Sun destination excursions now sold on Air Transat flights

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Air Transat MONTREAL — Passengers flying with Air Transat to Mexico, the D.R. and Jamaica can now buy excursions onboard.A brochure listing the excursions will be available in the seat pocket. Activities are listed for each destination and can be booked with the flight attendant. Payment is by credit card, in Canadian dollars.Air Transat is offering travellers a 15% discount on excursions bought onboard by April 30.Passengers can also buy excursions through their travel agent or online at However they make the reservation, Transat is recommending that passengers book in advance to ensure payment in Canadian dollars and availability for the most popular activities. Excursions can also be booked with Transat destination representatives at the resort. Share Wednesday, March 15, 2017 center_img Posted by Sun destination excursions now sold on Air Transat flights << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Grand opening for Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta

first_img Share Grand opening for Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta Wednesday, February 21, 2018 NUEVO VALLARTA — The 480-room, all-inclusive Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta resort is Krystal Grand Hotels & Resorts’ latest luxury addition to its lineup of prime Mexico beach locations.The resort boasts a spa and fully equipped fitness centre, sports bar and lobby bar, private Rooftop Sky Lounge, three pool areas, including a kids pool and an adults-only pool with a swim-up bar, the largest convention centre in Nuevo Vallarta, which can host up to 1,000 people and separated into six meeting rooms, and an extensive culinary offering.“We want to turn each stay into an unforgettable experience while delivering impeccable customer service. Our business model focuses on offering a high quality, all-inclusive concept that provides guests with comfort, value and upscale amenities,” says General Manager Ricardo Verdayes.Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta has several room categories offering exclusive ocean views, from a standard Deluxe room to Deluxe Suites with swim-up pools. The VIP Altitude Tower, an exclusive enclave of private luxury suites outfitted with ocean facing balconies, a private swimming pool, private concierge services and access to the Sky Lounge takes all-inclusive luxury to the next level.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionDining options include Mexican specialties at El Mortero, traditional Italian cuisine at Risotto, Oriental-style dishes in Ayami and the buffet style O Restaurant. Poolside options are also available for those looking to dine and dive.Located in lively Nuevo Vallarta, between the forested mountains of the Sierra Madre, the hotel is close to mayor attractions like Flamingos Golf Club, El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary and Playa Bucerias. Posted bycenter_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Krystal Grand Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Watch a kiteboarder crash into a shark in the DR

first_img Friday, January 4, 2019 Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> DOMINICAN REPUBLIC — Sharks often get a bad rap, and for one unlucky shark in the Dominican Republic, it also got a major rap on the head.Kiteboarder Alex Soto, who was recently in the DR training for the 2019 Pan Am Games, was caught on video colliding with an unsuspecting shark while in the water. Soto, who was riding a kite hydrofoil, was surfing at an incredible speed when all of a sudden the shark crossed his path, causing Soto to tumble into the water.As for the poor shark, Soto wrote on Facebook that the “shark is alive” and that he saw it swim away. His hydrofoil, however, didn’t fare as well; Soto said it was badly damaged in the collision.Watch the incredible crash here:center_img Travelweek Group Tags: Animals, Funny Watch a kiteboarder crash into a shark in the DRlast_img read more

Pope steps down in historic move

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VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday he will resign because of old age, becoming the first pontiff in more than six centuries to step down in a move that stunned the world.The German-born leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics said he would resign on Feb. 28 after just eight years as pope, one of the shortest pontificates in modern history.“I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” the 85-year-old pope said in a speech delivered in Latin at a meeting of cardinals in the Vatican.Dressed in red vestments and his voice barely audible as he read from a written text, the pope made the announcement in a hall in his residence – the Apostolic Palace next to St Peter’s Square.Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he expected a conclave of cardinals to be held in March within 15 or 20 days of the resignation and a new pope elected before Easter Sunday on March 31.Benedict, who succeeded Pope John Paul II in 2005 and is known as a diehard traditionalist and a lightning rod for controversy, will retire to a monastery within the Vatican walls.He said his “strength of mind and body … has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”He said he would be stepping down at 8 p.m. on Feb. 28, adding that he was “well aware of the seriousness of this act.”Benedict, who has looked increasingly weary in recent months and often has to use a mobile platform to move around St Peter’s basilica during Church services, had hinted in a book of interviews in 2010 that he might resign if he felt he was no longer able to carry out his duties.Tributes poured in from around the world including his native Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed him as “one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time”.Justin Welby, leader of the world’s Anglicans, said he understood “with a heavy heart” Benedict’s decision, and that he had held his office with “great dignity, insight and courage.”The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel said Benedict XVI had improved ties between the two religions.“During his term, the relations between the Chief Rabbinate and the Church, and Judaism and Christianity, became much closer, which brought to a decrease in anti-Semitic acts around the world,” a spokesman for Rabbi Yona Metzger told AFP, expressing hope that his successor would continue in the same vein.Among those tipped by bookmakers to take over are Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Marc Ouellet of Canada.Benedict, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was the Catholic Church’s doctrinal enforcer for many years and earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler.” He is an academic theologian who has written numerous books including a trilogy on the life of Jesus Christ that he completed last Christmas.He was elected in 2005 at a time when the Vatican was being rocked by multiple scandals over child abuse committed by priests.The U.S. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which has been highly critical of Benedict’s handling of the paedophilia scandal, called on the Church to “select a Pontiff who puts child safety and victim healing first.”The guiding principle of Benedict’s papacy has been to reinvigorate the Catholic faith, particularly among young people and in countries withing rising levels of secularism like Europe and North America.Benedict has championed Christianity’s European roots and showed his conservatism by repeatedly stressing family values and fiercely opposing abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage. But he has ruffled feathers among Muslims, Jews, gays, AIDs activists and even scientists.Shocked Catholic faithful began gathering in St. Peter’s Square after the news broke, with many saying they were torn over whether Benedict was doing the right thing.“It’s a responsible gesture, it comes from the head, but not from the heart,” said David, a 24-year old tourist from Belgium, while Marta, 38, said: “He should have stayed for life.”The scandal over confidential memos leaked from the Vatican by the pope’s once loyal butler last year was a particularly hard blow for the pope.“The pope caught us a bit by surprise,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a hastily-arranged press conference.Lombardi stressed that the pope’s decision was his own and was “well thought out” and that “there is no illness that has contributed to it,” adding that most of the cardinals present for his announcement had not been informed beforehand.“This gesture was very courageous and revolutionary,” said Vatican expert Marco Politi, author of a best-selling biography of Benedict.“This is the first time that in a period of peace for the Church, a pope decides to step down of his own free will,” he said.The only other pope to resign because he felt unable to fulfil his duties was Celestine V in 1294, a hermit who stepped down after just a few months saying he yearned for a simpler life and was not physically capable for the office.In 1415, Gregory XII was forced to leave to end the “Western Schism,” when two rival claimants declared themselves pope in Pisa and Avignon and threatened to tear apart Roman Catholicism. 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Our most popular stories from last month March 14

first_imgRelated posts:Our most popular stories last month — April ’14 Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches of 2016 get blue flags Meet Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches Facebook Comments Here’s a recap of what stood out to readers last month. Our most popular post in March attracted more than 30,000 page views. Several more top stories had at least 5,000 views. And controversial articles, of course, did the best.Those provocative posts included a bumbling interview (to put it kindly) given by a newly elected politician and an article on the removal of Costa Rica from an “ethical travel destinations” list. On the lighter side, stories about Costa Rica hosting the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup and a list of Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches also were popular. Below is a summary of what readers were drawn to in March, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.Most viewed stories on The Tico Times:Possibly the worst interview ever – March 3When La Nación journalist Álvaro Murillo set out to interview 25-year-old National Liberation Party lawmaker-elect Silvia Sánchez, from the province of Alajuela, he hoped to talk about the importance of bringing young talent and new ideas to the Legislative Assembly. But what unfolded was perhaps one of the worst interviews in recent memory.Quarterfinals set for U-17 Women’s World Cup as winless host Costa Rica says goodbye – March 24This month Costa Rica became the first Central American country to host a World Cup. The championship of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup — between Japan and Spain — will go down at the National Stadium in west San José on Friday.5 Pacific coast beaches declared Costa Rica’s cleanest – March 24 Playa Blanca in the Central Pacific is one of the three Costa Rican beaches awarded five stars for its environmentally friendly policies in 2013. (Courtesy Hotel Punta Leona)Throughout out the country, 122 beaches had applications submitted for an Ecological Blue Flag. Five of them, all on the Pacific coast, received the award that recognizes cleanliness.Why was Costa Rica removed from the list of the world’s most ethical travel destinations? – March 19Costa Rica had held a spot on the World’s Best Ethical Travel Destinations List since 2010. But this year Costa Rica was excluded from the list. What happened?Mexican fisherman accused of biggest poaching case in history at Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco still a fugitive – March 19 Dolphins are ensnared in a tuna fishing boat’s nets in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific. (Courtesy of Divine Dolphin, Drake Bay)Why was Ariel Bustamante Sánchez never prosecuted for this massive poaching case?Other popular stories this month included an article on a tragic Facebook image of a dead jaguar, which a young Costa Rican murdered and then bragged about on social media. A feature on a 500-year-old tomb found in San Ramón also received plenty of attention. And the announcement that legendary Beatle Paul McCartney would play a concert here in May was a hit with readers.Most commented on stories in The Tico Times:Why was Costa Rica removed from the list of the world’s most ethical travel destinations? – March 19The controversial decision generated much discussion.Possibly the worst interview ever – March 3A lot of embarrassed comments about Costa Rica’s political system thanks to the diputada’s verbosity.Service, food disappoint at Costa Rica’s pricey Andaz Papagayo – March 23 The entrance to Andaz Papagayo. Courtesy of Emma MurphyWe had high expectations for this Hyatt hotel. The stay did not fulfill the writer. Not even close.last_img read more

Intel to open new megalab and hire 350 more Ticos

first_imgMicrochip giant Intel announced Tuesday afternoon that it will open a “one-of-a-kind” product testing laboratory in Costa Rica and hire another 350 Ticos a day after President Luis Guillermo Solís met with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in Silicon Valley, California, on Monday.The presidency confirmed the news Tuesday in a joint statement with the Foreign Trade Ministry and CINDE, the private agency tasked with promoting investment in Costa Rica.The new so-called “mega lab,” part of the company’s research and development arm, will carry out quality control testing on Intel products in development before they move on to manufacturing.The quality testing team will join Intel’s remaining Costa Rica operation, including 700 employees in the engineering and design center and 800 employees who work for the company’s service center.“I want to reaffirm the message that Costa Rica is a country open for business, where the talent of Costa Ricans and our competitiveness gives us an excellent letter of introduction for multinational corporations that generate high quality jobs for our people. This news confirms to the world that Costa Rica is and will continue to be one of the principal players in the big leagues of attracting hi-tech businesses,” Solís said in a statement Tuesday.Intel and the Costa Rican government also announced discussions to develop a laboratory for small and medium-sized businesses inside Intel facilities as a way to spark entrepreneurship and share knowledge.The timing of Intel’s announcement was a score for Solís. Intel’s decision in April to close its manufacturing facility in Costa Rica followed shortly by Bank of America’s announcement that it would shutter its customer service center was a one-two punch against the incoming Citizen Action Party (PAC) administration. Many critics saw the timing as tacit disapproval from foreign investors about the PAC government and future investment prospects in the small country that has made a name for itself as a Latin American leader in hi-tech manufacturing.Intel’s microchips manufactured in Costa Rica made up 20 percent of national exports in 2013.Before his first trip to the United States as president of Costa Rica, Solís hinted at a possible deal with Intel to expand its trimmed operations here during a press conference on June 3, but he stopped short of confirming any deal with the global manufacturer.The announcement builds on news Monday that the cloud computing company VMware would expand its staff in Costa Rica to 450 in 2015. Facebook Comments Related posts:South Korean company confirms opening of yarn spinning plant in Costa Rica UK minister of state makes first visit to Costa Rica President Solís claims quick victory in first US tour Costa Rica, China to explore creation of ‘special economic zones’last_img read more

A photographers love letter to a Costa Rican indigenous community

first_imgRelated posts:5 question for a Costa Rican photographer Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica 5 questions for a Costa Rican photographer 5 questions for a Costa Rican designer In many countries throughout the world, including my own native country of Canada, there are indigenous communities living in very remote areas at the margins of mainstream society. In Canada, half of these First Nations peoples live on reserves or land set aside for their use during treaty agreements, some in the far northern ranges of the country.When I moved to Costa Rica a number of years ago, I learned that here, too, many indigenous communities exist in similarly remote and marginal conditions throughout this small nation. Like those in northern Canada, many of these families struggle daily, as they often lack basic necessities such as clean water and adequate food supplies. Yet the daily lives of these native peoples are not often well known or understood by mainstream society.So when a friend of mine, Melanie L. Wells, excitedly told me about a visit she was planning to a Cabécar community in Talamanca, not only to bring supplies, but also to continue work on her ongoing photography book, I was intrigued. (Courtesy of Melanie L. Wells)Her project, which is developing into a book of photographs entitled A Window into the Soul –Costa Rica Cabécar, and an exhibit of the same name opening tonight in San Pedro (see details below article), is a narrative that is visually stunning narrative and full of gentle touches: the deeply poignant glance of a child, the reticent smile of a young girl, and the devoted work of a mother.Its photographs offer an intimate glimpse into a few Cabécar families from a community nestled deep in the mountains between the heights of Chirripó and the lush Talamanca region.Wells, born and raised in Costa Rica and also a U.S. citizen, says she hopes to shift perception and awareness of indigenous peoples in Costa Rica. They do not want to be strangers in their own land. They do not want to be invisible and forgotten, rejected instead of honored.As she states on her website, “We believe this project is of utmost importance as an example of many communities around the world that live at the margins of society. Visibility is a key to understanding and acceptance, to human dignity and prosperity. Those that remain invisible get left behind and their basic human rights end up being compromised.” (Courtesy of Melanie L. Wells)Wells is a professional photographer, as well as a designer, adventurer and writer. This was not her first trek into remote jungle and imposing mountains to visit these communities. She had made many treacherous treks in the past.Melanie’s first visit in 1996 was inspired by her curiosity as a child after one of her father’s trips by helicopter over the Talamanca mountain range.“Back in the 70s, my father would go by helicopter to the mountains, to do work and rescues,” she recalls. “One day he came back with a bow and arrow made in a very primitive form and told us about his interaction with the indigenous people who still lived there, deep in the mountains. He shared stories about their kindness and generosity, as well as the way they lived, which to me sounded like pure survival.” (Courtesy of Melanie L. Wells)As a young girl, Melanie reflected on the identity of these indigenous people. At school she was taught that they existed in the past.“We never saw them in San José,” she says. “We held in high esteem our Jade Museum, our Gold Museum, but the people no longer played a part in our lives. I wanted to visit and pleaded with my father to take me on one of his trips. But at the time, since I was only 12 years old, he considered this trip too dangerous because of the rugged conditions. The name Talamanca was imprinted in my heart.”Many years later, as a photographer, her quest for a personal project led her to once again consider the memory of Talamanca.  After an initial contact and several months waiting for the best opportunity to travel, she finally visited a Cabécar community for a week-long sojourn deep in the jungle.A return visit, 10 years ago, led her to meet a woman who, along with her family, would become one of the primary subjects of Wells’ photographs: doña Olga, in Kokötei, where Wells continues to foster a deep and lasting relationship. (Courtesy of Melanie L. Wells)“It is a beautiful exchange. I first went when I was pregnant with my son, and then returned  eight months pregnant to take portraits. I didn’t just want to go and take pictures and then disappear. I wanted to be a part of their lives – to be friends. Now, they are my distant family,” she says. “In the last 10 years we have visited several times and we have seen each other’s children grow up. It is always tough to say goodbye.”Daily life can be challenging for this family. Travel and trade are very difficult due to the lack of trails and bridges, as well as the very remote geographic location.In January of this year, it took Wells and her team 10 hours of strenuous hiking through the jungle to finally arrive at another Tsimari community which she hadn’t yet visited.This particular community is struggling to find the means to build a simple hammock bridge.A tiny bridge made of twine and rope is the treacherous surface the children must cross to reach their school, a route fraught with danger. The rivers swell high and the current is too strong for them to cross below. Sadly, children have fallen off and drowned, hence the urgent need to construct a stronger structure.Living so far from any medical care also makes it particularly tough for this community. When the children get sick the parents can more easily carry them out on their shoulders, but it is not possible to carry an adult on the narrow and precarious trails that climb the steep mountainsides. (Courtesy of Melanie L. Wells)Wells says the community has very little in terms of supplies and clothing. In fact, she gave away the two pairs of shoes she traveled with to a few women wearing worn sandals. She returned to Santa Ana with only a pair of flimsy flip flops – often the only pair of shoes a person in these communities may own.Difficulties experienced by one family is not unique to others. There are numerous indigenous communities living in equally remote and isolated conditions throughout Costa Rica. Perhaps an intimate glimpse into just one Cabécar family in Costa Rica can indeed open a window to help us all recognize the shared human condition, and to foster understanding and respect.An exhibit of Melanie Wells’ photographs from the “Window into the Soul” project will take place tonight at the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center (CCCN) in Barrio Dent, San Pedro, and run for the entire month of April. A part of the proceeds will fund projects in the featured communities, including the much-needed bridge and other supplies that the community itself has identified as priorities. Texts will be displayed in three languages: Cabécar, Spanish and English.The exhibit will move to the CCCN La Sabana from May-June, and then be shared near the community of Grano de Oro for the Cabécar communities to view and enjoy. Wells seeks to take the exhibit to as many countries and cities as possible, and to bring visibility,  awareness and connection into the daily lives of one indigenous culture and community in Costa Rica. For more information, visit the project website. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

UNESCO declares Costa Ricas Savegre a Biosphere Reserve

first_imgRelated posts:Alleged gold miners camp outside Corcovado National Park, demand compensation  Alleged gold miners end protest at Corcovado National Park Costa Rican court orders effective protection for Corcovado National Park Health Ministry extends deadline to perform improvements at Manuel Antonio UNESCO’s International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme, which is meeting this week in Paris, added Costa Rica’s Savegre Reserve to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves, along with 22 other reserves in other countries.Located in the Central Pacific, Savegre is home to incredible biodiversity. According to the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), it has 20 percent of Costa Rica’s flora, 54 percent of the country’s mammals, and 59 percent of birds.The territory, now the Savegre Biosphere Reserve, spans 312,914 hectares, and is also home to some 50,000 people. They subsist primarily on agriculture, livestock and fishing. Eco-tourism, as well as sustainable aquaculture businesses, have gained momentum in recent years in the region.President Luis Guillermo Solís in 2015 signed an executive decree banning dams from the Savegre River for 25 years.According to SINAC, the Savegre Biosphere Reserve territory includes seven protected areas: Manuel Antonio National Park, Cerro Nara Protected Area, Portalón Wildlife Refuge, Hacienda Barú Wildlife Refuge, Los Santos Forest Reserve, Quetzales National Park and Cerro Vueltas Biological Reserve.Fourth Biosphere ReserveSavegre’s new designation brings the number of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves in Costa Rica to four. However, this is the first to include coastal marine areas, consisting of sections of Manuel Antonio National Park in the Pacific province of Puntarenas.Costa Rica’s previously named UNESCO Biosphere Reserves include La Amistad National Park, named in 1982; the Central Volcanic Range, named in 1988; and the Agua y Paz Reserve in the Northern Zone, named in 2007.Biosphere Reserves are learning territories for sustainable development that seek to reconcile biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. New sites are designated every year by the MAB Council, which is composed of representatives of 34 elected UNESCO Members.The declaration of a Biosphere Reserve does not represent any substantial changes for the communities. It does not restrict people’s rights to the use of their lands, nor to the use of the area’s natural resources.The government, however, must ensure that the reserve maintains all the characteristics that made the UNESCO designation possible. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

A piece of paradise

first_imgIn Costa Rica and around the world, New Year’s Day often finds us seeking a little peace and quiet after the festivities of the holidays. In that spirit: a tranquil image of Flamingo Beach on the country’s Pacific coast, showcases mellow waves in various tones of blue, lapping along white sands.Wishing you a few extra moments of zen today.Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Comments Related posts:Luscious green Flying away Relaxing among Costa Rican cacti Enjoying the vibes from Ocasolast_img

Costa Rica dismantles international drug trafficking ring

first_img Facebook Comments Costa Rican authorities dismantled an international cocaine trafficking ring that used fishing boats on the country’s southern Pacific coast. The successful operation was supported by the governments of Colombia, Ecuador and the United States, according to government information released on Wednesday.Agents from the Prosecutor’s Office and Drug Control Police captured 22 people who participated in the drug trafficking network, including a police agent and four officials from the National Coast Guard Service who had been passing on information to the criminal network about anti-drug operatives.“The group received the drugs on the high seas; they’d keep it on farms and then they’d give it to the owners of the drugs, who’d take it to North America,” Chief Prosecutor Emilia Navas explained in a video distributed by the Prosecutor’s Office.As payment, the group received part of the drugs that came from South America, which they then sold in Costa Rica, Navas added.In a series of raids carried out this Wednesday, seven vehicles, one small plane, 13 weapons, ammunition, cash, communications equipment, jewelry and a small quantity of drugs were confiscated, according to the Public Security Ministry.Operatives against the group began in 2016 and have resulted in the confiscation of ore than eight tons of cocaine, said Public Security Minister Michael Soto.That ministry indicated in a news release that the group used high-speed fishing boats to pick up the drugs at sea.The leaders of the band were two former Coast Guard officials whose last names Campos Loría and Carvajal Duarte. They ran the operation in contact with drug trafficking cartels from Colombia and Ecuador, the minister said. Related posts:Costa Rican police dismantle international drug trafficking gang Suspected Colombian cartel leader secretly flown out of Costa Rica on DEA plane Three Ecuadorians sentenced in Costa Rica for drug trafficking Children in cages: this feels like defeatlast_img read more

Slower global growth reflects close economic links

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The European Commission predicts the 17-country eurozone economy will shrink 0.3 percent this year. Many economists fear it could be worse. Capital Economics says a recent drop in eurozone business confidence is consistent with a 1 percent decline in economic output.In the latest wallop to the global economy, China said last week that its economic growth fell to a three-year low. The world’s second-largest economy grew 7.6 percent in the April-June quarter compared with the same quarter last year. That was the slowest growth since early 2009.Countries like China need fast growth to serve growing populations and millions of people leaving farms to seek work in cities.Chinese growth has decelerated for eight straight quarters. That’s the longest slowdown in records dating to 1992, according to Yu Bin, a government researcher.The slowdown is partly deliberate. In 2010 and 2011, Chinese officials raised interest rates and took other steps to tame inflation and cool an overheated real estate market.“Mission accomplished,” says Cameron Peacock, a market analyst at Australia’s IG Markets. “China now has the room to re-stimulate its economy.”But China is also feeling Europe’s economic squeeze. Chinese exports to Italy dropped 24 percent in June from a year earlier. Exports to France fell 5 percent, those to Germany nearly 4 percent. Europe buys about 17 percent of China’s exports. “The current pace of credit growth in Brazil remains unsustainable _ and the longer it continues, the bigger the risk of a messy ending further down the line,” Capital Economics warned.Similarly, the outlook has dimmed for India, the world’s fourth-biggest economy. Its growth slowed to a 5.3 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2012, the slowest rate in nine years.Over the past two decades, India has emerged as a powerhouse in services _ writing software, running call centers, making movies, drafting engineering plans.In a report last month, Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist at Capital Economics, said India’s troubles are mostly self-inflicted.“Weak governance, although not new, is the most plausible explanation for the slowdown,” he wrote.The government has reneged on promises to make it easier for foreigners to invest in India. It has taxed Indian firms that acquire companies overseas. Indian factories have cut production. And the pay of many Indians has been diminished by inflation, which has averaged more than 9 percent a year for the past two years.The slowdown in the developing world could make it harder for the economies of Europe and the United States to climb out of their ruts. And the weaker the rich countries get, the harder it will be for developing economies to regain their old fast pace. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain are in recessions. Germany and France are faring better, but both are likely to grow more slowly this year than America.French retail giant Carrefour SA _ the Wal-Mart of Europe _ says its sales fell in the second quarter amid a slowdown in its core markets in Europe.Italy’s Fiat lost nearly $260 million in Europe the first three months of the year. French carmaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen plans to slash 8,000 jobs in France and close a major factory. Europe’s banks are stuck with bad real estate loans and shaky European government bonds.The European Central Bank has made massive amounts of money available to Europe’s banks at cheap rates to try to revive lending. But borrowing by many businesses and consumers remains weak because they are uncertain about future income.Many fear that Greece and perhaps other countries will default on their debts and have to abandon the euro currency, which could ignite financial chaos across Europe.A summit of European leaders last month produced some agreements that helped calm markets for a few days. But optimism faded as investors recognized that governments are still saddled with big debts and banks with bad loans. And that Europe itself still faces the threat that growth will stall and the euro currency alliance will collapse. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like “In today’s interconnected world, we can no longer afford to look only at what goes on within our national borders,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said earlier this month. “This crisis does not recognize borders. This crisis is knocking at all our doors.”___Associated Press Staff Writers Bradley Brooks in Rio de Janeiro, David McHugh in Frankfurt and Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Unemployment stood at 8.2 percent in June _ the 41st straight month it’s been above 8 percent.Americans spent less at retail businesses for a third straight month in June, the longest losing streak since the recession. Economists are downgrading their estimates of economic growth in the April-June quarter. When the government releases its first estimate on Friday, many think it won’t even match the first quarter’s sluggish 1.9 percent annual pace.The global slowdown is squeezing U.S. exports, which have accounted for an unusually large 43 percent share of U.S. growth since the recession officially ended in June 2009.Consumer confidence has fallen four straight months in the face of scant hiring and weak economic growth. U.S. companies are nervous about the threat of tax increases and spending cuts that are scheduled to kick in at year’s end unless Congress breaks a deadlock. The IMF has warned of a spillover to the rest of the world if the U.S. economy falls off the so-called fiscal cliff.Europe’s obstacles are even more severe. It’s faced with crushing government debts, struggling banks and scant economic growth. Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro is 11 percent, the highest since the euro was adopted in 1999. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Stock prices in the United States and elsewhere are fluctuating almost daily depending on the outlook for a resolution of Europe’s debt crisis.Around the world, sales at companies ranging from automakers to technology companies are falling. Advanced Micro Devices, a California-based maker of computer chips used in everything from slot machines to smart cameras, says revenue likely dropped 11 percent in the second quarter because of weaker-than-expected sales in China and Europe.At Jagemann Stamping Co. in Manitowoc, Wis., sales to Europe have dropped more than 10 percent from a year ago. The company makes metal parts for auto companies and other customers. It’s still enjoying strong sales in the United States, so it hasn’t had to cut workers because of falling business in Germany and the Czech Republic.“What it does is slow our new hiring,” says company president Ralph Hardt.One growing concern about the global economy is there’s little margin for error: Unemployment is already at recession levels in Europe and the United States.The United States, by far the world’s biggest economy, has long pulled the global economy out of slumps. Now it needs help. Three years after the Great Recession officially ended, the American economy can’t maintain momentum. For the third straight year, growth has stalled at mid-year after getting off to a promising start. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center AP Economics WriterWASHINGTON (AP) – The global economy is in the worst shape since the dark days of 2009.Six of the 17 countries that use the euro currency are in recession. The U.S. economy is struggling again. And the economic superstars of the developing world _ China, India and Brazil _ are in no position to come to the rescue. They’re slowing, too.The lengthening shadow over the world’s economy illustrates one of the consequences of globalization: There’s nowhere to hide. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The impact of weak European demand for Chinese-made furniture, shoes, toys and other goods has fallen hardest on export-oriented manufacturers along China’s southeastern coast. Some companies have closed. Others are cutting staff.China is the biggest trading partner of Brazil, which has the world’s eighth-biggest economy. Brazil is likely to grow only 1.8 percent in 2012, according to Sao Paulo Federation of Industries. China’s slowdown has reduced demand for Brazilian soy and iron ore. Brazilian manufacturers, such as aircraft maker Embraer, are hurting as Europe reduces its demand for manufactured goods.A relatively strong currency isn’t helping. It makes Brazilian products more expensive to foreign buyers.Brazil also has a U.S.-style problem with consumer debt: Since 2003, about 40 million Brazilians have entered the middle class and brought a strong appetite for consumption. Brazilian leaders credited those consumers with invigorating the economy in recent years and helping protect it from external shocks.But most of the buying has been on credit. And those bills are adding up. In a report last week, London-based Capital Economics estimated that debt payments now eat up 20 percent of household income in Brazil. Economies around the world have never been so tightly linked _ which means that as one region weakens, others do, too. That’s why Europe’s slowdown is hurting factories in China. And why those Chinese factories are buying less iron ore from Brazil.As a result of this global economic slowdown, the International Monetary Fund has reduced its forecast for world growth this year to 3.5 percent, the slowest since a 0.6 percent drop in 2009. Some economists predict the global economy will grow a full percentage point less.For now, few foresee another global recession. Central banks in China, Britain, Brazil, South Korea and Europe have cut interest rates in the past month to try to jolt growth. European leaders have begun to focus more on promoting growth, not just shrinking debt and cutting budgets.The Chinese government, in particular, is expected to do what it takes to protect its economy from deteriorating too quickly. And despite their slowdowns, China and India are still growing at rates America and Europe can only imagine.But many economists say European policymakers aren’t moving fast enough to strengthen European banks and ease borrowing costs for Italy and Spain. They fear the global impact if Europe’s economy deteriorates further.last_img read more

Ivory Coast local polls boycotted by opposition

first_img Top Stories (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top holiday drink recipes Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “If you don’t participate in democratic life and political life, what will happen to you? It’s a major risk,” Depagne said.Across the country, the race featured contests between Ouattara’s RDR and the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, headed by former President Henri Konan Bedie and the most important partner in Ouattara’s governing coalition. Bedie backed Ouattara in the November 2010 runoff against Gbagbo, helping put him in power.A dispute between lawmakers from the two parties was officially blamed for Ouattara’s decision to dissolve his cabinet last November.But even with their candidates pitted against each other in local races, the two parties were likely to continue cooperating regardless of the results, said Samir Gadio, emerging markets strategist at Standard Bank.“They understand that they need each other to continue to rule the country and that a breakup of the coalition would basically mean that they would in a precarious situation,” Gadio said. “There is no political party in Ivory Coast that can win elections on its own.”Nearly 700 candidates are listed for municipal seats, and an additional 84 are running for regional seats. Municipal elections were last held in 2001, while regional elections were last held in 2002. Results were expected to begin coming in Monday. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology The country’s U.N. peacekeeping mission said its forces would assist Ivorian security forces in keeping order Sunday.Albert Koenders, special representative of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said on Friday that the campaign period had been marred by “some regrettable incidents, including unacceptable intimidation in certain constituencies.”A spokesman for Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans political party also warned earlier in the week of a “rise in tension,” but voters in the commercial capital of Abidjan said this weekend that the campaign had been conducted peacefully.Turnout appeared to be low on Sunday. In a section of Abidjan’s Yopougon district, a bastion of Gbagbo support, workers at one polling station said they had processed only 10 voters more than two hours after doors opened.Oumar Kone, a 30-year-old voter, said the boycott and general anxiety about the elections may have affected turnout.“This is an important election for the youth, but some people are keeping in their mind visions from 2010,” he said. “Also, the Gbagbo supporters do not have candidates representing them, so they have no reason to come out and vote.” Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) – Ivory Coast residents voted Sunday for local officials in the first government organized polls since deadly postelection violence killed thousands two years ago.Sunday’s polls, however, were boycotted by the opposition party of former President Laurent Gbagbo, highlighting the slow progress of reconciliation in this West African country.Five months of violence erupted after Gbagbo refused to leave office despite having lost the November 2010 runoff vote to current President Alassane Ouattara. The United Nations estimates that more than 3,000 people were killed. Comments   Share   President Ouattara voted with his wife at a school in Abidjan’s Cocody district just before noon. He told reporters he expected the turnout to increase throughout the day.“The local elections are an opportunity to assess and to reassess the will of the people, and to implement the policies and projects that are wanted by the people at the local level,” he said.Ouattara’s government failed to convince Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front political party to take part in the vote earlier this year. Gbagbo’s party, the FPI, demanded reforms to the electoral commission and amnesty for crimes committed during the postelection conflict, something the government has ruled out. The party had also boycotted U.N.-organized legislative elections in 2011, and accused Ouattara’s government of failing to foster reconciliation.The government has been criticized by rights groups for only charging Gbagbo supporters in connection with the 2010-11 conflict, as well as subjecting Gbagbo supporters to torture and other forms of maltreatment as part of its response to a wave of attacks on security installations by gunmen last year.But Gbagbo’s party has also lacked a coherent strategy for reasserting itself following the 2010-11 conflict, said Rinaldo Depagne, senior West Africa researcher for the International Crisis Group. Without officials in parliament and in local offices, it will be difficult for the party to take part in national debates, he said.last_img read more

Calm returns to violencescarred Myanmar town

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility HTAN GONE, Myanmar (AP) – A tense calm returned Monday to a Myanmar town that was ripped apart by sectarian violence, leaving hundreds homeless after Buddhist mobs tore through the small, winding streets torching Muslim-owned houses and stores.Some waved sticks and clubs as they sang the national anthem.Authorities said they had arrested 12 suspects, and security forces were guarding the mosque in Htan Gone where some of the victims sought refuge late Saturday and early Sunday. Sponsored Stories “Now things have changed.”Asked how he felt about violence aimed at Muslims, he fired back with a question of his own: “If someone attacks your family, wouldn’t you want to do something? We can’t accept people who do bad things.”Religious tensions came to the forefront last year in the western state of Rakhine, where Buddhists accuse the Rohingya Muslim community of illegally entering the country and encroaching on their land.Violence, on a smaller scale but still deadly, spread earlier this year to other parts of the country, fueling deep-seeded prejudices against the Islamic minority and threatening Myanmar’s fragile transition to democracy.The riot in Htan Gone village, 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Kantbalu in the region of Sagaing, began late Saturday after a crowd surrounded a police station, demanding that a Muslim man accused of trying to sexually assault a young Buddhist woman be handed over.The rioters, some carrying swords and sticks, dispersed after security forces arrived early Sunday, shooting into the air. State-run media reported that two people were injured.Myint Naing, who represents constituents in Htan Gone and surrounding villages, said the Muslim man accused of sexual assault was among the 12 people arrested. The other suspects were all Buddhists, he said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img “We spent the whole night cowering at the back of the mosque,” said 70-year-old Daw Tin Shwe, adding that police did not help them. “There was no one there to protect us.”The predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million has been grappling with sectarian violence since its military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government in 2011. More than 250 people have been killed in the last year and another 140,000 displaced, almost all of them Muslims.The latest violence is part of a nationalistic trend, fueled by radical monks preaching that the minority Muslim community, representing 4 percent of the population, poses a threat to thousands of years of culture and tradition.For the first time in decades, celebrations were held in several big cities across the country to commemorate the day in 1961 when then-Prime Minister U Nu signed legislation stating that Buddhism was the national religion. The law, however, is no longer in place.“We couldn’t celebrate this day in the past because people were not very united,” said Sandara, a 33-year-old monk sitting in small wooden home on the outskirts of Yangon, the streets lined with yellow, red, blue and white striped religious flags. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona In total, 48 houses were burned down by Buddhist-led mobs and 318 people were left homeless.Since the violence first broke out Myanmar, dozens of people have been arrested, tried and convicted.Three verdicts were handed down last Friday for Buddhist-led violence in April that left one dead and nine injured in the town of Okkan, an official with the National Unity Party, Myint Thein, said Monday.Dozens of Muslim homes were set on fire in that attack.One of the suspects was sentenced to five years in jail and the others to seven, he said, saying the men were found guilty of charges ranging from arson to helping plan riots that led to deaths and injuries.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

Thousands of antiPutin protesters march in Moscow

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The protesters marched Sunday with portraits of the jailed protesters and a banner stretching across the street reading: “Freedom to the Bolotnaya heroes, the hostages of Putin.”Some also carried Ukrainian flags to show their support for the anti-government protesters in neighboring Ukraine, where demonstrations have been going on for more than two months.Of the 28 people rounded up in the Bolotnaya case, eight were recently freed on amnesty. Several defendants have been under house arrest, but most of the others have been in jail for more than a year and a half.Only three of the cases have been decided: Two defendants received light sentences after cooperating with investigators and a third was sent for forced psychiatric treatment. That man, Mikhail Kosenko, who was convicted of beating a policeman, had a history of schizophrenia, but rights activists charged the court was reviving the Soviet-era practice of using punitive psychiatry against dissidents.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   center_img Top Stories MOSCOW (AP) – Several thousand protesters marched through central Moscow on Sunday to call for the release of 20 people who were arrested after clashes between police and demonstrators in May 2012.Some of them face up to 10 years in prison if convicted for the protest, held on Bolotnaya Square on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a third term as Russia’s president.Putin’s return to the presidency saw the passing of new laws aimed at cracking down on anti-government protests and restricting non-governmental organizations. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

Average US rate on 30year mortgage rises to 38 percent

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up this week to the highest level since mid-March.Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.80 percent this week from 3.68 percent a week earlier.The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.02 percent, up from 2.94 percent and the first time it’s topped 3 percent since it hit 3.06 percent in mid-March.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility A year ago, the average 30-year rate stood at 4.21 percent and the 15-year at 3.32 percent.The 30-year average rate hit a record low 3.31 percent in November 2012. The 15-year average hit bottom at 2.56 percent in May 2013.Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, said U.S. interest rates were driven higher this week in part by news the U.S. trade deficit hit a seven-year high in March.To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point this week, unchanged from last week. The average fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.6 point.The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 2.90 percent from 2.85 percent last week, but the fee fell to 0.4 point from 0.5 point. For a one-year ARM, the average rate slid to 2.46 percent from 2.49 percent last week; the fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Burundi Catholic bishops withdraw support for elections

5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories In a statement Thursday, the EU said it was suspending its election observer mission in Burundi over concerns about restrictions on the independent media, excessive use of force against demonstrators and the intimidation of opposition parties and civic groups.“All parties should engage in good faith in a dialogue to restore the necessary conditions for democratic elections and, primarily, the government of Burundi should reach out to all domestic actors by restoring confidence through concrete measures,” the statement said.Burundi’s government says elections must go ahead because a postponement would create a dangerous political vacuum and possibly even lead to more unrest.Parliamentary elections are set for June 5, and presidential elections for June 26.Critics say the political environment is too unstable to hold elections, with almost daily street demonstrations in the capital, Bujumbura, starting a month ago after the ruling party announced it had nominated Nkurunziza as its candidate. Thursday was mostly calm.In New York on Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council president said “the predominant opinion” of members is that Burundi’s elections should not take place as scheduled. The U.N.-led political dialogue in Burundi resumed Thursday, with all parties represented, the spokesman for the secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York. The talks were suspended after the killing of an opposition leader several days ago.The U.N. political chief, Jeffrey Feltman, met with Burundi’s charge d’affaires and stressed that “the risk of escalation of violence remains,” Dujarric said.Burundi’s president has called on “patriotic citizens” to donate for elections amid threats from some Western donors to suspend funding if Nkurunziza seeks a third term, which many consider unconstitutional and a violation of peace accords.Burundi experienced an ethnic-based civil war from 1993 to 2003 in which at least 250,000 people died.___Associated Press writer Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda, and Cara Anna at the United Nations, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Catholic Church leaders said on Thursday they no longer support the Burundi government’s decision to hold elections next month amid political unrest over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. The European Union also said it was suspending its election observer mission here.The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi said in a statement that it is withdrawing from an earlier agreement with the government that would have seen priests monitoring elections across the country, piling more pressure on an administration that is facing international calls to postpone the elections. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top holiday drink recipes read more

Its time for South Africa

first_imgSouth African Tourism held their annual Christmas function for the industry, but this year with even more reason to celebrate as it leads up to an exciting 2010 when it plays host to the FIFA World Cup. With the world’s eyes upon the nation, South Africa Tourism is hoping to use the opportunity as a chance to showcase how far the country has come over the years.“It has certainly been an exhilarating year for all of us, and for all South Africans, as we get closer to what we believe is the ultimate African dream – hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said Bangu Masisi, General Manager, South African Tourism Australasia.“The World Cup means more than just the chance to host a world-class event; it is a chance for South Africa to show the world the nation it has become. For the country’s tourism industry, the World Cup has an immeasurable and long lasting impact with improved infrastructure, product and facilities across the country, and increased job opportunities.“It is the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup that will help to improve the lives of South Africans for many years to come,” Ms Masisi said.Special guest, South African Tourism High Commissioner, His Excellency, Mr Lenin M. Shope officially welcomed the Australian Socceroos who are due to depart for the event.South African Tourism also announced its new “Soccer and Safari” competition which will give 2 lucky winners the chance to go to the FIFA World Cup and follow the Socceroos and watch them play two matches, then experience a game safari and other adventures in South Africa.  The competition launches on 12 December, and to be in the running, entrants will need to answer questions specific to the FIFA World Cup: “We hope that visitors to South Africa return to Australia with a spirit of adventure and enthusiasm and tell their friends and families about their experiences in South Africa; ensuring that the legacy of the FIFA World Cup lives on well beyond 2010,” Ms Masisi said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Court ruling could see agents claw back commissions from airlines

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X A new Federal Court ruling could potentially see travel agents clawing back millions in lost airline commissions after a judge found that fuel surcharges were not a tax and as such should be made commissionable.After a class action involving 1,450 agents failed last year, Leonie’s Travel Pty Ltd on behalf of all agents decided to appeal the decision on a smaller scale and only against Qantas for commissions which should have been paid out on airline tickets sold between 2004 and 2007.Lawyers Slater & Gordon claim that the appeal was run as a “test case” so that if won, could leave a precedent for future cases.The crux of the argument was wether “Qantas was entitled to unilaterally determine that no commission would be payable on the part of the cost of a ticket which relates to the fuel surcharge.”Under an appeal this week a judge has ruled that fuel surcharges were part of a ticket price to a consumer, not a tax, and as such is deemed to be commissionable.“Qantas is disappointed by the ruling and we now need some time to assess our options,” said a Qantas spokesperson to e-Travel Blackboard.He adds that despite media speculation that a settlement could be as much as $50 million, “if Qantas were to settle, we’d be looking at no more than $15 million.”But this ruling could have major implications for all airlines operating in Australia and the way that they pay out commissions to travel agents.In 2006, the rejected class action was lodged against six airlines, those of Qantas, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines as well as Malaysia Airlines.  This “test case” win could potentially open the door for more cases of this kind against other airlines. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Qantas aims to end passenger disruptions within day

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A As it intensively inspects its A380 fleet’s Rolls Royce engines, Qantas is hoping to recover operations and put an end to “significant disruptions” within 24 hours.Following from three mid-air emergencies last week that saw the grounding of Qantas’s fleet, Qantas has admittedly taken an “over-cautious” view of safety, unwilling to return its A380 fleet to service “until confident the issues have been identified and resolved”.Qantas does not expect to operate the A380 fleet for at least another 72 hours, Qantas said in a statement yesterday, adding that the addition of extra services should lessen disruptions to passengers within a day.To service passengers affected by disruptions to Qantas services, the airline has scheduled extra services from Los Angeles and hope that a departure from LAX on 8 November (PST) will clear a backlog of Australia-bound passengers.“A Special Assistance Team has been deployed to Los Angeles to assist,” the statement read.Passengers affected by the A380 disruptions will be compensated by Qantas and provided with hotel accommodation, meals and international phone calls.“Qantas has been very professional,” a Sydney travel agent told e-Travel Blackboard after speaking to a recently returned client.“Apparently ground staff were very helpful and informative.”The much beleaguered Qantas advised that investigations were focusing on “the possibility of an oil leakage in the relevant turbine area”, but to avoid further issues Qantas will continue to investigate other areas of the engine. “Engineers have been investigating the engines in detail and how their components and design perform under operational conditions, as opposed to the original out-of-factory expectations,” Qantas said.“These inspections are taking place in Sydney and Los Angeles with Qantas engineers working closely with Rolls-Royce, as well as the aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Australian regulators.”last_img read more

Australia remains number one for NZ travellers

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Tourism Industry Association New Zealand released the results of a recent survey depicting Australia as the number one destination for overseas travel by New Zealanders. The Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton survey, released earlier this week, listed Australia before the United States and Fiji as the most preferred port of call for Kiwi’s travelling overseas. The United Kingdom moved up a place to fourth in the rankings, whilst the Cook Islands’ Rarotonga slipped into fifth. The results of the survey also found that 43 percent of all New Zealanders plan to holiday abroad at some point over the next six months, with only 11 percent having travel booked already.The survey has been designed to provide the travel industry a glimpse into the travel intentions and attitudes of New Zealanders and offer a focused approach to marketing.last_img read more