Tags: Alitalia, Italy Italian government to loan Alitalia $973 million as the airline seeks buyer Wednesday, May 3, 2017 Share Source: The Associated Press MILAN — Struggling Italian air carrier Alitalia entered its second period of bankruptcy protection in a decade on Tuesday with the government approving a 600 million-euro (Cdn $773 million) bridge loan to keep the airline operating as it seeks a new buyer.The move came after the Alitalia board acknowledged the failure of a government-brokered relaunch plan, which workers overwhelmingly rejected despite softened job and salary cuts, out of concern it lacked a realistic strategy to revive revenue.The plan’s failure blocked a planned 2 billion-euro investment from both managing shareholder Etihad Airways, with a 49% share, and a consortium of Italian investors that controls a 51-per cent stake.Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda said the goal in the short term is to seek buyers while protecting service, routes and workers and “spending as little government money as possible.”The Italian government named three administrators – Luigi Gubitosi, Enrico Laghi and Stefan Paleari – to see Alitalia through a six-month period of reorganization.Alitalia has lost competitiveness as the European aviation market has been liberalized, suffering in particular under competition from low-cost carriers. Its failure has previously been staved off by government interventions.More news: Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyAnalysts, however, say it may be difficult to find another suitor, making the prospect of liquidation more likely than in past crises as the government may lack the political will to ensure the carrier’s survival as a stand-alone entity.“There is an air of inevitable disaster,” said airline analyst Gregory Alegi, who teaches at Rome’s LUISS University. “We could see something like Austria Air or Swissair, which ended up in the Lufthansa world but much slimmer and trimmer.”Milan Polytechnic University Finance Professor Marco Giorgino said any potential buyer “needs to understand the reality of managing a company with high debt that has lost market share and with high operating costs.”In lieu of a buyer to take over the company, the government-appointed administrators could consider selling off pieces of Alitalia.Alitalia has emphasized that its flights are operating on schedule heading into the summer tourist season. Alegi said the airline was unlikely to suffer an immediate loss of bookings since much summer travel was already scheduled.However, the company may run into trouble booking longer-term travel and with group operators, which could cost it cash.More news: Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?“Would you buy a ticket now for an operator that may not exist in six months?” Alegi asked.Alitalia filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008 when it was still state-owned, but avoided liquidation when then-Premier Silvio Berlusconi organized a group of Italian investors to step in during a privatization process. Etihad took a 49-per cent stake in 2014.Etihad Aviation Group CEO James Hogan said in a statement that Alitalia needs “fundamental and far-reaching restructuring to survive” and made clear the Abu Dhabi-based airline is not prepared to continue pumping money into the Italian company.Hogan said Etihad’s involvement delivered “significant improvements” early on. He blamed “marketplace challenges,” including competition from budget airlines and the effect of terror attacks on tourism, for Alitalia’s continued struggles.Hogan said Italy remains an important market for Etihad and the airline will continue to partner with Alitalia within its alliance that includes Air Berlin, Air Serbia and Air Seychelles.Alitalia’s latest woes come as Qatar Airways has closed a deal to buy a 49% stake in Italy’s second-largest carrier, Meridiana. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Virgin Voyages Terminal at PortMiami coming in 2021; Scarlet Lady bookings open Feb. 2019 Share Travelweek Group MIAMI — Virgin Voyages is getting ready to open the books for 2020 sailings on its first ship, Scarlet Lady, starting Feb. 14, 2019 and has also released renderings of its just-announced 100,000-square-foot dedicated Virgin Voyages terminal at PortMiami.“Since we’re already feeling the love, Pre-Sale Deposit Holders will be able to book passage aboard our Scarlet Lady starting February 5, 2019. We will be open for business for all sailors beginning February 14, 2019,” says the cruise line.Virgin Voyages says Scarlet Lady will continue to sail to the Caribbean from Miami throughout 2021. The company’s second ship will sail from Miami during the fall/winter cruise season of 2021/22.Meanwhile the new Virgin Voyages Terminal will be located on the northwest side of the port. Pending the Board of County Commission’s approval of the MOU for construction of a new cruise facility, along with the subsequent berthing agreement, the project will start next year and is slated for completion by November 2021.“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favorite places to work and play,” said Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “From our headquarters for Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages and now Virgin Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”More news: Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalAdds Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin: “South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on.”The new terminal is designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, the same architecture firm that designed American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami, Brickell City Centre Complex in Brickell and the Miami City Ballet in South Beach.Arquitectonica has designed the terminal’s rooftop to resemble a palm tree grove with pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, “and gorgeous beams to light up our iconic Virgin Voyages logo (as well as the Miami sky) by night, allowing our future home to shine brightly.”The two-storey storm-proof glass facility will boast lush landscaping, giving the terminal a plaza-like feel with designated areas for VIP drop-offs, as well as ride-sharing and provisioning, all designed to provide a seamless shore to ship experience, says the cruise line.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Earlier this month Virgin Voyages announced its plans to build a fourth ship from Fincantieri shipyard, set for delivery in 2023 and accommodating 2,770 passengers.The cruise line also announced Cuba as one of the destinations for its first ship Scarlet Lady, setting sail in 2020.The adults-only cruise line has created considerable buzz in the industry. In a recent feature story for Travelweek, McAlpin said Canada is a “great market” for Virgin Voyages and talked about his plans for this market.A number of trade-focused initiatives will be included in the line’s rollout over the next year, like a First Mates website and an expanding sales force that will educate front-line agents.Earlier this month the cruise line also released renderings of its dining venues for Scarlet Lady. Wednesday, November 28, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Miami, Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages
From the print edition“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The opening lines of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” are certainly applicable to Costa Rica’s position in the world economy right now.Production has positive momentum, and the Central Bank sees Costa Rica on track for 4 percent economic growth in 2012 (TT, June 1). This will be less than the 4.2 percent of 2011, but more than the 3.8 percent that that institution projected at the start of the year, and two times the recently revised economic growth projection of 2 percent for the United States. After two slow years, foreign direct investment in Costa Rica increased to a record $2.1 billion for 2011, recovering past 2008 levels, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Yes, these are positive developments, but Costa Ricans have mixed attitudes towards the economic situation. On June 4, financial weekly El Financiero published mostly positive outlooks for business expansion in 2012 based on a survey of corporate business manager attitudes. But family breadwinners and small-business owners see the prices of fuel and interest rates going up, and feel an uptick in inflation. A steady diet of news showing an evermore dysfunctional government, culminating in a tax package fiasco in April, has also undercut confidence.Even though there is good news nationally, Costa Rica is dependent on exports for its prosperity. So what happens in the world economy is important, and uncertainty outside Costa Rica’s borders sows doubt as to the sustainability of recovery from the 2010 downturn. International interest rates are at record lows, driven by money-printing by the U.S. Federal Reserve to try to stimulate the U.S. economy, combined with panic in Europe over Greece and Spain and the possible breakdown of the euro. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rates just hit a low of 1.45 percent on June 1, a rate which would have been considered impossibly low only a year ago. A 1.45 percent return on a 10-year bond will almost certainly be less than inflation. Investors are effectively paying the Fed to hold their money. With this kind of an interest rate environment, even conservative investors will look in new places to invest their money, like Costa Rica and its export companies or banks. Concerning the latter, El Financiero notes that “foreign credit is raining on the banks.”Costa Rican Financial Institution Superintendency numbers show a 32 percent increase in foreign loans and lines of credit to Costa Rican banks, over levels of a year ago. This money has come from both traditional development-financing sources (the Inter-American Development Bank and the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation) and commercial lenders such as Citibank. What is unheard of is not just the amount of the loans, but the terms: interest rates between 2 percent and 6 percent, and 8-15 years to pay. The explanation for the relative lack of popular enthusiasm over these good foreign investment and bank credit numbers lies in the dual nature of Costa Rica’s economy: a dollar-based export-production machine for which companies can’t find enough qualified workers, and a more slowly growing colón economy in which local producers must fight for customers and credit. Can there be integration to share the export sector’s boom with the rest of the Costa Rican economy? Will the U.S. economy muddle through to better times, and will international markets hold together so that Costa Rica’s export boom can continue?These are huge challenges, and Costa Rica has no control at all over what happens outside its borders. But so far in 2012, things are holding together. Depending on which part of the Costa Rican economy someone works in, maybe best and worst don’t apply, but it’s either good times or bad times for people who may live right next to each other. Facebook Comments No related posts.
No related posts. On Sunday, January 6, all traffic on Route 27 will go toward the capital to help those vacationing outside of San José make a quicker return from the Pacific region.The change will force drivers traveling from San José to Caldera to use alternate routes.The reversible lanes will be used on the stretch of the Caldera Highway (Route 27) connecting Pozón de Orotina (Alajuela) to Ciudad Colón (San Jose) from noon to 8:00 p.m.Drivers heading to the Pacific during these hours should use Route 3 (Atenas-Aguacate-Orotina) or Route 239 (Puriscal-Turrubares-Orotina). Facebook Comments
Several Nicaraguan media on Monday published the results of a study that concluded that the construction of a road along the Río San Juan by Costa Rica affected more than 600 animal species.“The effect on biodiversity includes direct damage to a corridor for 44 terrestrial and aquatic species, as well as damage of habitat for 600 species, including 150 that are irreplaceable,” the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario reported.The study was conducted by the National Autonomous University’s Investigative Center for Aquatic Resources, the Humboldt Center and El Río Foundation.Route 1856 is a 160-kilometer road parallel to the San Juan River, a natural border between the two countries.Nicaragua claims that “sediment from Costa Rica pollutes the river, threatens biodiversity, endangers the lives of the nearby towns, violating international environmental protection laws.”The study also notes that “changes caused [by the road] are significant and threaten the biological connectivity of the isthmus.”Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo told Radio Reloj that Nicaragua’s claim “is yet another point in the campaign to discredit our country” and expressed doubts on the scientific value of the study.Castillo recalled that the study was made public just as Nicaragua asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to unify records on cases filed by Costa Rica for the Isla Calero invasion and the construction of the border road.According to the diplomat, “this is just an attempt to delay the processing of Costa Rica’s complaints.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
A former CIA operative who was convicted by an Italian court of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003 has been detained by authorities in Panama, raising the prospect that he could be extradited, according to Italian news reports.Robert Seldon Lady was among 23 U.S. government employees — most of whom worked for the CIA — who were convicted for their roles in snatching a cleric with suspected ties to al-Qaida off a busy street in Milan and secretly transporting him to Egypt.The 2005 case became a source of embarrassment for the CIA and called attention to the controversial practice known as “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects secretly captured in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were delivered to governments suspected of engaging in torture.The CIA declined to comment on Lady’s reported detention, and it was unclear whether he was taken into custody at the behest of the Italian government. Officials at the Italian and Panamanian embassies in Washington declined to comment.Lady and other defendants in the case left Italy before the trial but were convicted in absentia. Lady could face a prison sentence of up to nine years if he is returned to Italy, according to Italian news reports.Lady’s apprehension could create a diplomatic dilemma for the United States, which pressured the Italian government to abandon its prosecution but has never formally acknowledged that many of the defendants were CIA employees.The case comes at a delicate time for the Obama administration, which has been seeking to block attempts by Edward Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor, to seek asylum in Latin America. Snowden has been charged with stealing and then leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs.The target of the Italian rendition was a cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar. CIA officials had suspected that he was part of a network funneling young Muslim recruits to al-Qaida or other militant groups. He was on his way to a mosque in Milan on Feb. 17, 2003, when he was snatched from a sidewalk, put into a van and subsequently delivered to Egypt, according to Italian court records and media accounts.U.S. intelligence officials involved in the case have said that the agency obtained permission from Italian intelligence to carry out the operation. But an investigation by the country’s independent judiciary identified U.S. operatives through cellphone call records and other data that exposed the agency’s clumsy tradecraft.Lady was not directly involved in the capture of Abu Omar, but the CIA’s base chief in Milan is said to have supervised the plan. Former CIA colleagues said Lady, who spent part of his childhood in Honduras, has been living in Latin America and had served there for the CIA.Italian news services reported that border police in Panama stopped Lady as he entered the country on Wednesday.Lady’s apparent apprehension “is the fault of the U.S. government for not protecting its personnel with diplomatic immunity,” said Mark Zaid, an attorney for Sabrina De Sousa, who was stationed in the U.S. consulate in Milan and convicted by the Italian court. De Sousa has denied that she worked for the CIA.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.
BRASILIA, Brazil — Living in a military dictatorship, a young Dilma Rousseff, seething against the inequities of Brazilian society and the authoritarian government, joined a Marxist guerrilla group with one central objective: to topple the state.Forty years later, it’s President Rousseff who is being tested by rage: daily protests across hundreds of cities in June, followed by simmering discontent.The anger over corruption and substandard services is directed at the entire political class, leading to sometimes-violent demonstrations against the governor in Rio de Janeiro and outbursts against politicians in other corners of the country. But on a national level it is Rousseff, 65, who has been most battered by unrest that her center-left government failed to see coming.That has led to splits in her broad governing coalition and to an intense debate inside her Workers’ Party, where some members are floating the idea of a comeback by Rousseff’s larger-than-life predecessor, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, according to party members and political analysts interviewed here in the capital.Jorge Bittar, a Workers’ Party congressman, said he believes that Rousseff’s outreach efforts since June have strengthened her position and that she will probably run for a second term next year. But nothing is preordained, he said, particularly if the economy declines and protests pick up again.If Rousseff’s political fortunes worsen, “we go to Plan B,” he said. “You know what that will be? Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, that he comes back as a candidate.”Lula, a charismatic political operator who enjoyed a special bond with his countrymen, handpicked Rousseff to succeed him as the Workers’ Party candidate in 2010 as he neared the end of his second four-year term. Rousseff, a details-oriented technocrat who had never held elective office, won easily.Lula, whose two terms were marked by robust economic growth and a steep fall in poverty levels, has said he has no plans to run again. But his active and very public role in Brazilian politics — he says he is a friend and special adviser to Rousseff — has many here wondering if he could reverse himself at her expense.In a rare, recent interview with the São Paulo newspaper Folha, Rousseff did little to dampen talk of Lula’s outsize role, which gave the impression to some that she is not fully in charge.Asked about a movement to bring him back as a presidential candidate, Rousseff said: “I think Lula won’t be back, because he never left.”Pressed again about Lula’s aspirations, Rousseff answered, “That I don’t know, my dear.”Rousseff is facing tough questions from Workers’ Party members, among them lawmakers worried that their seats are vulnerable and that the presidency their movement has long held might be in jeopardy.Adair Rocha, a party founder and an official in Lula’s government who frequently speaks to the former president, said there is a divide between those who want to align themselves with the protesters and those who strongly back Rousseff’s “institutional” response to citizen demands.Though Lula supports Rousseff as the party’s candidate for 2014, “he’s talking, he’s listening, he’s looking at the coming challenges,” Rocha said. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, is shown in Brasilia, Brazil, in December 2010. Some consider Lula a solution to the growing discontent in Brazil under current President Dilma Rousseff. Lula says he has no plans to run again. Bloomberg News photo by Adriano Machado Rousseff remains the politician to beat, since most of her challengers have failed to capitalize on her recent troubles. But she has fallen fast and far in the polls, underscoring the general malaise in a country that has seen its once go-go economy slow sharply since 2010.With public support that hovered just below 80 percent when she started her term in 2011, Rousseff’s numbers dipped to a still-strong 57 percent at the start of June. Then came the free fall to a 30 percent approval rating by July.A Datafolha opinion poll published last week showed a slight rebound. But the government has appeared indecisive while trying to find a formula to ease the discontent ahead of the World Cup soccer championship in several Brazilian cities next summer — venues many believe will be conducive to more protests.“I think next year the protests will be more intense,” said João Telesforo, 25, who has been demonstrating in Brasilia against the government. “It will be similar to this year, with as many people in the street, but with much more capacity to influence what happens in this country.”Rousseff, an economist and energy expert who is uncomfortable wading into crowds, appears hamstrung by the lackluster economy and what even politicians in her own governing coalition say is an inability to set a new political agenda.“She has a style of doing politics that in some ways is like Angela Merkel — it’s a Germanic manner, and this doesn’t work here,” said Oswaldo Munteal, a historian and expert on Brazil’s transformation to democracy. “I don’t see her with an appetite for governing. I see her as a little sad, somewhat disillusioned. She doesn’t seem to have the heart to rule.”Government aides describe a president determined not only to govern but also to modernize the government. She has promised broad changes and pledged to funnel more money to schools and hospitals, whose shoddy services have generated rage.Her aides have also urged Rousseff to reach out to people in unscripted settings, such as a series of low-key meetings she has had with Brazilians who participated in the protests.“She listens more than she talks,” said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the government. “She is there to take notes.”In her standard stump speech, Rousseff talks of how natural it is for people to call for “more democracy” in an already vibrant democracy. She also highlights what she calls “extraordinary” accomplishments under Workers’ Party rule, such as popular anti-poverty programs, while asserting that she, too, is supportive of demonstrators’ demands for a better-functioning government.Her efforts have fallen short with many protesters.“She truly believes that people who are complaining are complaining on a full belly,” said Gustavo Capela, 27, a lawyer.Even her allies talk of her failure to connect with ordinary people the way Lula and his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, could.“With Lula and Fernando Henrique, there was understanding, and people ceded to them,” said Pedro Simon, a senator from the main party allied with Rousseff in her broad coalition. “But Dilma just doesn’t have what it takes.”Still, not all the news is grim. Unemployment remains low, and her own commitment to clean government is unquestioned.The president has also emphasized that she is patiently working to resolve Brazil’s problems, as she pointed out to the newspaper Folha when asked if she would be out protesting if she were not president.“I went to a bunch of marches,” she said, recalling her youth. “After that, you see the world in a different way. You know that protests are very important. But each one of us contributes in the best way he or she can.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.
Facebook Comments The National Federation of the Fishing Sector (FENAPES) and the Costa Rican Fisheries Federation (FECOP) launched a campaign this week to collect signatures in support of a proposal to regulate tuna seine-fishing within 370 nautical miles of the country’s maritime territory.Under the slogan “Tico Tuna for Tico Fishermen,” the campaing calls on the government to issue an executive order establishing a six-year moratorium allowing artisanal fishermen to work without direct competition from industrial seine fleets within the proposed area, which is part of Costa Rica’s Exclusive Economic Zone.Data released in June by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission show that the international tuna fleet captured 253,000 tons of tuna within the country’s EEZ from 2002 to 2011.FECOP Executive Director Enrique Ramírez said Costa Rican waters currently offer a potential catch of 25,000 tons of tuna per year, “and most – 90 percent – is taken to other countries, mainly Ecuador.”FENAPES and FECOP representatives said the proposal would be a first step in promoting “sustainable” tuna fishing aimed at recovering marine resources in Costa Rica’s Pacific waters.The proposed regulations also would help some 15,000 families who depend on artisanal tuna fishing, as well as the tourism, sport fishing and environmental interests, Ramírez added.International seine-fishers catch 18 times more fish than than national fleet, and their fishing devices “affect other species such as dolphins, manta rays, sailfish and marlin, among others,” FENAPES and FECOP said.In August, Costa Rica banned shrimp trawling after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, ruled that the fishing technique causes serious damage to the marine environment.Those interested in signing the petition can go to the campaign website at: http://firmas.fecop.orgWatch a video for the campaign here (Spanish only): No related posts.
Related posts:How chocolate cake led to Mexican drug kingpin’s arrest New Generation cartel is Mexico’s latest menace Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. Mexico’s Peña Nieto wants expert debate on marijuana legalization SAN YSIDRO, California — Mexican traffickers are sending a flood of cheap heroin and methamphetamine across the U.S. border, the latest drug seizure statistics show, in a new sign that the United States’ marijuana decriminalization trend is upending the North American narcotics trade.The amount of cannabis seized by U.S. federal, state and local officers along the boundary with Mexico has fallen 37 percent since 2011, a period during which U.S. marijuana consumers have increasingly turned to the more potent, higher-grade domestic varieties cultivated under legal and quasi-legal protections in more than two dozen U.S. states.Made-in-the-USA marijuana is quickly displacing the cheap, seedy, hard-packed version harvested by the bushel in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains. That has prompted Mexican drug farmers to plant more opium poppies, and the sticky brown and black “tar” heroin they produce is channeled by traffickers into the U.S. communities hit hardest by prescription painkiller abuse, offering addicts a $10 alternative to $80-a-pill oxycodone.“Legalization of marijuana for recreational use has given U.S. consumers access to high-quality marijuana, with genetically improved strains, grown in greenhouses,” said Raúl Benitez-Manaut, a drug-war expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. “That’s why the Mexican cartels are switching to heroin and meth.”U.S. law enforcement agents seized 2,181 kilograms of heroin last year coming from Mexico, nearly three times the amount confiscated in 2009.Methamphetamine, too, has surged, mocking the Hollywood image of backwoods bayou labs and “Breaking Bad” chemists. The reality, according to Drug Enforcement Administration figures, is that 90 percent of the meth on U.S. streets is cooked in Mexico, where precursor chemicals are far easier to obtain.“The days of the large-scale U.S. meth labs are pretty much gone, given how much the Mexicans have taken over production south of the border and distribution into the United States,” said Lawrence Payne, a DEA spokesman. “Their product is far superior, cheaper and more pure.”Last year, 15,803 kilograms of the drug was seized along the border, up from 3,076 kilos in 2009.“Criminal organizations are no longer going for bulk marijuana,” said Sidney Aki, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director here at the agency’s busiest crossing for pedestrians and passenger vehicles, just south of San Diego. “Hard drugs are the growing trend, and they’re profitable in small amounts.”Voters in the District of Columbia and 23 U.S. states have approved marijuana for recreational or medical use, with Colorado, Washington state, Alaska and Oregon opting for full legalization. Estimates of the size of the U.S.’ marijuana harvest vary widely, and DEA officials say they do not know how quickly it may be increasing as a result of decriminalization.Mexican cartels continue to deploy people as “mules” strapped with 50-pound marijuana backpacks to hike through the Arizona borderlands and send commercial trucks into Texas with bales of shrink-wrapped cannabis so big they need to be taken out on a forklift.But the profitability of the marijuana trade has slumped on falling demand for Mexico’s “brick weed,” so called because it is crushed into airtight bundles for transport across the border. Drug farmers in the Sierra Madre say that they can barely make money planting mota anymore.The cartels, and consumers, are turning away from cocaine, too. Last year, U.S. agents confiscated 11,917 kilograms of cocaine along the Mexico border, down from 27,444 kilos in 2011.This reflects lower demand for the drug in the United States, experts say, as well as a cartel business preference for heroin and meth. Those two substances can be cheaply produced in Mexico, unlike cocaine, which is far pricier, and therefore riskier, because it must be smuggled from South America.The Sinaloa cartel, considered Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organization despite the capture last February of leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, remains the dominant criminal power along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Its territory spans the entire western half of the U.S.-Mexico boundary, from Ciudad Juárez, opposite El Paso, to Tijuana, on the Pacific Coast.Related: How do ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s kids live? Follow them on Twitter Members of the Mexican Army carry boxes with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to be incinerated at a military base in Monterrey, Nuevo León, on Aug. 23, 2013. The Mexican Army incinerated more than 7.7 tons of drugs, the majority of it marijuana, seized from drug traffickers in the north of the country. Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFPAt harvest time, the cartel’s middlemen make their rounds to remote Sierra Madre stream valleys in pickup trucks and four-wheelers, armed with guns and cash. They buy sticky balls of raw opium from hardscrabble farmers and deliver them to crude heroin kitchens that prepare the drug for shipment. The U.S. interstate highway system is less than a day’s drive away.Heroin and meth are far easier to transport and conceal than marijuana. Especially worrisome to U.S. officials is a growing trend of more border-crossing pedestrians carrying the drugs strapped under their clothing or hidden in body cavities.“The criminals are trying to blend in among the legitimate travelers, who are 99 percent of the individuals crossing through here,” said Aki, the San Ysidro port director. “That’s the hard part for us.”At the San Ysidro crossing, soon to expand to 35 lanes, U.S. agents with drug-sniffing dogs and foot-long screwdrivers weave among the lines of cars that back up into Mexico.Agents say the screwdrivers, some so old their handles are worn to a nub, are their most valuable investigative tool. Agents knock them against tires and gas tanks for a quick sonic impression.“If you tap a tank with something solid inside, there’s a thud,” one inspector said. “It’s like hitting concrete.”Harder to detect are “deep-concealed” drugs buried in fake engine cylinders, dashboard panels, even acid-proof capsules inside car batteries. One vehicle seized here last year carried liquid meth in its windshield-wiper reservoir.Finding small packages in the river of cars and trucks coming across is akin to a game of “Where’s Waldo?” for U.S. inspectors. Vehicles that arouse the suspicions of border agents or get their dogs barking and lunging are sent to a secondary inspection station with giant X-ray machines and larger teams of screwdriver-wielding inspectors.If drugs don’t appear, the agents may drive the vehicles into garages to open their engines, pry apart interior panels and search for any signs of suspicious alterations. Traffickers will sometimes mist decoy vehicles with marijuana oil or resin to provoke the dogs and draw agents into a fruitless search.“It’s like a fish fry,” Aki said. “The fish is gone, but the scent is still there.”With the dogs and agents tied up inspecting the decoys, the traffickers may try sneaking meth and heroin through.In recent years, Mexican cartels also have begun producing higher-value “white” heroin, typically associated with traffickers from Colombia or Asia, according to DEA officials.“The Mexicans are evolving in their production abilities and getting more sophisticated,” said Payne, the DEA spokesman. “It’s not just black tar anymore.”Colombian and Caribbean traffickers once controlled heroin distribution east of the Mississippi River, but Mexican criminal groups now dominate the entire North American market, he said.The United States has an estimated 600,000 heroin users, Payne said — a threefold increase in the past five years. But that number is dwarfed by the estimated 10 million U.S. citizens who abuse prescription painkillers.Those addicts are the prime target for the booming heroin business. A U.S. crackdown on prescription opiates has driven up the price for drugs such as OxyContin and Percocet, enticing desperate addicts to switch to cheap heroin to fend off withdrawal symptoms.The profile of U.S. heroin addiction is also changing, said Phil Herschman, chief clinical officer with the CRC Health Group, which operates 170 treatment centers in 30 U.S. states.“Now, we’re seeing housewives coming in who had been addicted to Vicodin for two or three years before switching to heroin, or adolescents who got hooked by snorting it, thinking it was safe, only to end up injecting themselves,” he said.“You can’t even begin to measure how it tears families apart,” he added. “It’s devastating.”See also: Tico lawmaker presents bill to legalize medical marijuana© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments
https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal01.jpg No related posts. https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal02.jpg info heading info content Check out all of our offerings in our new real estate section here. Facebook Comments https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal07.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal04.jpg Price: Starting from $275 per square meterWeb: www.haciendaespinal.comEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: +(506) 2205-3600, 2205-3654Lot: 1,200 M2Construction Area: 600 M2 Previous Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal03.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal06.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/garnierhaciendaespinal05.jpg Next Image Hacienda Espinal is the first integral urban development in Costa Rica that seeks to revitalize the concept of a community. On 113 hectares of land we have integrated offices, supermarkets, schools such as the Country Day High School, 4.5 km of bike-ways, parks, an entertainment zone, sport facilities and residential options.The project offers lots available for immediate delivery starting from 600 square meters.Price: Starting from $275 per square meter.
Related posts:President Solís signs new Animal Welfare Law Disfigured Costa Rican toucan stars in Discovery documentary Signature collection for animal welfare bill referendum set for July Toucan dies after being shot with BB gun Public outrage sparked by Duke, the mutt that lost part of his upper jaw after suffering an apparent machete attack earlier this month, has turned toward President Luis Guillermo Solís and the Legislative Assembly. Some are pointing fingers at Solís and lawmakers for failing to pass the animal welfare bill that has been stalled in the Assembly for months.Legislators from various parties filibustered discussion of the law in April, filing dozens of motions against it.The widespread criticism prompted an official response last week from Solís, who issued a public statement outlining his support for the bill and other animal welfare initiatives. He said his administration “has been consistent with its commitment to repudiate all kinds of animal abuse.”Animal welfare group Asociación Vida Animal Costa Rica made Duke’s story public on its Facebook page, where the organization asked people to donate money to help pay for the dog’s medical expenses. After the attack, Duke’s snout was only attached by a slim piece of tissue, veterinarians reported.A portion of his upper jaw had to be removed, including his nose and most of his teeth. The mutt, believed to be around two years old, survived the procedure and is currently recovering well, the group reported on Facebook. Thousands of people have been following daily updates on Duke’s recovery. People also are posting photographs of their pets with support messages using the hashtag #FuerzaDuke. Many of those messages also call on lawmakers to pass the animal welfare bill. If legislators fail to pass the bill during the current legislative session, which lasts until the end of the month, Solís promised to prioritize the bill during the next legislative session, when he gets to set the priorities.Under existing Costa Rican laws, killing or harming an animal is considered a minor offense, sanctioned with a maximum of ₡200,000 (some $370). The proposed bill would set prison sentences ranging from six months to three years and monetary fines of up to $1,600 for causing the death of an animal. It would also penalize dog and cock fighting.Opposition to the bill in the legislature has come mostly from the Libertarian Movement’s Otto Guevara, who has refused to negotiate and filed more than 80 motions against the bill. Guevara believes the bill would outlaw Tico traditions like bull-fighting and horse parades.Others like the National Liberation Party’s Juan Marín have said they’ll block the initiative “by using any available procedure authorized by legislative regulations.”Lawmakers are currently on a mid-year vacation and will return Monday for the last two weeks of the current legislative session.More animal abuse casesOn the same day animal welfare activists reported that Duke was undergoing surgery, residents of Perez Zeledón, in the southern part of San José province, reported another attack on a dog. The dog had been abandoned on a road with serious burns and blows to its body.On Tuesday, reports of a third dog abuse case went viral. Channel 7 Telenoticias reported that a man attacked the dog with a machete in Desamparados, just south of the capital, after the dog entered his property. Veterinarians said the dog had at least 10 serious wounds on her head, torso and legs, and that she remains in critical condition.Citizen referendum?The Assembly’s environmental affairs committee approved the draft bill of the animal welfare bill on March 3. The full text has been published in the official newspaper La Gaceta, meaning it must now be passed by the full assembly in two separate rounds of voting.Solís called on lawmakers Tuesday to stop delaying the bill’s approval, saying he’s sure the majority of them share his interest “in ending these barbaric situations.” He also said he believes most of them agree that the bill would help reduce animal abuse.Passing the Animal Welfare Law was one of Solís’ campaign promises.In the meantime, animal rights groups are moving forward with actions to force lawmakers to sign the bill into law. Starting this month, hundreds of volunteers are collecting signatures across the country to put the animal welfare bill up for public referendum.The Supreme Elections Tribunal gave volunteers 10 months to collect the nearly 160,000 signatures — 5 percent of registered voters — required to hold a referendum.The Association for Animal Welfare and Protection, one of the groups leading the collection, reported last week that volunteers have collected more than half of the required signatures. Facebook Comments
4 sleep positions for men and what they mean ISTANBUL (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Iran must be ready to take concrete action when it discusses its nuclear program with world powers in Moscow later this month.Clinton said one of the main concerns is Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium, which the West and others say is close to being weapons-grade material, and that the goal of the June 18-19 talks is to begin the work necessary for a diplomatic solution. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments Share Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Top Stories Previous talks have yielded few tangible results. Iran insists it has no intention of making nuclear arms and that its reactors are only for medical and energy purposes.“We want them to come prepared to take concrete steps,” Clinton said of Iran at a news conference.She was in Turkey for a counterterrorism forum and also held discussions with Western and Arab allies on efforts to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop his crackdown on a national uprising and leave power.Clinton said the six-nation bloc negotiating with Iran _ the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany _ has a unified position and is prepared to take steps of its own in response to Iranian steps. Iran wants the West to roll back sanctions targeting Iran’s critical oil exports and transactions with international banking networks.Clinton said the two-track policy of pressure and diplomacy has yielded results because Iran has been left with no option but to negotiate or face isolation compounded by serious economic penalties.“I am convinced that one of the reasons that Iran came back to the negotiating table was because of the success of our pressure strategy,” she said. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Jordan’s Brotherhood calls for Israel’s annihilation through armed struggle.The protesters also demanded Jordan’s King Abdullah II to “revoke the peace treaty with the Zionists.”Abdullah’s Friday meeting with Obama will focus on Israeli-Palestinian peace, the war in Syria and increased U.S. aid to cash-strapped Jordan.(Copyright 2014 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 Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Hours before Jordan’s king meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in California, his Islamist opposition at home is staging its largest protest in months to reject a peace deal as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The 1,200 protesters affiliated with Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood have also burned the Israeli flag.Although Jordan maintains cordial ties with Israel under a 1994 peace treaty, many Jordanians are skeptical of their neighbor’s intentions. Roughly half of Jordan’s population traces its roots to Palestinians displaced in Arab-Israeli wars. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share
Since it gave the government extraordinary powers, Section 215 of the Patriot Act was designed to expire at midnight on May 31 unless Congress renews it.Under the USA Freedom Act, the government would transition over six months to a system under which it queries the phone companies with known terrorists’ numbers to get back a list of numbers that had been in touch with a terrorist number.But if Section 215 expires without replacement, the government would lack the blanket authority to conduct those searches. There would be legal methods to hunt for connections in U.S. phone records to terrorists, said current and former U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But those methods would not be applicable in every case.WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER PARTS OF THE LAW?Far less attention has been paid to two other surveillance authorities that expire at midnight May 31. One makes it easier for the FBI to track “lone wolf” terrorism suspects who have no connection to a foreign power, and another allows the government to eavesdrop on suspects who continuously discard their cellphones in an effort to avoid surveillance. How men can have a healthy 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., favored retaining the program, but fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul, a Republican presidential contender, blocked any extension, no matter how brief, past the midnight May 31 expiration.“My filibuster continues to end NSA illegal spying,” tweeted the Republican presidential contender.Finally, McConnell announced early Saturday that the Senate would begin a weeklong Memorial Day break and return on Sunday, May 31, just hours before the programs lapse.The White House has pressured the Senate to back the House bill, which drew an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote last week and had the backing of GOP leaders, Democrats and the libertarian-leaning members.But the Senate blocked the bill on a vote of 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead.That was immediately followed by rejection of a two-month extension to the existing programs. The vote was 54-45, again short of the 60-vote threshold.McConnell repeatedly asked for an even shorter renewal of current law, ticking down days from June 8 to June 2. But opponents of the post-Sept. 11 law objected each time.Whatever the Senate approves must be passed by the House, which has left Washington for the Memorial Day break. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate struggled unsuccessfully to prevent an interruption in critical government surveillance programs early Saturday, blocking a House-passed bill and several short-term extensions of the USA Patriot Act.The main stumbling block was a House-passed provision to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic phone records. Instead, the records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review. FILE In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. The Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) Comments Share Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes They have been used frequently, and there is no meaningful opposition to them in Congress.If those were to go away, FBI Director James Comey said, it would set back the bureau at a time when domestic threats are on the rise.The so-called “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to get a warrant to target the communications of a person rather than a device, to account for a suspect who frequently discards “burner” phones. The lone wolf provision allows the government to use national security authorities to track a terror suspect even if he or she has no obvious connection to a foreign power.Briefing reporters Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest urged the Senate to act. “The way to eliminate the risk of these critically important national security authorities from lapsing is to pass the USA Freedom Act,” he said.SENATE MANEUVERSSen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has floated a plan that would essentially dare the House to let the law expire.As a compromise, Burr wants to extend current law between 5 days and a month to give the House time to pass the Senate bill. Then he would have the NSA transition to the system envisioned by the USA Freedom Act. But he would allow the transition to take more time — two years, not six months. Officials say they will lose valuable surveillance tools if the Senate fails to go along with the House. But key Republican senators, including McConnell, oppose the House approach.In the near term, the Justice Department has said the NSA would begin winding down its collection of domestic calling records this week if the Senate fails to act because the collection takes time to halt.What will happen to the surveillance programs if Congress doesn’t pass a bill:IF THE LAW EXPIRESAt issue is a section of the Patriot Act, Section 215, used by the government to justify secretly collecting the “to and from” information about nearly every American landline telephone call. For technical and bureaucratic reasons, the program was not collecting a large chunk of mobile calling records, which made it less effective as fewer people continued to use landlines.When former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the program in 2013, many Americans were outraged that NSA had their calling records. President Barack Obama ultimately announced a plan similar to the USA Freedom Act and asked Congress to pass it. He said the plan would preserve the NSA’s ability to hunt for domestic connections to international plots without having an intelligence agency hold millions of Americans’ private records.
0 Comments Share Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Obama said the comments from Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, were part of a broader pattern from Republicans. He also singled out Cruz, the Texas senator, for saying the nuclear deal makes Obama — not Iran — the leading state sponsor of terrorism.“These are leaders in the Republican Party,” Obama said, seeming incredulous. He suggested the GOP was breaking longstanding American tradition of not playing “fast and loose” with facts during serious foreign policy debates.Cruz, appearing Monday night on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” responded, “It speaks volume that he’s halfway across the globe and he feels the need to attack me.”Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, said she was “offended personally” by Huckabee’s comments. His remarks should be “repudiated by every person of good faith,” she said during a campaign stop in Iowa Monday.Huckabee dismissed the criticism, arguing that what was “ridiculous and sad” was that Obama wasn’t taking Iran’s threats to destroy Israel seriously.“I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust,” Huckabee said in a statement. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 treatments for adult scoliosis 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center “Maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now,” Obama said during a news conference in Ethiopia.Obama’s comments marked his most direct engagement in the race to succeed him. Until now, he’s largely limited his commentary to policy differences with Republicans, often sidestepping the names of specific candidates.But the president’s unsparing criticism Monday — targeting candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, as well as Trump — underscored his sensitivity to efforts to scuttle the Iran accord, which he hopes will be his signature foreign policy initiative. It also raised the prospect of an aggressive role for Obama in the 2016 presidential campaign.“In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys,” Obama said. “I want to make sure I’m turning over the keys to somebody who is serious about the serious problems that the country faces and the world faces.”The president was asked specifically about Huckabee’s assertion that Obama had agreed to a nuclear deal that would “take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven,” a reference to crematoria in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. The Israeli government staunchly opposes the agreement and views an Iranian nuclear program as a threat to its existence. For years, Trump has been a sought-after surrogate and fundraiser for GOP candidates. As a candidate himself, he’s unexpectedly emerged this summer as a leading contender for the GOP nomination, tapping into voters’ discontent with Washington.While some GOP candidates stepped up their criticism of Trump after his comments on McCain — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called him a jackass — the businessman’s standing with voters does not appear to have been significantly damaged. He is still expected to be among the 10 candidates who qualify for the first Republican debate on Aug. 6 based on their standing in national polls.___Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington, Catherine Lucey in Iowa, Sergio Bustos in Florida and Jill Colvin in New Jersey contributed to this report.___Follow Julie Pace on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jpaceDCCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 President Barack Obama speaks during a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Monday, July 27, 2015, at the National Palace in Addis Ababa. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Obama’s unprompted analysis of Trump’s effect on the Republican field marks a shift for the president. He’s largely steered clear of opportunities to weigh in on controversial statements Trump has made in recent weeks about Mexican immigrants and the war record of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was taken prisoner in Vietnam.Obama brought up on his own Trump’s suggestion that McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured. Praising McCain’s heroism, the president said Trump’s remarks grew out of a political culture where those types of comments are tolerated.“When outrageous statements are made about me, a lot of people outraged about McCain were pretty quiet,” he said.Obama has a long history with Trump, who was a driver of the “birther” movement that claimed the president wasn’t born in the U.S. Trump’s claims pushed Obama to release a copy of his birth certificate in 2011.Asked on Fox’s “Hannity” to respond to Obama, Trump called the president “very divisive” and said “he should have devoted more time to working on a good nuclear deal with Iran instead of what he’s doing.” While Huckabee’s comments were aimed at Obama, some members of the GOP field — Trump most notably — haven’t held back in their criticism of each other as next week’s initial Republican debate draws near. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called on his colleagues Tuesday to tone it down.“We have to campaign with joy in our hearts — not anger,” Bush said during an event outside Orlando. “We shouldn’t say outrageous things that turn people off to the conservative message. Our message is the one of hope and opportunity for everyone.”The White House is the midst of an intense lobbying campaign to prevent Congress from blocking implementation of the Iran deal. Lawmakers have until mid-September to review the accord, which aims to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions.The Republican candidates are united in their opposition to the deal, saying Obama has left Iran on the brink of building a bomb and done nothing to address Tehran’s support for terrorism. Some, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have vowed to immediately scrap the agreement if elected. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — President Barack Obama unleashed a blistering and belittling rebuke of Republican White House hopefuls Monday, calling their attack on his landmark nuclear deal with Iran “ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.”Standing before television cameras during a trip to Africa, Obama suggested the bellicose rhetoric from some GOP candidates was an attempt to divert attention from Donald Trump, the wealthy businessman-turned presidential contender whose popularity is confounding the Republican field. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Corporate traveller experience solution provider, conTgo is glad to have a foot in the door of Jetset Travelworld Group (JTG), given its proposed merger with Stella Travel Services.QBT, part of JTG, has entered into a strategic partnership with conTgo, which gives the corporate travel company exclusive rights to a new risk mitigation service for a year. “It’s a big family,” conTgo Chief Executive Johnny Thorsen told e-Travel Blackboard yesterday.“At the moment QBT is our only Australian customer and we cannot think beyond [the date the merger is announced].”“But it’s certainly a conversation worth having.” Already working with conTgo to offer QBT Connect to its corporate clients, QBT offers notification to travelling employees in emergency situations. “In an event such as a natural disaster or political unrest it is crucial that companies have a means of locating and communicating with their employees,” QBT General Manager David Hughes said. “That’s why QBT has partnered with conTgo to deliver QBT Connect to our corporate customers to ensure their safety and so we can stay in contact with them whenever needed.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Sydney Ports Corporation has revealed plans for the White Bay Cruise Passenger Terminal.“The project will provide certainty for the growing cruise ship industry, helping cement Sydney and New South Wales’ reputation as a world-class cruise tourism destination,” Sydney Ports Executive General Manager Planning and Infrastructure Annette Woods said.“A new purpose-built Cruise Passenger Terminal facility will be built at White Bay 5, with a secondary berthing capability at White Bay 4.“The Department of Planning is from today displaying the Project Application and Environmental Assessment for a minimum 30 day public exhibition and consultation phase.“The Environmental Assessment will be on display from 13 October 2010 until 15 November 2010 and I encourage the community and the tourism industry to find out further details about how to register their feedback through the Department of Planning website www.planning.nsw.gov.au,” she said.The public have been invited to comment on the proposed White Bay 5 Cruise Passenger Terminal, which would include construction of new purpose-built buildings. View the designs at this link http://www.sydneyports.com.au/white_bay/homeThese buildings will contain an arrivals hall, baggage hall, storage and amenities area, Customs and AQIS facilities, x-ray equipment, offices and storage facilities. WhiteBay
The Travel Agents Travel Service (TATS) has stepped under the Chat Tours umbrella after owners Tony Brazenell and Michael Hay purchased the company early yesterday.Barely hitting the sale market, Mr Hay told e-Travel Blackboard the pair were “keen to buy it” as soon as it was available a few weeks ago.He explained that it was the second attempt at purchasing the company after the owner said “no” last year and said it was worth the wait because “we think it has always [been] under achieved”.Bringing World Interline Tours and Breakaway Travel Club founder Mike Sawyer on board, Mr Hay said the three had enough skill and knowledge between them to increase TATS share in the market.“The market is worth almost $20 million,” Mr Hay added.“TATS has only ever had a very small slice of this. “We believe the three of us have the skills and experience to succeed in getting a very good slice of the market.” Although revealing plans to move the company’s operations from Chatswood to 235 Clarence Street, Sydney early December, Mr Hay added that the three new operators have a few changes and surprises their sleeves.“We have a number of innovations that we will announce in December that will really surprise the industry,” he said.“Really surprise the industry!” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Asia Pacific’s MICE industry is more confident that this year will bring more events into the region than last year, according to a new study.An American Express Meetings and Events survey found that up to 57 percent of meeting experts from across the region expect the number of meetings to increase in 2012 while only 42 percent in North America share the same thought.Europeans are also sticking to the positive with 51 percent expecting more events in the area compared to 50 percent of Latin Americans.Meanwhile budgets are also up in the Asia Pacific region with 30 percent more money for the MICE industry to spend compared to 20 percent globally.American Express Meetings and Events vice president Issa Jouaneh said the growth in the Asia Pacific region has been driven by better local economies. “As companies in the region continue to increase activity in the meetings and event space, it is even more important for them to manage costs – knowing where and when to spend money – as well as ensuring effectiveness,” Mr Jouaneh explained.“Evaluating whether meeting goals have been achieved is essential for building engaging and strong performing meetings whether they be help virtually or face-to-face.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Etihad Airways has officially opened its new flagship First Class Lounge & Spa at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal 3. The spectacular new space showcases the airline’s commitment to providing unparalleled and aspirational hospitality experiences.Inspired by the world’s most prestigious hotels, private members’ clubs and fine dining establishments, the lounge is an ultra-exclusive lifestyle environment which tells the airline’s acclaimed guest experience and hospitality story with unrivalled design, style and comfort, world class dining, and bespoke beauty and relaxation services.The lounge features 16 unique zones designed to ensure that guests can relax, re-energise and be entertained in total luxury before boarding their flight. An à la carte restaurant, showcase bar, fitness room, cigar lounge, Six Senses Spa, Style & Shave hairdresser, nail bar, TV room, secluded relaxation room, prayer room and children’s play room ensure that all guests receive a highly personalised experience and intuitive service.Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our new First Class Lounge & Spa is the jewel in the crown of our new lounge offerings worldwide and represents the best of our home city of Abu Dhabi. It is a showcase of intelligent product design, innovation, and superlative hospitality and service.“This is not just a lounge but the ultimate airline hospitality experience and one which perfectly mirrors Etihad Airways’ evolution into the best airline in the world.“Continuing our journey of innovation, this new dedicated First Class environment demonstrates our on-going commitment to developing world-class products as we continue to reimagine travel.”Measuring approximately 1,700 m², and boasting expansive views of the airport, the new facility is open round-the-clock for the exclusive use of guests of The Residence, Etihad First Class, Etihad Guest Exclusive, Etihad Guest Platinum members (plus one guest), Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airline First Class guests, EAP ‘Invitation only’ members (plus two guests) and EAP equivalent Platinum members (plus one guest). Guests of The Residence enjoy the exclusivity of their own private space discreetly located adjacent to the main lounge entrance. The secluded area boasts a dedicated Savoy-trained Butler, custom-made Poltrona Frau Italian leather armchairs and sofas, its own shower room stocked with a range of Acqua di Parma products, a prayer room, and private dining.Guests of the First Class Lounge & Spa will be attended to by a number of expertly trained staff – all of whom have undergone a rigorous selection process. The lounge features a General Manager, Concierge, Maître d’Hotel, Savoy-trained Butlers, chefs and mixologists among its highly trained lounge team.The Executive Chef brings with him immense experience from a long career with leading hotel brands including The Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La, and InterContinental. His team of skilled Sous Chefs, Demi Chefs, and Chef de Partie create superior haute cuisine dining served at an à la carte dining area.The sculptural showcase bar, which is now a striking feature of Etihad Airways’ new collection of global lounges including the recently opened New York and Melbourne facilities, is stocked with 75 premium spirits, champagne and aperitifs.The cigar lounge provides a choice of nine premium brands including Hoyo de Monterray, Cohiba, Bolivar, Montecristo, Arturo Fuente and Romeo Y Julieta from its own humidor. Each has been expertly matched with a number of whiskies and cognacs.The Six Senses Spa comprises three treatment rooms with shower facilities. First Class guests can enjoy a complimentary treatment, while guests in The Residence are offered two complimentary treatments.In keeping with a focus on health and wellbeing, the Relax & Recline area features a large video wall made up of 27 individual screens, soothing sound and lighting, and is furnished with six Poltona Frau leather recliners. The fitness room is equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym treadmills and cross trainers, and male and female washrooms and showers.The Style & Shave area is staffed by talented barbers offering a suite of hair and shave services, including one complimentary express treatment and a shoe shine service. The nail bar provides hair and nail services, including nail art, and one complimentary express treatment.H.E. Eng. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We are delighted to support Etihad Airways with the launch of their First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport. This new facility will offer guests a truly exclusive and premium experience, and is a reflection of the continued commitment by the airline and the airport to offer the best possible services to passengers flying through the UAE capital.”From an interior design perspective, the principles of style, space and serenity are complemented by Etihad Airways’ distinctive ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ branding. With its geometric patterns and colour palette inspired by the UAE landscape, it is the ultimate expression of 21st century Arabian modernism. Etihad AirwaysSource = Etihad Airways