20 Aug
2019

WestJet Hainan Airlines sign codeshare agreement

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, September 23, 2016 Tags: Hainan Airlines, WestJet Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img Posted by CALGARY — WestJet has entered into a codeshare agreement allowing Hainan Airlines to place its HU code on WestJet-operated flights. The two carriers are building on an existing interline agreement that has been in place since 2013.The announcement marks WestJet’s 16th codeshare agreement.Hainan will be marketing HU codeshared flights to and from Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Prince George, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. All codeshare sales are offered through Hainan Airlines and its global distribution network.“The Chinese travel market is vast and growing; our newest code share with Hainan Airlines will allow even more guests to easily connect to the WestJet network,” said Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “This code-share agreement provides choice, streamlined service and connectivity to guests here at home and abroad. We look forward to welcoming Hainan’s guests on board to experience our caring service as the relationship expands to include codesharing.”More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthHou Wei, Vice President of Hainan Airlines, said, “cooperation with WestJet will further expand our network in Canada, giving our passengers more transfer options through Calgary and Toronto. We are confident that with Hainan’s SKYTRAX five-star service, now augmented by WestJet’s own high-level service standard, our customers will continue experiencing the kind of pleasant journey they’ve come to expect from us.” WestJet, Hainan Airlines sign codeshare agreementlast_img read more

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19 Aug
2019

Sunwings Luxury for Less sale on now through May 17

first_img Monday, May 13, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — With Sunwing’s Luxury for Less sale, clients can take advantage of vacation savings for bookings now until May 17.With this latest sale Sunwing is offering savings of up to $1,500 per couple at top resorts across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.One property taking part in the deal is also one of Mexico’s newest resorts: Royalton Suites Cancun Resort and Spa. Families can enjoy amenities and activities plus accommodations that sleep families of five or more. Located on the white-sand shores of Cancun, this brand-new resort features a kids’ club and teen lounge.Riu Palace Tropic Bay in Negril is another family-friendly resort included in the Luxury for Less sale, featuring a new RiuLand kids club.For travellers seeking an adults-only getaway, Riu Republica in Punta Cana is another option. This resort, located on a white-sand beach, offers unlimited access to the sole adults only water park in the Caribbean. Amenities include unlimited reservation free-dining, in-room liquor dispensers, and free WiFi. Sunwing’s ‘Luxury for Less’ sale on now through May 17 Tags: Sunwinglast_img read more

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19 Aug
2019

Losing the leatherback

first_imgFrom the print editionBaby sea turtles can’t get a break. Poachers and wild animals snatch up their eggs before they can hatch, and when they do break out of their shells they have to dig through 80 centimeters of sand and crawl to the water to face the toothy, hungry horrors of the oceans all alone.Now, a recently published study shows that successful hatches of baby turtles in Playa Grande, on the northwestern coast of Costa Rica, are likely to decline by as much as 50 to 60 percent as temperatures rise and rainfall diminishes in crucial nesting areas.“This is very bad news for the leatherback sea turtle, at least in this area,” said Pilar Santidrián Tomillo, science director for The Leatherback Trust, a sea turtle conservation group. “Unless climatic conditions are reverted we may have to move eggs to climate-controlled hatcheries; we may have to shade nests or water nests [to ensure successful hatchings].”Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest marine turtles, growing as large as 500 kilograms. They are critically endangered with an estimated global population of about 30,000. Pacific leatherbacks are the most threatened of the leatherbacks with only about 2,000 turtles nesting at the most important nesting areas in Costa Rica and Mexico. No related posts. Baby leatherback sea turtles crawl from a nest near Playa Grande on the northwestern coast of Costa Rica. Pacific leatherbacks are the most threatened of the leatherbacks with only about 2,000 turtles nesting at the most important nesting areas in Costa Rica and Mexico. Courtesy of Erin Keenecenter_img Baby sea turtles that survive egg poachers, make it to the sea and don’t get eaten by crocodiles or sharks face a lifelong threat of being caught up in industrial fishing nets or longlines, which stretch out with studded with baited hooks across tens of kilometers.The study, “Climate-Driven Egg and Hatchling Mortality Threatens Survival of Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtles,” examined hatching success rates in leatherback  nests at Playa Grande near Las Baulas National Marine Park, and used climate-change predictions from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to project egg and hatchling survival rates through the end of the century. IPCC climate predictions indicate that the effects of climate change will cause hotter, drier weather in the northwestern part of Costa Rica while other parts, particularly the Caribbean coast, will see increases in rainfall as the century progresses.But how hot is too hot for the baby leatherbacks?“Within the nest, clutches with average temperatures above 33-34 degrees Celsius don’t seem to hatch,” said Santidrián. “For air temperatures, it’s different, since rainfall is the most important factor affecting hatching success, and it has a cooling effect in the nest. In general, it seems that our model predicted approximately 0 percent hatching success for air temperatures above 32 degrees [C], … [depending] on precipitation.”The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released a report in San José this past March, which predicts a minimum average temperature increase in Central America of 2.4 C by 2100. That projection is based on a worldwide best-case scenario. The upper end of the ECLAC projections, which are also based on IPCC data, indicate a potential 4 C average temperature increase in the region (TT, March 2).Current average temperatures at Tamarindo, near Las Baulas, vacillate between lows of about 22 C and highs of 29 C in the cooler months of the year, and lows of 24 C and highs of 34 C in warmer months.Leatherbacks nest at Playa Grande from October to February, and the eggs take approximately 60 days to hatch, meaning many clutches hatch during the warmest months of the year.The projections don’t look good for the future of leatherback eggs and hatchlings – the ECLAC report predicts hatchling survival will “rapidly decline in the region over the next 100 years by 50-60 percent, due to warming and drying in northwestern Costa Rica, threatening the survival of leatherback turtles.”More heat means more femalesTemperature also affects the sex of hatching sea turtles. Santidrián said the middle point for sex determination in leatherback turtles at Playa Grande is 29.4 C. Temperatures warmer than that churn out lots of baby girl turtles and temperatures below that mean it will be mostly boys charging for the oceans upon hatching. According to the report, Playa Grande leatherback females nest on average seven times per season. They lay clutches of approximately 50-120 eggs that incubate at a depth of 80 centimeters beneath the sand, according to the conservation group WWF. Leatherback nesting and hatching cycles depend on periodic El Niño and La Niña weather patterns to stagger “boom and bust” hatches of male and female turtles – El Niño years are warmer and drier resulting in more females, and La Niña years are cooler and wetter, resulting in more males. As annual average temperatures rise steadily over the course of the next 88 years, though, the trend predicts many more booming seasons for females and a paucity of male-heavy hatches with obvious, negative implications for the species as a whole.Why do they matter?Besides being the world’s largest sea turtles, the oldest living reptiles, and their ability to dive to depths of 1,200 meters, what’s the big deal about leatherback sea turtles?“They feed mainly on jellyfish,” Santidrián said. “So, for example, in places like the Mediterranean where turtles are disappearing, there are jellyfish blooms every year reaching very developed beaches, where there are a lot of swimmers in the water.”Besides being a painful end to a day of surf and sun, jellyfish stings can lead to anaphylactic shock and death.Jellyfish sometimes feed on fish larvae, which can have big impacts on commercially viable fish species when jellyfish populations are out of equilibrium. “Jellyfish sometimes compete with fish, so when you see jellyfish increase other fish species may decrease,” Santidrián said. “Everything about a species is very tied to their ecosystem, and when you remove them there are always consequences.”In Playa Grande, local residents – some of them reformed poachers – work as guides for tourists who visit Costa Rica specifically to see nesting or hatching turtles. The tourists bring economic opportunities with them.“For a country that has a reputation as a conservationist country, to let a species go extinct is not a good thing,” Santidrián warned.What now?Santidrián said she remains optimistic that the leatherback sea turtle can be saved, but the fact remains that there’s not much Costa Rica can do to offset this particular threat to its turtles. Central American countries produce only 0.3 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but due to high poverty, poor infrastructure and long stretches of low-lying coastal areas, the region will bear a disproportionate amount of the negative effects of rising global temperatures and sea levels (TT, March 2).As temperatures continue to rise throughout the rest of the century, Santidrián said, some short-term actions like manually watering or shading nests or moving eggs to climate-controlled incubators might give leatherbacks a better shot at survival.But, she admits, these are stopgap measures.“I think that this is sort of a final warning,” Santidrián said. “There is still a way out, but we have to start taking this very seriously.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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19 Aug
2019

Grand jury declines to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson

first_imgRelated posts:Riot after US jury fails to indict Ferguson policeman Following Ferguson, US police use of military gear to be reviewed US Justice Department to launch probe of Ferguson police in wake of recent violence Costa Rican coastal community grieves colleague killed in US church massacre For more than three months, the grand jury — made up of seven men and five women, nine white and three black — heard evidence into the shooting. They met 25 times and heard from 60 witnesses, McCulloch said.A trove of evidence from the proceedings was released late Monday night, but beforehand McCulloch tried to describe the encounter between Wilson and Brown. He said that during the incident, Wilson angled his vehicle to block the path of Brown and friend Dorian Johnson. Two shots were fired while Wilson still sat in the car, and Brown’s blood was found inside the vehicle. McCulloch said, referencing witnesses, that some kind of “tussling” or “tug of war” took place.Brown then ran east on Canfield, and Wilson gave chase. “Less than 90 seconds passed” during the entire encounter, McCulloch said. Ten shots were fired after Brown fled, and Brown was hit seven or eight times.“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions,” the Brown family said in a statement released Monday night. This undated handout photograph released November 24, 2014 by the St. Louis County’s Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough shows police officer Darren Wilson shortly after he fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown. AFP/St. Louis County Prosecutor’s OfficeAmong the documents released Monday, one showed Wilson in the hospital — presumably right after the shooting — standing and looking head-on at the camera. One of his cheeks was red, but not heavily bruised, in contrast with rumors after the shooting that suggested he had a broken or cracked orbital socket.Officials had discussed emergency plans in the event of a violent reaction, while protest organizers and community leaders mapped out their response in the hopes of avoiding the unrest that exploded after Brown was killed. Brown’s family had asked for 4.5 minutes of silence after a grand jury decision was announced — symbolic of the 4.5 hours Brown’s body remained on the street after the shooting.Hundreds had gathered on South Florissant Road, a main area of commerce in Ferguson. The windows of a law firm and a video store were smashed. Fuel fed fire in a garbage can, and protesters were wiping their faces of what they said was tear gas. The Ferguson police department, where Wilson worked, is also on South Florissant.“I know how outraged and upset people are, but where’s the justice in this?” said Rosalind Hagedorn, a homemaker who came out to join the demonstration in front of police headquarters, pointing at a Beauty World shop with smashed windows. She said she has lived here for more than 30 years and shopped at that store. “I understand the emotion, but these people did nothing,” she said.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday night called Brown’s death a “tragedy” that has “sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve.”Download and read officer Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony here Another undated handout photograph released November 24, 2014 by the St. Louis County’s Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough showing police officer Darren Wilson shortly after he fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown. AFP/St. Louis County Prosecutor’s OfficeThe grand jurors convened in mid-August, days after the shooting, and spent weeks considering the case. Discussions could have stretched on even longer; the panel had been granted an extension through early January.Impatience and pressure for a decision have been building among residents and business owners, as well as police officers, who have been working 12-hour shifts with all leave time canceled since Saturday, said Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association. That schedule will continue through the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision.The closed-door grand jury process, much like the initial investigation, has been controversial throughout. In early October, for example, allegations of misconduct arose after a Twitter user wrote that a friend sat on the panel and did not think there was enough evidence to arrest the officer. (The woman later said she had been hacked.)In recent weeks, the most vocal protesters and local organizers have insisted that they never believed Wilson would face charges.See also: Suburban US ghettos like Ferguson are ticking time bombs Protestors kneel with their hands up during a demonstration on November 24, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFPThe Justice Department’s civil rights investigation was announced days after the shooting, with Holder traveling to Ferguson, where National Guard troops had been deployed amid the increasingly chaotic aftermath. In early September, Holder announced that his agency also would review the Ferguson Police Department, investigating claims that officers may have engaged in a pattern of racial profiling or excessive force.“Anecdotal accounts underscore the history of mistrust of law enforcement in Ferguson,” Holder said then. “As a result of this history, and following an extensive review of documented allegations and other available data, we have determined that there is cause for the Justice Department to open an investigation.”After the fatal shooting, protesters responded by gathering in the streets of Ferguson, calling for justice in the Brown case and broad reform on a municipal level. Hundreds spent their August nights following grainy live-stream feeds from West Florissant Avenue, as activists and residents were hit with tear gas and police in riot gear flooded the streets. Many who were arrested later claimed they had done nothing to prompt police action and questioned law enforcement’s response to the unrest.Authorities defended their actions, saying they were trying to keep order while respecting the public’s right to protest.Early on, there were calls for McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor, to step down from the case. Activists, troubled by McCulloch’s personal and professional ties to law enforcement, demanded a special prosecutor. But Nixon would not ask McCulloch to recuse himself, and McCulloch declined to step aside.“As I have stated repeatedly,” McCulloch said in a statement. “I have no intention of walking away from the responsibilities and duties entrusted to me by the people of this community.”Washington Post staff writers Sarah Larimer and Jerry Markon in Washington contributed to this report.Read all our coverage of the Michael Brown case here© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments FERGUSON, Missouri — A grand jury on Monday declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, resolving a secretive, months-long legal saga and reigniting powerful frustrations about the United States’ policing of African Americans.The decision means that Wilson, 28, will face no state charges for the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. It also set off a show of fury on streets near where Brown was shot, a reflection of emotions that register in this riven city as either out of control or justifiable.Yellow and orange ribbons from a burning police car lit up a block. Police fired tear-gas canisters to contain the crowds. Not far from Christmas lights in downtown Ferguson that read “Seasons Greetings,” people looted liquor and convenience stores, a response that ran counter to the peace that Missouri authorities, President Barack Obama and Brown’s family had requested.As St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced the decision, National Guard troops fanned out across the city. Though there was calm and silence in the streets of Ferguson for a half-beat after the announcement, but anger erupted shortly thereafter, and just after midnight county police reported hearing automatic-weapon fire.In a sign of the way that the events from Ferguson have both compelled and startled a nation, protesters also gathered in front of the White House and in several other major cities, with sporadic reports of police cars being attacked. A police car is set ablaze during clashes with protesters following a grand jury’s decision in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 24, 2014. Jewel Samad/AFPThough many in St. Louis expected that Wilson would not be indicted, officials here faced a challenge in trying to provide rationale for that decision. McCulloch, during a news conference, emphasized that testimony varied sharply among eyewitnesses and made it difficult to have a clear account of what unfolded during the 90-second confrontation between Wilson and Brown on Canfield Drive.“Hands up, don’t shoot” has become a rallying cry in recent month for protesters, but McCulloch said that even the image of Brown’s surrender may have been a fiction.“Some witnesses maintained their original statement that Mr. Brown had his hands in the air and was not moving toward the officer when he was shot,” McCulloch said. “Several witnesses said Mr. Brown did not raise his hands at all or that he raised them briefly and then dropped them and then turned toward Officer Wilson, who then fired several rounds.”A statement from Wilson’s attorneys released shortly after the grand jury announcement said that officers must sometimes make “split-second and difficult decisions” and that Wilson “followed his training and followed the law.”Obama, speaking after the grand jury announcement, urged peace in St. Louis, as did many authorities in the region. The president also asked officers in Ferguson to show restraint. But Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, D, warned that “if people are violent or threatening property, then resources will be used.”center_img Watch President Obama’s statement on the #Ferguson grand jury decision. http://t.co/PMkjKQTol3— White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) November 25, 2014last_img read more

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18 Aug
2019

DDay looms in bitter CubaUS rum trademark war

first_imgAlthough the U.S. sanctions prevent Cuba from marketing Havana Club in the United States, the island has held the trademark there since 1976 after the Cuban family that originally owned the brand let their registration lapse.But since it came time to renew in 2006, Cuba says, it has been unable to do so because the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the embargo against the island, has not issued a license for Havana to make the $200 renewal payment.Cuba sued the U.S. government, but lost. And when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the ruling on May 14, a 30-day countdown began after which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can cancel the trademark.That means that as soon as June 13, Cuba’s claim to the name could expire, and with it the island’s best hope of continuing its legal battle.Cuba has sent repeated diplomatic notes to Washington about the Havana Club trademark, but without yielding any result, Vice Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno said.U.S. government representatives declined to comment Tuesday. But in a written response to a question posed at a May 17 briefing, the State Department said the Office of Foreign Assets Control declined to license Cuban state-run export company Cubaexport to pay the fee, per policy guidance from State. Men’s health affects baby’s health too New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressHAVANA (AP) – There was the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and there is still no end in sight to U.S.-Cuban animosity. Now a bitter dispute over a sweet-tasting spirit appears to be nearing an end game after more than a decade of legal wrangling.Time and again U.S. courts have ruled against Cuba in its fight to control the U.S. rights to the trademark Havana Club, the island’s flagship rum brand that is sold in more than 120 countries around the world _ but not in the United States. Right now Bacardi dominates worldwide with 19.3 million cases of its rums sold in 2010, according to Impact Databank. That compares to 3.8 million cases of Pernod Ricard’s Havana Club sold in 2010, according to the French company.Bacardi says it legitimately has the right to market Havana Club in the United States. The Bermuda-based company says it purchased global rights to the trademark in 1997 from the Arechabala family, the original owners who had let their registrations lapse. At the time, Bacardi was already embroiled in a legal dispute over its use of the name.In rulings favoring Bacardi, courts cited 1998 U.S. legislation _ which Bacardi lobbied for and some call the “Bacardi Bill” _ preventing lawsuits to enforce a trademark involving a company that was nationalized by Cuba. That same legislation also amended U.S. law so that such trademarks could no longer be renewed automatically, and required a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.Pernod Ricard considers the legislation unfairly retroactive.Bacardi applauded the Supreme Court decision. It said it has a trademark pending with the patent office since 1994, and is confident of gaining approval soon. “Cubaexport was accorded and exercised a panoply of rights available to it under U.S. law,” the statement read. “Cubaexport has had its day in court.”The French company Pernod Ricard, which partners with Cuba to distribute Havana Club worldwide, vows the battle isn’t over.“We are currently studying possible legal actions and studying the decision,” Olivia Lagache, general counsel for Havana Club, said by phone from Paris. “We will still fight to keep this trademark alive.”But the French spirits maker is also putting contingency plans into action. After the Supreme Court ruling, Pernod Ricard announced it had registered the brand name Havanista in the United States to sell rum there whenever the embargo is lifted.The U.S. is an extremely lucrative market and home to some 40 percent of the world’s rum drinkers, who would likely jump at the chance to sip the light, dry rum, distilled through a process of charcoal filtering and oak-barrel aging to give it extra sweetness.Havana Club offers a range of rums that go from just a few dollars to the ultra-high-end Maximo Extra Anejo, which retails for more than $1,200 a bottle. By mid-June, Cuba could lose all chance of pressing its legal claims against Bacardi, which distributes a limited quantity of its own Havana Club rum in Florida and says it plans to expand to other U.S. states in the near future.Indignant over what it considers wholesale piracy of a national icon, Cuba accuses the U.S. of using an under-the-radar maneuver to block Cuba from paying the small trademark renewal fee, and has raised its concerns at increasingly high levels of government. If the trademark expires, Cuba says it could retaliate on U.S. trademarks currently protected on the island.“The United States’ disrespectful attitude in divesting the legitimate Cuban owners of the Havana Club brand can put at risk the brand and patent rights of American companies in our country,” Maria de los Angeles Sanchez, director of Cuba’s office of intellectual property, said Tuesday. “Cuba reserves the right as a sovereign nation to act at the appropriate moment.”Such retaliation might have limited immediate impact, as most U.S. goods are barred from being sold to the island under the 50-year-old U.S. embargo. However there are some legal sales of food items, and companies could also face tough and costly legal battles to win back their trademark rights in a post-embargo Cuba. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   Top Stories “Cuba does not have a valid registration,” said Patricia M. Neal, a spokeswoman for Bacardi USA. “As a matter of law, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will formally cancel the registration of Cuba Export for the mark in due course.”___Associated Press writers Andrea Rodriguez in Havana and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.___Peter Orsi on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Peter_orsi Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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18 Aug
2019

Berlin show to mark centenary of Nefertiti find

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home The show will include some 600 objects, many of which have been held in the Berlin museum’s stores and which organizers hope will illustrate everyday life in ancient Egypt. They include some 200 being restored in time for the exhibition.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 0 Comments   Share   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 Daycenter_img BERLIN (AP) – Berlin is to honor the centenary of the discovery of a famed bust of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti _ one of the city’s top tourist attractions _ with an exhibition of works from the Amarna site where she was found, many of them freshly restored.The Egyptian Museum said Monday that the show, “In the Light of Amarna,” will open Dec. 6 _ the 100th anniversary of the day when a German excavator unearthed the 3,300-year old limestone bust of Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton, at Amarna in southern Egypt. Check your body, save your life Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more

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18 Aug
2019

Transgender Pakistanis face societys scorn

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressRAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) – Dressed up in elaborate, feminine outfits and artfully applied makeup, they are showered with money while dancing at all-male wedding parties. But the lives of transgender people in Pakistan are also marked by harassment, rejection and poverty.Transgender people live in a tenuous position in conservative Pakistan, where the roles of the sexes are traditionally starkly drawn. Families often push them out of the home when they’re young, forcing many to prostitute themselves to earn a living. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day In other parts of the region and Muslim world, the attitude toward transgenders is also complex. In Thailand, the community is very visible and broadly tolerated. Transgender people are regularly seen on TV soap operas, working at department store cosmetics counters or popular restaurants and walking the runways in numerous transgender beauty pageants.Many transgender Indonesians publicly wear women’s clothes and makeup and work as singers. But societal disdain still runs deep. They have taken a much lower profile in recent years, following a series of attacks by Muslim hard-liners.In Malaysia, Muslim men who wear women’s clothes can be prosecuted in Islamic courts.In the Arab world, there is little opportunity for transgender people to openly show their identity in public. In 2007, Kuwait made “imitating members of the opposite sex” a crime, leading to the arrest of hundreds of transgender women, Human Rights Watch said. In Iraq, extremists have targeted and killed people perceived of being gay or effeminate.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) One role where they are tolerated is as dancers at weddings and other celebrations at which men and women are strictly segregated. In between the dancing and showers of rupee notes, they must fend off groping from drunken guests.“I don’t understand why people feel it is their duty to tease and taunt us,” said one transgender Pakistani who goes by the name Symbal. Many in the transgender community pick a name for themselves and do not use their last name to protect their family.Others beg on the streets or earn money by blessing newborn babies. The blessings reflect a widespread belief in Pakistan and other South Asian nations that God answers the prayers of someone who was born underprivileged, said Iqbal Hussain, a Pakistani researcher who has studied the transgender community. But he cautioned that didn’t mean people were ready to give them equal rights.In recent years the community has gained some government protection. A Supreme Court ruling in 2011 allowed them to get national identity cards recognizing them as a separate identity _ neither male or female _ and allowing them to vote. In neighboring India, the election commission ruled in 2009 that transgender people could register to vote as “other,” rather than male or female.last_img read more

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18 Aug
2019

Iran lawmakers seek deeper probe in blogger death

first_img Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Check your body, save your life Iran’s leaders have placed a top priority on efforts to stamp out online dissent and fight the co-called “soft war” against perceived Western influence via the Internet, which remains highly filtered in Iran but blocks are often bypassed by the country’s educated and tech-savvy population. New Web-watching police units have gained increasing clout and took the lead in Beheshti’s arrest and interrogation.Some officials, including influential lawmakers, question whether the cyberpolice acted without going through proper judicial channels to receive an arrest warrant.A statement read Sunday on behalf of the parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy called for a “special” investigation into the death of the 35-year-old blogger.It was not immediately clear what kind of added probe could occur since prosecutors already have opened an investigation into the case. But the statement reflects widespread outrage over possible legal shortcuts by the cyberpolice and alleged abuses. The committee’s report also urged police to monitor all detention centers through closed circuit cameras, and suggested prosecutors make regular visits. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressTEHRAN, Iran (AP) – A powerful group in Iran’s parliament called Sunday for expanded investigations into the death of a jailed blogger in a case that has already brought down the chief of the Internet-monitoring police and opened rare public debates over the growing powers of the country’s Web watchers.While the blogger, Sattar Beheshti, was not the first suspected opposition activist to die in Iranian custody _ and bring international condemnation on Iran _ the fallout since November has taken an added toll by exposing apparent conflicts between regular security networks and the widening clout of the cyberpolice. The report said Beheshti _ described as having “close contact” with foreign-based opposition groups _ had bruises and inflammations in his face, left leg and back.While in jail, Beheshti had officially complained that he was mistreated and tortured, according to Kaleme, a news website close to the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Kaleme was the first to report the blogger’s death in November.In November, Iran’s state prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei said Beheshti died in police custody and that wounds were found on his body.Weeks later, Iran fired its head of cyber-security, Gen. Mohammad Hasan Shokrian, for “failure and lack of sufficient supervision over the performance of personnel under his command.” Three police officers remain in detention.Arrests of activists and claims of abuse in detention are commonplace in Iran, but deaths behind bars are much rarer.In 2010, Iran’s judiciary dismissed suspended three judges and dismissed several police officers following a report by the parliament over death of three prisoners of the post-election protests and clashes in the wake of the disputed 2009 presidential elections.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

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18 Aug
2019

Irans top diplomat hints at broader ties with US

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The move is part of Iranian efforts to possibly build on groundbreaking exchanges with Washington that included a telephone call last week between President Hassan Rouhani and President Barack Obama.Earlier last week Iran said it is examining ways to resume direct flights to and from the United States.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s Foreign Minister is saying Iranian legislators and scholars may have ties with their American counterparts.A Sunday report by the official IRNA news agency quotes Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying the ties can be formed after permission by the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.IRNA reported Zarif has told a parliamentary committee that some American congressman and congresswoman as well as academics expressed interest in better ties.center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

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18 Aug
2019

Liberation theology rehabilitation continues at Vatican

first_imgVATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s rehabilitation of liberation theology is continuing under Pope Francis with the movement’s founder appearing at an official Vatican event next week talking about “a poor church for the poor.”Peruvian theologian the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez will be one of the main speakers at a gathering of the Vatican’s charity arm, Caritas Internationalis, and will appear at an official Vatican press conference launching the assembly Tuesday. Liberation theology is the Latin American-inspired Catholic theology advocating for the poor. It gained followers in the 1960s and 1970s among Latin Americans who were raised Catholic, taught by Marxist-influenced teachers and outraged by the inequality and bloody repression around them.The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — later Pope Benedict XVI — spent much of his quarter-century tenure at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith battling liberation theology and disciplining some of its most famous defenders, arguing that they had misinterpreted Jesus’ preference for the poor into a Marxist call for armed rebellion.Gutierrez himself was never sanctioned by the Vatican.Ever since Francis succeeded Benedict as pope, liberation theology has come out of the shadows given Francis’ own wish for “a poor church that is for the poor.” Last year, Gutierrez was a surprise guest at a book launch for his friend, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, currently the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.Gutierrez and his backers insist true liberation theology was always perfectly in line with the church’s social teaching about the poor. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The Caritas assembly will also touch on another issue dear to Francis’ heart: climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable. Cardinal Peter Turkson, who wrote an early draft of Francis’ eagerly awaited environment encyclical, is to give a presentation.___Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfieldCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

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17 Aug
2019

Qantas fuel surcharges skyrocket

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Qantas international surcharges and domestic fares will once again increase due to high global fuel prices. From April 5 the average fare increase on Qantas and QantasLink flights will be 5 percent, depending on the route and fare class. Qantas Frequent Flyer’s will also be affected as surcharges on Classic Award redemption tickets will increase by $4 domestically and $10 for Trans-Tasman flights. This is the second increase in the space of two months by the Qantas Group, after announcing increases in fuel surcharges in February. Jetstar are also poised to increase surcharges within the Singapore and Australian markets due to the hike in fuel costs.The Qantas Group expects fuel costs to continue to rise by approximately $300 million to $2.3 billion during the second half of the 2011/2012 financial year.last_img read more

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17 Aug
2019

Heed his words AAA pins tourism on Packer

first_imgAustralia’s accommodation leaders say the country’s tourism industry needs to heed James Packer’s plans to kick-start tourism down under, claiming his vision would help “reinvigorate tourism”.Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive Richard Munro said Mr Packer has a clear “passion for Australian tourism” and his plans to target Chinese middle class and develop Barangaroo would give the industry a “further lift”.“His vision of developing a major new hotel and casino on the prime Sydney waterfront site Barangaroo is a sound one given the need to further lift the standard of our tourism accommodation product, as well as existing occupancy and room-rates in Sydney,” Mr Munro said.  “It would be a magnet for visitors from the emerging Chinese market. “Mr Packer’s ideas should be one of a number of measures to reinvigorate tourism in Australia.”Mr Munro added that enticing more international flights is also important for the industry and said a focus was needed for those outside of major aviation gateways of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.  “This won’t be easy given the taxation regime, which includes the commencement of the carbon tax in just over a month, the increase in departure tax and the police levy on airports,” he concluded. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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17 Aug
2019

Flight Centre battles pricefixing case

first_imgFlight Centre will go to court today to defend allegations of price-fixing in a case that will see the travel giant face massive fines and injunctions if they lose.Set to face the Brisbane Federal Court over the next three weeks, the travel company vigorously denies allegations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that they schemed with Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Emirates to set ticket prices and keep commissions high.Flight Centre chief executive Graham Turner has  criticised the claims, calling them “stupid” and insists Flight Centre did not seek to have suppliers raise prices or withdraw fares, news.com.au reported.The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sought permission from the court last week to intervene in the case that is seen as the first significant test of new price-fixing laws that came into effect in 2010.Under the law, companies found to have engaged in the practice can be fined up to $10 million, three times the benefit of their illegal conduct or ten percent of their total revenues per offence.The uncertainty in the travel sector and the flow-on implications for those in other sectors is a concern if the ACCC prevails, according to analysts.This is not the first battle for Flight Centre against the ACCC after they were forced to scrap its ‘Lowest Airfares Guaranteed’ slogan and take out advertising to inform the public back in 2005. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W.last_img read more

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17 Aug
2019

Australian hotels strangest situations

first_imgNew research suggests Australian hotel staff often suffer strange requests and awkward situations, while attending to the needs of guests.A survey conducted by lastminute.com.au in conjunction with Australian hotel partners highlighted some wacky facts about the zany guests hoteliers have checked-in.One respondent said a female guest requested a male staff member deliver a bottle of Coca Cola to her room where she proceeded to open the door in her birthday suit.Adult services was a common point of enquiry among Australian hotel guests, while one female traveller asked for a pole to be installed in her room for dancing.Staff agreed couples were better guests than families, males more welcome than females and corporate guests trump leisure visitors.“When it comes to out-there requests and situations, our Australian hotel partners have seen it all,” lastminute.com.au general manager Kirsty La Bruniy said.“When it comes to accommodating requests, they do have to draw the line somewhere, like when a guest wants McDonald’s and the closest one is 70 kilometres away, or a booking for two adults turns out to be for four adults and six children.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. New survey reveals zany customer queries.last_img read more

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17 Aug
2019

Etihad and Alitalia seal equity deal

first_imgEtihad Airways and Alitalia have confirmed have agreed on the terms and conditions of Etihad acquiring equity stake in the airline.Etihad will acquire 49 per cent equity of Alitalia and the airlines will now sign transactional documents that will include agreed upon conditions as soon as possible.According to Bloomberg, Etihad will invest 560 million euros (AUD 81 157 952 million) in Alitalia and also create a company for Alitalia’s operating assets.In addition, it will also buy a majority in the company that runs Alitalita’s loyalty program.The investment is still pending regulatory approval.Alitalia had previously sought a bailout package from a new partner after Air France-KLM Group bowed out of an Italian government backed deal last year.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img

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17 Aug
2019

For Qantas it Feels Like Home

first_imgQantas unveiled the latest of its brand campaigns titled ‘Feels Like Home’.It tells the stories of five Qantas passengers around the world, and their journey home to Australia and being welcomed at the airport by loved ones.The campaign coincides with the national carrier celebrating its ninety forth year of operation in November this year and their seventieth year of the Qantas logo.The advertisement is based on the real life journey of five people; a young woman making an emotional return to Sydney after a year in London; a miner coming home to his family after a long stint in the Pilbara; a little girl coming home from Los Angeles after the trip of her lifetime visiting extended family; a mother living in Hong Kong bringing their new baby home to excited grandparents for the first time; and a young backpacker making his way back from South America.Qantas Group chief executive officer Alan Joyce said the campaign was designed to celebrate the unique place Qantas has in the lives of many Australians and the time was right to reinforce what makes Qantas special.“For almost 100 years Qantas has been bringing Australians from all around the world home to the people and places they love,” Mr Joyce said.The campaign will reinvigorate the brand after a tumultuous year that saw the airline operating at a loss of $2.8 billion after tax.Mr Joyce said the airline will go back to doing what it does best; in delivering a level of service Australian passengers have come to know as reassuring.“We often hear that seeing the Qantas red tail at an airport, or stepping on board a Qantas aircraft, makes Australians feel like they’re halfway home already. That’s the spirit we wanted to capture.“The stories we’re telling through this campaign are repeated everyday across our network. They reflect the special pull of home, the love of family and friends and the way Qantas helps bring Australians together around the country and around the globe,” Mr Joyce added.The music backdrop is that of Randy Newman’s song, Feels Like Home sung by 20 year old Australian singer, Martha Marlow and will also be played on-board Qantas aircraft. The campaign will be seen on television, cinema, outdoor, in print and online.Source = ETB Travel News: Basil Naimetlast_img read more

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17 Aug
2019

Cathay Pacific adds fifth weekly Adelaide service

first_imgCathay Pacific adds fifth weekly Adelaide serviceCathay Pacific Airways is adding a fifth weekly flight to Adelaide from 2 December 2015. The move will see the airline increase its capacity on the route by 25 per cent and brings the weekly number of seats to 2,500.Nelson Chin, General Manager, Cathay Pacific Airways Southwest Pacific, said the increase is a direct response to high demand from both inbound and outbound passengers.“Since we introduced our new schedule in early April last year which provides better connections, particularly to the UK and Chinese destinations, we have seen demand surge,” he said. “Our flights have been very popular and we have seen increased numbers of tourists into Adelaide from mainland China, as well as South Australians taking advantage of the fast connections to China, Asia, London and North America via Hong Kong.“The fifth flight will depart Hong Kong on Wednesday night and depart Adelaide on Thursday morning, making Adelaide departures available on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, giving South Australian passengers more flexibility in their travel plans,” said Mr Chin.“We are also working closely with Tourism South Australia to promote the State in Hong Kong, mainland China and other key markets and this is proving to be a very good partnership,” he added.Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said the additional flight into Adelaide was excellent news for South Australia.“The State Government has been working extremely hard to create opportunities and shine the spotlight on our state. With events like the Tour Down Under, World Cup Cricket at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval, the Adelaide Fringe, Clipsal 500 Adelaide, Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide, we are continuing to see visitors flood into SA.“Importantly, Cathay Pacific has very strong links with Europe and China – two of our key markets.  In the recent State Budget, $35 million was allocated to market Adelaide and SA internationally and interstate, with a particular focus on China.“The additional flight will play a role in helping us reach our goal of 57,000 Chinese visitors by 2020 and build an $8 billion tourism industry by 2020,” he said.Mark Young, Managing Director, Adelaide Airport added: “The direct flights to Hong Kong, providing same day connections with mainland China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, have proved very popular with travellers – as have the onward connections to London.  It’s great news that Cathay Pacific will expand this service from later this year to meet growing demand.”The additional flight also means an increase in capacity for freight from South Australia.“In addition to extra passengers, we have also been carrying a lot more freight out of Adelaide, particularly fresh tuna to Japan, chilled fish to Hong Kong and Europe, as well as chilled meat to Frankfurt and Taiwan. An extra flight each week gives South Australian exporters an extra 15 tonnes in freight capacity,” Mr Chin added. Fly Cathay PacificSource = Cathay Pacificlast_img read more

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16 Aug
2019

Bahamas approved its presence at Seychelles Carnival

first_imgIn a recent UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) & Kingdom of Morocco’s tourism meeting in Morocco where a large number of tourism ministers and by heads of tourism offices of many countries, Minister Alain St Ange of the Seychelles and Joy Jibrilu, the Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, made time to meet to discuss closer cooperation between the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands and also between the Seychelles itself and the Bahamas.“Participating in Carnival of Carnivals cultural event is a sure way to raise your country’s visibility. It is very much like a tourism trade fair, but at this event in Seychelles, one uses one’s culture and in so doing the people of one’s country instead of glossy brochures to promote one’s country. This event is promoting peace through culture, as it was launched believing that the future of humanity is through peace,” Minister St Ange of the Seychelles said.Minister St Ange of the Seychelles also guaranteed the Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism that a large contingent of world press would again be in Seychelles this year to cover the event, and it is the press themselves who have called the event the unique ‘Carnival of Carnivals’.last_img read more

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16 Aug
2019

Amitabh Bachchan visits Egypt to launch India by the Nile festival

first_imgIndian superstar Amitabh Bachchan was recently on a three-day visit to Egypt’s capital Cairo city. During his visit, he inaugurated the third edition of the ‘India by the Nile’ festival.“It is my fourth visit to this wonderful country. Every time I come to Egypt I feel as though I come home. There is a lot of similarity between India and Egypt in terms of culture, ancient history, tolerance, warmth and friendliness of the people,” said Bachchan during a press conference in Cairo.During his stay in Egypt, Bachchan also visited the Pyramids and Cairo Opera House. Talking about the safety concerns in Egypt, Bachchan said, “I am an example of how Egypt is save to travel and I am going to go back and say that in India too. I would also love to come back and shoot a film in Egypt.”Ramy Nicola, Chairman, Lady Egypt Tours, a leading travel agency in Egypt added, “The history and stunning monuments of ancient Egypt, the romantic cruise along the river Nile, the hospitality of the Egyptians and their love and respect for Indians will definitely leave an everlasting impression in the minds of Indian travellers.”The 18-day India by the Nile festival is considered to be the biggest foreign fair in Egypt. The festival is organised by The Embassy of India, Cairo (through the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture) in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Cairo Opera House and managed by Teamworks Arts. Egypt Tourism is hoping that Bachchan’s visit will boost Indian tourist arrivals to the country in the coming years.last_img read more

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16 Aug
2019

New initiatives taken by Indian Railways

first_imgIndian Railways are planning to roll out paperless mobile ticketing system in New Delhi and Mumbai corridors. Indian Railways has taken major initiatives to bring comfort to passengers, including mobile ticketing and e-catering.Source: DD Newslast_img

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