TravelBrands 3rd Annual Charity Golf Classic raises over 182000 for SickKids

first_img Share TravelBrands’ 3rd Annual Charity Golf Classic raises over $182,000 for SickKids MAPLE — Threatening rain clouds didn’t stop the TravelBrands 3rd Annual Charity Golf Classic from raising over $182,000 for SickKids during a fun-filled day at Eagles Nest Golf Course in Maple, Ontario.The tournament reached the ambitious goal of fundraising more than $180,000 for the Labatt Family Heart Centre at SickKids, well above the $114,000 raised in 2016 and $150,000 in 2015. The vision of The Labatt Family Heart Centre is to be the best pediatric and congenital heart disease centre in the world. Posted by The Canadian Press Friday, September 9, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img

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Now open Secrets Resorts Spa in Cap Cana DR

first_img PHILADELPHIA — AMResorts has added another notch on its belt with the grand opening of Secrets Resorts & Spa, a 457-room, adults-only resort located in the gated community of Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic.This marks a brand new destination for the AMResorts Collection, and the 15th property in the Secrets Resorts & Spas portfolio.In addition to offering guests its signature Unlimited-Luxury concept where everything is included, adults can expect bungalow-style and swimout suites, plus romantic inclusions like complimentary newlywed and anniversary packages and an infinity pool. There are also eight gourmet restaurants and the world-class Secrets Spa by Pevonia.“As the doors to Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa open, AMResorts officially raises the bar for luxe adults-only options in the already top-rated Cap Cana area,” said Jan LaPointe, Senior Director of AMRewards and Sales & Marketing, Canada. “We’re eager for couples and adult guests to settle in and escape in the destination’s newest hideaway.”More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongGuests can also enjoy access to a nearby Jack-Nicklaus championship golf course, a marina, stables, equestrian centre and polo field. Plus, the resort’s ‘Sip, Savor & See Dining Experience allows them to sample cuisines and entertainment from nine open Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now and Sunscape Resorts & Spas properties in the region.AMResorts and Travelweek are giving agents to experience the new resort with a new agent contest. To enter, go to travelweek.ca/contests.For more information go to SecretsResorts.com. << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: AMResorts, Dominican Republic, Secrets Resorts & Spas Travelweek Group center_img Tuesday, November 29, 2016 Posted by Now open: Secrets Resorts & Spa in Cap Cana, DRlast_img read more

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New York City visitors set to surpass 60 million a new record

first_imgNew York City visitors set to surpass 60 million, a new record Tuesday, December 20, 2016 Share Tags: New York, New York City, USA & Canada The Canadian Press center_img NEW YORK CITY — The Big Apple is seeing some big numbers. New York City will welcome an all-time record 60.3 million visitors by the end of 2016, surpassing the 60 million visitor milestone for the first time ever, and representing the seventh consecutive year of travel and tourism growth for the city.The new figure is 600,000 visitors higher than the original forecast of 59.7 million announced earlier this year, and 1.8 million more visitors than last year’s revised year-end figure of 58.5 million.To continue welcoming record visitation and boost winter travel in 2017, NYC & Company unveiled a new ‘Nonstop NYC’ program comprising several popular programs, including NYC Restaurant Week (Jan. 23 – Feb.10, 2017), NYC Broadway Week (Jan. 17 – Feb. 5, 2017), NYC Off-Broadway Week (Feb. 27 – March 12, 2017) and an all-new NYC Attractions Week. The organization is also expanding its ‘See Your City’, ‘See it for Yourself’ and Official NYC Family Ambassador campaigns to further encourage travel during the first quarter and beyond.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThis year, domestic visitors from the U.S. will represent a forecasted 47.6 million visitors while travellers from international markets including Canada will comprise an estimated 12.65 million international visitors, both all-time highs. In 2017, NYC & Company is forecasting the city will welcome approximately 61.8 million visitors with 48.7 million domestic travelers and 13.1 million international visitors.Hotel demand in the five boroughs has grown this year by 1.2 million, generating 34.9 million hotel room nights sold by year’s end, an all-time record. Home to more than 111,000 hotel rooms, the city is also expected to add 24,000 new hotel rooms by the end of 2019, reflecting the nation’s most robust hotel development pipeline.During NYC & Company’s first-ever NYC Attractions Week, taking place Jan. 17 – Feb. 5, 2017, visitors and locals can receive two-for-one admission for tours, culture and performing arts at over 70 participants, including Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Museum of Modern Art – MoMA and more. See nycgo.com. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Contiki dishes out big Thailand savings as part of EB2 campaign

first_img Wednesday, February 15, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — In its second phase of massive savings, Contiki’s 2017 EB2 campaign is spotlighting Thailand for the next two weeks with savings of up to $348 plus $150 off all Contiki trips throughout the destination.Running from Feb. 15-28, Thailand’s time in the spotlight also includes an agent incentive that allows them to earn for each booking made on Contiki Thailand products. From Feb. 1 to March 31, for every Contiki passenger booked in one of the trips that include the featured destination (in this case, bookings must be on a Contiki trip to Thailand and/or journeying through Thailand that is seven days or longer), the booking agent will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.When agents sell five Contiki trips seven days or longer, they’ll be entered to win ‘The Ultimate Contiki Experience’ in partnership with WestJet that includes a trip for two to Europe with airfare from WestJet, a Contiki travel pack and $500 in spending money.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Several new Thailand trips have been introduced for the 2017 season that are included in this campaign. These include the eight-day ‘Northern Thai Highlights’, first departing on April 1, and the 14-day ‘Bangkok to Singapore Adventure’, first departing on April 2.In addition to the new itineraries, Contiki has added 600 more seats to its Thai Island Hopper products due to increased demand.For more information go to contiki.com/remember-forever. Tags: Contiki, Thailand Contiki dishes out big Thailand savings as part of EB2 campaignlast_img read more

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PEOPLE And the winner of our TransatFinest Playa Mujeres by Excellence is…

first_img[PEOPLE] And the winner of our Transat/Finest Playa Mujeres by Excellence is… Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Tags: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Contests, Excellence Group, Transat Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Share TORONTO — Jeannie McMaster, Senior Travel Consultant and Cruise Specialist for Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Collingwood, Ontario, is the lucky recipient of a seven-night vacation for two at Finest Playa Mujeres by Excellence Group, with flights, hotel and transfers all included.Excellence Group offers adult-only and family-friendly settings in both Mexico and the Dominican Republic with its collection of high-end resorts, made up of Excellence Resorts, Beloved Hotels and Finest Resorts. The hotels are known for their service, fine dining, spa treatments, impressive accommodation and comfort.Finest Playa Mujeres by Excellence Group is a modern beachfront resort in the Mexican Caribbean that caters to clients of all ages. It’s located in Playa Mujeres approximately 10 km from Cancun International Airport.To find out more, transat.com/en-CA/south/mexico/cancun/hotels/finest-playa-mujeres-by-excellence-group.For more agent contests, go to travelweek.ca/contests. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Insight Vacations launches 2019 USA Canada collection

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Alaska, Insight Vacations Travelweek Group Posted by Monday, June 18, 2018 center_img Insight Vacations launches 2019 USA & Canada collection Share TORONTO – For vacationers wishing to stay close to home next year, Insight Vacations’ newly launched 2019 USA & Canada Premium Escorted Journeys collection features 15 itineraries that include sightseeing, top-notch hotels and savings of 10%.“With the launch of our 2019 USA & Canada collection, our loyal travel advisors can assist Canadian clients in seeing the wonders of our incredible continent in-depth from coast-to-coast, and stay in style with our hand-picked and highly rated hotels,” said Brad Ford, president of Insight Vacations Canada. “We have listened to our agents’ feedback and have created extra departure dates on some of our most popular journeys including ‘New England’s Fall Foliage’, ‘Jewels of Alaska’ and all of our Canadian itineraries.”Insight guests will stay at accommodations inside several national parks, including the Grand Canyon Lodges and Zion National Park Lodge, and enjoy authentic dining experiences that range from a Dine-Around selection of restaurants to a Dine-at-Home experience with EatWith, which specializes in connecting guests with local foodies for meals in their homes.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaTo entice clients to book early, a 10% discount is available if booked and paid in full before Jan. 17, 2019.Itineraries include:America’s Magnificent National Parks: This 15-day adventure makes its way across the most popular national parks including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Highlights include a tour in an open-air vehicle at Navajo Tribal Park in Monument Valley, horseback riding in Ucross, and a stay at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton.Jewels of Alaska: This seven-day (land only) or 14-day (land and cruise) journey includes a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, a ride in an Alaskan Railway dome car to Denali National Park, a meet-and-greet with a championship dog musher, and a Glacier Discovery Cruise through Glacier Bay National Park.Landscapes of the Canadian Maritimes: While on this 12-day itinerary, clients will visit the colourful harbors of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. They’ll start in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg before heading to Halifax for a Highlight Dinner of local seafood. Other highlights include a lobster feast in Shediac Bay, and a whale watching cruise on the Bay of Fundy.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoFor more information go to insightvacations.com.last_img read more

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UPDATE Costa Rica suddenly realizes its playing Ireland not Northern Ireland in

first_imgUPDATE 2:More changes! Now it appears Costa Rica will play Irelandon June 6 in Philadelphia. Originally, the match was set for Boston on June 7. The Costa Rica national team also will no longer host a multi-week training session in Denver, Colorado. Instead the squad has chosen to hold the practices back home in Costa Rica. Who knows what else will change between now and the friendly! We’ll keep you updated.—The Costa Rican Football Federal (Fedefut) has some geography issues. The organization clarified today that Costa Rica’s final match before the World Cup will be against Ireland — and not against Northern Ireland as the association announced Tuesday (although Fedefut’s Facebook page still hasn’t addressed the bewilderment). The national team will play Ireland just southwest of Boston on June 7 in Philadelphia on June 6.Northern Ireland officials were astonished by the news that Fedefut had announced a match against them, according to The Belfast Telegraph.But Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson and the association’s president Jim Shaw say they are as amazed at the news as supporters.The confusion raises the possibility that Costa Rica were in talks with the Republic of Ireland rather than the Irish FA.“It’s nothing to do with us and we haven’t been speaking to them,” said Nelson. “We have no plans to speak to them either or arrange a game. I don’t know where it has come from but it’s nothing to do with us – we are innocent on this one! It’s probably a simple mistake with there being two teams on our island.”Shaw said he was also surprised by the news.“It wouldn’t be the first time the Irelands have been mixed up,” he said. “It’s probably more common for us to be viewed as the Republic. I’ve absolutely no knowledge of this – we haven’t been talking to them.A spokesman for the Northern Ireland fan club wrote on Twitter also accused Costa Rica of not knowing the difference between the two neighboring Irelands. An official for Fedefut simply told Al Día, “for some reason, there was confusion” about the opponent.In addition to the Northern Ireland match, Costa Rica will play one more June friendly. La Sele takes on Japan on June 2 in a yet-to-be-determined city in Florida. Costa Rica’s national team will train in Denver for a few weeks, beginning on May 20. Ireland will clash with Costa Rica at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The site was chosen partially due to the large Irish population in the region. The stadium, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots, seats almost 70,000 and should make for a hostile visit for the Ticos.Fedefut was searching for an opponent like an Ireland, since officials believe the Irish teams would better prepare Costa Rica for Group D rival England.Ireland, ranked 68th by FIFA, is a stronger opponent for the Ticos than Northern Ireland (ranked 86th). However, the FIFA ranking represents a record low for the Irish squad. England, meanwhile, is ranked 12th in the world. The Republic of Ireland most recently qualified for the World Cup in 2002, making it to the knockout stages.Costa Rica and Ireland have never met before in international play. The Ticos open the tournament on June 14 against Uruguay. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tickets on sale for Costa Rica’s final World Cup warm-up against Ireland in Philadelphia Short-handed Costa Rica ties Ireland, 1-1, in final World Cup warm-up [with GIFs] Defense falls apart as Japan pounds Costa Rica 3-1 in World Cup warm-up Monday night 6 questions for Costa Rica before tonight’s World Cup tune-up against Ireland I’m advised by the IFA that they aren’t lining up a friendly with Costa Rica in June. Think someone’s got their Ireland teams mixed up!— Gary McAllister (@WGMac) March 12, 2014last_img read more

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In deaths of civilians in Gaza US weapons sales to Israel come

first_imgRAFAH, Gaza Strip — An Israeli missile attack that killed 10 civilians sheltering in a U.N. school here early this month prompted a call for restraint from the U.S. government over what the State Department described as a “disgraceful” act.Yet what Israel used in that Aug. 3 strike, according to the United Nations, was a Hellfire missile — a U.S.-made weapon. The incident was one of many in the ongoing six-week-old war in the Gaza Strip in which weapons sold to Israel by the United States and some European nations have played a prominent role.In the fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas, the Palestinian death toll now tops 1,900, with nearly three-fourths of the dead being civilians, the United Nations says.Of the arms suppliers that have criticized Israel for those civilian deaths, Spain and Britain have announced plans to suspend or review their exports of arms and military-related equipment to Israel. President Barack Obama has offered similar criticism, but U.S. officials also said in recent days that a new transfer of Hellfires will not be delayed.Instead, the administration is “just taking extra care to look at these shipments” with “a few additional steps,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.Senior Israeli officials have asserted publicly that they use appropriate force. This month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the deaths and destruction in Gaza, saying Israel’s military offensive was a necessary response to the group’s continual rocket fire and tunnel networks designed to infiltrate fighters into Israel. “It was justified. It was proportionate,” he said.But the Palestinian death toll is now far greater than in Israel’s two most recent conflicts with Hamas, in 2009 and 2012. The United Nations has condemned Israel’s use of heavy weaponry in Gaza, and human rights groups have called on the United States to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on the Jewish state.Some rights activists say that the United States should bear responsibility if a U.N. inquiry now underway finds that Israel’s actions violated international law in part by the use of powerful U.S.-made arms in civilian areas.“The question that we are asking is: Is that an appropriate munition to be using in a densely populated area?” said Robert Turner, director of operations in Gaza for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which helps Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. “According to international law, they need to show precaution, and is their decision of weaponry showing adequate precaution to avoid civilian deaths and casualties?”Despite the criticisms, current and former analysts and officials say the United States would never halt or reduce weapons supplies to Israel, given the two countries’ close strategic and personal ties.“It would never happen. It can’t happen,” said Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States. “Israel does not want to change the relationship, and it’s not in the U.S. interest for it to change, either.”If the Obama administration delayed the Hellfire missile shipment, it would be the first time the United States delayed an arms transfer to Israel in wartime, Israeli officials said. The only previous U.S.-imposed halts came in 1975, when Israel rejected a U.S. proposal for an Egyptian-Israeli peace accord, and in 1981, after an Israeli airstrike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor.The United States provides roughly $3.1 billion annually in military assistance to Israel, including weapons such as F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, missiles and tank rounds. Washington also largely finances Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which protects Israeli population centers from Hamas rockets fired from Gaza.The United States and Israel regard Hamas as a terrorist organization. Harf, the State Department spokeswoman, noted that the United States has not stopped providing weapons to Israel during the current conflict and that the Obama administration approved an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome system this month.Other recent transfers from the United States to Israel have included grenades, mortar rounds and large quantities of rocket motors, human rights officials have said.“The U.S. government must accept that by repeatedly shipping and paying for such arms on this scale they are exacerbating and further enabling grave abuses to be committed against civilians during the conflict in Gaza,” said Brian Wood, head of arms control and human rights for the advocacy group Amnesty International.In the debris scattered across much of Gaza, the U.S. origin of many of the weapons fired by Israel has been evident.In the city of Deir al Balah on a recent day, Gazans found an unexploded bomb lying on the side of the road, steps away from an UNRWA field office. After seeing a photo of the bomb, experts said the weapon was a 2,000-pound U.S.-made Mark 84, one of the largest bombs in the U.S. arsenal.On a road in Rafah that has been shattered by the tracks of battle tanks and bulldozers, 120mm artillery shell casings lie in the rubble of houses. Some are marked “Made in USA.” A weapon fragment etched with “US” followed by a serial number is labeled: “GUIDED MISSILE, SURFACE ATTACK.” Residents said that tanks had blasted the area and that people were killed and injured.“What have I ever done to America?” asked Saadi al-Amessi, 48, staring at the fragments of a 155mm artillery shell lying in the remains of his obliterated house in the nearby town of Al Berej.The United States sells 155mm artillery rounds to Israel, although the country also now produces its own.Israeli military analysts say that U.S. weaponry and military know-how are the backbone of Israel’s military and are vital to the country’s protection.“When Israel flies an American-made F-16, it allows Israel to defend itself,” said retired Lt. Col. Reuven Ben Shalom, a former air force pilot who worked as a liaison with the U.S. military.“If pro-Palestinian groups say the U.S. is helping Israel to do what it does in Gaza, the issue is not whether U.S. weaponry is helping Israel — yes, of course it is,” he said.Eglash reported from Jerusalem. Washington Post staffers Anne Gearan and Karen DeYoung in Washington and Griff Witte in Jerusalem contributed reporting.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:How to save Gaza Attack on Gaza school kills 16, sparking West Bank protests Israel, Palestinians accept midnight truce in Gaza George Clooney’s fiancee named to UN Gaza inquiry teamlast_img read more

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The life and times of a very big fish United Fruits Sam

first_imgRelated posts:Experts at D.C. panel deny lax US border controls are to blame for immigration crisis ‘Writing was on the wall’ for child immigrant crisis, says new study Guatemala’s former Vice President Eduardo Stein bids for top job at troubled OAS Latin America sees the economic toll of corruption “The Fish That Ate The Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King,” by Rich Cohen The Tico TimesI was perusing the shelves of the Lucha Libro bookstore in Granada, Nicaragua for an interesting title about Central America when “The Fish That Ate The Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King” by Rich Cohen caught my eye. Its green cover with a half-peeled, yellow banana sporting an oval label of an elderly man in a suit and tie looked interesting. The man on the label was Sam Zemurray, the Banana King.But who was Sam Zemurray? His might not be a household name – unless, of course, you live in New Orleans, or are a scholar of Central American or U.S. business history. Or perhaps you’d know him if you’ve study corporate greed or anti-trust, or maybe U.S. intervention in its neighbors to the south. In that case, you probably know a lot about the impoverished Russian-Jewish immigrant who eventually became the president of the behemoth United Fruit Company. He was the man who had a heavy hand in the politics and economics of Central America’s so-called “banana republics” for much of the twentieth century.The book jacket reads, “Working his way up from a roadside fruit peddler to conquering the United Fruit Company, Zemurray became a symbol of the best and the worst of the United States; proof that America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as the backdrop for his adventure.”As a young man in New Orleans, Zemurray got the brilliant idea to gather the many bananas that were otherwise delectable but slowly showing signs of ripening and thus were discarded as waste by the long-haul, big-time fruit suppliers. Taking his inventory and riding the rails while selling these bananas, he became wealthy and expanded his business. Eventually Zemurray owned vast plantations in Central America and a fleet of freighters to move his product to U.S. markets on his way to becoming the Banana King.Cohen weaves a fascinating story of Zemurray’s exploits, his incredible business sense and his dealings with a variety of character – some rather shady and, like Zemurray himself, seemingly larger than life. Along the way, Cohen provides anecdotes. He also, sometimes a bit too heavily, throws in his own two cents about how Zemurray’s life and activities are somehow emblematic or manifested larger trends as he draws out bigger explanations about the Americas in the 20th century. Cohen may be correct in those grandiose comparisons, but perhaps it is best to leave such musings up to the reader.Zemurray was a tough Jew, a very tall and big man physically. He was a street-smart immigrant who spoke with an accent and took big risks. Unlike most of his counterparts at his level, he traveled throughout Central America, learned to speak at least some Spanish and understood the business from the treetops down.Throughout this whirlwind of a book about a whirlwind of a life, Cohen teaches the reader about bananas, Central American politics and history, and the Banana King’s role in the turbulent politics of Honduras and Guatemala in particular. He was also a major contributor to Tulane University, whose president’s official residence to this day is Zemurray’s former home. Among other things, Zemurray funded New Orleans’ first hospital for black women, established a clinic for troubled children, and worked to preserve Mayan ruins.The real and full account of his charitable and perhaps not so honorable pursuits may never be known. Zemurray’s life touched upon the rather illustrious Louisiana Governor Huey Long, the establishment of Israel and even the infamous and disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, each in ways that might be rather unsavory, as Cohen hints at, but wisely does not draw conclusions. Throughout, Zemurray tried to keep his distance, to keep his hand invisible and not garner publicity.When it comes to the critical point when late in life Zemurray surprisingly and almost instantaneously wrests control from the Boston Brahmin rulers of United Fruit, Cohen makes it seem as if the reader were in the corporate boardroom. I won’t spoil that for the reader.The elderly and weary Zemurray seems never to have been a happy person. Despite having read this exceedingly worthwhile book, I still find it hard to really understand who Zemurray was and what motivated him, as he was clearly highly motivated. Cohen probes into Zemurray’s life and character, sometimes perhaps bordering on psychiatry. Even so, this reader never really got more than a glimmer into the mind of a man who seemed a tragic figure, despite amassing great wealth and wielding power and influence both in Central America and the United States, and perhaps to a certain extent on the world stage as well. Those unanswered questions about the man may not be a shortcoming of the author as much as it is a statement about the subject himself.Suffering health setbacks, the debilitated Banana King died in 1961 at the age of 84 and with a fortune worth $30 million at the time. The Associated Press obituary said that, “In the banana belt of the Caribbean, Sam Zemurray was known as ‘the fish that swallowed the whale.’ ”“The Fish That Ate The Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King” by Rich Cohen. Picador-Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Former Israeli prime minister Shamir laid to rest

first_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories He was buried Monday at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem. He was eulogized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and his son Yair.Born in Poland, Shamir was an underground militia leader before Israel was created, fighting Arabs and British forces.Later he served in the Mossad as an intelligence agent who hunted Nazis, before entering politics.(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 Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home JERUSALEM (AP) – Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has been buried at Israel’s national cemetery.Shamir was Israel’s seventh prime minister, serving for seven years, from 1983-84 and 1986-92. He died Saturday at age 96.His terms were marked by his refusal to consider giving up land for deals with the Palestinians, as well as Israel’s restraint in the face of missile attacks from Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

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SAfrica opposition submits no confidence motion

first_imgAssociated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – Opposition parties on Thursday submitted a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma saying that corruption and unemployment have risen, the justice system has been politicized and the economy has weakened. The ruling party called the move a publicity stunt.The motion, backed by eight opposition parties, was triggered by a violent strike at a platinum mine that killed 46 people, the downgrading of South Africa’s credit rating by two major agencies and big spending of state funds on Zuma’s rural residence, according to a joint statement by the parties. Top Stories “President Zuma no longer has the confidence of our political parties to serve as president on the grounds that under his leadership the justice system has been weakened and politicized, corruption in the public service has spiraled out of control, unemployment levels continue to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated,” the statement said.Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko brought the motion forward Thursday in the National Assembly. The motion is to be debated in parliament, where most seats are held by Zuma’s African National Congress.The ANC’s office of the chief whip called the motion “a desperate, if not silly, publicity stunt by a group of attention-seeking opposition leaders … is not based on any fact or evidence, and therefore amounts to nothing but character assassination.” The office said it has proposed that parliament reaffirm its full confidence in Zuma’s leadership.Zuma has been embroiled in controversy recently over millions of dollars of additions to his private rural residence while millions of South Africans still lack decent homes, running water, electrical power and adequate access to health and education services. This after his standing had already been shaken by the worst state violence since the end of apartheid when police shot dead 34 striking platinum miners in August. Zuma is widely seen by striking miners as aloof to their concerns that they’re not paid enough for the difficult and dangerous work they perform. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   The no confidence motion was backed by the African Christian Democratic Party, the Azanian People’s Organization, the Congress of the People, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

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Nicaraguan protests erupt over rise in power costs

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – Officials in Nicaragua say rising costs for electricity have set off protests and confrontations, with some demonstrators taking over an airport. At least 20 people were injured Friday and 10 arrested, officials say.Authorities say about 200 people clashed with police after blocking the Pan American Highway about 60 miles west of the capital to protest higher charges being levied by a private electricity company. Police and protesters were injured in an exchange of rocks, tear gas and rubber bullets. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   On the Caribbean coast, about 400 miles northeast of Managua, some 400 local people have been protesting the increased cost of electricity charged by the state power company. Officials say they took over the local airport and blocked public transportation.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories last_img read more

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Chinas megatours draw attention abroad critique at home

first_img Comments   Share   China’s direct sales market began with the entry of Avon in the 1990s. But the industry plunged into chaos with rampant pyramid schemes, prompting the government to ban the industry altogether in 1998. The ban was lifted in 2005.Direct selling cuts out shops to sell products or services directly to consumers, using teams of sales personnel who typically get most of their income from a cut of the sales.Since the ban was lifted, direct marketing has expanded rapidly, with an average annual growth rate of 30 percent. China’s direct sales market is likely the world’s third or fourth biggest behind the United States, Japan and possibly South Korea, said Hu Yuanjiang, executive director for direct selling at China Health Care Association.After 2005, the industry grew to employ 2.3 million salespeople within seven years. In 2012, the country had 32 licensed direct marketing companies with combined sales of nearly 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion), according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry.The growth can be attributed to China’s economic boom, a rising consumer culture and more favorable government policies, and also that direct selling provides low-threshold opportunities for people to start their own businesses, Hu said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies BEIJING (AP) — All-expenses-paid trips to reward top salespeople aren’t unusual, but direct marketing companies that are the Chinese versions of Amway, Avon and Herbalife are taking it to an extreme by sending thousands abroad on package tours.One company is sending 12,700 salespeople to Thailand on a tour that continues until next week. The Infinitus herbal supplement company has outfitted the sales reps with uniforms, the same luggage and even the same umbrellas. How men can have a healthy 2019 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Earlier this month, a medicinal products group sent 6,000 of its representatives to France where they set a world record by massing the most people to spell out a phrase that included their own firm’s name. Yet another Chinese direct seller sent 7,000 people to California last year.“We are making history!” vice-chairman Xu Guowei of the Perfect China cosmetics company crowed in California during the retreat and package tour. “We have taken 86 flights, stayed in 26 hotels,” he said. “Our group’s attendees have spent $10,000 each this visit.”The tours are at the intersection of several trends in a country with a predilection for package trips: an explosion in overseas travel, surging national pride and the phenomenal growth in the past decade of direct sales companies. The companies are splashing cash and seeking publicity following a period in which they were banned as pyramid schemes.But they have also generated debate among Chinese who have become increasingly sensitive to how they are perceived overseas. Some see the tours as tacky ploys by the quasi-evangelical companies to entice new sales representatives to expand earnings.It takes several months of advance work to book the hotel space and arrange the travel for the tours. A travel agency spent six months planning the France trip. FILE – In this May 8, 2015 file photo, employees of the Tiens Group, a Chinese company which sells medicinal products, including via direct marketing, cheer as they attend a parade organized by CEO Li Jinyuan as part of a four-day celebration weekend for the 20th anniversary of his company, on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, southeastern France. All-expenses-paid trips to reward top earners aren’t unusual, but Chinese direct-sales companies are taking it to an extreme by sending thousands abroad on the same package tour. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File) “It also fits into the Chinese culture, where kinships and personal relationships, such as being in the same class or from the same village, are highly valued. They help build trust quickly, which is important for direct selling,” Hu said.Perfect China’s tour of California last year reportedly generated $85 million in revenue for the local economy, and Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait wished them great memories.The Tianjin-based Tiens Group, which sells medicinal products, including via direct marketing, sent 6,000 employees on a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip to France to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. They formed the phrase “Tiens’ dream is nice in the C Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Greek tourist hotspots face big bailout tax hikes

first_imgCromba noted that many small Greek businesses already evade sales taxes where some owners “don’t give a receipt so they save the tax for the business and the customer.”Economists say the increased sales taxes will almost certainly lead to a rise in tax evasion, which Greek officials have vowed for years to rectify, with negligible results.Greek businesses that cater to foreign tourists don’t have as much of an opportunity to evade taxes because many of their sales are via credit or debit cards or bank transfers, said Aristidis Hatzis, a law and economics professor at the University of Athens.But small and mid-size establishments catering to Greek tourists paying in cash will likely “try to tempt Greek customers not to pay taxes by not asking for a receipt,” he said.“This is going to be another incentive for Greeks to tax evade,” Hatzis said. “The economic situation of small businesses is so fragile right now that they will see this as their only opportunity to survive. They cannot pass the increases to the customers.”In Schinos, beachside bar and pizzeria owner Stavros Koteas sees the tax hikes as a final blow to what he calls the “slow strangulation” of small Greek businesses. PSATHA, Greece (AP) — An hour west of Athens, the pebbly beaches by turquoise waters and pine-covered mountains are nearly empty as the Greek sunbathers who normally pack them stay home amid fears their country’s economy could implode.Only a few dozen people sit down for a fresh grilled seafood lunch at the beachside restaurant Mary Cromba has owned for 15 years in the tiny village of Psatha. That’s down from the hundreds she served most days last year in July. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img “I’d love to sell out and go to Mykonos,” Cromba said, looking out from her restaurant with dozens of empty tables. “But who would buy this?”As bailout Greek negotiations took place in Brussels, all the Greeks who had reservations to stay this weekend at the Efthimiou hotel canceled on owner Michail Efthimiou, leaving him with 10 vacant rooms. Luckily, his remaining five rooms were being occupied by Swiss archeologists who come every year.“I’m already down more than 50 percent for my peak weeks in July and this is happening before the tax increase,” Euthimiou said. “If there’s a new deal with the Europeans, maybe there won’t be so much uncertainty and Greeks will feel confident enough to go to the beach again. But they don’t have the money to pay these tax increases. It’s impossible.”Leonidas Rokas at the nearby Schinos beach has dropped prices at his hillside hotel with a pool from 70 euros ($78) per room in 2009 before the Greek economic crisis to 50 euros ($56). He says he’ll have to need to lower them to 40 euros ($45) if the higher sales tax goes into effect.“That’s going to make it tough for me to pay my costs, but I don’t have a choice,” Rokas said. “Greeks would just drive out for the day instead of staying overnight. The foreigners won’t have a problem paying a little more but it’s tough for the Greeks.” Now beachgoers on day trips from the capital find parking spaces easily and haul their own food in coolers.“Last year the beach was packed with people, from the sea to the parking lot,” Cromba said, her eyes welling. “This year I had to let three employees go.”The consumer paranoia keeping customers away, however, is overshadowed by a Greek government crisis solution that Cromba said could eventually kill her business and many others that depend on domestic Greek tourism. Sharply higher sales taxes are coming, part of the governing Syriza party’s promises to the 19-nation eurozone in return for a third multi-billion euro (dollar) bailout.The Greek meal sales tax in the bailout proposal being considered Sunday by European leaders would boost it from the current 13 percent to 23 percent, while hotels would see room sales taxes rise from 6.5 percent to 13 percent.Cromba and many other merchants said they would be forced to offset the higher taxes with lower prices to keep their cash-strapped customers.While the tax hikes will affect all of Greece’s tourism industry, they are expected to hit Psatha and other places that cater almost exclusively to Greeks much harder than foreign tourist destinations like Athens — where many central hotels are now fully booked — and islands such as Corfu, Mykonos, Rhodes or Santorini. Greece’s debilitating economy in recent years forced Koteas to shut down his four stores selling motorcycles and motorcycle parts, leaving him with the bar he opened in 2011 as a hobby.“(My clients) hardly come anymore,” he said. “Some are ashamed because they don’t have money to spend. I can’t raise the price with sales tax for the customers I still have, or no one will come.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home In this photo taken on Saturday, July 11, 2015, bathers lie on the beach in front of a restaurant in the village of Psatha about 65km (40 miles) west of Athens. The meal sales tax clause in the bailout proposal considered Sunday by European leaders would boost it from 13 percent to 23 percent, while hotels would see room sales taxes rise from 6.5 percent to 13 percent. (AP Photo/Spyros Tsakiris) Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Rising gas prices push inflation up modestly in June

first_img Sponsored Stories Top Stories The Labor Department said Friday that its consumer price index rose 0.3 percent last month. Prices at the pump rose 3.4 percent in June on top of a 10.4 percent increase in May. An outbreak of avian flu drove egg prices up 18.3 percent in June, but overall food prices rose just 0.3 percent. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation rose 0.2 percent last month.The June numbers were about what economists had expected.Overall consumer prices rose just 0.1 percent the past year; core prices are up 1.8 percent. Gasoline prices are down 23.3 percent over the last year; they hit bottom in January, then rebounded.Inflation is running below the Fed’s 2 percent target. But Fed chair Janet Yellen told Congress this week that the central bank is likely to lift short-term interest rates later this year. The Fed has kept the rate it controls near zero for more than six years, first to calm financial markets after the panic of 2008 and then to bolster a weak recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009. But the U.S. economy has shown steady improvement. Employers are adding a healthy 208,000 jobs a month so far this year, and the unemployment rate has tumbled to a seven-year low 5.3 percent. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising gasoline prices pushed inflation up modestly in June, leaving overall consumer prices higher than they were a year earlier for the first time since December.Economists say the tick up in consumer prices makes it more likely the Federal Reserve will end a policy of keeping short-term interest rates near zero for more than six years. “Rebounding inflation combined with solid employment growth will likely lead the Fed to raise rates in September,” said Gregory Daco, head of U.S. macroeconomics at Oxford Economics. Mesa family survives lightning strike to homecenter_img In this photo taken June 12, 2015, shopper Julia Esquivel picks onions at a local grocery store in the Little Havana area of Miami. The Labor Department reports on consumer prices for June on Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The vital role family plays in society Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

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Cairns Airport voices concerns over Virgin BlueAir NZ alliance

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2245c/” 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> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Cairns Airport has requested that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) exclude the Cairns-Auckland route from the proposed Virgin Blue/Air New Zealand alliance. In a detailed submission to the ACCC, Cairns Airport said if the Cairns-Auckland route were included it would cause “substantial anti-competitive detriment and higher airfares on what will become a non-competitive route.”It also cited “the irrelevance of the Alliance on this route to the aspired challenge for Qantas’ high-yield business travel [and] the lack of public benefits on this route as proposed by the Alliance, as the focus will be on other city-pairs where there is competition with Virgin and/or Air New Zealand to other carriers.last_img read more

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Quickbedscom bust a Capper in your ads

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Warwick Capper is Quickbeds’ new bed bug with bite The tight footy shorts of eighties AFL icon Warwick Capper are soon to promote online accommodation provider, Quickbeds.com, to remind Aussies that booking online isn’t rocket science in the slightest. The cheeky campaign from Flight Centre-backed Quickbeds promotes “hotel prices almost as hot as he is”, in an effort to challenge online booking giants Wotif.com. The new television commercial starring Capper is part of a multimillion dollar website refresh and nationwide outdoor campaign. The fresh campaign and faster, more user friendly web site was in response to the growing corporate and leisure demand for booking accommodation over the internet, Quickbeds general manager, John Feenaghty, said. “In the last 10 years we have seen the figures rise from less than one per cent using online services to more than 40 per cent by 2009. Quickbeds is simply meeting those customers where they want to transact,” Mr Feenaghty said. “Online research tells us to expect this to double by 2015. Already dollar figures for last year alone show online booking sites accounted for $3 billion worth of Australian accommodation sales.” Mr Feenaghty said that the corporate market has played a major part in the online bookings boom, with its speed, convenience and wide reach being appealing factors for time-poor businesspeople. The decision to use Capper to front the campaign is all part of a bigger plan to draw attention to Quickbeds’ cheap and easy hotel deals. “In order to stand out against the crowd of booking engines now vying for market share, a strong brand personality is now a prerequisite […] we’ve developed a fun, cheeky personality for Quickbeds.com – one that our target audience can identify with and through which they can gain a real sense of who we are as a brand,” Mr Feenaghty said.The tongue-in- cheek campaign, featuring billboards with Warwick Capper promoting hotel deals that are “cheap and easy – just like me” will roll out across the country this month, promoting exclusive “sheet hot deals” starting from $99.last_img read more

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TransTasman air reforms stalled

first_imgJetstar is hoping for reformed tasman travel Plans to reform air services between Australia and New Zealand appear to have stalled, putting in jeopardy an agreement made in 2009 between the leaders of the two countries. Personally driven by New Zealand Prime Minister (PM) John Key and the then Australian PM Kevin Rudd, plans to revamp Trans-Tasman travel had promised simplified border procedures as well as cheaper airfares, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported. However, according to the newspaper, since the exit of Mr Rudd as PM, the airline industry has feared a loss of momentum for reform efforts. ”Since former PM Rudd and PM Key got together, the change of Australian PM may have slowed the optics of the process or the approach within the Australian government but agencies are engaged and working towards an improved outcome,” an airline industry source told SMH. Backed by Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan, the reforms have been met with caution by the Virgin Blue group, who are reportedly more concerned with its impending alliance on Tasman routes with Air New Zealand. ”I have nothing against the idea of what you may call borderless transportation between Australia and New Zealand,” Virgin Blue group chief executive John Borghetti told SMH. ”The issue I have is infrastructure … It’s fine for someone like Jetstar or Qantas, who have got their own terminals and can allocate an extra pier or an extra gate [for new services]. ”In Sydney and Melbourne, [domestic] airport gates are limited, so for us to move aircraft out of the international terminal into the domestic terminal, it’s just not practical.”Mr Buchanan has forecast that airfares could be reduced by as much as 30 per cent as a result of the removal of costs associated with normal international travel. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

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Centre Wins Record Four Awards at Industry Event

first_imgSource = The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Sydney Convention and Exhibition CentreChief Executive Ton van Amerongen withthe Centre’s four MEA State AwardsThe Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre has scooped the pool in this year’s Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) State Awards for NSW, winning a record four categories.The Centre picked up the top awards for Meeting Venue – 500 delegates or more, Banquet and Catering, In-House AV services and Corporate Social Responsibility at the awards, announced at a gala dinner in Sydney last night.Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said he was thrilled with the four wins, which set a new record for the Centre.“These awards demonstrate that the Centre is not prepared to rest on its laurels,” Mr van Amerongen said.“We are the nation’s busiest venue, but each day our team is thinking of new ways to extend the service we deliver to our clients.“We’re determined to stay at the cutting edge of the industry in all aspects of our business, so it’s gratifying to win so many awards across so many key areas.”The MEA awards were based on detailed submissions, which outlined the Centre’s business processes, showcased its innovation and creativity and demonstrated excellence within the business events sector.   Using case studies of various events, the submissions highlighted the Centre’s role in assisting organisers to reach their objectives, through flexible meeting spaces, creative technical production and design, innovative menus and environmental initiatives to make events more sustainable.The contribution of the Centre to the industry was also highlighted, with the significant roles many Centre members play in the wider meetings and events community being a key strength of the organisation.The Centre’s previous award record at the NSW MEA Awards was three wins. last_img read more

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Can do Cairns China Eastern thinks so

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W China Eastern Airlines is looking to tap into the Queensland market with advanced negotiations to fly from their Shanghai base to Cairns twice weekly beginning later this year.It is understood the Chinese carrier is in discussions with Cairns airport which at this stage would see the airline operate seasonally during the peak season for Chinese to visit Australia during November to March, The Australian reported.The recent launch of Tourism Australia’s global advertising campaign ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’, puts Tourism Australia in hot pursuit for a broader alliance with China Eastern Airlines.China Eastern chairman Liu Shaoyang met Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon and chief executive Andrew McEvoy earlier this month in Shanghai, along with Cairns Airport representatives.Chinese visitors to the North Queensland city increased by 39 percent over the past calendar year, yet no-one currently operates direct flights between China and Cairns.Chinese New Year celebrations earlier this year saw 12 charter flights bring in more than 20,000 Chinese visitors to Cairns. These included a number from Shanghai operated by China Eastern Airlines.China Southern is hot on the tail however, identifying Australia as a key growth market.  The airline’s chairman has mentioned they were looking at the possibility of new destinations in Australia.A Memorandum of Understanding between the Chinese and Australian governments last year to deliver thousands more seats between the two countries has boosted the Chinese airlines into the Australian market.last_img read more

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