first_imgThe court Wednesday heard testimony that the remote-triggered stun gun was fitted onto the machine. The camel finished the race in second place.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A Dubai court has sentenced three men to jail terms for rigging a stun gun on a racing camel in an attempt to jolt the animal into running faster.Dubai media reports Thursday say the men received three-month sentences for animal cruelty.The plot was uncovered by racing officials inspecting the so-called electronic jockeys used on the camels. Small machines that coax camels into running have replaced boy jockeys in the UAE after claims of child abuse. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Parents, stop beating yourself up Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helpcenter_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he will work with Westerwelle and Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi in the next few days on a proposal for new sanctions.The U.S. and other countries worry Iran could use its uranium enrichment labs to produce weapons-grade material. Iran insists that it seeks only to make nuclear fuel for energy and medical reactors.The latest round of nuclear talks in Moscow in June ended without visible results.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Sponsored Stories PAPHOS, Cyprus (AP) – The foreign ministers of Germany and France say they support new sanctions against Iran if talks on Tehran’s nuclear program don’t make any substantial progress.German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Friday that Iran needs to allow international inspectors free and unfettered access to all of its nuclear installations and to verifiably refrain from building nuclear weapons. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Four benefits of having a wireless security system Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

first_imgAssociated PressPARIS (AP) – A French court on Tuesday ordered a paternity test for a multimillionaire who former Justice Minister Rachida Dati claims fathered her nearly 4-year-old daughter. But the mystery of the glamorous politician’s love life is likely to continue, for a while at least, because the alleged father is legally entitled to refuse.The birth of the child while Dati was in office from 2007 to 2009 made headlines and set off guessing games about the father’s identity, which the minister refused to divulge. It also fed the mystique cultivated by Dati, who is known for her taste for fine clothes, jewels and stiletto heels. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Were the court to determine that Desseigne is the father, the child’s future would be comfortably assured with rights as an heir, and it would assure Dati access to child support.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Last month, the 46-year-old Dati named Dominique Desseigne, a 68-year-old widower with two grown children, as the father of her child and took her case to a court in Versailles.In a closed-door hearing, the court ordered Desseigne, who owns the famed Champs-Elysees establishment Fouquet’s, to submit to a paternity test, a court official said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about a non-public hearing and asked not to be identified.Paternity tests are voluntary in France, meaning Desseigne, chief of the Lucien Barriere casino group, can refuse to take the test despite the court order. He has been quoted in the past as saying would do just that. But legal experts say that a judge might take such a refusal as an admission of paternity if there is corroborating evidence such as text messages, emails and photos proving a relationship.The French press has avidly watched the case, just as it tracked Dati’s every move when she served as a high-powered but controversial minister under then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. And photographers snapped her developing pregnancy. Daughter Zohra was born Jan. 2, 2009.With her humble origins growing up in a housing project, one of 11 children of Algerian and Moroccan parents, Dati was the government’s emblem of diversity, and, with her penchant for designer clothes, became the toast of Paris and foreign capitals. Today, she serves as a member of the European Parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg and keeps a link to the Paris power elite as the mayor of the capital’s tony 7th district. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

first_imgThe deadlock over the constitution exacerbated the economic crisis in Tunisia, and the International Monetary Fund withheld a half-billion-dollar loan.Inflation soared, the budget deficit swelled, and demonstrations over high food prices and lack of jobs spread.However, with the passage of the constitution, Tunisia’s image abroad has brightened, and the IMF released its planned loan. The slide of the Tunisian dinar has halted, and the stock market has perked up.Ezzedine Saidane, a Tunisian financial expert, said the World Bank is now expected to extend a loan of its own soon, and the African Development Bank will lift a moratorium on lending to Tunisia.“People feel better and are relieved somehow,” he said. “I think the mood has changed tremendously, both inside the country and outside the country.”In a message, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made it clear that it wasn’t just France that viewed the Tunisian experience as a model for the region.“I count on the government and people of Tunisia to continue to inspire the world as they did some three years ago, and serve as an example for dialogue and compromise in resolving political disputes across the region and beyond,” he said. What a turnaround.The Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia, is now being described by many as a region-wide winter, especially in countries such as Egypt, where the country’s first popularly elected leader was deposed by the military, and Libya, where militias rule instead of a central government. But Tunisia remains a bright spot, since its fractious elected assembly finally wrote and passed a progressive constitution last month.“This text honors your revolution. It can serve as an example and reference to many other countries,” Hollande said during the ceremony before Tunisia’s parliament. “You have an obligation to succeed for yourself and for all the other countries watching you. Tunisia is not an exception, it is an example.”The speeches lauded the country’s ability to transcend differences and forge the consensus necessary to produce a constitution. The president of Libya’s parliament sounded almost rueful in his praise.“Libya intends to follow the same path,” said Nouri Abu Sahmein, whose country is struggling to register voters to elect the commission to write a constitution.Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in his address also highlighted the sacrifices the country made. “By adopting the constitution, Tunisia celebrated a triple victory _ over dictatorship, over terrorism that seeks to spread chaos and block our path to democracy and over our own divisions,” he said.The praise contrasts attitudes toward Tunisia last July when Hollande last visited and the constitutional process was stalled.“Today we are going again because it’s a success,” said an official with the French presidency, who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with government policy.While Hollande is the only European head of state attending, the ceremony in Tunis also included a host of dignitaries from around the world, particularly from Africa.Conspicuously absent was any representative from fellow Arab Spring nation Egypt, whose relations with Tunisia have been tense since Marzouki called for the release of his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Morsi following his imprisonment by the military.On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama called interim Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa and congratulated him on the new constitution, and invited him to visit Washington.After overthrowing their dictator in 2011, Tunisians brought a moderate Islamist party into power allied with two other secular parties. But the coalition struggled in the face of continuing social unrest, high unemployment, the rise of a radical Islamist movement with ties to al-Qaida and the assassination of two left-wing politicians. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – As recently as December, the outlook for Tunisia remained grim. International lenders were withholding money. Parliament remained deadlocked. Investigations continued into the assassination of two politicians.On Friday, French President Francois Hollande and other world leaders attended a ceremony for the formal adoption of a document being praised as one of the most progressive constitutions in an Arab nation. Top Stories The only sour note in the ceremony came when the U.S. delegation walked out of the assembly hall during the speech by Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, who took the opportunity to slam U.S. and Israeli meddling in the region, calling the Jewish state a “cancerous tumor” in the region.In statement, the U.S. said its delegation left “due to the false accusations and inappropriate comments made by the Iranian representative present regarding the United States.”____Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report from Paris. Schemm reported from Paris.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Check your body, save your life Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

first_imgMoody’s rating agency said Monday that Greece is, despite all its savings efforts, still the fourth riskiest sovereign bond issuer, behind Ukraine, Venezuela and Argentina, all which have either defaulted on their debt or are perilously close to doing so.It’s clear that the creditors — Greece’s fellow eurozone member states and the International Monetary Fund — underestimated the problem and miscalculated how to fix it:–In 2010, the bailout lenders had forecast Greece’s economy would return to growth in 2012. It only emerged from recession late last year, and is predicted to fall back into it this year.–They had predicted unemployment would ease to around 15 percent by 2012. Not only did it not fall, but it kept rising, peaking at around 28 percent in 2014 and currently at 26 percent.–Debt was scheduled to fall to 141 percent of GDP in 2014, but it actually rose to 177 percent, even after inflicting severe losses on private bondholders in 2012.–An initial plan to sell off state assets aimed to raise 50 billion euros ($55.6 billion) by 2015. It has so far raised just 3.1 billion euros.One cause for the bad performance is that it is hard to cut debt at a time when the economy is shrinking, as Greece’s creditors had asked it to do. Quick workouts for men The resin-and-fiberglass piece, by 22-year-old Tasos Nyfadopoulos, is named “Crisis” and speaks of a country trying to cope with a collapsing economy.“It is extremely important to provide a voice for the human beings behind the numbers, who have a real story to tell that goes beyond statistics,” Nyfadopoulos told The Associated Press.The sculptor worked on the project for four years and donated it to a southern Athens municipality, where it stands beside a busy highway linking the city center with the southern beach front.“Art must turn the collective experience of the crisis into an image, so that people can remember what has happened, and question every decision that has been taken in their name without their having being consulted,” Nyfadopoulos said.Wednesday marks five years since Greece voted in its first bailout deal, a day after violent popular protests left three dead. The act was followed by years of turmoil in which the country tried to overhaul its economy in the midst of a downturn as brutal as the Great Depression.But after a myriad budget cuts, a million lost jobs, 250,000 closed businesses and nearly 240 billion euros ($267 billion) in rescue loans, the country is once again on the brink of default and relations with its creditors are worse than ever. Top Stories Back on the beach-bound highway, Nyfadopoulos rejected the notion that his sculpture of a man slipping off an economic index was necessarily gloomy.“You can think of the man as escaping and breaking free of this situation, or as a suicide,” the artist said. “It’s up to the observer.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. If Greece gets no more rescue loans, the country may soon have to choose between paying pensions and state salaries or servicing state debt. Defaulting on debt could launch a chain reaction culminating in its exit from the eurozone and a Greek financial Stone Age, where the import-reliant country could barely afford key goods and commodities with a new, devalued currency.Berenberg bank analyst Holger Schmieding said that after “three months of pointless posturing, the new Greek government has finally entered into serious negotiations with its creditors.”He said the debate is no longer mostly about debt, but rather reforms that will boost growth, allowing the country to service its debt in the long term.“Accordingly, labor and pension reforms are now among the major bones of contention,” he said in a note Monday.He sees a 30 percent chance of “Grexit” — of Greece exiting the eurozone.The Economist Intelligence Unit placed the risk of Grexit at 40 percent. The EIU’s Joan Hoey said a deal may still be possible, because the eurozone is averse to taking incalculable risks and Greek public opinion strongly favors staying in the euro.Hoey warned, however, that even a last-ditch agreement by the end of June, when Greece’s bailout ends, would not necessarily resolve the problems underlying Greece’s membership in the eurozone. The currency union lacks a common fiscal policy, and weaker members are unable to improve competitiveness through the traditional tool of devaluing their currency. Top holiday drink recipes But successive Greek governments have also done too little, experts say. They were too slow to change the way the economy and political system work. Because the public sector was spared cost cuts, the private sector suffered the burden of recession.Greece’s Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research think tank noted in a report that the country made significant progress in healing public finances between 2010 and 2013. But that progress petered out late last year, when early elections were called for January.The report said state revenues undershot targets in early 2015 and if the trend continues, “it is very likely that significant fiscal problems” will emerge.In a nutshell: despite all the sacrifices of the past five years, the pain is not over for Greeks.The new radical left-led government was elected in January with a pledge to protect Greeks from more budget cuts. But creditors have not taken kindly to its hard line and insist they will pay no more rescue money unless Greece promises to make more reforms.The uncertainty is again hurting Greece’s economy. The EU this week slashed its growth forecast for Greece this year from 2.5 percent to just 0.5 percent. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In this photo made on Tuesday, April 29, 2015, a Greek man walks past a graffiti in central Athens. Wednesday May 6 marks five years since Greece voted in its first bailout deal in the face of violent popular protests that left three dead. The day was followed by years of turmoil in which the country tried to overhaul its economy in the midst of a downturn matched in depth and length only by the Great Depression. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The sculpture shows a shabbily-dressed man slipping off what appears to be a graph, an economic index perhaps, that is crumbling under his feet. His mouth is distended in something less than a scream, more than a cry.It’s clearly not one of Greece’s classical marbles depicting the wars and gods of old — in fact, it’s the first public monument about the country’s harrowing experience of economic depression.last_img read more

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Early on in Obama’s presidency, McConnell famously said his goal was to make Obama a one-term president.“We’ve both chosen to put policy before party. That’s how politics should be conducted, in my view,” McConnell said Sunday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The senator said his first goal in life was to be a baseball player, “but I guess my passion for procedure proved stronger than my pitching arm.”McConnell pointed out that Obama has agreed to sign a bill giving Congress review power on any nuclear deal with Iran, and this week the Senate will take up a trade bill that is a priority of the president.“A lot of folks like to joke about the odd couple that was Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch,” McConnell said, referring to the late Massachusetts Democrat and the Republican senator from Utah. “But I think Mitch McConnell and Barack Obama may have them outdone. I had to warn reporters not to faint last week before offering the president some praise on trade. I’m even getting handwritten notes from the president these days. He sent one the other day to thank me for supporting the nomination of Loretta Lynch.”Ten Republican senators, including McConnell, joined Democrats and independents in voting to confirm Lynch last month.In his speech, McConnell was a realist, arguing that his relationship with Obama hardly comes close to the genial bond between Kennedy and Hatch who repeatedly combined forces on legislation. “What we do have, however, is common policy ground, on an issue we both think is good for the country. So the Republican majority is going to work with President Obama to get this done, even if we have to do it over the objections of his own party.” Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a handwritten note thanking the Republican for backing Loretta Lynch as attorney general.That’s right: The Democratic president and GOP leader, who have been at odds multiple times over the last six years, find themselves on the same page of late.The Kentucky senator spoke about his role in the latest political odd couple on Sunday during a speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston. McConnell was the inaugural speaker for the “Getting to the Point Series.” McConnell spoke of his aspirations to be a senator, occupying Kennedy’s office in the Russell building and his drive to get work done in the Senate, with his own outreach to Democrats. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Sponsored Stories FILE-This July 13, 2011, file photo shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. looking on at right, as President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Obama sent McConnell a handwritten thank you note for the Republican’s backing of Loretta Lynch as attorney general. That’s right: The Democratic president and GOP leader who have been at odds multiple times over the last six years find themselves on the same page of late. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

first_img Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   Top Stories He was also president of Cuba’s National Sports Institute from 1994 to 1997.Gonzalez Lopez had been living for years in Mexico for his position at the Pan American Sports Organization.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy HAVANA (AP) — Olympic officials say Reynaldo Gonzalez Lopez, an International Olympic Committee member from Cuba, has died at age 66.A statement on the official website of the Olympics expresses “great sadness.” IOC President Thomas Bach calls Gonzalez Lopez “a very passionate and capable sports leader.”The Sunday statement says Gonzalez Lopez became an IOC member in 1995.He had a long career as a sporting executive, including as secretary general of the Cuban National Olympic Committee and executive secretary of the Pan American Sports Organization. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the US have reached an agreement regarding aviation security cooperation initiatives. IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said, “The aviation industry is committed to keeping the global skies safe and secure. “Governments and industry have the same goals but different expertise. Governments understand the threats and the tools needed to mitigate them. “Industry has the operational expertise for effective implementation. Working together is the only way forward.” The agreement was formed at a historic aviation security summit in Geneva between IATA and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Bisignani said that IATA and DHS have agreed to hold a follow-up meeting in the coming weeks. “We applaud (DHS) Secretary Napolitano’s commitment to engage industry and find workable and effective solutions.  “A single meeting cannot solve all the security challenges we face but it is a major step in the right direction.” During the meeting, IATA and its member airlines recommended to institutionalize government/industry cooperation, which would allow security policies to be written with the benefit of airline operational expertise. IATA acknowledged that a complex global industry would not be secured with prescriptive, one-size-fits-all regulations with numerical targets.Instead, Governments and the industry must work together to define practical implementation measures for their security targets. It was also agreed that airlines should make passenger data collection and sharing more efficient. Consequently, IATA urged DHS to break down internal silos to create a single data collection and sharing program. Furthermore, it was recommended that governments communicate to ensure harmonization across borders – in other words that one country’s requirements do not conflict with another country’s laws. Bisignani said, “The US cannot keep terrorists outside its borders without the close consultation of governments and airlines” foreign and domestic. “And we cannot keep terrorists off planes without the good work of governments. The events of Christmas Day remind us of this fact.“We agree on the importance of a next- generation checkpoint that combines technology and intelligence so we look for bad people and not only for bad objects.”last_img read more

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L Central New South Wales will be receiving a $44,650 boost in tourism funding as part of a government program, Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay announced earlier this week.Speaking at the ‘Beyond the Drought’ seminar in Forbes, McKay said the additional funding was part of the NSW Government’s Travelling Experts Seminar Program.“The additional funding will assist Central NSW to stage another 16 business workshops similar to today’s event” she told tourism operators, councillors and farmers.“These events provide an opportunity for residents, including farming families and businesses, to work together with the tourism industry, take a whole of community approach and showcase the region’s visitor experiences”The Beyond the Drought seminar was one of the first of its kind to be held in the State addressing the decline of tourism in drought affected communities, in particular, the Lachlan and Riverina regions.In 2009, Central NSW welcomed 3.9 million domestic and international visitors last year who spent more than 4.1 million nights in the region. More than $828 million was injected into the local economy.last_img read more

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J British Airways (BA) traded in the stock market for the last time late last week and has since completed its merger with Spanish carrier Iberia. The airline launched as the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) in London and Madrid early this morning, 24 years after joining the London market under the title BA, The Guardian reported.  According to the source, the two airlines will maintain their brand names in a bid to save €400m a year by its fifth year.The new airline group will host a fleet of up to 419 aircraft flying to up to 205 destinations. The merger will also increase BA’s reach into South America while maintaining Europe as the company’s leading destination.Among other changes BA chief executive Willie Walsh stepped down to take on the head role at IAG while BA chairman Sir Martin Broughton will remain in his position but will also take on the role of deputy chairman of IAG.  BA shareholders will receive one share in IAG for each other their current shares. read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Philippine flag carrier Cebu Pacific has released plans to update its fleet and launch services outside of Asia, including Australia, the Middle East, part of Europe and the US. Aiming for the third quarter of 2013, the carrier said in an online statement that it will lease up to eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft, an aircraft fit to carry out the carrier’s long term plans, according to Cebu Pacific chief executive Lance Gokongwei.“We are exploring serving cities where large Filipino communities reside — Europe, Middle East, Oceania and the USA. Data indicates that more than half of Filipinos deployed in these regions take multiple stops and connecting flights because no home carrier can fly them there non-stop,” he explained.Since commencing flights in 1996, Cebu has focused on building its short-haul flights for Filipinos. Mr Gokongwei said it is an “exciting time” for the company to consider growth and offering low fares to a number of destinations could drive “significant increase on demand for air travel to regions outside of Asia”. “As CEB develops long-haul routes and opens new destinations for a Philippine flag carrier, we will be creating an important enabler for increased trade, tourism and foreign investment,” he added.Cebu Pacific currently operates flights to up to 34 destination including Manila, Cebu, Clark as well as Ho Chi Minh, Siem and Singapore. last_img read more

first_imgChiang Mai’s new Empress Conference Centre is attracting the MICE market to the area with its modern audiovisual equipment suitable to weddings, exhibitions, meetings and events of all sizes and needs. The three-storey convention centre at the Empress Chiang Mai Hotel has rooms set up to be highly configurable and can be partitioned according to the type, size, and requirements of each conference, wedding, or event. It can adapt to everything from seminars for 50 participants to 1,500 guests weddings, while function rooms within the hotel can accommodate up to 500 guests. In addition to this is an outdoor exhibition area available along with event experts to coordinate rental of pavilions, booths, and other equipment. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

first_imgAfter the dreadful Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 incident in Eastern Ukraine last week, the airline is working hard to rebuild trust across the world any way they can.In a statement released yesterday, Malaysia Airlines have made it clear they are putting every effort in to gaining support from the industry, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.In the statement, the fatigued airline reached out to travel agents and passengers for backing and highlighted that all scheduled flights to and from Australia and New Zealand were operating as normal.Looking towards the future, the airline is committed to ensuring the title of Malaysia’s national carrier and with support from the Malaysian Government it hopes to return to its respected position in the industry.Since the disappearance of flight MH370 in March this year, the airline has suffered dramatically, and adding on any hurt the downing of flight MH17 brings, the future seems like a tough road ahead.Despite this, Malaysia Airlines remains determined to get through the disasters and it seems that the majority of travellers from Australia have not been discouraged from the airline.Passengers at Sydney airport on Tuesday were interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald and asked questions about boarding their Malaysia Airlines flight, with the overall response positive.Malaysia airlines have offered ticket holders the chance to change or refund their tickets without charge and have given customers until Thursday to make the decision.The majority of passengers said that they had no intentions of taking up the airlines refund offer, saying that airplane accidents are rare and it could happen on any airline.With these positive news, it seems that trust in the airline is still in the minds of customers and may make the rebuilding process that bit smoother for Malaysia Airlines.Source = ETB News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

first_imgFrom Darling Harbour to Parramatta River, Sydney will come to life this month in an eruption of light, colour, sound and flavour as it celebrates Thai culture.Part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s new promotional campaign for 2015, “Discover Thainess”, the action will kick off at Darling Harbour’s Harbourside Amphitheatre from 5:00pm this Friday 14 and Saturday 15 November with a colourful showcase of the first ever Amazing Thai classical dance performances.The excitement continues the following weekend with Parramatta’s official annual Thai festival, Loy Krathong, on Saturday 22 November at Parramatta River Foreshore from 5:00pm until 10:00pm.Loy Krathong, the family friendly, FREE event, is a joint effort between Parramatta City Council, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Association of Australia, which celebrates the best of Thai culture.With thrilling Muay Thai boxing matches, a roving water dragon, acrobatics, fire dancing, performances by leading national and international talent, including Thai music sensations Dru Chen and Maythinee, and a fireworks spectacular to end the night on a bang, Loy Krathong promises excitement and fun for the whole family.As Sydney’s largest water festival, the spectacular “Krathong” ritual at sunset is not to be missed. Watch in wonder as Parramatta River transforms into a visual feast as hundreds of lotus-shaped vessels float down the river, carrying away bad luck and bringing good fortune for the coming year.And for two lucky people, that good fortune might come even sooner, with a dream trip to Thailand up for grabs on the night. For more information, visit Tourism Authority Thailand Sydney OfficeOhm Isarankura Na AyutthyaPR ManagerTourism Authority of ThailandSuite 20.02, Level 20,56 Pitt StreetSydney NSW 2000, AustraliaTel. (612) 9247 7549Fax. (612) 9251 2465Email: Source = Tourism Authority of Thailand Sydneylast_img read more

first_imgOutrigger Resorts announces four appointments in AsiaOutrigger Resorts Asia Pacific is pleased to announce four recent management appointments.At the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort in Thailand, Leah Matters has been appointed as Resort Manager.Matters has been with Outrigger for seven years, the last three as General Manager of the Outrigger Twin Towns Resort in Queensland. Before joining Outrigger, Matters, an Australian national, was General Manager at the Sands Management Group.Also at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort Haydee Cruz has been appointed as Director of Sales and Marketing.With over 20 years of experience, Cruz, who is from the Dominican Republic, started her career at the Sheraton and has since held senor sales positions with Marriott and Accor and has had previous Thailand experience as Group Director of Sales for the Marriott and Anantara Cluster based in Bangkok.At the Outrigger Asia Pacific head office in Phuket, Catherine Lim has been appointed as Marketing and Ecommerce Manager for Asia Pacific.Lim, a Singaporean national, has broad experience in marketing and marketing communications, sales, sponsorships and publicity across a number of sectors in Asia. She recently spent three years in Cambodia as a Web and Marketing Communications manager.Also in Phuket, Supanee Tanvivatjinda, a Thai national, has been appointed Financial Controller at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas.With over 10 years’ experience in finance, Supanee has worked at Novotel Coralia Phuket, Laguna Beach Resort Phuket, Laguna Holiday Club Resort and most recently at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket. In her new role she will provide vision and leadership in the development of finance functions and ensure adherence to the resort’s financial strategic objectives.“It is a pleasure to welcome Leah, Haydee, Catherine and Khun Supanee to their new roles within Outrigger,” said Darren Edmonstone, Managing Director, Asia Pacific. “Each one has a background of excellence, is highly motivated, and has a key role to play as Outrigger Resorts continues its strategic expansion in the region.”The Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort opens on August 1, 2015. In May, Outrigger also acquired the AKARYN Samui and reopened it as the Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort. Stay at Outrigger HotelsSource = Outrigger Enterprises Grouplast_img read more

first_imgEmirates Announces Capacity Increase to St PetersburgEmirates reinforces its commitment to Russia by announcing the upgrade of the aircraft servicing the St Petersburg route to a Boeing 777-300ER, increasing capacity and offering an enhanced onboard experience.Six weekly EK175/176 flights, from Dubai to St Petersburg, will be operated with an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from 25 October 2015, instead of an Airbus 330-200. The up-gauge will be applied to a seventh flight per week on the 1 December 2015.By replacing the A330-200 with the Boeing 777-300ER, Emirates will be adding a capacity increase of 50% to the route, which launched in November 2011. The new aircraft will also introduce the Emirates First Class Suite, a first for the route, plus 42 lie-flat Business Class seats and 310 spacious Economy Class seats.As the only airline to offer First Class Suites from St Petersburg, Emirates is bringing a new level of comfort and quality to the market, previously unavailable from St Petersburg on a commercial airline.“Since 2011, when Emirates launched flights to and from St Petersburg, we have carried over 500,000 passengers on the route. Counting these figures alongside our double-daily flights to Moscow, takes the total to over 3.6million passengers travelling on Emirates to and from Russia in the 12 years of operation, making it an important market not only for Emirates, but for Dubai as a destination,” said Thierry Aucoc, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations – Europe and Russian Federation.“Operating these flights to and from St Petersburg on a 777-300ER brings consistency to the Russian customer. Whether travelling from St Petersburg or Moscow, they will be confident that the level of experience they receive is in line with what is expected from Emirates.”On board the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, passengers in all three cabins can enjoy more than 2,000 channels of the latest movies, TV shows and music from around the world on the award-winning ice inflight entertainment system, all while enjoying specially created gourmet cuisine served by Emirates’ multi-lingual cabin crew. As with all Emirates flights, passengers travelling on the route will be able to accumulate Skywards miles and benefit from a generous baggage allowance of 30kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50kg in First Class.Emirates’ flight EK175 departs Dubai International Airport at 09:20 and arrives in St Petersburg at 14:35. The outbound flight EK176 departs from St Petersburg at 16:35 and arrives in Dubai at 23:45.From Dubai, Russian passengers are able to easily connect to Emirates’ vast network of destinations in Asia and beyond, including the new service to Bali, the Thai island of Phuket and exciting cities in Australia. From Asia, Middle East, Australia and Africa, St Petersburg is just a short stop in Dubai away.Source = Emirateslast_img read more

first_imgEtihad Airways A380 set to fly to ParisEtihad Airways to commence A380 flights to ParisEtihad Airways will introduce its award-winning A380 to the Abu Dhabi–Paris route this (northern hemisphere) summer as part of seasonal adjustments to the airline’s fleet deployment plan.The flagship aircraft, which features The Residence, will operate one of the airline’s twice-daily services to the French capital between 1 July and 28 October. This will make Paris the airline’s newest A380 long-haul destination following Sydney, Melbourne, London, and New York.The aircraft upgrade – from a 328-seat Boeing 777 – enables Etihad Airways to offer an all-A380 daily service from both Sydney and Melbourne to Paris via the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub.Bedroom in The Residence onboard Etihad Airways’ A380The additional A380 capacity will deliver more premium cabin seats in the First Apartments and Business Studios to meet strong business and leisure demand to Paris during the peak summer months.It will also support the strong connecting traffic to and from many cities across Asia and Australia including Brisbane, Perth, Bangkok, Chengdu, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai, Seychelles, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, together with destinations across the GCC such as Bahrain, Doha, Jeddah and Muscat.Etihad Airways Flight EY31 has a scheduled departure time of 02:15 from Abu Dhabi International Airport, arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 07:50, with the return flight EY32 leaving the French capital at 10:40, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 19:30. (all times are local).Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “Flying our flagship product to France, with additional seat capacity, helps fulfil growing demand and meet our guests’ expectations for an even greater travel experience with unmatched luxury, comfort and service.“Paris is one of our busiest and best performing European routes, so the deployment of this upgraded service will benefit travellers to and from Abu Dhabi, and our popular connecting cities across Asia and Australia.”Etihad Airways’ A380 has a total capacity of 496 seats – up to two guests in The Residence, nine First Apartments, 70 Business Studios and 415 Economy Smart Seats.The airline has taken the finest details from the best service hospitality establishments around the world to redefine its A380 travel experience – from seat comfort and the finest cuisine, to new inflight amenities and extensive entertainment options. Inflight chefs create a made-to-order dining experience from a larder of fresh ingredients for guests travelling in The Residence and First Class.The Residence is an ultra-private, three-room suite featuring a living room with a 32” LCD monitor, bedroom with a double bed, separate en-suite shower room and dedicated personal Butler trained at the world-renowned Savoy Butler Academy in London to look after the needs of its discerning guests. The cabin also comes with a private chef ready to custom-create menus to order.The nine First Apartments in First Class are private living spaces featuring a flat-screen television, a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit, wardrobe and a fully equipped shower room for the exclusive use of First Class guests.The 70 Business Studios are located on the upper deck of the A380, all offering direct aisle access, a fully flat bed and an increase of 20 per cent in personal space.The Lobby, a luxurious lounge located between the First Class and Business Class cabins, features two comfortable sofas and a staffed bar.Onboard Food and Beverage Managers, with experience of working in luxury hotels and top restaurants, guide guests in Business Class through the extensive menu options and provide recommendations on the perfect beverage to enjoy with their meals.A Flying Nanny, trained by the world-famous Norland College in the UK, is onboard every A380 to provide dedicated childcare support for families travelling with young children.The main deck has 415 Economy Smart Seats, which offer unique, ergonomic fixed-wing headrests, lumbar support and an 11-inch personal, high-definition monitor screen to enjoy over 750 hours of on-demand movies, TV programs, gaming and live TV news and sports via the state-of-the-art Panasonic eX3 entertainment system.Flights to and from Paris can be booked at, by phone through an Etihad Airways Contact Centre, or a travel agent. Source = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

first_imgAdventureSmith Explorations to showcase polar bearsPolar bears and Northern Lights are two of many reasons travelers dream of exploring the Arctic. There’s also the fascination of skyscraper-high glaciers, cavorting whales and following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers.The Arctic that begins on many bucket lists becomes reality with AdventureSmith Explorations’ new and expanded 2018 menu of small-ship voyages and overland journeys into the frozen north.Polar Bears: First up are ways by both land and sea to witness polar bears in their natural habitat.Tundra Lodge Adventure is a 6- or 7-day all-land itinerary based out of Churchill, Canada, the polar bear capital of the world. Men’s Journal hailed this trip as one of the best safaris to support sustainable tourism. Guests sleep in the Tundra Lodge, a custom-designed rolling hotel that offers unparalleled seclusion and proximity to polar bears. Day excursions in all-terrain Polar Rovers allow for even more intimate encounters in the wild. Departures in 2018 are from mid October to mid November when Hudson Bay polar bears migrate. A 6-day program is from $8,295 per person double inclusive of round-trip flights to and from Winnipeg and Churchill; accommodations; all meals; beverages; dog sledding excursion; use of cold-weather gear; services of professional expedition leaders and assistants; some gratuities; all activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; all taxes and service charges. See: for Explorers aboard the 114-guest Sea Spirit is a 15-day journey into Franz Joseph Land, the world’s northernmost high Arctic archipelago. Just 600 miles from the North Pole, concentrations of polar bears roam the ice in the Russian Arctic National Park where flowering tundra and tidewater glaciers abound, fostering colonies of nesting seabirds. With 24-hour daylight captain and crew maximize every opportunity for viewing polar bears, walruses and endangered bowhead whales in this unique polar ecosystem. The gateway is Longyearbyen, the Arctic adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. Five 2018 departures offer this classic route, as well as shorter variations—notably a 9-day Searching for Polar Bears itinerary, mid-June through mid-September. The per person double rate is from $9,495. See: Lights: To focus on Northern Lights, AdventureSmith Explorations has increased the number of itineraries and September departures in Scoresby Sund.The 10-day Arctic Express: Greenland’s Northern Lights aboard the 78-guest Ocean Nova (ice strengthened) promises tundra hikes, Arctic wildlife including herds of musk ox and visiting an Inuit settlement. The gateway is Reykjavik, Iceland. There are four September 2018 departures. The per person double rate is from $6,395 (book by Jan. 31, 2018, and save up to $1,500 per person). See: the main 12-day Home of Vikings & Icebergs journey aboard the 114-passenger Sea Spirit guests embark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and disembark in Reykjavik after exploring sea and landscapes of Disko Bay and West Greenland. The islands and fjords of the High Arctic closely guard some of the world’s most unique and magical sea kayaking opportunities – available at an extra cost. Photographic instructions, lectures and opportunities from expert photographers and guides are included on all four departures, ranging from 8 to 12 days in length: May 22, May 30, June 6 and Sept. 13, 2018. The per person double rate is from $4,195 for the shortest 8-day route option. On the June departure guests receive free airfare from Reykjavik to Kangerlussuag to meet the ship – or a one-day complimentary tour of to the Greenland Ice Cap. Also on this tour they can save up to 10 percent on all cabin categories. See: 8-day Scoresby Sund Aurora Borealis cruise is aboard the 114-guest Plancius (custom-built for polar cruises). Guests transfer from Reykjavik by bus through North Iceland before sailing north to cross the Arctic Circle in the wake of the Vikings. Stops include introductions to sled dogs and the Thule culture. On the water glaciers vie for attention with sea birds, as does the aurora borealis. There is one Sept. 18-25, 2018, departure. The gateway city is Reykjavik. The per person double rate is from $3,900. See: Explorations suggests researching programs in its free, on-line guide: How to Choose an Arctic Cruise. For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide including itineraries, availability and reservations, please call 1-877-620-2875 toll-free or visit AdventureSmith Explorations – Think Outside the Boat!Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Truckee, CA, near the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious world’s Top Travel Specialists list as the leading expert on small ship expeditions.Source = AdventureSmith Explorationslast_img read more

first_imgThe Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrates keel laying milestoneThe Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrates keel laying milestoneIn accordance with longstanding maritime tradition, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has celebrated the milestone keel laying of its inaugural yacht at the Hijos De J. Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain. Representing a unique first for a luxury hotel operator, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection brings the brand’s legendary service to the seas with a bespoke yachting experience which is anticipated to launch in Q4 2019.“We are delighted to commemorate this milestone as we embark on our journey to bring The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection to life,” said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “The keel laying marks the realisation of a longstanding dream for The Ritz-Carlton brand as we bring our guest experience and service ethos to the seas through these highly unique luxury vessels and one-of-a-kind on-board amenities and experiences.”Celebrating the official start of a ship’s construction, the keel laying ceremony was historically used to mark the initial placement of a central beam, which served as the vessel’s backbone. Today, as ships are built in a series of modular components, the symbolic ceremony is used to mark the lowering of the first module into place in the building dock.As part of this exciting occasion, Douglas Prothero, Managing Director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and Timothy Grisius, Global Real Estate Officer for Marriott International, were joined by HJ Barreras Shipyard’s Chairman José García Costas, and Tillberg Design of Sweden’s Owner and Executive Project Director Fredrik Johansson as the commemorative coins were unveiled and welded to the hull. Representing a symbolic process in the keel laying, the coins are meant to bring good fortune during construction and throughout the ship’s travels. Also in attendance was Anthony Capuano, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Development Officer for Marriott International, alongside The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection executive team and members of investor group Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.“The keel laying is a significant moment in the ship building process and signals that we are well on our way to redefining luxury at sea with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection,” said Prothero. “The intimate size of our ships and compelling itineraries will give our guests the opportunity to explore unexpected destinations, all while enjoying the legendary Ritz-Carlton service. This is an exciting new venture and we look forward to celebrating the many more milestones to come.”“The opportunity to design The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has been extremely exciting as we have been able to start from a blank piece of paper and create a whole new brand from scratch. Our guiding principles for all aspects of the yacht’s design have been spacious privacy and  personal comfort” said Johansson. “The keel laying celebrates how far we have already come in the design process, and in creating the most exclusive and serene experience possible at sea.”Reservations for the first of three lavish yachts in this series will open in May. The inaugural ship will cruise a wide variety of destinations depending on the season, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The specially designed, small capacity vessels will measure 190-metres and feature 149 luxury suites to accommodate up to 298 passengers. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer voyages ranging from seven to ten days, combining signature Ritz-Carlton service and amenities onboard with uniquely curated destination experiences. The ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter.For more information about The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, please visit = The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collectionlast_img read more

first_imgHilton Expands Presence in New ZealandHilton (NYSE: HLT) today announced the signing of DoubleTree by Hilton Napier Hotel and Suites, adding to DoubleTree by Hilton’s portfolio of 54 properties across Asia Pacific. Auckland-based Sarin Investments will manage the hotel under a franchise agreement with USAR Napier Limited.Napier is a beautiful coastal city on New Zealand’s North Island, which is set amid the renowned wine region of Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand’s famous art-deco themed city. DoubleTree by Hilton Napier will be located in the central business district – a short walk to Hastings Street pedestrian mall, the waterfront and Napier’s famous art-deco attractions.Construction of DoubleTree by Hilton Napier is underway and is due for completion early 2019. The hotel will have a modern art-deco design theme running throughout and will feature stylish guest rooms, including spacious suites, a restaurant and bar, fully equipped gym, and a boardroom.Guy Phillips, senior vice president, development, Asia & Australasia, Hilton, said, “Having recently worked with Sarin Investments on the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington, we are thrilled to once again partner with them to bring our world-renowned DoubleTree by Hilton signature welcome to Napier.”Phillips added, “In addition to the recent signing of DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka, the hotel will join three other DoubleTree branded properties across the country which are located in Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.”This is Sarin’s second DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in New Zealand in addition to the DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington. Raman Sarin, Chairman of Sarin Investments, said, “We are thrilled to open our second DoubleTree by Hilton hotel and to bring this international brand to Napier and the Hawkes Bay region.”About HiltonHilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 15 world-class brands comprising more than 5,500 properties with nearly 895,000 rooms, in 109 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world’s best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its nearly 100 year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, nearly 82 million members who book directly with Hilton have access to instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room.About DoubleTree by HiltonDoubleTree by Hilton is a fast-growing, global portfolio of more than 540 upscale hotels with more than 127,000 rooms across six continents. DoubleTree by Hilton prides itself on paying attention to the little details that have a big impact, from welcoming guests with its signature warm DoubleTree Cookie, to serving the communities around them. DoubleTree by Hilton hotels offer contemporary accommodations and full-service facilities, including restaurants and lounges, room service, health clubs, business centers, and meeting and banquet spaces. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. To make reservations, travelers may visit Sarin InvestmentsSarin Investments is a family driven business. They own, manage and operate over 20 properties across New Zealand, Australia and United States of America.Source = Hiltonlast_img read more