Chinese cook crashes on balloon to disputed isles

first_img The vital role family plays in society New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility He was picked up by a boat and later handed over to a Chinese patrol ship, the coast guard said.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Xu was in good condition.Qin disavowed any official ties with Xu. “I note that he is a hot-air balloon enthusiast,” he said.The islands have been a sore point in bilateral relations for years, and nationalists from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong have occasionally tried to sail to them.A recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a Tokyo shrine that honors World War II war criminals has outraged China, adding to the bilateral tensions.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology TOKYO (AP) – A Chinese cook who crashed into the sea while trying to fly on a hot-air balloon to islands claimed by both China and Japan has been rescued by Japan’s coast guard.Xu Shuaijun, 35, crashed Wednesday after hitting turbulence as he approached the islands, known in Japan as Senkaku and Diayou in China, the coast guard said Thursday.The coast guard said it received a missing-person report from Taiwanese officials and that one of its helicopters spotted Xu about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the islands. Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

Suicide bombers kill 11 in Pakistani capital

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The peace process has proceeded in fits and starts but seemed to get a boost on Saturday, when the Pakistani Taliban announced they would implement a one-month ceasefire after the military pounded their hideouts with airstrikes.The militant group was quick to distance itself from Monday’s attack. A spokesman for the organization in a telephone call to an Associated Press reporter said the group was not involved in the assault and restated his group’s commitment to the ceasefire.But the attack highlighted the difficulty in negotiating a peace deal with a multi-faceted group like the Pakistani Taliban, made up of varying factions. Analysts say that while some in the group may want to negotiate a peace deal, other factions may not, making it difficult to enforce a peace deal across all the factions. The cease-fire did not include other groups, such as al-Qaida, that operate in Pakistan.__Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Asif Shahzad contributed to this report.(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 Witnesses spoke of attackers wielding automatic weapons running into the narrow alleyways in the sleepy capital’s court complex, hurling grenades and opening fire indiscriminately on lawyers, judges and court personnel.One lawyer described it as a scene from hell, with blasts and firing all around. “My colleague was shot, and there was no one to help him. When I reached him, he was bleeding and crying for help,” said Momin Ali.There were conflicting reports on how many attackers were involved in the incident and if any of them had managed to escape from the police. It also remained unclear if anyone had been arrested, how the attackers penetrated so deep into the city and whether a specific person in the complex was the intended target.Initial reports suggested two men wearing explosive vests rushed into the court complex, threw hand grenades and started shooting, then blew themselves up, said Islamabad Police Chief Sikander Hayat. He put the death toll at 11.“It was certainly an act of terrorism,” Hayat said. One of the attackers blew himself up outside the office of the lawyers’ union president and the other outside the door of a judge’s office, he added. The explosions sent lawyers and judges running in fear for their lives as police stormed in. Police subsequently searched the entire complex and found no additional attackers, said Hayat.Other officials and a lawyer on the scene said there were more than two attackers. Police official Jamil Hashmi said there were about six to eight attackers who spread into different areas of the court complex.“One of the attackers entered a courtroom and shot and killed a judge,” Hashmi said.Lawyer Murad Ali said he saw several attackers walking toward a courtroom, brandishing weapons.“They had automatic weapons. They had hand grenades,” he said. “I saw them shooting a female lawyer.”His hands were splattered in blood that he said came from helping remove four dead bodies. Another lawyer, Sardar Gul Nawaz, said the attackers had short beards and wore shalwar kameez, a traditional Pakistani outfit of baggy pants and a long tunic.The dead included two judges and five lawyers, said Dr. Altaf at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad where the dead and wounded were taken. Altaf, who spoke to television reporters and only gave his family name, said most of the victims had bullet wounds. He said 25 were wounded, five of them critically. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   The area where the attack occurred is a warren of walkways filled with judges’ chambers, lawyers’ offices and restaurants and businesses catering to the legal community. The walkways are filled with copying machines for clerks and clients to make copies of legal documents, and prisoners wearing chains can often be seen walking through the complex on their way to and from court. Families of suspects on trial also often stand around the area, waiting for their loved ones to appear in court. Some spots in the complex have metal detectors, which are often not used.Pakistani television showed images of the area with windows blown out, walls torn and lawyers in traditional black suits carrying what appeared to be lifeless bodies and wounded from the buildings. Policemen with weapons raised ran through the area and searched offices.Body parts and blood mingled with pieces of shattered glass littered the ground outside the courtrooms and attorney’s offices. The police cordoned off the complex, which was taken over by commandos from the police anti-terrorist force.The attack was a shock to Islamabad, which has mostly been spared the frequent bombings and shootings prevalent in other parts of Pakistan such as Peshawar near the tribal areas or the port city of Karachi. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help ISLAMABAD (AP) – A group of armed men, including two suicide attackers, stormed a court complex in the Pakistani capital on Monday in a rare terror attack in the heart of Islamabad that killed 11 people and wounded dozens.No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault, which came just days after the Pakistani Taliban announced a one-month ceasefire, raising questions about the group’s ability to control its various factions. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to negotiate a peace settlement with militants in the northwest who have waged a bloody war against the government for years. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

House GOP votes to block administration on immigration

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans voted Wednesday to block the Obama administration from spending any money to defend against a lawsuit over the president’s immigration policies.The 222-204 vote came on an amendment by leading immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King of Iowa to a spending bill for the Commerce and Justice Departments.House Republicans spent weeks earlier this year trying to overturn President Barack Obama’s executive actions from last fall that granted work permits and stays of deportation to millions of immigrants living in this country illegally. The House efforts were unsuccessful, but Republicans have claimed success anyway, noting that the policies have been put on hold by a federal judge in a lawsuit by a group of states seeking to overturn the actions. Comments   Share   Copyright © 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 More than two dozen states argued that Obama’s executive action was unconstitutional.The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear arguments next month in the lawsuit. King’s amendment would block the administration from spending any money to defend against it.It was one of a handful of immigration-related amendments offered by King and approved by the GOP-controlled House.By voice vote, the House adopted an amendment that would block spending for trade deals that add visas.The House also voted 227-198 for an amendment that would block certain federal funds to localities that refuse to report names to federal immigration authorities. That’s become an issue in recent months as localities refused to participate in a federal program that turns over the names of people picked up for crimes to federal immigration authorities.“All we’re saying is follow the law. … They are undermining the rule of law,” said King.Democrats objected to his approach.“This is not the appropriate bill for this,” said Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.The spending bill has already drawn a veto threat from the White House over cuts in domestic programs, and the addition of the immigration measures will only harden the administration opposition. Quick workouts for men Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

A shepherds life proves a hit in print and online

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall A land of deep, narrow lakes, gray stone walls and green-brown mountains, the Lake District attracts millions of campers, climbers and hikers each year, and has inspired artists and poets since William Wordsworth 200 years ago. But Rebanks felt one important voice was missing.“If you go into any of the bookshops here, you’ll see hundreds and hundreds of books about the Lake District,” said the burly, talkative farmer. “You’ll struggle to find three or four that tell the story of the people who live and work in the landscape.“Until fairly recently, people were still talking about this landscape being ‘discovered’ or’ invented’ in the 18th century by Wordsworth and people like that,” he said. “Our way of life was fully formed before that person ever put pen to paper.”Rebanks’ memoir describes that way of life, whose essence has changed little over the centuries. It is partly an account of a shepherd’s year, from the treacherous snowdrifts of winter to the burst of new life in spring.It’s also partly a political statement: “If we want to understand the people in the foothills of Afghanistan, we may need to try and understand the people in the foothills of England first,” he writes. It’s also a primal story of fathers and sons, poverty and struggle. Rebanks left school at 15 to work on the farm, but clashed with his father and with the brutal economics of farming. He earned a degree in history from Oxford University in his 20s, came home and struggled to keep the family farm going. The last few decades have been hard for small farmers. Most have second jobs; Rebanks works as an adviser on sustainable tourism to the U.N cultural organization, UNESCO.“We’ve been going to disappear for 200-odd years,” he said. “That’s always been the story. Nearly all books about shepherds are ‘The Last Shepherd.’ There’s always ‘last’ in it because it adds a touch of romance.”Rebanks is determined not to be the last of anything. He lives with wife Helen and three children aged between 3 and 9 in Matterdale, one of the Lake District’s many narrow valleys. The family owns 450 sheep, rising to 1,000 after lambing season.One recent day, with a journalist in tow, he hopped on his quad bike and drove some of his flock down narrow lanes to low-lying fields, with the help of his skilled sheepdogs, Tan and Floss. MATTERDALE, England (AP) — James Rebanks sits in his stone farmhouse, describing the hardscrabble mountain life his family has known for six centuries or more. Then his cell phone rings. It’s a big London ad agency, hoping to sign him up for a project.Rebanks is probably the world’s most famous shepherd, with a hit Twitter account, a best-selling book and TV crews rattling up the lane to his farm. He’s gratified by the attention, if a bit bemused. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories “Somebody from Hollywood rang up yesterday, wanting to make a movie out of my book,” the 40-year-old said. “Which is completely bonkers.”Readers around the world have flocked to Rebanks’ dispatches from a way of life that has — against the odds — survived industrialization, globalization and mass tourism.On Twitter, his descriptions of lambing and haymaking have attracted 65,000 followers. “The Shepherd’s Life,” his book recounting the rhythms of the rural year and the daily struggle to make ends meet, is a best-seller in Britain and Canada and is being translated into German and Swedish. The New York Times called it “captivating.”Separately, British broadcaster ITV is making a reality show called “Flockstars” that will see celebrities compete in sheepdog trials. And “Rams,” a movie about Icelandic shepherds and their flocks, won a major prize at last month’s Cannes Film Festival.Suddenly, sheep seem to be everywhere. But they have been the center of Rebanks’ life for as long as he can remember.He belongs to one of the few hundred families who farm the valleys and mountains, or fells, of the Lake District in northwest England. It’s a rugged area that has produced stubborn people, as well as sturdy sheep whose homing instinct means they can graze, unfenced, on the unhospitable high fells. In this June 5, 2015, photo, shepherd James Rebanks rounds up a flock of sheep as his son Isaac sits on a quad bike in Matterdale, England. Rebanks is the world’s most famous shepherd, with a hit Twitter account, a best-selling book and TV crews rattling up the lane to his farm. He’s gratified by the attention, if a bit bemused. Readers around the world have flocked to Rebanks’ dispatches from a way of life that has _ against the odds _ survived industrialization, globalization and mass tourism. (AP Photo/Jill Lawless) He said the popularity reassures him “that people do care about the land, even if they’re a very long way from it.”“I think there’s a sort of Harvard Business School way of looking at the world which is to say, because it’s old-fashioned, because it doesn’t make very much money, people should rationally choose to go off and be IT consultants or bankers in the City of London,” he said. “I think in my early 20s I bought into that. I thought, we’re on the wrong side of history. It’ll all disappear.“Twenty-something years later I’m looking at it, and we haven’t gone anywhere.”___Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawlessCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Comments   Share   Top Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Rebanks loves sheep, especially the indomitable, white-faced Herdwicks, and he writes about them with irresistible enthusiasm. At one point in “The Shepherd’s Life,” he describes a male sheep, or tup, as looking like Russell Crowe in “Gladiator,” and the comparison seems entirely reasonable. When he sells one prized ram, he misses seeing him, “as if I once had a Van Gogh on my wall and now it is gone.”“It’s as complicated looking at a great Herdwick as it is looking at a great painting,” Rebanks said.Part of the appeal of “The Shepherd’s Life” for many readers is its focus on place and belonging, things many of us think we’ve lost in our hectic, uprooted lives.Colin Dickerman, editorial director of Flatiron Books, the volume’s U.S. publisher, said memoirs “are often about trying to leave somewhere: kids from small towns who want to escape to the city, people who are sick of the city and want to move to the country.”“This was about trying to stay in one place. To me that was really fascinating.”Rebanks has been delighted by others’ interest in his life and work. His Twitter account, Herdwick Shepherd, has fans around the world. When he live-tweeted the birth of Floss’s puppies in March, he briefly became an Internet sensation.last_img read more

Brimble calls for cruise law overhaul

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2aa9e/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The former husband of Dianne Brimble has called on Australia to follow the US and overhaul its cruise ship laws.Mark Brimble, whose former wife died onboard a P&O cruise ship in 2002, made the call following the introduction of new US laws that move to increase security, law enforcement, and accountability on cruise ships in international waters.The new laws will require each ship to report deaths, disappearances and allegations of crime, reports ABC News.The legislation was passed unanimously by the US Senate and follows the unreported 2004 disappearance of a woman on an Alaskan cruise.The disappearance of Kendall Carver’s daughter was not reported by the cruise company until it was contacted by the FBI five weeks later.Mr Carver founded the International Cruise Victims Association following his daughter’s disappearance and has since campaigned against what he sees as the refusal of cruise liners to investigate onboard crimes, and is hopeful the new laws will find their way to Australia too.But for now the laws will only apply to US citizens on cruises that leave from or arrive in the US, he said.For Mr Brimble, it’s clear that the Federal Government needs to follow the US and ensure the protection of cruise ship passengers.”As soon as an Australian boards a cruise ship here in Australia the laws become very murky and the legislation that is enforced is completely different,” he said during an interview with the ABC.”So safety and security starts to become questionable.”Carnival Australia, which runs P&O cruises, introduced new protocols for the reporting of onboard crimes following MS Brimble’s death, calling it a wake-up call for the industry, but Mr Brimble wants more to be done.”I have taken a proposal to the cruise companies here in Australia that said that a measure could be implemented to put an independent body on board a ship that could report back to a federal authority,” he said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Flast_img read more

No parking space for 120 A380s Emirates

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Emirates have expressed its intention to expand its Airbus A380 fleet by one third but lack the sufficient parking space to do so.In June, Emirates President Tim Clarke increased the airlines A380 order from 90 to 120 and he has stated that he would place more orders if not for the space constraint. “We would like some more but we are going to run short of space,” Mr Clarke said.“120 was the baseline figure that the planners worked to get where we needed to be, but we couldn’t order that amount because it was too many for here, so 90 was a compromise.”According to Mr Clarke, Emirates are currently growing at an annual 20 percent rate and these levels are expected to remain consistent over the next five years.If the airline follows through with these expansion plans, the USD$40 billion A380 order would strengthen the airlines influence in Europe.Inevitably US and European airlines have become worried that this could result in the Middle Eastern airline diverting traffic from their hub.“If they spend as much time running their business as they do trying to run us down they might make even more money,” Mr Clarke said.The airline was recently targeted by claims made by European airlines that its fuel bills are subsided. “I have said, you prove a subsidy and I will resign the next day, it is completely wrong,” Mr Clarke said.Mr Clarke said the airline will follow through with the purchase of 90 A380’s and it has also ordered 30 Boeing 777-300ER in July, a deal worth over USD$9billion.last_img read more

Emirates blame Lufthansa for slowing German expansion

first_imgEmirates President, Tim Clark, has blasted Lufthansa for lobbying to prevent the Middle Eastern carrier from serving more German cities, which he said is part of a campaign to undermine the airline’s business model. A report in Bloomberg earlier this week cites an interview with Mr Clark following Lufthansa’s successful bid to lobby against Emirates from obtaining landing slots in Stuttgart and at the new Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport which will open in June 2012. “Their mantra is to take the Gulf carriers down, as well as dominate the markets they sit in,” Clark said, it was reported. Mr Clark said the airline will “re-engage” discussions regarding the slots and is optimistic the German Government “will see sense”. Lufthansa has fought back against the claims saying traffic rights are negotiated between Governments and the airline did not have any direct influence in their decision, spokesman Peter Schneckenleitner said. Emirates have continued talks with European and US Carriers over access, following its orders for 200 planes worth US$68 billion.  Mr Clark blames its competitors’ failing business strategies from allowing the airline to continue its worldwide expansion. “It has taken European carriers donkeys’ years to adapt their business models to the changing dynamics of global civil aviation,” he said. “They haven’t been able to align their traffic flows to what is going on, whereas we have.” Currently, Emirates operates flights from Dubai to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, compared to Cologne-based Lufthansa who only offers a single route from Frankfurt, despite having full traffic rights in Germany. “We don’t see any reason to award further traffic rights to Emirates as the airline already enjoys continental Europe’s most expansive rights in Germany,” Lufthansa’s Schneckenleitner said.  “It’s the airline’s declared goal to reroute traffic from Germany and Europe via Dubai.”Despite their discussions in Germany, Emirates are expected to “finish on a very positive good year” according to Mr Clark, who cites higher occupancy, a strong cash position and more effective cost controls as their advantage. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.Mlast_img read more

Etihads 28 billion dollar purchase

first_imgIn a deal valued at US$2.8 billion, Etihad Airways has ordered ten 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and two 777 freighters from the plane maker Boeing, making the airline the largest operator of the new fuel efficient aircraft.”Our decision to expand our Dreamliner fleet is testimony to Etihad’s commitment to operating one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in the skies,” Etihad chief executive, James Hogan said.The purchase offers attractive operating economics while facilitating the airlines global expansion plans to open up new markets to passengers and cargo from the hub, Abu Dhabi.Etihad’s order shows faith in the game changing 787 as the airline takes delivery of another 41 787s between late 2014 and 2019, with the option there to purchase a further 25 aircraft.”Etihad’s order for more 787-9s shows its confidence in Boeing’s coming stretched variant of the Dreamliner that’s due to enter service in 2014, but it also demonstrates that Etihad will use the 787-9 to form the backbone of its long-haul fleet, delivering the best economics and lowest fuel burn of any twin aisle, twin-engine airplane,” chief analyst at StrategicAero Research Saj Ahmad said.A longer version of the 787, the Dreamliner’s more efficient engines will enable airlines to cut their carbon emissions while burning 20 per cent less fuel, while carrying up to 300 passengers over a range of 8,000 nautical miles.  Etihad will initially use the aircraft on the routes to Dublin, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Nagoya and Delhi.The two extra 777 freighters will bring Etihad’s fleet to 21 777s, including 18 passenger aircraft and three freighters. The cargo fleet also comprises two A300-600Fs, two A330-200Fs and two MD11Fs.”We continually review our operating environment and look to leverage off the great flexibility which we built into our 2008 fleet order,” Mr Hogan said, totaling the Etihad Airways fleet to 21 777s, including 18 passenger aircraft and three freighters plus cargo fleet also comprises two A300-600Fs, two A330-200Fs and two MD11Fs. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

Who makes the best vanilla yoghurt in Australia

first_imgMCEC chefs The Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (RMFFA) awarded the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) house made vanilla yoghurt the champion trophy at the Royal Melbourne Show presentation lunch on Tuesday 25 September.MCEC’s vanilla creation was the overall winner coming up against the cream of the crop including Bulla Dairy Foods and King Island Dairy and beating almost 30 yoghurt entries across Australia.MCEC’s Executive Chef Tony Panetta said: “I’m incredibly proud of our skilled kitchen team and their ability to create produce that has stood out amongst really tough competition at the Royal Melbourne Show. “These awards acknowledge some of the best producers around the country and we’re thrilled to be included in this list.” This year the team were awarded seven medals, including four gold, for their ice cream, sorbet, labna and yoghurt that were created using ingredients from local Victorian suppliers.MCEC’s Chief Executive Peter King said: “It’s unique for a business events venue to take out awards like these and our kitchen team should be congratulated on such a huge achievement, not only for our medals wins but also bringing home the champion yoghurt trophy.“Visitors from around the world, many who have not travelled to Melbourne before, get to experience a true taste of Victoria at MCEC and these awards help put Victorian produce on a global stage.”Conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the 2012 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards received almost 1000 entries from 225 exhibitors across Australia, ranging from larger commercial brands to smaller farmers and producers.MCEC’s vanilla yoghurt is now eligible for the 2013 Australian Grand Dairy Awards and winners will be announced in November. Sous chef Dale Vocale with MCEC yoghurt MCEC chefs and Chief Executive Peter King with champion yoghurt trophy Source = MCEClast_img read more

Starwood launches Sheraton 2020

first_imgStarwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. has launched Sheraton 2020, a ten-point plan which aims to firmly position Sheraton Hotels and Resorts in the global spotlight.The five-year vision was introduced at the 37th Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference yesterday.The plan includes a new US$100 million marketing campaign, the launch of a new premier tier called Sheraton Grand, enhanced service and a goal to open over 150 new Sheraton hotels globally by the year 2020.Starwood chief executive officer Adam Aron said this plan is a top priority and the company is focused on making Sheraton the global hotel brand of choice.“With Sheraton 2020, we are marshalling the formidable might, muscle and creativity of our organization, which has famously distinguished itself as the industry’s premier brand builder and innovator,” Mr Aron said.Sheraton global brand leader Dave Marr said work is already underway on the plan, with a new advertising campaign set to launch in September.“Sheraton 2020 was created with an eye toward maximizing value for owners’ assets, and we thought it was important to share our plans first with them while at the NYU Hospitality Conference,” said Mr Marr.“Our teams around the world are already hard at work to swiftly and consistently execute against this action plan.”The ten points of Sheraton 2020 are:1.        Introduce New Sheraton Brand Positioning2.        Turn Heads, Change Minds, Deliver Guests: $100 Million Sheraton Marketing Campaign3.        Launch Sheraton Grand4.        Earn Owners’ Confidence in Sheraton5.        Ignite Associates’ Passion for Sheraton6.        Get Service Right at Sheraton. Every Day. Every Time. Everywhere.7.        Reclaim Sheraton’s Status as THE Meetings Brand8.        Innovate the Sheraton Guest Experience. Continuously.9.        Differentiate Sheraton through Design10.     Strengthen Sheraton by Opening 150+ New Hotels by 2020Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

Tourism marketers need to better understand Gen Z

first_imgTravel and tourism entities need to adapt to the expectations of Gen Z, consumers in their teens, because Gen Z is unlike previous generations.According to Carolyn Childs, co-founder of MyTravelResearch.com, Gen Z members are 100 per cent digital natives, born after 1995, who have grown up in an era of mobile devices and smartphones.They live in a world that is neither offline or online, but one seamless, interchangeable zone and are multi-taskers with short attention spans.Marketers will therefore have a much better chance of reaching them if they ‘game-ify’ their offer. If marketers don’t grab them quick with their marketing pitch, they will lose them in the blink on an eye, says Childs.Gen Z members have global values and want results at the press of a button, they demand respect, respond well to visual media, and can process information quickly.“They are proactive in that Gen Z see it as their job to make things right,” she argues. “They perceive the world as damaged and compromised by the more selfish generations that went before them.”Childs argues that Gen Z’s innate comfort with mobile technology has earned them respect from older generations, who have more money, but no instinctive digital know-how. Gen Z is heavily influenced by post-financial crash values.“In a globalised world defined by multi-culturism, diversity, bigger inequalities, and wrenching social change, Gen Z sees it as their job to make things right. They have little empathy with outmoded left versus right political parties. They see themselves as skilled, resourceful, flexible and comfortable working on their own towards a collective good,” says Childs.One of the big challenges facing tourism marketers trying to woo Gen Z members is how to market nature and outdoor experiences to a generation for whom “playing in the street has gone”.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Thailand Tourism Situation Update on 24 August 2015

first_imgThailand Tourism Situation Update on 24 August 2015The Royal Thai Government issued a Message of Confidence, informing Thai citizens and the international community that “With regards to the incident that occurred in the Ratchaprasong area on 17 August 2015, the details of which have been regularly announced by the Royal Thai Government pertaining to assistance provided to the injured, as well as investigations and relevant actions taken to bring the perpetrators to justice;“The Royal Thai Government wishes to reassure the public that the situation is under complete control of security officials. Additional security personnel, both in uniform and plainclothes, have been deployed to patrol every area so as to accord maximum security to the general public. In addition, the Royal Thai Government would like to convey to all foreigners who are planning on traveling to Thailand, be they for tourism, trade, educational or business purposes, or MICE, that the Government shall be doing its utmost to provide a safe and secure environment for the duration of your stay in Thailand, complemented with Thai friendliness and hospitality as always,” the Message concluded.TAT, as the government body tasked with the mission to promote Thailand to potential visitors worldwide while also supporting the development of the country’s tourism industry, has been working closely with the Thai tourism industry members as well as all our travel partners across the world to provide regular updates on the current situation in the country. Immediate assistance has been extended to the affected people while we have been working to assure all our friends from around the world that Thailand remains amazing and welcoming.As normality returned to the areas of the city most popular with tourists thanks to an increased security and police presence, TAT would like to once again assure all friends of Thailand that tourist events and activities are continuing as normal in Bangkok and throughout the country.Looking ahead, TAT is still on track with the 2015 global marketing activities with several travel trade events and road shows in the pipeline between now and December to maintain tourist confidence and strengthen the image of Thailand as a top tourist destination. For more information: please click here.The Tourism Monitoring and Communication Centre of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), with 27 overseas offices and 35 domestic offices, is closely monitoring as well as assessing the situation, and will be providing regular updates.Useful contact for tourists:The Ministry of Tourism and Sports +66 (0) 2134 4077TAT Call Centre 1672Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hotline +66 (0) 2644 7245 / 2643 5522 / 85 065 9927Tourist Police Hotline 1155 View a TAT video on the current situation hereSource = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

Qatar Airways reveals football fuelled video

first_img Qatar Airwaysbook your flights here Qatar Airways reveals football fuelled videoQatar Airways has unveiled a fun and football-fueled safety video to engage and entertain passengers as they travel with the airline. A break from industry norms, this fresh and unique take on the traditional safety video aims to engage customers whilst communicating essential information. The unique 4 minute video stars 6 of FC Barcelona’s La Liga players – Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Pique, Rakitic and Mascherano – alongside fans and Qatar Airways crew as they demonstrate important safety information to passengers.Scenes from the new video show the players bringing important safety messages to life in a uniquely FC Barcelona way, including Suarez taking to the pitch in a life vest, Pique causing a stir as he arrives and also demonstrates the ‘brace position’. Filmed mainly at Camp Nou Stadium, the home of FC Barcelona, the video features many familiar sights for fans such as the pitch, the stands, the changing rooms and even the team bus.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is renowned for being an award-winning and ambitious airline consistently delivering a superior experience for our passengers. But we are also a young company and as such we understand the need to stay fresh, relevant, and to have fun. With people travelling more frequently we saw a need to reinvigorate the safety video moment and by inviting our partners at FC Barcelona to join us we have something truly unique and attention-grabbing. I believe that having FC Barcelona global superstars as our safety ambassadors reinforces our commitment to operational excellence.”Salam Al Shawa, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications added, “This new safety video gives us an opportunity to show another side to our brand personality, a fun and humorous side. We took into account our passengers’ experience with standard safety videos, how important it is to be informed, and so we designed the video to be engaging as well as informative. By leveraging our strategic partnership with FC Barcelona and taking our passengers to the Camp Nou Stadium, we’ve brought to life our brand promise of ‘Going Places Together’ while enhancing our passengers’ on-board experience.”The addition of global sports personalities, the unexpected environment of the football pitch and the entertaining style of the video have all been carefully considered to create a moment that captures the attention of passengers and conveys the important content within.Today’s announcement adds another facet to the official sponsor relationship between FC Barcelona and the airline but it is not the first time the FCB players have taken to the big screen for Qatar Airways. Previously they could be seen in the FCB and Qatar Airways videos from 2015 and 2014. The new safety video is expected to further strengthen brand awareness by not only engaging with the passengers that travel with Qatar Airways but also, within the FCB global fan base that exceeds 80 million people on Facebook alone.The new video will be shown on Qatar Airways state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system, airing on aircraft from December 2015. The timely launch date ensures that passengers going places during the busy holiday season will get to enjoy the FCB Team as they take-off. Source = Qatar Airwayslast_img read more

Sun sets on day one of TravelManagers 2019 National Conference

first_imgDay One of TravelManagers’ annual National Conference in Hawaii produced plenty of colourful moments, concluding with a sunset cocktail party.Sun sets on day one of TravelManagers’ 2019 National ConferenceA Hawaiian-themed sunset cocktail party overlooking Waikiki Beach marked the end of successful first day for TravelManagers’ Annual National Conference on Saturday night.Earlier in the day, the conference was formally opened by CEO, Joe Araullo, and Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, whose address included key announcements including the launch of TravelManagers’ new Network Assistance Program and a new partner supplier agreement with Luxury Escapes. Gazal and Araullo then handed over to the first of a series of presentations from personal travel managers (PTMs): a feature that has become an integral component of the conference weekend over the past eleven years.“This year’s first PTM presentation was from 2017 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship winner, Nakita Byrne, who shared how winning this accolade has impacted her personal and professional life,” Gazal says. “She talked about the need to take care of yourself first and foremost in order to balance life’s demands: a message that resonated with many.”Byrne’s focus on being able to spend time at home with her family whilst still following her dreams, served as inspiration to many PTMs, including Michelle Desmarchelier, representative for Berowra, NSW, who described the presentation’s subject matter as “close to home for many of us and a reminder to be true to ourselves.”The next presentation was from South Australia-based PTM Josh Faddoul, who explained that his business plan was based around “being able to make as much money as possible in the fewest hours possible, while having the freedom and flexibility to do whatever I want in my own time.”Faddoul outlined his top five tips for success and emphasised the need to focus on personal wellbeing in the quest for business success. His presentation was followed by a moving presentation from fellow PTM, Erin Ross. Ross, who is representative for Mount Cotton, QLD, brought a fresh perspective to the conference theme of success, earning a standing ovation after sharing about the journey she and her family have been on since her husband, Matt, was diagnosed with brain cancer.“Success is knowing that every day there is something to be thankful for – there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for,” Ross says.Ross has described the reaction to her presentation as overwhelming, adding that she felt overwhelmed by the beautiful messages she has received.“It made the nervous morning all worth it – I’m feeling so much love for my TravelManagers tribe, and feeling very, very thankful today, that’s for sure.”Ross was followed by the first of two keynote speakers: Derick Borean, who as co-founder and CEO of The Altius Group & PeopleSense, was at the conference to introduce TravelManagers’ new wellbeing initiative, the Network Assistance Program (NAP).“We know that a healthy mind leads to a more balanced and successful life,” Borean explains, “so it’s very exciting for TravelManagers that from 1 September, all PTMs and the NPO team will have access to a national network of clinical psychologists for professional counselling relating to any stage in their lives.”House of Travel founder and Executive Chairman, Chris Paulsen, picked up where Borean left off, sharing House of Travel’s 40+ year story and discussing the importance of loving life and following one’s passions on the road to success.Melanie Carter, who is representative for Scoresby, VIC, is just one of many PTMs who expressed her appreciation for Paulsen’s message: “I appreciated the honesty and openness, and I’m ever so grateful for the chances he’s taken along the way. All of our lives are changed because of them – mahalo!”Day Two and Three of the TravelManagers’ conference are to include further presentations, supplier workshops and a fun team-building activity that will take place in and around Waikiki, wrapping up with one of the main highlights: a gala awards dinner that Gazal describes as the ideal conclusion to a busy but rewarding weekend.“Nine personal travel managers (PTMs) have attended all eleven TravelManagers annual conferences,” says Gazal. “We believe that’s a great endorsement for a winning formula of fantastic locations. inspiring presentations and fun social and team building activities.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

United Airlines takes Purple Plane delivery for healthy babies

first_imgUnited Airlines welcomed a new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft to its fleet, and while it is not the first of the next generation Boeing planes the company will take delivery of this year, it is the first to feature a vibrant purple fuselage. The commemorative aircraft is specially painted to honour United’s 10 years of supporting the March of Dimes and their mission to provide families across the country with care and valuable information on pregnancy and having healthy babies.Flight 2051 departed Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport bound for Chicago O’Hare, filled with customers and United partners who supported the March of Dimes through United’s fundraising efforts. Each guest was personally welcomed aboard the special flight by 2015 March of Dimes National Ambassador Family, long-time United employee Elise Jackson, her son Elijah and husband Todd. United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and the 2015 March for Babies National Chairman John Rainey also personally thanked guests for their meaningful contributions.“Our ‘purple plane’ is more than just a fun and unique paint job – it is a symbol of the long-standing partnership between our customers and employees and the March of Dimes,” said Rainey. “We know that so many people who fly with us have been touched by the issue of premature birth, and we hope that as customers spot this plane flying around the country, we can bring continued awareness and support to this very important issue.”last_img read more

Abdul Hadi Shaikh

first_imgWe love OTM, and now we love it even more because we won the #StartupKnockDown contest that was organised by TravHQ & OTM. The contest was well curated and the panel of judges was excellent. Our experience this year has been wonderful and would definitely continue our association in the future.last_img

Mortgage Firm Unveils Program to Help Brokers Help Vets

first_img Presidential candidates often fall over themselves praising vets, but now a mortgage company aims to help brokers better help these wounded warriors find homes.[IMAGE]Tucson, Arizona-based “”Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.””:http://www.fairwayindependentmc.com/ announced Thursday that it planned to set up a “”Boot Camp”” training program.Its mission: To teach Fairway mortgage brokers and employees about the challenges facing newly returned vets and the homeownership opportunities available to those who wear the uniform.””The men and women who have served or who are currently serving in the U.S. military deserve our very best,”” Louise Thaxton, branch manager and director of the division responsible for the program, said in a statement. “”Our military and their families sacrifice so much for our freedom, so the very least we can do as mortgage professionals is to go the extra mile with additional training.”” [COLUMN_BREAK]The Fairway employees who sign up for Boot Camp get nifty new titles, too. The program earns its namesake from the military mortgage specialists that will help vets secure mortgages.After taking the two-day crash course, specialists will undertake a 90-day coaching program with Fairway that offers instruction on how to correlate needs with mortgage lending policies.The company touted several benefits for vets who go through the program with Fairway, including competitive interest rates, 100 percent financing options, “”flexible”” credit requirements, even the ability to do without monthly mortgage insurance.The announcement comes on the heels of a recent appearance by Thaxton at Fairway’s third Boot Camp in Tucson, where the company, with help from the “”Boot Campaign””:http://www.bootcampaign.com/ and “”Military Warriors Support Foundation””:http://www.militarywarriors.org/, presented a wounded veteran with a mortgage-free property donated by Bank of America. Bank of America presented U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Eric Griego and wife Corie with the keys to a 1,500-square-foot three bedroom home.According to the release, a bullet passed through Griego’s neck and entered his abdomen in October 2010.””It’s important for mortgage professionals to not only learn about the VA home loan product, but also learn the culture of active duty military and the unique challenges they face,”” Thaxton added. “”We should give 110% to these heroes.””*Do you know of any other outreach efforts by mortgage companies to help vets?* Shoot an email to editor@themreport.com to let us know. Agents & Brokers Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-09-21 Ryan Schuette Mortgage Firm Unveils Program to Help Brokers Help Vets in Data, Origination, Servicingcenter_img September 21, 2012 556 Views Sharelast_img read more

Capdominus Reports Increased Commercial Financing in Q4

first_img Share Colorado-based “”Capdominus””:https://www.capdominus.com/capdominus/, the largest Web-based capital markets platform for commercial real estate (CRE) finance, announced that the total volume of CRE financings on its platform has turned up sharply in the final months of the year.[IMAGE]According to the company, volume on its platform rose 77 percent in the first 45 days of Q4 versus Q3. In addition, the total number of financings has increased 46.5 percent [COLUMN_BREAK]over the same period, signaling an expected increase in year-end financing activity.The increase appears to be driven by multifamily property financing, according to Capdominus’ transaction metrics. Multifamily properties represent more than one-third of pending transactions, three times that of any other property type.Additionally, more than half of the proposed financings are stabilized properties, with 40 percent split evenly between ground-up construction and value-add repositioning projects. Most proposed financings of development and repositioning projects are limited to the core markets, while more than 60 percent of the financings for properties outside of the core markets are either multifamily properties or fully-leased retail properties.Since Capdominus’ launch in July 2012, the company reports more than $5 billion in CRE debt and equity financings have been marketed on its platform, and more than 18,000 commercial mortgage lenders and real estate private equity funds are now represented on its network. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Commercial Real Estate Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-11-28 Tory Barringer November 28, 2012 482 Views center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Capdominus Reports Increased Commercial Financing in Q4last_img read more

Gen X on Top

first_img Gen X Millennials NAMB 2017-08-10 Joey Pizzolato August 10, 2017 617 Views Share Gen X on Topcenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination Millennials may not dominate as much of the housing market share as previously thought in smaller markets, according to a recent survey conducted by The Association of Mortgage Professionals.The survey, which questions its members on a monthly basis in order to determine trends in the mortgage industry. For this particular study, different generations were defined as such: millennials, under 35 years old; Gen Xers, 36 to 52 years old; Baby Boomers, 53 to 71 years old; and Greatest Generations, over 72 years old.The findings showed that Gen Xers actually made up most of the market share, at 36 to 75 percent. Over a quarter of respondents reported that they comprised anywhere between 50 and 75 percent, opposed to millennials, which were accountable for less than 25 percent in over half the mortgage businesses surveyed.Further, millennials aren’t as interested in high down payments as Gen Xers. Forty percent of respondents reported former preferred down payments of 3 percent or less, while the latter were partial to down payments of 10 to 20 percent.“There’s a big focus on millennials, but in reality, the majority of borrowers are still over 36 years old,” said Fred Kreger, CMC and President of NAMB. “For small mortgage businesses strategizing on getting a bigger piece of the pie in a shrinking market, it’s important to consider that most of today’s business comes not from millennials, but from non-millennial Borrowers.”One thing respondents could agree on was that potential borrowers wanted a more streamed line process, which translates to digital mortgage processes. In fact, fewer than 20 percent said they had clients that desired more paper. Further, forty percent said that they didn’t feel like smaller mortgage lenders were in direct competition with each other. Rather, they felt like the Big Five banks were their largest competition.last_img read more

Housing in The Mountain Region is Heating up

first_img Home prices in the Mountain region saw a 10 percent year over year rise between January 2017 and January 2018 according to the latest Home Price Index data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on home prices across the country. The monthly Home Price Index of the FHFA is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nationally, the index indicated a home price growth of 7.3 percent between January 2017 and January 2018, compared to 6.1 percent during the same period in 2016-2017.There was very little change on a month over month basis with home prices across the country increasing 0.8 percent in January 2018 over the previous month. FHFA noted that the previously reported 0.3 percent increase in December was revised upward to 0.4 percent. While all the regions across the U.S. showed a growth in home prices on a year over year basis, the monthly HPI data for the regions indicated a decline of 0.7 percent in the West South Central region. For the rest of the divisions, the seasonally adjusted monthly price growth from December 2017 to January 2018 ranged from 1.1 percent in the Mountain and East North Central regions to 1.2 percent in the New England and Pacific divisions.  Over a 12 month period, the Mountain region, which, according to the FHFA, consists of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, recorded the highest changes in prices at 10 percent between January 2017 and January 2018 from 8.4 percent in the same period during the prior year. The Pacific region, which was neck-to-neck with the Mountain states in the 2016-17 period registered a growth of 9.4 percent in the 2017-18 period.Home price growth in the West South Central Region (consisting of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana) actually saw a deceleration of home prices from 6.4 percent in 2016-17 to 5.1 percent in 2017-18. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Housing in The Mountain Region is Heating up March 22, 2018 546 Views center_img FHFA Home Price Index Home Prices homes HOUSING 2018-03-22 Radhika Ojha Sharelast_img read more