Month: August 2019

Marchers in Rome protest Italys allowing abortion

first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments   Share   After a long battle between secular forces and the church, voters upheld the law in a 1981 referendum. There is no major momentum now to rescind the law.Some in the Mother’s Day march pushed babies in strollers. One American participant, the Rev. Dominick Holtz, from St. Louis, Missouri, said the march united people from around the world against legalized abortion.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 treatments for adult scoliosis New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of ROME (AP) – A few thousand people opposed to Italy’s 1978 law allowing abortion have marched through the Italian capital in a protest drawing people from around the world, including Americans and Poles.Nuns, priests and lay people marched in Rome Sunday from the Colosseum to Castel Sant’Angelo, a landmark near the Vatican.In Italy, abortion on demand is legal through to the end of the third month of pregnancy. Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more

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Militant leader in Syria seeks Islamic state

first_img Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Four benefits of having a wireless security system Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top holiday drink recipescenter_img “Thanks to our strong faith we do not fear death, because we think that if you are killed by the hands of this regime, then we will be martyrs and we will go to paradise,” said Sheik Abu Ahmed, 41, a regional military commander for al-Nusra in the northern Hasaka region.“We want Sharia (Islamic law) to be applied because it’s the right path for all humanity,” he added. “All these constitutional laws couldn’t realize the people’s happiness.”Abu Ahmed did not give his real name in an interview this week with The Associated Press or explain why he was using a nom de guerre. He and his fighters were reluctant to reveal much personal information or say what they did before the civil war.Syria’s conflict started 20 months ago as an uprising against Assad, whose family has ruled the country for four decades. It quickly morphed into a civil war, with rebels taking up arms to fight back against a bloody crackdown by the government. According to activists, at least 40,000 people have been killed since March 2011.Assad blames the revolt on a conspiracy to destroy Syria, saying the uprising is being driven by foreign terrorists, not Syrians seeking change. But Abu Ahmed said he believes Syrians want an Islamic state.“We think more and more people will follow us,” he said. “We think we are on the right path.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Associated PressRAS AL-AYN, Syria (AP) – A leader of an al-Qaida-inspired militant group fighting the regime in Syria said his men do not fear death and they are determined to form an Islamic state.Jabhat al-Nusra _ Arabic for “the Support Front” _ has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings and other attacks on regime targets across the country. The group has raised fears of a growing Islamic militant element among the forces seeking to topple President Bashar Assad. Analysts say most of those fighting Assad’s regime are ordinary Syrians and soldiers who have defected, disenchanted with the authoritarian government. But increasingly, foreign fighters and those adhering to an extremist Islamist ideology are turning up on the front lines. The rebels try to play down the Islamists’ influence for fear of alienating Western support.It’s difficult to gauge how much power Jabhat al-Nusra has in the uprising. Although Abu Ahmed says only a tiny fraction of the group’s fighters are foreign, others have estimated that its fighters come from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the Balkans and elsewhere. Many are veterans of previous wars who came to Syria for what they consider a new “jihad,” or holy war, against Assad.Jabhat al-Nusra has become notorious for numerous suicide bombings targeting regime and military facilities. Syria’s rebels have tried to disassociate themselves from the bombings for fear their uprising will be tainted with the al-Qaida brand.The fear of Islamic extremism resonates deeply in Syria, a country with many ethnic and religious minorities. The Assad dynasty has long tried to promote a secular identity in Syria, largely because it has relied heavily on its own Alawite base in the military and security forces in an overwhelmingly Sunni country.last_img read more

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AP PHOTOS Mandela remembered around the world

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here are some images of people celebrating and remembering his life.____Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories (AP) – Mourners sing and dance outside Nelson Mandela’s old house in Johannesburg. In Pakistan, children gather around his portrait holding candles. Well-wishers leave flowers outside South African embassies in Beijing and New York.People around the world are mourning Mandela, speaking out about the life and legacy of the former South African president and sharing how they drew inspiration from his strength and message of continuing the struggle against social injustice. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories last_img read more

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4 Afghan men sentenced to death over horrifying mob killing

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Top Stories Some conservative lawmakers in recent years have tried to dilute a law that seeks to protect women from violence. That’s sparked fears of a rollback in legislative gains that have been made for women since the extremist Taliban were overthrown by the 2001 U.S.-led invasion following the Sept. 11 attacks.Activist Barry Salaam, who organized mass demonstrations in the days after Farkhunda’s slaying, said Wednesday’s verdicts validated laws aimed at protecting women.“The trial was far from perfect but it was held in open court, which definitely contributes to the strengthening of rule of law and gives the Afghan people the feeling that at the end of the day, the law does prevail,” Salaam said.But lawmaker Farkhunda Zahra Naderi criticized the judge’s decision to separately hand down verdicts against the police officers in the case, saying such a move could foment more mistrust of the police.“I believe that a political game is afoot and there has been political interference,” she said. “Why else would the court postpone the decisions in the case of the police?”Meanwhile, Afghanistan still struggles with insurgent violence from the Taliban and others as the U.S. and NATO ended their combat mission in the country at the end of last year. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Four Afghan men were sentenced Wednesday to death by hanging over the filmed mob killing in downtown Kabul of a young woman falsely accused of burning the Quran, a case that horrified the country and showed the dangers women face in the conservative society.But the family of the 27-year-old woman, a religious scholar named Farkhuna, immediately denounced the verdict as unfair as the judge dropped charges against 18 men for a lack of evidence. Judge Safiullah Mojadedi sentenced eight others to 16 years in prison. Nineteen police officers accused in the case will be sentenced Saturday, their verdicts publicly announced the next day. An Afghan presidential investigation later found that she had not damaged a copy of the Muslim holy book, but nevertheless, some public and religious figures said the attack would have been justified if she had in fact damaged a Quran.The trial over her killing, which began Saturday at Afghanistan’s Primary Court, was broadcast live across the country with just two full days of hearings. On Wednesday, Farkhunda’s parents and sister looked on ashen-faced at the defendants, who included a man who threw two large rocks at her, the driver of the car that ran over her and the man who set her body alight.Farkhunda’s parents addressed the court before the judge handed down his rulings, asking that the accused be dealt with according to the law.“Everybody saw what happened and I insist on justice,” her mother, Bibi Hajira, said. “That’s all I want.”The defendants can appeal their sentences. The charges against them included assault, murder and encouraging others to participate in the attack. The police officers face charges of neglecting their duties and failing to prevent the attack.Afghanistan’s judicial system long has faced criticism over its inability to provide the majority of Afghans access to justice. Women especially are sidelined, despite constitutional guarantees of equality and protection from violence, a recent report by the United Nations concluded. The attack on Farkhunda was widely seen as symptomatic of the country’s problems, where violence against women often goes unpunished. One of Farkhunda’s brothers, Mujibullah, told The Associated Press that his family was angered by the court’s leniency toward the majority of the defendants.“The outcome of the trial is not fair and we do not accept it — you saw just four people sentenced to death but everybody knows that more than 40 people were involved in martyring and burning and beating my sister,” said Mujibullah, who like many Afghans, including his sister, uses only one name.“The whole world has seen the crime that was committed against my sister,” he added. “I am not a cleric, but the Quran says that if anyone kills another human being, then they should themselves be put to death.”On March 19, a mob attacked Farkhunda after an amulet peddler accused her of burning a Quran after she challenged him over selling his wares to women desperate to have children. Chilling mobile phone videos recorded the horror of the last moments of Farkhunda’s life, as she was punched, kicked, beaten with wooden planks, thrown off a roof, run over by a car and ultimately set afire on the banks of Kabul River.An outrage followed her death, as protesters marched in Kabul, some wearing masks bearing the image of her bloodied face. Mourners held candlelight vigils in her memory, even in Washington as President Ashraf Ghani visited the U.S. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories On Wednesday, a bus hit a roadside bomb, killing two people and wounding three in eastern Ghazni province, said Asadullah Ensafi, the province’s deputy police chief. He blamed the attack on the Taliban, who have a significant presence in the region.___Follow Lynne O’Donnell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lynnekodonnell.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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US producer prices fall in April food energy costs drop

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Bus crashes in Egypt kill 23 injure 17 others

first_img 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Four benefits of having a wireless security system Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility CAIRO (AP) — Two separate road accidents in Egypt killed 23 Egyptians and injured 17 others on Sunday, officials said.Husam Gamil, director of emergency services for the Red Sea governorate, said one accident occurred when a passenger bus flipped over near the resort city of Hurghada, killing 11 people and injuring 11 others.Maj. Gen. Mohamed Ismail, a local security director, said 12 people were killed and another six injured when their minibus collided with a truck carrying construction materials near Wadi Natrun, some 125 kilometers (78 miles) northwest of Cairo.center_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Deadly road accidents claim thousands of lives in Egypt every year. They are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or lack of regular vehicle maintenance. The World Health Organization says traffic accidents claim the lives of about 12,000 people a year in Egypt.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

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Philippines holds drills with US Japan near disputed sea

first_img Sponsored Stories PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines launched separate naval exercises with the United States and Japan on Monday on an island province facing the disputed South China Sea, displaying its security alliances amid an increasingly tense territorial rift with Beijing.Philippine military officials, however, stressed that the weeklong exercises were aimed at enhancing disaster-response readiness and were not directed at any country or linked to the dispute. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like He noted that U.S. and Filipino forces jointly responded in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation in the central Philippines.The drills will also “ensure that our alliance with the Philippines remains strong, vibrant, and ready to contribute to the greater stability and peace of the region,” Merz said.Territorial disputes involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have flared in recent years. Last year, tensions rose further when China began constructing artificial islands on previously submerged reefs mostly in the disputed Spratly Islands. Washington asked Beijing to halt the island-building, saying it stokes regional tensions, but China replied that it has a right to undertake the massive construction for civilian and security purposes in what it said is its territory.___Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Still, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency immediately bristled at Japan’s rare involvement in a military exercise with Philippine forces near the disputed region. It said Tokyo was meddling in the conflict to try to divert Beijing’s resources from the East China Sea, where the two nations have been locked in a dispute over a chain of islands.“This seemingly clever maneuver is only short-sighted, for Beijing will probably not be convinced next time when Tokyo says it sincerely wants to improve bilateral ties,” Xinhua said in a commentary.Filipino sailors will hold a search and rescue drill on Wednesday with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force, which deployed a P-3 Orion surveillance plane to the western Philippine province of Palawan over the weekend.The Philippine military holds larger military exercises each year with the U.S., a treaty ally. U.S. military officials stressed that the naval maneuvers with Filipino forces this week, which have been held each year since 1995, would be staged in Palawan and eastward over the Sulu Sea and not in the South China Sea to the west of the island province.U.S. Navy Rear Adm. William Merz, nevertheless, said at the opening of the U.S.-Philippine exercises in Palawan that Washington’s alliances with countries like the Philippines allow American forces to operate “where it matters, when it matters.”last_img read more

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UN Criminal groups fund 25 percent of Guatemalas politics

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A quarter of the money fueling Guatemalan politics comes from criminal organizations, primarily drug traffickers, according to a report released Thursday by a United Nations commission.The U.N.’s International Commission Against Impunity also said in the report that government contractors contribute slightly more than 50 percent of the campaign financing.The commission concluded that the country’s elections are rife with illegal money and corruption is the glue holding the system together. Political parties consistently spend far more money than they report taking in and several regularly exceed spending limits without consequence. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Renewed Democratic Liberty party is an opposition party, but leads in the polls for the September national elections.Edgar Barquin, is the former head of Guatemala’s central bank. Velasquez said Wednesday that Barquin used his influence to protect businesses that were making suspicious financial transactions. Those funds were later used for illicit campaign finance.In response, his brother, Manuel Barquin, said they only ask for “due process and that the principle of innocence that people have is respected.”The commission’s investigation found that the money was laundered abroad and then used to finance the Great National Alliance party in the 2011 presidential elections.Velasquez said the commission, which has been operating in Guatemala since 2007, could assert that “many of these funds come from drug trafficking.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home “Corruption is the unifying element of the Guatemalan political system based on an amalgam of interests that include politicians, officials, public entities, businessmen, non-governmental organizations and criminal groups,” Ivan Velasquez, head of the commission, said Thursday.The report recommended campaign finance reforms, for example, setting private campaign financing at 20 percent.“It is a reflection on everyone, it affects all of us,” said Javier Zepeda, executive director of the Chamber of Industry. “We believe that today more than ever we have to sit down, unite and think of a country in the future.”The report was released one day after the same commission and Guatemalan prosecutors petitioned to have a candidate for vice president stripped of his immunity for allegedly laundering funds that were later used to finance political activities.Prosecutors accused Edgar Barquin, vice presidential candidate of the Renewed Democratic Liberty party, and his brother Manuel Barquin, one of the most influential federal lawmakers from the same party, of a variety crimes on Wednesday. Guatemalan law gives lawmakers and candidates immunity from prosecution.center_img A campaign poster promoting presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon of the Democratic Freedom Revival Party, hangs from a utility pole, in Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala, Thursday, July 16, 2015. A report of the United Nations International Commission Against Impunity targeting corruption in Guatemala says a percent of the money fueling its politics comes from criminal organizations, primarily drug traffickers. The report was released one day after the same commission and Guatemalan prosecutors petitioned to have Baldizon’s running mate stripped of his immunity for allegedly laundering funds that were later used to finance political activities. (AP Photo/Luis Soto) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The vital role family plays in society 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Airbus reveals invisible concept plane

first_imgAn ‘invisible’ fuselage will allow passengers to look through the body of the plane, down onto cities or up at the stars. The concept plane incorporates streamlined engines into the fuselage. Airbus has revealed ideas for a concept plane with streamlined engines and the ability for its fuselage to become invisible.At the push of a button the captain would send an electrical pulse through a hi-tech ceramic skin making the main body of the plane see-through, Der Spiegel reported.The futuristic design would allow travellers to look down on cities and landscapes below, News.com.au reported.The concept is reminiscent of James Bond’s Aston Martin Vanquish (renamed ‘Vanish’) in the 2002 film, Die Another Day. In the film, the car could project images of its surroundings to appear invisible.Researchers at Airbus said the design would allow travellers to see through the body of the plane, directly below onto cities and landscapes, or gaze up and around at the starry heavens. The sensation would be that of floating unassisted through the sky, they said.”Passengers in an airplane like this would experience flight in a completely new way,” Airbus’ head of research and technology, Axel Krein, said.The proposal is one of a number of plans being considered by engineers at the European aerospace giant.Also in the works from Mr Krein’s team is an aircraft skin that can repair itself in the event of cracks or breaches and streamline engines that are embedded in the plane’s fuselage rather than attached to its wings.”We told our engineers to give their imaginations free rein. What emerged were completely realistic visions of flight in the year 2050,” Mr Krein said.”Our people are grounded in reality, after all. And most of the necessary technology already exists.”What are some other concepts you’d like to ‘see’ adopted by aircraft manufacturers?center_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

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Calls for removal of all airport station fees

first_imgSydney Airport has welcomed the the NSW State Government’s decision to scrap access fees at two of the city’s airport train stations, but called for the fee removal to extend to two other stations.The access fees at Green Square and Mascot stations will cease from next Monday, and Sydney Airport CEO Russell Balding approved the decision. “The access fees discourage people from using public transport to get to Green Square, Mascot and the Domestic and International Terminals, so the abolition of the fee for two of the four stations means that we are halfway to getting a fair deal for rail passengers,” Mr Balding said. “Sydney Airport has been a strong advocate for improved public transport to and from the airport so I welcome this announcement as a positive sign of progress.”Mr Balding added that he felt the access fees at the Domestic and International Terminal stations should also be removed.“I remain concerned that thousands of Sydneysiders who work at the airport will continue to pay high fares,” he said.“The next reform priority should be to drop the access fee from the weekly and periodical fares for the estimated 12,000-15,000 people who work at the terminals.” “There is no public policy reason why workers at the airport are the only commuters in NSW who have to pay a surcharge for using public transport to get to work.  “Encouraging public transport will help reduce congestion and pollution and provide people with more choice when travelling to the airport,” Mr Balding said.A Sydney Airport report said current single fares from the International Terminal to Town Hall is $15.80, while a weekly ticket is $49.The airport said fair fares would see the price drop to $4 and $31 respectively. The report also indicated a single fare for the 8km journey from the airport to Sydney Central station was $15, while a ticket from Central to Bathurst, Goulburn, Bomaderry and Newcastle was only $7.80. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: V.Vlast_img read more

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The most punctual airline is…

first_imgSouth African Airways (SAA) has been named the world’s most punctual airline, according to a new flight statistics report.The June 2013 Airline and Airport On-Time Performance Report by FlightStats indicated that major international airlines delivered, on average, 75.85 percent of their flights to the arrival gate within 15 minutes of schedule in June 2013.This figure represents a decline from May’s 80.70 percent average.SAA topped the list of global airlines, with a 93.33 percent average, while only five other major international carriers delivered more than 90 percent of their flights on-time.Global aviation cancellations were up 0.3 percent in June compared to May 2013.“This is a fantastic result for SAA as we have now over the last five months achieved over 90 percent or above on-time performance, beating the list of the most on-time airlines in the world on three occasions,” SAA country manager Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith said.“The result speaks volumes about SAA’s commitment and dedication to meet and exceed service levels for our customers, and to consistently match and beat much larger and more resourced carriers.”Top 10 most on-time airlines:01 South African 93.33%02 Gulf Air 92.06%03 All Nippon Airways 91.42%04 Japan Airlines 91.29%05 Finnair 90.34%06 Tyrolean Airways 90.27%07 KLM 89.70%08 EasyJet 87.20%09 Korean Air Lines 86.80%10 Iberia 85.70%Source = ETB News: P.T. Only six major international airlinesdelivered in the top percentile.last_img read more

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Major awards for explora

first_imgSource = explora Jesus Parilla SOUTH American eco-adventure operator explora has been recognised as the leading expedition company in South America for a second consecutive year by the World Travel Awards for 2013 and the company’s Hotel de Larache in San Pedro Atacama Desert was chosen as Chile’s leading boutique hotel, at an awards ceremony held in Lima, Peru on July 20.Called the “Oscars of Tourism” by the Wall Street Journal, the awards have been celebrating excellence in every field of the tourism industry since 1993. For 20 years the organization has received worldwide recognition for its standards of quality, with many winners setting a benchmark to which others aspire.Every year, tens of thousands of travel professionals vote for their favourite destinations, resorts, hotels, airports, travel companies, and cruises, using a long list of criteria. explora ceo Jesus Parrilla said, “Words cannot describe how thrilled we all are at receiving these outstanding accolades that recognize explora’s longtime commitment to excellence in the tourism industry.For more than 20 years of operation explora has  offered travellers not only a trip but a new way of travelling to remote areas in South America.”It is a true testament to our dedicated staff who clearly understand that success rests upon our continued effort to raise standards on a daily basis, exceeding our travellers’ expectations.”center_img explora hotel Atacamalast_img read more

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USA dominates business travel from Australia

first_imgSource = American Express Global Business Travel USA dominates business travel from AustraliaAustralian business travellers are most frequently travelling to cities in the United States (US) when travelling outside of Asia Pacific (APAC), according to data from American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).  The strengthening US economy appears to be driving an influx of business travellers to many key US cities, with seven out of the top ten international locations beyond Asia Pacific being located in the US.Encompassing all air bookings made directly with GBT for Australian-based travellers between March 2014 and April 2015, the travel destinations report provides a snapshot of business travel flows within, and from, Australia.  Sydney, Singapore and London emerge as the top destinations for domestic, APAC, and international business travel outside APAC, respectively. Singapore, Auckland and Hong Kong emerge as the top three international destinations, highlighting the dominance of regional centres for Australian business.“Singapore remains the leading business hub of Asia-Pacific, and with many large corporations having headquarters there, and we anticipate that it will remain a top international destination for Australian business travellers for some time to come,” said David Reimer, General Manager, American Express Global Business Travel, APAC.“The biggest change over the last twelve months is the growing dominance of the US as a priority market for business travel beyond APAC. While US cities comprised less than half of the top ten in 2013-2014, we’ve now seen that number increase to seven out of the top ten this year. This indicates the growing importance of the US to Australian businesses.”Asia remains the focusWhen looking at the rankings for total international business travel from Australia, countries within Asia remain the primary focus. London is the highest ranked destination outside of Asia, followed by New York. The top five rankings remain unchanged from the previous year, however The Philippines is a new listing to this year’s top ten rankings, coming in at ninth.US dominates outside of APACNorth America has become an increasingly attractive destination for Australian business travellers over the last two years. Five out of the top ten business travel destinations outside APAC in 2013-2014 were North America cities, and this year that number has risen to seven out of the top ten cities. London maintains a strong lead on its number one ranking outside of Asia Pacific, however the UK, Germany and Netherlands are the only European nations to make the top ten rankings. Paris, previously in the top 10, dropped out of this year’s rankings.Singpore leads Asia PacificSingapore remains the top APAC business travel destination for Australian business travellers, followed by Auckland and Hong Kong. As New Zealand’s financial centre, Auckland remains an important destination for many global technology, pharmaceutical, and professional services companies, headquartered in Australia but with operations in New Zealand.Bangkok has dropped out of the top ten this year, most likely as a result of the political unrest which occurred in the country in 2014. While Seoul was not included in the top ten rankings for 2013-2014, it is ranked at eighth in this year, suggesting it’s continued emergence as a technology hub in Asia and globally.Sydney remains number oneThe most-booked domestic destination for Australian business travellers was, unsurprisingly, Sydney, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. These rankings are consistent with rankings from 2013-2014.last_img read more

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Countdown begins for TravelManagers 2016 National Conference

first_imgKeynote speakers for TravelManagers 2016 National Conference from left to right Peter Baines, Tran Trong Kien and Gihan Perera Countdown begins for TravelManagers 2016 National ConferenceCountdown begins for TravelManagers 2016 National ConferenceWith less than three weeks to go, the anticipation is building for personal travel managers as the countdown begins to the company’s ninth national conference. The TravelManagers 2016 national conference with a theme of ‘Adding Value’ will be held 19-21 August in Bangkok.Executive General Manager – Michael Gazal“The conference theme of adding value really resonates with all that we do. At TravelManagers inspiring people through our personal experiences is not just our business, it’s what we believe in. Our personal travel managers are all inspirational people who love to travel and share that love of travel with our clients. We add value to our clients by giving them travel ideas and suggestions, right from the dreaming and planning stages right through to the time they return home,” says TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager Michael Gazal.The three-day conference will focus on equipping personal travel managers with the skills, insights and practical ideas to truly add value to their clients’ holiday experiences.“In a world where information is at the touch of a button, the ability to provide personal experience and information they cannot find out for themselves, is the key to enhancing a client’s experience. Our annual conference offers an amazing opportunity for the personal travel manager network to all come together to share ideas, learn from each other and build relationships within the business while networking with suppliers.”Gazal is delighted to announce an impressive caliber of keynote speakers who will inspire the personal travel managers by providing relevant content and thought provoking open forum discussions.Gihan Perera, a futurist and online marketing specialist, author and consultant is back to address this year’s conference. An advocate of the mobile home-based personal travel manager model, Perera is no stranger to TravelManagers, having presented to the personal travel managers at their 2014 national conference in Singapore.“Gihan has an excellent understanding of the TravelManagers’ business model and the everyday opportunities and constraints that our personal travel managers regularly face. Gihan wowed our personal travel managers a couple of years ago with his expertise in understanding how the Internet has changed our world and providing clever ideas to easily differentiate themselves through a range of technological tools. His inspiration and enthusiasm ensures he is back again this year by popular demand.”The importance of flexibility, personal marketing and utilizing technology better will form the basis of Perera’s address.“Client expectations have changed, especially in the service industry. Clients want personal, individual and flexible service. The old-fashioned way of take a number and wait mentality doesn’t work anymore. It never did, but it’s even worse now,” says Perera.Tran Trong Kien is a self-made entrepreneur. Starting from humble beginnings in Northern Vietnam, 42-year-old Kien has built a $100 million dollar a year travel and hospitality business that includes travel companies, an aviation company, an online travel company and two hotel chains. As Chairman and General Director of the Thien Minh Group, it is one of the leading integrated travel and hospitality groups based in Southeast Asia and welcomes approximately 90,000 tourists to the region every year serving a broad range of budget to high-end travellers while hosting over 200,000 guests staying in its hotels annually.“Kien’s achievements are driven by many factors and he will share his journey and keys to success during his keynote address. Kien’s ‘rags to riches’ story is an impressive one which I know will fascinate and inspire our personal travel managers,” says Gazal.Kien will impart his views on the importance of strategic partnerships, creating value to drive success through exceptional customer service and providing unique products.“From experience, it is critical for personal travel manager’s to understand their own personal strengths, expertise and passions. This is key in targeting your clients. Personal travel managers will then need to work with specific suppliers and create a supply chain around this to ensure business success,” says Kien.The final keynote speaker is Peter Baines OAM, who runs a successful consulting business, building engagement through corporate social responsibility.Baines developed his unique leadership style by leading international identification teams into Indonesia and Thailand following acts of terrorism and the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami. Baines went on to work in the counter terrorism area of Interpol, spent time with the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime and also worked in Saudi Arabia and Japan after natural disasters hit those countries.However it was Baines’ work in Thailand that brought the biggest change and in January 2014, Peter Baines was recognized in the Australia Day honours with the awarding of the Order of Australia Medal for his International Humanitarian work.“After meeting the children left orphaned by the Tsunami, I felt compelled to act and founded an Australian charity called ‘Hands Across the Water’. This charity has gone on to create opportunities for hundreds of children across Thailand,” says Baines.Baines’ presentation will explore the key aspects leaders demonstrate during times of crisis and disaster.“We are thrilled to have Peter talk about his experiences and explore the importance of having a clarity of purpose and how to build engagement with clients, community and family through shared experiences. Peter will also talk about how you don’t have to be a leader of people to demonstrate leadership qualities, as the actions that personal travel managers take for themselves will influence their personal and professional growth. We know this will resonate so well with many of our personal travel manager experiences,” says Gazal.The TravelManagers 2016 national conference will be held 19-21 August 2014 at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel in Bangkok.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. Fly THAI Airways Amazing Thailand About TravelManagers Travel Managers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 490 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagers Australialast_img read more

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TravelManagers welcome home its 500th recruit

first_imgA blast from the past – personal travel managers (from left) Corinne Mutz, SA business partnership manager Alison Hill, Lucrezia Caruso and Penny Hall in 2012TravelManagers welcome home its 500th recruitTravelManagers has plenty of reasons to celebrate having reached a significant milestone with the recent signing of personal travel manager number 500. The signing of South Australian Corinne Mutz representative for Upper Sturt, coincides with the American Society of Travel Agents confirming that 44% of its membership is now home-based and further enhances the companies market leading dominance as Australia’s premium home-based personal travel manager network.“We are simply thrilled to have reached 500 personal travel managers. As the largest network of personal travel managers nationwide TravelManagers is in the enviable position of being the market leader in a business sector that is experiencing accelerated growth and at the forefront, not only of home-based consulting but of providing essential support services to clients as well,” says TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal.Personal travel manager Cheryl John (right) welcomes Corinne Mutz back with open arms to the South Australian teamMutz is no stranger to TravelManagers. Technically her recent signing could be termed a re-signing as she first joined the company in 2009. It was the flexibility home-based consulting offered that first attracted her to the company.“I had been living overseas and had no client base and the home-based concept was new to me, but the idea of being able to service my clients well and work independently was very appealing albeit frightening at the same time. I was looking for a challenge and an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone so I took the plunge.”In 2015 Mutz was targeted by a local agent starting their own home-based model. This was the catalyst behind Mutz’s decision to leave TravelManagers.“I was being courted by a local agent starting her own home based model. The idea of doing something more local and organic sounded appealing at the time.”However Mutz soon realised that the grass is not always greener.“I realised quite quickly that I was constantly comparing TravelManagers with my new company. I’m sure I was terribly annoying as I was often providing ideas and suggestions to improve their business practices. I can speak from my 30 years travel experience and the reality is, TravelManagers are light years ahead of any other travel advisor. Travel agencies try to emulate the TravelManagers model but the support, systems, technology and expertise they offer is state of the art and is the result of many years of experience and constant learning and refinement, which simply can’t be replicated.”As much as Mutz missed the TravelManagers’ systems, rules and professionalism it was her colleagues that she missed most.“I realised that the systems and rules were in place to ensure financial security for our clients and our own benefit. I also really missed my colleagues, we were a close knit group and even though I kept in contact with a few of them it just wasn’t the same.”Founding South Australian personal travel managers Penny Hall and Corinne Mutz remembering old timesIn 2009 Mutz was one of the founding personal travel managers in South Australia and now there are 21 contracted personal travel managers in the South Australian region.“When I joined TravelManagers in 2009 it was Penny Hall and myself and as we grew we became a family. We support each other in our common goal to be professional, represent our company well and provide our clients with personal service and tailor made holiday itineraries that suit their individual requirements. The ability to operate as an individual business partner but have the support of your colleagues to collaborate together is a real plus.”Gazal applauds Mutz’s community spirit that really resonates with the TravelManagers family based philosophies.“The mutual respect from the South Australian team epitomizes TravelManagers’ philosophy of personal travel managers working collectively together to support each other and foster community spirit. With personal travel managers having on average 20 years’ experience, we recognize each personal travel manager has wide-ranging strengths in different areas and actively encourage this type of peer community support both from a social and business point of view.”Since her year’s hiatus Mutz has noticed some positive changes upon her return to TravelManagers.“The focus on technology advancement and reinvestment in the business is clearly a winning formula for the company. I absolutely love the new payments platform where I can charge my client’s credit card within the back office system at any time, without having to separately access a third party provider. The efficiencies are priceless, saving me hours of processing each week. Having a dedicated and passionate cruise person is also an added benefit to the national partnership team and really shows the commitment to this growing market.”South Australian personal travel managers (from left) Hillary Pounder, Vanessa Maloney, Corinne Mutz, Cheryl John enjoy a coffee catch upMutz has been overwhelmed with the level of support she has received from her fellow personal travel managers upon her return.“I feel as though I never left, it’s like I’ve been on a brief holiday. TravelManagers has been such a big part of my life, even when I was ill last year so many personal travel managers from both South Australia and interstate kept in touch and supported me in my recovery. I have been welcomed back into the fold; they have wrapped their loving arms around me like a long lost friend. It has been an emotional and powerful experience for me.”These sentiments are equally echoed by Gazal who made it very clear when Mutz left, the door would always be open for her to return.“It’s like Corinne had never left and it was heart-warming seeing how enthusiastic and happy the South Australian team were to welcome her back to the clan. I am so very pleased Corinne made this major decision to come back home and we have all welcomed her with open arms.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravel Managers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

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Club Med last minute summer deal

first_imgClub Med last minute summer dealClub Med last minute summer dealClub Med is offering limited last-minute summer deals to some of your favourite destinations in Asia and the Maldives. Rooms are filling up fast so get in quick and book before 30 April 2018 for the ultimate all-inclusive getaway to one of Club Med’s prime beachfront locations, enjoying non-stop activities and gourmet restaurant dining.Christmas, New Years and January holidays are included within this deal, with prices starting from $1,355 per person for 7 nights, based on 13th January 2018 departure date.Club Med offers truly hassle-free holidays with their premium all-inclusive package that include gourmet meals and snacks with international delicacies and traditional local cuisine, an open bar, a vast selection of activities, entertainment and more – giving you more time to enjoy with the ones you love.Offer available for:Club Med Kani, the MaldivesClub Med Kani is the ultimate endless turquoise playground in the Maldives, suitable for families looking for an indulgent escape. Enjoy unique must-try experiences of the Maldives including a coral rebuilding program allowing guests to help repair damaged reefs*, as well as surfing*, flyboard*, parasailing* and seaplane lessons*. Club Med Kani brings together delicious local cuisine, colourful marine life and pristine waters in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It truly is a bucket-list destination. Prices start from $2,803 per adult for 7 nights (based on 13th January 2018 travel dates).Club Med Bali, IndonesiaClub Med Bali is a sanctuary for families and friends on the shores of Nusa Dua, set between fields of rice paddies and temples, with masses of space to unwind. Featuring traditional Balinese must-try experiences, Club Med Bali’s cultural highlights include Bahasa language lessons, Balinese ceremonies as well as arts and crafts*. For those with a passion for action, there’s surfing lessons* and white water rafting* or wind down with a walk through the resort’s botanical track. The contemporary design of the resort, inspired by local culture, is the perfect place to rejuvenate your body and soul. Prices start from $1,440 per adult for 7 nights (based on 6th January 2018 travel dates).Club Med Bintan Island, IndonesiaClub Med Bintan Island is the ultimate holistic wellness escape, a short ferry ride from Singapore. The resort offers a new fitness and yoga menu including Yoga Palapa, night trapeze and juice bar all located in the heart of a magnificent tropical park, surrounded by private white sandy beach. Prices start from $1,935 per adult for 7 nights (based on 13th January 2018 travel dates and including ferry).Club Med Cherating Beach, MalaysiaClub Med Cherating Beach is a step into the wild, where you can enjoy unique resort experiences including watching the release of turtle hatchlings* into the ocean at the nearby turtle sanctuary, jungle walks and yoga with breathtaking views. Whilst there check out the resort’s must-try experiences including the new fitness and yoga menu or amazing firefly watching at night*. Prices start from $1,355 per adult for 7 nights (based on 13th January 2018 travel dates).Club Med Sanya, ChinaClub Med Sanya is a glamorous sun-kissed haven, nestled in a lush tropical setting, ideal for a family holiday in China. Sanya offers the perfect combination of Chinese and French culture through unique activities including Yoga and Tai Chi on the beach, Nantian Hot Springs* and French candle lit dinners* on the beach with views of the South China Sea. Enjoy some family fun at the resorts Art Studio, Game Academy and Music Factory. There’s also rock climbing, children’s waterslides and more! Prices start from $2,825 per adult for 7 nights (for a deluxe room, based on 13th January 2018 travel dates).Travel agents can download sales and marketing tools for this offer from the Club Med Travel Agent Portal: www.clubmedta.com.au and make bookings over the phone on 1800 258 263Terms and conditions: Prices advertised for departures on 13 January 2018 based on Club Med at Club Med Cherating. Limited Last-Minute Summer Deal valid for sale until 30 April for departures between 1 December 2017 – 30 April 2018, blackout dates may apply. Valid bookings to Club Med Bali, Club Med Bintan, Club Med Kani, Club Med Cherating and Club Med Sanya only. Offer not valid for group travel or in conjunction with any other offer. Ferry transfers included for Bintan Island. Local transfers not included in price but available at extra cost. Valid for new bookings by Australian and New Zealand residents only, subject to quota per date of departure and to removal without notice once reached. Please note that Club Med respects local legislation regarding the minimum age required for serving alcohol. Where there is an * refers to where extra cost is applicable. For full terms andconditions visit www.clubmed.com.auSource = Club Medlast_img read more

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Centre to promote Nabakalebar as an international festival

first_imgThe Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge), & Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma met the Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge), Government of Odisha, Ashok Chandra Panda in New Delhi. Placing the pending issues before Dr Mahesh Sharma, Ashok Panda requested him to expedite the reimbursement of funds for which the Utilisation Certificates have already been submitted. He further requested for branding of Nabakalebar as an International Festival and sanctioning funds for the proposed Light and Sound shows.Dr Mahesh Sharma assured Panda that the Tourism Ministry will make all efforts to provide funds at the earliest for the three Light and Sound shows proposed to be held at Dhauli, Udayagire / khandagire Caves and at Konark. Dr Sharma assured that a special media campaign will be mounted to popularise Nabakalebar as an international festival. The campaign will be released in the electronic, print and cyber media, he added.The Odisha Tourism Minister urged Dr Mahesh Sharma to start an international flight from Bhubaneshwar International Airport to help promote tourism in the state. Dr Sharma said that he is very much seized of the matter and assured an early response in this regard.last_img read more

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Travel guide to Sam Roi Yot National Park in Thailand

first_imgKhao Sam Roi Yot is a marine national park in Sam Roi Yot district of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province in Thailand. The park was established in 1966 and was the first coastal national park of Thailand.Source: Expedialast_img

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JW Marriott Hotel Pune presents Shaadi by Marriott

first_imgAssisted by the ‘Shaadi by Marriott’ concept, JW Marriott Hotel Pune announced its association with India’s celebrated couturiers – Shantanu and Nikhil. The ace designers unfolded their wedding collection especially curated and themed on the concept of ‘Shaadi by Marriott’ was unveiled. General Manager Vineet Mishra said, “It is a great honour to associate with leading ace designers, Shantanu and Nikhil for ‘Shaadi by Marriott’. Through this, we have the opportunity to showcase our property as the choicest venue and weddings at JW Marriott Hotel Pune are an unmatched blend of simplicity and elegance. From a warm engagement to a sassy bachelorette at Miami, a sundowner at Paasha, traditional pheras to a classy reception in the grand ballroom; we make room for all kinds of ceremonies and rituals.”JW Marriott Hotel Pune provides guests with 40,000 sq ft events space to host weddings. The ‘Sabha’ hall has a capacity to accommodate about 2,000 persons.last_img read more

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Unemployment Rate Down to 75 as Payrolls Increase by 165K

first_img The economy added 165,000 jobs in April–rebounding from a weak report for March–and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5.percent, its lowest level since December 2008, the “”Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)””:http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_05032013.pdf reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 153,000, and that the unemployment rate would remain at 7.6 percent.[IMAGE]Payroll growth for March, originally reported at 88,000, was revised upward to 138,000, and February was revised to 332,000 from 268,000.Average weekly hours fell to 34.4–the equivalent of job losses–while average hourly earnings rose.Compared with the disappointing report for March, the April report showed very few negatives. The labor force–the sum of employment and unemployment–rose for the month with employment increasing 293,000 and unemployment falling 83,000. Unemployment, as used in this report, is a defined term including individuals meeting three tests: out-of-work, available-for-work, and looking-for-work.The labor force participation rate remained at 63.3 percent, low by historical standards. It had been 66.0 percent before the recession began in December 2007. The current rate is the lowest since December 1978, in part reflecting an increase in school enrollment, which could affect the “”available-for-work”” test.The employment-population ratio, a broad measure of the employment status of all those over 16, rose to 58.6 percent, but is still far below 62.7 percent in December 2007. The inverse of the employment-population ratio is a crude unemployment measure, suggesting 41.4 percent of all those over 16 do not have jobs, without adjustment for students or otherwise not seeking jobs.The net increase in payroll jobs came despite a loss of 11,000 government jobs–8,000 federal jobs, including 3,500 postal jobs. Local governments shed 2,000 jobs as state payrolls contracted by 1,000.Most industry sectors showed gains, but the number of construction jobs fell a net 6,000. Most of the job losses involved non-residential construction. [COLUMN_BREAK] Despite a drop in builder confidence, the number of residential construction jobs–including specialty contractors–increased 13,300. The information sector dropped 9,000 jobs in April, primarily in the movie and sound recording industry, which could have regional impacts on the coasts.Manufacturing jobs, according to the report, were flat in April after growing by a scant 2,000 in March, suggesting an impact of federal budget sequester cuts on defense-related employment, though the report does not contain a specific line item for defense related manufacturing or employment.Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs in April, including almost 31,000 temp jobs, which are often considered an entry point to permanent employment. Temp jobs though can also reflect a lack of confidence on the part of employers.The financial sector added 9,000 jobs, most of which were credit-related positions, such as underwriters, on the eve of the home-buying season. That said, the number of real estate jobs contracted by almost 2,000.The weak spot in the report was the cut in the average workweek, which slipped back from 34.6 hours last month. Cutting hours is a technique used by some businesses to reduce payroll spending while at the same time keeping trained workers available for a rebound in the economy. The reduction in hours though–despite an increase in average hourly earnings–reduces average weekly earnings, which fell by $3.29 in April and will have an impact on consumer demand.Reducing average weekly hours could also reflect a shift to part-time employment which rose 107,000 in April in a run-up to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act next January.With the reduction in hours and average weekly earnings, aggregate wage income fell in April. Wages, on average, represent about 55 percent of total personal income, which fuels personal consumption spending.The continued drop in the unemployment rate, which has fallen for three straight months, has added significance with the Federal Reserve having said the target fed funds rate would remain at its historic low, 0 to ├âÔÇÜ├é┬╝ percent, at least until the unemployment rate fell below 6.5 percent. The Fed also set an inflation target for keeping rates low and continuing its program of purchasing mortgage securities and investing in U.S. Treasury securities. Inflation has remained tame since the Fed announced its plans for reversing course on monetary policy.The number of persons out of work for 27 weeks or longer–“”long term unemployed””–fell 258,000 to 4,353,000 the lowest level since May 2009 but the number of person unemployed 15 to 26 weeks rose 230,000._Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 a.m. Eastern._ Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-05-03 Mark Lieberman Unemployment Rate Down to 7.5% as Payrolls Increase by 165K May 3, 2013 398 Views center_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

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