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Caribbean tourism hits new record in 2016 despite drop in Canadian numbers

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_img Share Tags: Caribbean, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Trend Watch Posted by BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — It was a record year for the Caribbean in 2016, which welcomed over one million more visitors than the previous year to reach an impressive 29.3 million.According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), this was the first time Caribbean tourism surpassed 29 million arrivals, once again growing faster than the global average.“Despite political, security and economic uncertainties and challenges in our main source markets, tourist arrivals to the Caribbean increased by 4.2% in 2016, better than the 3.9% overall internationally,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of CTO. Riley also noted during his presentation of the Caribbean Tourism Performance Report 2016 that visitor expenditure hit a new high as well, growing by an estimated 3.5% to reach US$35.5 billion.The United States remained the Caribbean’s primary market with an estimated 14.6 million stay-over arrivals, up 3.5% on 2015. However, it was Europe that recorded the highest rate of growth among the main source markets, led by strong increases from Germany (8.2%) and the United Kingdom (4.1%).More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“Despite terrorist attacks in some countries, the Brexit referendum in the U.K. and bumpy economic outcomes across continental Europe, arrivals from that market climbed by 11.4% to reach 5.6 million. The strong European performance was evident by the healthy increases of between six and 16.8% in each month, compared to the corresponding month in 2015,” added Riley.Canada, normally a robust market for the Caribbean, recorded a decrease for the first time since 1994, and only the second contraction since 1982. The 3.3 million arrivals from Canada represented a 3.4% drop when compared to 2015.Plus, Riley revealed that cruise arrivals grew at a slower pace of 1.3% to approximately 26.3 million, while the hotel sector recorded negative growth, with all hotel indicators contracting, with the exception of the number of available rooms, which grew by just over 1%, according to Smith Travel Research.So what’s the forecast for 2017? The CTO predicts increases of 2.5% and 3.5% in long-stay arrivals and increases of between 1.5% and 2.5% in cruise passenger arrivals. Caribbean tourism hits new record in 2016 despite drop in Canadian numberscenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Friday, February 10, 2017 last_img read more


The battle continues Las Vegas Hawaii crack down on Airbnb

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, June 22, 2017 Posted by Tags: Airbnb, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Trend Watch With file from The Associated Press The battle continues: Las Vegas & Hawaii crack down on Airbnb LAS VEGAS — Airbnb, which has already been feeling the squeeze in cities like New York, San Francisco and Seattle, are now facing further crackdowns in two additional major tourist destinations: Las Vegas and Hawaii.Las Vegas property owners interested in renting out their properties for brief periods will have to comply with new rules passed Wednesday meant to crack down on a booming short-term rental industry that has raised concerns among some residents and local officials. Owners now need a special use permit, proof of liability insurance for US$500,000 and letter-sized placards outside the properties with contact information and maximum allowed occupancy.The new requirements were approved as complaints over raucous parties at short-term rentals have mounted over the years and following more than three hours of debate among city officials and comments from dozens of residents.City officials were split on the ordinance. While some council members strongly favour the regulations, others, including the mayor, questioned whether they will truly put an end to the use of rentals as “party houses” since enforcement of the existing regulations has not been efficient.“Everything I’m hearing is exactly the same. It’s party houses and party houses and party houses, and none of us wants them in our neighbourhood,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said. “But this isn’t going to do anything, in my opinion, to stop the party houses.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTFigures released in February by the San Francisco-based home-sharing service Airbnb show people in Las Vegas who listed their homes through the company hosted more than a quarter of a million people last year and earned $35.5 million.Las Vegas drew a record number of visitors for a third straight year in 2016, attracting almost 43 million tourists. Unincorporated Clark County – which includes properties near the Las Vegas Strip – does not allow short-term rentals in residential areas.Short-term rentals were already required to pass a safety and minimum property standard inspection, obtain a business license and pay an annual $500 permit fee. Short-term rentals may not be within 660 feet of each other as measured from their property lines.The new special-use permit carries a fee of $1,030. It also requires units with more than 5 bedrooms to have one additional parking spot for every two additional bedrooms.Airbnb spokeswoman Jasmine Mora in a statement said the council’s decision “is a step in the wrong direction that threatens an important economic lifeline for thousands of Las Vegas families.”Meanwhile, officials on the Hawaii island of Oahu are looking for ways to cut down on subleasing as its popularity rises with the advent of businesses such as Airbnb.The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that renters have been cashing in on the profitability of the island’s vacation rental market through online rental sites. But Honolulu officials are working on a way to curb the trend by strengthening the city’s subleasing enforcement strategy.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesHawaii real estate analyst Stephany Sofos says she once had a tenant who was renting from her for $1,500 per month, but was subleasing for $1,000 per week through Craigslist and Airbnb.Elizabeth Churchill, owner of tourism consultancy Churchill Group LLC, called the practice “brilliant” for tenants, but says those who are making money should follow regulations and pay their share.Airbnb has run into regulatory battles in some cities, including New York and San Francisco. In some cities, local officials have complained that the boom in short-term rentals, led by Airbnb – which boasts millions of rental listings around the world – is reducing long-term housing for residents.In May, Seattle officials and Airbnb reached a deal in a lawsuit stemming from the city’s efforts to prevent the website from including housing units that violate city restrictions on who can list properties and for how long. Under the settlement, residents have to provide their registration number to list a rental on the website.last_img read more


First look at Flight Centres Toronto flagship Travel Centre

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_img Share Tags: Flight Centre First look at Flight Centre’s Toronto flagship Travel Centre Posted by Wednesday, September 27, 2017 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Flight Centre’s first flagship Travel Centre is now open in Toronto with 10,000 square feet of space in a heritage building at the corner of King St. West and Spadina Ave.Flight Centre says the mixed-use planning and event space “is now ready to revolutionize the way Canadians travel”.Leisure travel consultants work on the main floor, which is open to the public. A team of 50+ corporate travel advisors works on the lower floor in the business travel centre.Here’s a look at the space ahead of the grand opening on Sept. 28:last_img read more


Canada outpaces US in incoming tourism to Germany

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_img Share TORONTO — All signs are pointing to another record year in tourism for Germany, with the Canadian market continuing to contribute significant numbers.Just ahead of the final figures for 2017, the German Federal Statistical Office recorded 78 million international overnight stays in accommodation establishments with at least 10 beds from January to November, an increase of 3.5% compared to the same period in the previous year.According to Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB): “During all of 2017, German incoming tourism grew more rapidly again than in the prior year. While in 2016 the number of international overnight stays increased only slightly by 1.4%, we can now expect double the growth rates for 2017.”Hedorfer pointed to positive key economic figures and political stability in significant source markets as contributing to this trend, in addition to the “excellent positioning” of Destination Germany.Europe continues to be the largest volume market for incoming tourism, with a market share of 72.9%. But the majority of growth from source regions for international travel stems from the American continent, with North America presenting growth well above average. Canada beat out the United States by a margin of 0.2%, amounting to an increase of Canadian visitors to Germany of 8.8% over the same period 2016 (compared to 8.6% growth from the U.S.)More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at sea“We are eagerly awaiting the final year-end visitor numbers from Canada to Germany,” says Antje Splettstoesser, The German National Tourist Office’s Director for Canada, “and are confident they will confirm this positive trend, which already began to materialize in the fall, when year-over-year figures for the month of September had come to 17.6%, then indicating an overall annual increase of 8.1%.”More than 1.25 million airliner seats on direct flights between Canada and Germany were available in 2017, accommodating visitors seeing both longer stays and stopover visits.Says Splettstoesser, “Looking at 2018, we certainly hope to see Destination Germany’s continued popularity among Canadian travellers of both kinds. Our cities and their immense variety in classic and cutting-edge cultural offers, the countryside that’s easily explored onboard sleek river cruise liners, Germany’s ever developing culinary scene lately counting for more than 300 Michelin stars, not to forget our groomed wines and storied beers – all make for a package that has something for all ages and pocketbooks.” Canada outpaces U.S. in incoming tourism to Germany Wednesday, February 7, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Germany, Trend Watchlast_img read more


Sunny days as Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando makes its debut

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgTags: Openings & Renovations, SeaWorld, SeaWorld Orlando << Previous PostNext Post >> Sunny days as Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando makes its debut Share Thursday, March 28, 2019 center_img ORLANDO — Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando has opened with everyone’s favourite Sesame Street friends along with the iconic Sesame Street neighbourhood including Abby Cadabby’s Garden, Big Bird’s Nest, Mr. Hooper’s Store and the famous 123 Stoop.  The debut of this highly-anticipated, six-acre world class attraction is the largest Sesame Street land inside of any of the SeaWorld parks and an exciting part of Sesame Street’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration. Sesame Street’s Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita kicked off the opening at a special preview event earlier this week. “We are thrilled to officially welcome guests to walk down Sesame Street for the very first time in the theme park capital of the world,” says Mark Pauls, President of SeaWorld Orlando. “This highly-anticipated, immersive new land is the largest Sesame Street land inside of any of our SeaWorld parks. With over 30 new ways to play and an award-winning parade, this is a new land that guests of all ages will love, and we are excited to share it with the world.”Scott Chambers, Senior Vice President/General Manager, North America Media and Licensing, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the iconic brand, says that theme parks “represent one of the most powerful ways for families to engage with and delight in the Sesame Street characters.”Chambers adds that “Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando will enable us to establish deeper connections with even more families while helping the Workshop sustain its nonprofit and educational mission.”In addition to several educational interactive experiences, Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando includes six colourful, themed rides: Abby’s Flower Tower, Cookie Drop!, Slimey’s Slider,  Big Bird’s Twirl ‘n’ Whirl, Elmo’s Choo Choo Train and Super Grover’s Box Car Derby.  Super Grover’s Box Car DerbyAnother favorite of the new land is the Rubber Duckie Water Works wet play area.  Scheduled daily highlights in the neighborhood include Storytime with Big Bird at his nest and the Sesame Street Party Parade. Storytime with Big BirdSesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando is also serving up fun favourites at Eats on the Street, featuring food trucks and a specialty drink stand. Guests can take home mementos from Mr. Hooper’s Store, which features plush characters, apparel, collectible pins and more, available only at Sesame Street at SeaWorld. Elmo’s Interactive Light-Up Bubble Wand unlocks hidden surprises, special effects and exclusive content throughout the street. And a visit to Photos with Elmo and Friends provides backstage access to Sesame Street friends with meet and greet opportunities. Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more


Farmer charged with arson in Palo Verde National Park blaze

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgProsecutors in Liberia, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, received a complaint against a farmer with the last name Brenes Salazar for allegedly starting a fire that affected 70 hectares of Palo Verde National Park on Jan. 16.The complaint was made ​​by the park’s administration, who said Brenes did not have permits for agricultural burning on his land, which is adjacent to Palo Verde.“National park authorities sent evidence and documentation and are waiting for an investigation ​​by the prosecutor’s office,” the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) said in a press release.Luis Diego Román, coordinator of the National Commision on Wildfires (CONIFOR), said, “the idea is to [reach a verdict in the case] as soon as possible in order to set a precedent and to make people aware that they can go to jail if a fire gets out of control.”The species most affected by the fire (35 hectares) was Typha, a variety of grass. Fire also burned 15 hectares of pasture and 20 hectares of secondary forest, and regeneration could take up to 20 years, according to SINAC.According to the agency, 49 percent of wildfires in Costa Rica are caused by agricultural-related burning practices. Facebook Comments Related posts:Palo Verde Forest Fire Set by Illegal Hunters 1,500 More Hectares Burn In Palo Verde Park Wildfire destroys 5 hectares of Costa Rica’s Palo Verde National Park More than 500 hectares of protected areas destroyed by wildfires this yearlast_img read more


Annual fest in Austin promotes Central American music in the US

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgRelated posts:‘Psychotropic’ Sonámbulo readies for US Lineup announced for Envision 2014 The Doors’ drummer John Densmore to play concert with Costa Rica’s Sonámbulo Jacó Happenings “Music has no borders,” says Central American singer-songwriter Flor Urbina. Courtesy of Mauricio Callejas AUSTIN, Texas – The numerous Spanish-language radio stations in the United States rarely play music from Central America despite more than four million immigrants from this region.To fill this void, Salvadoran songwriter Mauricio Callejas created the website “Centroamericanto” in 2003, displaying podcasts of music, interviews and news about Central American musicians. Callejas has dedicated all his efforts to promote musicians from the region after moving to Austin, Texas, in 2002.One of these efforts is the organization since 2011 of the annual Centroamericanto Fest. The festival showcases independent Central American artists in Austin, the so-called Live Music Capital of the World, due to its variety of music festivals and venues. This year, the festival runs Sept. 26 to 29 and highlights a lineup with Costa Rican band Rialengo, songwriter Flor Urbina, and a set of 10 other artists. Last year, Honduran Guillermo Anderson played the fest.The festival showcases Central America as a region with a specific culture that is part of the American culture. This year, Centroamericanto Fest offers free music shows at Zilker Park, the same venue as the popular Austin City Limits music festival. Adults also can enjoy night shows at Dougherty Arts Center for $20, and the festival includes traditional foods and customs.Sponsored by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division and the Texas Commission of the Arts, the festival still lacks major sponsors such as airlines, hotels or food vendors, therefore, participating artists paid for their own trips to Austin.“Artists believe in this project,” Callejas says. As a result, some Central American artists have participated in a different internationally renowned festival, South by Southwest in Austin, including Sonámbulo Psicotropical from Costa Rica, and Culeta Sound Machine from Nicaragua.“Most artists from the region are independent and they only become famous after moving to Mexico or the U.S. where there are many record labels,” Callejas says, citing examples of Nicaraguan Luis Enrique, the “Prince of Salsa,” and Guatemalan songwriter Gaby Moreno. Costa Rican cumbia band Rialengo will perform this weekend’s Centroamericanto festival in Austin, Texas. Courtesy of Mauricio Callejascenter_img Callejas is an example of what the festival embodies. He composes trova music, a genre that is barely known in the United States.“Many people think that Latin music is only danceable,” he says.Recently, Callejas incorporated dance beats into his trova songs, and local radio stations started playing his latest album, “Helado Pop.”“I believe that music needs to carry a message beyond love and heartbreaking lyrics,” he says.His newest album combines bachata, cumbia and salsa rhythms.Central American immigrant groups are larger in major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Washington, D.C., however, many local festivals in those areas highlight traditional dances and foods rather than current independent musicians.Music production from Central America has a wide variety of styles in a region troubled by gangs and the highest murder rates in the world.“Society must write its own music about its own reality, issues and feelings,” Callejas says. At the same time, regional music reinforces the idea that there is a fellowship among people from Central America, and people from Costa Rica embrace Panamanian or Nicaraguan artists, he says, adding, “That [fraternity] is our inspiration.” Learn more about Centroamericanto Fest or follow it on social media at: http://www.centroamericantofest.com. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Genetically modified coffee could be just around the corner

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgA consortium of scientists announced Thursday in Science that they’ve sequenced the coffee genome for the first time. By determining all of the genes that make up robusta coffee, a plant variety that accounts for about one-third of the world’s consumption, they’ve opened the door to better breeding practices and even genetic engineering.The researchers were most surprised by the genes used to produce caffeine. There are several theories as to why a plant would want to give its leaves and berries an energy buzz: It might be meant as a deterrent against leaf-eating bugs, to make surrounding soil less hospitable to rival seedlings, or to turn potential pollinators into happy caffeine addicts. Whatever the drive, plants such as tea, coffee and chocolate developed enzymes to make the addicting (and sometimes toxic) compound.But when researchers compared the coffee genome to that of chocolate, they found that the enzymes used to make caffeine in the two plants aren’t closely related enough to share a common ancestor. In other words, coffee and chocolate found their way to caffeination independently of each other. So while the reasons for evolving caffeine production are still hard to pinpoint, we know it was a valuable enough trait to inspire multiple adaptations. Scientists don’t have a genome for tea yet, so we can’t be sure whether it developed caffeine on its own, as well.Some members of the group are proceeding to sequence arabica coffee, which produces the world’s fancier varieties of coffee bean. Since arabica is a hybrid of robusta and another variety of coffee plant, it has a duplicated genome. With twice as much genetic information to sift through, Victor Albert, the lead author and a professor of biological sciences at the University at Buffalo, said, this becomes “a much more complicated affair.”Albert and his colleagues have high hopes for the useful application of the sequencing. “When we compared the coffee to several other species, we saw a huge enrichment in disease-resistant genes,” he said. “Those can now be rapidly explored in more detail, and could be of use in both coffee breeding and in the molecular modification of coffee.”The obvious route, he said, would be to make coffee crops more resilient to climate change and increased pest problems. But his team’s work on coffee’s caffeine-producing enzymes could also help take the buzz out of your brew. “This might make it possible to knock off caffeine production in a variety of coffee plant,” Albert said, “So to make decaff coffee, you wouldn’t have to go through the process of extracting the caffeine. You could just grow coffee beans that don’t make it at all.”© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:New Anacafé chief: Guatemalan state must do more to finance battle against coffee rust Brazil coffee output set for worst slump since 1965 Morning caffeine fix gets cheaper as rains boost Brazil supplies USAID to invest $5 million to combat coffee fungus epidemic in Central Americalast_img read more


Chunches exhibit showcases inventive Guatemalan artist

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgRelated posts:‘From the Trenches’ exhibit illustrates World War I at Alianza Francesa TEOR/éTica offers different views of urban life Fausto Pacheco exhibit recalls Costa Rica of yore Group show ‘Valoarte‘ surprises and impresses at Avenida Escazú “Chunche” is one of the cutest words in the Costa Rican lexicon: It basically means “thingamajig” or “whatchamacallit.” You call something a chunche when you can’t be bothered to remember its actual name.For his exhibit, “Chunches,” multimedia artist Benvenuto Chavajay uses the term playfully, but his installations do not share that casual cuteness. Indeed, Chavajay is a very serious artist, and his themes are intensely political. Raised in Guatemala and fiercely protective of his indigenous ancestry, Chavajay rearranges unconventional materials in different forms.The Costa Rican Museum of Contemporary Art and Design has dedicated its largest space to Chavajay’s diverse works, and it is obvious, from the second you step inside, how boundless his creativity is. He uses clay to replicate light bulbs and pistols. He uses hundreds of buttons to represent maize kernels, which cover his synthetic ears of corn. He removes the plastic straps from sandals and uses them to connect a queue of large rocks.His oeuvre is not limited to sculpture: In one large-format photograph, Chavajay himself is pictured with a tattoo on his chest, which reads “Ch’ab’aqJay.” According to the explanatory plaque, “Ch’ab’aqJay” is Mayan for “mud house,” but no outsider can correctly pronounce it, so Spanish-speakers have changed his surname to Chavajay. Most of his work references his indigenous origins, usually in cryptic ways, contrasting industrial-age objects with ancient, Pre-Columbian themes. Ceramic “pistols” lie scattered. The quote reads: “In Guatemala there are villages so small that they fit in the site of a gun.” Robert Isenberg/The Tico TimesAt the same time, the exhibit is clearly a showcase of Chavajay’s individual works and is not likely meant to form a cohesive whole. The name “Chunches” might seem dismissive, but it’s also basically accurate: Here’s a bunch of peculiar objects from his studio. Each tells a story or asks a question. Take a few steps farther into the room, and you’ll find a different peculiar object that tells a different story or asks a different question. It’s like stepping inside Chavajay’s mind and rooting around the surreal images that occupy it.The adjacent room houses a second exhibit, “Gaur [Sic],” whose origins are a little more obscure. In the Basque language, “Gaur” means “today,” and the name represented a group of avant-garde artists in the 1960s. If you’re not familiar with your radical European art movements of the Vietnam Era, well, the Gaur folks were among them.Like “Chunches,” the “Gaur” retrospective has something to do with rebuilding an ancient identity in a postmodern world, but unlike Chavajay, whose indigenous references are fairly clear (corn, clay, stone), the “Gaur” collective is much weirder, the kind of stuff you create when you’re reading a lot of Foucault and tripping on acid.For starters, the “Gaur” works are all video segments, projected on walls or shown on small TVs. In one video, an energetic young woman bounces a ball down the street. She’s very adept, rebounding the ball off every surface imaginable. Suddenly the ball crashes through a shop window. Inside, a female shopkeeper tosses the ball back to her and smiles. Voilà! The whole thing was staged!As usual, it’s nice to see the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design present such daring and eccentric pieces. I would guess that visitors will probably gravitate toward Chavajay’s exhibit, if only because the artist seems more earnest. Either way, they’re both fine collections and worth a visit on a rainy afternoon. You might even be inspired to take a picture with your doohickey.“Chunches” continues through Nov. 13 at the Museo de Art y Diseño Contemporáneo, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡500-1,500 ($1-3). Info: MADC website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


With immigration fight US Homeland Security shutdown nears

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgRelated posts:‘Writing was on the wall’ for child immigrant crisis, says new study New immigration program seeks to reunite Central American families in US Discussion of Cuban migrant crisis to resume Tuesday in Mexico Bernie Sanders: Central American refugees should not be ‘cast out’ A Department of Homeland Security shutdown grew increasingly likely Monday, with lawmakers fighting over funding for the US agencyamid a bitter standoff about President Barack Obama’s immigration reform plan.Facing a Friday deadline, Senate Democrats for a fourth time blocked a measure that would fund the department tasked with protecting Americans and securing the border.Lawmakers want to see DHS fully funded, particularly during the current heightened threat environment.But the $40 billion bill contains Republican amendments that would repeal Obama’s plan to shield millions of people from deportation, changes that Democrats do not support.With the blame game in full swing, it appeared increasingly likely Congress would fail to fund DHS before the midnight Friday deadline.“We’re in a bit of a boxed canyon here and I think we all know that,” Republican Senator Jeff Flake said after the vote.“Right now, it does seem to be where we’re headed,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of a possible shutdown.All Senate Democrats voted against the measure, along with Republican Dean Heller.Immediately afterward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced stand-alone legislation to repeal Obama’s immigration “overreach.”He and his office gave no indication whether he would follow that up with a clean DHS funding bill.Republicans including Flake and Senator John McCain have said they would support passing a temporary funding extension, a possible last-minute way to avoid a lapse.Some House Republicans have indicated they might be willing to test a partial DHS shutdown, arguing that essential personnel would keep working.House leaders have not indicated how they will proceed.“It’s going to be difficult for them to move anything,” Flake said of the House. “There are a lot of people dug in.”Obama fought back Monday against efforts to block his immigration order, urging a federal court to allow the shielding of deportations and demanding Congress fund DHS.The Justice Department filed a motion calling for a Texas district court to stay its injunction issued against Obama’s plan last week, which was a blow to his efforts to reform a system most lawmakers agree is broken.‘Break the impasse’  And DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson called on Congress to act immediately to prevent shutdown.“If Congress wants to have a debate about immigration, the president and I welcome that debate,” he said.“But don’t tie that debate to the funding of the men and women standing behind me,” he told reporters, urging lawmakers to “figure out a way to break the impasse.”Should Congress fail to agree on funding, agents including border security personnel, airport screeners, and Secret Service agents tasked with protecting the president would remain on the job without pay.Funds for new border agents, training and equipment would be frozen. Crucial emergency management programs would halt.“This is no way to run a government,” Johnson said.Obama himself hammered the point to state governors gathered at the White House, where he warned of trickle-down effects of withholding 100,000 salaries.“It will have a direct impact on your economy, and it will have a direct impact on America’s national security,” Obama said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Mexican media agree Controversial yellow card in Sundays match against Costa Rica

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgConcacaf 1, Costa Rica 0…En tiempos extras.— David Faitelson (@Faitelson_ESPN) July 20, 2015 In Costa Rica, any mention of the name Walter López is sure to incite bitterness among the nation’s football fans for a long time to come. The referee drew the now-infamous yellow card on Costa Rica’s Roy Miller in the 121st minute, setting up Mexico’s winning penalty kick in Sunday’s 1-0 Gold Cup quarterfinals match.But widespread complaints from Costa Rican fans have found some on the Mexican side nodding their heads in agreement.ESPN reporter and longtime Mexican football journalist David Faitelson said in a column Monday morning that the region’s football federation, CONCACAF, wants Mexico to advance to the finals for higher viewership numbers. “The official decided to call the penalty and in his decision could have weighed the prevailing interest of the Gold Cup organizers – the ‘new’ CONCACAF or the ‘old’ CONCACAF – that Mexico and the United States make it to the final,” Faitelson wrote in his ESPN Deportes column.The sports daily Medio Tiempo said in a tweet: “Advance gifted: El Tricolor gets to the semifinals with a #NoEraPenal.” Mexico’s Diario Récord said: “The national team was willed into a 1-0 victory in the quartefinals with a horrible penalty given in favor of Miguel Herrera’s side.”Many in Mexico seem to be in agreement that the penalty was undeserved, except for head coach Miguel Herrera and Peralta. “I asked Oribe if he was fouled and he told me that he [Roy Miller] threw him from the top,” Herrera told reporters after the match.Social media users joined in on the conversation by poking fun at the questionable call and tying it into Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Mexicans. (Via Facebook) Related posts:Injury may keep Costa Rica’s star goalkeeper Keylor Navas out of the Gold Cup CONCACAF Gold Cup preview: Ticos look to re-establish themselves as region’s top team Costa Rica lets win slip away, draws 1-1 with El Salvador Costa Rica looks for win against rival Mexico in Gold Cup quarterfinals México a celebrar un #NoEraPenal http://t.co/aET5TBZ5d2 pic.twitter.com/TY8w4wjVzc— MedioTiempo (@mediotiempo) July 20, 2015 Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Bill Cosby charged with sexual assault

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgRelated posts:Cosby’s wife forced to testify in defamation case over sexual-assault allegations ‘Finally, we’re all validated’: Bill Cosby’s alleged victims react to his arraignment UN peacekeepers routinely trade sex for goods UPDATE: US ‘affluenza’ teen arrested in Mexico NEW YORK — Comedian Bill Cosby has been charged with sexual assault in Pennsylvania over an incident that took place in 2004, a prosecutor said Wednesday — the first criminal charges filed against the actor after dozens of women claimed abuse.“Mr Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault. This is a felony,” Kevin Steele, assistant district attorney for the state’s Montgomery County, told reporters in Norristown, in the suburbs of Philadelphia.Cosby, 78, was to be arraigned later Wednesday. If found guilty, the veteran television star could face up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.More than 50 women have already publicly claimed abuse by the pioneering African-American comedian, who attained his greatest fame for his role as the lovable family doctor and pater familias in the hit 1980s sitcom “The Cosby Show.”But his attorneys have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing by Cosby, who has gone from megastar to pariah in the face of the allegations, which span four decades. Earlier this month, he filed a defamation suit against seven of his accusers.The Pennsylvania criminal charge stems from allegations made by a former employee of Temple University in Philadelphia, who says the television legend assaulted her at his home in the suburb of Cheltenham in 2004.“On the evening in question, Mr Cosby urged her to take pills that he provided to her and to drink wine — the effect of which rendered her unable to move, (or to) respond to his advances, and he committed aggravated indecent assault upon her,” Steele said.Steele said the charge — which prosecutors later clarified is a felony of the second degree — stemmed from new evidence in the case that came to light in July, prompting the reopening of the investigation.“A prosecutor’s job is to follow the evidence wherever it leads and whenever it comes to light,” Steele said.“Today, after examination of all the evidence, we are able to seek justice on behalf of the victim,” he added, urging anyone with information about similar incidents with Cosby to come forward.In a statement, prosecutors accused Cosby of fondling the woman and penetrating her with his fingers.Statute of limitationsSteele did not name the victim, but the facts of the case correspond with allegations made by Andrea Constand. Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, confirmed to CNN that the charge was connected to her.In 2005, an initial investigation did not result in criminal charges against Cosby in Constand’s case.In a deposition Cosby gave as part of a civil suit filed by Constand, which was settled in 2006, the actor insisted all relations with Constand were consensual, and accused her of lying about the assault.“I think Andrea is a liar and I know she’s a liar because I was there. I was there,” Cosby said in the deposition, cited by The New York Times.Prosecutors said the release of court documents in July and the subsequent release of the deposition had in part led to the reopening of the case. Steele said the victim had said she was willing to cooperate with prosecutors.Statutes of limitations have prevented most of the women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault from taking legal action. In the Pennsylvania case, the statute of limitations was set to expire early next year.The accusations against Cosby have led television networks to back away from projects connected to him, and several universities have stripped him of honorary degrees. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Foxs Bordertown is a rippedfromtheheadlines satire

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgThe animated comedy, which premieres Sunday night on Fox, inspires the kind of laughs that come with a wince. How uncomfortable you are will depend on how much you’ve been paying attention to current events.Created by “Family Guy” writer Mark Hentemann, “Bordertown” revolves around two neighboring families in the fictional Southwest desert town of Mexifornia. Bud Buckwald, voiced by Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”), feels threatened by a growing immigrant population that looks a lot like his neighbor, Ernesto Gonzalez. Ernesto runs a successful landscaping business, much to the ire of Bud, who perpetually struggles to keep his job as a border patrol agent.Both are family men. Bud has three children — Sanford, 24, still lives with his parents and looks a bit like an animated Kid Rock. Five-year-old Gert is a pageant queen with a pet pig named Sprinkles. She’s also the only one in her family with an accent (hi, Stewie Griffin), a spirited Southern drawl courtesy of Missi Pyle. Bud’s other daughter, the gravel-voiced Becky (“Family Guy’s” Alex Borstein) shares an often naive idealism, and a love connection, with Ernesto’s college-student nephew, J.C.In the first episode, Mexifornia residents are asked to pass an anti-immigration ordinance — also known as the “show me your papers law” — and Bud is a staunch supporter: “The Southwest belongs to retired art teachers and meth-lab entrepreneurs.”The immigrant debate and a growing culture clash are the targets of “Bordertown’s” satire, but nothing and no one is left unscathed. In one scene at the Gonzalez house, a pundit named Bob Mothers (wink, wink) rails against Republicans.”I love Bob,” J.C. says. “He stands up for the little guy on a network that costs $50 a month.”“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is an executive producer of “Bordertown,” which, depending on what you think of MacFarlane’s brand of humor, could make you want to tune in — or out. On a scale of “Ted” (the lowest of the low) to “Family Guy,” “Bordertown” would end up on the higher end of the spectrum. In the two episodes I screened, there’s an alien gag that overstays its welcome and a still-too-soon Philip Seymour Hoffman joke. But the show is off to a good start with its timely humor.In fact, today’s headlines might be “Bordertown’s” best asset. The second episode is called “Borderwall,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Bud is among the Mexifornia residents in favor of building a wall to keep Mexican immigrants from crossing the border.Last month, Hentemann told entertainment website TV Insider that he had written the episode long before leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump began his campaign and the promise that he would build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border.“We should give Trump a writing credit on the episode for making it relevant and topical again,” Hentemann told the site.© 2015, The Washington Post Related posts:Fix the immigration crisis at its root Central American foreign ministers meet in Washington to lobby Obama on immigration crisis ‘Writing was on the wall’ for child immigrant crisis, says new study Bernie Sanders: Central American refugees should not be ‘cast out’ Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Thousands march to back Nicaragua bishops after Ortega attacks

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgRelated posts:Nicaraguan student leaders meet with former President Oscar Arias US warns Nicaragua as more killed in unrest As Nicaragua elections approach, banned opposition decries Ortega’s budding dictatorship Two dead in Nicaragua protest violence as Ortega calls for ‘peace’ Call for early pollsThe bishops, through their Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, support elections being brought forward from 2021 to next year.The United States and the Organization of American States back that call, with Washington warning of further sanctions on Nicaragua if Ortega does not yield to the demand.But Ortega, 72, has rejected early polls, saying they would only increase insecurity.He accuses the United States of financing opposition militia he says are intent on toppling the government he leads with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.The left-wing leader, who first came to power in 1979 after his Sandinista guerrillas swept aside a US-backed dictatorship, has ruled Nicaragua for 22 of the past 39 years.The unrest is posing the biggest challenge to his authority since he returned to office in 2007, not least because the business sector that had underpinned previous economic stability is now spurning him over the violence. Facebook Comments Thousands of Nicaraguans marched through their capital on Saturday in a show of support for the country’s bishops whom President Daniel Ortega has accused of aiding an attempted “coup” against him.The rally brought together Catholics, evangelicals, and non-Christians under images of the Virgin Mary and Nicaraguan flags, and cries of “freedom” and “Bishop, buddy, the people are with you.”It was another display of popular opposition to Ortega, who has become reviled by large sections of Nicaragua’s population of six million for a brutal three-month crackdown on anti-government protests in which more than 300 people have been killed.The president has been able to impose a period of relative calm on the country after police and loyalist paramilitaries firing weapons crushed opposition hubs in Managua and the nearby city of Masaya this month. One of the raids targeted youths taking shelter in a church in the capital, killing two.After those operations, Ortega this week declared “the turmoil is over.”He also accused the country’s bishops, who have been trying to bring about a peaceful solution by mediating talks between the government and the opposition, of helping those challenging him, whom he called “coup-mongers” and “terrorists.” Protesters participate in the “March of Mocking” against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, in Leon, Nicaragua, on July 28, 2018. AFP Photo / Marvin RecinosPersecution“Given this supremely critical situation, [the church] has, yesterday, today and forever, given life and voice to those who have no voice,” said one priest taking part in Saturday’s march, Silvio Fonseca.An evangelical, Henry Aguilar, 55, told AFP that non-Catholic churches had joined the “pilgrimage” demonstration in support of the Catholic bishops “because we are Nicaraguans, and the same system attacking them is also attacking us.”Daily protests continue against Ortega, demanding he step down and early elections be held. While the violence has diminished, at least four deaths have been reported since the security blitzes.Rights groups say state-sponsored persecution of people suspected of taking part in the protests, or of helping them, has been stepped up, forcing thousands to flee over the southern border into Costa Rica.Doctors at a state-run hospital in the northwest city of Leon told AFP on Friday that more than a dozen medics, nurses and technical personnel have been fired for treating wounded protesters and, in some cases, voicing opinions that “freedom” and dialogue was needed in the country.center_img More than 40 doctors fired from hospital in Leonlast_img read more


Obama US must examine how assets are being used in IS fight

Posted On Aug 18 2019 by

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Asked to elaborate on the president’s comments, Earnest said: “There have been some concerns raised by some fighters that they have not gotten the kind of equipment that they need to fight ISIL.”“The president and the rest of the administration have vowed to work closely with the Iraq government to make sure that this military equipment is getting got where it is needed,” he said.Earnest praised Iraq’s announcement that it had launched a major military operation to drive the Islamic State from the western Anbar province. The Iraqi troops are out to retake the Sunni heartland where the extremist group captured the provincial capital of Ramadi.“I think that is a clear indication of the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight,” Earnest said. “And the United States and our coalition partners will stand with them as they do so.”Obama said the upheaval in the Middle East and the “increasingly aggressive posture that Russia has taken” in Ukraine has created a “challenging and important time for NATO.” He said NATO would continue to support Ukraine.Obama said NATO would be a crucial player in providing training and assistance to Afghanistan following the drawdown of NATO troops. He said it was important that NATO countries properly contribute to that post-draw-down mission. WASHINGTON (AP) — Looking to boost Iraqi fighting forces, President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies need to examine whether they are deploying military assets effectively against Islamic State militants as Iraq mounts a new offensive to recapture critical territory west of Baghdad.The White House says it already is responding to demands by Iraqi fighters for more powerful anti-tank weapons to confront armored vehicles that the Islamic State has used as potent and deadly car bombs. But officials stressed the examination did not represent a reassessment of the U.S. military approach to the fight against the militants. Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img “We continue to have confidence in the strategy,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “This is not a fight the U.S. is going to fight for the Iraqi people.”The U.S. attention to supplying higher-grade military equipment came after Defense Secretary Ash Carter over the weekend criticized Iraqi forces, saying their men fled the Islamic State advance on Ramadi without fighting back.White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended Carter’s remarks, saying the Iraqi government acknowledged that the setback in Ramadi was the result of a breakdown in command and planning. Moreover, Earnest said, the Iraqi forces in Ramadi had not benefited from U.S. or allied training.Obama, speaking at the end of a meeting with visiting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, did not respond to questions about Carter’s comments. But he did say the challenge posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the turmoil in Libya have forced NATO to look south as well as east in the alliance’s mission.“That means an increase in defense capacity building with other countries like Iraq or (Persian Gulf) countries that are interested in working with us, as well as the African Union,” he said. “It also means we have to think about whether we are deploying and arranging our assets effectively to meet that challenge.” Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Top Stories The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more


American Express launch prepaid travel card

Posted On Aug 17 2019 by

first_imgAmerican Express has announced the launch of a new prepaid travel card as a substitute to cash for travellers.The GlobalTravel Card expected to be released early next month was designed by the financial company as a reloadable card with extra services and features.According to American Express Global Prepaid Vice President and General Manager Lawrence Chan the card is available for conversion to USD, EUR and GBP and has an array of features including a secured exchange rate system.“As many travellers know all too well, it is very easy to lose track of the exchange rate while travelling, miscalculate currency conversions or underestimate travel budgets… This is where travel cards come to the fore,” Mr Chan said.“The card allows an attractive exchange rate to be locked and loaded so travellers don’t need to worry about exchange rate volatility.”The inbuilt 24/7 global services feature offers cardholders assistance with lost or stolen credit cards, wallets, luggage and support for emergency legal or medical referrals.American Express has also included a free of fee replacement service to the traveller’s destination for lost or stolen cards.“Not only do prepaid travel cards give travellers’ greater control over their finances, they provide the certainty of global acceptance and an enhanced level of security and fraud protection,” Mr Chan said.Mr Chan said the lack of inactivity fees and no fund expiry period makes the card attractive to people looking to exchange currency without intentions to travel.“Up until now, when the dollar has been strong, it has been common for travellers to stock up on travellers cheques, but now Australians are also turning to our new prepaid currency card which has no time limit on when the currency needs to be spent.”The card will be available early November from American Express Foreign Exchange Services offices and Australia Post retail outlets and is accepted globally at millions of locations outside of Australia.    Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more


ICCA Masters Conference kicks off

Posted On Aug 17 2019 by

first_imgScott Koepf, Nicole Laurie – Virgin Australia and Brett Jardine – ICCA The ICCA doubled expected numbers at the Hilton Hotel Sydney on Saturday when 100 agents gathered to hear “Master of the Masters”, Scott Koepf share his views on the ever changing industry. With 25 years of extensive experience in the retail travel industry, Mr Koepf is a regular facilitator for the industry body’s Masters Conference and has held such roles including vice president of sales for Avoya Travel/America’s Vacation Centre and president of the National Association of Career Travel Agents. A background as a performer (Mr Koepf will be returning to LA to star as the King in the stage production, Camelot) ensured that participants were entertained by impromptu snippets of song and impersonations throughout the event. Sponsored by Virgin Australia, the event kicked off the 2011 Masters Conference being held over 8 nights from Darwin to Fremantle onboard Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas.Agents were given the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum with the resounding concern being the perceived threat of the internet.“In this day and age where agents feel threatened by the internet, the reality is consumers can access the same information that agents can access,” said ICCA general manager Brett Jardine to e-Travel Blackboard.“Agents need to ask themselves, how am I going to make myself different? What reason can I give to the consumer to make them book with me?” Mr Jardine also highlighted the importance of a more holistic approach to seminars and conferences with information pertaining to agents’ lives as well as their business being the key to increased success. “Agents should be entertained and walk away with something. Those who have been to our Masters Conference have helped to grow their business as a whole, not just in regards to cruise.”Mr Koepf put his performance background into good use when explaining the importance of a travel agents becoming a storyteller for their clients.“Painting the picture and delivering the story is the future of travel agents,” shared Mr Koepf.“Consumers need to feel themselves in the destination. Your job is to change perceptions, it’s not just to provide pricing and information anymore.”Channeling the late Steve Jobs, Mr Koepf emphasised the importance of pre-empting what clients want before they actually want it and encouraged participants to convince their clients that there is more to travel than finding the cheapest price. “Say what you add, don’t wait for them to experience it.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img read more


Carriers set to break Hawaii capacity record

Posted On Aug 17 2019 by

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Airlines are expected to set a third-quarter record this year for capacity into Hawaii as visitor numbers to the state continue to surge. According to data released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, between July and September, scheduled nonstop seats to the state are forecast to exceed the previous record set five years ago, local media in Honolulu reported.Reflecting an increase of 12.6 per cent over the same period in 2011, and a 2.6 per cent increase over the record setting three-month stretch in 2007, nearly 2.7 million seats are predicted to land in Hawaii during Q3. Among the carriers to have boosted capacity to the Aloha State this year are Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air, whose first flight from Las Vegas to Honolulu landed just days ago. Capacity from the US East Coast and US West Coast, Hawaii’s number one source market, is anticipated to rise by 25 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, while overall capacity from the States is predicted to rise by 10.4 per cent.Internationally, South Korea, China and Japan are expected to show gains of 55 per cent, 48 per cent and 15.4 per cent respectively, while seats from Australia and New Zealand are anticipated to grow by 29.4 per cent. International seat numbers are forecast to rise 18.1 per cent in total. Image Hawaiian Airlineslast_img read more


Facebook ID valid for US travel

Posted On Aug 17 2019 by

first_imgMr Klein was so shocked he tweeted about the incident, causing a range of responses from equally-stunned followers and commentators questioning if the event was true or not. “We understand passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, due to lost items or inadvertently leaving them at home… not having an ID does not necessarily mean a passenger won’t be allowed to fly,” the TSA website said. The co-founder of popular video website Vimeo was able to pass through a United States’ airport without his official government-issue identification, using a social media website profile. Vimeo co-founder and DIY.org chief executive Zach Klein could not believe his luck when his Facebook profile was accepted as a valid form of ID when travelling recently, news.com.au reported. Image: Corbis/Artigacenter_img “If passengers are willing to provide additional information, we have other means of substantiating someone’s identity, like using publicly available databases.” Source = ETB News: P.T. This is not a new policy, according to the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), who have been allowing travellers to use “other means” of verifying their identity for some time.last_img read more


Choice Hotels announces partnership with SiteMinder

Posted On Aug 17 2019 by

first_imgChoice Hotels International has announced their new partnership with SiteMinder, the number one cloud platform for hotel franchises.With this new technology agreement, Choice Hotels Australasia will have the ability to manage their entire room inventory through one main system.SiteMinder’s integration with Choice Hotel’s central reservations system (CRS) will enable franchisees to maintain room rates and inventory in order to expand operational efficiencies within the company.Choice Hotels senior vice president international division Mark Pearce says the company continues to lead in regards to technology initiatives.“Implementing SiteMinder for our international franchisees will help make their businesses more effective and efficient, helping to eliminate discrepancies in room availability entirely,” Mr Pearce said.The SiteMinder technology will help address parity issues across Choice properties by delivering all reservations into the company’s CRS.SiteMinder co-founder and managing director Mike Ford says the company is thrilled to be working with Choice Hotels.“We are excited to offer our online distribution platform to Choice Hotel franchisees so rooms are booked, inventories and properties are updated, and rates are managed in real-time,” Mr Ford said.SiteMinder is currently used by over 16,000 properties across more than 160 countries worldwide.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more