Indian upheaval bares Colombias nagging conflict

first_imgBut how?“That’s difficult,” said Maria Alejandra, leaning against a support in the cramped shelter. “If someone had a formula for it, they’d give it to the presidents.”___Associated Press Writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report from Caracas, Venezuela.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Associated PressTORIBIO, Colombia (AP) – One of the stiffest blows in years to the prestige of Colombia’s military wasn’t inflicted by its leftist rebel foes and didn’t claim a single soldier’s life.It was dealt by a relatively diminutive people called the Nasa who marched furiously up to the top of a 7,500-foot (2,300-meter) peak last week and forcibly dislodged a clutch of soldiers from a strategic outpost. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family “We can’t take it anymore,” said the governor of the local Nasa reserve, Marcos Yule, counting about 1,000 such attacks in the past few years. The worst had come on July 9, 2011, he said, when the FARC exploded a bus bomb a block from Toribio’s central plaza, killing three people.Santos came to town two days after that anniversary, and later accused some “elements” of the Nasa of being in cahoots with the rebels, a charge that Nasa leaders deny.On Saturday, Nasa elders convicted four alleged FARC rebels “arrested” three days earlier of disturbing public order and had them flogged. Three got 30 lashes and the fourth, a teenager, received five before they were released to their families, said Yule.Colombia’s counter-narcotics police director, Gen. Luis Perez, says the FARC would be pleased to have the military out of the area to lessen the chances of having their harvested marijuana seized.Perez estimates at least 250 acres (100 hectares) of marijuana plants grow in the Cauca. What is grown on the Nasa indigenous reserve is legally protected from destruction. At night, the hills around Toribio are pitted with lights used by cultivators to accelerate the plants’ growth and potency. Top Stories As those lights went off at dawn Wednesday, hundreds of Nasa headed for the strategic hilltop, where a small group of soldiers was encamped, charged with protecting communications antennas and keeping an eye on mountain trails regularly used by the FARC.Among the Indians were “guardians,” men and women who carry staffs hewed from palm trees and decorated with brightly colored ribbons. The staffs, says Yule, are instruments of authority only and cannot be used as weapons.In the ensuing pandemonium, several dozen indigenous encircled six soldiers and forced them off the hilltop. One soldier fired a burst of shots into the air, sending reporters scurrying. But only egos were hurt.The images, meanwhile, were published around the world.The mayhem was strangely isolated. While those involved in the struggle kicked up dust, hundreds more Nasa peacefully rested on the grass as other solders gathered their belongings and sheepishly retreated downhill.The next day, however, the soldiers, accompanied by riot police, were back. Firing tear gas and buckshot, they retook the hilltop. Eight Nasa were injured, none critically, said Luis Angel Penna, Toribio’s assistant hospital director. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories center_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Colombia’s conflict plays out far from its sparkling cities. Its victims are its most marginalized.“We sometimes get the impression that there’s hardly any conflict at all, that it is very distant,” said Jordi Raich, the International Committee of the Red Cross’ country director. “But Colombia’s armed conflict continues, and while it may be happening in remote areas, the humanitarian consequences are not lessened.”“Peace is distant,” he added.The conflict claims hundreds if not thousands of lives a year, mostly civilians killed in a dirty war involving right-wing death squads, rebels and the military. Yet in terms of violence, this month’s upheaval in Cauca has been comparatively tame. Its damage is, instead, political.It was clear to everyone during Santos’ visit that the government had no control of the area. A FARC commander held court with reporters at a roadblock less than three miles (five kilometers) away.“This is a political defeat for the Santos government,” said Jorge Restrepo, an analyst at Colombia’s CERAC think tank. “It puts in question his ability to win re-election.” These verdant, craggy mountains are the Nasa’s ancestral lands, and the Nasa say they are fed up with violent usurpers. They’re demanding that the country’s military and its rebel foes leave their enclave in the southwestern state of Cauca.Yet neither side in Colombia’s half-century old conflict is heeding the Nasas’ wishes to leave them in peace. Their homeland lies on a key corridor that rebels and their chief funding source, cocaine, regularly transit on their way to the Pacific coast.The government alleges that some of the 115,000 Nasa are allied with rebels of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which authorities say purchases the high-quality marijuana that many indigenous grow.The Nasa’s widely broadcast standoff with government troops has made this past week perhaps the most difficult of Juan Manuel Santos’ two-year-old presidency, bringing Colombia’s conflict into people’s living rooms as it rarely has been in recent years and highlighting his government’s inability to control large parts of the countryside. Santos even suffered the indignity of being jeered by the Nasa when he visited Toribio the previous week to announce investments in social programs. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Santos, a 60-year-old scion of a Bogota newspaper clan, won the presidency on the coattails of Alvaro Uribe, for whom he was defense minister from 2006 to 2009, a time of impressive military gains against the FARC.Santos has not said whether he will seek re-election in 2014, but his popularity has plummeted as rebel violence mounts.The insurgents have in recent months reverted to traditional hit-and-run tactics, and stepped up attacks on infrastructure including oil facilities. On Friday, they blew up a bridge in Caqueta state in southern Colombia that was vital to oil companies.The trigger for the Toribio upheaval came before dawn on July 6 when rebels rained crude mortars and grenades on its town center, aiming for the sandbag-shrouded police station. Such munitions rarely hit their mark, and instead tore big chunks out of the brightly colored brick homes surrounding it. Three days later, when the bombardment ended, six people were wounded and about 100 left homeless, said Toribio’s mayor, Ezequiel Vitonas.Four people were wounded in a separate grenade attack on July 8 on a Toribio medical clinic. The next day, angry indigenous tried to dismantle the sandbag wall protecting the police station. 0 Comments   Share   And the violence wasn’t over.Two local men were killed by gunfire over the next two days in the neighboring towns, one during a demonstration by farmers trying to eject soldiers from their village, another shot for allegedly failing to heed an order to halt at a military roadblock.The tensions and mistrust are not new.In May, 39-year-old coffee picker Julio Dagua was killed near Toribio by rebels who had falsely accused him of being an army informant, said his brother Edgar.“He had been threatened for a long time,” he added.Edgar Dagua said residents won’t be intimidated by either side in the conflict. “They’re going to have to kill all of us.”Some of Toribio’s residents earlier this month joined the more than 2 million Colombians who have been internally displaced by the country’s conflict. They are living temporarily in a shelter in the nearby town of Santander de Quilichao.One is Maria Alejandra Munoz, a garrulous, 38-year-old mother of three who earns her living washing other people’s laundry by hand. “You get tired of this conflict.”Her brother, Ruben, said that “what people want most is peace for our town.” Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

US compensates family of shot Indian fisherman

first_img Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Four benefits of having a wireless security system How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The U.S. Navy said the fishermen’s boat rapidly approached the refueling ship USNS Rappahannock near Dubai’s Jebel Ali port and that the boat disregarded warnings before the Navy vessel’s gunners opened fire. One of the Indian survivors has said they received no warning.Tensions are high in the Gulf after Iran threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz _ the route for one-fifth of the world’s oil _ in retaliation for tighter sanctions over its nuclear program.The U.S. recently boosted its naval presence in the Gulf with additional minesweepers and other warships. The Pentagon said Monday it is sending another aircraft carrier to the Middle East several months early to ensure it has two carriers continuously in the region.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates NEW DELHI (AP) – The United States has compensated the family of a dead Indian fisherman and given assistance to three survivors of a U.S. Navy ship’s firing on their small boat near Dubai last month, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.The money will not influence the investigation into the July 16 shooting, embassy spokesman Lee McManis said in a statement.Although the embassy did not disclose the payment amounts, Dubai media reported they would match payments from Tamil Nadu, the fishermen’s home state in southern India. Top Stories The Tamil Nadu government said last month that it would pay 500,000 rupees ($9,100) to the family of the fisherman who was killed. The injured were to receive 50,000 rupees ($910).The details of the payment were worked out by the U.S. in consultation with the Tamil Nadu government, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in New Delhi.Newspapers in Dubai reported that the wounded fishermen were not happy with the assistance.Pandu Sanathan told the Khaleej Times that he would like to see the Indian government push for payments similar to those offered families of two Indian fishermen shot dead by Italian marines who mistook them for pirates earlier this year. Italy has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 to each of the families in that shooting.“A political leader has also raised this demand,” said Sanathan, who still has pain from the shooting and is not sure when he will be able to walk again. “I hope they will look into it as we were shot at not because of our fault.”Another wounded fisherman, Muthu Kannan, said the amount will not cover his increasing medical bills or the money he needs until he can return to work.“I am not sure when I can go back to work,” he told The National newspaper. “My children have to study, and I am the only earning member of the family. I don’t know how I will manage.” New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

British markets bracing for postelection uncertainty

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Now, with the election looming Thursday, investors can no longer afford to turn a blind eye.Opinion polls suggest the Labour Party or the Conservative Party will not win a majority to the House of Commons, meaning as many as ten different varieties of government are possible.That could lead to horse trading and pork barrel politics, fueling uncertainty over Britain’s economic path, particularly over the public finances, its future in the European Union and a possible second independence referendum in Scotland.“Markets may be in for a very bumpy ride in the immediate aftermath,” said Oliver Harvey, a strategist at Deutsche Bank.Though it is common in continental Europe for it to take weeks to form a government, it is unheard of in postwar Britain. There’s no mechanism for a U.S.-style ten-week transition here.In 2010, when the general election produced no majority winner, the uncertainty only lasted for five days — three market days — until the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats agreed to form Britain’s first coalition since Winston Churchill’s national government in World War II.At the time, the mandarins of Whitehall and the governor of the Bank of England urged a swift resolution because of market concerns over the parlous state of Britain’s public finances in the wake of an acute banking crisis and Greece’s recent bailout. First Minister of Scotland and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, interacts with children as she visits ABC Nursery in Dedridge, Scotland, while on the General Election campaign trail, Tuesday May 5, 2015. Britain’s candidates are campaigning all across Britain in search of votes ahead of the May 7 General Election just two days away. (AP Photo/David Cheskin) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How men can have a healthy 2019center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The markets soon breathed a sigh of relief, especially as the new government made reducing the deficit its primary objective. The pound rallied and the interest rate on British government bonds eased.How markets react if any negotiations drag on longer this time is the question many investors are grappling with.Jane Foley, senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank International, thinks this election has “the capacity to create more uncertainty than the last,” partly because the Conservative Party has made a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by 2017 a cornerstone of its manifesto.“The risk that Britain could leave the EU has the potential to worry international investors more than the general election,” said Foley. “Given also the unknowns regarding the composition and coherence of the new government, on almost all outcomes the uncertainties for investors could rise post-election.”The experience last year of the referendum on Scotland’s independence showcased the extent to which British markets — whether it be the pound, bonds or stocks — are vulnerable to political uncertainty. When an opinion poll a couple of weeks ahead of the Sept. 18 vote indicated that a small majority of Scots backed independence from the rest of the country, the pound suffered a notable fall. Eventually, the pro-union side won over 55 percent of the vote. Scotland is likely to feature heavily in the post-election landscape, as most opinion polls show the Scottish National Party set for unprecedented gains, mainly at the election at the expense of the Labour Party. The SNP’s popularity is the main reason why Labour is not expected to win a majority.There is a market concern that a big presence by the SNP in the next parliament will prompt more devolution of powers to Scotland and make another independence referendum in coming years more likely. Though the SNP’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has insisted that an overwhelming SNP victory does not provide a mandate for a fresh referendum, she has said her backing of a minority government will come with strings attached, notably on government spending.Bill O’Neill, head of UBS Wealth Management’s U.K. investment office, thinks the prospect of a second Scottish referendum will “simmer” if the SNP does as well as polls suggest, even though he doubts it will be an immediate concern for markets.“From the perspective of the markets, devolution will grow in importance through the life of the next parliament irrespective of whether Labour or the Conservatives hold power,” he said. Top Stories LONDON (AP) — British financial markets could be headed for choppy waters after Thursday’s general election, as investors face the prospect of it taking days — even weeks — to form a new government.In the past five weeks, investors have held off making big bets on an election that looks to be the most uncertain in decades — the pound has edged above $1.50 and stocks have risen modestly. More important for investors have been global factors like the pace of U.S. interest rate increases or whether Greece defaults. Sponsored Stories Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Analysis At Mideast forum hopes for future amid chaos

first_imgBut this week the group overran the Syrian town of Palmyra, home to unrivalled Roman-era historic sites, and dangerously close to Homs, a key stronghold of the Bashar Assad regime.A week earlier the group seized the Iraqi town of Ramadi, nearly completing its takeover of western Anbar province, putting the jihadis close to Baghdad.That brought a dramatic appeal from Iraqi officials at the conference.Deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq called the fall of the city a “big disaster” and appealed for a “new strategic plan” for Iraqi and international coalition forces to “terminate” the Islamic State group in Iraq. Al-Mutlaq told the AP that allowing Islamic State to control Anbar “is unacceptable and the capacity of the Iraqis is very limited.”Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi also called for a new strategy, since “the airstrikes don’t solve the problem.” They stopped short of calling for coalition boots on the ground or pointing to a precise alternate strategy.Indeed, few at this gathering seemed confident about any particular path forward. Glum agreement was mostly to be found regarding the past — particularly in blaming many of the current woes on the non-inclusion of Iraqi Sunnis by the Shiite-led governments that emerged after the 2003 U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “But there is another, deeper reality,” the monarch optimistically went on. “Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, more than 350 million people are striving, economies are growing, youth are achieving, obstacles are being tackled … New possibilities, new human potential, new assets are uncovered.”There is validity in the claim of a glass part-full.Egypt’s economy may be turning after several disastrous years since the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak ushered in a period of instability and violence; its stock market flourishes and its credit rating inches ahead. The emirates of the Gulf are veritably booming. Tunisia’s democratic transformation flirts with bona fide success. And Jordan itself, despite a flood of refugees from Syria, has maintained a modest level of economic growth.Then there is the empty part — possibly more than half the glass.Despite the upheaval once known as the “Arab Spring,” democracy has not much struck root in the region. Some places didn’t even try. Some made tentative attempts. In Libya the whole thing collapsed in ruin: The place has competing hapless governments, is run by wild militias, and has become a haven of seafaring migrant traffickers. Sponsored Stories King Abdullah II of Jordan addresses the audience during the opening session of the World Economic Forum at the King Hussein convention center, Southern Shuneh, Jordan, Friday, May 22, 2015. Top political and business leaders are coming together in the Middle East at a regional World Economic Forum conference to search for solutions to widespread joblessness, which has created fertile ground for the recruitment of desperate youths by militants. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) How men can have a healthy 2019 ___Dan Perry is AP’s Middle East editor leading text coverage in the region. Follow him on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Against a backdrop of Iraq and Syria in flames, Middle Eastern political and business leaders sought to focus on a future of growth and investment for a region that for long has lagged behind. But present-day reality proved rather difficult to ignore, with the Islamic State group wreaking havoc not far from these Dead Sea shores.“We are all aware of the crises in the news,” host King Abdullah of Jordan told invitees at the regional World Economic Forum, held at a Dead Sea resort whose pacificity belied the mayhem raging a few hours’ drive away. The hatreds between the groups — mirrored in similarly diverse Syria and to a degree in Lebanon — has convinced increasing numbers of observers that the creation of these new countries by Western colonizers who took over Levantine bits of the Ottoman Empire was catastrophically misguided in ignoring the sectarian differences.Iraqi Kurdish politician Rowsch Shaways, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the country could conceivably break up. The only way for Iraq to prosper as a unified state is if Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish areas truly run their own affairs, he said.The plan at such gatherings is to right social and economic wrongs in a region which, with notable and mostly oil-rich exceptions, has tended to perform poorly on the socio-economic front — whether in terms of per capita GDP or life expectancy or scientific publications per capita. Yet the political and existential angst tended to overwhelm a gathering where sessions aimed to focus on issues such as youth unemployment, urbanization, tourism and gender equality — the last item alone potentially affording a reasonable path to far greater prosperity than the region has known in the post-colonial era. Wars rage not only in Syria and Iraq but now also in Yemen, where Shiite rebels have seized the capital Sanaa and much of the country and now find themselves under blistering air attack from a Sunni coalition led by Saudi Arabia. An anticipated ground invasion, most likely in Yemen’s port of Aden, has not materialized. And over almost two months the air campaign alone has caused some damage to its targets, but failed to dislodge them.Perhaps surprisingly, something similar can be said of the U.S. air campaign that may have inspired the one in Yemen — this one against the Islamic State group.In an offensive that began in earnest a year and a half ago, the al-Qaida breakaway group has taken over huge swaths of Iraq and Syria, mainly in those countries’ Sunni areas. In areas they seize their Sunni cohorts welcome them sometimes — but generally they rule by terrorizing the local population, and their murderous brutality toward political rivals and non-Muslims has been shocking.The air campaign that began nine months ago — combined with a Kurdish effort on the ground — seemed to at least arrest the group’s progress. Indeed, they were expelled from Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit in Iraq, and rebuffed from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories Much anticipated at the event was Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former military chief whose recent history seems as dualistic as that of the region some would have him lead.Many have criticized el-Sissi for the military’s July 2013 overthrow of democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi and the subsequent banning of the once-ruling Muslim Brotherhood — its leaders handed death sentences in mass trials that have raised a collective global eyebrow. El-Sissi then was elected but without a real opposition, with dissent in the streets stamped out, and with the media somewhat cowed.Still, he has built public support in Egypt with his agenda of stability above all else. He appears to favor much-needed structural reform, and has emerged as a leading ideological antagonist to Islamic extremism. On this explosive issue, where others in the region seemed inclined to hedge and fudge, his voice has been strikingly clear.Condemning “fanaticism” in his remarks Friday, el-Sissi said radicals “are seeking through terrorism to destroy state structures and to fragment people by exploiting religious, sectarian or ethnic affiliations … Our efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism must be coupled with endeavors toward realizing future where freedom, equality and pluralism prevail that is free of oppression, injustice and exclusion.” Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Virgin Australia adds Europe to Singapore Airlines Etihad codeshares

first_imgArrival Time 15:40 Flight # Virgin Australia expands Singapore Airlines,Etihad codeshares 08:20 06:35 Arrival Time Abu Dhabi (AUH) EY460/HM5100 Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have announced an expansion to their codeshare agreement, to include flights to Milan and Rome.Effective today, Virgin will place its code on Singapore Airlines flights to the two destinations.The codeshare flights will be operated by a two-class Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Singapore and Rome three times per week and a three-class Boeing 777-200ER between Singapore and Milan five times per week.  Virgin Australia has also announced an expansion to its codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways, to include flights from Abu Dhabi to Milan and Amsterdam.Receiving regulatory approval, effective immediately Virgin Australia will place its VA code on Etihad flights to the two European destinations allowing travellers to connect through on the same ticket.The codeshare flight between Abu Dhabi and Milan will be operated by a two-class Airbus A330-200 seven times per week.Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam will be operated by a two-class Airbus A330-200 seven times per week.Etihad has also extended its agreement with Air Seychelles to include new codeshares to Australia.Effective today, new codeshare flights will include services to Seychelles from Melbourne and Sydney via Abu Dhabi.Check out the flight schedules below:Australia-Seychelles flight schedule Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJ Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday A340 A340 Aircraft A330 Frequency Flight # Abu Dhabi (AUH) B777 Abu Dhabi (AUH) 01:05+1 A330 21:50 HM086/EY4122 EY455/HM5105 Abu Dhabi (AUH) Sydney (SYD) Departs HM019/EY4119 Sydney (SYD) Monday, Wednesday, Friday 02:00 HM018/EY4118 12:55 Melbourne (MEL) Monday, Wednesday, Friday Melbourne (MEL) 19:10+1 Mahé(SEZ) 20:10 A320 Mahé(SEZ) B777 22:10 HM087/EY4121 Frequency 12:55 EY461/HM5101 EY622/HM 5501 Departs Abu Dhabi (AUH) Aircraft 06:30+1 Arrives 08:20 A340 Sydney (SYD) 23:40 Mahé(SEZ) Mahé(SEZ) Abu Dhabi(AUH) 01:05+1 EY451/HM5103 20:35 Arrives Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 20:35 Mahé(SEZ) Departure Time A320 Monday, Wednesday, Friday EY454/HM5102 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday EY621/HM5502 Seychelles-Australia flight schedule Abu Dhabi (AUH) A330 A330 22:20 Abu Dhabi (AUH) Mahé(SEZ) Daily Abu Dhabi(AUH) 14:50 Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday Departure Time Daily 22:00 Abu Dhabi (AUH) 18:10+1 Abu Dhabi (AUH) Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday 06:40+1last_img read more

Cathay Pacific to boost UK connectivity with additional flights

first_imgSource = Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific to boost UK connectivity with additional flightsCathay Pacific to boost UK connectivity with additional flights to Gatwick and ManchesterOn the back of strengthening demand for flights connecting Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, Cathay Pacific today announced that its current four-times-weekly service to Gatwick will become a daily operation from June 2017. In a further boost to the airline’s UK connectivity, Manchester will see the addition of a fifth weekly flight and become an all Airbus A350-900 operation in June.GatwickThe airline’s current four-times-weekly Gatwick service, which utilises the Airbus A350-900, will become a daily operation from 1 June, highlighting the popularity of the route since its September launch. Together with the airline’s services to Heathrow, Cathay Pacific will operate up to six daily non-stop flights between Hong Kong and London next year – more than any other carrier.ManchesterManchester, which was launched just two years ago, will receive one additional flight per week from Hong Kong, increasing the operation to a five-times-weekly service from 2 June. At the same time, the A350 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on all flights to the northern English city, making it the second Cathay Pacific destination in the UK, after Gatwick, to receive the technologically-advanced aircraft.Featuring the airline’s newest products in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class, the A350 encapsulates Cathay Pacific’s brand promise of a “Life Well Travelled”. In addition to the latest seats and an enhanced inflight entertainment system, the aircraft is Wi-Fi equipped, meaning passengers can stay connected throughout their journey.Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu said: “The UK is a very important market for us, one which we have served for over 35 years. Our additional Airbus A350-operated frequencies to Gatwick and Manchester underline the deep-rooted commitment we have to providing both business and leisure passengers with increased convenience and superior in-flight products, which give travellers even more reasons to choose Cathay Pacific.”Cathay Pacific currently operates 43 non-stop flights to the United Kingdom per week, including five daily services to Heathrow and four-times-weekly services to Gatwick and Manchester. It has expanded its Europe network considerably in recent years, launching services to Zurich and Düsseldorf in 2015 followed by Madrid and Gatwick this year. The airline currently operates 93 direct flights to 10 European cities each week and will launch a new four-times-weekly service between Hong Kong and Tel Aviv in March next year.Cathay Pacific has also reopened its newly renovated lounge at Heathrow – the only lounge on its expanding global network outside of Hong Kong to offer separate First and Business Class areas – to wide acclaim.last_img read more

Celebrating the Festive Season in the Lion City

first_imgSource = Your Singapore Celebrating the Festive Season in the Lion CityCelebrating the Festive Season in the Lion CitySingapore is celebrated for its diverse yet harmonious melting pot of cultures, including people of Chinese, Eurasian, Indian, Malay and Peranakan backgrounds. No matter what their cultural background, Singaporeans pay respect and homage to each other’s religious days of significance with Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and Christian holidays included within national public holidays.Christmas takes its place alongside Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Hari Raya as a significant celebration and must-see festival of experiences. Visitors can take in the festive spirit whilst enjoying tropical weather in Singapore, but there is also a range of exciting events too, set against a fun and exciting backdrop of lights and decorations. If you know where to look… you may even be lucky enough to spot Santa himself, his reindeers or some real snow! See below for our top picks of celebratory Christmas (and New Year!) activities.ChristmasChristmas On A Great Street12 November – 2 January 2017World-famous Orchard Road lights up again in the highly anticipated Christmas On A Great Street. With over two kilometres of activities, visitors can marvel at the colourful displays of interactive light installations and Instagram ready buildings spruced up with Christmas themed decorations and cheer. The annual tradition provides a tropical take on Christmas, allowing you to shop whilst enjoying a surreal playground of fun, food and fashion.Santa’s All-Star Christmas at Universal Studios Singapore 1 December – 2 January 2017Experience festive cheer at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) with the spectacular Santa’s All-Star Christmas. Having won the Guinness World Record for the largest light bulb display in an indoor venue (17 November 2016), USS’ Christmas offering consists of eight thematic zones, which feature over 820,000 illuminating lights. The park is a perfect option for families, with live shows and performances from iconic characters, hourly snowfall, and a chance to visit the man in the red suit at Santa’s Village. Interact with delightful elves, talking reindeer and watch out for fireworks on select evenings.Merry Fishmas at S.E.A. Aquarium 1 December 2016 – 2 January 2017The magic of the season meets the wonders of the ocean in Merry Fishmas. Come catch Scuba Santa and Elves in action, listen to the stories told by Mrs Claus, and embark on the Enchanted Sea Trail to discover marine animals that inspired Water Type Pokémon! And don’t miss the fun and interactive Pokémon Research Exhibition, held for the first time outside Japan!Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay 2 December – 1 January 2017Yuletide spirits are in full swing at Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay. The stunning Supertrees provide a fantastical backdrop to a charming, European style festive market with a range of stalls including arts and crafts, food, boutique goods and vintage finds. Enjoy a ride at the festive Fairground, take in over sixty light installations on display throughout the gardens or head to the Ice Palace where you can enjoy ice skating and a ride down the ice slide. Little ones can also enjoy a visit to Hi-5 Funtastic House to enjoy some edu-tainment.End of year events and celebrationsBounceOFF! Fiesta 2 December – 1 January 2017For more interactive fun, end your year at Asia’s largest outdoor inflatable play space BounceOFF! Fiesta. Activating an estimated 40,000 square meters across Marina Bay, the pop-up features 15 gigantic inflatable obstacles and slides, as well as interactive bazaar activities. Great for all ages, the Feast Zone offers international and local cuisine, while adults can enjoy inflatable beer pong and children can participate in special activities.Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 31 December 2016Ring in the New Year at Marina Bay at Singapore’s annual iconic New Year’s Eve celebration. With a magnificent firework display and a spectacular orchestral music score, the stunning countdown is one to remember.Siloso Beach Party31 December 2016Singapore’s one and only New Year beach party will be hosted on Sentosa’s hip, Siloso Beach. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year’s Siloso Beach Party will offer 12 hours of non-stop celebrations from 6am to 6pm with fireworks, music and a foam pool. International and local DJs are set to perform to an over-18s crowd of revellers.Clarke Quay Supernova Countdown Party 31 December 2016Rock-in the New Year from 9.30pm along the historic Singapore River starting with Clarke Quay’s Larger-than-Life Boombox Party, followed by live performances in the heart of the action at Fountain Square.For more information about activities in the Lion City, please visit www.yoursingapore.comlast_img read more

Emirates named Best Airline in the World at the ULTRAS 2017 Awards

first_imgEmirates named “Best Airline in the World” at the ULTRAS 2017 AwardsEmirates took home “Best Airline in the World” and “Best Middle Eastern Airline” at the prestigious ULTRAS 2017 Awards, as voted by the well-travelled readers of The Telegraph’s luxury travel magazine in their annual survey. Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates airline, received the awards at the ceremony held in London.Hosted at the iconic Savoy hotel on 22nd May, this year’s ceremony was attended by key members of the travel industry, well-known British personalities and notable special guest, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, accompanied by her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.The Emirates team is known for its dedication to continuously improving the travel experience of its passengers; earlier this year, Emirates was also named “Best Airline in the World” at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for airlines after being the most positively reviewed airline in the industry. Just last year, Emirates also won the “World’s Best Airline” award at the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards. EmiratesSource = Emirateslast_img read more

Finnair opens direct flights to Minsk

first_imgFinnair opens direct flights to MinskFinnair opens direct flights to MinskFinnair will open a direct year-round route between Helsinki and Belarus capital, Minsk on 9 June 2018.Finnair Corporate Sales Manager Australia, Sanna Ruuskanen said the flights between Helsinki and Minsk would operate Tuesdays and Saturdays with an Embraer 190 aircraft.Currently, Finnair also co-operates with Belavia on the Helsinki-Minsk route and Finnair’s own flights will bring the total amount of weekly services to four.Minsk is well known for its history, architecture and cultural arts scene. The city’s many museums and historical sites also offer activities for travellers interested in history and culture.“A direct route to Minsk complements well our network and will serve especially well customers travelling between Belarus and North America,” said Finnair Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Järvinen.“Additionally, our new Minsk flights will connect well to Finnair’s Asian and European network.”Ms Ruuskanen advised Finnair would be extending it Helsinki-Chicago route until 3 December 2018 with two weekly flights.Originally, the route was set to operate from 19 April until 27 October. Chicago is the largest city in the American Midwest and a global hub for business, leisure and the arts. Finnair started a seasonal service to Chicago during the northern summer of 2015.Ms Ruuskanen said Finnair’s Helsinki-San Francisco route would be extended until 5 December 2018 with two weekly frequencies. Originally, the route was to be operated from 3 May 3 until 27 September.  San Francisco is well-known for its buzzing food scene, hilly terrain and Victorian architecture. Finnair began a seasonal service to San Francisco during the northern summer of 2017.“Last summer, Chicago and San Francisco were very popular with our customers and the demand has also been strong for the upcoming summer season,” said Mr Järvinen.“We are very excited to offer these two important US destinations to our customers for a longer period in 2018. By making some minor modifications to our traffic program, such as pushing back the starting dates for some of our long-haul leisure destinations, we’ve been able to extend the operating period for both destinations.”Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners to 19 destinations in Asia and seven in the Americas plus more than 100 Europe destinations.Finnair was named Best International Airline – Offline in the prestigious 2017 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards for the fifth consecutive year.Source = Finnairlast_img read more

Lubaina Sheerazi

first_imgWe have started participating in OTM since 2010 and it’s been a great platform. We are growing year-on-year and last year we have crossed few milestones.  OTM is a mix of B2B and B2C which works very well for a tourism brand like ours, and Mumbai is an important source market for us.last_img

airberlin flies special flight to North Pole

first_imgairberlin, flying to 138 destinations worldwide, features a special sightseeing flight over the North Pole. On April 23, 2016, the airberlin Deutsche Polarflug will once again depart Dusseldorf for the North Pole. The approximately 12-hours special flight over the Arctic and North Pole in an Airbus A330-200 is a world exclusive.“Our range of special flights extends from the traditional Polar flight, through comet observation flights, to full charter flights for companies. We fly entire orchestras to their concerts and football clubs to tournaments,” said Karsten von dem Hagen, Head of the Special Flights Department. Customers can decide how they are organised: “Do we need catering…Is checked baggage included or not? We clarify all this with our customers,” von dem Hagen explains. Special flights can also fly to destinations outside the regular airberlin schedule.“The flight now attracts a number of regular passengers and is also a popular gift for wedding anniversaries and special birthdays,” Hagen reports. Upon reaching the North Pole, the airberlin crew serves traditional champagne and at the end of the flight, each passenger receives a certificate for successful participation in the Polar flight.Tickets for the Polar flight are available from 499 Euros, including taxes, fees and topbonus miles. Feeder flights can be booked from airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.last_img read more

Manchester the city of firsts

first_imgThe video showcases the cultural and tourism hotspots of Manchester in England. From the city’s musical heritage in the Northern Quarter to Canal Street which perfectly sums up the Mancunian ideals of tolerance and good times. Source: Expedialast_img

Los Angeles Tourism launches online agent training programme – LA Insider

first_imgLos Angeles Tourism & Convention Board launched the ‘LA Insider,’ an online training tool for travel trade professionals. The mobile and tablet operating programme is the first of its kind for LA Tourism. It has been designed to help travel trade better sell the city and stay updated with its latest information. In 2017, a record-breaking 48.3 million tourists visited LA, which is expected to reach 50 million by 2020. Launching the product, Francine Sheridan, Europe and ME Regional Director, LA Tourism said, “We’re proud to launch such an advanced training programme, one that will help our clients discover LA like an insider and sell LA like an expert. Los Angeles’ welcoming spirit, the celebration of diversity and perfect weather are bringing visitors in greater numbers. New restaurants, attractions and hotels are opening up quickly to meet demand and it can be difficult to stay on top of all the new developments – LA Insider aims to provide the travel trade with a one-stop-shop platform for everything they need.”“We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support we receive from our industry partners,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., President and CEO of LA Tourism. “The launch of LA Insider speaks to our commitment to travel trade professionals by providing them with helpful tools they can use on a daily basis as well as recognition for their expertise.”Developed by TravPRO which also launched Visit California’s STAR program, will provide easy access to LA tourism’s marketing assets, sales collateral such as fact sheets, maps, videos and even neighbourhood tours in virtual reality.last_img read more

BTEA organises consolidators Fam trip

first_imgBahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) recently organised a consolidator’s familiarisation (Fam) trip to Bahrain. The authority had arranged the Fam trip to showcase Bahrain’s famous tourist attractions to help grow the country’s tourism industry. This year, Bahrain is looking at the growth of about 46% tourists from India in 2018. Speaking about the same, Sunil Mathapati, Country Manager said, “As part of the plan to highlight Bahrain’s overall tourism offering and to tap on the high potential consumer market that India has, be it luxury travellers, adventure enthusiasts, wedding and MICE segments; we will be proactively doing marketing activities and trips to attract tourism and make a traveller aware about the destination which is rich in history and culture and has various adventure activities, which is just four hours from India.” Some places the delegation visited were Bahrain International Circuit, historical forts, cultural sites in the old capital Muharraq, beaches, The Al Fateh Grand Mosque, The National Museum. They also visited five-star hotels to review and understand their offerings. They further went to check out the island flavour, exploring varieties of food options. The Fam trip also showcased new tourist attraction like Jarada Islands and the group was taken to new hotel Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain as well for inspection.last_img read more

Abu Dhabi hotels record strong doubledigit rise in revenues in Q1 of

first_imgAccording to the latest figures released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) for the emirate’s hospitality sector, the total hotel revenues for the emirate for Q1 of 2019 have increased by more than 16% compared to the same period in 2018.Events such as the AFC Asian Cup, IDEX exhibition, Special Olympics World Games and the Retail Abu Dhabi (RAD) shopping festival, alongside the popularity of in-demand new attractions including Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, Al Hosn cultural site and Qasr Al Watan Library all provided a significant boost to the emirate’s appeal as a tourism destination for the first three months of the year.The First Quarter results reveal total revenues, which increased by 16.1%, were driven by a boost in Average Room Revenue (ARR), which increased by almost 15% coupled with an occupancy rate of 79%.  The hotels saw room revenue increased by 24.5%, while F&B revenues increased by 10.4%.In total 1,291,482 visitors were guests of Abu Dhabi’s 169 hotels and hotel apartments during Q1, a modest increase of about 6,600 over the same period in 2018. For the first three months of the year, the figures also show Abu Dhabi has enjoyed a 2.1% increase in the Average Length of Stay of all guests.For hotel guests, there were marked increases for visitors from the USA, with a 13.8% rise for Q1. Average Length of Stays for visitors from the UK, China, India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also saw increases. Also, Q1 witnessed a 51% rise in visitors coming to Abu Dhabi for leisure purposes compared to last year.H.E. Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary, DCT Abu Dhabi said, “These numbers confirm our strong start to 2019 and that our efforts and strategic planning are proving successful. The Q1 figures were without doubt boosted by visitors inspired by all Abu Dhabi offered in the first three months of the year.“We will continue to focus on our key markets in the second quarter of this year, promoting more world-class events. Abu Dhabi International Book Fair saw an increase of 18% in visitor figures, attracting experts, authors and book fans from across the world. We are confident that we will build on our strong start to the year, and we look forward to seeing our metrics in positive territory as we head towards summer.” The second quarter of the year is a reliable period for attracting tourists, with marquee events such as the Al Dhafra Water Festival, the Jiu Jitsu Championship and Eid Festival all taking place.last_img read more

Caliber Funding Appoints New CEO

first_img Agents & Brokers Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers 2011-06-07 Ryan Schuette in Origination, Secondary Market June 7, 2011 566 Views “”Caliber Funding LLC.””:, a wholesale and retail mortgage lender, announced Monday that it would appoint Brian Simon its chief executive officer. “”Caliber Funding has an excellent strategic position within the mortgage lending industry, and I am very excited to join the company,”” Simon said in the release. [IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]””Caliber has a talented group of employees and is gaining momentum in key areas of its business. I look forward to working with the entire Caliber Funding team to help the company accelerate its growth strategy.””A manager with over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Simon previously served in executive roles at such lending and financial heavyweights as “”Freedom Mortgage””:, Prime Mortgage Financial and “”Startbank””:. As Freedom Mortgage’s chief operating officer, Simon played lead roles in loan creation and implementation, facilitating the inception and management processes. He was also responsible for the lending and retail giant’s corporate strategy.Before joining Freedom Mortgage, Simon served as executive vice-president of Prime Mortgage Financial, overseeing the company’s marketing, strategic development, and loan management divisions.””Caliber Funding, LLC.””: remains a top wholesale and retail originator for mortgages that it manages and confirms through the “”Federal Housing Administration””: (FHA) and “”Veterans Affairs””: (VA). Headquartered in Arizona and Texas, the company operates in 44 states across the United States.center_img Caliber Funding Appoints New CEO Sharelast_img read more

International Partnership to Enhance Reconciliations

first_imgInternational Partnership to Enhance Reconciliations Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology An international partnership between the “”Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation””: (DTCC) and “”Clearstream””: is set to enhance operations for bilateral loans. The companies plan to combine DTCC’s Loan/SERV and Clearstream’s collateral management platform to streamline the registration and reconciliation of loans, as well as facilitate the use of loans as collateral. [IMAGE]DTCC and Clearstream will use the collaboration to support credit claims and syndicated loan markets, with Clearstream initiating the leveraging of DTCC’s Loan/SERV reconciliation service during the first half of 2012. In addition to the updated joint offering available via Loan/SERV, the entities will also build out integrated bilateral loan services.Prospective and existing clients in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia will now be able to take advantage of DTCC’s Loan/SERV product when it’s distributed in its new and improved format. Loan/SERV and Clearstream’s program will focus heavily on the automation of reconciliations, which allows agent lenders to routinely view and work with syndicated loans on a daily, 24/7 access basis.[COLUMN_BREAK]As part of its upcoming 2012 launch, the joint venture will encompass the processing of European-based bilateral loans, and the companies will target the mobilization of the related portfolios for use as collateral within the country’s respective national banks.DTCC and Clearstream will also handle the extension of potential assets to be utilized as collateral for interbank, triparty transactions, in compliance with the “”ICMA European Repo Council””: (ERC).DTCC’s chief operating officer, Michael C. Bodson, said of the partnership, “”We are pleased to partner with Clearstream on this initiative. The strategic partnership will benefit the customers of both DTCC and Clearstream by bringing together highly complementary strengths and services in loans and collateral management respectively, as well as help expand existing loan services in Europe and elsewhere.””Jeffrey Tessler, Clearstream’s CEO, echoed Bodson’s positive statements, adding, “”We are pleased to cover a new asset class with our services and create a new market infrastructure for loans. We are looking forward to partnering with DTCC and to be able to draw on DTCC’s experience of the syndicated loan market. Our goal is to improve the existing syndicated loan service for bilateral loans and enhance it with our collateral management capabilities.””Luxembourg-based Clearstream functions as a post-trade service provider of Deutsche Borse Group, and the company is also an international central securities depository. Stateside, DTCC is located in New York City, New York, and the entity specializes in clearance, settlement and information equity services, corporate municipal bonds, government and mortgage-backed securities, money market instruments, and over-the-counter derivatives.center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-09-15 Abby Gregory September 15, 2011 416 Views last_img read more

Tourism Solomons senior marketing information offi

first_imgTourism Solomons senior marketing information officer, Fiona Teama has been appointed to supervise all aspects of the Australian marketing portfolio from the Honiara headquarters of the national tourist office. The role was previously held by the high profile, and extremely popular, Stella Lucas, who tragically passed away last April.A Bachelor of Arts majoring in tourism management from the University of the South Pacific, Ms Teama is also a Fellow of the prestigious US State Department-sponsored Pacific Islands Professional Fellows Program. Joining the national tourist office in February 2015 as a graduate trainee, most recently she has held management responsibility for all aspects of the NTO’s key dive portfolio.She has also played a strong role in helping to promote the Solomon Islands to the Papua New Guinea market, now one of the destination’s top sources of international visitation.As part of her induction into the role, Ms Teama this week visited Brisbane and Sydney meeting key travel industry management and trade media accompanied by Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto, Australian-based marketing representative, Richard Skewes and PR representative, Mike Parker-Brown.Frequent visitor to the Sollys, Deborah Dickson-Smith (second from left), with Tourism Solomons team.Announcing Ms Teama’s appointment, CEO Tuamoto said her promotion came at a critical juncture in the national tourist office’s history following this month’s launch of the new ‘Solomon Is.’ branding and related new international marketing direction.“Fiona is stepping up to fill a pair of very big boots but she is the right person for this role,” Mr Tuamoto said.“I am confidenther involvement and direction in ensuring all Tourism Solomon’s marketing and related activity in the Australian market, supported by a very experienced Australia-based team, will play a role in our achieving maximum impact in this key area of our business.”TOP IMAGE: Tourism Solomons Team in Sydney, July 2018 – L-R Mike Parker-Brown, Fiona teama, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto and Richard Skewes appointmentsFiona TeamaTourism Solomonslast_img read more

Emirates is offering competitive fares to UK Euro

first_imgEmirates is offering competitive fares to UK, Europe and Dubai on Business and Economy Class flights from Australia, when booked by 13 May 2019, for select travel periods between 4 May and 12 December 2019.Economy Class fares* start from $1,179 to Dubai, $1,329 to Porto, $1,329 to Manchester, $1,349 to Barcelona, $1,439 to Paris, $1,459 to Athens, $1,469 to Munich and $1,489 to Rome.Business Class fares* start from $6,949 to Dubai, $7,219 to Barcelona, $7,229 to Porto, $7,299 to Munich, $7,389 to Manchester, $7,399 to Paris, $7,429 to Athens, $7,489 to Rome.Travellers can also enjoy one night’s accommodation in Dubai when stopping over, for select travel periods if booked before 13 May 2019. Economy Class travellers will receive one night’s accommodation in a Rover Room at the Rove Downtown Dubai or Rove City Centre Deira, including breakfast. While First and Business Class travellers will receive one night’s accommodation at the 5-star JW Marriott Marquis, including breakfast. From 1 December 2019, Emirates will reintroduce a second daily service, EK424/425 between Perth and Dubai until 20 January 2020, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. Meanwhile, the daily EK416/417 service between Sydney and Dubai will be upgauged to an A380 aircraft from 1 December until 2 February 2020 to meet demand from Australians travelling during the holiday season.*Terms & Conditions apply airlinesEmiratesspecialslast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   We’ve heard about players leaving the Arena Football League to chase their dreams of playing on Sundays before. Now, thanks to the NFL lockout, we’re getting a chance to hear the exact opposite and it’s effecting the Arizona Cardinals.On Thursday Cards offensive lineman Cliff Louis announced that he was joining the Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL. He becomes the fourth player to defect the NFL and head to the arena league. The Arizona Rattlers were the benefactors in two of those situations when the re-acquired both receiver Rod Windsor (Cleveland Browns) and kicker Fabrizio Scaccia (San Francisco 49ers). While Louis and the other players leaving the NFL for the 50-yard indoor war aren’t household names, it serves as a reminder that it’s not just the Larry Fitzgerald’s, Drew Brees’ and Peyton Manning’s of the world that are affected by the lockout. It’s the 53rd man on the roster who has to worry about their livelihood and just how long the work stoppage will last.The NFL’s loss is the AFL’s gain. The more talented players to suit up for teams across their league the better off they are. If the lockout continues well into the summer numerous other players could be joining the likes of Louis, Windsor and Scaccia in their exodus from the league in search of pay checks. You have to wonder how long until other minor football leagues, like the UFL, will benefit from bickering between the NFL and its players. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’center_img What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more