Month: August 2019

Carnival Corporation unveils the Ocean Tagalong a new digital companion

Carnival Corporation unveils the Ocean Tagalong a new digital companion

first_img MIAMI — Cruisers will never be without a companion when sailing with Carnival Corporation, which has just launched the new Ocean Tagalong.Described as a customizable ‘digital companion’, it is part of the O.C.E.A.N (One Cruise Experience Access Network) Experience Platform that will make its global debut aboard Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess in November at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The Tagalong, which will interact with guests on Ocean Medallion vacations and represent them in interactive games, is the latest in a series of personal and engaging features designed to enhance the vacation experience.How does it work? When guests create a profile within the Ocean Compass (accessible starting this fall on Ocean.com), they will be invited to create their own Tagalong. These digital companions will follow them from registration to the end of their cruise, as well as rejoin them on future cruises. Everyone who creates an Ocean profile can personalize a Tagalong; cruise bookings will not be required.Tagalong SprintGuests can select from three sea creatures – Sea Turtle, Seahorse or Butterfly Fish – to reflect their ‘alter ego’, and further customize their Tagalong by body shape, colour, pattern, tattoos and more.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionOnce created, the animated Tagalong will appear online within a guest’s profile and in interactive PlayOcean games that can be played online. It will also interact within Ocean Portals found onboard Medallion Class ships, and will even evolve throughout the cruise to reflect the interactions and personality of the guest.In addition, Tagalongs will take centre stage in the social gaming experience Tagalong Spring, which pits guests’ digital companions in a fast and fun race across the ocean floor. Guests will tap their personal Compass devices to see who can speed across the finish line first in this rhythm-based group game found onboard Medallion Class ships.“The Ocean Tagalong is a great way for guests to express themselves and gives us the opportunity to engage them in unique experiences that amplify fun and stoke their competitive spirits,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “Driven by the Ocean Medallion, guests will be amazed at how their Tagalongs appear in dynamic settings around the ship and delighted by the ways their companions can interact throughout their vacation.” Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Carnival Corporation Carnival Corporation unveils the ‘Ocean Tagalong’, a new digital companioncenter_img Thursday, May 25, 2017 Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

Continue Reading

Pope Francis invited to address US Congress

Pope Francis invited to address US Congress

first_imgPope Francis could become the first pontiff ever to address Congress after being offered a historic invitation by US House leaders on Thursday.House Speaker John Boehner sent a formal, open invitation to the pontiff, who on Thursday marked the first anniversary of his election to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Boehner’s office said the Vatican had yet to respond to the invite.Boehner in a statement lauded Francis’s popular message of mercy and serving the poor and how it transcended religious and cultural differences.“Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service,” Boehner said in a statement.“His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us — the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn — has awakened hearts on every continent.”No date was mentioned in the invitation, but reports have said the pope hopes to visit the United States next year to attend a global conference on families in Philadelphia in September.Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who attended Francis’s inauguration last year at the Vatican, said she was pleased that the pope would be able to bring his message directly to Americans. Pelosi, like Boehner, is Catholic.Pope Francis, everyone’s favorite pope, also has an open invitation from Laura Chinchilla to visit the Costa Rica. Facebook Comments Related posts:Chinchilla meets everybody’s favorite pope, invites him to Costa Rica Pope Francis shows off his new Sele jersey Pope Francis meets the Castros after mass on iconic Havana square Pope Francis tells bishops that clergy abuse must not be repeatedlast_img read more

Continue Reading

Thieves steal from Costa Rica national team head coach Jorge Luis Pinto

Thieves steal from Costa Rica national team head coach Jorge Luis Pinto

first_imgRelated posts:U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to attend World Cup‎ With Saborío out for World Cup, a broken-up Pinto says team must move forward US’ all-time top scorer Landon Donovan to retire at end of season Paulo Wanchope named new coach of Costa Rica national soccer team Thieves stole personal documents, an iPad, cash and other items from the car of Jorge Luis Pinto, the head coach of Costa Rica’s national team, in the capital on Monday night.Pinto, who led Costa Rica to qualification for the Brazil 2014 World Cup, had his car broken into while he participated in an event at a restaurant in Zapote, in southeast San José.After coming out of the restaurant Monday, Pinto noticed that the rear windshield of his car had been shattered.“They robbed very important documents. They stole memories from all my press conferences, a cellphone, cash, personal documents. A notebook filled with 20 years of numbers from all over the world, people of football — now where am I going to get those numbers?” Pinto told local media.The robbers also took an iPad, which Pinto said contained part of a book that he had begun writing.The exasperated coach said he is offering an award for the recovery of the belongings stolen from his vehicle. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Search called off for British yachtsmen missing in Atlantic

first_imgRelated posts:Police seize $1 million collection of pre-Columbian art in Santa Ana Random Photo of the Month: Ethiopians watch Costa Rica’s La Sele get beat by Spain With abortion banned in Zika countries, women beg on web for abortion pills Solís promises rapid rebuilding in Hurricane Otto’s wake; donation drives continue LONDON – The search for four Britons missing in the North Atlantic Ocean was called off Sunday, three days after their yacht began taking on water.The crew of the Cheeki Rafiki, a 40-foot performance racer-cruiser, first ran into difficulties on Thursday some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.The yachtsmen were returning from Antigua Sailing Week in the Caribbean.They were diverting to the Azores, the Portuguese island group, on Friday when contact with the yacht was lost.The men were sailing the boat back to Southampton on the southern English coast for the yacht training and charter company Stormforce Coaching.“They had not been able to ascertain where the water ingress was from and were diverting to the Azores,” said Stormforce director Doug Innes.“Unfortunately we lost contact during the early hours of Friday morning and we believe it is possible the crew abandoned to the life raft.“Search and Rescue authorities were mobilized and a mixture of Canadian and U.S. aircraft along with merchant vessels searched throughout Friday and Saturday.“Although the search efforts coordinated by Boston were exceptional we are devastated that the search has now been called off so soon.“Our thoughts are with the four yachtsmen and their families and we hope and pray for them all.”A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are aware of a missing yacht off the east coast of the USA with four British nationals on board.“We are in continual contact with the U.S. Coast Guard and are providing consular assistance to the families.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Protests by private chauffeurs block Costa Rica roads

Protests by private chauffeurs block Costa Rica roads

first_imgHundreds of private chauffeurs, known as“porteadores,” blocked several major roads Wednesday morning in the provinces of Alajuela, Puntarenas, Guanacaste and the capital San José.A large group of these drivers, who are regulated differently than normal taxi drivers, demonstrated in front of Casa Presidencial in Zapote, east of San José, to oppose a Public Transportation Council (CTP) decision to renew only half of the permits currently granted to such drivers. The permits will be known as Special Taxi Service permits going forward.Porteadores leaders are asking to meet with President Luis Guillermo Solís or other top government officials. Solís, however, demanded they first remove all blockades and asked them to show solidarity with people affected by flooding during the past two weeks in various communities in the Caribbean and northern zone. El país no necesita ni huelgas ni bloqueos en las principales rutas nacionales, sino SOLIDARIDAD con las zonas afectadas por la emergencia— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) July 8, 2015 Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) officials last week reported that according to a ruling from the Government Attorney’s Office, the total number of porteadores can not exceed 30 percent of the total number of taxis in the country, currently just over 11,000.CTP director Mario Zarate said at the time that permits only will be granted to individual porteadores and not to companies employing a fleet of private drivers. Besides individual permits, currently there are some 58 companies that control some 2,800 permits, according to CTP records.MOPT and CTP officials are expected to explain later on Wednesday the changes in criteria they will use to grant Special Taxi Service permits from now on.Besides blockades in Zapote, motorists also struggled to travel on many important roads including various stretches of the Circunvalación — a belt route around downtown San José — and the General Cañas highway between the capital and Alajuela province, including the stretch in front of the Juan Santamaría International Airport.In Liberia, a large group of porteadores also blocked the road in front of Daniel Oduber International Airport. Some travellers were forced to get off taxis and vehicles and walk with their luggage in order to get to the airport on time.These are the routes affected by blockades as of Wednesday at noon, according to Traffic Police:Route 2: In Buenos Aires, south of PuntarenasRoute 4: At the intersection in Puerto Viejo de SarapiquíRoute 10: In CATIE, near TurrialbaRoute 21: Between Liberia and NaranjoRoute 32: At the intersection of Río Frío (closure prompted by landslides and heavy rains on Tuesday was lifted at 9:30 a.m.)Route 34: On the Parrita BridgeRoute 204: In front of Casa Presidencial, Zapote Porteadores’ leaders are demanding to meet with President Luis Guillermo Solís or other top government officials. L. Arias/The Tico Times Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Chauffeurs break negotiations with government officials in ongoing permit row President Solís says no more road blockades Police to investigate alleged threats by private chauffeurs against traffic officers Porteadores announce more street blockades across Costa Rica next weeklast_img read more

Continue Reading

Tales of the disappeared in a Mexico drug state

Tales of the disappeared in a Mexico drug state

first_imgCIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico – They were doing everyday things when they were kidnapped, never to be seen again: A woman working at her frozen fruit business. Another waiting for a bus. A policewoman having lunch.They are among the 5,000 people who are listed as “disappeared” in Tamaulipas, the northeastern Mexican state with the most missing people in Mexico, where a total of 26,000 have vanished amid a brutal, nearly decade-old drug war.Those are the official figures.For the nongovernmental organization Families and Friends of the Disappeared in Tamaulipas, 11,000 people are unaccounted for in the state.The disappearance of 43 students in southern Guerrero state last year put a spotlight on the plight of Mexico’s disappeared.But there are many, many other untold stories across Mexico, especially in Tamaulipas, where many fear the consequences of angering the Gulf or Zetas drug cartels.In Ciudad Victoria, the Tamaulipas state capital, members of the Families and Friends of the Disappeared gathered at a humble home to tell their stories to AFP: Guillermo Gutiérrez, father of Raquel, a girl missing since 2011 in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas State, speaks during an interview with AFP in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on Dec. 16, 2015. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPRaquel, 19Gunmen burst into the home of Guillermo Gutiérrez Riestra on Sept. 1, 2011 and kidnapped his 19-year-old daughter, Raquel, and a friend of hers.She was about to start college and dreamed of becoming a lawyer.“It was the Zetas. They burned the house and the car. I think they kidnapped 50 young people that day alone. We think they did it to force people to join their organization,” Gutiérrez said. Alma Miriam Ruíz, mother of Dalia, a woman from San Fernando, Tamaulipas State, missing since 2010, shows a pictue of her daughter during an interview with AFP in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on Dec. 16, 2015. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPDalia, 26Alma Miriam Ruíz has not had any news of her 26-year-old daughter, Dalia, since she went to a bus station in the town of San Fernando, 170 kilometers north of Ciudad Victoria, five years ago.She disappeared just days after Aug. 27, 2010, when 72 migrants were slaughtered by the Zetas drug cartel in that town.Dalia was working in San Fernando and was coming home to see her children, who lived with Alma.“I don’t know much about her disappearance. They say one of those guys [gang members] took her by force. I think they take them to work as a girlfriend,” she said. María Luisa Silva, mother of Gladys, a policewoman missing since 2014 in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas State, shows a picture of her daughter during an interview with AFP in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on Dec. 16, 2015. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPGladys, 35Gladys, 35, was proud of being a state police officer. She hated desk work and loved operations.Her mother, María Luisa Silva, showed a picture of the young woman smiling in her uniform, holding a gun.On May 14, 2014, Gladys went out to eat with a friend and never returned.“We don’t know who the friend was,” María Luisa said. She suspects her disappearance was part of a vendetta linked to her daughter’s police work.“Nine days earlier, they killed a police chief in a shooting. They detained nine police officers. She detained one of the criminals.”Zaida, 17María Guadalupe Ramírez could barely hold back tears as she recalled that her daughter was only 17 when she was taken away on Sept. 1, 2011, as she went out with four other kids in a car to a nearby river.“The only one who reappeared was the boy who had the car — he was found cut into pieces,” María said. “A ransom was paid but none of them returned.”Isidro, 32Isidro, 32, was resting on April 5, 2011, when gunmen entered the house and took him along with his father-in-law and a brother-in-law.“There were women and children there, but thank God they didn’t take them,” said his mother, María Natividad Banda.Since then, sightings have been reported.“But we have looked for him, and nothing. The last time was in January. We were told that he was at the square [in] Ciudad Mante and that he looked very well.”José, 42Cirila Maldonado has been searching for her 42-year-old son José for more than four years. He was toiling in a welding workshop when men arrived in a car and snatched him.A ransom was paid.“They asked his wife for a lot of money. A lot. We got the money together and she delivered it, but they never delivered him,” Cirila said.Andrea, 28Andrea, 28, was at her frozen fruit business next to her house on Nov. 1, 2012, when a neighbor, who was married to a policeman, called her to ask her to come out.“She went out. An SUV arrived and they took her,” said her husband, Guillermo Robledo.Two suspects were detained.“One was killed in prison,” he said. “They never said what they did to her.” Facebook Comments Related posts:How chocolate cake led to Mexican drug kingpin’s arrest Mexico horrified by suspected massacre, incineration of 43 students Argentine team casts doubt on Mexico’s investigation into students’ disappearance Parents of 43 missing students in Mexico wage hunger strikelast_img read more

Continue Reading

Majority of companies in Costa Rica are family affairs

Majority of companies in Costa Rica are family affairs

first_imgRelated posts:Gallito candy, chocolates won’t be ‘Made in Costa Rica’ anymore Private sector confidence remains lukewarm Dos Pinos acquires candy maker Gallito Employment outlook among industrial sector shows no improvement Nearly 80 percent of private companies in Costa Rica are family businesses, according to a recent survey by the Costa Rican Chamber of Family Businesses (CACEF).Research found that just over 30,000 companies in Costa Rica are family-controlled and represent all sectors of the economy, from small businesses to major corporations.Research director Guillermo Salazar said results are consistent with data from the International Labor Organization (ILO) showing that family businesses are the backbone of Costa Rica’s economy. Output from family-owned businesses accounts for 69 percent of the gross domestic product and generates 70 percent of the country’s employment, according to the ILO.Erick Guillén, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Family Businesses, said that “traditionally this sector of the economy only gains notoriety when there are closures or problems that result in layoffs.”Guillén said the study found that family businesses are distributed in almost every sector of the local economy. “There are family businesses in sectors ranging from grocery stores or supermarkets to construction, industrial production, technology, manufacturing and service companies,” he said.The chamber asked family-owned companies about their main concerns and found that the government’s economic policies came first, followed by sales, family conflicts, deaths in the family, taxes and the country’s legal uncertainty.Family business problemsLast year a family conflict caused a serious crisis for propane customers here. The once-married owners of Gas Zeta, the largest of Costa Rica’s two propane distributors, left their customers — nearly 70 percent of all propane customers here — scrambling to find cooking fuel for homes, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools and even prisons.The company’s operations were halted for several weeks after a Texas court granted the couple a divorce and ordered a division of assets, including the propane company.Some major companies that started as family businesses have recently closed or relocated their operations abroad, dismissing thousands of local employees. Earlier this year, candy manufacturer Gallito announced it was moving its operations to other countries. And last year, Alimentos Jack’s announced that it was relocating its operations abroad, and Almacenes El Gallito closed all its stores across the country. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Trouble in paradise LGBTQ rights debate divides Costa Rica

Trouble in paradise LGBTQ rights debate divides Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Dear Costa Rica: This is just getting started We need to take a second look at our assumptions about gay marriage January’s here and the gloves are off: Costa Rica’s true campaign begins Evangelical Alliance lawyer: Costa Rica should reduce limits on religious propaganda The idea of Costa Rica as an oasis for gay and transgender people in Central America vanished in a single day.The perception that Costa Rica was a LGBTQ-friendly and progressive society came to an end when an extremely conservative presidential candidate, Fabricio Alvarado, who also happens to be a renowned evangelical preacher, made it into the second round as the leading option with 24.91 percent of the votes. He was followed by progressive candidate Carlos Alvarado, who obtained 21.66 percent of the votes.Although Costa Rica is internationally praised as the oldest continuous democracy in the Latin America and has generally appeared as one of the leading nations in the world’s Democracy Index, this year the country’s democracy was hit by a well-spread phenomenon around the world: a rise of extreme conservatism.As radical politicians in the world usually do, the presidential candidate of the National Restoration Party (PRN) stepped out of the shadows through political discourse of hate addressed toward a particular minority: in this case, Costa Rica’s LGBTQ community.Fabricio Alvarado’s intolerant, homophobic and bigoted tone was acutely accentuated after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights approved a legal consultation made by the current Costa Rican administration about legalizing same-sex marriage (the court ruled in favor of marriage equality). This decision would also give transgender people the right to change their legal genders. This vindication of the basic human rights of the LGBTQ community – specifically, the hope for legalization of same sex marriage – became the perfect political opportunity for Alvarado’s ultra-conservative views to spread like wildfire.Since the first vote was held on Feb. 4, the LGBTQ community in Costa Rica has been living in a nightmare. Recent reports have shown that the number of hate crimes have increased drastically after the results of the first round. The PRN’s success has both legitimized hate speech and empowered those who hate but had never encountered a political space to show it.With a very radical agenda against the LGBTQ community, Alvarado makes U.S. Vice President Mike Pence seem like a nice man. In a recent interview, Fabricio Alvarado even said, “People who want to get out of homosexuality must have a space where they can be treated and restored.” His speech not only is filled with hate but also pathologizes LGBTQ people as “sick” individuals who need intervention to be saved and healed. We need to be wary of language that promotes violence and infringes on the most basic rights. Alvarado’s words are definitely an example of such destructive, hateful and divisive rhetoric .Sadly, is not just the presidential candidate who is extremely homophobic. In a public interview, his vice presidential candidate Francisco Prendas said that the PRN would not appoint gay people for any positions in the Cabinet or any other public posts. Alvarado himself said that one of his first actions as president would be to expunge the decree signed by current President Luis Guillermo Solís against discrimination toward LGBTQ people in public institutions.According to Alvarado, the current administration has forced Costa Rica into a “gender ideology” outlook, in part by implementing a new sex education program that Alvarado argues promotes homosexuality. However, in a country where more than 14,000 teenagers become pregnant annually, sex education is a key element in overcoming poverty. Another important element brought up in the sex ed program is the prevention of bullying against LGBTQ people and questioning of gender stereotypes to avoid patriarchal behaviors.Many foreigners may ask themselves why Costa Ricans are supporting an extremely conservative movement. The answer is very simple: as long as is poverty and lack of education remain, people will keep discriminating against others on the basis of their skin color, gender, class, nationality, religion, legal status and sexual orientation. People do not tend to engage in such polarizations when their country is doing well, but in times where the future looks uncertain people fear the unknown. Blaming “the other” seems the way to provide answers to complex matters.Still, there is still a beacon of hope. Carlos Alvarado may win the second round and Costa Rica will show once again to the world that it is a country where peace prevails. Unfortunately, even if Fabricio Alvarado is elected president, the Costa Rican LGBTQ community is going to have to fight the 14 PRN legislators who already won seats at the Legislative Assembly in order to guarantee their rights and build a better future for the upcoming generations.If we do not organize, agitate and educate as a society, ignorance will keep feeding these extreme movements, allowing extremely conservative haters to rise to power. It’s time for us to stand together in solidarity.Jorge Solano holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po, Paris).What’s your take on the latest news in Costa Rica, or issues in your community? Submit your op-ed (no more than 1,000 words, please) and a brief bio to kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Venezuelan candidates shirts a boon for business

first_imgShe said she has never met the state governor but he seems to have the interests of the poor at heart.She’s grateful, for instance, that Capriles’ state government contributed sheets of zinc to help her add on to her home. Others in the neighborhood have also taken advantage of the state home improvement program to repair their homes.Rengifo said many of her neighbors feel they have been bypassed by the social programs offered elsewhere by Chavez’s government. Construction began on a school and some government-offered homes nearby, but the work wasn’t finished, she said.Her neighborhood is one of the many poor communities across the country where Capriles is trying to make inroads.So far, Capriles has been trailing in the polls, though survey results have varied widely. Some polls touted by the government have given Chavez a lead of more than 20 percentage points, while others indicate a smaller margin for the president. One recent survey said Chavez led by about 4 percentage points.Rengifo said many in her neighborhood don’t identify strongly with either political camp. They’re just the kind of uncommitted voters seen as key in the upcoming presidential vote. Capriles has been crisscrossing the country making door-to-door visits to try to win their support, in part by pledging to continue many of the aid programs Chavez began. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressLEGON, Venezuela (AP) – In a home with bare brick walls and a zinc roof, a 58-year-old seamstress with short, curly hair is sewing shirts for a young politician who she thinks has a good shot at unseating Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela.Petra Maria Rengifo works at one of the four sewing machines that are among the few pieces of furniture in her concrete-floored home. Outside sprawls Legon, the ramshackle neighborhood of about 500 people built along a highway in the countryside east of Caracas, identical to countless other slums where millions of Venezuelans eke out a living. Comments   Share   Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of And he has donned Rengifo’s shirts, often wearing several in a day as he strides through towns in the sweltering heat.Capriles also has said he’s proud to be supporting a local business with his clothing choices.“My shirts are made in Venezuela, with the talent that this country has more than enough of,” Capriles said during one event.For his part, the 57-year-old Chavez has been attacking his 39-year-old rival by calling him a “rich kid” and accusing him of representing the interests of the wealthy. Chavez’s critics, meanwhile, slam the president for his occasional use of designer suits and watches.Rengifo said it was pure serendipity that she ended up sewing shirts for Capriles. She was making the shirts for a small clothing shop run by businessman Lothar Luis Gonzalez when the orders from Capriles began coming in.Gonzalez said that he designed the casual shirt along with his son, and that sales have doubled in the past three months thanks to Capriles. His business now sells about 60 of the shirts a month, many of them to the campaign and Capriles supporters.Gonzalez’s small business also recently obtained a loan from Capriles’ state government to buy new machines and expand. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Rengifo might have stayed out of the public eye had it not been for a chance occurrence: One of the shirts made by the business that she supplies was picked up by an aide to opposition presidential hopeful Henrique Capriles, and the candidate saw him wearing it.Now, Capriles wears almost nothing but Rengifo’s short-sleeved, collared shirts on the campaign trail as he tries to defeat Chavez in the country’s Oct. 7 election. The shirts come in bright colors and are made of a light, wrinkle-resistant fabric.She says she’s thankful that Capriles, as well as his campaign staff and supporters, have brought in business. In fact, the garments she sews have become so popular among the candidate’s supporters that they’re now called “the Capriles shirt.”“I feel proud that a candidate, a (possible) president puts on a shirt I’ve made,” Rengifo said, pressing her hands to her chest.In the big picture, she said, it’s also healthy for an economy that relies largely on imports.“It’s very good for things that are made in Venezuela to at least be sold, shown off,” she said.The surge of business has also helped Capriles win Rengifo’s support, although Chavez’s political base still lies within the very same segment of working class Venezuelans to which Rengifo belongs. Top holiday drink recipes How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Rengifo said she feels pride whenever she sees the candidate on television wearing one of her shirts.For one Venezuelan, at least, Capriles has closed the deal.“I think he’s a humble person like me,” she said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more

Continue Reading

Red Cross to resume but scale back ops in Pakistan

first_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Jacques de Maio, the ICRC’s head of operations for South Asia, told The Associated Press that his organization will focus almost exclusively on health care for Pakistanis, particularly those severely wounded in fighting.Though the review was prompted by the April 2012 slaying of Khalil Rasjed Dale in Quetta, Pakistan, it extended to factors that went well beyond safety and looked at whether all of the Red Cross operations could be justified, he said.As a result, the ICRC plans to reduce its operations from 1,256 staff in 10 offices to about 500 in two offices. Most of the staff are Pakistanis, and the expatriates will be cut from 126 to about 40, said de Maio.The organization had shut most of its operations due to the killing of Dale, 60, a British Red Cross worker who served as a health program manager. His slaying stunned the organization and its workers. Police said his throat was slit and a note attached to his body said he was killed because no ransom was paid.“It was a massive blow” to the ICRC, de Maio said.Dale’s dumped body was found beheaded on April 29 close to the southwestern city of Quetta, where the veteran aid worker had been kidnapped in January. No arrests have been made. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Islamist militants, separatist gangs and criminals with links to both have been accused of previous kidnappings in Baluchistan, a poor province close to the Afghanistan border where Pakistan’s government has little control.The ICRC has been helping victims of violence and natural disaster in Pakistan since 1947. De Maio says the capacity of the Red Cross to respond to man-made disasters and displacement of people due to armed violence will be affected. “We are terminating all relief programs in parts of the country which are extremely vulnerable to insecurity from violence but also natural disasters such as floods,” he said.Paul Castella, head of ICRC’s delegation in Islamabad, said the organization will continue to work in Pakistan only if conditions are adequate. ICRC will coordinate with Pakistan authorities to reopen its surgical hospital in Peshawar, he said, but the ICRC has decided to keep operations closed in the provinces of Khyber, Pukhtunkhwa and Sindh.Pakistan’s U.N. mission in Geneva had no immediate comment Tuesday.Another one of the biggest consequences of the Red Cross pullback will be hard to measure.That involves Red Cross visits to Pakistan’s civilian and military facilities, where tens of thousands of detainees are held, among them many Pakistanis and Afghans. The organization’s neutrality and its global stature and duty as the arbiter of the rules of war lend it a unique role in the monitoring of prison conditions worldwide. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Among the facilities are an unknown number of Pakistan’s “missing” _ people who have been seized by security forces for months or years and are never brought to trial, their families never informed of their fate.Many of the men are presumed to be suspected Islamist militants, swept up in a post-Sept. 11, 2001, crackdown supported by the United States. Some are alleged to have been killed or tortured in custody.Former President Pervez Musharraf wrote in his memoir in 2006 that Pakistani security forces had captured 689 terrorists and handed over 369 to the United States. Musharraf, who allied Pakistan with Washington after 2001, said that action earned the country millions of dollars in bounties. Many wound up at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, and the Red Cross had contacted the relatives of Pakistanis held at the camp.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressGENEVA (AP) – The Red Cross plans to resume some of the work that it suspended in Pakistan but on a vastly smaller scale after the killing of a British nurse it employed, officials said Tuesday.After a major internal review, the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said it has decided to continue its work in Pakistan but to more than halve its staff, cease visiting detainees and curtail operations that will have major impacts throughout the nation.last_img read more

Continue Reading

6 missing after fire at guesthouse in southern Germany

6 missing after fire at guesthouse in southern Germany

first_img Top holiday drink recipes “There’s no indication that the six missing persons could have been anywhere else, so we have to assume that they are still inside,” he said.Firefighters and investigators were able to enter the building in the morning and hope to confirm the men’s fate later Saturday, he said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona BERLIN (AP) — Six people are missing and feared dead after a fire at a guesthouse in southern Germany, police said Saturday.The men were on a company trip with dozens of colleagues when the fire broke out overnight in a converted farmhouse in Schneizlreuth, southeast of Munich. The town, near the border with Austria, is a popular tourist destination in the Bavarian Alps.Of the 47 people staying at the place, 41 were able to flee, said police spokesman Juergen Thalmeier. Seven of them had to be hospitalized. Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   Firefighters try to extinguish a fire in the Bavarian town of Schneizlreuth , Germany, early Saturday May 23, 2015. Police in Germany say six people are missing after a fire at a guesthouse in Bavaria. In a statement Saturday, police said the fire broke out overnight in a converted farmhouse in the town of Schneizlreuth, southeast of Munich near the border with Austria. Of the 47 people staying at the guesthouse, 41 were able to flee. ( Ferdinand Farthofer/aktivnews/dpa via AP) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Continue Reading

High court to consider appeal over exclusion of black jurors

first_img Comments   Share   The notes show that the name of each potential black juror was highlighted on four different copies of the jury list and the word “black” was circled next to the race question on questionnaires for the black prospective jurors. Three of the prospective black jurors were identified in notes as “B#1,” ”B#2,” and “B#3.”The notes also show that the prosecutors’ investigator ranked the black prospective jurors against each other in case “it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors.” Prosecutors struck all four black jurors out of the 42 qualified by the trial court to serve on the jury.A Georgia state court sided with prosecutors who said they challenged each of the possible black jurors for legitimate, race-neutral reasons and did not rely on the highlighted jury lists to make their ultimate decisions. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed.Just one year before Foster’s trial, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark 1986 case that it is unconstitutional to dismiss a potential juror because of race.Georgia officials argue that highlighting, circling or otherwise noting the race of a juror in notes does not show any intent to discriminate. The two prosecutors submitted an affidavit to the state court saying that neither one of them made the green highlight marks noting prospective black jurors. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will consider whether prosecutors improperly singled out potential black jurors in notes and then excluded them all from the death penalty trial of a black Georgia man accused of murder.The justices agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal from Timothy Foster, who was sentenced to death in 1987 after being convicted of murdering a 79-year-old white woman in Rome, Georgia.Lawyers for Foster are relying on prosecutors’ notes they discovered 19 years after the trial through an open records request. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The state also says the investigator’s comments were not those of the prosecutors and do not indicate the state’s intent.Foster is being represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, which provides free legal help to people facing the death penalty and challenges human rights violations in prisons and jails.The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Foster v. Humphrey, 14-8349, when the court begins its new term this fall.___Follow Sam Hananel on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SamHananelAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Continue Reading

Monsoon rains kill 81 in India

first_imgButt said most of the deaths occurred when people were swept away by flood waters and mudslides, or buried in collapsed houses.More than 1,000 Hindu pilgrims have been stranded on the mountain paths leading to Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath in northern Uttrakhand state because of the rains.The state disaster response force and police are clearing the roads to restore the pilgrimage, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.India’s financial capital of Mumbai was badly hit last week when torrential showers closed trains and led to a breakdown in public services.The monsoon rains arrived days ahead of schedule in the western and northern parts of India, raising hopes the annual rains may not be as little as predicted by the India Meteorological Department.The monsoon has covered nearly the entire country delivering 24 percent excess rainfall so far, flooding parts of Gujarat in western India and Assam state in the northeast, while a swollen river breached its banks in northern Jammu-Kashmir state.However, the weather department said it expected a drier July.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home NEW DELHI (AP) — Heavy early monsoon rains have killed at least 81 people in India’s western Gujarat state, bringing misery to thousands of people uprooted from their flooded homes, an official said Friday.Nearly 9,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground in the worst-hit rural areas of Amreli, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat, which had been suffering from a drought before the rains hit, said Ridhi Butt, a National Disaster Response Force official. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Continue Reading

AP Exclusive China Ministry posted bootleg Liars Poker

AP Exclusive China Ministry posted bootleg Liars Poker

first_imgIn this Thursday, June 25, 2015 photo, a pirated copy of the book “Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis, hosted on and loaded from a website run by the Chinese Commerce Ministry, is displayed on a computer screen in Beijing. A complete bootlegged copy of Lewis’ bestselling book about Wall Street, “Liar’s Poker,” was hosted on the official website of the ministry, the agency responsible for intellectual property protection in China, The Associated Press has found. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)n New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of China has a long and troubled history with copyright infringement. Despite high-level attempts to bolster enforcement, particularly as Beijing turns to innovation as a source of economic growth, piracy remains rampant — and widely tolerated.Andrew Hay, director of security research at OpenDNS, a network security firm based in San Francisco, confirmed the file was hosted on the Ministry of Commerce website and was not a spoof.Internet registry records show that the website was created in 2003 by the ministry’s Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Department. The pirated copy of “Liar’s Poker” — which had been available at http://images.mofcom.gov.cn/kjxh/accessory/200801/1201672069708.pdf — was created in 2006, according to metadata embedded in the PDF file. The pirated e-book has been lurking on the ministry’s website since at least 2008, according to the San Francisco-based Internet Archive, which preserves copies of old websites.It isn’t clear whether whoever uploaded the pirated book to the ministry’s servers meant for it to be seen across the Web, but it’s clear many have noticed — and downloaded it — since. One message board user included a link to the ministry’s website in a 2013 post entitled, “Best Business Books.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The “Liar’s Poker” PDF on the ministry’s website carried a banner ad for a Chinese website called www.gushow.com , which offers free downloads of bootlegged books, including Chinese translations of books by George Soros.Lei Geng, who runs www.gushow.com , said he was surprised his company was advertised on the ministry’s website.“Before you called me I had no idea my website’s ad was on the Ministry of Commerce website,” he said. Lei said that he downloaded PDFs of the bootlegged books he distributes from Baidu, China’s most widely used search engine.Asked whether he was aware that it is illegal to distribute copyrighted material for free, he said, “Don’t pretend that you find this unusual.”The Commerce Ministry is not the only place to offer free copies of Lewis’ book in China. The AP was able to find three bootlegged copies of “Liar’s Poker” on Baidu Library, a document sharing platform, and one on Baidu’s cloud storage platform. Together, they had been read by over 500 people.“Those should not be there,” said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo. Once the copyright holder reports the infringement, Baidu will “remove them with alacrity,” he said. “If Michael Lewis’ publisher would contact us, it would be great.” Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches In 2012, a Chinese court ordered Baidu to pay 145,000 yuan ($23,350) compensation to three best-selling Chinese authors for copyright infringement.Since then, Baidu has stepped up copyright enforcement, instating 999-character limits on uploads to Baidu Library and working closely with publishers to flag infringing content.Dorothy Cook, who is responsible for international sales at W.W. Norton & Co., which publishes “Liar’s Poker,” said Thursday night that she had alerted the department that handles copyright violations and take-down notices of the infringing content pointed out by the AP. “We’ve already reported this and are trying to get them taken down,” she said. “It’s a perennial problem.”The 25th anniversary edition of “Liar’s Poker” sells for 201 yuan ($32.00) on Amazon China.___Satter contributed from London.___Follow Kinetz on Twitter at twitter.com/ekinetz and Satter at twitter.com/razhaelCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories SHANGHAI (AP) — A complete bootlegged copy of Michael Lewis’ bestselling book about Wall Street, “Liar’s Poker,” was hosted on the official website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, the agency responsible for intellectual property protection in China, The Associated Press has found.How and why a PDF, in English, of Lewis’ raucous memoir about the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s ended up on the ministry’s site remains a mystery. The ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week, but on Friday removed the page from its website. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

Continue Reading

Merkel rules out haircut for Greece open to other relief

Merkel rules out haircut for Greece open to other relief

first_img Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday suggested that Germany would show flexibility in negotiating how Greece deals with its massive debt, but again ruled out writing off part of the money.Speaking on ARD television’s Bericht aus Berlin program, Merkel said that “a classic haircut of 30, 40 percent of debt cannot happen in a currency union.”But Merkel, who persuaded German lawmakers on Friday to give their overwhelming backing to another financial rescue package, suggested that she was open to discussing ways to lessen the burden on Athens. She said, for example, Greece previously has been given more favorable interest rates, time extensions and other relief“We can talk about such things again,” she said, but added such talks could only begin after details of Greece’s bailout program are finalized.Though the broad outlines of the Greek bailout were agreed last Monday by the eurozone’s 19 leaders, the details are now being negotiated.The discussions, which are expected to last four weeks, will include economic targets and reforms deemed necessary in return for an anticipated 85 billion euros ($93 billion) over three years.Merkel pushed for them to move as quickly as possible, saying that it was important that “the country gets back on both feet quickly.”Asked about Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s suggestion last week that Greece could take a five-year “timeout” from the shared euro currency to address its economic problems, Merkel said the idea of a “Grexit” was no longer on the table.“The option was discussed but we decided on this option, which was quite apparently the right one for all the other” eurozone nations, she said.Talking to Parliament on Friday, Merkel said the alternative to the new rescue package “would not be a time-out from the euro that would be orderly … but predictable chaos.” Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, right, talk during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. Merkel urged German lawmakers Friday to vote in favor of a third bailout package for Greece, arguing that the cash-strapped country faces chaos without a deal. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also economy minister and chairman of Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, on Sunday criticized Schaeuble for bringing up the idea of a timeout, saying “it wasn’t prudent to make this suggestion as a German suggestion.”He suggested there was a disconnect between Merkel and Schaeuble, but the finance minister downplayed any differences, saying in a Der Spiegel interview “we’re not always of the same opinion but we’re on the same path.”Merkel skirted the issue when asked about internal strife, saying only that her coalition and her party would work together going ahead, and that “the finance minister will conduct the negotiations the same way I will.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Qantas to spend millions to refresh product

first_imgIn a veiled challenge to Virgin Blue, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce announced the airline’s plans to invest in a massive upgrade of “all components of the travelling experience”, reported the Australian.”[W]e play our best game and it doesn’t matter what the competition will do; Qantas will prevail,” Mr Joyce said.Following the launch of its next generation of check-in facilities, Qantas will embark on a program to heavily invest in revamping its entire set-up, ensuring consistent product across craft and service.According to the newspaper Mr Joyce said the upgrade was “a significant investment in refreshing our product, our service, our food, our infrastructure and lounges”.The airline will put millions into the improvement of business, premium economy and economy cabins and seats on nine Boeing 747s in an effort to make them feel like an A380, the Australian quoted Mr Joyce.”The 747s will have the look, feel and the actual hard product that the A380 has,” Mr Joyce said.”And then the look and feel of the international product will come into the domestic product in the air and on the ground.”Virgin Blue is planning its own upgrade and has announced plans to enter the premium economy market, but according to the newspaper, Qantas’ strong push to upgrade is a sign that it will not give up its share of the market without a fight. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1ed27/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Continue Reading

Carbon tax an industry attack Shadow Minister

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Shadow Minister for Tourism Bob Baldwin has criticised the PM’s carbon tax describing it is “an attack on the tourism industry”. Mr Baldwin voiced his concern that the tax would affect regions which rely on tourism for survival following the release of a Tourism Research Australia report which highlighted the top 20 regions dependent on tourism expenditure.“It [the carbon tax] will push up the cost of an Australian holiday and weaken our competitiveness in the domestic and international tourism markets,” Mr Baldwin said.“Regions such as the Gold Coast, Tropical North Queensland, Sunshine Coast, NSW Mid North Coast and NSW Northern Rivers have a very high reliance on the tourism sector and they will suffer the most as a result of Labor’s carbon tax.”The Shadow Minister added that the tax combined with the cut to Tourism Australia funding, increase in visa fees plus the 24 percent rise in tourist departure tax “will dampen the growth of tourism in our regions”. “Labor is right to say that tourism is the lifeblood of many regional areas but they are wrong to attack this lifeblood with new taxes and cuts to tourism funding.”Mr Baldwin concluded that the Coalition’s tourism policy includes a $100 million increase in tourism funding as well as a pledge to provide regional tourism groups with domestic tourism development grants.  Click here for more information on the report. last_img read more

Continue Reading

Staywell Hospitality Group expands technology investment

Staywell Hospitality Group expands technology investment

first_imgAustralian owned hotel management company, StayWell Hospitality Group (StayWell) has announced an Australian first by signing an agreement with international hospitality technology provider Travel Tripper.StayWell, which has 30 properties worldwide, is the first Australian business to implement Travel Tripper’s innovative booking engine and central reservation system designed to optimise conversions and increase direct bookings.“We are excited to be pioneering industry trends while also enhancing our customers’ experience,” StayWell group director of global sales & marketing Fiona Godfrey said.Integrated into StayWell’s recently revitalised website, Travel Tripper’s reservations technology enables guests to directly book rooms faster and more efficiently on desktop and mobile.By improving direct bookings, StayWell hotels will be able to better service guest needs and strengthen the overall guest experience.“This is yet another way StayWell is investing in technology, introducing free in-room Wi-Fi for guests 12 months ago as part of a $1 million technology upgrade, and leading the way in Australian hospitality,” Ms Godfrey said.“We are planning to implement more new technology to improve guest comfort and their access to instant information progressively over the next 12 months.”Using Travel Tripper’s booking engine, StayWell can now further entice travellers and drive direct bookings to any of their Leisure Inn and Park Regis hotels in major metro locations including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville hotels, as well as popular international locations in Singapore, United Arab Emirates, India and Indonesia.“StayWell will be better able to provide targeted special offers to our clientele from various different countries. We have also made it easier for travellers to convert rates into their home currency and display deals in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese,” Ms Godfrey said.“Moving over to the Travel Tripper platform will give StayWell an even greater edge against our competitors.”Soma Bruce, Vice President Business Development (ASAP) said Travel Tripper was proud to be partnering with StayWell.“StayWell is one of the top hospitality groups in Australia, with a growing international portfolio. With Travel Tripper as an e-commerce technology partner, StayWell is poised to fast-track their growth as a industry leader.”In addition to the introduction of Travel Tripper, StayWell has also formed a partnership with Intouch Data Pty Ltd – an Australian information technology company that provides customised data applications for the hotel industry. ITD’s suite of applications gives hoteliers’ unique access to guest data for Business Intelligence, CRM and Sales Production and Analysis.These new search, booking and customer management systems will enable StayWell to provide the best possible service to their customers at any time of the day. StayWell Hospitality GroupSource = StayWell Hospitality Grouplast_img read more

Continue Reading

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts named worlds most sustainable hotel grou

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts named worlds most sustainable hotel grou

first_imgMövenpick Hotels & Resorts named world’s most sustainable hotel groupMövenpick Hotels and Resorts named world’s most sustainable hotel groupMövenpick Hotels & Resorts has been named the world’s most sustainable hotel group for the second year running by world-renowned certification body Green Globe.The international hospitality firm has also been hailed a “global sustainability leader” in the ‘Green Globe Report 2017’, with more than 50 percent of its certified properties worldwide achieving the entity’s prestigious ‘Gold’ status – an accolade bestowed on hotels and resorts that have achieved Green Globe certification for five years or more.These properties have been independently audited across 385 performance indicators and consistently met or exceeded the standards and criteria this rigorous certification process entails.“This year is an important milestone on the Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts sustainability journey,” said Green Globe CEO Guido Bauer.“More than half of all Green Globe certified hotels in the group have achieved Gold status. This is a true indication of the consistent dedication that management and staff have put in and continue to give while doing the best for the planet and their people. It shows that sustainability is now woven into the operational fabric of the hotels.”For the last 25 years, Green Globe has set the highest standards of sustainability certification for the travel and tourism industry.The key requirement is for properties to execute an active Sustainability Management Plan that delivers performance in the areas of socio-economic contribution; environmental protection; and the preservation of culture and heritage. For each Green Globe certified Mövenpick hotel and resort, this plan is activated via an in-house green team and, to ensure verification of these actions, an independent on-site inspection is regularly conducted.Best practice examples highlighted in the Green Globe report include: Mövenpick Hotel Stuttgart Airport in Germany for cutting energy consumption by 36 percent and rolling out an effective CO2 reduction programme; Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate in Dubai achieving an annual waste reduction of 60 metric tonnes; Mövenpick Resort El Quseir in Egypt developing an artificial reef to protect endangered coral reefs, which are vital to sustaining the bio-diversity; Mövenpick Resort Sharm El Sheikh‘s organic farm featuring 2,232 square metres of fruit trees, vegetables and flowers, generating fresh produce for the hotel’s kitchen and offering guests an authentic experience; and Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach in Phuket installing an innovative high-tech water supply machine.All of these initiatives are part of Mövenpick’s successful CSR programme SHINE, which focuses on three pillars – Environment, Employer and Social Sustainability – with Education an important thread common to each.SHINE’s overarching aim is to give back to the communities where the company operates its properties and as a major facet of each hotel’s Sustainability Management Plan, is crucial to Mövenpick achieving its Green Globe certification.Looking to 2018, the hospitality firm has set ambitious Green Globe targets for its new and existing properties, explained Olivier Chavy, President & CEO, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in 2017, with our Green Globe ‘Gold’ status cementing our position as a hotel group raising the benchmark for sustainable hospitality practices, but as a company that never rests on its laurels, we will push the boundaries next year, ensuring our new and existing properties not only uphold, but exceed the standards we have set,” he said.“Adhering to Green Globe’s stringent criteria not only ensures we can legitimately meet our ambitions to protect and contribute to the destinations where our hotels and resorts are located, but also assures guests they are staying with a truly ‘green’ hotel group.”Source = Mövenpick Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Continue Reading

Silversea Cruises hosts pre Antarctica season expedition training

Silversea Cruises hosts pre Antarctica season expedition training

first_imgKit van Wagner Silverseas cruisesSilversea Cruises hosts pre Antarctica season expedition trainingAhead of the Antarctica season, 12 members of Silversea’s Expedition Team spent four days at pre-season training in the Chilean Andes.  Between 29 October and 3 November 2018, the team of expedition specialists undertook a number of educational activities, building on their existing skillsets and enabling them to enrich the offering for Silversea’s guests. In its 10th season of deep travel in Antarctica, the cruise line is investing heavily in the training and development of its knowledgeable Expedition Team.The training included four days and three nights of camping with skills-based learning and leadership development. Several team-building activities were included throughout the program, which also included a challenging high ropes course, snow and ice awareness workshops, route-finding and orienteering sessions, a wilderness medicine refresher, and an emergency evacuation scenario.With a base camp located near Chile’s breathtaking El Morado Natural Monument, the activity-rich programme was a highly challenging, high altitude, skills-driven, experiential learning and leadership building tour-de-force. After camping in the rough, practicing emergency medical scenarios, and brushing up on ice and snow skills, the team members parted ways ready to greet the wilds of Antarctica and welcome Silversea Expeditions’ guests aboard. Of the 12 Expedition Specialists who participated in the training, eight embarked Silver Explorer ahead of the Antarctica season.“As a way of enriching the cruising experience for our expedition guests in the region, the pre-Antarctica training camp was a huge success,” says Kit van Wagner, Silversea’s Director of Expedition Training and Staff Development. “This training represents Silversea’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of expedition cruising. Silversea’s industry-leading expedition team offers on-board lectures and workshops, and leads excursions in each destination. Through these types of training events, their knowledge is improved and our guests’ experiences are enhanced.”Silversea’s Expeditions Team’s skills will be put into practice on a number of immersive voyages in Antarctica, including the following sample itineraries:·         1925 – Buenos Aires to UshuaiaSilver Cloud will begin the Antarctic season in 2019, departing the vibrant city of Buenos Aires for Ushuaia on 24 November. This 16-day voyage will take guests deeper into the authentic beauty of Antarctica on a one-of-a-kind itinerary, which will see the most luxurious expedition ship afloat call at Puerto Madryn, New Island, West Point Island, Stanley, Elephant Island, Antarctic Sound, Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, and Drake Passage. During this in-depth tour of Antarctica, guests will witness penguins and other remarkable wildlife, journey to see where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men were stranded for four months, and cruise around vast icebergs by Zodiac® craft, among other standout experiences. Fares start at AUD$19,080* per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including a 10% Early Booking Bonus.·         1927 – Ushuaia to UshuaiaDeparting on 20 December 2019, Silver Cloud will unlock a number of Antarctica’s highlights for guests on this 15-day roundtrip voyage from Ushuaia, offering a festive holiday season and a memorable New Year celebration in an icy wonderland. After a day at sea, guests will reach West Point Island, from which they’ll journey to Saunders Island, Stanley, Elephant Island, Antarctic Sound, the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, and Drake Passage. Incorporating enriching experiences in the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, this remarkable itinerary promises an unforgettable expedition. Fares start at AUD$21,600* per person, based double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including a 10% Early Booking Bonus.·         7004 – Ushuaia to UshuaiaAboard the intimate Silver Explorer, guests will traverse the legendary Drake Passage to explore the Antarctic Peninsula on this classic 12-day roundtrip itinerary. Departing 21 February 21 2020, the voyage will take guests to Antarctic Sound via Drake Passage, before calling at the Antarctic Peninsula, and the South Shetland Islands, before returning to Ushuaia via the Drake Passage. Four overnights at the Antarctic Peninsula will enable guests to take to the water on Zodiac® crafts, as they journey to witness penguin rookeries, seals, whales, and rare birds; tabular icebergs; and sites of historical interest. Fares begin at AUD$16,200 per person, based double occupancy in an Adventurer Suite, including a 10% Early Booking Bonus.Silversea Antarctica All-InclusiveWhen booking select Antarctica voyages, guests will also receive: complimentary international economy return airfares to Buenos Aires or Santiago, or Business Class fares for just AUD$2,999 per person each way; economy roundtrip domestic flights; transfers between airport, hotel and ship; and one night pre-cruise accommodation.Aboard Silversea’s expedition ships, the cruise line’s guests are able to journey into the world’s remotest destinations in ultimate luxury. As well as on-board lectures and shore excursions included as standard, guests enjoy ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine, and the personalised service of a butler. Enriching the experience are such all-inclusive amenities as complimentary premium wines and spirits, speciality coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks served throughout the ship; an in-suite bar, stocked with guests’ preferences; a 24-hour in-suite dining service; and unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi (location permitting).View Silversea’s voyages to Antarctica: https://www.silversea.com/destinations/antarctica-cruise.htmlSource = Silversea Cruiseslast_img read more

Continue Reading