Porter adds Fredericton Saint John flights starting in September

Porter adds Fredericton Saint John flights starting in September

first_img Travelweek Group Share Porter adds Fredericton, Saint John flights starting in September TORONTO — Porter Airlines’ new Fredericton flights start Sept. 12 with daily nonstop service between Ottawa and the New Brunswick capital, and continuing service on the same aircraft to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. A detailed schedule is available at flyporter.com and flights are now available for booking.“Porter has received tremendous support from Atlantic Canada communities and we’re looking forward to adding service to New Brunswick’s capital,” said Porter Airlines President and CEO Robert Deluce. “Our commitment to customer service, along with providing more options and competitive fares, will be a welcome addition for Fredericton travellers.”Johanne Gallant, President and CEO of the Fredericton International Airport Authority, said the news was “fantastic” for the region. “As the capital city of New Brunswick and home to the second-largest military base in Canada, we have strong ties to Ottawa, and our vibrant business community will also benefit from the onward flight directly to Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto.”More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsDirect flights to Ottawa are an added benefit of the daily service for business and leisure travellers.“We’re thrilled to see Porter Airlines build their YOW-Atlantic Canada reach with the addition of Fredericton,” added Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.Fredericton is known as the ‘city at the edge of nature,’ with 88 kilometres of hiking trails and the Saint John River running through the city.Porter also announced new service today for Saint John, N.B., beginning on Sept. 21.Porter Escapes vacation packages will be available at porterescapes.com in the coming weeks. Posted bycenter_img Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Tags: Porter Airlines << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Spelling error is directing Disney guests to go to this place instead

first_imgSpelling error is directing Disney guests to go to this place instead Posted by Tags: Disney Travelweek Group Thursday, September 28, 2017 Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days #Epoct pic.twitter.com/DpHzfjsO6r— Alex Huey (@AlexanderHuey) September 27, 2017All kidding aside, what this has simply done is shine a spotlight on Epcot, which celebrates its 35th anniversary on Oct. 1. We doubt the small spelling error matters much to the thousands of guests who’ll be arriving at the park this weekend. And for the few who mistakenly head to ‘Epoct’ instead, well, we’re sure they’ll find their way soon enough. << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — What’s in a name? Well, everything, as Walt Disney World has just learned.A misspelled road sign at Walt Disney World has caused a bit of confusion (and a few laughs) after it was spotted by a number of guests, reports Inquisitr. The sign, which should have read ‘Epcot’, instead read ‘Epoct’, a tiny blip that has quickly gone viral on social media.According to Click Orlando, the sign was erected on Western Way, near Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The area, reports Inquisitr, is no stranger to construction, which means signs are regularly taken down and put back up. It’s thought that the misspelled sign was recently erected and it didn’t take long at all for eagle-eyed passersby to notice the error. Sharelast_img read more

Peru launches new campaign to attract 7 million visitors by 2021

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Peru launches new campaign to attract 7 million visitors by 2021 Posted by Thursday, October 26, 2017 TORONTO — How do you define wealth? In Peru, it’s measured in authentic experiences, natural beauty, adventure options and cuisine, all of which were highlighted at an industry event in Toronto this morning.Hosted by PROMPERU, the Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board, the event welcomed travel partners and media who were the first to learn about the destination’s new international campaign, launching on Nov. 6 at WTM London. Though Elisabeth Hakim, Incoming Tourism Coordinator, North America & United Kingdom, couldn’t divulge too much information about the campaign, she did note that the destination is working towards the goal of seven million tourists by the year 2021.“We want to communicate that we have a wealth and a variety of offerings, from cuisine and culture to the Amazon,” she said. “Whenever I come back from Peru, I am humbled by the people and the beauty that’s there. I come back a different person.”The new campaign, which will be launched over a one-month period in destinations that include Toronto and Montreal, will feature a ‘masterpiece’ video as well as four themed videos on the country’s gastronomy, adventure, culture and nature. Campaign assets will be shared at peru.travel.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”This campaign follows previous marketing initiatives in Canada, which include ‘On the Move in Peru’, an online, co-branded, consumer-facing campaign featuring a contest for four trips to Peru. More recently, the destination launched ‘Wild Peru’ (wild.peru.travel), another consumer-facing campaign that’s currently running until Nov. 24. Travellers can win a nature and adventure trip by playing a customized game on either their smartphone or desktop computer.In July, PROMPERU also introduced a sustainable tourism component called ‘Pachamama’, or ‘Mother Earth’, to highlight the fact that 2017 is the ‘Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’. The main objective is to increase awareness of Peru as a sustainable and adventure-filled destination, with partners that include airlines, tour operators, retailers and NGOs.To help travel agents better sell Peru, PROMPERU offers the Peru Sales Companion App and the Peru Specialist Program, in which 6,493 agents are currently registered. The free platform – peruagent.com – showcases new and shareable content, insider tips, videos, itineraries and brochures. The site also includes ‘Peru Points’, which reward agents with cash and travel bonuses, including a week-long program for two in Peru.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesMoreover, PROMPERU provides specialized training via webinars in collaboration with tour operators and local suppliers, as well as webinars through the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and Virtuoso. It also runs specialized fams to experience new destinations and products; this year, it visited the Chachapoyas region.For more information on travel to Peru, go to peru.travel.center_img Share Tags: Peru Travelweek Group last_img read more

Minor International acquires 86 stake in NH Hotel Group

first_img Share Posted by Tags: Minor International, NH Hotel Group Travelweek Group Minor International acquires 8.6% stake in NH Hotel Groupcenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, May 23, 2018 BANGKOK – Minor International (MINT) has made a major move towards expansion, acquiring an 8.6% stake in NH Hotel Group.Valued at €192 million, the transaction awards MINT with 30,000 shares in NH Hotel Group, the sixth largest hotel chain in Europe and owner and operator of 382 hotels. The NH and NH Collection brands have gained fast-growing recognition, with 59,350 keys spanning 30 countries in Europe, the Americas and Africa.Following the investment, NH’s properties will continue to operate under NH Hotel Group’s well-known brands, including NH Hotels, NH Collection Hotels, nhow Hotels and Hesperia Resorts. No management changes at NH Hotel Group are expected as a result of the investment.“This investment represents a significant milestone for Minor Hotels. We are excited by the opportunity to accelerate our global exposure with our investment in HG Hotel Group, which has a highly complementary business and asset portfolio to MINT,” said Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotels. “The investment is financially attractive, with high liquidity on the Madrid Stock Exchange and proven performance by the business.”More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksRajakarier also noted that MINT can also support the NH hotels with its food and beverage expertise where appropriate to “maximize financial performance and enhance customer experience.”The investment positions MINT for solid growth going forward, particularly in Europe following the company’s earlier expansion into Portugal and Brazil through the acquisition of Tivoli Hotels & Resorts in 2016.last_img read more

Clocks ticking on Avalons Europe Asia Galapagos EBBs

first_img Thursday, July 12, 2018 Share TORONTO — Director of Sales for the Globus family of brands, Kim Clarke, has a reminder for agents: Avalon Waterways’ “very tempting” early booking bonuses on river cruises in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Galapagos Islands are set to expire in less than two weeks.The EBBs, good until July 24, apply to select 2018 and 2019 cruises and include a waived single supplement on Europe and Irrawaddy and Mekong river cruises, and up to $3,000 per couple off Europe cruises ($500 on select air-inclusive Europe cruises).For select 2018 sailings they include $900 air from select cities across Canada and $299 air on Irawaddy cruises.And for select 2019 cruises the offers also include up to $2,600 per couple off select Irrawaddy and Mekong cruises and $1,300 per couple off all India and Galapagos cruises.For more information see agentlingo.ca. Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Tags: Asia, Avalon Waterways, EBB, Europe, Galápagos Clock’s ticking on Avalon’s Europe, Asia, Galapagos EBBs << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Chinese presidents visit to be a government holiday

first_imgNo related posts. A statement from the Casa Presidencial on Monday declared June 3 a public holiday in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Costa Rica. The president will be in the country from June 2-4.The daily La Nación reported that the day off has been declared “in the public interest” for Xi’s visit and will also aid in the transportation and security for the president. The statement also reaffirmed that the Costa Rican government will treat the visit no differently that that of U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip in early May.  The Chinese leader will meet with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to discuss the future of Chinese investment in infrastructure, education and energy in Costa Rica. As the only Central American country with diplomatic ties to China, Costa Rica has seen significant donations and aid from the Asian country in the past several years, including an $80 million donation for construction of the National Stadium in western San José and a $1 million donation for an arch over the capital’s new Chinatown.During his trip to Latin America Xi also will visit Mexico and Venezuela. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica surpasses Canada US in recent press freedom rankings

first_imgCosta Rica remains abeacon of press freedom in a region where the average press freedom score fell to its lowest level in five years, according to the human rights organization Freedom House’s 2014 Freedom of the Press report. The country’s high result comes despite the report stating that press freedom worldwide is at its lowest level in a decade.Costa Rica ranked 22, outscoring Canada (26) and the United States (30), along with all of Central and South America. In the Americas, only Jamaica (18) and several other Caribbean islands placed higher than Costa Rica.The report divides countries into three groups in regards to press freedom: “free,” “partly free” and “not free.” Belize (33), Uruguay (47), Suriname (52) were the only other countries in Central and South America to receive a “free” ranking.Only 2 percent of residents in Latin America live in a country with a “free” media environment, according to the Washington-D.C. based organization. Costa Rica, with 4.5 million citizens, actually has the largest population of all the “free” countries in Central and South America.Of the 197 countries and territories assessed during 2013, a total of 63 (32 percent) were rated “free,” 68 (35 percent) were rated “partly free” and 66 (33 percent) were rated “not free.”Freedom House listed several indicators used to measure stronger press freedom such as: a growing ability of private firms to operate television and radio outlets; greater access to a variety of views via online media, social media, and international outlets; and improved respect for legal protections for the press.Press freedom conditions deteriorated in Latin American countries in 2013, including in Panama (50), Bolivia (92), Ecuador (134) and Venezuela (171).Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro came under criticism for allegedly attempting to extend state control over the media. The report expressed its concern about the sale of opposition television network Globovisión to a private company linked to the government, arguing that it further weakened the media landscape there. The country has been embroiled in violent protests since February.President Rafael Correa of Ecuador — which received a “not free” ranking from the report — has feuded with his country’s media for years. The president told an audience at the University of Costa Rica on May 8 that private media was the “biggest enemy” facing his government.“Since they invented freedom of the press, freedom of the press has been the will of those who own the press,” Correa said during the talk.“Ecuador, which declined to ‘not free’ in 2012, experienced further erosion as the National Assembly passed a new Communications Law that created powerful regulatory bodies with questionable independence, placed excessive controls on content, and imposed onerous obligations on journalists and media outlets,” said the report.Ecuador saw the worst declines in press freedom in the Americas between 2009 and 2013, dropping 15 points during President Correa’s leadership of the country starting in 2007. Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia also saw significant drops during the last several years.Panama saw a drop of two spots to 50 due in large part to media concentration by outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli and his allies. Freedom House also accused the government of attempted to manipulate and harass the press through registration laws.Continued high levels of violence in Mexico (132) and Honduras (141), two countries ranked as “not free,” also concerned the organization.Despite having one of the worst scores in the world, Cuba (190) improved two spots thanks to less strict exit visas, which allowed dissident blogger Yoaní Sánchez to leave the country for a world tour, and fewer cases of harassment or imprisonment of journalists.The United States dropped three places, due to government pressure on national security journalists to reveal their sources and a spike in rejections of Freedom of Information Act requests. Freedom House said that revelations about National Security Agency mass surveillance by Edward Snowden and the wiretapping of Associated Press reporters “cast a pall over free speech protections in the United States.”Freedom House lamented that the global press freedom average plummeted to its lowest levels in a decade. The report noted increased media repression in the Middle East and in North Africa, following the Arab Spring, and troubling conflicts in Ukraine, Turkey and in the East Africa region.The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden tied for the best press freedom environment in the world.The world’s eight worst-rated countries remain Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica press freedoms ‘enviable,’ says Reporters Without Borders Obama to propose ending NSA bulk data collection Journalists harassed, detained in latest chapter of Nicaragua canal saga Costa Rica lacks a freedom of information law but still ranks high in press freedomlast_img read more

Fuel prices to drop slightly in upcoming month

first_imgThe Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) on Monday confirmed that there will be a reduction of per-liter prices of gasoline, diesel and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).The decrease means that “Super” gasoline will cost ₡36 less, “Plus” gasoline ₡30, diesel ₡1 and LPG users will pay ₡4 less. That means the “Super” gasoline will cost ₡774 ($1.45) per liter, “Plus” will cost ₡752 per liter, diesel will cost ₡666 ($1.25) per and liter and LPG will cost ₡330 ($0.60) per liter.The decision corresponds to ARESEP calculations that take into account international prices of oil and the exchange rate with the dollar. Although the exchange rate increased by ₡3 in the last 15 days, oil prices showed a decrease.This is the second fuel price drop this year. However ARESEP has approved seven increases in the same period. New prices will take effect at midnight on the day it’s published in the official newspaper La Gaceta. Facebook Comments Related posts:Regulatory authority approves drop in fuel prices Costa Rica (still) has the most expensive gas prices in Central America Fuel prices to drop for third consecutive month Gas prices to drop again this week in Costa Ricalast_img read more

In an online world Cuba remains a standinline society

first_imgRelated posts:There’s a real estate boom in Cuba, but for now, only Cubans can buy US officials in Cuba to discuss embassies PHOTOS: Cuba, US reopen embassies to end 54-year estrangement After 23 years, the US is dropping its claim that Cuba sponsors terrorism. Here’s what it means. HAVANA — As one of Havana’s largest state-run retail hubs, the Supermercado 3ra y 70 is the communist government equivalent of a Target or Wal-Mart, created as a one-stop shopping center. It was designed, quite possibly, by sadists.Customers with long shopping lists face no fewer than seven places to stand in line. One for butter. Another for cooking oil. A third for toothpaste. And so on.“¿El último?” (“Are you the last person in line?”) a man asked, arriving at the end of a slow-moving queue for cheese. This reporter nodded.Long lines — at the bank, the bus stop or the bodega where government rations are distributed — are a fact of daily Cuban life, as inescapable as the heat or the music.Want potatoes? There’s a line for that. Need to pay your phone bill? Well, there’s a line for that, too.Elsewhere in the world, the Internet revolution has allowed goods and services to be ordered, organized and distributed with ever-greater ease and efficiency. Cuba has barely bothered with these advancements. In an online era, it remains a stand-in-line society.With a new surge of U.S. tourism — up 36 percent this year, according to government data — the island is facing a shortage of hotel rooms, rental cars and seats at the Tropicana cabaret. Which means U.S. visitors, too, may find themselves waiting more than they’re used to.See also: There’s a real estate boom in Cuba, but for now, only Cubans can buyThey can learn a great deal from their hosts, who possess vast reserves of stoicism.“Cubans put up with a lot,” said the man in the cheese queue, with a knowing smile. He introduced himself as Mario.A middle-aged man of considerable girth, Mario was dressed in shorts and a form-fitting, sleeveless T-shirt. His cap read “U.S. Marine Corps.” He did not look like a leatherneck.“My brother sent it to me. He lives in Kendall,” he said, in Florida. “I just got the visa to go visit. I’ll be there for the Fourth of July, man!” A group of people wait anxiously in Camaguey for public transportation to arrive; in an online world, Cuba is a stand-in-line society. Washington Post photo by Sarah L. VoisinMario assured me that he has no plans to migrate to the United States. He has a car, he said, and he makes a good living selling construction materials on the black market — mostly nails, screws, that sort of thing (which is technically illegal, so his last name is withheld here).“Plus, it would be against my religion,” he said.Mario explained that he is a babalawo, a Santería priest. His particular order requires its adherents to reside close to their place of birth, although short-term visits were acceptable to the Orisha spirits.“A friend of mine who went to visit said there were two things he really missed about the United States,” the babalawo said. “One was the freedom. The other was Home Depot.”Ahead of us in line, a customer asked for a large order of sliced bologna. This request brought the entire section of the supermarket to a standstill. Two employees ran the deli slicer, shooting flecks of lunch meat out the sides. A half-dozen other workers stood around, watching.Cuba’s queues tend to bring out the country’s best and worst. Resignation and tedium, sure. But also a remarkable concern for the weakest and most needy. Pregnant women and the elderly always go to the front. Scofflaws who try to cut in face collective scorn. As they do everywhere, Cubans pass the time gossiping, joking and complaining.No one stands in rigid formation, so a sophisticated queuing culture has evolved to maintain proper order and countenance the wait.As Mario had done, the last person to arrive must ask aloud, “¿El último?” to ascertain where the line ends. Then they ask, “Who are you behind?” so if that person wanders off and doesn’t return, the queue doesn’t collapse.Before a place in line is saved, that person must wait for someone else to arrive and ask for “el último” before they’re free to stray. The system is prone to breakdowns, but it allows queuers to use their time in other ways — waiting somewhere more comfortable, like in the shade, or running errands and possibly waiting in other lines.If one loses his place, the others in line know how to keep the queue in order. This could easily be accomplished with little red take-a-number wheels like those at U.S. deli counters. But that’s one more thing that’s not available in Cuba — along with credit cards, which state-run banks don’t offer.A man in dusty work coveralls arrived, towing a little boy. He was clearly in a hurry. Upon reaching the counter, he turned to address the line. “Excuse me, compañeros,” he said, pointing into the deli case. “I just need to buy this little piece of cheese right here. I’m sorry.”Seeing the child, and the man’s obviously harried state, Mario and the others assured him that this was not a problem. The man paid $3 for a small hunk of cheese, a soft, whitish Gouda, the kind that has been scarce at government supermarkets recently, eliciting queues of this sort wherever it appears.“It’s not even very good cheese,” Mario said. “After five days in the fridge, it tastes like plastic.”Mario’s wife and daughter arrived and joined the line. A few places up ahead, the bologna man was finally paying. We’d been there about 15 minutes by then.The conversation drifted to other sorts of lines, and which ones were longest in Havana these days. Pretty much anything sold at fixed or state-subsidized prices — such as potatoes, airplane tickets and organic lettuce — produces one.There have been especially long lines lately outside the Ecuadoran Embassy. It’s a country with some of the loosest travel requirements for Cubans wishing to emigrate or just to go buy stuff that they can sell on the island’s black market. But the lines outside the U.S. Consulate, where hundreds wait each day, are usually the longest.Perhaps the city’s most famous queue is the one outside the Coppelia ice cream park, stretching down the block when there are only one or two flavors available. After standing for more than an hour, most Cubans order the “ice cream salad” — five scoops for five pesos (about 20 cents).After about a 20-minute wait, everyone got their Gouda and headed off to contend with other lines in the store. “Come visit me any time,” Mario said, explaining that he lives in a rural area just outside the city. “You like roast pork?”© 2015, The Washington PostRead more Cuba coverage here Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Hundreds of whales found dead in Chile

first_imgRelated posts:Whales under threat as climate change impacts migration A Paris climate change talks primer for Costa Rica With COP21 underway, development banks urged to boost ‘green finance’ in Latin America US inflames debate on climate finance with plan for UN talks SANTIAGO, Chile — More than 300 whales have been found washed up in a remote inlet in Patagonia in southern Chile in one of the largest die-offs on record, researchers said Tuesday.“It was an apocalyptic sight. I’d never seen anything like it,” said one of the scientists who made the discovery, Vreni Haussermann of the Huinay Scientific Center.Scientists launched an expedition to count the animals after 20 sei whales were reported dead in April, beached in an extremely remote region some 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) south of the capital Santiago.When the researchers flew over the region in June, they found the scale of the die-off was much larger: at least 337 dead whales, “including bodies and skeletons,” said Haussermann.“There are still a lot of areas we haven’t managed to reach, so it’s likely there are more dead whales,” she told AFP.The die-off, the biggest single event of its kind known to science, will be investigated in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine, which funded the expedition.Scientists initially said the whales did not bear any wounds, suggesting they may have died of a virus or a harmful algal bloom known as “red tide.”The gruesome find comes as countries get down to tough negotiations at crunch talks in Paris, which are seeking a pact to curb climate change.Marine biologists say the warming of the world’s oceans is putting dangerous pressure on whale populations by killing off their food supply and changing their age-old migratory routes. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

18 sailors reach Norfolk Island after boat damaged

first_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center The crew includes New Zealanders, Australians, Chinese and one American, according to the center. The boat has anchored at a jetty because Norfolk Island, home to about 2,000 people, does not have a port or marina. The island is about 500 miles northwest of New Zealand.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security systemcenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Eighteen sailors whose yacht was badly damaged during a race from New Zealand to New Caledonia have reached the safety of remote Norfolk Island.The crew on the 24-meter (79-foot) vessel Beau Geste contacted rescue teams Monday after the boat’s hull and deck were damaged during stormy weather about 100 nautical miles east of Norfolk Island. New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Centre arranged for a fishing boat to accompany the sailboat as it limped to the South Pacific island overnight. The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Mexico City to move Azerbaijan leaders statue

first_img Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera says that a life-size bronze statue of Azerbaijan’s former president will be removed from the capital’s main avenue.Mancera says the Stalinesque statue of the late Geidar Aliyev will be moved to different location that will be determined this week.He said Tuesday that the decision was made based on the recommendation by a commission of intellectuals. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The Azerbaijani Embassy paid for the renovation of part of the city park where the statue sits and other public works totaling about $5 million.Protesters have said they are offended by a monument to an authoritarian figure like Aliyev, who led Azerbaijan first as Communist Party boss during Soviet times and then as president from 1993 until his death in 2003.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Top holiday drink recipes Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How men can have a healthy 2019 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories last_img read more

Harry Potters London station gets a makeover

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of The makeover is part of a wider redevelopment of King’s Cross and its surroundings. Once known as a seedy red-light district, the area around the station is being turned into upscale apartments and offices, including Google’s new London headquarters.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement LONDON (AP) – London’s mayor has officially opened a spacious new square in front of London’s King’s Cross station, known to Harry Potter fans across the world as the home of the fictional Platform 9 3/4.The tree-studded square, unveiled Thursday, replaces a green metal canopy which had long marred the view of the Victorian railway station.King’s Cross dates back to the 1850s and handles some 47 million passengers annually. In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, student wizards use a secret platform at the station to board the train for Hogwarts school. Comments   Share   last_img read more

Obamas trade agenda faces tough battle heading into House

first_img WASHINGTON (AP) — After several near-death experiences in the Senate, the trade agenda that President Barack Obama is pushing as a second term capstone faces its biggest hurdle yet in the more polarized House.Anti-trade forces have struggled to ignite public outrage over Obama’s bid to enact new free-trade agreements, but Democratic opposition in Congress remains widespread.The outcome may turn on Republicans’ willingness to hand the president a major win in his final years in office. Underscoring the difficulties, House leaders are looking at the second or third week of June to schedule a vote, even though House members return from recess on Monday. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “The business of bill-passing is a messy, sausage-making process. It was in the Senate, and it certainly will be in the House,” White House communications director Jen Psaki said in an interview. “There will be many moments where there will be difficult issues. We have our eyes wide open with that.”At issue is legislation that would give Obama parameters for the trade deals he negotiates but also speed up congressional review of the final agreements by giving lawmakers the right to approve or reject deals, but not change them.Obama is seeking this “fast track” authority to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific trade deal that spans the Pacific rim from Chile to Vietnam. He and trade backers say it will open huge markets to U.S. goods by lowering tariffs and other trade barriers. Critics, labor and environmental groups in particular, argue that new trade agreements will cost jobs and that past agreements have not lived up to labor and environmental standards.Supporters and opponents of fast track count about 20 House Democrats in favor with fewer than a dozen still on the fence. Proponents of the bill say they need at least 25 Democrats and preferably closer to 30 to counter the 40 to 50 Republicans who are expected to vote against it in the GOP-controlled House. FILE – In this May 26, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. For all the near-death moments his trade agenda overcame in the Senate, President Barack Obama’s effort to cap his presidency with a major international commerce deal faces its biggest hurdle – and perhaps its graveyard – in the more polarized House of Representatives. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) If the trade assistance measure survives, the fast-track measure would still be in jeopardy.“There’s overwhelming opposition in the Democratic caucus,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a leading opponent of Obama’s trade bill, said in an interview. GOP leaders “are in a bind,” she said. “If they had the votes, they’d be moving.”DeLauro said “dividing the question” is only one of several options House leaders are considering. “Every option leads to more problems,” she said, “because this is a bad bill.”At the White House, officials say Obama might rely less on the public speeches and high-profile interviews that characterized the drive toward the Senate vote and focus more on targeted lobbying to retain Democratic supporters and win over any remaining fence sitters.The White House has been especially impressed by the efforts of House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who has worked to persuade conservatives who are reluctant to give a Democratic president fast-track authority. Ryan has written opinion pieces with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a darling of the conservative movement, in support of trade and has courted other conservative leaders to back fast track. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help On the Democratic side, labor has made opposition to trade a priority, and the AFL-CIO has frozen its political action committee contributions to lawmakers until after the trade votes. During the Memorial Day congressional recess, a coalition of fast-track opponents aired ads in 17 Democratic congressional districts criticizing the legislation and calling for its defeat.But those efforts are running up against a more muddled public view of trade. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed, including a majority of Democrats, say free trade agreements have been good for the U.S. Moreover, when Pew asked Americans to list their top priorities for the president and Congress this year, global trade ranked 23rd.“The people who don’t normally pay attention to campaigns probably aren’t going to be showing up to vote on this,” Jason Stanford of the Coalition to Stop Fast Track conceded. “But what is important for these members to note is that the same people who were knocking on doors for them last time are opposing this now. They are turning that important base of support into a really dedicated opposition. And that’s not how anyone wants to run for re-election.” Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The fast-track legislation squeezed through the Senate, coupled with a package of federal assistance for workers displaced by free trade agreements that helped secure Democratic votes. That aid measure, called Trade Adjustment Assistance, has emerged as a particularly tricky component because it’s a priority for Democrats, but many Republicans oppose it and insist on publicly voting against it.One House leadership option is to “divide the question” on the Senate-passed bill. That would allow separate votes on fast-track and TAA.Presumably an overwhelming number of Republicans, and just enough Democrats, would vote for fast-track. And TAA would pass with heavy Democratic support and enough help from Republicans. That would ultimately leave the Senate bill intact and clear the way for Obama’s signature.Some Democrats, however, have raised the possibility of voting heavily against TAA to sabotage their main target, fast track. And many are unhappy that the assistance package would be partly funded by cuts in Medicare’s growth.“There’s a lot of unease in the Democratic caucus — and explicit opposition — to Congress paying for trade adjustment assistance with Medicare savings,” Bill Samuel, the legislative director for the AFL-CIO, said in an interview. “If Republicans are counting on Democrats to put it over the top, they may not be right about that.” 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Indias opposition disrupts Parliament over cricket scandal

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi, center, accompanied by other ministers walks to address the media upon his arrival at the Indian Parliament house on the opening day of the monsoon session, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup) He denied allegations of financial wrongdoing and moved to London in 2010 as Indian authorities launched an investigation against him.The current scandal began six weeks ago, when Britain’s Sunday Times reported that Indian-born British Labor lawmaker Keith Vaz had used Swaraj’s name to put pressure on the top British immigration official to grant British travel papers to Lalit Modi.Swaraj tweeted that she told Britain’s High Commissioner to India, James Bevan, and Vaz that granting Lalit Modi the documents would not harm the two nations’ relations.Lalit Modi and his attorney said that Scindia had given an affidavit to British authorities in 2011 supporting Modi’s immigration application seeking resident status in the United Kingdom.Scindia’s son, Dushyant Singh, a lawmaker, received 113.6 million rupees ($1.85 million) from Lalit Modi in 2008 as investment in his company.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian opposition parties disrupted Parliament on Tuesday to demand the resignation of two key ruling party leaders for allegedly helping a former Indian cricket official facing investigation for financial irregularities.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party denies any wrongdoing by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or the top elected leader of Rajasthan state, Vasundhararaje Scindia. The scandal, which relates to the investigation into the founder of India’s Twenty20 cricket tournament, is the first to hit Modi’s government since it came to power last year. Top Stories center_img The upper house of Parliament was adjourned without conducting any business Tuesday, the opening day of its three-week monsoon session, with the government rejecting the resignation demand by the Congress party and others.“There can be no resignation. If you want discussion, we can have it,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.That remark infuriated Congress party lawmakers, who charged into the prohibited area around the chairman’s seat and shouted, “Corrupt officials resign, then we will debate.”The confrontation over the issue is expected to delay the passage of key legislative proposals crucial to Modi’s economic agenda, including a land acquisition bill and a new sales tax bill.The Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament was founded in 2008 by Lalit Modi, who is not related to the prime minister, but it was soon dogged by allegations of corporate corruption, money-laundering and tax evasion, as well as secret deals to hide the teams’ real owners.Lalit Modi was removed as IPL chairman in 2010 and later banned for life from holding any positions in the sport by the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Uluru Reef finalists in New7Wonders comp

first_imgAustralia’s most famous rock and reef could be crowned New7Wonders, pending votes Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Australia’s Great Barrier Reef along with Uluru has been named a finalist in the New7Wonders competition.The two Australian natural icons now sit in the list of 28 finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign, established by the international New7Wonders Foundation, Tourism Australia announced last Wednesday.The campaign is a global search to recognise the seven most wondrous natural sites in the world as voted by the general public.Tourism Australia is now calling upon all fans of Australia to vote for Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef to become official New7Wonders of Nature.”The campaign creates a platform to help conserve Australia’s natural wonders for years to come as well as encourage tourists from around the world to experience these incredible sites for themselves,” Tourism Australia managing director, Andrew McEvoy, said.”This is Australia’s opportunity to raise awareness globally of the variety and natural beauty of our unique environment.“It has been estimated that both Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef need to secure 100 million votes each to put them in the running for the title so I urge anyone who is passionate about Australia to vote now,” he said.Australia’s most famous rock and reef beat competition from 440 sites across the globe and now battle 28 finalists including Angel Falls in Venezuela, Milford Sound in New Zealand, Bay of Fundy in Canada, the Grand Canyon in the US, and the Amazon in South America.Sites are now vying for enough votes to make it into the official seven, to be announced on 11 November 2011.To vote, simply visit www.n7w.com/gbr to show your support for the Great Barrier Reef and www.n7w.com/uluru for Uluru.For telephone voting, call +44 87 218 400 and when directed, dial 7711 to vote for the Great Barrier Reef and 7726 for Uluru. last_img read more

Hoteliers say theres no time for a bath

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P The next time you check yourself into a hotel don’t be surprised if you can’t find the bathtub, as more and more bathtubs are disappearing from hotels across the united states and being replaced by larger more luxurious showers.The reason for getting rid of the bathtub is simply corporate travelers do not have time for a long soak in the tub, and many travelers choose to have showers.“Most business people are on the run and take a quick shower,” Marriott Hotel vice president of design and project management Bill Barrie said.The Marriott Hotels plans to have 75 percent of their rooms fitted with showers only, whilst the Holiday Inn Chain have gone from 90 percent of their hotel rooms having bathtubs to only 55 percent of new structures featuring them now. Hotel Indigo a six year old affluent hotel chain has never had tubs in their hotel except in their suites.“Certainly when you do a glass-enclosed shower compared to a traditional shower tub combination you’ll feel you’re in a more spacious environment,” Hotel Indigo director of brand management Mary Dogan said.Embassy Hotels conducted a survey in 2008 which also found travelers prefer to have a shower than a bath, but a bathtub or bath/shower combination is the first choice for leisure travel especially when travelling with young children.Have your say do you prefer a quick shower or a soak in the tub?last_img read more

Austin powers visits travel agents

first_imgAustin Powers will be paying a visit to travel agents across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to hand deliver their invitation to a Gold Coast Product Roadshow.Tourism Queensland and Gold Coast Tourism with the support of Virgin Australia will be oraganising the Roadshow which will be running from 19-22 March in the respective cities.Tourism Queensland Executive Director Destinations Leanne Coddington said Austin powers will be visiting agents over the next couple of days to encourage travel agents to attend the Roadshow.“Austin Powers is a regular quirky act at Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ Movie World on the Gold Coast and will draw southern agents’ attention towards the Gold Coast Product Roadshow Ms Coddington said. Ms Coddington said the purpose of the roadshow is to give local travel agents the chance to “test and refresh” their knowledge on the’ Famous for fun Gold Coast’ and everything it has to offer. “Participating travel agents will have the chance to expand their knowledge of what is new on the Gold Coast and interact and network with 15 Queensland tourism operators who will educate the agents about their tourism products,” she added.“Our aim is to help the agents to better sell the Gold Coast to Aussies looking to book their next holiday.”Ms Coddington said that in the year to September 2011 the Gold Coast had welcomed almost four million international and domestic visitors who spent AUD3.5billion.Travel agents can register for the Gold Coast Product Roadshow by visiting the following websites in their respective cities. Adelaide: www.gcroadshowadelaide.eventbrite.com.au Melbourne: www.gcroadshowmelbourne.eventbrite.com.au Parramatta: www.gcroadshowparramatta.eventbrite.com.au Sydney: www.gcroadshowsydney.eventbrite.com.au Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Qantas offers new inflight experience

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Qantas upgrades Boeing 747-400 expereince In a move to enhance the in-flight experience for more Qantas passengers the airline will introduce its fourth newly-fitted Boeing 747-400 to its international network.Qantas Executive Manager Customer Experience Alison Webster said international travellers flying on the newly fitted aircraft were pleased with the new services, which is in line with their flag ship A380 service.“In-flight entertainment is now available on larger personal screens with over 1,500 content Selections,” Ms Webster said. “Our   customers   in   Business   now   enjoy   new   cabin   mood   lighting   and   the   award-winning fully-flat Skybed designed by Marc Newson.“Economy customers also receive a new level of comfort with a custom designed seat featuring a unique footrest net and ergonomic cushioning and a self- service snack bar,”Ms Webster said the fourth newly-fitted B747 is scheduled to go into operation at the end of this month.The Reconfiguration Program comprises of a complete fit out of the aircrafts interior including new seats and new cabin configurations. The aircraft is fitted with 364 seats 58 Business, 36Premium Economy and 270 Economy.According to the airline by mid 2012, Qantas will have six newly-fitted B747 aircraft operating on long haul Pacific routes including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Santiago.last_img read more

Delta Air Lines makes a move on another Virgin

first_imgLess than a day after purchasing 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic airline, Delta has made a move on another Virgin.Virgin Australia has submitted an application to the International Air Services Commission (IASC) seeking a Delta code share on flights on the Indonesia route.As part of the alliance between the two carriers, the Australian carrier said Delta would place its airline code on Virgin’s flights to Indonesia.The IASC has requested notice of intention to make a submission before handed before COB 19 December 2012, with all submissions due COB 8 January 2013. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more