WestJet announces flexible Flex fares new routes greatest summer sale

first_imgWestJet announces flexible Flex fares, new routes & “greatest” summer sale Posted by Share Tuesday, July 25, 2017 CALGARY — WestJet is ending the month of July on a high note by announcing greater flexibility on Flex fares, several new routes and what’s being called its “greatest sale of the summer”.As of yesterday (July 24), there will be no fee to change or cancel domestic travel bookings, or to make same-day flight changes during check-in for domestic travel bookings.Fares within the Flex bundle will continue to be non-refundable. The updated fees only apply to new bookings.In addition to the removal of the change fee for domestic Flex fare bookings, Plus Flexible fares now have a fully refundable option. As of July 24, WestJet has eliminated the $50 fee for refunding to original form of payment for all new Plus Flexible fare bundle bookings.In terms of new service, WestJet rolled out a bevy of new flight announcements, including new flights between Vancouver and Huatulco, and Edmonton and Huatulco, Mexico. Nonstop weekly service from Vancouver starts Oct. 29, while Edmonton service kicks off Nov. 2.From Vancouver, WestJet will also increase service between the city and the following destinations: Fort McMurray (from five to six times weekly); Edmonton (from 55 to 58 times weekly); Calgary (from 90 to 98 times weekly, more than any other carrier); Fort St. John (from seven to 12 times weekly); Puerto Vallarta (from seven to eight times weekly); and Cancun (from six to seven times weekly).The airline will also increase nonstop service between Edmonton and Abbotsford from 11 to 13 flights per week, and Victoria from 10 to 13 flights per week.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Calgary is also getting new nonstop weekly service to the tropical destination of Belize, effective Nov. 3. In addition, it will increase service on the following routes from Calgary: Vancouver (from 90 to 97 times weekly); Toronto (from 58 to 68 times weekly); Fort McMurray (from four to five times each business day); Kelowna (from six to seven times each business day); Brandon (from 10 to 12 times weekly); Grande- Prairie (from 19 to 26 times weekly); Kitchener (from five to seven times weekly); Los Angeles (from 11 to 14 times weekly); Phoenix (from 19 to 20 times weekly); Palm Springs (from 18 to 20 times weekly); Cancun (from 14 to 16 times weekly); and Cabo San Lucas (from seven to eight times weekly).“The considerable increase in frequencies out of YYC, combined with the introduction of WestJet’s Calgary to Belize route is exciting news for Albertans,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO for The Calgary Airport Authority. “Enhancing the WestJet network out of their home base is a strategic investment to advance one of their largest hubs, and provide YYC passengers with more options to connect out of Calgary.”Passengers flying out of Toronto this winter will have a lot more choice with WestJet, as the airline has announced an additional 55 weekly nonstop flights to sun spots in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.Increased service has been announced from Toronto to: Orlando (from 12 to 15 times weekly); Fort Lauderdale (from 11 to 14 times weekly); Cancun (from 11 to 15 times weekly); Montego Bay (from 13 to 14 times weekly); Nassau (from seven to nine times weekly); Liberia (from four to five times weekly); Antigua (from two to three times weekly); Punta Cana (from six to seven times weekly); and Puerto Plata (from five to sixe times weekly).More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThe airline will also increase service between Toronto-Montreal (from 83 to 91 times weekly); Toronto-Ottawa (from 77 to 85 times weekly); Toronto-Vancouver (from 45 to 52 times weekly); Toronto-Calgary (from 56 to 68 times weekly); Toronto-Winnipeg (from 31 to 38 times weekly); and Toronto-Kelowna (from five to seven times weekly).“WestJet will increase service from Toronto, our largest hub, by 55 weekly flights this winter,” said Brian Znotins, WestJet Vice-President, Network Planning, Alliances and Corporate Development. “This additional service means business travellers will be able to take advantage of increased frequencies and more convenient schedules from Toronto to Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, while sun seekers will have more flights to choose from for their winter warmth than ever before.”As for travel this summer, the airline is enticing travellers with its “greatest sale of the summer”, available for booking now until July 31. Within Canada or to the U.S., travel period runs from Aug. 8, 2017-Feb. 14, 2018 (blackout dates Dec. 20-24, 26-31 and Jan. 1-7). Travel periods for Mexico and the Caribbean run from Aug. 1-Dec. 19, 2017, and for Europe from Sept. 6, 2017-Feb. 15, 2018 (no blackout dates for either).WestJet encourages travellers to book travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for lowest fares.center_img Travelweek Group Tags: WestJet << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

WestJet Swoop respond to possible unionization of flight attendants

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Union, WestJet, WestJet Swoop WestJet, Swoop respond to possible unionization of flight attendants Wednesday, July 11, 2018 Sharecenter_img CALGARY — Both WestJet and Swoop have weighed in on the potential unionization of their flight attendants, with WestJet CEO Ed Sims saying that the airline “respects the rights of our employees to choose their representation.”After news broke that the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) filed an application for certification of its cabin crew members at the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB), both Sims and Steven Greenway, President of Swoop, issued similar statements to the press.“Although we prefer to work directly with our employee groups as we have since 1996, we are dedicated to moving forward and will concentrate on the continued success of the organization for guests, employees and shareholders,” said Sims.WestJet and low-cost carrier Swoop received formal notice from CIRB on July 10 at 11:49 a.m. ET.“We’re hopeful that this is just the first of many victories ahead for WestJet Cabin Crew as we work together to improve working conditions for inflight staff,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “A strong union for WestJetters is set for takeoff!”More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backHugh Pouilot, senior communications officer at CUPE, told Global News that the main issues flight attendants have are compensation, scheduling and seniority. And although these cannot be guaranteed, CUPE has negotiated for other flight attendant agreements at Air Canada and Air Transat. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more

ACV warns passengers of road closures at MontrealTrudeau

first_img Thursday, November 8, 2018 Share ACV warns passengers of road closures at Montreal-Trudeau Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Montreal-Trudeau International Airport MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has issued a travel alert for Montreal-Trudeau airport, which has reported major road closures in the Turcot interchange.In an official statement, ACV warned of “unprecedented” road closures in the area of Montreal’s Turcot interchange from the evening of Nov. 8 into the morning of Nov. 13. Closures will affect both Highway 15 and Highway 20.For customers flying from Montreal-Trudeau during this period, ACV suggests allowing for extra time to get to the airport, check-in and go through the security screening process before flights.As seen on the airport’s website, passengers can take advantage of free shuttles that are being made available throughout this period between Dorval train station and the airport. They can also opt for Exo commuter train or Montreal’s public transit services (STM).Many accommodation options are also available near the airport, including the in-terminal Marriott Hotel.For all closure details go to https://www.turcot.transports.gouv.qc.ca/en/Pages/default.aspxlast_img read more

Albanias new tourism slogan makes reference to kidnapping

first_img Travelweek Group Tweet Monday, March 18, 2019 Albania’s new tourism slogan makes reference to kidnapping Tags: Albaniacenter_img TORONTO — Coming up with the perfect slogan to represent an entire country or city is a slippery slope. You want it to be catchy, memorable and exciting, without causing offence or being too controversial (remember this one: “Vilnius, the G-Spot of Europe”?).Well, another tourism slogan is making headlines for being risqué and downright creepy. Albania’s newly announced ‘Be Taken by Albania’ is meant to be a direct nod to its reputation for criminal activity, something that was highlighted by Hollywood in the 2008 blockbuster ‘Taken’, starring perennial bad-guy catcher Liam Neeson.In the movie, Neeson plays a father who karate-chops his way through Europe in search of his daughter after she’s been ‘taken’ by Albanian human traffickers.The new tourism slogan clearly makes reference to the movie; on the tourism board’s website, there’s a direct shout-out to Neeson himself, as well as a campaign video that includes clips from the movie:“Hey Liam…More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerIn popular culture, Albania has ben colored as a haven for thugs, criminals and gangsters. While we understand that perception might make for good movies, like Taken (2008), it’s wholly untrue! In reality, Albania is a beautiful and incredibly safe place to visit and live.”‘Marko from Tropoja’, actor Arben Bajraktaraj who plays the lead villain in the movie, even makes a surprise appearance at the end of the video, delivering his lines in typical bad-guy fashion.There’s no denying that the video is well produced, light-hearted and visually stunning, with images of Albania’s gorgeous coastlines and natural landmarks. But there’s also no denying that Albania remains to be “a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor,” according to a U.S. State Department 2018 report. And although the country has made significant efforts to curb the situation, the report states that Albania still “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthSo, what do you think? Is it a brilliant play on pop culture, or an ill-advised and inappropriate marketing campaign? Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Watch the exact moment a flight attendant realized their flight landed in

first_img Thursday, March 28, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> Watch the exact moment a flight attendant realized their flight landed in the wrong city Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: British Airways, Funnycenter_img Who likes my meme #BA3271 pic.twitter.com/a9RrNSde59— Scottish Traveller (@ScottishTravel3) March 25, 2019 I have fallen asleep, missed my stop and woken up at the end of the district line before. This morning I never expected to wake up from my Dusseldorf bound flight…in Edinburgh! @British_Airways #BritishAirways #BA3271— Peter James-Hamilton (@PJamesHamilton) March 25, 2019Even Edinburgh Airport had a few laughs, with a spokesperson saying: “We’re a welcoming airport that is always happy to greet visitors from all over the world to our fantastic city, but this was a surprise for us as well as them! We were happy to work with the various teams across the airport to help make the trip to Edinburgh a pleasurable, albeit short, one.”More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?A spokesman for WDL Aviation said that the airline is working closely with authorities to investigate how the mix-up of flight schedules occurred. The spokesperson also confirmed that the airline will be contacting each customer individually to apologize. EDINBURGH — Passengers onboard a recent flight from London to Dusseldorf first noticed something was off when they heard a cheery “welcome to Edinburgh” over the PA system.Edinburgh? As in Scotland? As in a totally different country from Germany?!Turns out the British Airways flight, which was being operated by German-based WDL Aviation on a lease agreement, mistakenly landed 500 miles away in the Scottish capital after the pilot was given an incorrect flight plan.The flight attendant onboard made light of the situation, calling out over the PA system, “Holy schmoly! No one to Edinburgh? No one to Edinburgh?”He also jokingly asked passengers to not make photos or videos, knowing full well the mix-up would instantly go viral on social media.Of course, unbeknownst to him, the flight attendant’s announcement was already being videotaped by a passenger. In the video, he’s also heard saying, “We apologize about that, we don’t know where the problem is. But it has happened and we do the best to bring you as soon as possible to Dusseldorf.”More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalAfter refueling in Edinburgh, the plane once again took off for Dusseldorf at 10:30 a.m. The flying-faux-pas ended up adding an additional one hour and 20 minutes to the total flight time.To their credit, most of the passengers onboard found the whole thing hilarious. Once the story went viral, people around the world took to Twitter to poke fun at the situation.Irwell Johnson tweeted in support of BA implementing ‘mystery’ plane tickets as a permanent feature: “I think it would be fab if you could buy a mystery lottery plane ticket. A weekend return, hand luggage only. You only find out where you’re going when you get there.”I think it would be fab if you could buy a mystery lottery plane ticket. A weekend return, hand luggage only. You only find out where you’re going when you get there.Cool AF.BBC News – BA flight lands in Edinburgh instead of Düsseldorf by mistakehttps://t.co/0yvoO57cbI— Irwell Johnson (@IrwellJohnson) March 25, 2019 Sharelast_img read more

Ecovillages The way of the future

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionBy Stephen BrooksDo we have a choice in creating the world of our dreams? Do we have any say in the way our communities, towns or cities are designed?  In where our food and water come from and where our wastes go? Can food be produced right where people live, or must it be shipped around the world before it graces our dining room tables?  These are such important questions, and for a long time they have been completely removed from our scope and power of decision. However, an ecological movement is bubbling globally and it is emerging with extreme vigor; communities of people around the world are dedicated to changing the way things are by creating and living in what are being called ecovillages.The Global Ecovillage Network defines an ecovillage as an urban or rural community of people who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life.Sounds logical, right?  For thousands of years people have lived in communities close to nature and also deeply connected to the source of their food, water and the materials they used to build their homes. It is only in the last 100 years or so that modern cities began to break these ties, creating a disconnect that has resulted in depression, social divide, poverty and scarcity.From rural hippie communities in the woods of Northern California to coastal Scotland to urban China, groups are forming that are working to break the mold of today’s cities and take back control, while reconnecting with the land and with their neighbors.  Ecovillages are now spreading throughout Costa Rica. This is not a passing trend, but a transition to a whole new way of interacting with our surroundings and with each other.Ecovillages integrate green building, organic agriculture, alternative energies, along with Earth-based spirituality and progressive education for our children.  The Ecovillage Movement is manifesting itself in Costa Rica in many different forms, from high-end ecologically planned communities to groups of friends pooling their resources to secure land and unfold their dreams.  For many years, Costa Rica has attracted alternative people from around the world, and many have come to Costa Rica seeking community and a simpler way of life.  Eco-living does not mean that one has to live rustically or in a thatch-roofed shack.  There are ecological living options for all budgets and all kinds of people.   The ecovillage is a solution to many of the drastic problems we are facing on our planet today, as population explodes and resources dwindle. Living in Earth-based communities could be the way to stop destructive environmental practices and help us leave our grandchildren a world we are proud of, and a legacy worth carrying on.Stephen Brooks is founder of the Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living and Education (www.puntamona.org), La Ecovilla (www.laecovilla.com) and the Envision Festival (www.envisionfestival.com), and offers  permaculture design consultations. Contact him at stephen@laecovilla.com Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Former Haiti dictator JeanClaude Baby Doc Duvalier dies of heart attack

first_imgPORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti’s former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who ruled the impoverished Caribbean nation from 1971 until his ouster in 1986, died Saturday of a heart attack, officials here said. He was 63.The death of Baby Doc, who returned to Haiti in 2011 after 25 years of exile, was announced by the nation’s health minister, Florence Guillaume Duperval.On Twitter, President Michel Martelly expressed his “sincere condolences to the family and to the nation” for the loss of “an authentic son of Haiti.”“Love and reconciliation must always prevail over our internal quarrels. May he rest in peace,” wrote Martelly, who said he was paying tribute to the former president “despite our quarrels and our differences.” Duperval said Duvalier died of an apparent heart attack.“The family phoned us this morning asking us to send a [medical] helicopter,” she told AFP.“They tried to administer first aid to him on the scene, but he died” a short time later, she said.The New York Times summed up Duvalier’s terrifying rule after the teenager replaced his tyrannical father:Mr. Duvalier continued to defend what human rights workers called one of the most oppressive governments in the Western Hemisphere, following in the footsteps of his father, François, known as Papa Doc, who also died suddenly, in 1971. The son was 19 when he assumed the post “president for life,” as he and his father called it, becoming the youngest head of state at the time.He never apologized for atrocities, including brutal crackdowns on opponents at the hands of the feared Tonton Macoutes, a civilian militia that left a thousand people, if not more, dead, disappeared or illegally detained in harsh prisons.For a decade-and-a-half, the portly, boyish-looking Duvalier ruled as Haiti’s self-proclaimed “president for life” until he was forced into exile in a popular uprising, as pro-democracy forces rallied in the streets amid international condemnation of the rampant human rights abuses during his regime.Like his father, Baby Doc came to rule Haiti with an iron fist — barring opposition, clamping down on dissidents, rubber-stamping his own laws and pocketing government revenue.And like his ruthless father, he also made liberal use of the dreaded Tonton Macoutes, a secret police force loyal to the Duvalier family. The notorious sunglass-toting Macoutes terrorized Haitians, arresting, torturing untold numbers of political opponents, thousands of whom vanished without ever being accounted for. A file picture shows former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, son of former dictator Francois Duvalier, as he delivers a speech on Jan. 2, 1976 at the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. AFPRaised amid intrigue and paranoiaBorn in Port-au-Prince on July 3, 1951, the young Duvalier watched the intrigue and paranoia escalate in his father’s 14-year government, which began in 1957 and saw waves of arrests, executions, bombings and 11 failed coups.At the age of 11 he survived an attack that killed three of his bodyguards.An estimated 30,000 people were killed during the reign of the Duvalier father and son, rights activists said.The younger Duvalier fled Haiti in 1986 for a life of luxury in France, thanks to the hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly plundered from the coffers of the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished country.Years of efforts to force his family to return the pilfered funds proved fruitless.In the late 1990s former political prisoners brought charges of “crimes against humanity” against Baby Doc in a Paris court, claiming they were tortured over a period of years, but the lawsuit later foundered.In 2007, Duvalier called on Haitians to forgive him for “mistakes” committed during his rule, even as the government in power at the time insisted he face trial.At the time of his death, he was indeed charged in a slow-moving prosecution on corruption and embezzlement allegations dating to his years in power. He was said in reports to have looted as much as $300 million before being forced to flee.Much of the money, however, was reported to have been frittered away on a lavish lifestyle filled with fancy homes, jewelry and cars.He returned home January 16, 2011, in what he said was a gesture of solidarity with a nation that had been devastated the year before by a massive earthquake, which leveled much of Port-au-Prince and claimed more than 100,000 lives.The day after his unexpected return, Haitian police arrested Duvalier on charges of embezzlement. In February 2013, he pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption and human rights abuse.But efforts to bring him to justice became tangled in legal motions and appeals, and proved unsuccessful in the end.Other than his brief jailing shortly after his arrival, Duvalier remained at liberty for the rest of his life.Reed Brody, of Human Rights Watch and who helped victims build their criminal case against Duvalier, lamented that the former dictator never paid for his crimes.“It’s a shame that the Haitian justice system could not bring Baby Doc Duvalier to trial before he died,” he said in a statement.“Duvalier’s rule was marked by systematic human rights violations. Hundreds of political prisoners held in a network of prisons died from mistreatment or were victims of extrajudicial killings,” Brody said.“Duvalier’s government repeatedly closed independent newspapers and radio stations. Journalists were beaten, in some cases tortured, jailed, and forced to leave the country.”Added Brody: “Duvalier’s death deprives Haitians of what could have been the most important human rights trial in the country’s history.” Facebook Comments L’amour et la réconciliation doivent toujours vaincre nos querelles intestines. Que ton âme repose en paix #JeanClaudeDuvalier— Michel J. Martelly (@MichelJMartelly) October 4, 2014center_img Related posts:Haiti’s Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier: An overweight, overwhelmed dauphin Haiti opposition cautiously welcomes PM’s resignation US embassy urges Haiti to resolve political crisis Hollande in Haiti to promise help from resented Francelast_img read more

5 things to know about the new Jairo Mora murder trial

first_imgOn Monday morning in a courtroom in the Caribbean city of Limón, judges will call to order a second trial for the 2013slaying of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora. The trial comes more than a year after seven men were acquitted by the same court due to errors in the investigation and the prosecution of the case. Last August, an appeals court overturned prior not-guilty verdicts to allow prosecutors one more shot at convicting seven alleged poachers suspected of the crime. Here are some facts you need to know to follow the upcoming trial:1. There is no double jeopardy in Costa RicaIn Costa Rica both the defense and prosecution have a right to appeal a case. Following a not-guilty verdict, the Limón Prosecutor’s Office and Jairo Mora’s family lawyer, Rodrigo Araya, filed an appeal and won the right to a new trial with a panel of three different judges. Despite the acquittal of all seven defendants – Ernesto Centeno, Felipe Arauz, José Bryan Quesada, Héctor Cash, William Delgado and brothers Donald and Darwin Salmón – in the first trial, they will be tried again.2. The court also will retry a separate case heard at the same time as the original murder trialAlong with the Mora killing, five of the defendants also are charged with rape and robbery in a separate case. Prosecutors linked the two cases because the perpetrators of both crimes used similar methods in the same area. Although the seven defendants were acquitted of Mora’s murder in the first trial, Centeno, Quesada, Cash and Donald Salmón were convicted in a separate case. With the appeal, that conviction also is annulled, and the court will issue a new ruling in that case as well.3. Three of the defendants will be free during the trialArauz, Delgado and Darwin Salmón, three defendants who were not convicted of rape and robbery charges, have been free since the first trial and will remain so for this trial’s duration. The remaining defendants are in prison serving the beginning of sentences while the appeal was granted. Although their convictions were technically annulled, they remain in prison serving preventive detention until the end of the next trial.4. The new trial may allow evidence excluded in the last trialThe three-judge panel in the original murder trial ruled large chunks of the prosecution’s phone investigations inadmissible. Judges ruled out one disc containing audio of telephone conversations and transcripts of text messages of the suspects allegedly discussing the crime because prosecutors failed to officially log it as evidence at the start of the trial. Judges ruled another audio disc inadmissible because investigators had not filtered out impertinent conversations, which violated defendants’ rights to privacy, they said. Judges also excluded the telecommunications investigation, which prosecutors considered the backbone of their case. Judges said the investigation could not be used because it was not opened for judicial review before the trial.In August, the prosecution argued for an appeal based on these exclusions, arguing that the investigations were legal and admissible.“The appeals court agreed with us,” Mora’s family attorney, Rodrigo Araya, told The Tico Times. “We are convinced that the three new judges will recognize the decision by the appeals court and will allow all of the evidence that was excluded in the first trial.”5. This is the last chance for these suspects to be convicted of Jairo Mora’s killingCosta Rican law only allows the prosecution one chance to appeal an acquittal. If the defendants are found not-guilty again in this trial, that verdict will stand. If judges allow all of the evidence to be heard, prosecutors are confident this new trial will result in a conviction.“The evidence we have is enough for a conviction,” Araya said. “This time, I’m sure justice will be served.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Victim testifies in Jairo Mora murder retrial Faced with delays and the mishandling of evidence, prosecutors deliver closing arguments in Jairo Mora murder trial NOT GUILTY: 7 men acquitted of murder of Costa Rica sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Delays and blunders: A timeline of the Jairo Mora murder trial in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Legislative committee requests ethics sanctions against Costa Rican president

first_img Facebook Comments A legislative committee charged with investigating alleged traffic of influences related to the import of Chinese cement accused Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís of a “lack of probity” related to his role in allegedly pressuring institutions to facilitate the imports.These criticisms of the president were included in the final report of the committee that investigated loans of more than $30 million from Costa Rican public banks to the cement importer, a case that has exposed irregularities in all three branches of government.“[The president’s] decisions did not befit [his duty of] impartiality, nor the objectives of the institutions with which he works. He failed to watch over the administration of public resources according to the principles of… effectiveness, economy, and efficiency,” states the report, released Monday night.President Solís refuted this claim and stated that “I have never instructed any official to violate any legal system or intercede before a company or specific person. Whoever says the contrary lacks the truth.”He made the comment in a video posted to his Facebook account: How Costa Rica’s cement market became a hotbed of intrigue Related posts:Costa Rican prosecutors raid Emergency Commission office Costa Rica’s elections 2018: a primer Costa Rica approaches presidential elections with an uncertain scenario PHOTOS: Costa Rican candidates wrap up their campaigns The cement scandal, popularly known in Costa Rica as the #Cementazo, revolves around businessman Juan Carlos Bolaños, accused of having exerted political pressure and offered favors in exchange for not only a regulations change that allowed him to import the cement from China, but also multi-million dollar loans from public banks that he received without the usual requirements.Bolaños is in preventive prison for this case along with six senior bank officials from the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) as part of an investigation of traffic of influences.Additional impact of the case has included the replacement of the entire BCR board of directors, and the suspension of Supreme Court magistrate Celso Gamboa and Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría while their alleged participation in the case is investigated.Former Vice Minister of Finance Fernando Rodríguez resigned from his position after being accused of exerting pressures to favor the import of the Chinese cement.The 294-page report asks the government’s Ethics Office for sanctions against Solís and 28 other people, including members of his administration, legislators, judges and others (review the detailed list as published by the daily La Nación here).last_img read more

Our chat with Epsy Campbell Costa Ricas vice presidentelect

first_imgSimilarly, women’s rights also became a focal point of the election, especially because of the recent wave of femicides in the country. What are your priorities in addressing these issues? The situation of women in Costa Rica, as in the rest of our region, requires extraordinary actions. We’ve been addressing them with ordinary actions… We need a more integrated approach to our Redes de Cuido [public childcare] so it can serve not only very poor women but also middle-class women… because the economic participation of women is barely 40 percent, and more of us are have been graduating from university than men for a decade. We’re not entering the job market.In elementary and high school many of the best students in math are women, but at university they choose traditional, “feminine” majors. Eighty percent of our engineering, math and science graduates are men… We need to have our little girls do more robotics starting in elementary school, more research on new technologies.This revolution will contribute to the country, because a country that is renouncing a significant part of its talent advances more slowly. Its GDP grows less. Campbell poses on Election Day with protesters dressed as characters from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” On both Feb. 4 and April 1, female voters donned the book and series’ iconic garb to express their concern that a conservative wave would negatively affect women’s rights in Costa Rica. Photo by Daniel Peraza / Via Facebook / Epsy CampbellWhile some people were thrilled by your victory, many voters – including plenty of voters who voted for your ticket, in all likelihood – are deeply disillusioned by government corruption. What will you do to address this?The main thing in politics is to tell people the truth. People are tired of being lied to. We’ve put in place a series of ethical guarantees to ensure… transparency in all decisions. Every public official [in the Alvarado administration] will have to sign a code of ethics, and we have an absolute commitment to name highly qualified people to every position and have a more vigorous citizen audit. We can’t ignore the valuable work the [unofficial pro-Alvarado social movement] Coalición Costa Rica has done in terms of becoming true citizen auditors.We also need to strengthen the Government Ethics Office and the mechanisms of accounting for our actions, and Carlos Alvarado is doing that. We’ll have a policy of absolutely austerity in public resources, at a time when our economic situation is so difficult.So I want to encourage people who voted for the PAC, who voted for the National Restoration party… there are many issues in common. There is so much to do. Costa Rica has been given a new opportunity, and we won’t let you down. Shortly afterward, you stepped onto that stage as the first Afro-descendant woman ever to become vice president in the Americas.You’re not so aware of what you’re doing until you look back. I went up there simply as Epsy Campbell, the person I’ve always been. In those moments, you only think about what you are, one more person. You don’t tell yourself every day, “You’re afrodescendiente. You’re a mom.” You just are, and it was that happy woman – Afro-descendent, of course – who stepped up onto that stage.The next day I started realizing, without being certain what was happening, that this was a historic moment not just in this country, but also throughout the Americas. I realized this because of international headlines and because they started calling me constantly from very different places: Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Spain. I said: What is going on? Because the truth is, I’ve become completely accustomed to my participation in Costa Rican politics, so of course, I took on the candidacy for the vice presidency and became the vice president-elect, and that was just the next step.In addition, since I am a woman, it had become something bigger. I became aware the next day of how little progress, perhaps, we have made on a democratic level if in 2018 the Americas have such cause to celebrate an Afro-descendent female vice president. This should be normal on a continent with 200 million Afro-descendent people. This should be extremely normal in a country like Brazil where there are more than 100 million Afro-descendents. But it’s not normal. It’s an exception.After so much struggle, the Afro-descendents of Latin America have representation for the first time on the level I will now attain with Carlos Alvarado, and that is symbolic. The painting behind Epsy Campbell’s desk shows a lone sign reading “VAMOS,” from her 2014 presidential primary bid, in the middle of an urban shantytown. It’s just one reminder that the person much of the world metfor the first time on April 1 – when she became the first black woman in the history of the Americas to be elected vice president  – is a very familiar face in Costa Rican politics. So familiar, in fact, that Campbell tells us she didn’t realize the historic significance of her election until the following day when she saw the international headlines; for her, this was just the “next step” in her career.Campbell, 54, is an economist who has represented the Citizen Action Party (PAC) in the Legislative Assembly twice (2002-2006 and 2014-2018), including a period as the party’s lead legislator in 2003-2004, and was the president of the party itself from 2005-2009.She ran for vice president in 2006 as running mate to party founder Ottón Solís, and came within reach of Casa Presidencial: Solís ultimately lost to Oscar Arias, of the National Liberation Party (PLN), but the vote count was too close to call for weeks. Campbell threw her hat in the ring for a presidential candidacy on multiple occasions, but never won her party’s internal primary.Campbell holds an undergraduate degree in economics and two Master’s degrees, one in international cooperation for development and the other in advanced political management and decision-making techniques. She is a widely published author and speaker. On the lighter side, her public Facebook page declares her to be a fan of Edith Piaf, Bob Marley, and “Thelma and Louise.” Campbell with a young supporter on Election Day. Photo by Daniel Peraza / Via Facebook / Epsy CampbellThe vice president-elect sat down with The Tico Times at her breezy office at the Legislative Assembly in San José on April 5 to discuss the emotions of Election Night and her plans for the next four years. (Since our conversation, President-elect Alvarado announced that Campell will also serve as the first female Foreign Minister in Costa Rican history; in Costa Rica, the two vice presidents typically hold a separate Cabinet position or other government role.)Excerpts follow.What did you feel when the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) announced its first set of results on April 1? My political life has not been short, but this was the most emotional result, the most heartfelt. This was an election, especially in the second round, where I and many people felt our country was at stake – the country we wanted, the country we thought we had. A country where there is space for everyone. It was two months of a lot of work and a lot of emotions.I’d never before found so many people in the streets who almost begged me to win… it might take us a while to understand that this is a generation that is very aware that society is not just about the economy or general social stability. It has to do with identity and the certainty that the country where you live is a safe country, not just safe from crime. Sometimes when we talk about security, I think we go straight to whether someone stole our wallet or broke into our house to take away something that is ours. But there were Costa Ricans who felt their lives were not secure after the [first round of] elections, and those Costa Ricans had a house, had a car and had a job. They felt that a hostile environment was being created in their own country.So I celebrated that first set of results with more emotion than ever in my life. I wanted to hug everyone and jump up and down.Experience the moment for yourself with our 360 video: Related posts:Watch Carlos Alvarado and Justin Trudeau’s first conversation President-elect unveils gender-balanced, multi-party Cabinet in Costa Rica Evangelicals make up quarter of Costa Rica’s new assembly Experience Costa Rica’s inauguration in our interactive video Facebook Comments The voting patterns in this election drew new attention to the huge inequalities between rural and urban Costa Rica. What are the administration’s priorities in terms of attention to rural economies, especially coastal zones? We are creating regional development proposals for the first time… to generate jobs and leverage the capacity in every one of those areas, facilitating access to resources and productive activities. We are going to start with the poorest territories… through infrastructure, quality education, and an aggressive program of bilingualism. President-elect unveils gender-balanced, multi-party Cabinet in Costa Rica The heart of Fabricio Alvarado, part I: Pocora, Limón Epsy Campbell will become Latin America’s first Afro-Latina vice presidentlast_img read more

French president calls for end to US embargo on Cuba

first_imgFrench President Francois Hollande, third left wearing dark suit, and Cuba’s President Raul Castro, second left, review an honor guard at Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Monday, May 11, 2015. Hollande has become the first French president to visit Cuba since it became an independent country, using a one-day trip to build business and diplomatic relations five months after a detente between Havana and Washington. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility HAVANA (AP) — French President Francois Hollande called on Monday for ending of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, saying France “will be a faithful ally” as Cuba reforms its centrally planned economy and tries to re-enter the global economic system.Hollande’s one-day trip made him the first French president to visit Cuba since it became an independent country.Along with a large contingent of French executives, he is focused on strengthening business and diplomatic relations five months after the declaration of detente between Havana and Washington. Speaking at the University of Havana, Hollande said “France will do everything it can to aid the process of opening Cuba and help get rid of measures that have so seriously damaged Cuba’s development.”Hollande’s address, in which he announced plans to increase academic exchanges with Cuba and mutually recognize the other country’s university degrees, was attended by First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the man widely expected to succeed President Raul Castro when he steps down in 2018. Hollande planned to meet Castro later MondayHollande also met with Cardinal Jaime Ortega to award him the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, and inaugurate a new building for the Alliance Francaise cultural center in Cuba.Shortly afterward, Hollande broke from his official schedule and walked down Cuba’s elegant but crumbling Paseo promenade, chatting with passersby and startled French tourists who took photos with him.Hollande, who is on a tour of the Caribbean, was accompanied by five of his ministers and nearly two dozen French executives, including representatives of Pernod Ricard beverages, hotel company Accor, Air France, supermarket Carrefour and the telecommunications company Orange. Comments   Share   Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and France are Cuba’s biggest trading partners within the European Union, which is the island’s second-largest economic partner with a combined $4.65 billion a year in trade in food, machinery and other goods. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Hollande met with President Raul Castro during his brief visit to the island.The French leader said he also met for about 50 minutes with Castro’s older brother and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who talked about climatic problems, agriculture and sanctions against Cuba. Hollande said during an encounter with French residents in Cuba that Castro looked physically “deteriorated,” but that they had “an easy conversation.”Top diplomats from Japan, the European Union, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia have visited the island in recent months in bids to stake out or maintain ties with an island that suddenly looks like a brighter economic prospect amid warming U.S.-Cuba relations.In Washington on Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama “has indicated that he does not envision a trip to Cuba anytime in the near future. But I certainly wouldn’t rule it out over the course of the next year.”Almost all have been accompanied by business people interested in Cuba’s push to draw more than $8 billion in new foreign investment as part of a broader, gradual economic liberalization. The delegations are also working to ensure that Cuba doesn’t forget its old friends in what eventually could be a new era of increased business with the United States. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Nigerias new president pledges fight against Boko Haram

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories The United States and former colonizer Britain were hindered by laws preventing certain weapons sales to countries whose militaries are accused of gross human rights violations. Nigeria’s military is accused of killing detainees and civilians and burning their homes in revenge for Boko Haram attacks.Buhari addressed those concerns Friday, promising to overhaul rules of engagement to prevent abuses and to take “disciplinary steps” against violators of human rights.He also thanked the leaders of neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger for sending troops for a multinational offensive that this year has driven Boko Haram from towns where it had declared an Islamic caliphate.Suicide bombings, abductions and hit-and-run attacks continue in northeastern Nigeria by what Buhari called “a mindless, godless group as far away from Islam as you can think of.” Hours before his inauguration a double-explosion blamed on the insurgents in the Borno village of Tashan-Alede killed seven people and injured several others, said survivor Ibrahim Bitrus.Gov. Kashim Shettima, who was sworn in Friday for a second term as governor of Borno, the birthplace of Boko Haram, pledged to rebuild the hundreds of communities destroyed by the insurgents. “This government will do all it can to rescue them alive.”The military has freed hundreds of captured women and children in recent weeks as it hemmed Boko Haram into its stronghold in the Sambisa Forest, but there has been no word of the schoolgirls whose abduction brought an international outcry.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was the first foreign official to meet with Nigeria’s new leader after the inauguration, accompanied by head of U.S. Africa Command, Gen. David M. Rodriguez. A senior State Department official said Washington was ready to increase military aid and could quickly send more advisers.“Congratulations to @MBuhari & the Nigerian people. A privilege to be here to celebrate #Nigeria’s historic & peaceful democratic transition,” Kerry tweeted.The 72-year-old Buhari had earlier pledged to root out human rights violations by the Nigerian military — abuses that had prevented full military cooperation from the U.S. and Britain.Departing President Goodluck Jonathan last year halted U.S. training of a battalion of Nigerian troops to fight Boko Haram. No reason was given but his officials had expressed anger at U.S. refusals to sell Nigeria weapons, including helicopter gunships. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories The inauguration turned into a nationwide celebration by Nigerians welcoming their country’s newly reinforced democracy after Buhari became the first candidate to defeat a sitting president at the polls since the end of military rule in 1999.With dancing and the release of white doves symbolizing peace, Nigerians hailed the handover of power in an African nation marked by superlatives: the most populous nation, the biggest oil producer, the largest economy.Nigeria also confronts the most deadly conflict on the continent — the insurgency by Boko Haram that has killed more than 13,000 people and driven more than 1.5 million from their homes.Blaming official bungling, negligence, complacency and collusion for allowing the Islamic extremists to grow into “a terrifying force,” Buhari pledged to take on Nigeria’s myriad problems. “We are going to tackle them head on,” he declared.“But we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents,” he said, referring to the hundreds of girls seized more than a year ago from their school in Chibok in northeastern Borno state.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “The world desperately needs a victory against cultist jihadism. Nigeria (under Buhari) can provide it,” he wrote in a blog.On Friday, Buhari saluted all Nigerians, whether or not they voted for him.“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” he said to applause. “I intend to serve as president to all Nigerians.”He takes over a nation in crisis: government coffers that have been hit by massive corruption, a devalued currency, low oil prices and a $63 billion debt which grows as Nigeria borrows more to pay government salaries.Some nervous politicians feared Buhari’s promise to retrieve ill-gotten gains signaled a witch hunt. “These fears are groundless,” Buhari said, though he added that some of his predecessors had acted “like spoiled children, breaking everything in the house.”___Associated Press Diplomatic Correspondent Bradley Klapper contributed to this report from Abuja.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s new president was sworn in on Friday and pledged to tackle Boko Haram “head on,” asserting the fight against the Islamic extremists wouldn’t be won until hundreds of schoolgirls abducted last year and other kidnapping victims were brought home alive.Muhammadu Buhari’s new administration won a signal of support from the United States, which indicated it was prepared to increase military aid. The insurgency has “preyed on our young girls, and did all it could to terminate their hope for education and a good life, while turning our women into objects of enslavement and as sex objects,” Shettima said.However, he surprised those in attendance by saying he would appeal to the federal government to allow the rehabilitation of Boko Haram fighters who come out of the bush and de-radicalize — a move he said was essential for national reconciliation.“It is never easy to accept back into the community those who have taken up arms, killed, pillaged, raped and destroyed,” he said. “But in the long run society must make very expensive choices for peace, reconciliation and development.”Many Nigerians consider Buhari, a retired major-general who subdued a smaller Islamic uprising when he ruled briefly as a military dictator in the 1980s, to be the right person to govern at this time of crisis. An austere disciplinarian, he is the only Nigerian leader not to have enriched himself from the state treasury.Buhari has pledged to fight the endemic corruption that has kept Nigeria, a nation rich in natural resources, so impoverished.Political science professor Richard Joseph of Northwestern University said Buhari’s victory was a sign of hope. Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Iraq Suicide car bomb kills at least 40 in eastern province

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bombing in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province killed at least 40 people gathered at a marketplace to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.Iraqi police officials said at least 40 people were also wounded in the attack in the town of Khan Beni Saad. Hospital officials confirmed the death tolls. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to messages posted on Twitter. The claim could not be independently verified but it was posted by accounts commonly associated with the group.Parts of Diyala were captured by the Islamic State group last year. Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters have since retaken those areas, but clashes between the militants and security forces continue.The Sunni militant group has been behind several similar large-scale attacks on civilians or military checkpoints as it seeks to expand its territory, which includes a third of Iraq and Syria.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself uplast_img read more

Chris Browns Manila departure delayed over fraud allegation

first_imgFILE – In this June 28, 2015 file photo, Chris Brown arrives at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Grammy award-winning singer Brown’s departure from Manila has been delayed because of a fraud complaint against him and his promoter for a canceled concert last New Year’s eve. The recording artist and his promoter were prevented from leaving on a private plane Wednesday, July 22, 2015, pending a clearance from Department of Justice officials who are considering the allegations. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File) Comments   Share   Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown’s departure from Manila was delayed Wednesday because of fraud allegations against him and his promoter for a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve in the Philippines.The recording artist, who performed at a packed concert Tuesday night in Manila, was prevented from leaving on a private plane Wednesday pending clearance by the Bureau of Immigration. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centercenter_img How men can have a healthy 2019 The legal counsel of the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo and its Maligaya Development Corporation which manages the Philippine Arena, wrote Tuesday to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to ask for assistance in prosecuting the criminal complaint for fraud that the MDC is filing against Brown and Pio Roda.The letter said after making representations that Brown would perform at the concert, and after having fully paid for the two men’s services, Brown failed to appear and perform at the concert, to the damage and prejudice of MDC.Brown had a concert scheduled for Wednesday night in Hong Kong, but calls to the venue were not answered. A posting earlier Wednesday on the singer’s Twitter account said a concert later this week in Jakarta, Indonesia, was being canceled for unspecified safety concerns but would be rescheduled.___AP Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report from New York.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories “It was a misunderstanding that has since been cleared up,” said a spokeswoman for Brown, Nicole Perna. “Chris leaves tomorrow for Hong Kong to continue his planned performances.”The religious group that owns the New Year’s Eve concert venue petitioned the Philippines Department of Justice for help prosecuting Brown. It wasn’t immediately clear whether a formal complaint was filed.Philippines Bureau of Immigration spokeswoman Elaine Tan said Brown and his promoter, John Michael Pio Roda, were placed on the bureau’s “lookout bulletin” on the instruction of the Department of Justice.Tan said a lookout bulletin is not on its own a bar to departure, unlike a hold departure order.She said the Justice Department order directs the bureau to “take prudent steps to verify on the status of the criminal case against the subjects.”“If the concerned agency raises no objection to the departure, then we will allow the subject to leave,” Tan said.The singer canceled a New Year’s Eve concert at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena at the last minute, reportedly because he lost his passport the day before the scheduled event. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

afta rallies behind Queensland tourism

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M afta CEO, Jayson Westbury is rallying support for tourism to Queensland, sending a clear message to the trade to urge travellers to book a domestic holiday to the State or defer worried holiday-makers from cancelling pre-arranged trips Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard today, Mr Westbury said the key message was simply, “How can I help?” directing the greater travel industry to get on board with ensuring correct information was relayed to travellers considering visiting popular tourism spots, most of which has been untouched by recent floods.Mr Westbury said afta has recommended donations to be made to the Premier Fund.last_img read more

Diamant Canberra set to reopen in fortnight

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A After a fire ripped through the Diamant Hotel Canberra precinct late last week, the hotel itself suffered only minimal smoke exposure, hotel management said.Nobody was hurt in the fire and the hotel, part of the 8Hotels collection, will reopen on 11 July following some paint touch ups and cleaning.An 8Hotels spokesperson told e-Travel Blackboard that two of the three restaurants on site were completely destroyed by the blaze, but plans to rebuild are already in the works.“We look forward to reopening the Diamant and welcoming our guests back to the hotel on July 11 2011,” 8Hotels chief executive Paul Pischmann said.“I can’t express my gratitude enough to the Fire Brigade Officers and Emergency Services for their amazing efforts in containing this potentially devastating blaze and I am so proud of our Diamant team whose only objective was the safety and well being of our guests.”Guests with reservations up to July 11 are advised to call 02 9295 8888 or email canberra@diamant.com.aulast_img read more

Uganda travel safe despite Ebola outbreak WHO

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H The World Health Organization (WHO) has not recommended that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Uganda following an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Kibaale district in the western part of the country. Since the beginning of the outbreak last month, there have been 36 suspected cases of the virus, which has thus far claimed 16 lives. No cases of the disease have been reported in capital city, Kampala. Most well known for its population of the rare mountain gorilla, Uganda is home to the highest mountain range in Africa (the Mountains of the Moon in the Rwenzori National Park), is the source of the Nile River and offers some of the best white water rafting in the world. Lonely Planet ranked Uganda as the number one country to visit this year. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers some of the best viewing of gorillas (Image Tourism Uganda)last_img read more

Emirates resumes Libya services

first_imgEmirates has announced it will resume flights to Tripoli, Libya in September this year, more than two years after violence in the region forced the carrier to suspend services. Airline stays committed to the destination. Utilising the airline’s Boeing 777-200ER, Emirates senior vice president Luc Grillet said the reintroduction signalled the airline’s commitment to the country and expects it to also boost demand into North Africa. The return flight will leave Tripoli International Airport at 5.25pm and will land in Dubai at 1.00am.  “We have been closely monitoring the situation in Libya and feel that the time is right to re-launch our services, which will help to support business, international trade and passenger travel to and from Tripoli, as well as strengthening the country’s overall infrastructure,” Mr Grillet explained. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJ Recommencing from 1 September 2013, the airline will fly three times weekly to Tripoli, under the new schedule, flight EK745 will leave Dubai at 09.30am arriving in Malta at 1.25pm, the service will depart Malta 2.45pm arriving in Tripoli at 3.55pm.last_img read more

Tourism industry is set to exceed 100 billion for New York

first_imgTourism industry is set to exceed $100 billion for New YorkGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the total economic impact of New York State’s tourism industry in 2014 reached an all-time high of $100.1 billion.Historic investments in the tourism industry have generated job growth and an increase in visitors to New York, making it the most visited state by overseas travelers for the 14th year in a row.The Governor also highlighted the 2015 summer ad campaign featuring vacation destinations and attractions from all regions of the state.‎“A stronger tourism industry in New York means more jobs and more economic activity in local communities. That’s why growing this critically important industry has been a top priority of this administration – an effort that, as this new data demonstrates, has been effective,” Governor Cuomo said.As the Fourth of July weekend kicks-off this summer season, the Governor’s summer tourism ad campaign invites residents and visitors to celebrate the state’s history and experience the unmatched destinations, attractions, events, landmarks, and cultural opportunities New York State has to offer.Tourism Economics conducted an economic impact report using Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) software, with the results as follows.Direct impact: $62.46 billion Includes immediate benefit for persons and companies directly providing goods or services to travelers.Indirect impact: $18.52 billionThe secondary benefit to suppliers of goods and services, for example, food wholesalers that provide goods to a New York restaurant.Impact to local economy: $19.18 billion The benefit to New York’s economy from the incomes derived at the direct and indirect levels of impact is spent on goods and services. For example, the restaurant’s employees spend their wages at a local grocery store.For the 14th consecutive year, New York was the most visited state by overseas travelers in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel & Tourism Office.  A total of 9.98 million overseas visitors came to the Empire State last year, accounting for 29% of all overseas travelers in the United States.  Florida remained #2 and California was ranked #3 among states in overseas visitation.Governor Cuomo’s commitment to tourism continues throughout every region of the state and Market NY Grants are currently available through Round V of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative of up to $12 million. Visit I Love New York here! Source = New York Statelast_img read more

Adelaide Airport secures gold in Asia Pacific HR awards

first_imgImage credit: Adelaide AirportAdelaide Airport has taken top honours for excellence in Human Resources management in the Asia Pacific Region, announced this week by Airport Councils International (ACI).The airport has secured ‘Gold Recognition’ for demonstrating best practice in HR management from ACI Asia-Pacific, ahead of Hyderabad and Yangon airports.Adelaide Airport Executive General Manager People & Culture, Sue Doyle, said putting ‘people’ at the core of the company’s business strategy helped to drive growth, innovation and leadership.“Our focus is all about finding the right balance between economic business growth, environmental balance and engagement with our community. Our long term success is driven by developing and supporting leaders, fostering inclusion and diversity, and developing and supporting community programs. We also strive to build a strong brand and be an employer of choice,” Ms Doyle said.“As an example, our focus on diversity has seen female staff numbers increase year-on year in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry. We recognise the need for flexible working arrangements, particularly given the challenges of our 24/7 airport operation.“We also encourage and foster innovation. For example, our ‘Day in the Life Of’ program allows staff to work for a short period in other departments which allows them to better understand the business in which they work.”Ms. Kerrie Mather, Chairperson of the Panel of Judges and Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Airport said, “The submissions received this year demonstrated excellent best practices in HR management and presented many very innovative HR projects which are driving airport business sustainability.“The Panel of Judges was impressed by the submission presented by Adelaide Airport Limited. It showed proven contribution to the airport business by the HR function which clearly met the objectives of this program.”ACI Asia-Pacific, one of the five regions of the Airports Council International (ACI), is based in Hong Kong and represents 100 members operating 573 airports in 47 countries in Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East.Adelaide Airport this week has also received a distinction for its 2014 company re-brand, announced in New York by US based REBRAND – the world’s leading brand transformation and rebranding resource.The airport’s re-brand was designed by Adelaide-based design specialist, NickNack. Adelaide AirportSource = Adelaide Airportlast_img read more