Flair Airlines to launch yearround service from YVR


first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted by Flair Airlines to launch year-round service from YVR Wednesday, September 13, 2017 center_img Tags: Flair Airlines, NewLeaf Travel Travelweek Group VANCOUVER — Flair Airlines, previously known as NewLeaf Travel Company, has announced that it will be launching year-round service from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) this winter.The airline will offer nonstop access between YVR and Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and Edmonton International Airport (YEG), as well as continued service to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) from YEG. Each of these new services will operate four times weekly beginning Dec. 15, 2017.“Flair Airlines is thrilled to be announcing service to Vancouver International Airport. YVR is a true gateway airport that connects people to the rest of the world and we believe this is an important addition to our route network,” stated Chris Lapointe, Vice President, Commercial Operations.Craig Richmond, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority added: “With a vision to serve 25 million passengers by 2020, we are pleased to welcome another new airline partner with Flair Airlines launching scheduled service at YVR this winter. Vancouverites will be thrilled to have additional options to get to Kelowna, Edmonton and Toronto just in time for the busy holiday season.”More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaEarlier this summer, Kelowna-based Flair Airlines purchased the assets of NewLeaf, taking over its marketing, selling and distribution. Since last year, Flair has flown over 376,600 passengers on over 3,090 flights. Flair Airlines will operate a Boeing 737-400 aircraft on these routes with seat capacity for 156 passengers.last_img read more

Chelsea Hotel Toronto raises 100000 for SickKids


first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group TORONTO — Chelsea Hotel, Toronto recently presented a cheque for $100,000 to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) as part of SickKids Foundation’s Donor of the Week program.“The ability to ‘give back’ to the community is not only an important philosophy of the Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, it is something the hotel practices every day. We are not only willing to go above and beyond to bring comfort to our guests, but also to bring comfort to families in need in the local community in which we operate,” said Josef Ebner, Regional Vice President – Canada & Managing Director, Chelsea Hotel, Toronto.He adds: “It is our hope to not only increase awareness for SickKids, but to continue to raise much needed funds to help those children in their care.”For the past 17 years the annual Chelsea Charity Golf Classic has raised funds and awareness for charity and this year’s event will once again support AboutKidsHealth.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksChelsea Hotel has donated $500,000 in support of AboutKidsHealth since 2013. AboutKidsHealth is SickKids’ health education resource for children, youth and caregivers that empowers families to become a partner in their own health care by equipping them with reliable, evidence-based health information that is easy to understand and immediately available, regardless of where they are in Canada or the world.Chelsea Hotel has committed to raise another $500,000 over the next five years in support of the SickKids VS Limits campaign, bringing their total commitment to the campaign to over $1 million. As a result of their pledge of $1 million total, the hotel is designated a Catalyst Donor.“We are incredibly grateful for the continued leadership and generous support of Chelsea Hotel, Toronto,” said Adam Starkman, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships, SickKids Foundation. “Their contributions will help SickKids continue to invest in important educational resources like AboutKidsHealth and build a renewed, re-imagined SickKids with cutting-edge operating suites, more room for families and more room for the innovative technologies that will deliver better outcomes for children in Canada and around the world.” Tags: Chelsea Hotel Chelsea Hotel, Toronto raises $100,000 for SickKidscenter_img Posted by Thursday, September 27, 2018 Sharelast_img read more

Chávez heir wins Venezuela vote opposition cries foul


first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela – The contested result plunged the deeply divided oil-rich South American country into uncertainty, with the handpicked heir of Chávez’s socialist revolution declaring victory and opposition leader Henrique Capriles demanding a recount.Fireworks erupted after the National Electoral Council announced that the “irreversible” results showed Maduro had won with just 50.66 percent of the vote compared to 49.1 percent for Capriles – a difference of less than 300,000 votes.“Mission accomplished Comandante Chávez. The people fulfilled its pledge,” Maduro said in front of cheering supporters at the Miraflores presidential palace.The 50-year-old former foreign minister declared that he secured a “fair, legal, constitutional” victory. But he said he was open to an audit of the close vote tally. He is scheduled to be sworn-in to complete Chávez’s six-year term on Friday.Maduro said he spoke with Capriles by telephone and that he told his rival he must recognize the outcome of the election. Both candidates had pledged during the campaign to accept the results.But Capriles – who had accepted defeat when Chávez beat him by 11 points in October polls – held up a list of some 3,200 “incidents” that took place during the vote.“Today’s loser is you,” he told a news conference, referring to Maduro, adding: “We won’t recognize a result until every vote has been counted.”The 40-year-old state governor wants a recount of the backup paper ballots that are printed out by the electronic voting machines.Hours earlier, Capriles charged that there were attempts to let people vote after polling stations closed. He also accused the government of pressuring civil servants to vote for Maduro.Some Capriles supporters fought back tears at his campaign headquarters.“I’m exasperated because we worked a lot in this campaign for a better future and I don’t accept the results of the electoral council,” said Daniela Brito, a 19-year-old university student with tears in her eyes.But National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena said the results were “irreversible” after 99 percent of electronic votes were counted, with 78.7 percent turnout.Luis Vicente León, director of the Datanalisis polling firm, wrote on Twitter that the opposition’s rejection of the results “was within the legal framework and does not represent a risk of conflict in the street.”Named by Chávez as his political heir, Maduro rode a wave of grief for the late leader, who ruled Venezuela for 14 years with a socialist revolution that made him popular among the poor while disenchanting others fed up with the weak economy.Opinion polls had given Maduro leads of 10 to 20 points during the campaign, but Capriles energized the opposition in his second shot at the presidency after 14 years under Chávez.Maduro has vowed to continue the oil-funded policies that cut poverty by almost half to 29 percent through popular health, education and food programs.But Chávez left behind a litany of problems: South America’s highest murder rate, with 16,000 people killed last year, chronic food shortages, high inflation and recurring power outages.Hundreds of Chavistas began to celebrate in front of the presidential palace well before the results were announced, launching fireworks, dancing and holding pictures of Maduro and Chávez.“This is a very important victory for the future of the country. This is the legacy of our comandante, who is no longer here. But he left us Maduro and he will defend his project,” said Rafael Pérez Camarero, 29.Capriles had graciously accepted his defeat when Chávez beat him in October polls that marked the opposition’s best showing against the late leader. Sunday’s result against Chávez’s handpicked heir was far closer.Maduro inherited Chávez’s formidable electoral machinery, which helped the late leader win successive elections in 14 years, with government employees often seen handing campaign pamphlets and attending rallies in groups.After voting in Caracas earlier in the day, Maduro warned there would be no dialogue with the “bourgeoisie” – his term for the opposition – and took a shot at the United States, saying he would present evidence of U.S. interventionism on Monday.His candidacy was backed by Chávez’s leftist allies in the region, especially communist Cuba, whose anemic economy has been kept afloat by generous oil shipments from a nation sitting on the world’s biggest crude reserves. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

PHOTOS ¡Vive Jairo Protesters demand justice again for slain Costa Rica conservationist


first_img Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Related posts:Long-awaited Jairo Mora murder trial begins in Costa Rica with prosecutors’ opening statements Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora Prosecutors ask for maximum sentences for defendants in Jairo Mora murder trial Judges from first Jairo Mora murder trial under investigation Alberto Font/The Tico Times Hundreds of protesters gathered Thursday in front of a court complex in the Costa Rican capital to express outrage over a verdict earlier this weekthat acquitted seven defendants of the 2013 murder of sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, who has quickly become an environmental martyr in this small Central American country known for its eco-tourism.“We’re here to express our indignation, our pain and our rage for what happened with the Jairo Mora case. This assassination is not just any crime, and it’s not just another crime – it’s a political crime,” said former presidential candidate José María Villalta of the Broad Front Party.A court in the Caribbean port city of Limón, 170 kilometers east of San José, on Monday blamed a shoddy investigation and prosecution that was “imprecise” and full of “ambiguities” in its decision to absolve the seven men of the homicide. Four of the defendants were convicted and sentenced in a previous kidnapping, rape and robbery case on the same beach where Mora was murdered.¡Jairo Mora vive!“Jairo Mora vive” and “Corrupt prosecutors” were some of the slogans demonstrators used on signs that urged the judicial branch of the government to seek justice in the case, and lawmakers to strengthen sentencing laws for crimes committed against environmental advocates.“Our legislators are going to present several bills to create special protective jurisdictions for environmentalists, which includes placing them in protective programs with as little as a complaint of threats,” Villalta said.The United Nations in Costa Rica joined a growing chorus of voices demanding justice in the case. Environmentalists and everyday citizens have called the not-guilty verdict a “national shame,” particularly in a country that makes millions of dollars selling itself as an environmentally friendly tourist destination.See related: United Nations, environmental groups condemn verdict in Jairo Mora murder caseMora worked to protect sea turtles on the northeastern Caribbean shore where he was killed on May 31, 2013. Four foreign volunteers also were kidnapped and released that night.Mora’s killing sparked national and international outrage, and the criminal trial was watched closely around the world. Environmentalists cite it as a glaring example that their work is often dangerous, and the government has done little to protect them.The case likely will go through a lengthy appeals process.Costa Rica’s chief prosecutor, Jorge Chavarría, and the director of the Judicial Investigation Police, Francisco Segura, both came under fire this week for the dismal performance of their agencies during the investigation and trial. Two legislative commissions called Chavarría to testify, but on Thursday morning, Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court agreed to review an appeal filed by Chavarría to block his testimony at the Legislative Assembly, the daily La Nación reported. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Timescenter_img Facebook Comments Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Timeslast_img read more

Tamarindo crocodile suspected of attacking surfer will not be relocated


first_imgA Tamarindo crocodile suspected of attacking a surfer will remain in its home in the estuary on Playa Grande, officials from Costa Rica’s National Park Service (SINAC) say.While locals had hoped to remove the problem croc, the estuary is part of a national park and crocodiles cannot be removed without scientific evidence of overpopulation.“The Tamarindo Estuary that leads into the mangrove forest is a protected area,” said Rotney Piedra, the administrator of Las Baulas National Marine Park, where the crocodile lives.“We can’t remove the crocodile, but we want to work with the community to manage the issue.”SINAC met with the Tamarindo Development Association last week to hash out a plan. The meeting was set up after a crocodile left the estuary on March 6 and grabbed hold of a surfer waiting to catch a wave just beyond the river mouth.The surfer, Val Muscalu, from Canada, was able to free his foot from the croc’s jaws, escaping with a gnarly scar, a story and his life. The attack was the second in the same area in the last two years.“The first idea was to relocate the crocodile,” Urs Schmid, president of the Tamarindo Development Association, said. “But maybe with these actions we’re taking its behavior will start to change.”SINAC and the development association agreed on a four-part plan that goes into effect immediately.According to Piedra, the park administrator, SINAC will focus on preventing attacks by educating the community on crocodile behavior. This week SINAC is putting crocodile warning signs near the popular surf break at the river mouth. According to Schmid, signs had previously been posted but were stolen.The development association will circulate flyers with a phone number to call in case crocodiles are spotted outside of the river and in the community. Once out of the national park, crocodiles can be relocated if they present a danger to humans.Piedra said SINAC will also begin a comprehensive study on the river’s crocodile population. The study’s primary purpose would be to determine behavior patterns among the crocodiles that could aid in preventing attacks.Specifically, SINAC officials want to see if crocodiles frequently leave the estuary at certain times of the day to hunt. Right now, locals believe the crocodile suspected in the attacks only leaves the river in the early morning and late afternoon.The study would also determine if the river is overpopulated by crocodiles. Two years ago when the last study was done, SINAC officials found that the river contained 70 resident crocs, a healthy number for the river’s size. Piedra said it’s unlikely that the river has become overpopulated since then.SINAC and the development association also hope to change inappropriate interactions between the community and the crocodiles.“One concern is that people and tour companies are regularly feeding the crocodiles,” Piedra said. “We see that quite a bit, even in the national park.”Feeding wild animals has been illegal in Costa Rica for years. Feeding wildlife can cause the animals to rely on humans for food and turn into pests.But for big predators like crocodiles, feeding can cause the animals to become aggressive.“Our goal is not to scare people about crocodiles,” Piedra said. “We just want everyone to have all the right information. With just some small changes we can prevent future crocodile attacks.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Crocodile warning signs in Costa Rica have decreased bad encounters with tourists, Environment Ministry reports Crocodile attacks surfer in Tamarindo US surfer loses leg in Tamarindo crocodile attack Why one Costa Rican lawyer is suing the government over crocodileslast_img read more

Arts festival music festival yoga festival and other happenings around Costa Rica


first_imgMusic: Caricaco FestivalSet against the secluded beaches and rain forests of Guanacaste, this epic music festival features an incredible lineup: Un Rojo Reggae Band, 424, Ave Negra, Passiflora, Cocofunka, and (of course) Sonámbulo Psicotropical.Festival continues April 17 & 18 in Nosara, Guanacaste. Fri. & Sat., 4 p.m. ₡24,000 ($48). Info: Official website.Food: Festival Gastronómico La LuzTake a stroll through the hip neighborhood of Escalante for a taste of different eateries and brew pubs – from L’Ancora to Costa Rica Beer Factory.Festival takes place April 19 throughout Barrio Escalante, San José. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Info: Event Facebook page.National Yoga FestivalBust out the mats and water bottles – this massive gathering of yogis will help you stretch, perfect your positioning, and maybe even find a new spiritual path. All ages and skill levels encouraged.Festival Nacional de Yoga takes place April 16-19 at CENAC, downtown San José. Thu.-Sun., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡1,000-5,000 ($2-10). Info: Event Facebook page.Theater: “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”What if you plotted a murder and told an entire town about your intentions, but no one bothered to warn the victim? Gabriel García Márquez’s novel receives a stage adaptation at Teatro Espressivo.“Crónica de una Muerte Anunciada” opens April 9 at Teatro Espressivo, Tres Rios. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡7,500-10,000 ($15-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Theater: “La Bruta Espera”Three short, darkish comedies by Argentinean dramatist Julio Chávez are performed at the Vargas Calvo black box theater, courtesy of the National Theater. The talented actresses Tatiana y María Chaves won a national award last year for the performance.“La Bruta Espera” continues through April 26 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. ₡2,500-5,500. Info: National Theater website.Art: “Microcosmos”Experimental paintings by Rolando Faba make their debut at the José Luis López Escarré Gallery.“Microcosmos” continues through May 8 at The National Theater, downtown San José. Free. Info: National Theater website.Art: Albrecht Dürer, Renaissance GeniusClassical German printer Albrecht Dürer receives a stunning retrospective at the Central Bank Museums.“Alberto Durero: Genio del Renacimiento” is on display through April 26 at the Central Bank Museums, downtown San José. Daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museum website. Facebook Comments International Arts Festival (FIA)One of the most anticipated cultural events of the year, FIA brings together hundreds of artists, crafters, buskers, and musicians to San José for a colossal celebration of Costa Rican creativity. Unlike previous incarnations, this year’s FIA will take place in the low-income district of Alajuelita and the surrounding towns of Acosta, Aserrí and Desamparados. Nowhere in the country will you find such an incredible array of talent, including circus acts La Carpa, Los Malafachas, and Los Zancudos. The “Design Fair” alone draws more than 150 different designers. Not sure where to start? Stay tuned for The Tico Times’ festival guide.FIA takes place April 23 – May 3 in various locations throughout Acosta, Alajuelita, Aserrí, and Desamparados. Schedule to be announced on the festival’s official website.Feria del GusticoPeruse everything from clay vases to strawberry jam at this massive showcase of Costa Rican artisans.Feria takes place April 17-19 at Antigua Aduana, Aranjuez. Free. Info: Event Facebook page. Related posts:Christmas cheer, oxcart parades, and other happenings around Costa Rica Festival of Light, Egyptian dancers, and other happenings around Costa Rica Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica BMX bikers, TEDx lectors, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Gold Haiti hopes ore find will spur mining boom


first_imgUntil now, few Haitians have known about this buried treasure. Mining camps are unmarked, and the work is being done miles up dirt roads near remote villages, on the opposite side of the country from the capital. But U.S. and Canadian investors have spent more than $30 million in recent years on everything from exploratory drilling to camps for workers, new roads, offices and laboratory studies of samples. Actual mining could be under way in five years.“When I first heard whispers of this I said, `Gold mines? There could be gold mines in Haiti?’” said Michel Lamarre, a Haitian engineer whose firm, SOMINE, is leading the exploration. “I truly believe this is our answer to taking care of ourselves instead of constantly living on donations.”On a rugged, steep Haitian ridge far above the Atlantic, brilliant boulders coated with blue-green oxidized copper jut from the hills, while colorful pebbles litter the soil, strong indicators that precious metals lie below.“Just look down,” said geologist John Watkins. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”Nearby, 8-year-old Whiskey Pierre and his barefoot buddies stared at a team of sweat-drenched men driving a narrow, shrieking diamond bit 900 feet into the ground. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths “The eyes of the world will not allow the government to fool around,” he said.Three firms are considering mining in Haiti, but so far only SOMINE has full concessions to take the metals out of the mountains. Those permits, for 50 square kilometers (31 square miles), were negotiated in 1996 under President Rene Preval and require the firm to hire Haitians whenever possible.In exchange for minimal permit fees, SOMINE committed to spend $2.25 million in the first two years. In addition, it will pay $1.8 million after a feasibility study, according to the contract.Bottom line: Haitians should get $1 out of every $2 of profits, compared with about $1 out of $3 that most countries get from mining firms.Discoveries of rich resources, whether diamonds, oil or gold, often prompt great economic booms but come with great risk of environmental, health and social problems. Chile, one of the wealthiest nations in Latin America, is the world’s largest copper exporter, deriving a third of its income from the metal. Peru, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, has privatized most of its mines in recent years, and now gets about 20 percent of its total revenues from the industry. “That is a drill!” shouted Whiskey, bouncing on his toes. “The man drill to get gold!”The workers periodically pulled up samples and knocked them into boxes. The first 40 feet yielded loose rocks and gravel. About 160 feet down, cylinders of rock came back peppered with gold. At 1,000 feet down, rocks were heavily streaked with copper.Geologists extrapolating from depth and strike reports estimate at least 1 million ounces of gold at two sites. In April, prospectors found the first significant silver ever reported in Haiti: between 20 million and 30 million ounces. And in the end, it may be copper that is the most lucrative: geologists suspect that more than 1 million tons lay in just one of many areas under exploration.The prices of precious metals have been volatile in recent years, with copper selling for about $8,000 per ton, silver at $30 an ounce, and gold at $1,600 per ounce.“Ultimately, I think mining is going to dwarf anything else in Haiti,” says Michael Fulp, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based geologist who visited the drill sites. “Usually you’ve got about a one-in-1,000 chance of making a mine from the exploratory stage, but those odds are much better in Haiti because of the lack of any previous modern-day exploration and very, very promising samples.” More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist But mostly they talked about gold.“Of all the places we work in the world,” said Mashburn, whose company has operations in eight countries on five continents, “it would be really most satisfying to have success here. Haiti has great mineral wealth, and they surely could use it.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Gold was last gathered in Haiti in the 1500s, after Christopher Columbus ran the Santa Maria onto a Haitian reef. Spaniards enslaved the Arawak Indians to dig for gold, killing them off with harsh conditions and infectious diseases. When the Spaniards learned of even more lucrative deposits in Mexico, they moved on.In the 1970s, United Nations geologists documented significant pockets of gold and copper, but foreigners weren’t willing to risk their cash in a country where corruption and instability has long discouraged outside investment.Ironically, it was only after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake that investors saw real opportunity. Fifteen days after a seismic jolt brought down much of Port-au- Prince, a Canadian exploration firm acquired all of the shares of the only Haitian firm holding full permits for a promising chunk of land in the northeast.“Investors want to get in at the bottom,” said Dan Hachey, president of Majescor Resources, the Canadian company, “and I figured after that earthquake, Haiti was as low as it could get.”Hachey was also betting that the $10 billion in foreign assistance promised for earthquake recovery would force change and accountability. Sponsored Stories Though the contractual terms are generous for Haiti, there is plenty to be cautious about. Haiti’s government is repeatedly rated as one of the most corrupt in the world. The mines would ostensibly be regulated by government officials responsible for enforcing environmental, mining and corporate laws, but at this point those officials don’t exist and there are neither plans nor budgets to hire them.Further, open pit mines, common around the world, are crater-like holes made up of a series of massive terraced steps that drop thousands of feet into the ground. When the resources are exhausted, usually after about 25 years, the pits can be refilled or converted into reservoirs. In many cases, the mines leave serious problems _ environmental contamination, displaced communities and mountaintops torn asunder.From Papua New Guinea to the Philippines to Brazil, mining accidents have allowed tons of waste to be spilled into rivers and lakes, creating environmental disasters.“In low-income countries, the dangers are substantial,” said UCLA political science professor Michael Ross. “The great irony of mineral wealth is that those countries that most desperately need infusions of mineral revenue _ low-income countries with weak governments _ are also least likely to manage these resources wisely, for the benefit of the country. Already, the hundreds of jobs, the new roads and the community investment in a country where two out of three people have no formal employment is much appreciated.Stone cutter Joseph Bernard, 47, says that before he got a job slicing rock samples, his family was going hungry. They had one cow. Their peanut and bean fields had gone to dust after months without rain.Today, his wife has launched a business selling seeds, and his son and two daughters have started school.“I found a job, but many didn’t,” he said, wiping a trickle of sweat from his deeply lined cheeks after a recent shift. “If more companies come, more people will work.”In a sleepy exploration camp at sunset, Hachey and his competitor, Daven Mashburn of Newmont Mining Corp., met to talk business over bottles of Haiti’s Prestige beer, bumping fists in the low-germ “cholera handshake” that has replaced the traditional palm grip after last year’s deadly epidemic.The men talked labor _ Newmont got 10,000 applications for 100 jobs when one project started up last month. They talked logistics _ core samples are sliced in half, bagged, and flown to Santiago, Chile, where it takes 21 days to find out how much gold, silver or copper they contain. They talked hurricanes, cholera, political unrest and, yes, the earthquake _ Mashburn spent four hours buried under piles of rock in Port-au- Prince, eventually pulled out with fractures from head to toe. In neighboring Dominican Republic, workers are poised to start mining the other side of this seam later this year in one of the world’s largest gold deposits: 23 million ounces worth about $40 billion.The Haitian government’s annual budget is $1 billion, more than half provided by foreign assistance. The largest single source of foreign investment, $2 billion, came from Haitians working abroad last year. A windfall of locally produced wealth could pay for roads, schools, clean water and sewage systems for the nation’s 10 million people, most of whom live on as little as $1.25 a day.“If the mining companies are honest and if Haiti has a good government, then here is a way for this country to move forward,” said Bureau of Mines Director Dieuseul Anglade.In a parking lot outside Anglade’s marble-floored office, more than 100 families have been living in tents since the earthquake. “The gold in the mountains belongs to the people of Haiti,” he said, gesturing out his window. “And they need it.”Haiti’s geological vulnerability is also its promise. Massive tectonic plates squeeze the island with horrifying consequences, but deep cracks between them form convenient veins for gold, silver and copper pushed up from the hot innards of the planet. Prospectors from California to Chile know earthquake faults often have, quite literally, a golden lining. Associated Press WriterTROU DU NORD, Haiti (AP) – Its capital is blighted with earthquake rubble. Its countryside is shorn of trees, chopped down for fuel. And yet, Haiti’s land may hold the key to relieving centuries of poverty, disaster and disease: There is gold hidden in its hills _ and silver and copper, too.A flurry of exploratory drilling in the past year has found precious metals worth potentially $20 billion deep below the tropical ridges in the country’s northeastern mountains. Now, a mining company is drilling around the clock to determine how to get those metals out.last_img

Honduras policeman apologizes to journalists


first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) – An officer in a special forces team of Honduras’ National Police has apologized to a journalist and paid for breaking her camera during a 2011 protest. It’s an unusual gesture in a country where journalists face some of the worst violence in the world.Reporter Sandra Sanchez says she hopes the apology from officer Jhonny Alexander Carrasco will set a precedent.The leader for Honduras’ Committee for Free Expression calls the apology “historic.” But Hector Becerra adds that the problem goes far beyond Carrasco, who broke Sanchez’s camera while trying to keep her from taking pictures of tear gas being used against a bus. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The vital role family plays in societycenter_img Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men U.N. agencies say 23 journalists have been killed in Honduras since 2006. The Honduran government human rights prosecutor puts the figure at 31.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Panetta Allen to reassure NATO on insider attacks


first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the NATO strategy discussions.Still, there are growing signs that the Afghan political and military hostilities are starting to wear on the coalition.Compounding the insider attack threat is a recent spike in political tensions between Afghanistan’s government leaders and the U.S.Afghan President Hamid Karzai complained that the war effort is wrongheaded, and that coalition forces are not fighting the right enemy.Just days ahead of the NATO meeting, Panetta was uncharacteristically sharp, criticizing Karzai for complaining rather than thanking the troops who have sacrificed their lives for his country. Karzai’s argument that NATO is wrongly going after the Taliban in Afghanistan when it should be fighting insurgents in Pakistan’s safe havens could further erode support for the war, particularly among members of Congress.Panetta’s pique reflects the frustration of his military commanders, who have seen more than 2,000 U.S. troops die in the 11-year war. And it can only fuel the grumbling by American lawmakers who are facing hotly contested elections next month, and are hearing from constituents wondering why the U.S. is pouring billions of dollars into a fight that Afghanistan’s shaky and corruption-plagued government may no longer support. The officials told reporters that so far NATO ministers attending the conference here have not used the meeting to threaten any additional withdrawals of troops or to seek to limit the combat use of their forces as a result of the attacks.U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, are expected to assure the ministers that commanders have come up with a range of ways to reduce the attacks. And they will insist that while the Taliban has seized on the attacks as a way to derail the fight and the trust between allied and Afghan forces, it is not yet a threat to the war strategy.One of the officials said that NATO nations are concerned about both the safety of their forces and the impact on the war, so it is critical to have these discussions with the minister at this high level now. The officials said the coalition will stick to the withdrawal schedule, which has combat forces leaving and Afghan forces taking over security of the country by the end of 2014.Both Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and U.S. Navy Adm. James Stravidis, NATO’s top military commander, were at the alliance’s gathering Tuesday along with Panetta, who was holding a series of individual meetings with other ministers. Panetta will make his formal address on Afghanistan to the ministers Wednesday. ___Associated Press writer Slobodan Lekic contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project One of the senior U.S. officials said that Karzai has made similar statements in the past, but noted they are still frustrated with Pakistan over the insurgent safe havens within its borders. Militants plan and wage attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan, then retreat back across the border into Pakistan.Support for the war has been ebbing across America and much of the world, triggering growing calls for a speedier troop withdrawal.That prospect leaves commanders worried they won’t have the forces they need to do the training and counterterrorism operations they believe necessary to continue the transition of security to the Afghan troops while also keeping the Taliban from resurging.During meetings Tuesday, Rasmussen said the ministers are expected to endorse a new framework for the Afghan war after 2014, ending the combat focus and turning to a more expansive training and advisory role. As a result, NATO is working on a new name for the mission from the current International Security Assistance Force to something close to the International Training, Advisory and Assistance Mission in 2015.That mission would also likely include continued counterterrorism efforts by the U.S. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Associated PressBRUSSELS (AP) – The killings of more than 130 U.S. and allied forces by Afghan troops or those dressed like them is not deterring NATO countries from the war in Afghanistan, two senior U.S. defense officials said Tuesday.As NATO defense ministers gather this week, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan will tell worried allies Wednesday what the U.S. is doing to stop the escalating insider attacks. How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

How Asia sees Obamas pivot to the Pacific


first_img Sponsored Stories That has confounded many in Japan, which hosts 52,000 U.S. troops under a treaty signed in 1960 that obliges the U.S. to defend territories under Japanese administration. Washington has repeatedly affirmed that includes the isles at the center of the current tensions with China. Tokyo would have preferred at least some moral support to its claim.“It’s strange,” said Kazuhiko Togo, a former senior diplomat who now heads the Institute for World Affairs at Kyoto Sangyo University. “I trust the U.S. as our ally, but we need to address this issue of U.S. `neutrality.’”___MEANWHILE, IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA…Washington took a similarly standoffish stance early this year in the dispute between China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan over the South China Sea islands, believed to be rich in gas and oil and straddling busy shipping routes.The Philippines _ America’s closest ally in that dispute _ eventually pulled its ships out of the hotly contested Scarborough Shoal, but Chinese vessels have remained.Manila-based political analyst Ramon Casiple said the disputes have left America’s allies more aware of their own vulnerabilities and what they can _ or can’t _ expect from the U.S. ___AUSTRALIA: LIVING WITH THE US MARINESAustralia got one of the first waves from the pivot when the U.S. announced last year it would begin rotating up to 2,500 U.S. Marines through the northern city of Darwin. Now the U.S. is seeking access to an Australian navy base south of the western city of Perth and to bombing ranges in the northern Outback.Some experts fear the relationship may be moving too fast.On one hand there is broad support for Australia’s defense relationship with the U.S., so having American Marines was seen as a natural step. But it has also raised concerns that Washington will push for more _ something Australia might not be ready for. After all China is central to Australia’s economy, buying a bulk of its mineral and coal resources.“What worries us is the way in which it seems to confirm that the United States and China are increasingly viewing each other as strategic rivals,” said Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at Australian National University.“We worry about the idea of the U.S.-China relationship becoming more adversarial,” he said. “America wants to remain the dominant power in Asia, and China wants to become the dominant power in Asia. “What the rest of us all want is for neither of them to be the dominant power in Asia.”___AP writers Christopher Bodeen in Beijing, Peter Enav in Taipei, Taiwan, Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo, Chris Brummitt in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok and Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Even so, political scientist Alexander Huang of Taipei’s Tamkang University says Taiwan can play a role in Obama’s pivot _ but only if Washington decides to make a clear commitment.___THE KOREAS: STEALTH OVER SEOUL?Ah, North Korea.It’s got a new leader, about whom, typically, the world knows almost nothing, a nuclear weapons/ballistic missile program that it likes to trot out every so often to raise regional tensions and a belligerent attitude toward the U.S.But Obama has a friend in Seoul.Back in the 1950s, the U.S. fought on Seoul’s side in the Korean War _ and contemplated nuking China before it was over. China still supports the North, and Washington continues to have about 28,500 troops in the South. South Korea also buys about 70 percent of its weapons from the United States, and a big payday for an American company might come soon after Obama’s inauguration, when South Korea is expected to formally announce the winner in a $7.6 billion project to build 60 sophisticated fighter jets.The deal will be South Korea’s biggest-ever weapons procurement. The top contender is believed to be Lockheed Martin’s stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter _ which after a long run of development problems and cost overruns could certainly use a multi-billion dollar boost. Boeing and European aerospace giant EADS are also in the running. As President Barack Obama tours the region to push his year-old pivot to the Pacific policy, the big question on everybody’s mind is how much of a role Washington, with its mighty military and immense diplomatic clout, can play in keeping the Pacific _ well, pacific. Here’s a look at how different countries perceive the U.S. Pacific policy and how it impacts them:___CHINA: HOW NOT TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGONAs far as Beijing is concerned, Obama’s pivot was pulled right out of the old Cold War containment playbook. Afraid of China’s rise, Beijing believes, Washington is trying to enflame new tensions by isolating it and emboldening the countries that China has territorial disputes with, which is just about everybody with whom it shares a border.“Using China’s rise and the `China threat’ theory, the U.S. wants to convince China’s neighbors that the Asia-Pacific needs Washington’s presence and protection in order to `unite’ them to strike a `strategic rebalance’ against China in the region,” security scholar Wang Yusheng wrote recently in the China Daily.It’s a strategy that’s bound to lose, Beijing says. Top Stories Associated PressTOKYO (AP) – A lot has happened in Asia while the United States was off fighting its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of it can be summed up in one word _ China. Fueled by China’s amazing growth and the promise of its huge and expanding consumer market, the Asia-Pacific region is now, as experts like to say, the global economy’s center of gravity. Sorry, Europe.But prosperity requires stability. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img “America’s treading a very fine line,” Casiple said. “It has to reassure its allies that at the end of the day the U.S. would be there for them.” He added that the U.S. has made it clear it is not willing to risk a major confrontation in which its options would be limited “to either intervene or lose influence.”There is, however, one other thing it might do in the meantime.When U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Vietnam in June, he hinted the Navy would like access to Cam Ranh, a deep water port facing the contested waters of the South China Sea. Hanoi’s counter-proposal?Lift a ban on selling it lethal weapons.___TAIWAN: LEFT OUT IN THE COLDBest friends forever? Not so much.As China has gotten stronger and more important to the U.S. economy, Washington has become extremely wary of engaging Taiwan as a full security partner _ a big pullback from the 1950s and the 1960s, when the two had a formal defense treaty and the U.S. based thousands of troops on what it considered a _ if not the _ key forward base to keep China at bay.Today, cooperation is limited to some intelligence sharing, the training of Taiwanese air force personnel in the U.S., occasional security consultations and very restricted arms sales _ definitely not the kind of advanced F-16 fighters and diesel submarines the Taiwanese military really wants. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix China sees its rise as inevitable and unstoppable and believes its neighbors will ultimately opt for stronger ties while gradually excluding the U.S. Beijing also views its economic dominance as an unalloyed good. And as it tests out its first aircraft carrier, stealth jets, cyber capabilities and high-tech missiles, it is in an increasingly strong position to deny Washington access to its shores and some key Pacific sea lanes, which could be a problem if Obama’s pivot ever has to go from push to shove.___JAPAN: ALREADY FEELING THE PINCHWithout a doubt, Japan is Washington’s most faithful security partner in the Pacific. And it’s the most pinched by China’s rise.For months, Japan and China have been in an increasingly tense dispute over a group of small, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The near-constant presence of Chinese ships around them has stretched the Japanese Coast Guard to its limits. Japan’s air force says Chinese surveillance flights in the area have increased significantly.Wary of getting caught up in the volatile brew of nationalism, historical animosity and populist politics that is fueling the flare-up, the U.S. has been careful not to take sides. Instead, it has urged the two countries to work out their problems among themselves, diplomatically. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img

US Saudi Arabia announce 5day ceasefire in Yemen soon


first_img RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia and the United States said Thursday a renewable, five-day cease-fire in Yemen’s war would start soon to facilitate aid to millions of civilians in need, if Iran-backed rebels and their allies also agree to stop fighting.At a joint news conference, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom would halt airstrikes in Yemen because it is determined to expand relief assistance to the Yemeni people. Saudi Arabia will provide $274 million in new assistance, he said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Secretary of State John Kerry said the so-called “humanitarian pause” wouldn’t start for several days, enough time for diplomatic efforts to convince the Houthi rebels and their backers to accept the terms of the deal. He said aid organizations also needed time to coordinate the best strategy for getting food, fuel and medicine into and around the country.The announcement was made after Kerry met King Salman and other top Saudi officials in Riyadh. Kerry praised the king for seeking a peaceful resolution to Yemen’s war and for inviting “all relevant parties” to an upcoming peace conference in Saudi Arabia.Kerry said the cease-fire would mean “no bombing, no shooting” and no repositioning of forces.But he and al-Jubeir insisted the feasibility of the plan depended on the Houthis and the Iranians agreeing to it and not trying to exploit the lull in fighting. They said they would provide an update Friday in Paris, where they will gather with the foreign ministers of other Arab countries.The cease-fire pledge comes as the rebels and supporters of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh consolidate their hold over parts of the southern port city of Aden. The rebels captured the area’s presidential palace, officials said Wednesday, in another sign of their resilience in the face of Saudi-led airstrikes. Yemen had long suffered from desperate poverty, political dysfunction and al-Qaida’s most lethal branch. It became more unstable in recent months as the Houthis, who are Shiite, seized much of the country and chased Yemen’s internationally recognized president into exile. That prompted the Saudis and other Gulf Arab states to intervene. The Saudis also have been backing pro-government forces on the ground trying to fight back against the Houthis.Kerry met earlier Thursday in the Saudi capital with Yemen’s exiled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and his vice president and foreign minister.“Hopefully we’ll see you in Sanaa soon,” Hadi told the top American diplomat. Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, is controlled by the Houthis.“Ah,” Kerry replied, “there’s some work to do.”More strikes by the Saudi-led coalition throughout the country Wednesday killed dozens of rebels, according to security officials. But the mission has shown no sign of achieving its ultimate objectives or pushing the Houthis out of population centers and restoring Hadi’s government.The U.N. says at least 646 civilians have been killed since the start of the bombing campaign March 26. Some 300,000 have been uprooted from their homes. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Riyadh Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, traveling from Djibouti, Djibouti, Wednesday, May 6, 2015, to push Saudi officials for a pause in Yemen’s war, citing increased shortages of food, fuel and medicine that are adding to a crisis that already has neighboring countries bracing for a mass exodus of refugees. Kerry is also visiting Sri Lanka, Somalia, France, and Djibouti on his trip. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool) Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Solo flight in solar plane sets off on longest leg to Hawaii


first_imgBEIJING (AP) — A Swiss pilot of a solar plane on Sunday embarked on the longest leg of the first attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel.Andr Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Comments   Share   Parents, stop beating yourself up Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Watchdog IRS at risk for unfairly auditing political groups


first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Also, supervisors don’t always document whether they have approved audits, or decisions to cancel audits, the report said.___Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatapCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “We are continuing the work begun in 2013 to ensure that the management mistakes made in regard to the determination process for tax-exempt status do not happen again,” Koskinen told the subcommittee.In 2014, the IRS completed a little more than 8,000 audits of tax-exempt groups.About half were chosen because IRS computers detected potential problems on their annual filings. Tax-exempt groups don’t file tax returns. But those with receipts of more than $50,000 must file a form that details their revenues, liabilities and program activities. Smaller groups have to file a postcard.Others groups were selected as part of compliance projects in which the IRS studied types of groups or activities that might be at risk for tax evasion.More than 1,600 were selected based on referrals or complaints from the public, IRS employees and other government agencies.The referrals go to specialists, who either recommend an audit or dismiss them. Referrals that deal with political activities, churches or high-profile organizations that have attracted media attention are also reviewed by three-person panels.IRS procedures are designed to prevent individual employees from unfairly selecting groups for an audit, based on inappropriate criteria. However, the GAO report found: “Staff are not required to obtain executive management approval to deviate from these procedures.” Sponsored Stories FILE – In this photo March 22, 2013 file photo, the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington. A government watchdog says lax oversight at the IRS increases the risk that political and religious groups could be unfairly targeted for audits. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   4 must play golf courses in Arizona There are 1.6 million tax-exempt groups in the U.S., according to the GAO report. Fewer than 1 percent are audited each year, a process that can be costly and time-consuming for both the IRS and the group being audited.“We first learned the IRS was unfairly singling out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.“This report exposes a new and more egregious frontier of potential targeting in the agency’s audit selection process,” Roskam said.Roskam’s subcommittee held a hearing on the GAO report Thursday. At the hearing, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted that the GAO found no evidence that any group had been improperly selected for audit. Koskinen said the IRS hired someone from outside the agency in 2013 who reviewed the audit selection criteria for the entire IRS.“He spent several months looking at the criteria used by more than 350 IRS compliance programs, and found no evidence of bias in any of them,” Koskinen said.The IRS acknowledged in 2013 that agents had improperly singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. The revelation led to ongoing investigations by Congress, the Department of Justice and the agency’s inspector general. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — Lax oversight at the IRS increases the risk that political and religious groups could be unfairly targeted for audits, government investigators say in a report that raises concerns about an IRS division that has been under scrutiny for singling out conservative organizations.The Government Accountability Office found no evidence that agents improperly audited any groups. But a new GAO report released Thursday says poor oversight increases the risk that agents could select tax-exempt groups for audits based on their religious, educational or political views. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologylast_img read more

Thailand honoured as the Golf destination of the Year


first_imgGolf and travel industry experts have singled out Thailand as Asia’s premier golf and holiday destination. “The land of smiles” was awarded the title of ‘Golf Destination of the Year” for Asia & Australasia by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).The award was recieved at the International Golf Travel Market conference and trade show in Malaga, Spain, in November 2009. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/29375/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Agents urged to become Jordan specialists


first_imgClick here for more information. Jordan Tourism Board has launched a new Online Specialist Programme, designed to increase travel trade knowledge, capability and sales of Jordan. Australian tourism into Jordan has become increasingly important over the past year, particularly after Australian numbers have sustained growth to the destination since September last year. After successfully completing each module, individuals will receive the Jordan Specialist accreditation and be encouraged to utilise the information. Unveiled this week, academy.visitjordan.com is made up of a variety of modules, which provide in-depth information about Jordan and its offerings including flights, things to do, currencies, visas and weather. Source = ETB News: NJ Online Specialist Programme to help sell Jordan.last_img read more

2014 a strong year for Asia Pacific Airlines


first_imgThe Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) released preliminary figures for 2014 today, and the results showed healthy growth in international air passenger demand across the board.A total of 256.1 million international passengers flew on the region’s carriers in 2014, representing an annual increase of 4.8 per cent from the previous year.There was also an upsurge in exports from manufacturing hubs in the region led to a rebound in international air cargo markets in 2014.AAPA director general Andrew Herdman, said that despite challenges, Asia Pacific airlines enjoyed a year of good growth in international passenger traffic in 2014.“Passenger demand was healthy, underpinned by increasing numbers of middle income earners and further expansion in airline networks, which have all helped boost air travel within the region and beyond,” Mr Herdman said.Looking ahead for 2015 Mr Herdman said that the outlook remains broadly positive.“With sustained growth in the global economy continuing to drive air travel demand, and lower oil prices will also help to keep air travel affordable. However, airlines will need to closely monitor market movements, and align future capacity increases with the actual increase in demand, whilst seeking further operating efficiencies to restore margins to more sustainable levels.”Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort to open in Thailand


first_imgStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) has announced the signing of an agreement with Grand Bay Hotel Co., Ltd., wholly owned by Apex Development Public Co., Ltd, to unveil the Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort.Slated to open in January 2019 on Thailand’s largest island, the hotel will support the brand’s Sheraton 2020 goal of adding 150 hotels in the next five years.“We look forward to partnering with Grand Bay Hotel Co., Ltd. to expand Starwood’s robust footprint in Thailand,” said Rajit Sukumaran, Senior Vice President for Acquisitions and Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.“With its idyllic beaches and lush rainforests, Phuket draws an unwavering number of inbound and domestic travelers, making it a strategic market for Sheraton and further driving formidable growth for Starwood in Asia Pacific.”Boasting a private beachfront and hillside location with unobstructed views of the sparkling Andaman Sea, the 200-room resort will feature all of the Sheraton brand’s signature offerings, ranging from a premium sleep experience and rejuvenating bath amenities to a grandiose lobby area and bar serving the brand’s new bar menu PairedSM, comprised of small plates served alongside local craft beer and premium wine.On-site facilities will include three distinctive dining venues, 1,326 square meters of meeting and event space, a luxurious spa, fully-equipped fitness center and picturesque outdoor swimming pool.“We are delighted to partner with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and we are confident that our respective strengths will steer this project toward success, elevating the hospitality offerings in Phuket with the iconic and globally renowned Sheraton brand,” said Pongphan Sampawakoop, CEO of Grand Bay Hotel Co., Ltd.Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort is located in northeast Phuket in the Grand Bay area, home to the Ao Po Grand Marina. The hotel is an approximate 25-minute drive from Phuket International Airport and an hour’s drive to Patong, the hub of entertainment on the island.Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort will join Starwood’s dynamic Thai portfolio, which includes 22 properties operating under eight of the company’s distinct global brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W® Hotels, Sheraton, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Aloft® and Four Points® by Sheraton.Starwood currently operates five Sheraton hotels in Thailand, including Sheraton Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers; Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa; Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas; Sheraton Samui Resort; and Sheraton Pattaya Resort. The brand’s development pipeline also includes Sheraton Phuket Kalim Beach Resort, which is slated to open in 2018. Sheraton Hotels & ResortsSource = Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.last_img read more

How lucrative running your own business with Travel Counsellors can be


first_imgHow lucrative running your own business with Travel Counsellors can be Nadine Kutz – Travel CounsellorHow lucrative running your own business with Travel Counsellors can beNadine Kutz of Queensland recently reached a sales milestone worth celebrating when she hit $30 million in total sales since she joined Travel Counsellors. Starting her business with Travel Counsellors in July 2010, the mother of two has achieved the coveted Travel Counsellors Gold Status for each year she has been running her business yet it’s her phenomenal sales results that have put her in the spotlight recently.“I was initially drawn to Travel Counsellors because I wanted a travel role that enabled me to explore my earning potential while being there for my family. Office and retail-based travel roles don’t usually afford much freedom or flexibility when it comes to the hours you work, so I loved the idea of running my own home-based enterprise for this reason,” explains Nadine. “I really enjoy running my own business with the assistance and support of Travel Counsellors. With the head office team taking care of most of the marketing, administrative and technological aspects of the business, I am free to focus on my clients.”Not one to become complacent, Nadine is always looking for new ways to improve her business, find new customers and increase her sales. “While increasing my total sales each year is a wonderful achievement, I’m very pleased that my margin is also continually increasing. This means my earnings are also growing in value each year,” says Nadine. “Apart from reaching a pretty significant sales milestone, what makes me really happy is that I’m able to work in a way that allows me to be there for my family.”Fred van Eijk, Interim Managing Director of Travel Counsellors Australia comments, “Nadine’s ongoing success is a prime example of the wonderful things that can happen when experienced travel agents join Travel Counsellors. Year after year Nadine has consistently grown her business thanks to her excellent work ethic, can-do attitude and innovative approach. At Travel Counsellors, we focus on empowering travel agents to reach their full potential, earn what they’re worth and achieve a good work/life balance at the same time. Nadine’s recent sales milestone is a great reminder of how far agents can go with Travel Counsellors. The possibilities are truly endless.”About Travel CounsellorsTravel Counsellors Australia was established in 2007 and currently has nearly 150 Travel Counsellors. Our head office in Australia is in Melbourne. Travel Counsellors Australia is accredited with ATAS. Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company. Founded in 1994 it currently has 1,646 travel consultants who work from home with the support of over 350 staff at the company’s UK headquarters and overseas offices. The company operates in Australia, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, UAE and Belgium.Source = Travel Counsellors – Australialast_img read more

Hong Kong a hit with Sydney and Melbourne Trade


first_imgHong Kong a hit with Sydney and Melbourne Trade150 travel trade professionals were given the Hong Kong star treatment late last month when representatives from the destination rolled into the two cities to provide product updates.The Hong Kong Tourism Board, Cathay Pacific Airways and The Murray Hotel teamed up for the Sydney event which was held on 14 November at The Establishment. A Melbourne event then followed on 22 November, held at the Red Spice QV and in partnership with Cathay Pacific Airways.Updates at both events included Cathay Pacific Airways’ new A350 aircraft deployment into Sydney as well as developments at one of Hong Kong’s newest five star hotels, The Murray.Congratulations to the prize winners – Chris Bellmon from Travel Associates Rose Bay won two Cathay Pacific Airways economy return tickets to Hong Kong and three nights’ accommodation at The Murray at the Sydney event, and Felicity Moss from Jigsaw Travel won two economy return airfares to Hong Kong  at the Melbourne event.HKTB’s trade marketing and business tourism manager, Lisa Lee said face-to-face contact with the Australian travel trade remains a vital element to the HKTB trade strategy.“Both events were fantastic opportunities to catch-up with our destination ambassadors and provide them with in-depth and informative product updates on all things Hong Kong, including our exciting new transportation links, Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macau Bridge and Hong Kong’s High Speed Railway.”Source = Hong Kong Tourism Boardlast_img read more

Government of Tanzania is open for discussion on tourism VAT


first_imgThe government of Tanzania has announced its willingness to interact with tourism industry players to find out the reason behind their disapproval of value added tax (VAT) on tourism products.Concerns voiced by tour operators were ‘discussable’, said Prof Jumanne Maghembe, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism. The government has however not declared any decision of waiving the tax that has been ever since its implementation.Tour operators are of the opinion that tax would have an adverse affect on tourism, an industry that is the chief foreign exchange earner for the country. There might be a decline in the tourist arrivals, fears the players.The government is now ready to sit down and discuss the matter with tour operators, who have been more vocal against the tax than other players in the industry.last_img read more