Canadians and dual citizens not affected by Trump ban but anxiety still

first_img OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has received assurances that Canadian passport holders will not be caught up in an American travel ban that has barred citizens of seven countries from entering the United States.According to the CBC, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Sunday that the White House has assured that permanent residents of Canada can enter the U.S. with a valid Canadian permanent resident card and passport from one of the seven affected countries (Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya).United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that barred people from these seven countries from entering the U.S. for three months, causing mass confusion and protests across the country. It was initially unclear whether Canadians who are also citizens of the affected countries would be allowed entry, as the State Department said that dual citizens were included in the ban.However, on Saturday night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent an email saying that the U.S. has given assurances that Canadians with dual citizenship will not be turned away at the border.“We have been assured that Canadian citizens travelling on Canadian passports will be dealt with in the usual process,” said the email from Kate Purchase, Trudeau’s director of communications.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTPurchase’s email also said Trudeau’s National Security Adviser Daniel Jean and other officials were in contact with their American counterparts, including Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.“NSA Flynn confirmed that holders of Canadian passports, including dual citizens, will not be affected by the ban,” Purchase said.Trump’s executive order also banned refugees from Syria indefinitely, pending a review of the application process.Bijan Ahmadi, president of the Iranian Canadian Congress, said he’s outraged by the new policy.“It’s unacceptable. It’s very unreasonable,” he said in an interview earlier Saturday before the situation regarding dual citizens was clarified. “It’s very discriminatory to target people based on their race, their religion, the country of their origin and the country of their birth. And the community has that same outrage.”“Everybody’s nervous, everybody of Somali origin and Muslim origin,” said Osman Ali, the Toronto-based director of the Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke. “The community feels that it’s a way of targeting the Muslim community, the African community and the black Muslim community.”WestJet and Air Canada said they were waiving cancellation fees for people who hold passports from the affected countries. Air Canada said it expected that only a small handful of its passengers would be affected.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Despite assurances from the Prime Minister, the opposition New Democrats are pressing for an emergency debate when the House of Commons resumes today.New Democrat MP Jenny Kwan wants to delve more deeply into how the American ban affects Canada and how the government plans to respond.Government House leader Bardish Chagger seemed open to a debate, but noted the decision is up to Commons Speaker Geoff Regan.U.S. officials are expected to hear firsthand today how Canadians feel about the ban that affects people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya.At least two protests are planned, one outside the American embassy in Ottawa and the other at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto.The size of the demonstrations is unclear, but American diplomats are concerned enough that they have announced the consulate will temporarily suspend services to the public today.The U.S. State Department tweeted Sunday that American citizens should exercise caution today if they’re in the vicinity of the embassy in Ottawa. The Canadian Press Monday, January 30, 2017 Canadians and dual citizens not affected by Trump ban but anxiety still running high Posted by With file from the Canadian Press Tags: America, Donald Trump Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Two weeks of France savings start today with Contikis EB2 campaign

first_img TORONTO — Contiki’s 2017 ‘Early Bird 2’ campaign has entered its third phase of massive savings, which includes two weeks of savings on all Contiki trips through France.From March 1-14, clients will save up to $560 plus $150 off all France trips. In addition, until March 31, agents receive a $25 Amazon gift card for every Contiki passenger booked in one of the trips that include the featured destination (in this case, Contiki trips to France and/or journeying through France that are seven days or longer).When agents sell five Contiki trips that are seven days or longer, they’ll be entered to win ‘The Ultimate Contiki Experience’ in partnership with WestJet, which includes a trip for two to Europe with airfare from WestJet, a Contiki travel pack and $500 in spending money.Select trips included in this campaign include ‘MUNCH’, which takes travellers on a culinary journey through Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona, Milan, Florence and Bologna. There are two limited time departures in May and September 2017. Also available is the week-long ‘European Magic’, which includes visits to Venice, Paris, the Swiss Alps and Amsterdam.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJFor more information on Contiki’s 2017 campaign, go to contiki.com/remember-forever. Tags: Britain & Europe, Contiki, France, Millennial Travel, Promotions Wednesday, March 1, 2017 Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Two weeks of France savings start today with Contiki’s EB2 campaignlast_img read more

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ACV to match all employee donations made in support of Humboldt families

first_img Share Thursday, April 12, 2018 MONTREAL — Following last week’s tragic bus crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey organization, Air Canada Vacations is showing its support by inviting all employees to contribute to a GoFundMe page dedicated to the victims’ families.“This tragedy has shaken us all. It is in these difficult times that it is our duty to come to the aid of the families affected by these tragic circumstances,” said Nino Montagnese, Managing Director at Air Canada Vacations.ACV is going one step further by matching all employee donations made today, April 12. Royal Caribbean International will also provide support by matching ACV’s donations. All proceeds will be donated directly to the GoFundMe page.In addition, ACV employees are being encouraged to participate in today’s ‘Jersey Day’, an initiative that was first proposed on Facebook by a group of hockey parents in British Columbia as a way to honour the Saskatchewan junior hockey team. #JerseysforHumboldt has spread throughout the country, with thousands of Canadians pledging to either don their sports jerseys or wear a green ribbon, the team’s official colour. Posted by ACV to match all employee donations made in support of Humboldt familiescenter_img Travelweek Group Tags: Air Canada Vacations << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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PAYBACK Ticos beat US 31 take first place

first_imgCosta Rica slowed the USA’s march toward the 2014 World Cup with a 3-1 win Friday, while Mexico were on even shakier ground after a 2-1 loss to Honduras.Costa Rica moved to the top of the six-nation final qualifying group in North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) with the victory in San José that ended the USA’s 12-match winning streak.The Ticos now head the group on 14 points, one more than Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States. Mexico, long the powerhouse of the region, are in worse straits heading into another crucial round of matches Tuesday.Two goals in the space of three minutes in the second half lifted Honduras to victory in Mexico City and into third place in the group that will see three teams advance directly to next year’s finals, and the fourth-placed team play off for a berth against New Zealand.Mexico, held to three dispiriting goalless draws in their three prior qualifiers at Azteca Stadium – the venue where they once dominated all comers – appeared poised to turn things around when Oribe Peralta put them ahead 1-0 in the sixth minute.But Jerry Bengtson in the 64th and Carlo Costly in the 66th ensured Honduras came away with a maximum three points that take their total to 10, with Mexico fourth on 8.In San José, Costa Rica were out for revenge after a bitter 1-0 defeat to the United States in Denver in March, in a match played in heavy snow.The hosts jumped to a quick lead as Johnny Acosta beat DaMarcus Beasley on a set-piece corner and headed home a goal in the third minute. Bryan Ruiz #10 battles for a header against Matthew Besler #5 of the United States. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP Johnny Acosta #2 celebrates scoring the first goal against the United States with Christian Gamboa #16 during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier at Estadio Nacional on Friday in San José. Costa Rica schooled the U.S. team 3-1. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States reacts after falling 2-0 to Costa Rica. The U.S. never recovered. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP Ticos go nuts after Johnny Acosta scored against the United States during their FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, CONCACAF qualifier football match at the National Stadium. For Costa Rica, now in first place, it was a sweet payback for March’s blizzard match. Hector Retamal/AFPcenter_img Honduras became the first team since Costa Rica in 2001 to win a World Cup qualifier at the Azteca, and their stunning triumph is sure to strengthen calls for the ouster of Mexico coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre.Mexico are just one point in front of fifth-placed Panama, who played to a goalless draw against Jamaica in Panama City. The hosts dominated but couldn’t take advantage of their man advantage in the final half hour after Jamaican Rodolph Austin was sent off. Facebook Comments No related posts. The United states were still reeling when Celso Borges doubled Costa Rica’s lead in the 10th, heading in a cross from Christian Bolanos.Clint Dempsey’s first-half penalty – after charging Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas brought down Fabian Johnson in the box – pulled the United States within 2-1 at halftime.A more disciplined United States were pressing for an equalizer after the break before Joel Campbell’s 75th minute strike restored Costa Rica’s two-goal advantage.Klinsmann, whose team were trying to win a qualifier in Costa Rica for the first time, had to make last-minute changes when midfielder Michael Bradley hurt an ankle warming up. It’s not clear if he’ll be able to play when the United States host a desperate Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday.last_img read more

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Skené Foundation hosts alternative gift fair

first_imgMarilyn Montero Zeledón is a multifaceted seamstress, but she also designs outfits specifically for Barbie dolls. Sound eccentric? Her mother did the same for 30 years. Silvia Monge Fioravanti makes her own paper, then binds the leaves into diaries. Like many bookworms, Fioravanti shied away from the camera. Robert Isenberg Under her pseudonym “Ishtar,” Hellen Guillén Valverde makes every kind of jewelry imaginable. Robert Isenberg They look like metal or wood, but Luis Huayamave’s sculptures are made from shaped paper. Robert Isenberg Facebook Comments Robert Isenberg It was a great idea: Invite artists from across San José to show off their handmade works. Dub it the “alternative gift fair,” to attract Christmas shoppers. Host the event in the Antigua Aduana (old customs house), a colossal brick warehouse in Barrio Carmen that is often used for big events. Raise awareness of the Skené Foundation, a nonprofit organization that produces and promotes a variety of arts and events, most recently its own theatrical rendition of “The Kama Sutra,” performed in San Pedro.Although organizers hoped the event would draw art lovers from all over the city, foot-traffic was a little slow last Wednesday, and participants looked a little disappointed. “There wasn’t a lot of advertising,” admitted one artist. “Just on Facebook. People typically come on the weekend, not during the week.” She had already booked a spot at a street fair next week, and added she looked forward to it.There were other deterrents as well: the four-day fair was scheduled from Tuesday to Friday, starting at 11 a.m. and going until 11 p.m., when most people are working or commuting. Skené booked a band for each evening, but the customs house is more like an airplane hangar than a music venue.Still, artists seemed eager to unveil their works, and the room was lined with about 50 foldout tables. For patrons who were lucky enough to visit, artists showcased an impressive range of products and materials, from baked goods to clothing.“It’s either this or a call center,” said Juan C. Flores Hine, a multimedia artist. Hine wore a patch over his eye, owing to debris in his studio. When asked whether the patch bothered him, he said, “It’s worth it.”The fair continues through Friday, Dec. 6. Sculptor Gabriela Rojas uses the most unique material of all: bovine horns. From the bony material she creates all kinds of Costa Rican animals. Robert Isenberg A microphone awaits use on a temporary stage at the Alternative Gift Fair. Robert Isenberg No related posts.last_img read more

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National Theater starts ambitious makeover

first_imgThere’s only one way to renovate a masterpiece: very carefully.Most will agree that Costa Rica’s National Theater is, in fact, a masterpiece. Built from stone, studded with statues, and covered in murals, the building in the heart of San José has astonished visitors since its grand opening in 1897. A massive chandelier hangs in the auditorium. Some rooms are trimmed with gold leaf. Even the top of the lobby was named one of the 10 great ceilings around the world by USA Today.But because of its age, the National Theater also has some weaknesses, and the staff is currently working to upgrade its facilities. This multi-step makeover includes a new stage, motorized rigging, upgraded fire safety measures and improved utilities.The most ambitious addition is a new acoustic shell, which will replace an inadequate shell installed in the 1970s. Many of these improvements will be invisible to visitors, but when the National Symphony Orchestra plays its first concert in the renovated space, fans should notice a significant sonic improvement.“What we’re going to construct is like a big table,” National Theater General Director Adriana Collado-Chaves said during a private tour with The Tico Times. The stage is famous for being slightly tilted, so that audiences can see more of the action. Replacing the stage represents the project’s first phase, which should be completed by the end of March. Work will resume in December.“Right now we don’t have the total amount of money that we need, so we are trying to do some fundraising,” said Collado-Chaves. Indeed, such an ambitious project has to be carried out in shifts, so that the theater can continue to host its diverse body of works. The theater is best known for housing the National Symphony, but the space also hosts plays, operas, dance performances and touring companies from around the world.“It’s step-by-step,” Collado-Chaves said. “[We want] to guarantee that these types of theaters continue [to be] open to the public as theaters, and not just museums.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Independence Day, Broadway revue, and other happenings around Costa Rica Rosi Garita’s astrological paintings decorate the National Theater Guitar Festival, French cinema, and other happenings around Costa Rica Shakespearean ballet, outdoor tango, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Highprofile Jairo Mora murder trial delayed again defendant has chicken pox says

first_imgRelated posts:NOT GUILTY: 7 men acquitted of murder of Costa Rica sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora United Nations, environmental groups condemn verdict in Jairo Mora murder case 7 alleged poachers to stand trial Monday for Costa Rica conservationist’s murder Video of turtle torture highlights common practice in Costa Rica The Jairo Mora Sandoval Award will be given annually to marine conservationists who display bravery and courage while protecting species and the environment. Haime Luna/The Tico TimesThis story is developing – follow ticotimes.net for updates. LIMÓN — On Monday judges in the Caribbean port city of Limón decided to postpone the start of a much-anticipated trial for seven men accused of murdering Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora last year, because one of the defendants was medically unable to attend. The trial was temporarily rescheduled for Thursday, but after consulting a state medical expert, judges on Wednesday delayed the start of the trial again to Monday, Nov. 3.According to the attorney for Mora’s family, Rodrigo Araya, defendant Ernesto Enrique Centeno is in quarantine at Sandoval prison with chicken pox. Centeno was among seven suspected turtle poachers arrested in July 2013 and accused of killing Mora, a 26-year-old sea turtle conservationist, on the Caribbean coast’s Moín Beach, north of Limón. In the same attack, the suspects also allegedly kidnapped four foreign volunteers. Centeno and several of the same defendants also are being tried on charges that they kidnapped and raped another victim, and kidnapped her husband and two young nephews on Moín Beach a week before Mora’s killing.For more recommended reading, see our special reports: Why Jairo died and Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Obama approves taking Cuba off terror list

first_imgU.S. President Barack Obama has agreed to take Cuba off a list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House said Tuesday, a key step toward normalizing ties after decades of hostility.Obama notified Congress of his “intent to rescind” Cuba’s inclusion on the list, which had been a major barrier to establishing embassies in Washington and Havana. U.S. lawmakers have 45 days in which they can oppose the move.“The government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period,” Obama wrote in the notification.The move comes three days after Obama held an hour-long meeting with Raul Castro, the first face-to-face talks between a Cuban and U.S. president in a half-century.If the redesignation is successful, Cuba would again have access to the U.S. banking system, allowing an embassy to be opened and paving the way for further trade between the Cold War foes.Republicans have expressed criticism of Obama’s detente with the nominally communist island. Senator Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, who are considered frontrunners to win the party’s presidential nomination, have deep support in Florida’s powerful Cuban exile community.If Congress passes a joint resolution objecting to the move, Obama could then issue a presidential veto.Obama’s ally, Senator Dick Durbin, was quick to welcome the decision.“While no fan of the Castro regime, I continue to believe that opening up the island to American ideas, vibrancy, and trade is the most effective way to see a more open and tolerant Cuba,” he said.Cuba was first put on the list, which also includes Syria, Sudan and Iran, in 1982 for harboring ETA Basque separatist militants and Colombian FARC rebels.The White House said that government departments, including intelligence agencies, concluded that Cuba should be taken off the list.“Circumstances have changed since 1982,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “Our hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago.”The United States and Cuba broke relations in 1961, the year Obama was born.Read all The Tico Times’ Cuba coverageLast December Obama announced that after 18 months of secret negotiations, Havana and Washington would seek to normalize relations.During his meeting last weekend with Castro, Obama declared that after 50 years of U.S. policies that had not worked “it was time for us to try something new.”‎”We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future,” he said, adding that the immediate task was to reopen embassies.Cuba wants the quick lifting of a U.S. embargo which forbids most trade and American tourism to the island.U.S.-Cuban tensions have vexed Washington’s relations with Latin America for decades. Facebook Comments Related posts:A cultural anthropologist ponders Cuba before and after Obama’s decision No opening date for US, Cuba embassies; more talks set As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives Raúl Castro to speak at UN General Assembly for first timelast_img read more

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Irmas impact on Costa Rica what to expect this weekend

first_imgRelated posts:Government charters flight to bring Costa Ricans home from Puerto Rico Costa Rica’s southern Pacific hit by heavy rains, flooding Strong winds expected over most of Costa Rica this week UPDATED: Tropical storm causes deaths, flooding in Costa Rica and region With Hurricane Irma leaving devastation in its wake throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. state of Florida bracing for its impact, many in Costa Rica are wondering how the storm could affect this country.According to the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), the country can expect heavy rainfall throughout Saturday afternoon and evening, into Sunday, in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific region, Central Valley and the Nicoya Peninsula. These regions could see 100-150 mm (approximately 4-6 inches) over a 24-hour period, the IMN stated on its Facebook page.The IMN forecasts a smaller impact on the Northern Zone and Caribbean region, as well as the northwestern province of Guanacaste, expected to experience isolated rainshowers and moderate wind.The institute recommends precaution in areas vulnerable to landslides and flooding, and for drivers who may experience reduced visibility.The National Emergency Commission (CNE) indicated that it has declared a Green Alert (Informative) for the Caribbean region, Northern Zone and Central Valley, with a Yellow Alert (Preventive) for the entire Pacific coastal region.Those planning to take to the waves on the Pacific side should be very careful over the weekend, according to both the IMN and the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Marine and Limnological Studies (CIMAR). A warning published on the CIMAR website predicted big waves and strong winds on the Pacific side: today (Friday), and then again on Sunday and Monday.At the time of the publication of this article, Hurricane Irma is classified as a Category 4 storm. It made landfall on Wednesday and has left devastation in its path across the Caribbean. It is expected to reach South Florida this weekend.The storm has caused flight cancellations from Costa Rica to the affected areas. The National Emergency Commission (CNE) indicates that passengers affected by the situation can call 506-2666-9600 for more information.Unlike Irma, the massive earthquake in Mexico that killed at least 40 people Thursday night in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca did not cause any significant impact in Costa Rica, according to CNE posts. According to AFP, President Enrique Pena Nieto described the 8.2 magnitude quake as “the largest registered in our country in at least the past 100 years” – even stronger than the 1985 earthquake that killed more than 10,000 people in Mexico City.Track Hurricane Irma with the video below, shared by the IMN on its Facebook page: Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Steel mogul lacks optimism for Europes economy

first_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Sponsored Stories 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 Mittal says “Things are difficult, and they are going to remain difficult. We have a lot of uncertainties, we have volatility, and people are not confident about the future of Europe at this time.”Mital was upbeat, though, about the fortunes of east London, where much of the upcoming Olympics is being staged.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) LONDON (AP) – Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal says Europe’s economy is going to remain troubled.The comments by the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal came during an Associated Press interview Monday. He did not discuss the fortunes of his company, which is set to release its earnings later this week.One of Britain’s richest men, Mittal’s lack of enthusiasm can be seen as bleak for the economic outlook of the continent, since steel is such a vital component of construction. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments   Share   Check your body, save your life Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

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Panetta NATO partner differ on troop numbers

first_imgBut Panetta, speaking to reporters shortly after de Maiziere made his comments, called the remarks inaccurate.Panetta, who will leave President Barack Obama’s Cabinet when his successor is confirmed, told reporters that he and the NATO partners instead talked about ranges of options for the post-2014 troop force. And he said the figures reflected contributions that other nations would make, in addition to the United States.U.S. officials have yet to say publicly how many American troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. But Panetta said officials are planning to leave troops in all sectors of the country _ north, south, east and west _ as well as in Kabul. Pentagon officials have said the military has mapped out plans to carry on its mission of training and advising the Afghan forces and also leave a small counterterrorism force to battle insurgents.When asked about troop numbers, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that no decision had yet been made.The Obama administration is considering a plan to maintain 352,000 Afghan troops for the next five years as part of an effort to maintain security and help convince Afghanistan that America and its allies will not abandon it once combat troops leave in 2014, senior alliance officials said Thursday. NATO officials are also widely considering that option. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day ___Associated Press writers Don Melvin and Julie Pace contributed to this report.___Lolita C. Baldor can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lbaldor (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist According to an Obama administration official, the Pentagon plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to about 60,500 by the end of May; then to 52,500 by November, keeping a relatively stable number of troops there during the peak fighting season. The sharpest cuts in U.S. troop strength will come over the winter months as the remaining 20,500 leave after the main fighting season. There currently are about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.Panetta acknowledged those ranges of numbers on Friday, but also added that the U.S. would maintain the 34,000 through the Afghan elections, then withdraw the final combat troops toward the end of 2014.The administration officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the numbers publicly.This is Panetta’s fifth visit to Brussels for a NATO meeting _ a trip he never intended to take. Expectations were that defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, would be confirmed by the Senate last week and he would travel to the meeting.Hagel’s nomination stalled, however, as it got caught up in senators’ complaints about the attack in Benghazi, which left four Americans dead, including the ambassador. There are indications now that Hagel has support from enough senators to be confirmed next week.center_img Top Stories BRUSSELS (AP) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his German counterpart offered conflicting accounts Friday of a discussion about how many U.S. and European forces would remain in Afghanistan after the anticipated end of combat after 2014.German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Panetta had informed him at the Brussels meeting that the United States would leave between 8,000 and 10,000 troops in the war-torn country at the end of 2014. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like The vital role family plays in society Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Such a change, if NATO endorses it, could increase the costs to the U.S. and allies by more than $2 billion a year, at a time when most are struggling with budget cuts and fiscal woes. Last May, NATO agreed to underwrite an Afghan force of about 230,000, at a cost of about $4.1 billion a year after 2014. It costs about $6.5 billion this year to fund the current Afghan force of 352,000, and the U.S. is providing about $5.7 billion of that.Panetta said Friday that he can defend that spending to Congress because it would give the U.S. more flexibility and savings as it withdraws troops from Afghanistan.Maintaining the larger troop strength could bolster the confidence of the Afghan forces and make it clear that NATO is committed to an enduring relationship with Afghanistan, a senior NATO official said.In private meetings with other defense ministers, Panetta warned allies that Washington’s fiscal impasse will have repercussions abroad, as impending budget cuts force the military to scale back its training and presence overseas.Many of his meetings, however, centered on the plans to wind down the war in Afghanistan, including the withdrawal of 34,000 U.S. troops over the next year and the transfer of security responsibilities to the Afghan forces.last_img read more

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SIA and Virgin agreement takes off

first_imgSingapore and Virgin Australia link services to provide more to their customersimage source: daylife.com Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have launched the first phase of their alliance, offering reciprocal lounge access to their customers.SIA passengers are able to connect to a range of Australian destinations served by Virgin Australia on one ticket, with terminal transfers, in-flight entertainment and meals included.SIA executive vice president commercial Mak Swee Wah said passengers can now travel to and from all parts of Australia on a single ticket, with full-service comfort on each leg of their journey.“From now customers can experience the first benefits of this landmark agreement with Virgin Australia, in line with our shared plans for a deep and integrated alliance providing seamless service offerings,” Singapore Airlines Mr Mak said.Virgin Australia group executive Merren McArthur said the alliance would also benefit tourism in Australia.“The agreement will make it easier for SIA customers from all over the world to travel through to a range of domestic destinations around Australia and should our proposed alliance receive regulatory approval, we will expand our cooperation to better promote these Australian destinations,” Ms McArthur said.The airlines have jointly lodged an application to the ACCC proposing code-share on each other’s flights, Subject to regulatory approval, customers should be able to experience the full benefits of the alliance later this year.last_img read more

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Travellers Choice changing with the times

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M With a new Chief at the helm at the cusp of taking over, a new direction toward engaging in new digital marketing and even a look toward developing diverse strategies for an ageing membership group, Travellers Choice management have their eyes pinned firmly on the goal of continuing to grow its member base and return profitability to shareholders in the coming financial year.  Hosting his last Shareholders Conference in Singapore on the weekend, exiting Managing Director, Gary Allomes said the announcement of Christian Hunter as their new chief would usher in a new era for Travellers Choice.Plans to increase online sales through search engine optimisation, social media and strategic marketing have been highlighted as the company’s primary objectives for coming months.  “We need to think how to remain relevant in the market, and against our competitors, which are larger and more vertically integrated,” Mr Allomes said.A stronger focus on ensuring preferred supplier sales grow with additional technology and BDM support provided to members, will remain to be a key message and one which Mr Allomes and Mr Hunter both recognise as a driving force behind this year’s record profit result.A key challenge according to Mr Allomes is the need to ensure members who plan to change the way they do business is looked after, or to encourage new memberships under the Travellers Choice umbrella.  One such area Mr Allomes said the group would consider would be to develop a Home Based Agency option to meet with changing demands from shareholder members.”We are a conservative organization but we still need to grow.  Just like other groups, our average age of members are rising, and it is hard to attract new members so we may look to develop a mobile travel agent option or our own speciality tours,” Mr Allomes said”We have shown how we can adopt and adapt to raise our game to a new level when required, and that time is now.” last_img read more

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Tigers extra aircraft creates more jobs

first_imgTiger Airways Australia Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Tiger Airways continues to grow its Australian services with the addition of a new route between Sydney and Brisbane as well as basing a second aircraft at Sydney Airport and recruiting extra staff. Services on the new route commence today and the new plane at Sydney Airport will also begin operational duties from the beginning of August. To facilitate its growing business, Tiger Airways Australia is also currently in the process of recruiting 100 new staff members for its bases in Sydney (30 positions) and Melbourne (70 positions); searching for pilots, cabin crew, engineering staff and ground services staff.“To… sustain our focus on operational excellence, Tiger is now actively looking for new staff in both capital cities,” Tiger Airways head of marketing and communications Vanessa Regan said. Tiger Airways currently operates eight routes across Australia and expects to increase its daily services across the country from its current 44 to 64 by October this year. Keep checking back with e-Travel Blackboard for further updates on new routes and services.last_img read more

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Economic increase from cruise sector

first_imgThe tenth consecutive Cruise Down Under (CDU) report has found cruising locally and abroad in the financial year had injected a total output value of AUD $3.16 billion into the economy.The report has revealed this represents a 16 percent increase compared with the 2012 – 2013 financial year.CDU chairman Stephen Bradford, said the current findings showed a surge in cruising over ten years.“Total direct industry expenditure has reached AUD $1.85 billion, increasing by 30 percent per annum from just under AUD $155 million in 2004-05,” Mr Bradford said.“The study revealed a total expenditure by the international cruise shipping industry in Australia in 2013-14 was estimated at AUD $2.1 billion compared to AUD $1.9 billion in 2012-13.”Some of the key growth indicators, compared to ten years’ ago show:– The number of cruise ships visiting has almost doubled from 23 to 45.– Estimated total passenger expenditure has increased by 26 percent per annum from 24,380 to 63,335.– The number of cruise ship visits has grown by 10 percent per annum from 325 to 773.This is the tenth consecutive report from CDU, which is a national and regional independent study, investigating the benefits of the cruise sector to the Australian economy.Source = ETB News: Megan Tranlast_img read more

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Inaugural Inductees of AACB Hall of Fame Announced

first_imgInaugural Inductees of AACB Hall of Fame AnnouncedThe Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) and IMEX Group are pleased to announce David Weston and David Hall as the inaugural AACB Hall of Fame inductees 2015. The induction ceremony occurred at AACB’s Staff Conference Gala Dinner in the Hunter Valley, NSW.The AACB Hall of Fame was established to acknowledge AACB’s 30th anniversary and continued business events leadership and is sponsored by the IMEX Group. This award recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of Australian convention bureaux and the business events industry. It also provides a historical narrative of leaders that have grown and nurtured the industry to present day.AACB Executive Director Andrew Hiebl said, “In celebrating 30 years of leadership, AACB is thrilled to recognise David Weston and David Hall as industry pioneers and inaugural AACB Hall of Fame inductees. It was an honour to interview both about the formation of AACB and their memories of establishing the association in the early 1980’s.”IMEX Group Managing Director Paul Flackett highlighted, “It is important that every industry recognise its forefathers and mothers that help make their industry so great. I was delighted to work with Andrew on the hall of fame award and happy to hear it was well received at the staff conference.”David Weston was the inaugural Executive Director of the Tasmanian Convention & Visitors Bureau from 1978-1983 and served as the first Chairman of AACB. David Hall followed as the second AACB Chairman and was also CEO at Adelaide Convention Bureau 1980-1992 and CEO at Gold Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau from 1992-1993.David Weston remarked, “I’d like to thank AACB and IMEX for this honour. I feel very privileged and would like to recognise the tremendous people and friends I’ve worked with throughout my career. It is great to see how the industry has evolved and taken shape over the years.”David Hall added, “Thank you AACB and IMEX Group. This award and recognition means a great deal to me. It is a privilege to have worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for more than 40 years and I am honoured to have helped with the creation of AACB. I am delighted that AACB leadership remains strong.”Source = The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB)last_img read more

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TravelManagers Reward VIP Clients at Spring Racing Carnival Corporate

first_imgTravelManagers’ business partnership manager Kellie Browning (left) with personal travel managers Leah Hardie and Megan Stanley looking very much the part for a day at the races.TravelManagers Reward VIP Clients at Spring Racing Carnival Corporate SuiteA select group of TravelManagers’ Melbourne based clients recently experienced their personal travel manager’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking, by being invited to a VIP client event on the first day of the Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington Racecourse.Following such incredible client feedback from their inaugural client day last year, it was an easy decision for Victoria business partnership manager’s Kellie Browning and Scott Hallo with the assistance of Carl Matto, Senior Sales Executive Emirates, to organize another event at this years themed Sofitel Girls Day Out.“Life is so busy and personal travel managers often struggle to take the time to have fun and spend quality time with their clients. The feedback we received from clients and personal travel managers who attended last year’s event was overwhelmingly positive so we knew we had to do it again. It’s a fantastic way for personal travel managers to spoil their clients and thank them for their valued support, loyalty and ongoing business,” says Browning.Eleven personal travel managers hosted their key clients in the Emirates Corporate Suite.“We are incredibly grateful to Emirates for their support. Personal travel managers and their clients were treated to all-day finger food, an open bar and access to a private betting area,” says Browning.Joanne Haines, representative for Berwick invited three clients and views the day a huge success from both a business and pleasure perspective.“The cost to participate was money incredibly well spent in my book. Not only do I see this as a way to future proof my business and give something back to my valued clients who have actively supported my business success, but it gave me the excuse to get dressed up, sip expensive champagne and spend time with friends. What could be better than that?”With another successful day, Browning is already planning for next year’s event.“There were no great stories of people taking home huge winnings this year, but that certainly didn’t damper anyone’s spirits. The overwhelming feedback was that it was a wonderful day and clients felt incredibly spoilt and have already diarized it for next year!”About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 490 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagers Australialast_img read more

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Hilton named Third Best Multinational Place to Work in Asia

first_imgHeart of House, an initiative that creates own-able space, reflective of Hilton’s values, for Team Members. To make Hilton a great place to work, features such as Wi-Fi, popular food offerings and inviting décor in the back-of-house areas are designed to mirror the hospitality each hotel extends to their guests.Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s corporate responsibility commitment enables Team Members to positively impact local environments and communities around the world through initiatives such as Travel with Purpose Action Grants,Global Month of Service, and Earth Week.Celebrating diversity in the workplace through initiatives such as Women in Leadership workshops and conferences that have empowered more than 420 female Team Members in 2016, helping them in their career journeys. This commitment was reinforced when Hilton pledged to further drive diversity across Asia Pacific as a Singapore IMPACT Champion in support of HeForShe, an UN-led gender equality movement.Opportunities for development through Hilton University, an online learning resource that helps Team Members plan, manage and develop skills to support their career advancement, as well as E3 (Elevate, Engage, Excel), a development framework dedicated to help leaders hone their leadership skills.Go Hilton, a program that provides exclusive travel discounts and perks for Team Members, as well as their family and friends.Opportunities for recognition through programs such as Catch Me at My Best, the CEO Light & Warmth Awards and Team Member Appreciation Week that acknowledge Team Members at all levels from guests, peers and managers.In announcing the Best Companies in Asia, Great Place to Work CEO Michael Bush said, “Being on the list is more than being recognized as a Great Place to Work. A high-trust culture helps you attract people, improves your performance, retains your top talent, fosters innovation, and assures a sustainable business. Bottom-line, a Great Place to Work for All is better for business, because you’re developing the full human potential of everyone on your team.”The research behind Best Workplaces in Asia 2017 spanned nine countries, namely: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea, Greater China, Singapore and Australia. To be considered for the regional Best Workplaces in Asia list, companies must be accepted on at least one national Best Workplaces list. For the Best Multinational Workplaces in Asia list, companies that operate in three or more countries must be featured in at least two national Best Workplaces lists. Hilton WorldwideSource = Hilton Worldwide Hilton named Third Best Multinational Place to Work in AsiaHilton has been ranked third in the Asia’s Best Multinational Workplaces 2017 list, according to global research and consulting firm Great Place To Work. Hilton is also the top-ranking hospitality company on the 2017 list. The latest award is a result of positive feedback from Team Members across Asia and Middle East where Hilton was ranked in national Best Workplaces lists, including China, India, and Sri Lanka, as well as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.Great Place to Work’s annual study of Asia’s Best Workplaces research reveals that employees at the top 60 Best Workplaces in Asia indicate that managers behaving in a respectful way is the most significant factor for employees to have the desire to remain in the current jobs.“We are thrilled to be recognized as one of Asia’s Best Multinational Workplaces,” said Martin Rinck, Area President of Asia Pacific, Hilton. “Our Team Members are at the core of our success – the heart and soul of Hilton. I am extremely proud of our Team Members in Asia Pacific and the incredible culture that we have built together which allows us to deliver the world’s best hospitality – both to our guests as well as to our amazing Team Members.”Hilton offers leading programs that deliver Team Members great environments, careers and rewards. In Asia Pacific these include:last_img read more

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