 1.7 million barrels a day. Additionally, some 400,000 barrels of that export total are sent to Caribbean nations under preferential terms, further eroding Caracas’ potential earnings.While Rubio and others rail at the State Department for not taking a tougher stance on Venezuela, another office in Foggy Bottom did take one important step this week that could ultimately deal a big economic blow to Maduro and the Venezuelan government. The State Department’s Inspector General determined that its environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline suffered no conflict of interest.That removes one of the last potential obstacles for the Obama administration to finally greenlight the pipeline that would carry almost 800,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil from Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.The biggest loser if Keystone is built? Venezuela, which currently exports about 800,000 barrels of heavy oil a day to the United States to keep those refineries humming.John Hudson contributed to this article.© 2014, Foreign Policy Facebook Comments Related posts:As oil plummets, Venezuela goes from bad to worse World Bank court orders Ecuador to pay $1.8 billion to US oil firm Oxy Quick Venezuela facts on Election Day US opens greater channels for trade, air links with Cuba WASHINGTON, D.C. – Top U.S. lawmakers from both parties are urging the Obama administration to take a tougher line on Venezuela, which is violently cracking down on popular protests against the government of Nicolás Maduro. For some on Capitol Hill, though, the real target is Cuba.These leading Republicans and Democrats are pushing back at a country that has been a constant thorn in the side of U.S. interests in Latin America in recent years.Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R., Fla., and Eliot Engel, D., N.Y., have both called for the Organization of American States, which meets this week, to take a tougher line on the Maduro government’s treatment of peaceful protesters. Sen. Marco Rubio, R., Fla., has floated the idea of U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan officials involved in the crackdown, and even against the Venezuelan government itself.But Venezuela hawks such as Rubio are making a second argument: tougher action against Venezuela represents a chance to undermine one of the key lifelines of the communist regime in Cuba, whose economy relies on heavily subsidized oil and other gifts from Caracas.“The Cubans get free and cheap oil from the Venezuelans. So their interest is keeping this regime in place because they’re their benefactors,” Rubio told CNN this week. “And Cuba is clearly involved in assisting the Venezuelan government with both personnel and training and equipment to carry out these repressive activities,” he added.center_img A host of key lawmakers have long been skeptical of the Obama administration’s efforts to reach out to Cuba after more than 50 years of a U.S. economic embargo against the island nation. Obama’s efforts to loosen restrictions on travel and remittances, especially for Cuban-Americans, have provoked a backlash among lawmakers, like Rubio, who count on Cuban-American votes.That perception was strengthened in December, when President Obama shook hands with Raúl Castro, the brother of Fidel and the current Cuban president, at the funeral of Nelson Mandela. That came just a month after Obama suggested the United States might need to rethink the embargo.Rubio said in a passionate speech on the Senate floor Monday that he also wants normal relations with Cuba — “a democratic and free Cuba. But you want us to reach out and develop friendly relationships with a serial violator of human rights, who supports what’s going on in Venezuela and every other atrocity on the planet?”last_img read more

NY Times to cut 100 newsroom jobs

first_imgThe New York Times Co. announced Wednesday that it would cut 100 newsroom positions, bowing to the financial pressure from declining print revenue that continues to plague papers across the United States.“So, regrettably, we are going to have to reduce costs in the newsroom,” Executive Editor Dean Baquet wrote in a note to staff.Baquet said he hoped the reductions could be achieved through voluntary buyouts but warned that “if we don’t get there we will be forced to do layoffs.”Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and chief executive Mark Thompson sent their own company-wide email, saying they are “reducing the cost base of the company to safeguard the long-term profitability of The Times, not because of any short-term business difficulties.”But the executives also said that advertising revenue was flat in the most recent quarter and, according to Baquet, “our new products are not achieving the business success we expected, even though they are journalistic sensations.”The company announced that it would end its NYT Opinion mobile app, which aggregated editorials from around the world. It also said its NYT Now app, aimed at younger readers, worked in attracting a loyal following but was less successful in marketing a lower-price subscription model.The prospect of newsroom reductions is a familiar one at The New York Times — as it is at most print publications. Times staffers have been through several rounds of buyouts before, although the paper has also added positions and new features in recent years. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said there are currently 1,330 full-time employees in the newsroom, the highest staffing level the paper has seen in five years.It was widely known within the newsroom that cuts were forthcoming, as the paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, mentioned in a recent column.Baquet told staffers that he would use this round of cuts “as an opportunity to seriously reconsider some of what we do — from the number of sections we produce to the amount we spend on freelance content.” Baquet also wrote that he would reserve the right to reject buyout requests from employees whose “jobs and talents are critical to our mission.”Staffers covered by the Newspaper Guild will be offered three weeks of salary for every year of service at the paper, up to two years’ pay. Exempt employees — generally managers — will be offered two weeks of salary for every year they have worked at the Times, totaling no more than one year’s pay. The company further sweetened the deal by offering staffers who have been with the paper at least 20 years a cash payout equal to 35 percent of their total severance, a sign executives are particularly hopeful that older employees will be enticed to take the buyout.The package is lavish compared with recent severance offers at other papers. The Tampa Bay Times, for example, recently told staffers that their salaries would be cut by 5 percent and that their severance would be capped at eight weeks’ pay unless they resigned by Oct. 1, in which case they would get a maximum of 13 weeks.“I have two reactions,” said Grant Glickson, a Guild representative and staff assistant at The New York Times. “At some point you feel like, ‘Why not train the people that are already here to do the digital end of things?’“On the other side, how upset can you be when they’re offering as generous a package as they are? They do seem to want to do this in a humane way.”One staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue, said: “It’s always nerve-racking when something like this happens — the idea that 100 people who are there today are not going to be there in six months. But at the same time this is a good deal, especially for people who are thinking about retiring.”And, the staffer added, “I don’t pick up an atmosphere of despair.”For the second quarter of 2014, the most recent to be reported by the publicly traded company, The New York Times’ advertising revenue declined by 4.1 percent while its operating costs increased by 5.2 percent.Times executives said they would continue to invest in new products and digital innovations, even as the cuts are executed.“This is a transitional period for The Times,” Baquet wrote. “We are accelerating our efforts to build a powerful digital news operation while producing the premier print newspaper that our readers continue to embrace.”The cuts also mark the continuation of a tumultuous year at the Times. In May, Jill Abramson was abruptly fired as executive editor and replaced by Baquet, who had been serving as managing editor. Abramson had been the first woman ever to run the storied paper and Baquet is the first African American to have his name at the top of the Times’ masthead.“There is no magic bullet for the current financial plight of the news business,” Baquet wrote in his memo to the staff. “Many of the big successes of past generations . . . were pushed by a newsroom willing to change and adapt. We are in that kind of moment again.”© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:La Nueva Prensa: Serving the community of Nicaraguans in Costa Rica National Geographic fans worry about partnership with climate change skeptic Rupert Murdoch Rescued Costa Rican monkeys star in IKEA commercial Comcast’s NBCUniversal invests $200 million in BuzzFeedlast_img read more

Costa Rica high court prison officials must address cruel and degrading conditions

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s Supreme Court condemns prisoner torture allegations Costa Rica’s Supreme Court orders release of Nicaraguan unjustly imprisoned for 17 months Prison overcrowding in Costa Rica jumps 50 percent in 10 years PHOTOS: Faces from La Reforma prison Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has given the San Sebastián prison one month to come up with a plan to deal with its “cruel and degrading” conditions.The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, also known as Sala IV, ruled in favor of a prisoner residing to cell block B1, room 4 who denounced the overcrowded conditions in his cell. The dormitory was designed to hold 20 prisoners but currently holds 47.According to a statement from Sala IV, prisoners “are sleeping on pieces of mattresses or on the ground, putting up with the cold” and rats climbing out of the drains at night.The court ordered prison system director Reynaldo Villalobos Zúñiga and Mariano Barrantes Angulo, director of the San José facility, to take steps to mitigate the overcrowding in the prison within one month.Last month the Ombudsman’s Office decried overcrowding across Costa Rica’s penitentiary system, which has ballooned to 53 percent of capacity, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice and Peace.The ministry issued a statement outlining its attempts to curb the problem, but San Sebastián prison was not among the facilities listed where additional cells have been built. Justice authorities claimed that a lack of funding between 2007 and 2009 has had compounding effects on their ability to build new facilities at the same time that courts sent more people to prison.There were 1,266 prisoners housed at San Sebastián as of June 26, according to the Ministry of Justice and Peace.The embattled ministry was under new management as of Tuesday when President Luis Guillermo Solís named María Cecilia Sánchez to replace Cristina Ramírez as Justice Minister. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Mens sub21 soccer team face Honduras in mustwin match today women sweep

first_imgCosta Rica’s sub-21 men’s soccer team faces Honduras at 3 p.m. today in a must-win game to advance to the knockout stage of the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia.The women’s team has already advanced after being the only team to complete a clean sweep, winning all three games to reach the top of their group. They will face either Mexico, Nicaragua or Trinidad on Tobago on Friday at 6 p.m. in the semi-finals.The men’s team, on the other hand, will need to win today after losing their opening game against Colombia. A 3-2 victory against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday kept their hopes of passing to the knockout stage alive.All three of Costa Rica’s goals against Trinidad and Tobago came from an early barrage in the first half. Midfielder Randall Leal Arley kicked off the party with a goal in the first 10 minutes and then forward Andres Gomez followed it up with a clean strike for a 2-0 lead a few minutes later.Then it was Leal again. Trinidad and Tobago’s Darnell Hospedales fouled Costa Rica’s Barlon Sequeira deep in Trinidad and Tobago’s zone to give the young Sele a penalty. Leal took the shot and scored his second goal of the game.It was the last goal Costa Rica scored that game and Trinidad and Tobago nearly mounted a comeback in the second half.The multi-island nation scored their first goal in the 60th minute thanks to another penalty and then Nickel Orr scored seven minutes later to make it a one-goal game. Trinidad and Tobago had a flurry of chances in overtime but weren’t able to tie the game.Trinidad and Tobago has no chance of advancing while Costa Rica needs to beat Honduras today to make it to the knockout stage. If Costa Rica ties today and the game between Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago also ends in a tie; then Costa Rica and Colombia will tie in points, but the goal differential would push Colombia into the knockout stage and leave Costa Rica out. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ticos in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games Costa Rica smashes human smuggling ring; 5 cops arrested, 47 Nicaraguan immigrants discovered in stash house Rodríguez rocket earns Colombia a clash with Brazil Mexico opens landmark debate on marijuana lawslast_img read more

Soldiers fighting Congo rebels live in squalor

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Congo’s mineral-rich east has been wracked by fighting since April, when army deserters calling themselves the M23 Movement launched a rebellion to demand better pay, better armaments and amnesty from war crimes. The fighting, the worst in years, has forced some 280,000 people from their homes.Last month, M23 rebels seized the army camp at Rumangabo, the biggest in eastern Congo, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Goma. They point to it as an example of the miserable conditions the regular army faces. Without electricity, running water or even basics like blankets, the rebels refuse to stay in its filthy barracks and are lodged in a nearby hotel.“The conditions are unbelievable, aren’t they?” said rebel spokesman Col. Vianney Kazarama as he took The Associated Press on a tour this week. “Animals are treated better than this.”Three blackened stones and some charcoal in a corner of a dormitory were the only source of heat against the cold in a mountain region where nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. Windows were covered with cardboard and plastic; a stone fire on an outside verandah was used for cooking.Bathing facilities consisted of makeshift enclosures of bamboo branches covered in plastic. Bundles of filthy clothing, an abandoned helmet, a worn black boot and a tin plate littered the barracks floor. Associated PressRUMANGABO, Congo (AP) – The nest of straw, like something an animal sleeps on, was a Congolese army soldier’s bed before rebels seized this military camp. Broken windows were stuffed with grass and the only protection from the frigid night air was a handful of charcoal.The squalid conditions help explain why thousands of government soldiers are on the run from a few hundred rebels _ and have little incentive to fight. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories “Continuous armed group integration has created feelings of unpredictability and unfairness within the ranks,” analyst Jason Stearns noted in his Congo Siasa blog this week.“Who would want to risk their lives for an enemy that might very well be welcomed back again into the army, perhaps in an even more privileged position than before?”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The M23 rebels are remnants of back-to-back civil wars that drew in the armies of a half-dozen nations in a scramble for Congo’s vast mineral resources, and killed as many as 5 million people. An internationally negotiated peace deal was signed in 2002, but the conflict persisted in eastern Congo, where foreign and local militias continue to fight for control of the lucrative mines and to terrorize the population.Since the civil wars of the 1990s, Congo’s army has been a mixture of former enemies expected to fight together. Dozens of local militias, mainly tribally based, are welcomed into the army once they surrender.At the Rumangabo camp, a collection of gabled white buildings topped by red iron roofs built during the Belgian colonial era, a sign at the entrance is a reminder of that legacy: It describes it as a center for army integration and retraining. “Unity creates might,” is the motto inscribed on one wall.Rebels like those who launched the latest rebellion, were among those integrated into the army in unsuccessful exercises that have left it with parallel chains of command. And those who desert and return are often better rewarded with rank and monetary incentives than soldiers who remain loyal. Top holiday drink recipes More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories There were pathetic attempts at privacy: a curtain of twigs and netting, a crude door made of mud bricks. A woman’s cloth wrap and a child’s plastic sandals were signs that wives and children lived in the barracks with the troops.Congo’s 150,000-man army is poorly armed, infrequently paid and badly provisioned with food or other basics. Deserters from Rumangabo told the AP that soldiers did not even have a gun each; among the things abandoned at the camp were home-made batons fashioned from D-sized batteries, lashed together with banana leaves.An overgrown vegetable garden of corn, potatoes and cassava indicated the soldiers tried to grow their own food at the camp, which housed 1,000 troops before it was seized.Ordinary soldiers are supposed to be paid $60 a month, but by the time higher-ranking officers skim off a share, a trooper gets only about $5 a month _ and that is when the payroll is met, according to Congolese military officers who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being reprimanded.That helps explain why Congo’s soldiers are accused of more looting than any of the foreign rebel and local militia groups they fight in eastern Congo.And why soldiers have joined other armed groups in illegal mining in Congo _ ventures that help fuel the cycle of violence and have made multimillionaires out of rebel leaders like renegade Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The U.N. has identified Ntaganda as the leader of the latest rebellion, though the rebels deny this.last_img read more

Supreme Court to hear Texas Senate districts case

first_img How men can have a healthy 2019 ErrorOK ErrorOK But those challenging that system argue that it violates the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote. They claim that taking account of total population can lead to vast differences in the number of voters in particular districts, along with corresponding differences in the power of those voters.A ruling for the challengers would shift more power to rural areas and away from urban districts in which there are large populations of immigrants who are not eligible to vote because they are children or not citizens. Latinos have been the fasting growing segment of Texas’ population and Latino children, in particular, have outpaced those of other groups, according to census data.“And because urban areas are more Democratic, the ruling could help Republicans,” said Richard Hasen, an expert on election law at the University of California-Irvine law school.The Project on Fair Representation is funding the lawsuit filed by two Texas residents. The group opposes racial and ethnic classifications and has been behind Supreme Court challenges to affirmative action and the federal Voting Rights Act.The court’s 1964 ruling in Reynolds v. Sims established the one person, one vote principle and means that a state’s legislative districts must have roughly the same number of people. But the court has never determined whether the state must count everyone or just eligible voters — or have some leeway to choose. The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, 14-940, will be argued in the fall.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an important case about whether states must count only those who are eligible to vote, rather than the total population, when drawing electoral districts for their legislatures.The case from Texas could be significant for states with large immigrant populations, including Latinos who are children or not citizens. The state bases its electoral districts on a count of the total population, including non-citizens and those who aren’t old enough to vote. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipes The case brought by Texas residents Sue Evenwel and Edwared Pfenniger highlights a mainly rural district northeast of Houston that has 584,000 eligible voters, while a neighboring urban district has 372,000 eligible voters.The result is that voters in the urban district have more sway than their rural counterparts, said Edward Blum, president of the Project on Fair Representation. Several conservative groups also are supporting the Supreme Court challenge.Then-Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, signed the redistricting plan into law. The state urged the justices to reject the case because “multiple precedents from this court confirm that total population is a permissible” way to draw districts.“It is ironic that you have conservatives going up against the state of Texas seeking to get the Supreme Court to take away more discretion from the states,” Hasen said.Back in 2001, Justice Clarence Thomas urged his colleagues to settle the issue. Thomas issued a rare dissent when the court chose not to hear a case from Houston. “We have never determined the relevant ‘population’ that states and localities must equally distribute among their districts,” Thomas wrote.last_img read more

Haitis capital gets 1st movie theater in years

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “I’m not sure I can afford to take my daughters when the movies start, but it’s nice they are opening this theater and fixing up the Champ de Mars,” she said.___Associated Press writer David McFadden in Kingston, Jamaica, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories President Michel Martelly inaugurated the revamped theater Friday along with dignitaries and dozens of local artists. Authorities say it won’t actually start showing films to the general public for about another month, once arrangements for a parking garage are completed.Port-au-Prince had roughly 30 cinemas in the 1970s. But over the years they all closed amid political turmoil and rampant bootlegging of movies with pirated DVDs and videotapes.The last movie theater to operate in Port-au-Prince was the Imperial Cinema, which closed shortly before the January 2010 quake that devastated much of the capital and surrounding areas.Musician, producer and playwright Jean Jean-Pierre said Monday that the Triomphe’s reopening by the Champ de Mars plaza in downtown Port-au-Prince is “very exciting.” It’s the city’s main public square and major work has been done to rehabilitate it, including the recent completion of an open-air amphitheater.“The idea is to create confidence so that people will come back to the Champ de Mars for regular cultural events,” said Pierre, a member of Haiti’s council of the performing arts.On a recent morning, dried food vendor Lisette Issonne gazed up at the Triomphe as she strolled across the bustling square with her two daughters. Quick workouts for men PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The first movie theater to operate in the Haitian capital in years has opened its doors off a renovated downtown square, a welcome sign of revival in a city shattered by an earthquake more than five years ago.The Triomphe theater had been closed since 1988, but was rehabilitated with more than 700 plush seats, a digital sound system and two screens. The Port-au-Prince cinema with a glass facade also boasts conference rooms and a hall for concerts, plays and other cultural performances. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Thailand condemned for repatriation of 109 Uighurs to China

first_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories “The extradition is a dirty political deal between the Thai and Chinese authorities,” spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in a statement.The repatriation echoed a December 2009 incident when Cambodia deported 20 asylum-seeking Uighurs to China over the protests of the U.N., which rushed people to the airport in an attempt to physically prevent their expulsion.___Associated Press writers Didi Tang in Beijing, Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand faced a blizzard of international criticism Thursday, and its consulate in Istanbul was ransacked, after it deported 109 ethnic Uighur refugees to China despite fears that they would face persecution there.The U.N. refugee agency called Thailand’s action “a flagrant violation of international law.” The United States also condemned the deportations, and voiced deep concern about protection of asylum-seekers in Thailand. Amnesty International said that the Muslim Uighurs could face detention or torture in China. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   “I’m asking if we don’t do it this way, then how would we do it?” he said. “Or do you want us to keep them for ages until they have children for three generations?”The Uighurs had been in Thailand for over a year, along with others who had fled China and claimed to be Turkish, the spokesman, Verachon, said. Thai authorities sought to verify their nationalities before relocating them, he said.“We found that about 170 of them were Turkish, so they were recently sent to Turkey,” he said. “And about 100 were Chinese, so they were sent to China as of this morning, under the agreement that their safety is guaranteed according to humanitarian principles.” He denied reports from Uighur activists that the refugees resisted deportation and some had been hurt.Two witnesses who saw the Uighurs being led into trucks to be driven to Bangkok’s military airport said the men were handcuffed and some of women were crying and shouted, “Help us! Don’t allow them to send us back to China.”Bilal Degirmenci and a colleague from the Turkish humanitarian group Cansuyu said they were forced by police to delete photos and video they had taken of the Uighurs, and were threatened with punishment if any were published or posted on the Internet. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in China’s far western Xinjiang region. The group has complained of harsh cultural and religious suppression as well as economic marginalization under Chinese rule.China’s position is that the Uighurs left the country illegally. Beijing has accused Uighur separatists of terrorism in Xinjiang, where ethnic violence has left hundreds of people dead over the past two years.“China’s relevant departments will bring those who are suspected of committing serious crimes to justice according to law,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua told reporters. “As for those who are not suspected of committing crimes or who commit lesser offences, we will find proper ways to deal with them.”In Turkey, which agreed to take in the other 170 refugees despite China’s objections, mostly Uighur protesters vandalized the Thai Consulate in Istanbul. The office was closed on Thursday.Police allowed about 100 protesters to pray outside the consulate before taking nine of them away for questioning.The Thai Embassy issued a statement urging its nationals in Turkey to be on alert.The World Uyghur Congress, a German-based advocacy group, said those repatriated could face criminal charges and harsh punishment, possibly execution, under China’s opaque legal system — the reasons they fled China in the first place. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Protesters in Turkey, which has cultural ties to the Uighurs and accepted an earlier group of Uighur refugees from Thailand, ransacked the Thai Consulate in Istanbul overnight. Police in the capital, Ankara, used pepper spray to push back Uighur protesters who tried to break through a barricade outside the Chinese Embassy.Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemned Thailand, saying the deportation came despite “numerous initiatives” by Turkey to prevent the Uighurs’ repatriation. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said it was “shocked,” having been given assurances by Thailand that the group would continue to receive protection.Thai deputy government spokesman Maj. Gen. Verachon Sukhonthapatipak said Thailand had assurances from Chinese authorities about the safety of the Uighurs. However, in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China would take action against those suspected of breaking the law.Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said that as a third country, the matter was not Thailand’s problem, and that the place they were sent to — he did not name China — would take care of it according to its justice system. The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Iraq begins operation to oust Islamic State group from Anbar

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Meanwhile Monday, the IS group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s series of bombings in Shiite areas of the capital, Baghdad, that killed at least 29 people and wounded 81 others, according to the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency.Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Islamic State group controls large swaths of the country’s north and west after capturing Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul and the majority of Anbar province.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi government began on Monday a long-awaited large-scale military operation to dislodge Islamic State militants from Iraq’s western Anbar province, a military spokesman announced.The spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, said in a televised statement that the operation started at dawn Monday and that government forces are backed by Shiite and Sunni pro-government fighters. Rasool didn’t clarify whether the U.S.-led international coalition is taking part. Sponsored Stories This is not the first time the Iraqi government has announced an operation to retake Anbar — where several key towns, including the provincial capital Ramadi, remain under IS control. In May, authorities announced an operation to retake Ramadi, but there has not been any major progress on the ground since then.The Islamic State group, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, seized large parts of Anbar in early 2014 and captured Ramadi in May. Iraqi forces, which had been making steady progress against the extremists in recent months with the help of the air campaign, scored a major victory in recapturing Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit last month.In a brief statement, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, vowed to “take revenge from Daesh criminals on the battlefield… and their cowardly crimes against unarmed civilians will only increase our determination to chase them and to expel them from the land of Iraq.”During the past few weeks, the troops have been moving to cut the militants’ supply routes and to surround and isolate Ramadi and Fallujah.Rasool didn’t provide any further details on the ongoing operations. By noon, the country’s state TV reported government forces recapturing villages and areas around Fallujah. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Check your body, save your life How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

Virgin Atlantic accuses Jet Airways of stealing seat design

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X Virgin Atlantic Seat Jet Airways Seatcenter_img Virgin Atlantic is reportedly pursuing Jet Airways in both India and the United Kingdom for the infringement of its patented Upper Class seats in a configuration it calls “herringbone”.Virgin Atlantic last year pursued design firm Contour, with whom it had developed the seats, for selling the design to rival airlines; and now it appears that it will also pursue one of the airlines – namely Jet Airways, India’s LiveMint reports.Virgin Atlantic says their innovative Upper Class seats, which face diagonally instead of towards the front, have now been sold onwards to the likes of British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Cathay Pacific.“We are currently pursuing Jet in the UK courts for jointly developing a seat with manufacturer Contour, which infringes Virgin Atlantic’s patent,” said a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic to LiveMint.Developed and launched in 2007, Jet Airways has argued that the design has since been in the public domain for so long it no longer falls under the patent.last_img read more

A Finalist … On The World Stage

first_imgWhile it’s great to be recognized I must say that the bar we have set ourselves is very high and we still have a long way to go”!DriveAway Holidays has announced today that they are a finalist in the Australasian division of the World Travel Awards, in the car rental category. The World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.”Chris Hamill, Driveaway’s Chief Executive of Sales and Marketing says that “theDriveAway team is ecstatic to be nominated. “Over the last year we have worked veryhard to improve our service levels across all levels of the company”. While it’s great tobe recognized and we appreciate and thank our supporters for the nomination, I mustsay that the bar we have set ourselves is very high and we still have a long way to go”!This years star studded Australasian Gala Ceremony will be held on 14 October at the Claridges Surajkund, located in Delhi, India.For more information on the World Travel Awards go to www.worldtravelawards.com Source = DriveAway Holidayslast_img read more

Politics clear out Tunisia tourism

first_imgRecent political revolution in Tunisia has cleared out tourism, leaving the village’s attractions and beaches empty of visitors. Despite the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ resulting in the departure of then President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 the popular European holiday destination is deserted, resulting in the closure of museums and souvenir shops, Global Post reported. Earlier this year credit rating agency Fitch slashed its growth prediction for the village in 2011 to two percent from five percent and noted its concern as the country’s 400,000 citizens working in the tourism industry. In a bid to attract visitors the government launched an ‘I love Tunisia, the place to be… now!’ campaign, which has been supported by decreased prices by tour operators. According to the source, tourism contributed to up to six percent of Tunisia’s domestic gross product and earned $2.5 billion for the economy in 2010. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Aus tax a punishment to NZ TTF

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J A departure tax increase for Kiwi travellers has been rejected by the Australian tourism industry and described as ‘unfair’ to our biggest travel market.Announced this month in the yearly budget and effective from 1 July this year, the Australian Government said it would increase the departure tax on New Zealanders visiting Australia from $47 to $55 per person.Local industry voice, Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said the increase was unjustifiable and would “disproportionately” impact tourism from “our nearest neighbour”, New Zealand.With up to 1.2 million Kiwis travelling into Australia annually, Mr Lee said a family of four travelling from NZ would be expected to pay up to $280 just to return home, a cost he said will have a negative impact on tourism across the Tasman.“While we have long-standing rivalries in many areas, in this case we should be working together to grow the tourism industries on both sides of the Tasman instead of punishing the Kiwis who travel to Australia every year,” he explained.“Indeed TTF, in partnership with New Zealand’s Tourism Industry Association, has been pushing for streamlined  border  processing  between  Australia  and  New  Zealand,  with  Anzac  Express  Paths  at both  ends  and  ‘mates  rates’  to  halve  the  PMC  for  Kiwis,  with  a  common  border  as  the  ideal outcome. “We  don’t  believe  visitors  to  Australia  should  prop  up  government  revenues  when  they  already make a massive contribution to the Australian economy, spending billions of dollars every year and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs across Australia.”  The TTF is not the only Group determined to have the increased tax turned over, with New Zealand’s industry leaders urging the country’s Prime Minister to lobby against the rise. Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) spokesperson said yesterday the Group had lobbied to the country’s leader to discuss the tax with his Australian counterpart.last_img read more

ACTE CAPA join forces

first_imgACTE Corporate Travel Education Conference, December 2014, Sydney. Source = ETB News: Emma Huynh CAPA Corporate Travel Summit, 6 August 2014, Sydney. “ACTE is dedicated to the advancement of our Corporate Travel & Meetings and Events Community and we do this by genuinely investing in its professional development, strengthening peer networks, addressing challenges & highlighting progressive innovation,” ACTE Regional Director, Andrew Kelly said. The event will be held for the Summit on 6 August with guest speakers including Flight Centre Limited managing director, Graham Turner. “Our partnership with ACTE leverages our complementary strengths – ACTE in the corporate travel market, and CAPA in aviation – the biggest component of corporate travel spend, and we look forward to developing two very high quality events that will benefit our industry with unparalleled content and networking opportunities,” CAPA Executive Chairman, Peter Harbison said. The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in Australia and New Zealand and the Australia-based CAPA, Centre for Aviation, have joined forces which will see the two collaborate in the ‘must-attend’ educational and networking event this year:last_img read more

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