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Swedens prime minister files for divorce

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first_imgReinfeldt, 46, and his 45-year old wife, local Stockholm politician Filippa, separated in March this year, but the reason for the split has not been made public. The couple married in 1992 and has three children.Former Prime Minister Goran Persson also divorced while in office. Reinfeldt’s center-right coalition ousted Persson’s social democratic government in the 2006 elections.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) STOCKHOLM (AP) – Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has filed for divorce after having separated from his wife earlier this year after two decades of marriage.A brief statement sent from Reinfeldt’s office, including a copy of the divorce documents, said the prime minister had handed in the paperwork at the Stockholm District Court on Wednesday. It added that no further comment would be issued on the matter. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Sponsored Stories center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 0 Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

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Africa West combine to rout militants in Somalia

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first_imgAssociated PressMOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The first Ugandan soldiers to fly into Somalia 5 1/2 years ago came under attack as soon as they arrived: Militants fired mortars at the new mission’s welcome ceremony.Today, backed by a sweeping multinational effort that includes $338 million in U.S. equipment, wages and training, the force of Ugandans, Burundians, Kenyans and Somalis that was deployed to take on the country’s Islamic radicals can claim a degree of success that had initially seemed highly unlikely. Many ingredients went into making AMISOM a credible force: U.S. money, equipment and training; United Nations logistical support, food, housing and an international mandate; training in how to avoid or respond to civilian casualties, an important hearts-and-minds investment.Another advantage: The invading soldiers, like the Somalis, were black Africans and therefore a more acceptable foreign presence. They were not the first African force policing Somalia _ an Ethiopian contingent had been deployed three months before the Ugandans arrived. But Ethiopia, unlike Uganda, moved in with a heavy hand and a poor reputation.Among the most important factors in AMISOM’s success were a high tolerance for casualties, and the incentive of salaries of $1,028 per month, paid for by the European Union _ 10 to 20 times the average incomes in Uganda and Burundi. AMISOM and participating governments refuse to release death tolls. The topic is too politically sensitive back in home capitals. But two Western officials who work on Somalia issues and who were not allowed to be identified told The Associated Press that some 500 Ugandans and Burundians have been killed, plus an unknown number of Kenyans who joined AMISOM over the last year. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day AMISOM’s U.N. mandate was narrow: provide security for the airport, seaport and presidential palace. No major battles took place, though mortars hit the airport and targeted killings of troops slowly rose. Al-Shabab seemed more interested in fighting the Ethiopian force.By the time the Ugandans and the Burundians who had joined them began pushing out from their airport base in 2009, al-Shabab had built a vast network of tunnels and trenches through the city to move supplies and hold back AMISOM’s tanks. The Ugandans and Burundians fought building to building, and the civilian casualties often were blamed on AMISOM.“There was a point when Mogadishu’s sentiment was shifting against AMISOM,” and the U.S. and its partners decided action was needed, said Hogendoorn.Troops readying to deploy to Somalia were trained by U.S. and European advisers in firing and maneuvering, fighting in built-up areas, rules of engagement, and making friends in the Somali culture. Somali troops were increasingly integrated into operations.Capt. Henry Obbo credits those soft military skills with winning the mission. “You can see whenever we move, they wave at us. It’s the way we interact with them.” Most Ugandans are Christian and Somalis are Muslim, he said, but, “we are all Africans. We have Somalis who are citizens in Uganda. My best friend in school was a Somali called Suliman.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) When the Ugandan spearhead arrived on March 6, 2007, Somalia had been in chaos for years, ruled by warlords and insurgents bent on creating an Islamic state. AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia, was the most ambitious response since the failed 1990s U.S. intervention of Black-Hawk-Down infamy.The militants called al-Shabab, who once controlled nearly all of Mogadishu, have been gone from the capital for more than a year, and last month AMISOM booted them out of their last urban stronghold, the port city of Kismayo.“I think from a military and security perspective it has been a success. Absent AMISOM, al-Shabab would now be in control of Mogadishu. We would not be talking about a new (Somali) national government with a president from civil society in charge,” said E.J. Hogendoorn, a Horn of Africa expert at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that tracks conflicts.But if the specter of Somalia as al-Qaida’s next Yemen has been averted, the challenge now is to achieve strong central government for an estimated 10 million Somalis.  “What is necessary for the long term in Somalia,” said Hogendoorn, “is some sort of political resolution to this conflict.” Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement AMISOM was gaining ground, and the militants knew it. In August 2010, just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, al-Shabab mounted a massive offensive to overrun the government and control all of Mogadishu. Among its ranks were veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war, and at least two dozen Americans, mostly of Somali origin.The militants battled to within 100 meters (yards) of the presidential palace. But they took heavy casualties.“That was when we broke their back. That marked the beginning of the end of al-Shabab,” said Mugisha, the ex-AMISOM commander. “We were supposed to be thrown in the sea. But this was not possible because we were also prepared. There were several battles, very serious and intense. We took some casualties, but I think we won the battles because we had better equipment and we were determined.”Rouget estimated that al-Shabab suffered more than 1,000 dead and wounded, and that the militant commander Mukhtar Robow lost 400 of his men, a blow that began to fracture al-Shabab leadership.Even after the failed Ramadan offensive, fighting was still intense. In February 2011, AMISOM troops pushed out into southwestern Mogadishu, where the Ministry of Defense was occupied by insurgents. More than 50 AMISOM troops, mostly from Burundi, reportedly died in one day _ a figure never officially confirmed. Somali militants are melting into the local populace and could be preparing a comeback, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan after invading coalition forces made early claims of success. Al-Shabab still controls wide areas of south-central Somalia.Their territory, however, is low-value countryside and shrinking, while Mogadishu and other urban areas are enjoying a long-awaited respite from Islamist radicalism.Some may see AMISOM’s success as reaffirming the blueprint of African boots on the ground, backed by U.S., European and U.N. money, as a possible model for the future on this troubled continent.But Dr. J. Peter Pham, an Africa specialist at the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C. think tank, echoes Hogendoorn’s caution.“It’s a success for the military strategy, but a military strategy can only achieve military ends … Victory is secured when Mogadishu faces up to its political crisis. The military can clear out a space but cannot fill a space. That requires civil society and a political solution,” he said.     ___Back in 2007, the first Ugandan troops to arrive barely had enough food. Soldiers actually died of scurvy. An army of bush fighters had been dropped into the most dangerous kind of urban terrain. It lacked _ and still lacks _ the attack helicopters essential to fighting this kind of war. Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories center_img ___Somali leaders in August voted in a new constitution, a 275-member parliament and a president. Businesses and sports are thriving in Mogadishu under the AMISOM security blanket. Al-Qaida-linked fighters have fled to Yemen and northern Somalia.But AMISOM leaders know Somalia needs a long-lasting political solution and trustworthy army to escape its two decades of chaos and hold back the warlords.Brig. Gen. Paul Lokech, the current commander of the Ugandan contingent of AMISOM, attended senior staff college at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and has “The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell” on his desk. When asked earlier this year if he trusts Somali politicians, he exhaled loudly.“Trust? That is too powerful. But these are the elected leaders and we will work with them,” he said. He added: “There is need for political actors to come on board and appeal to the fighters to put their arms down. They should be saying, `Brothers, it is high time to end the fighting.’”___Jason Straziuso was embedded with African Union troops in the Mogadishu suburb of Afgoye in June. Associated Press reporters Abdi Guled in Mogadishu and Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda contributed to this report.       Sponsored Stories In May 2011, Ugandan troops fought their way back to Bakara market. Mugisha said that “was the last nail in the coffin of al-Shabab.”“They could not believe that they could be uprooted from that market,” he said. “It was a built-up, very formidable area where they had stocked a lot of ammunition, and that’s where they sell guns. All sorts of equipment were there. Once they were uprooted out of Bakara and in the northern part of Mogadishu, it marked the major beginning of the end of the whole offensive against al-Shabab.”On Aug. 6, 2011, residents in Mogadishu awoke to find that the militants had fled. The city was free of fighting for the first time in years. Al-Shabab called the pullout a tactical retreat, a way to preserve its dwindling manpower. It was the first of a series of such retreats, culminating in their withdrawal from Kismayo, 415 kilometers (260 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, last month. Kenyan troops launched an overnight amphibious assault on the port city, and al-Shabab announced a pull-out the next day.“It is an absolutely amazing success,” said Bancroft’s Rouget. “It’s the first time Africa proved it can sort out African conflicts.” Comments   Share   That may seem much less than American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, but proportionate to their troop levels they are high. AMISOM troop levels only recently reached their current peak of 17,000.“Somalia was the worst situation in the whole world. Somalia was hell on earth, and now it has been turned around. The Somalis now have got hope. So when you ask about the casualties we have taken, I tell you that it was worth it,” said Uganda’s Gen. Nathan Mugisha, who commanded AMISOM from 2009 to 2011.AMISOM did not fight in Somalia’s pirate-infested region, but with al-Shabab on the run, the government may be able to begin tackling the on-land problems that produced pirates at sea.___Having survived the attack on the welcoming ceremony unscathed,  the Ugandan force, then numbering 1,500, soon went to work. It suffered its first fatality in late April, and a week later drove into Mogadishu’s Bakara market, with its notorious weapons section called Cirtoogte, meaning “sky shooter,” because buyers would test-fire weapons into the air.It was the first time a foreign military had entered the market in the 15 years since the U.S. forces came and went. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mugisha notes that the U.N. feeds AMISOM’s troops, the EU pays them and the U.S. and Italy pay Somali troops. The U.S., though, is the biggest single financial contributor.“The Americans have supported the training of our troops here, in Uganda and in Burundi, and largely they sponsor it. They give uniforms, body armor and whatever, everything that prepares a soldier for battle,” he said. “… Without them I don’t think we would have been able to put the soldiers on the ground and sustain them.”The U.S. has equipped AMISOM with ammunition, some rifles, armored personnel carriers, communications gear and small, hand-held surveillance drones called Ravens. They give them boots, uniforms, bulletproof vests and helmets. And U.S. money supports Somali troops with non-lethal equipment.The U.S. also flies larger drones that occasionally fire at one of al-Shabab’s _ or al-Qaida’s _ top leaders.The U.S. insists AMISOM is not the West’s proxy. “AMISOM is an African peacekeeping force responding to an African crisis,” says the top U.S. official on Somalia, James Swan. “And like every other peacekeeping operation in the world, it receives a great deal of international support.  In the case of AMISOM today, the majority of that support comes from the U.N.” “When they first arrived, we thought that they were an invading force that wanted to colonize Somalia,” Abshir Mohamed, a Mogadishu resident, said. “But their actions quickly changed our minds. We saw they didn’t have that intention and are doing an ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”Another Somali, Muhummed Nor, had mixed feelings. AMISOM troops, he said, freed Mogadishu from constant war, but he lamented the number of civilians killed. In his view, AMISOM shelled residential areas. Military leaders blame that shelling on al-Shabab.After the Ethiopians pulled out in 2009, the U.N. upgraded the mission and AMISOM slowly gained momentum and manpower. Bancroft, a U.S. company hired by the U.S. State Department, introduced sniper rifles and trained 100 marksmen, reducing the need for mortars that could hit civilians. Training sessions back in Uganda incorporated the lessons being learned in Mogadishu.“Every day they changed and got better,” said Richard Rouget, a Frenchman who works for Bancroft. “Better discipline, better battlefield control, better logistics.”The U.S. and Italian governments began paying Somali soldiers’ wages, reducing the number of trained government troops who defected to al-Shabab. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img

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Israeli watchdog reports spike in settlements

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first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Palestinians consider settlements a major obstacle to establishing a state that includes the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war. Israel has since built dozens of settlements that are now home to about 550,000 Israelis.Israelis and Palestinians recently resumed peace talks after a five-year lull.(Copyright 2013 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 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories JERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli anti-settlement watchdog group says there has been a dramatic spike in West Bank settlement construction this year.Peace Now said Thursday that there has been a 70 percent increase in housings starts in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. It said its data was based on a survey of aerial photos and a count of all housings units built in each settlement. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Check your body, save your life Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

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LAN Airlines named best airline based in CentralSouth America

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first_imgSource = LAN Airlines LAN Airlines has once again been selected Best Airline in Central/South America and the Caribbean at the annual Airline Industry Awards presented by Official Airline Guide (OAG), the world leader in air travel information. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the awards, which are considered the “Oscars of the Airline Industry” because they are voted for by frequent flyers around the world who choose the best international companies and airports.Winners are chosen through a survey that asks frequent flyers to rank the top three airlines among those they have flown over the past 12 months in each of the award categories. “We are proud to distribute the 2009 OAG Airline Industry Awards to airlines and airports who work hard every day to give travelers the best flying experience possible,” stated Peter von Moltke, CEO of UBM Aviation.Responding to the award announcement, Armando Valdivieso, LAN’s CEO Passenger, said that “We are honored to receive this important distinction, which reflects the opinions of demanding customers from around the globe, and will continue working to offer the best flight experience with the excellent service and high safety standards that have distinguished LAN internationally.”Among the other oneworld alliance companies that received awards were Qantas, for Best Airline based in Australasia/Pacific, and British Airways, winner in the Best Economy/Coach Class category.Complete list of winners for 2009 available at:http://www.oagairlineawards.com/Winnerslast_img read more

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Tiger Airways successful launches IPO

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first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/27588/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Tiger Airways has launched its initial public offering (IPO) at $S1.50 ($1.17) per share. Reports coming out of Singapore on Monday indicated that the partial float had attracted strong interest and the deal appears to have been oversubscribed. The low cost carrier previously indicated it wanted to sell the shares at the top end of its $S1.35 to $S1.65 indicative range and would realise about $S233 million before expenses. Tiger Airways plans to use more than half of these profits to fund aircraft acquisitions. The airline has confirmed that approximately $S50m will go towards paying off short-term loans and a further $S10m will be invested into “potential new airlines or operating bases”. Currently, Tiger Airways has bases in Singapore, Melbourne and Adelaide serviced by 17 aircraft. The airline has also confirmed plans to expand its fleet with a further 51 aircraft by 2015. This would place the low-cost carrier in the same competitive league as its major rivals, Jetstar and AirAsia. The offering consisted of 155,556,000 new shares plus 9,599,000 from investor Indigo Partners. President and Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Airways, Tony Davis said, “We believe that the significant demand for shares in Tiger Airways from investors around the world is a strong vote of confidence in our low-cost business model and the growth potential of Tiger Airways.”The Financial Times has reported that the IPO had been 3 1/2 times subscribed by Friday night and it could end up eight to 10 times oversubscribed. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

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Olympic fever continues in Canada with Paralympics

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/299b9/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Vancouver and Whistler will be continuing its Winter Olympic festivities as it launches the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, which this year will feature 64 medal events.This Winter Olympics will feature a first, with the closing ceremony for the Paralympic Winter Games held outside the host city of Vancouver.  Instead the ceremony will take place at Whistler Medals Plaza on the 21st of March.Whistler will have much to boast about over the next week or so, as some 95% of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will be held within the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain resorts.“Tens of thousands of spectators enjoyed events and celebrations in Whistler during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in February, and approximately 3.5 billion people around the world enjoyed spectacular images of the resort on their televisions and online,” said Tourism Whistler in a statement.“The 2010 Paralympic Winter Games bring an unprecedented opportunity for Whistler to build substantially on its international reputation as an accessible destination.”Despite the games being on, Whistler Blackcomb will remain 90% open for casual skiers and snowboarders.last_img read more

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Pilot speaks out against flight air fumes

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J A former pilot has spoken out, claiming that fume leaks into the air system on board planes are causing illnesses among passengers and flight crew. The former Qantas regional division pilot Dr Susan Michaelis who also studied the topic as part of her PhD said she believes her current medical situation was caused by exposure to fumes released into the air system, The Associated Press reported.  “It’s one of the biggest issues that the aviation industry has faced in a long time,” she told the source. “If you are not breathing safe air there’s a very big problem.” According to the source, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has received up to seven incidents involving fume leaks while British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has received one since 2006. A Balpa spokesperson said leaks occur because the air passes through the engine before entering the cabin.”If you’ve been on an aircraft and smelled that funny odour it’s recognised that’s generally oil fumes,” Dr Michaelis added. “You wouldn’t know and if you were to get sick, it may not be related, but you wouldn’t know. “There are people getting sick and they are getting seriously sick.” Dr Michaelis recommended airlines install a warning system in the cockpit to alert pilots of any fume in the air. A Department of Transport spokesperson said the company takes passengers’ health “extremely seriously” and has commission research into the cause of fume entering the air system. “This work is now complete and is currently being peer reviewed before publication in the near future,” the spokesperson said. “Cabin fume events are exceptionally rare, occurring on a tiny fraction of flights, and the results of this research will help us decide what action – if any – is necessary.”last_img read more

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Park Hyatt Sydney Receives International Recognition at Best Of the B

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first_imgPark Hyatt Sydney is honoured to be the recipient of the Virtuoso “Best of the Best” hotel award for Best Achievement in Design at the prestigious award ceremony held during the 2012 Virtuoso Travel Week conference in Las Vegas on 17 August 2012.A leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso introduced the “Best of the Best” Hotel Awards six years ago as a means of recognising properties and individuals that best exemplify Virtuoso’s commitment to delivering exceptional experiences. The awards drew a record crowd of 1,450 people including some of the biggest names in hospitality as well as the travel agency community. With a portfolio of 975 hotels, resorts, villas and private island retreats in 90 countries, Virtuoso has continuously set new standards within the luxury travel industry; and those recognised with a “Best of the Best” award represent the finest hotels and professionals who truly define the highest level of luxury hospitality. Nominated alongside some of the world’s best hotels, Park Hyatt Sydney was named the winner of the Best Achievement in Design award, an award that recognises the significance of outstanding architecture and design of a hotel.  Led by Melbourne-based design firm BARstudio, Park Hyatt Sydney’s accolade comes after a dramatic 11-month transformation that witnessed a complete rebuild of the hotel into a luxurious harbourfront residence with unrivalled views of the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The hotel’s architect of record for the renovation was Hassell, an Australian architectural design practise.The hotel’s new redesign unveiled an intimate and stylish residential-style hotel with architecture, design and art that reflects the Australian landscape.  With three new luxury rooftop suites including the luxurious Sydney Suite, Park Hyatt Sydney brings a new level of contemporary luxury to the edge of Sydney harbour with a coveted waterfront location between the world-famous Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.The hotel’s interior features an art gallery of interior pieces including indigenous artefacts, books and artworks in all 155 guestrooms and throughout the hotel.  Blending the hotel’s indoor-outdoor living experience are floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto spacious private balconies, custom-designed lighting and furnishings of warm, neutral hues.  Most importantly, the hotel’s new redesign honours its Australian heritage ensuring original Sydney sandstone and local timber were incorporated in the rebuild.  The hotel has also commissioned a number of Australian artists including sculptors, painters and photographers to create artworks designed to provide guests with a quintessentially Sydney experience.“We are pleased to receive this prestigious award.  The recognition of receiving a Virtuoso “Best of the Best” hotel award places Park Hyatt Sydney amongst the finest hotels in the world.  The team at Park Hyatt Sydney has worked incredibly hard throughout our 11-month closure and this win is a big recognition to the team for an excellent job done,” said general manager Andrew Mensforth.Park Hyatt Sydney has received its five awards since re-opening in February 2012, including the 2012 Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) Awards for Excellence Deluxe Hotel Accommodation of the Year and Travel + Leisure magazine’s IT List: The Best New Hotels 2012. Park Hyatt Sydney – Exterior Source = Park Hyatt Sydneylast_img read more

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Syd Airport pax peaks

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Image Source: The Sunday Telegraph Sydney Airport reported that passenger traffic has reached a new monthly high in August, rising 5.7 percent compared to the same period last year.Both international and domestic traffic increased in August, growing 7 percent and 4.9 percent respectively, according to The Moodie Report.International traffic was driven by double-digit growth in Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and Indian nationals arriving in Sydney,” Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said.“In addition, Australian outbound grew by 4.4 percent driven by increased travel to destinations such as the USA, Middle East and South East Asia.”Ms Mather said capacity was a key driver of passenger growth, with airlines such as Aerolineas Argentinas, China Eastern and Air Canada adding more seats to Sydney Airport from December this year. “This is the third consecutive month of growth in the domestic market… however competition in the low cost segment has been the catalyst for passenger growth with Tiger and Jetstar providing the strongest contributions,” Ms Mather said.last_img read more

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Sunny Sri Lanka popular with Aussies

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first_imgAustralians keen for island destinations this winter. Australians intending to escape for winter have deemed Sri Lanka the hottest emerging destination, according to new flight search data.Flight comparison website Skyscanner revealed searches to Sri Lanka by Australians increased by over 250 percent year-on-year since 2012.While Europe and the United States are still the most sought after destinations, World Cup fever has seen Aussies searching more flights to Brazil, rising more than 220 percent since last year.The Philippines was one of the top three emerging destinations Australians searched.Indonesia, Thailand and New Zealand also made the top ten most-searched destinations.“Sri Lanka is fast becoming the go-to beach holiday for Australians looking to visit a country a little less popular than the obvious hot spots,” Skyscanner market development manager Australia Dave Boyte said.“But, those ‘popular’ destinations like Indonesia are still high on the agenda for Australians with searches to Indonesia increasing by 194 percent since last year.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.last_img read more

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Boeings jumbo nosedives

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first_imgDevelopment has been delayed for more than a year, with the new rate dropping from 1.75 to 1.5 planes per month and expected to remain at these levels through 2015, a 25 percent decline from when production started in 2013, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. For the second time this year, Boeing has slowed down the production of its biggest and most well-known model ever, the 747-8 jumbo jet. With the release of its new Boeing 777X in November, Boeing could cannibalise and further jeaopardise sales for its jumbo jet, with the new aircraft’s dual-engine and 400 passenger capacity eliminating the need for the 747-8. Although the famous jumbo jet hasn’t gained any new sales this year, with Korean Air Lines failing to complete its order of five passenger jumbo jets in June, Boeing is in “active” negotiations with several prospective buyers and looking forward to a rebound in the cargo market for 2014, potentially igniting interest in a freighter version.center_img Boeing currently allows customers to trade in older jumbo jets in an effort to boost sales for the latest version of the jumbo jet, although this remains difficult to achieve as more airlines choose to refrain from expensive, four-engine aircraft. Source = ETB News: L.B.last_img read more

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Tribal council once again chooses beautiful Samoa

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first_imgImage credit: Samoa Tourism AuthorityTop rating reality TV show Survivor has chosen Samoa for the fifth time, with Channel TEN announcing that the location was once again chosen for its rugged beauty and remoteness for the 2016 Australian season.A reported 15,000 Australians auditioned to be part of the series. 24 Australians have been casted where they will compete in various challenges while marooned in a secret location with only the most basic instruments to survive.One by one tribe members will vote out fellow competitors until one remains to be declared the winner of the series. The show will be hosted by Australian celebrity Jonathan LaPaglia.Endemol Shine Australia will produce Australian Survivor in association with format creator Castaway Television Productions Ltd. According to TEN Chief Programming Officer, Beverley McGarvey, Samoa was chosen for its “beautiful, remote, challenging and dramatic” settings.Samoa’s Prime Minister, Hon. Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi says that they are delighted to have been chosen for a fifth time by Survivor, which shot on location most recently in 2011.“We are humbled to have been chosen by Survivor again for the Australian series. In many ways, it was the perfect decision, with existing infrastructure that we can build on from previous seasons and having staff on the ground with solid experience to guarantee a smooth and efficient production,” he said.“But despite having hosted such a global television phenomenon, we have managed to preserve the beauty and untouched nature of our surroundings which is testament to our commitment and love for our country and its pristine environment.”Production will begin later this month in a top secret island location and will air on Channel TEN later on in the year. Visit SamoaSource = Samoa Tourism Authoritylast_img read more

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Good Itineraries come from a chain of integrity

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first_imgroomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals www.roomsxml.com learn more about roomsXML.com here Good Itineraries come from a chain of integrityBattlefield. The sporting field. Teamwork. Relevance to travel agents? A long bow to draw? Not so.His hulking figure dwarfed the stage, his powerful voice resonated through our chests as they depicted a  narrative of bullets,  pain, heat, discomfort and odds which could surely not be overcome.“My family could survive without me. But they could not survive without their honour.”Benjamin Robert-Smiths’ pause said more than the words ever could.Days later a fading champion fare-welled the game like hundreds of greats before him, but his journey was unique; the public face of a team accused of being drug cheats. Achieving the greatest individual honour in the sport to have it taken away. Shouldering a burden which was none of his making. His final farewell a drubbing at the hands of a superior opposition, but the guard of honour as he left the ground was a fitting tribute.Benjamin’s words of “Who Dares Wins” – distilled to “have a go if you want to grow”, talks about persistence, never surrender, lessons from failure, being true in the moment. Jobe’s comfort with a public vulnerability, his humanity and acceptance of aging biology defined him as a revered leader.Battlefield. The sporting field. Teamwork. Relevance to travel agents? A long bow to draw? Not so.I sat riveted through Benjamin Robert-Smiths presentation at the TM conference in Darwin. I later watched my beloved Bombers get whopped.  We spoke to lots and lots and lots of agents.  What’s working, what’s not, travel trends, insights, success and failures, both ours as roomsXML and them as Travel Managers.We learn little through success, much from failure.  When it goes to poop, there is no option but to keep driving harder for positive outcomes. Giving in accepts failure and often, the loss of a customer.  Without doubt, there are times in travel when it goes bad from reasons  outside of our control but when we all need to step up and own the moment.Shared burden is the best.  Screaming at those around you as it goes pear shaped will not help. They are human.  Saying something has gone wrong, owning a mistake, asking for help or exposing a vulnerability of “we are really stuck here – what can you do for us because no one else can help” empowers and emboldens us to step up and have a go.I’ve seen my own staff member, Matt, grow and develop over his 6 years with us .  Starting from a shy  fella who only just scraped past day 3 on the job, to work miracles with teams in India and hotels in Bangkok to get heads on pillows.  He has stuffed up on occasion and owned it.  It’s given him the confidence to stand strong on a reasonable resolution which maybe, an agent didn’t want to hear.He has earnt the many plaudits received about the outstanding service team he leads, the human face which overlays a couple of million lines of code, the man behind the voice behind the phone.   The consistency of his integrity and what that brings out of agents makes him worthy of the praise he receives.   He has the most important ingredient; integrity. That leads to trust.A great travel business delivers great travel experiences time after time. A great holiday takes great team work, from people with integrity, doing the best job possible.  Each and every successful itinerary is a result of careful planning, experience, teamwork and if it gets challenging, the extra effort of people doing the best they can.  Its never just one person but many in a supply chain.The theatre of war and sport is a long way from building a holiday but at the end of the day, integrity and good intention is the longer but harder road to growth and success. Source = roomsXML.comlast_img read more

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Tourism Infrastructure Repairs Moving Forward in Florida Keys

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first_imgTourism Infrastructure Repairs Moving Forward in Florida KeysTourism Infrastructure Repairs Moving Forward in Florida KeysRecovery efforts continue throughout the 125-mile-long Florida Keys island chain after Hurricane Irma struck the destination Sept. 9.American and Delta airlines and Silver Airways have resumed commercial air service into Key West International Airport. Still, overnight visitors are asked to postpone immediate vacation plans throughout the island chain and contact their airlines and hotels for further details.The Port of Key West has reopened for daytime operations and the first cruise ship port call is expected Sunday, Sept. 24, or Tuesday, Sept. 26.All bridges on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway are safe for travel. A few breaches in the roadbed caused by storm surge were quickly repaired according to Florida Department of Transportation officials.During a Thursday Monroe County Emergency Management conference call, the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative reported restoration of almost 100 percent of its customers who are able to accept power, from Ocean Reef in North Key Largo through Marathon in the Middle Keys. FKEC officials said they would start releasing mutual aid crews who came to help from areas outside of the Keys.Keys Energy Service officials indicated that some 95 percent of power had been restored from Key West to Crane Boulevard on Sugarloaf Key. Some 400 crews are working in other parts of the Lower Keys from Sugarloaf to the Seven Mile Bridge.The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority says that all of the islands except Cudjoe Key and Summerland Key now have water 24/7. The boil-water order has been discontinued for Key Largo (excluding Ocean Reef) through Tavernier as well as Shark Key through Key West (except Rockland Key). Water quality testing is ongoing in other parts of the Keys where a boil-water order remains in effect.“The Keys have come a long way in a short time, but we still have work to do to get the Keys ready for visitors,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi.A local state of emergency is still in effect, and Florida Keys officials continue to discourage visitors who wish to travel the Keys via the Florida Keys Overseas Highway to avoid hindering recovery efforts.The island chain’s official targeted reopening date is Oct. 20, the beginning of Key West’s Fantasy Fest. However, that date may be advanced.Irma’s damage impacts vary among Keys regions. Key Largo and Key West have the fewest impacts, and properties there have returned or are returning to regular operations. Islamorada’s bayside and Marathon’s gulfside facilities have substantially fewer effects than oceanside. Some oceanside resorts and facilities will require weeks or months of repairs to reopen for business.The Lower Keys, located between Marathon and Key West, received the brunt of the storm and recovery is likely to take the longest for many residents and businesses in that area.“We’ll be welcoming visitors as soon as we get the full go-ahead from Monroe County officials and cities within our five distinct tourism districts,” said Harold Wheeler, the Keys tourism council’s director.Visitor information is available at fla-keys.com. Additional details about infrastructure updates can be found at KeysRecovery.org, a dedicated informational site.Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYSSocial: Facebook • Twitter • Instagram • Youtube • Keys Voices blogSource = Florida Keyslast_img read more

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Status report on The Buccaneer Historic Hotel in St Croix USVI

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first_imgStatus report on The Buccaneer, Historic Hotel in St. Croix, U.S.V.I.Status report on The Buccaneer, Historic Hotel in St. Croix, U.S.V.I.·         Hurricane Maria had significantly less impact on The Buccaneer, the oldest family-run resort in the Caribbean, than it did on many other properties throughout the region.·         As a result, The Buccaneer is currently functioning as a command center for FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers and has closed to general tourist traffic for the month of October.·         Regular operations will resume on November 1, when The Buccaneer will return to its status as a luxury destination resort.·         Leisure guests have been contacted and are rescheduling their visits for later dates.·         Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, which services the entire island of St. Croix, reopened for commercial flights today, October 5. Relief workers had been arriving on the island via helicopter and landing on The Buccaneer’s golf course.·         That golf course and The Buccaneer’s tennis courts have now reopened for play, and the resort’s Hideaway Spa & Salon has reopened to serve visitors and locals alike.·         The Buccaneer, which will mark its 70th anniversary in December, has always operated its own power plant and – miraculously – never lost electricity, even during the height of the storm. Power has been restored in the resort’s hometown of Christiansted, where many of the restaurants and shops have now reopened.·         From an aerial view, it may appear that one of The Buccaneer’s swimming pools was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. What’s happening there, though, was part of a scheduled renovation that began before the hurricane struck. In short, the rubble at the pool site is man-made and not due to Mother Nature.·         Winter visitors will enjoy the new pool area and a new beachfront restaurant, too.·         Construction continues on those projects, and now crews will also renovate the five guest rooms that were damaged by the hurricane. These were older units, so the resort has the opportunity to upgrade these rooms to the current Buccaneer standards of luxury.·         The reopening of the resort to the public on November 1 comes just days before The Buccaneer’s 22nd annual St. Croix Coral Reef Swim, which is scheduled for November 5. Competitors can choose from one-, two- and five-mile distances, swimming through turquoise water and colorful coral reefs and ending at the resort’s Mermaid Beach, where they’re greeted by a party atmosphere complete with live steel pan band and refreshments. The shorter races follow the shorelines of St. Croix’s east end; the five-mile race begins at famed Buck Island, an underwater park protected by the National Park Service.·         St. Croix’s coral reefs are just one part of what makes this island so magnificent, and why visitors consider it one of the finest retreats in the Caribbean. It’s worth a visit, and The Buccaneer encourages travelers to come explore St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which this year celebrated their 100th anniversary as U.S. territory.·         The Buccaneer extends its heartfelt sympathies to its peers in the tourism industry who were less fortunate in the outcome of Hurricane Maria and other recent storms, and encourages the traveling public to find ways to show their support for all these spectacular destinations.·         There are countless charities from which to choose. The Buccaneer is directing interested donors to the Tim Duncan Foundation, operated by former San Antonio Spurs NBA player and fellow Crucian Tim Duncan. The foundation is also helping regions affected by other hurricanes this season.·         For more information about The Buccaneer, please visit www.TheBuccaneer.com. For regular updates, feel free to follow the resort’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thebuccaneerstcroix/ Source = The Buccaneerlast_img read more

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STUBA in the city that never sleeps

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first_imgIts good reason that New York City (generally considered to be just Manhattan although not correct) is one of the top destinations world wide.Film and TV have immortalised it as the aspirational pinnacle of cities, and one that seems more fictional that actually real. Quite often cities never quite live up to the hype, but in the case of Manhattan; the hype doesn’t live up to the city.The borough of Manhattan (NYC is made up of the 5 boroughs; Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island) were rediscovered in 1609, when Henry Hudson lead the Dutch expedition to what would later become New York Harbour. Manhattan Island was then purchased from the Canarsie Indians for 60 Guilders, or AUD$31.A lot of cash at the time, but in hindsight, its clear one group did better out of it that the other.The earliest photo of Manhattan is quite something, and gives no hints as to what the future may hold. You will still need a good hotel in the city that never sleeps… Believed the be the earliest photo of Manhattan: 1850. Broadway.However, fast forward many decades and you have the city we love to this day.Tourism guides on NYC run in volumes, so this week we look at some of the more quirky or unusual things to do in the city that never sleeps.1. Drinks In a Bank Vault: A converted bank vault, Trinity Place Vault Bar is modern lux at its best. Buried underground, the Swiss restaurant is the perfect spot for non claustrophobics.2. The secret location of Brazenhead Books: as the story goes, this location of this famous bookstore remains semi-secret to skirt around retail laws. At one stage it was in the owners own apartment, but has mysteriously moved location. Think of it as a speakeasy, but for books. By invitation only.3. Gary Marlon Susons 9/11 museum. When 9/11 occurred, this photographer was given carte blanche access to the site to visually preserve and document the site for future generations. Now set up as a museum, visitors can gain some understanding of the effect of 9/11 on the city and its people.4. Twilight Cinema. Spend the evening catching the best art-house ands blockbuster films with some of the most famous backdrops in the world. Hudson Riverflicks takes place on the banks of the Hudson every Weds.5. Visit the most haunted place in the USA: The Morris Jumel Mansion: creepy stuff occurred here. The lady of the house, Eliza Bowen Jumel, apparently had a tough life, and supposedly buried her husband…alive…Her second husband also mysteriously died a bit later on. The house also includes mannequins dressed up in period costume, creepy enough on a good day, but terrifying in this context. Source = STUBA STUBA in the city that never sleepslast_img read more

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Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific named Best Place to Work

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first_imgWyndham Destinations Asia Pacific named Best Place to WorkWyndham Destinations Asia Pacific named Best Place to Work Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific has been recognised with Best Place to Work, Best Legal Team and Best New Resort Development at the annual Perspective Magazine Awards.The awards program is the only global recognition platform in the vacation ownership industry that is judged by both a panel of experts and industry peers. The awards were announced at the Perspective Magazine Awards ceremony at the GNEX conference in The Bahamas last week in front of an audience of industry leaders.Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific is a division of Wyndham Destinations (NYSE:WYND), the world’s largest vacation ownership and exchange company.“We are thrilled to be recognised with these accolades.  The prestigious Best Place to Work award is a reflection of our culture of collaboration, our commitment to provide career growth, as well as great employee benefits for our approximately 4,000 employees. This includes launching an inclusion program last year to celebrate diversity across our workplace,” said Bruce Harkness, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Customer Experience, Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific.In addition to the Best Place to Work mantle, it is the second consecutive year that the company’s legal and compliance team has been recognised with the Best Legal Team award.The Best New Resort Development title went to the company’s new resort in Bali, Indonesia, Wyndham Resort Dreamland Bali.Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific develops and manages resorts on behalf of Wyndham’s two Asia Pacific vacation clubs, Worldmark South Pacific Club and Club Wyndham Asia.  The company has over 45 managed hotels and resorts in its portfolio across Asia Pacific under the Wyndham, Wyndham Grand, Wyndham Garden, TRYP by Wyndham, Ramada by Wyndham and Days Inn by Wyndham brands.Source = Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacificlast_img read more

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SpiceJet adds new flight to its winter schedule of 2015

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first_imgSpiceJet Ltd is set to operate new flights in its winter schedule, which becomes effective from October 25, 2015. With the introduction of the winter schedule, SpiceJet will increase its operation to 251 daily flights, up from 238 currently. The airline would be deploying its Boeing 737-800 aircraft for all the additional flights.Speaking about the winter schedule SpiceJet, COO, Sanjiv Kapoor said, “We are pleased to introduce our winter schedule and open bookings beyond October 24 2015. Our customers can now plan their travel up to March 26 of next year, and as always, those who plan and book early get the best fares. With this schedule, we will also increase our daily flights, through which we will provide more same-day return options and better connections for travellers”.SpiceJet would introduce daily direct flights between Goa and Ahmedabad. The airline would also operate with increased number of flights between Mumbai and Ahmedabad (second flight added), Mumbai and Chennai (second flight added), Delhi and Ahmedabad (second flight added), Delhi and Chennai (third flight added), Chennai and Madurai (third flight added), Mumbai and Goa (third flight added), Kochi and Hyderabad (twice daily), Chennai and Coimbatore (twice daily). The airline has also added a third flight between Delhi and Goa for every Saturday.Shilpa Bhatia, Senior VP and Head of Sales and Distribution, SpiceJet said, “We are happy to launch a large number of new flights. With these flights, passengers have many more options to travel to Goa and on some of the frequently flown sectors. We will continue to add new flights in the days to come.”last_img read more

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Castlewood Group to launch 20 Dream Hotels in Asia

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first_imgSingapore’s Castlewood Group has plans to roll-out at least 20 new Dream Hotels in Asia over the next decade, beginning with the launch of one in Phuket.The company has formed a partnership with New York based Début Hotel Group for the development and operation of the upper-upscale Dream Hotels brand.We are absolutely delighted to enter into a partnership with Début Hotel Group and Dream Hotels,” said Chris Comer, CEO of the Castlewood Group. “Both Début and Dream share Castlewood Group’s vision of delivering world-class hotels. When we were approached about this unique opportunity, a partnership with this visionary lifestyle hotel group made perfect sense for us and our investors.”Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa, is currently being developed at Bang Tao Beach, adjacent to the Laguna Phuket resort complex, and is scheduled to open to in December this year.last_img read more

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