Agents can win a week at Breathless Riviera Cancun with Sunquest

first_imgAgents can win a week at Breathless Riviera Cancun with Sunquest Monday, August 29, 2016 Travelweek Group Share MISSISSAUGA — Sunquest’s latest Deal of the Week offers a bonus US$150 resort coupon (per room, per stay, in Xhale Club room categories), for a total of $550, at all Breathless Resorts and Spas offered by Sunquest in Mexico, the D.R. and Jamaica. Agents also have a chance to win seven nights accommodation at Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa.This Deal of the Week contest runs Aug. 25 to 31. Sunquest will do a random draw for the prize when the Deal of the Week ends. All Deal of the Week bookings qualify as a ballot to win. The winner will be notified on or before Sept. 7.For more information visit travelbrandsagent.com.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Breathless Resorts & Spas, Contests, Mexico, Sunquest Posted bylast_img read more

Hola Sun marks 25 years with a new agent loyalty program –

first_imgTags: Brochures, Cuba, Hola Sun Share Monday, September 19, 2016 Posted by Hola Sun marks 25 years with a new agent loyalty program – and one big partycenter_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Hola Sun celebrated its silver anniversary at its latest Fiesta Friday Launch, showing off its new Cuba brochure offering nine destinations from Toronto and over 100 hotels and resorts to choose from.Featured destinations include Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Holguin, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Cayo Santa Maria, Santiago de Cuba, Santa Lucia, Havana, Varadero and Cayo Largo.“Each year we continue to enrich our collection of diverse products and services, offering the most destinations and hotels with year round service than any other Canadian Tour Operator,” said Hola Sun Holidays President, Juan Carlos Soto Garcia, telling agents to “choose Hola Sun with confidence as your travel provider. We appreciate your support throughout the years and we look forward to yet another successful season.”Hola Sun’s client incentives range from early booking bonuses, to waived single Supplements, to golf packages, single parent savings, honeymoon bonuses and wedding packages.The company’s groups department “is ready to organize a variety of groups including sports, students, weddings, singles, reunions, families, events and ecotourism,” said Garcia.  Clients booking a minimum of 10 passengers (five rooms) qualify for additional savings.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthSpecifically for wedding groups, Hola Sun has also added additional perks including: deposit only for wedding couple required; bride allowed a third piece of luggage for free; and a $300 honeymoon gift certificate for future travel a year later. Agents can contact groups@holasunholidays.ca for a quote.Hola Sun also caters to families with family room-style categories available at Iberostar Ensenachos, Playa Pesquero, Iberostar Playa Alameda, Melia Marina Varadero, Iberostar Playa Pilar and Iberostar Laguna Azul.New and coming properties for Hola Sun include the IBEROSTAR Bella Vista and the Sercotel Cayo Santa Maria. There’s also the Ocean Casa Del Mar by H10, the Ocean Vista Azul by H10, the Bravo Villa Coral by VOI Hotels, the Villa Iguana by Gran Caribe and the Hotel Deauville & Hotel Vedado – Saint Johns by Gran Caribe, all new to Hola Sun’s lineup.In addition to Hola Sun’s selection of seven and 14 night vacation packages, the company can also assist in booking land only, air only, bus tours, car rentals, specialty programs, combos and long stay products. Flights are with Cubana Airlines.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureAll products are commissionable at 8% across the board. Plus, right now Hola Sun is offering its annual agent rates for $399 for agents and companions travelling in September and October to select properties.Agents can access Hola Sun and Caribe Sol products 24 hours a day, seven days a week via its free online agent site at holacaribeagent.com.Hola Sun has also launched a ‘Vacation Account’ loyalty program. Travel agents can now earn $10 per passenger to be used towards future travel with Hola Sun Holidays, valid for departures Nov 1. 2016 – Oct. 31, 2017 on air only and package products. More details are coming soon.last_img read more

Atout France extends deadline for annual tour operator contest

first_imgAtout France extends deadline for annual tour operator contest Share Friday, January 20, 2017 MONTREAL — Tour operators now have a bit more time to apply for Atout France’s annual competition that rewards the most original tourist offers.The deadline, originally set for Jan. 17, has now been pushed back to 12 p.m. EST on Jan. 24 to allow for the greatest number of tour operators to compete.Winners of the two prizes – ‘Product of the Year Award’ and ‘Paris City of Light Product of the Year Award’ – will be announced at an awards ceremony during a Destination France event in Toronto on March 1.Atout France has already sent an email to eligible businesses to inform them of the registration process and rules. Those who didn’t receive the invitation and wish to apply can contact Mélanie Paul-Hus, Atout France’s Deputy Director, at melanie.paul-hus@atout-france.fr. Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Atout France, France Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Puerto Rico ready for San Juans 500th celebrations Spielbergs West Side Story

first_img TORONTO — Puerto Rico is an undiscovered gem – for Canadians at least. Discover Puerto Rico is looking to change that by raising the profile of this Caribbean island with Canada’s winter sun seekers.Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean is well aware Canadians have options – lots of options – when it comes to sun getaways. He also knows that Puerto Rico has work to do when it comes to educating Canadian travellers, and travel agents, about the destination’s charms.Discover Puerto Rico’s CEO Brad Dean and CMO Leah Chandler with Reach Global Marketing’s Charmaine SinghMost Canadians know Puerto Rico, and specifically San Juan, as a cruise port. They might have lingering images of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. And many Canadians might pass over Puerto Rico because of concerns about the exchange rate – it is, after all, a U.S. territory.Dean knows the island has a ways to go in the Canadian market. But he’s up for challenge.The numbers are already on the rise. Discover Puerto Rico recently marked its one-year anniversary as the island’s first-ever Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) by announcing a record-breaking year in tourism.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Year-to-date revenue is the highest in the island’s history, with US$445 million reported through May. Puerto Rico received 1.67 million visitors across the San Juan, Ponce and Aguadilla airports in the first few months of 2019, the highest number of airport arrivals in the January-April timeframe in its history.It’s not just in Canada that Dean wants to raise Puerto Rico’s profile. It’s in the U.S. too. “Half of all our visitors come from just five states,” he said at yesterday’s Discover Puerto Rico luncheon in Toronto.Puerto Rico’s selling points include its beaches, a culinary offering that will tempt any foodie (with 4,000 restaurants island-wide), and its outdoor adventure attractions, including the longest zip line in the Americas.Puerto Rico is also a historical treasure trove and much of that culture and history will be celebrated in 2020 with the 500th anniversary of the founding of San Juan.Getting to Puerto Rico is now easier than ever, adds Dean, with flights with both Air Canada and WestJet. Dean hinted that more lift will be announced in the coming weeks. “We are very anxious to see that service increase,” he said. Entry requirements for Canadians heading to Puerto Rico are the same as coming across the border into U.S., he added. “We think that given the ease of access, Puerto Rico can and will become the gem of the Caribbean for travellers coming from Canada.”More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureHotels have reopened since Maria, or are opening as brand new properties. Recent hotel openings in Puerto Rico include Dorada Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Boho Beach Club. Coming soon are the Ritz-Carlton San Juan (2019), Aloft Ponce Hotel by Marriot (2019) and Four Seasons Cayo Largo (2020).Discover Puerto Rico’s Chief Marketing Officer, Leah Chandler, notes that Puerto Rico is welcoming to everyone, including the LGBTQ community. “The Caribbean is not known for being the most inclusive region for LGBTQ travellers. But Puerto Rico is very welcoming and same-sex marriage is legal in Puerto Rico.”Not only is Puerto Rico celebrating San Juan’s 500th anniversary in 2020, it will also be front and centre in Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of the classic West Side Story, set for a 2020 release. Tags: 2020, 500th, Puerto Rico, West Side Story << Previous PostNext Post >> Puerto Rico ready for San Juan’s 500th celebrations & Spielberg’s West Side Story Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Sharelast_img read more

Head of brutal Zetas cartel killed gunmen steal body from Mexican authorities

first_imgThe body of the slain leader of the Zetas drug cartel was stolen from a funeral parlor by an armed group after he was killed in a shootout with authorities in northern Mexico, officials said Tuesday.The Mexican navy, which conducted the operation against the Zetas leader, said fingerprints and photographs had been used to identify the body as Heriberto Lazcano’s before it was stolen.Lazcano’s body and that of another man had been taken to a funeral home in the town of Sabinas in the northern state of Coahuila after the shootout on Monday with navy special forces.Coahuila state prosecutor Homero Ramos told a press conference in Sabinas that gunmen wearing face masks had entered the parlor with heavily armed protectors and subdued the staff.“They took the bodies, stuck them in a hearse, and made the owner drive it off,” Ramos said.The navy had said earlier it was awaiting confirmation that one of the men killed in the town of Progreso was Lazcano, one of two mainleaders of the divided cartel and one of the Mexico’s most wanted men.Shortly before the state prosecutor confirmed his body had been stolen, the Navy said it had confirmed that it was Lazcano, 37, through fingerprints and photographs of his corpse.It said Lazcano and the second man were killed after they attacked a navy patrol with grenades and firearms.Lazcano is one of the two main leaders of the divided cartel and one of Mexico’s most wanted men, with a $2.6 million reward for information leading to his capture. The United States has set the award at $7 million.A recent report by the United Nations stated that the Mexican government’s bloody and aggressive fight against drug cartels in the country is forcing more trafficking into Central America, including Costa Rica. The death of Lazcano would serve as a major victory for the outgoing Felipe Calderón government, whose party lost in the presidential election earlier this year.Some 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since Calderon was voted into office and began his crackdown in December 2006. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tax revenues grow by 11 percent in first quarter

first_imgNo related posts. Revenue generated primarily by fuel, corporations and tobacco taxes increased Costa Rican tax revenues by 11.4 percent during the first three months of this year, the Finance Ministry reported on Monday.Despite the increase, the country’s deficit also was maintained during the first quarter, “because the government in 2013 has invested more in infrastructure,” according to the report.State spending also grew by nearly 11 percent, so that the fiscal deficit for the first quarter of this year remains at 1.4 percent of gross domestic product.The report also indicates that the Finance Ministry has stepped up efforts to prevent smuggling, after increasing Fiscal Police personnel by 25 new officers.In 2012, the Fiscal Police seized ​​the country’s largest shipments of electronics, with 18,000 products seized, most of them TV sets. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas Chinchilla condemns Nicaragua in UN speech over border dispute

first_imgDuring her final address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla lambasted Nicaragua over its repeated “aggression” against her country.The president expressed “outrage” at Nicaragua’s recent actions, including the dredging of two new canals in Costa Rican territory, its “flouting” of the International Court of Justice’s precautionary measures, and called for greater vigilance and harsher consequences for noncompliance with the world court’s orders.  “Costa Rica is a firm believer in international law in all it’s aspects but this attitude contrasts with the absolute disrespect of the government of Nicaragua of those elementary norms and conducts among nations,” Chinchilla said in her address in New York.“This disrespect has led to open and unacceptable aggressions against our country and to the flagrant disobedience of the orders of the court of The Hague,” she added.During her address, the president listed several recent aggressions against Costa Rica by its northern neighbor dating back to October 2010, when Nicaragua first “invaded” Isla Portillos and started dredging the uninhabited wetland preserve.Along with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s words about “reclaiming” the northwestern Costa Rican province of Guanacaste and Nicaragua’s attempt to sell oil concessions in Costa Rican waters this summer, Chinchilla highlighted the Ortega government’s repeated violations of the world court’s precautionary measure for both sides to stay out of the disputed territory while the case pends.“This scorn demonstrates the urgent need to establish procedures to guarantee the respect of all decisions emanating from the court, including precautionary measures,” Chinchilla said, echoing the frustrations of many Ticos with the lack of consequences for Nicaragua’s alleged violations of court orders.On Monday, Costa Rica presented a letter to the International Court of Justice at The Hague requesting it take additional measures against Nicaragua. During her press conference Tuesday, Chinchilla mentioned that there were alternative measures available when a country does not follow the court’s rulings, including sanctions.The president noted that the current system does not provide for any follow-up after the court issues a precautionary measure to gauge compliance or levy consequences for noncompliance.Costa Rica is not alone in its complaints about Nicaragua’s aggressive push for more territory and a larger military. Panama and Costa Rica co-signed a letter from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Monday addressed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon regarding the countries’ shared concern over Nicaragua’s “expansionist” policies. President Chinchilla has an appointment to meet with the secretary general on Friday, according to Casa Presidencial.“We feel vulnerable when there is a violation of the precautionary measures imposed by the International Court,” Chinchilla said, reinforcing Costa Rica’s position as an unarmed nation, “Nicaragua should not violate [these] measures with impunity.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Guyana seizes cocaine in fish food bound for China

first_img Check your body, save your life Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Sponsored Stories Top Stories center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) – Authorities in Guyana have seized $10 million worth of cocaine hidden in bags of fish food bound for China.The director of the South American country’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit says officials confiscated 580 pounds (263 kilograms) of cocaine. James Singh said Saturday that the cocaine pellets were hidden in 1,500 bags and that one person has been arrested.The announcement comes about a week after police seized 350 kilograms (772 pounds) of cocaine in a shipment of soap destined for Nigeria. Guyana is considered a major transshipment point for drugs from South America headed to Europe and the U.S.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

Populist Finns party to join coalition of 3 in Finland

first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The leader of the government negotiations, and next Prime Minister of Finland, Juha Sipila, right, with members of the next government, the Chairman of the National Coalition Party, Alexander Stubb, left, and Chairman of the Finns Party, Timo Soini, give a press conference relating to the forming of the up-coming Finnish government at the parliament in Helsinki, Thursday, May 7, 2015. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva via AP) FINLAND OUT HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s next likely prime minister, Center Party leader Juha Sipila, said Thursday he wants the populist Finns Party in a new three-member ruling coalition, the first time it would be in the government.Sipila, who was tasked with forming a majority government after his party’s election victory last month, said he will begin talks with the runner-up Finns Party and the conservative National Coalition Party, which led the previous government but came in third in the April 17 vote. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The main task of a new government is to revive the ailing economy in the midst of a three-year recession, with painful decisions needed for further spending cuts of at least 4 billion euros, the 54-year-old millionaire said.Sipila described the three-party coalition, which would have a clear majority with 124 seats in the 200-member Parliament, as the “best option” of many alternatives. He said he wants a strong coalition capable “of making reforms and implementing those decisions.”The self-effacing former businessman, who entered politics four years ago, faces a delicate balancing act between staunchly pro-European former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s conservatives and the anti-establishment Finns Party. The latter is led by maverick politician Timo Soini, who opposes bailing out Greece and wants to kick it out of the eurozone. He also wants restrictions on immigration.Soini, who dropped out of government formation talks four years ago because of his party’s opposition to bailouts, said he was confident the three parties could form a new government, but it was not immediately clear if he would be prepared to make any compromises.Sipila said he will begin coalition talks on Friday, hoping to announce a new government by the end of the month. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Comments   Share   Top Stories Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Poll shows divide over increasing money for transit

first_img“We definitely don’t need to be expanding freeways anymore,” Wild said. “We’ve maxed out.”He cited a highway near his home that was recently widened and now is as full as ever. He does, however, strongly support building more light rail transit locally and high-speed rail between California cities.Wild said he’d much rather take a convenient local train than fight traffic in his car. He currently takes trains only a few times a year because there are no direct routes from where he lives to the places he wants to go, and indirect routes take too long, he said.“The big problem with L.A. is that, given the lack of public transportation, sitting in traffic in your own car is still faster than taking public transit,” Wild said.Jane McEntire, 62, who lives in Cartersville, Georgia, on the northwest fringe of the Atlanta metropolitan area, says traffic is horrible and getting worse.Even so, she’d rather keep spending on roads and cut spending on public transportation. She says she’s lost confidence in the ability of state and local transportation officials to make improvements and not fritter money away on wasteful projects. Sponsored Stories She is particularly incensed that officials used federal transit aid to build a slow-moving streetcar line in downtown Atlanta that is used primarily by tourists.“I think they look really cute, but as far as usefulness — no,” she said. “When you have federal dollars that are coming into a state that are available and you spend it on these cars in Atlanta that go six or eight blocks back and forth … Why didn’t they take that money and spend it on something to help commuters?”The AP-GfK Poll of 1,077 adults was conducted online from April 23 to 27 using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.___Online:AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com___Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy .Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — A slight majority of Americans prefer living in a single-family house in the suburbs or a rural area with more land, even if it means driving long distances to get to work or run errands, according to a poll by The Associated Press-GfK.However, a significant minority, 44 percent, would choose an apartment or smaller house in an urban area that comes with a short drive to work or the opportunity to use public transportation, bike or walk. The split also has a political aspect: Sixty-seven percent of Republicans and 53 percent of independents prefer suburban or rural living, while 55 percent of Democrats prefer urban areas. Top Stories Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Four benefits of having a wireless security systemcenter_img The share of Americans who prefer suburban or rural living — 53 percent — is identical to the share who say the government should increase spending to build and improve roads, bridges and interstate highways. About 1 in 3 think current spending levels are about right, while just over 1 in 10 would like to see less money spent on roads.Many states are struggling just to maintain current spending levels, and Congress has been unable to come up with a long-term plan to pay for highway aid that closes the gap between current spending and federal gas tax revenue.Americans are more divided over building and improving public transportation such as rail and bus systems. Four in 10 say spending on public transportation should be increased, but just as many say current spending is about right. Only 18 percent say transit spending should be cut.Contrary to the widely held notion that the millennial generation is flocking to cities and giving up their cars, younger people are not significantly more or less likely than older people to prefer urban living with a shorter commute and access to public transit, the poll found.Matthew Wild, 33, an airline pilot living in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, said he favors increasing spending on both public transit and highways. The region’s freeways “take a real beating” from the traffic and need to be maintained, he said, but no new lanes should be added. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

House narrowly passes No Child Left Behind rewrite

first_imgUnder current law, the money goes to school districts and generally stays in schools in the neighborhoods where the children live.Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said the proposed change would “solve inequality in America by giving children the opportunity to attend a better school.”Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who co-sponsored the bill, countered that the change would “retreat on our fundamental commitment to make sure that every child has access to a quality education.”Earlier in the House, some Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat a conservative-led attempt to let states completely opt out of No Child requirements without forfeiting federal money. That vote was 235-195.Much like the House bill, the Senate measure also would whittle away the federal government’s involvement in public schools.Both would retain the annual reading and math tests outlined in No Child, but instead would let states — rather than the Department of Education — decide how to use the required assessments to measure school and teacher performance.Alexander told reporters Wednesday that the House and Senate bills aren’t that different, and the goal is to get legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature. 0 Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “We’re not here to make a political speech. We’re here to get a result and fix NCLB,” he said.No Child Left Behind, which expired in 2007, mandated annual testing in reading and math for students in grades three through eight and again in high school. Schools had to show student growth or face consequences. But critics complained that the law was rigid and overly ambitious and punitive, and said there was too much testing.In 2012, the Obama administration began granting states waivers from meeting some of the requirements of the law after it began clear they would not be met. Forty-two states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have been granted waivers.____Associated Press writers David Espo and Erica Werner contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The House narrowly passed a Republican-led rewrite of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law on Wednesday, voting to dramatically lessen the federal role in education policy for the nation’s public schools.The bill, sponsored by Minnesota Rep. John Kline, gives states and local school districts more control over assessing the performance of schools, teachers and their students. It also prohibits the federal government from requiring or encouraging specific sets of academic standards, such as Common Core, and allows federal money to follow low-income children to public schools of their choice, an issue known as portability. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain The vote was 218-213, with no Democrats supporting the measure and 27 Republicans voting against it. Passage comes five months after conservatives forced GOP leaders to pull a similar bill just before a scheduled vote. This time around, conservatives had indicated they would support the legislation if they had the chance to offer amendments.Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the bill fails to help struggling schools and the children they teach.“House Republicans have chosen to take a bad bill and make it even worse,” Duncan said in a statement. “Instead of supporting the schools and educators that need it most, this bill shifts resources away from them.”But the leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, said the measure delivers much-needed education reform by replacing “top-down mandates with conservative reforms that empower the parents, teachers and administrators at the heart of our education system.”The House passed its legislation as the Senate rejected a proposal to turn federal aid for poor students over to the states, which could then let parents choose to spend the money in the public or private school they deem best for their child. The vote was 45-52, short of a majority and 15 shy of the 60 required. FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2015 file photo, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. listens to testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington. It’s something most everyone on both sides of the aisle can agree on _ an update to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law is much needed and long overdue. This week, the Senate and House take up rewrites of the 2002 law, with lawmakers seeking to finally resolve a key question Congress has struggled with for many years (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Pakistani militant leader killed in police convoy attack

first_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system Ishaq, believed to be either 55 or 56, operated freely for years in Pakistan as the country’s intelligence services helped nurture Islamic militant groups in the 1980s and 1990s to maintain influence in Afghanistan and counter archrival India.Ishaq had been detained by police two days earlier on suspicion of being involved in the slaying of two Shiites, police officer Bakhtiar Ahmed said.Early Wednesday, as officers tried to transfer Ishaq from a prison in the eastern city of Multan, gunmen ambushed the convoy in an attempt to free him, Ahmed said. The ensuing gunbattle killed Ishaq and at least 13 of his associates, including two of his sons and his deputy, Ghulam Rasool, Ahmed said.In a later statement, police said “14 or 15 unidentified armed terrorists” attacked police vehicles to free Ishaq when officers were returning from an area in nearby Muzaffargarh after seizing weapons, explosives and detonators on information provided by Ishaq and his associates.It said Ishaq and five other detained militants were killed during the shootout by those who ambushed the convoy. They said eight of the attackers were killed in the gunbattle.No other witnesses to the shooting could be immediately located. Ishaq’s family members could not immediately be reached for comment. Pakistani police have been accused of extrajudicial slayings in the past, including through staged ambushes. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Shuja Khanzada, the provincial home minister in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, where the fighting took place, said the shooting wounded six police officers who “demonstrated extreme bravery.”“Malik Ishaq was behind many acts of terrorism and he was freed by courts in the past due to lack of evidence,” Khanzada told The Associated Press, calling him a “symbol of terror.”He said “many terrorists involved in heinous crimes often go unpunished because prosecutors don’t have enough evidence against them. Malik Ishaq was one of such examples.”Imtiaz Gul, head of the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies, said the killing of Ishaq was a “very strong message to all those militants who were still pursuing the strategy of violence. Today’s killing of 14 militants shows that the government will be very tough” in dealing with militant and sectarian groups.Fearing violence in Punjab, long the home of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, police mounted a heavy security presence around the province and the morgue in Muzaffargarh, where Ishaq’s body and those of his associates were brought after the shootout. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona MUZAFFARGARH, Pakistan (AP) — One of Pakistan’s most-feared Islamic militant leaders, believed to be behind the killing of scores of minority Shiites, was gunned down along with 13 other militants during an assault on a police convoy that was transporting him from prison on Wednesday.Malik Ishaq, who directed the operations of the Taliban- and al-Qaida-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, was so feared in Pakistan that frightened judges hid their faces from him and even offered him tea and cookies in court. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ishaq helped found Laskhar-e-Jhangvi in the 1990s, and the group later allied itself with al-Qaida and the Taliban. His group is blamed for scores of attacks on Shiites — considered infidels by Sunni extremists — and on Pakistani and U.S. interests. They’ve also been accused of carrying out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. The U.S. State Department designated Ishaq as a terrorist in February 2014, ordering any U.S. assets he held frozen.Ishaq was arrested in 1997 and accused in more than 200 criminal cases, including the killings of 70 Shiites. But the state could never make the charges stick — in large part because of the intimidation of witnesses, judges and prosecutors.Frightened judges treated him honorably in court and gave him tea and cookies, said Anis Haider Naqvi, a prosecution witness in two cases against Ishaq who spoke to The Associated Press in 2011. One judge attempted to hide his face with his hands, but Ishaq made clear he knew his identity in a chilling way: He read out the names of his children, and the judge abandoned the trial, Naqvi said at the time.Despite the lack of convictions, Ishaq remained in prison for 14 years as prosecutors slowly moved from one case to the next. Ishaq proved his usefulness to the army in 2009, when he was flown from jail to negotiate with militants who had stormed part of the military headquarters in Rawalpindi and were holding hostages. A behind-the-scenes effort by the government to co-opt the leaders of militant outfits and bring them into mainstream political life, or at least draw them away from attacking the state, helped Ishaq secure his release in 2011. He had been in and out of police custody since.Sunni-majority Pakistan has a Shiite minority that makes up about 15 percent of the population. Most Sunnis and Shiites live together peacefully in Pakistan, though tensions have existed for decades.Pakistan has intensified its campaign against militant groups since December, when a Taliban attack on a military school in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 150 people, mostly children.The school attack also prompted the Pakistani government to lift its moratorium on the death penalty. It has executed scores of militants and other men charged in murder cases since then.___This story has been corrected throughout to reflect police statement that Ishaq was killed by those who attacked the convoy and not by police.___Ahmed reported from Islamabad.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Dragon logo spearheads Hong Kong brand

first_imgHong Kong unveiled the logo of its revitalised city brand on Saturday at the Shanghai Expo, revealing a refreshed dragon icon.Part of its Brand Hong Kong initiative, the new logo has been plastered across Hong Kong’s trams, buses and ferries since March, and has now made its way to the Hong Kong Pavilion and Hong Kong’s Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA) Exhibition at the World Expo.The new logo was created by internationally renowned designer Alan Chan and features a colourful dragon in the form of three ribbons.The blue and green ribbons represent blue sky and a sustainable environment while the red ribbon symbolises the local mountain Lion Rock, embodying the “can-do” spirit of the Hong Kong people. The pavilion, paired with the revitalised brand and new logo, aims to show Hong Kong is a dynamic and diverse place to live, work and visit. “We will show the world that Hong Kong is an open and tolerant modern metropolis with great potential and opportunities for future development,” said Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) chief executive Donald Tsang. Expo visitors will be greeted by BrandHK’s new logo Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

Backup plan underway QF strikes

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Qantas is working on consolidating services and updating its flight schedule for next week as workers plan to walk off the job for up to four hours on Tuesday 20 September.Announcing the strike earlier this week, Qantas said it is working on contingency plans to reduce the amount of disruptions and will contact affected passengers in the coming days. Qantas Group executive Olivia Wirth said the carrier is focusing its efforts on passengers and getting them to their destination.”The TWU is intent on causing disruptions to Qantas passengers and we are doing everything we possibly can to reduce the delays and cancellations,” Ms Wirth said.“Qantas will publish an updated schedule in the coming days and contact any passenger who has been affected by the strike to make alternative travel arrangements.”Despite months of negotiations, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) announced this week that its Qantas members had voted in favour of a four hour strike as well as a ban on certain administrative tasks which the carrier said could affect operations for up to 48 hours.Ms Wirth has urged the union return to the negotiation tables and reach a fair deal that will not impact the carrier’s competitiveness in the sector.“The TWU is demanding significant pay increases and new restrictions on labour flexibility which would make Qantas less competitive and prevent us from responding to volatility in the aviation industry,” Ms Wirth explained.“These employees are already the highest paid in the Australian aviation industry and we are willing to offer reasonable pay increases but the latest demands from the union are unreasonable.“We encourage the TWU to remain at the negotiating table instead of going on strike.”last_img read more

WTTC stress strategic priorities

first_imgThe second strategy, ‘policies for growth’ focuses on the WTTC’s efforts to proportionate taxation. “Asia’s millions of new middle class consumers have the right to travel safely, securely and efficiently across international borders,” Mr Scowsill said. Mr Scowsill said the decision to stage WTTC’s first Asia summit in Korea could not be more appropriate, given the country has been “staying ahead of tomorrow” for a very long time. The third strategy involves planning and foresight, encouraging ‘tourism for tomorrow’. “Our Global Leaders for Tourism Initiative – the Golden Book – plays a vital role in our campaign to keep support for our industry growth high on the agendas of Presidents and Prime Ministers.” Addressing delegates at the first-ever Asia Summit 2013 in Seoul, WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill highlighted people’s freedom to travel, policies for growth and tourism for tomorrow. “We believe in developing a sustainable, long term approach to our industry,” Mr Scowsill said. “Taxes in our industry need to stimulate growth rather than stifle it… too many governments still view travellers as a soft target for taxation,” Mr Scowsill said.center_img The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have focused its efforts on three strategic priorities, in order to build recognition for and assist the burgeoning global tourism industry. “However, despite an increasing number of visa waiver programmes around the world, too many people still find it too difficult to cross borders as international tourists.” Source = ETB News: P.T. Mr Scowsill said the United Kingdom’s airline passenger duty was the worst culprit, destroying UK GDP by around US$6.3 billion per annum and costing approximately 90,000 jobs. The freedom to travel and better visa facilitation will assist in breaking down established barriers of communication, business and tourism. Visa facilitation, policies for growth and tourism for tomorrow.last_img read more

Qantas and American Airlines take to the skies for Christmas

first_imgAlan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Qantas and American Airlines CEO Doug ParkerQantas and American Airlines take to the skies for ChristmasTwo new Qantas and American Airlines services will take off in the next 24 hours, giving the airlines’ customers unrivalled choice of flights across the Pacific.Qantas Flight 73 will depart from Sydney to San Francisco this afternoon, marking the Flying Kangaroo’s return to the popular route, followed by the departure of American Airlines Flight 72 from Sydney to Los Angeles tomorrow morning.The new services have been made possible by an expanded commercial partnership* between national carrier Qantas and American, the world’s biggest airline, and form part of a broader trans-Pacific network spanning Australian, New Zealand and the United States.It comes as a lower dollar improves the competitiveness of Australia as a destination for U.S. travellers. In the year to the end of September 2015, a record 551,000 Americans visited Australia, up eight per cent on the prior year.American Airlines makes first flight into SydneyTogether, the airlines will offer customers 50 return services per week between Australia and the US, including Honolulu. From Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and San Francisco customers flying from Australia can access more than 150 destinations throughout North America on American Airline’s extensive network. From Sydney alone, customers can access more than 70 Qantas Group destinations across Australia and New Zealand.“This is a new era for both airlines and we’re excited to be unlocking new travel options for our customers and helping to build trade, tourism and investment opportunities for the Australian and US economies,” said Mr Joyce.“We can’t wait to return to San Francisco, which was Qantas’ first ever US destination back in the 1950s and is still a hugely popular holiday spot for Australians.  What’s different today is that we’re also seeing really strong demand for business travel, driven by the Silicon Valley technology boom.“These new services are a good news story for Australian tourism, with American Airlines now promoting brand Australia across its massive domestic network.  When you put that together with Qantas’ significant investment in tourism marketing, it’s a potent combination.“Passengers who flew with Qantas International spent $9.5 billion in Australia last financial year, helping make it the best year for inbound tourism since the Sydney Olympics. We’re confident we can lift that contribution even higher as we deepen our partnerships, especially with the tailwind that a lower Aussie dollar provides to our attractiveness to visitors,” added Mr Joyce.Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, said: “Qantas has been a fantastic partner through oneworld and our joint business relationship, and we are delighted that customers are seeing enhanced benefits of this partnership through a greater choice of flights to the U.S.”“With this new Qantas service to San Francisco and American’s new daily service to Los Angeles, customers are the clear winners when travelling with our two great airlines.”American Airlines makes first flight into SydneyQantas’ Sydney-San Francisco services will ramp up to six per week in January 2016, with all flights to be operated by Boeing 747-400 aircraft with the same interiors that feature on the airline’s flagship A380s.  American’s flagship B777-300ER will operate daily on the Sydney-Los Angeles route with fully lie-flat seats in First and Business Class and international Wi-Fi.To celebrate the launch of Qantas’ new Sydney to San Francisco services, customers on-board QF73 will be treated to a special figure eight flyover of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay area, before touching down at San Francisco Airport which will be lit up with Qantas colours during the evening.American’s B777-300 ER service from Los Angeles into Sydney on Saturday will be given a water cannon salute and customers on the first flight out of Australia will enjoy cupcakes and champagne at the gate as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony.*pending regulatory approvals. Qantasbook and fly here Source = Qantas – American Airlinescenter_img American Airlinesbook and fly herelast_img read more

Collette Announces Low Single Supplements for the Solo Traveller

first_imgCollette Announces Low Single Supplements for the Solo TravellerCollette Announces Low Single Supplements for the Solo TravellerCollette has announced low single supplements for solo travellers wanting to explore destinations in a guided, group setting, while still enjoying the benefits of single accommodation; without the hefty price tag.For the lead in price of $3,189, foodies can embark on Collette’s Rome and Amalfi Coast tour, where they will indulge in the charm and culinary delights of the Italian countryside. Highlights include the chance to sample cheese at a local farmhouse in San Gimignano and learn traditional techniques and local recipes with a special cooking class in Pisa. In Tuscany, travellers will visit one of the region’s finest wineries for a lesson in the art of winemaking and making olive oil.Staying in the famous spa resort town of Montecatini Terme for the duration of the tour, solo travellers can mingle and share moments with fellow travellers, and still have the luxury of returning to a private room for some much-needed down time at the end of a long day’s exploring.Celebrating 100 years of guided travel this year, Collette is world-renowned for offering its guests flexibility and choice on tour and being innovative when it comes to group touring. Optional activities and leisure time are made available to Collette’s guests to enable personalisation and tailoring of itineraries; ideal for people wishing to explore quietly on their own.“We are very pleased to be able to offer these new, low single supplements to enhance the travel experience for singles.  From our small group itineraries, to our private chauffeur experience, to great offers like these low single supplements, we are committed to delivering impeccable service and offering travel experiences to suit the needs of all our guests,” said Alison Mead, General Manager, Collette Australia.For solo travellers wanting to experience a city in-depth, Collette’s Spotlight series is ideal. With low single supplements available for Spotlight on San Antonio, Spotlight on New Orleans and Spotlight on Tuscany, solo travellers can ‘get to know’ these cities, with the help of Collette’s highly trained and knowledgeable guides with single-stay accommodation, removing the hassle of packing and repacking. Group travel is ideal for singles or retirees who can make new friends while on tour.Spotlight on New Orleans is another attractive offer for singles with a lead in price of $2,579, travellers will explore the birthplace of jazz, discover the unique flavours of French-Creole cuisine and unlock the secrets of the city’s famous French Quarter with a guided walking tour and a visit to a jazz club. Guests can choose to spend time at either the poignant National World War II Museum or the festive Mardi Gras World: The New Orleans Mardi Gras Museum.Solo travellers in search of traditional knick-knacks to bring home to their loved ones should look no further than Collette’s Magical Christmas Markets or Classical Christmas Markets. The Classical Christmas Markets will take guests into the heart of Europe, journeying through the Christmas markets located in Strasbourg, Munich and Innsbruck, while The Magical Christmas Markets tour allows travellers to delve further into the unique charm of Austria and Germany and explore the ‘Christkindlesmarkts’.Exploring the picturesque wonderland that is a European winter, guests on these itineraries can marvel at the incredible craftsmanship of these regions; from the beautiful souvenirs to the enchanting architecture of the villages and striking shop frescos.These exceptional offers are now available for selected 2018 and 2019 departures so single travellers are encouraged to get in early to secure their place on one of Collette’s tours.For details of the full tours or to book a trip:Contact your local travel agentCall Collette on 1300 792 195 or visit www.gocollette.com.au About ColletteTouring for today’s traveller… Featuring the luxurious Collette Chauffeur return airport transfer service, award-winning tour managers, and superior accommodation, Collette has been a pioneer in guided touring since 1918. With classic tours, small groups, river cruises and ‘spotlight’ city stays, there are over 150 tours which go to more than 55 countries offering customers exceptional choice, value and superior 4- star+ quality. Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s Sydney office (opened in 2014) adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London. Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners. Expert tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience.Private Chauffeur Service Collette’s private chauffeur service is included on all Collette tours for customers within 40km of an Australian international airport. For more information visit gocollette.com/chauffeurSource = Collettelast_img read more

World Resorts of Distinction launches worlds first luxury sustainable

first_imgSoneva Jani AerialWorld Resorts of Distinction launches world’s first luxury sustainable surf programGold Coast-based Creative Agency, World Resorts of Distinction (WRD), today announced the launch of the world’s first luxury, fully-sustainable surf program at its high-end Soneva properties.‘Soneva Surf’ is an eco-friendly surfing experience, offered at Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll and Soneva Jani in the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives, and is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.In celebration of the launch, WRD has collaborated with respected Australian surf experts, Coastalwatch, to give surfers the opportunity to win a ‘World Surfaris Golden Passport’.WRD Executive Director, Tess Willcox, said the World Surfaris Golden Passport is an unforgettable surfing experience for two people, involving a year of epic waves at four of the best surfing spots in the world: Samoa, Mentawis, J-Bay, and of course, the Soneva Surf breaks in the Maldives.“There are 13 surf breaks in the Baa Atoll and 11 in the Noonu Atoll, and not only do they boast some of the best waves in the region, they’re a well-kept secret, which means they’re uncrowded and pristine – a surfer’s dream.” The Maldivian component of the prize alone is valued at $30,500 AUD and includes five nights at Soneva Fushi in a twin-share, one-bedroom villa and two nights at Soneva Jani in a twin-share, one-bedroom water retreat; return airport transfers; and all meals.“Entry in the competition is simple,” Tess explained. “All people need to do is visit the Coastalwatch website and sign up to Coastalwatch Plus.”According to Tess, the collaboration with Coastalwatch was borne out of the two brands’ mutual respect for the ocean and desire to encourage people to surf more responsibly.“There are a lot of synergies between WRD’s hand-picked portfolio of sustainable resorts and the message we’re trying to send about how to travel consciously, and the Coastalwatch team’s passion for preserving the health of the ocean,” she said. “The aim of Soneva Surf is to be a model for sustainable surfing around the world and we’re excited about the opportunity this partnership presents to showcase it.”For those guests visiting Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani outside of the Golden Passport promotion, there are three Soneva Surf packages available, at three different price points.“Our surfing guests can select the experience that suits them, according to their level of expertise, time, and budget,” Tess explained.“We encourage them to leave everything at home – which makes travelling to the Maldives easier – because we provide everything they need, from rash guards to sunscreen, and wax, and everything’s entirely eco-friendly.”“Our eco boards are made from poxy resin, bamboo woven mats; and bio-foam, which comprises materials converted from natural plant materials (soy, sugar, algae); and they’re manufactured by an approved ECOBOARD builder, she said. “The production of these baords produces 40 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than regular surfboards.”Join the sustainable surfing movement or to find out more about WRD and our carefully-curated collection of sustainable, luxury resorts, visit worldresortsofdistinction.com or follow us on Instagram: @worldresortscoSource = World Resorts of Distinction (WRD)last_img read more

Atlantis The Palm introduce MICE bookers incentive for the Indian travel trade

first_imgThe Indian travel trade will now be able to avail exclusive experiences at Atlantis, The Palm with its booking incentive programme for all MICE bookings and stay till March 31, 2017.The offers range from complimentary tickets to Aquaventure Waterpark or Lost Chambers Aquarium or dinner for two for 100 room nights and above to a lavish three nights stay for four guests and complimentary dinner and spa vouchers for confirmation of over 700 room nights.For early bookers, Atlantis has another special offer with rates starting from 1,200 AED for a minimum of 40 rooms for two nights on half board inclusive of all taxes.Sonu Shah, Manager Sales at Atlantis, The Palm, commented, “India is one of the top markets for Atlantis and has immense potential. With this programme we aim to maximise bookings across all segments such as weddings, corporate meetings or large scale entertainment events and at the same time reward our trusted partners with an experience at our resort.”Atlantis will further dedicate a special Event Manager to each event to fulfill all requirements. Atlantis arranges bespoke schedules for groups, keeping the desired venue, group size, purpose of visit and budget in mind.last_img read more

Louvre Abu Dhabi commissions two artists to create sitespecific artworks

first_imgLouvre Abu Dhabi has commissioned two international artists to create site-specific artworks which would be displayed in the museum when it opens in 2017. ‘Museum city’ by Jean Nouvel with its streets, plazas and waterways would feature artworks exhibited both inside the galleries as well as outside. Giuseppe Penone and Jenny Holzer have worked closely with the Louvre Abu Dhabi team to develop sculptures and installations that reflect the universal stories of the museum and are in harmony with the iconic building. These are the first of a number of commissions for Louvre Abu Dhabi, which through a diversity of artists reflect the universal nature of the museum.HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), said, “In line with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ambition to reflect the universal nature of art making, we have commissioned contemporary works by the internationally renowned artists, Giuseppe Penone and Jenny Holzer. The artists’ works are inspired by the museum’s iconic architecture and diverse stories and play an important role in connecting the cultures and civilisations of our past with the relevant ongoing conversations and artistic practices of today.”Italian artist Giuseppe Penone, one of the youngest members of the Arte Povera movement, has created Germination, a four-part installation that displays the artist’s fascination with the use of organic materials, such as trees, to highlight the connection between man, nature and art. The central element of the installation is Penone’s Leaves of Light, a vast bronze tree that interacts with Jean Nouvel’s architectural design through mirrors placed on its branches reflecting the ‘Rain of Light.’ Soaring towards the dome covering the museum’s outdoor walkways, the tree becomes a symbol of life, as shared by all cultures.Penone commented, “The artworks that I have developed for Louvre Abu Dhabi aim to inscribe themselves in the place, underscoring aspects of its architectural form and content. The pieces that make up Germination echo the museum’s universal spirit.”American artist Jenny Holzer, known for her artwork which has been widely exhibited at international exhibitions, has created three engraved stone walls of texts from important historical sources from across the world. These walls would feature excerpts from Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah from the Atif Efendi Library collection in Istanbul, the Mesopotamian bilingual (Acadian / Sumerian) Creation Myth tablet from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, and the 1588 annotated edition of Michel de Montaigne’s Essais from the Bordeaux Municipal Library.Holzer stated, “It’s delightful to work on this significant new museum. Louvre Abu Dhabi set an ambitious agenda for itself and raises lively questions about museums and civilisations. It’s a privilege and a challenge to realise an installation that joins Jean Nouvel’s architecture and that speaks with the fantastic works the museum will display. I made my walls in close relation to Jean Nouvel’s building, which I saw as an ideal archaic village under a most beautiful futuristic sky dome.”Works from the permanent collection would be displayed alongside these commissions in the outdoor areas of the museum. Recreating the atmosphere of an Islamic courtyard, an Ottoman octagonal fountain and pavement (18th Century, Damascus, Syria) would be integrated in a contemporary scenography flooded with light.last_img read more