Tags: Anderson Vacations, Canada Thursday, February 2, 2017 Share Travelweek Group CALGARY — Just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday, Anderson Vacations has announced the launch of its newest collection of 2017-2018 escorted tours in Canada, the U.S. and the South Pacific.“The unique tours in this brochure travel to every province and territory in Canada, and we invite you to travel with us as we journey from coast to coast, through the rugged Rocky Mountains, the golden prairies, along the mighty St. Lawrence and into the Arctic Circle,” said Shannon Brand, Anderson Vacations’ Tour Manager.In addition to tours in Canada, the company is highlighting new exploratory itineraries in the U.S. (including Alaska) and the South Pacific, with gems like Vanuatu, Samoa and New Caledonia front and centre.Travel agencies who have yet to receive their copy of the new brochure can call 1-866-814-7378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also visit andersonvacations.ca/requestBrochure. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Anderson Vacations’ new tour collection showcases Canada from coast to coast
Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, June 22, 2017 Tags: Etihad Airways Posted by ABU DHABI — Etihad Airways is introducing a series of changes designed to offer increased value and flexibility, including a new ‘Neighbor-Free Seat’ paid option in Economy Class.Etihad says the changes are based on customer feedback. The airline is also offering Premium Lounge access as a paid option for Economy Class, and Business Class paid upgrades for First Class Lounge and Spa access.With the new ‘Neighbor-Free Seat’ option in Economy Class, passengers can ‘bid’ for up to three empty seats next to their original seat, subject to availability and cabin configuration.“This gives guests the opportunity for increased space, comfort and privacy, at a price that is affordable,” says the airline. Successful bids will be confirmed 30 hours prior to departure.Starting July 3 Etihad will also put in place a new car service policy, where Business and First Class passengers will have to opt in for chauffeur services as a paid add-on at all international destinations. Economy Class guests can pay for Etihad Chauffeur services as well. Etihad will continue to offer complimentary chauffeur services in Abu Dhabi for all eligible Business and First Class guests. First and Business Class tickets issued prior to July 3 will not be affected by these changes and will receive complimentary chauffeur service across destinations where the service is currently offered.More news: Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthGuests travelling in The Residence onboard the flagship Airbus A380 fleet will continue to receive complimentary chauffeur services at all A380 destinations – Abu Dhabi, London, Paris, Sydney and New York.“Etihad Airways is constantly looking at ways to improve its value proposition for guests, focusing on the service elements that are most important to them,” says Mohammad Al Bulooki, Executive Vice President Commercial for Etihad Airways. “This change is being put in place as the airline looks to evolve its product proposition while continuing to match individual customer requirements. Following a review, the chauffeur services we offer will be amended globally, with the exception of Abu Dhabi, where there are a high number of users of the service.He noted that many customers prefer to make their own ground transportation arrangements. “The decision by Etihad Airways to change its offering has been taken to provide increased choice and to ensure fares remain as low and as competitive as possible, while retaining best-in-class service for all guests, in all cabins,” he said.More news: Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksFor lounge access, Etihad’s Economy Class guests can now secure paid access to its growing portfolio of dedicated lounges around the world, including its Premium Lounges in Abu Dhabi, London, Manchester, Dublin, Paris, Washington D.C., New York JFK, Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.“On the ground, premium class guests can enjoy free access to Etihad Airways’ collection of outstanding lounges,” said Al Bulooki. “By offering paid access to Economy Class guests, these signature lounges can now be enjoyed by all who desire to experience our award-winning facilities.”Guests travelling on Etihad Airways Business Class tickets can now also pay and upgrade to the airline’s flagship First Class Lounge & Spa when flying from, or transiting through Abu Dhabi.More information on the new chauffeur service changes, neighbor-free seats and lounge access policy is available at etihad.com. Etihad to offer ‘Neighbor-Free Seat’, changes chauffeur service policy Travelweek Group
Tags: Oakland OAKLAND — Visit Oakland has announced skyrocketing tourism numbers at its 4th Annual Tourism Breakfast at the Oakland Museum of California earlier this week.In 2016. a total of 3.7 million visitors travelled to Oakland and spent US$627 million, up 3.4% from 2015. Visitor spend has been increasing year-after-year and has grown by 27% in the last four years.Much of Oakland’s international tourism growth is in correlation with European flights coming through Oakland International Airport. Within the last 18 months, OAK has announced nonstop flights to and from London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome, in addition to the existing Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen routes.4th Annual Tourism Breakfast at the Oakland Museum of CaliforniaOn OAK’s uptick in passenger volume, Bryant Francis, Port of Oakland Director of Aviation said: “Our rapidly expanding portfolio of international nonstop has helped OAK and the East Bay to be increasingly top-of-mind for European visitors to the Bay Area.”More news: Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckTo continue its growth in both the leisure and business travel sectors, Visit Oakland introduced two new marketing programs to solidify Oakland’s place nationally and internationally as a leading art and cultural destination. The inaugural Oakland Art Month kicks off in May 2018, for example, with partners that include OMCA, Oakland International Film Festival and the Oakland Symphony.“The goal of the program is to showcase a wealth of incredible arts offerings in Oakland that can be enjoyed by the local community and visitors from afar,” said Mark Everton, President & CEO of Visit Oakland. “By promoting May as Oakland Art Month, Visit Oakland aims to encourage overnight stays to attend several art events during their stay. Furthermore, the profile of smaller events can be raised in part of the larger city promotion.” Posted by Travelweek Group Share Oakland tourism is booming, solidifying status as major arts destination << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, July 21, 2017
Flair Airlines has new livery and expectations for close to 1.5 million passengers in 2019 KELOWNA — Passengers are getting their first look at Flair Airlines’ new aircraft livery as the ultra low-cost carrier signals its intention to make “significant announcements” early in 2018 about its expansion into Canada’s ULCC market.Earlier this month Flair’s Director of Passenger Sales and Marketing, Mirza Smajic told Travelweek the airline is “planning to grow and start international flights” towards the end of March 2018.For 2019, Flair said it expects to add four more Boeing aircraft to accommodate the nearly 1.5 million ULCC passengers that are forecast to use Flair in 2019.Flair now distributes its content via Amadeus and says a Travelport connection is expected to be live by the end of January. The ULCC carrier is also in ongoing negotiations with Sabre.This past June Flair Air bought no-frills flight service NewLeaf. The Kelowna-based charter airline had provided the planes and crews for NewLeaf flights since it began operations in 2016.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”With the recent purchase of two additional Boeing 737-400 aircraft, Flair will operate seven aircraft in the beginning of 2018 and plans to add two Boeing 737-800 aircraft later in the year.Last week Flair Airlines took off from Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ), and Kelowna International airport (YLW), making it the first ULCC in Canada to fly from the three gateways.Flair says the new look for its planes was chosen this past summer during an online customer survey, which presented several options for respondents to choose from.The recently acquired B737-400 in Flair’s new colours is one of two additional aircraft scheduled to enter service.“We are excited to unveil our new livery to the public,” said CEO Jim Rogers. “The aircraft will take its inaugural flight during the holiday season. We are very proud to showcase our new colours. As the only airline that operates as an ultra low-cost carrier in Canada, we know our passengers will be delighted to fly with us as they continue to enjoy the lowest fares in the country.” Tags: Flair Airlines, Low-Cost Carriers, Trend Watch Wednesday, December 20, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted by Share
No related posts. The first regional edition of Expofranquicias 2013, which kicks off Sept. 26 in Costa Rica, will offer several options to purchase a franchise starting from $5,000 all the way up to $1 million.Representatives of some 60 franchise companies from the United States, Mexico, Uruguay, Spain, Costa Rica and other Central American countries will offer those opportunities at the Wyndham Herradura, in the province of Heredia.Karol Fallas, director of the National Franchise Center at Costa Rica’s Chamber of Commerce (CCCR), said that entrepreneurs looing to start their own businesses may find attractive opportunities as many of the participating companies will be offering purchase prices that include initial investment costs and down payments.Admission to the fair is free and open to the public on Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.Organizers also created a virtual fair that will be online for several months and will allow participants to promote their products and services after the fair ends.They also created a smartphone app available for download with Android and iOS devices. The application offers detailed information about franchising exhibitors and contact information for scheduling business meetings.Online fair visitors also can register to participate in free forums and keynote speeches related to the franchise business model. Those interested can register at: http://expofranquicia.franquiciascostarricenses.cr/ChatsSome of the participating companies are: Anytime Fitness, Our Yogurt, Mioderma, Quiznos Sub, Bakeries Tutu, Coldwell Banker, Petcafé, Fogo Brasil, Mooyah Burguers, BARDU Café, The Green Olive, Body Wrap, Clean & Clean, Chantilly, Sub Zero, National Car Rental, among others.Data from the CCCR indicate that so far this year the franchise sector in Costa Rica has generated more than $4 million in direct investment, and it is estimated that in coming months it may add some $2 million.The Fourth Sector Franchising Study released last month by the CCCR reported franchise businesses in Costa Rica generate 27,003 direct jobs, of which 21,381 were created by international franchises and 5,622 belong to local franchises.The study identified 233 franchised brands, 189 international and 44 local. This figure represents an increase of 5.4 percent compared to 2012, but also represents a 55.3 percent growth, compared with the number of franchises in the country three years ago.This year saw the entry of five international brands and the development of six new local franchises, and it is expected that 11 international franchises will be launching businesses in the next few months, according to the CCCR study. Facebook Comments
MONTEVERDE, Puntarenas – Bat expert Richard LaVal places plastic tarps onto the hood of his 2002 Kia Sportage in preparation for a night of mist-netting, or trapping.He has been researching bats and the consequences of climate change in Monteverde – a cloud forest preserve in north-central Costa Rica – and surrounding areas for nearly 40 years. Now 77, he is not interested in slowing down but instead has turned his attention to educating Costa Ricans as well as visitors from abroad. LaVal shares his lifetime of knowledge with private and public groups in the field and at the Bat Jungle, an interactive museum he helped create and open in 2006.On this July evening, LaVal and bat biologist Vino De Backer, LaVal’s former graduate student, are heading out to capture bats with about 20 U.S. and Canadian high school students who are here as a part of a National Geographic student expedition. De Backer helps LaVal lift six metal, 2.5-meter poles to the top of the car and straps them tightly with blue rope on top of the tarps. Gray, badminton-like nets patched together with white string are already packed into the car. Bat expert Richard LaVal, left, discusses the night’s bat trapping. Michelle Kostuk/The Tico TimesWith steady hands and poised bifocals, LaVal commands his vehicle up a dirt road from his home on the outskirts of Monteverde. De Backer leans back in the passenger seat, resting his arm on the door. Originally from Belgium, he came to Costa Rica eight years ago and has been enthralled with Monteverde and the cloud forests ever since. Much like the giant forest trees, he has grown roots with a wife and 6-year-old son.“Dracula” and “Twilight’s” Edward Cullen have shaped a negative image of nature’s midnight pollinators and pest control. But bats play a huge role in pollination and seed dispersal in many parts of the world, and Monteverde cloud forest is no exception.“Without bats, there’s no life. Forget the birds and the butterflies,” De Backer says.Meeting with groups like the one this evening is an opportunity to impart the facts and the necessity of bats in all ecosystems, urban and rural. “I want to get the message across to as many people as possible,” LaVal says.LaVal holds a Ph.D. in wildlife science from Louisiana State University, and started scientifically trapping bats in the 1970s. He has recorded changes in bat species and behaviors over the years, something he attributes partially to climate change. Bat species that like cooler climates have become rarer, while those preferring warmer temperatures have become more common.A break in the tall green vegetation lining the road opens up the view into the rolling hills and a sea of green grass. LaVal and De Backer have reached the summit and now start to head down toward the bat-trapping site located in a forest behind the University of Georgia Costa Rica Campus. The students are staying there for six days, and the group has paid $200 to observe the bat capture up close and learn from the experts.A light rain blankets the forest and the bat experts as they scout places to set up the nets. It’s half an hour from sunset and the waning light reflects off the waxy, wet leaves. Related posts:Dealing with climate change in Costa Rica’s treasured Monteverde cloud forest Island collective to recycle garbage into gift items It’s dolphin and whale season in southern Costa Rica One of Sea Shepherd’s missions in Costa Rica: Protecting whales Taylor Edwards, a National Geographic science expert and University of Arizona conservation geneticist, strolls down, a cup of coffee in hand. “Do you guys need any help?” De Backer declines and drives the first pole into the soft fertile ground as the precipitation mats his dark brown hair.LaVal has been mist-netting for over 50 years, during which he estimates he has captured and released about 50,000 bats to collect scientific data. Each bat is a data point, and the data’s value increases with quantity. A census of 10 people tells a narrower story than a census of 1,000 people. The same can be said with scientific bat mist-netting.“We don’t set up a lot of nets. Four is our average number. We don’t really want to catch a lot of bats. Sometimes we do anyhow,” he says.Teaching is about the variety of bats, not the quantity. Displaying the same kind of bat multiple times is not as educational as showing the wide breadth of bat species the ecosystem has to offer. Setting nets at a certain height will catch a certain population of bats that fly low, LaVal explains. It’s harder to catch bats that fly high in the canopy.Higher groundDuring his research from 1973 to 2002, LaVal tied changes in the bat populations to Monteverde’s shorter wet seasons and longer dry months. “What was documented was that temperatures were rising,” he says.He found only slight changes in the number of bats and diversity of bats he caught. “But we added 24 new species to the list,” he says. “These were species that used to live at lower elevation. The temperature had changed just enough to move up to Monteverde. I did discover that some species were becoming less common and some more common during that period.”Biologists and ecologists are seeing this trend worldwide. Species like bats are climbing the elevation habitat ladder. “We are seeing changes of bats at different elevation everywhere,” LaVal says.De Backer continues setting up. He fastens a pink hair curler to the pole and net. “I call this a mist-netting ring retaining device,” LaVal says. De Backer looks up and shakes his head. “I shortened it because it was too difficult for me to say,” De Backer says. “I just call it the device.” The researchers set up a net for a night of bat trapping. Michelle Kostuk/The Tico TimesDe Backer carries the companion pole about 12 meters away and plants it in the ground. LaVal starts to stretch and unroll the net in De Backer’s direction. The fragile nets, prone to tangles, can cost about $100.The sunlight starts to fade. De Backer keeps the net taut and shines his flashlight on the knotted areas. LaVal pushes his bifocals up the ridge of his nose as he works out the kinks.“We don’t like to set up traps too early because birds will get caught,” De Backer says. Bats have great eyesight and agility and never fly into windows, De Backer points out, while some of their less agile, feathered friends do.“In the case of birds, for example, we [in Monteverde] have some really interesting species that are found only along the Continental Divide. Those species are probably going to become locally extinct with increasing temperatures. But the bats that have this high altitude distribution are found on the other side in different climates,” LaVal says.Despite changes in what kind of bats will be found in Monteverde, LaVal believes none of the species will go extinct. Bats tend to have huge migratory and sometimes habitat range that helps keep most of their brethren off the endangered species list, according to LaVal.“I think we are probably going to continue with more species than we used to have simply because, if I believe what all the climate scientists are saying, this overall warming trend is going to continue,” LaVal says. “And in fact it will perhaps bring even greater diversity here than there is now.”Bats in the bagLaVal makes his way down the path to where Edwards and the high school students wait in an outdoor clearing on campus. De Backer finishes fastening all the nets to the poles. He waits, clutching cloth bags imprinted with Batman and orange Halloween bat patterns. After 10 or so minutes pass, he makes the rounds between the three nets he and LaVal have set up. He is in luck– a vampire bat and a fruit bat are entangled in the net. De Backer holds the vampire bat with a gloved hand and gently pries its wings and thumb claw, a distant echo of a human thumb, from the net. He places each bat into a different cloth bag and gently knots the top. He brings the first catches of the night to LaVal, Edwards and the students.A frenzy of voices breaks out. Edwards has to remind the students that bats have sensitive ears. The students form a circle around LaVal and the bats, clamoring to get a look.“They get a real feel for the biology of the bats. People who are scared of bats or think they hate bats are quick converts. They hold the bats and say, ‘Oh it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!’” LaVal says.The students only get to gaze at the vampire bat, but one student holds the fruit bat, which is gently touched by the others. Cameras click without flash. The lucky student holding the bat then walks a short distance away and releases it.De Backer makes the approximate 100-meter trip from the nets to the students about six times this night, bringing back a total of about six different species.The trapping concludes and the students mosey back to their quarters, comparing photographs they have taken. After they leave, LaVal and Edwards relax on an outdoor porch illuminated by overhead lights.Edwards pulls out his copy of LaVal’s field guide, “Murciélagos de Costa Rica,” and asks LaVal to sign it, connecting bat enthusiasts from Arizona and Costa Rica with the brush of a pen.*Bat superheroes combat mythsMany myths continue to circulate about bats. Here are some facts:•Bats have excellent vision.•Some kinds of bats eat fruit and nectar. These bats help pollinate the rain forest, says Richard LaVal, a bat expert.•The probability of a person getting rabies from bats is very low. If there is a bat foaming at the mouth and acting in an unusual manner, LaVal tells students to leave it alone.•Bats eat bugs, including disease-carrying mosquitoes. “No bats, no natural control on diseases,” say bat expert Vino De Backer.•Bats only have one baby per year and there is a one in two chance that the baby will die once it starts to fly, according to De Backer.•Vampire bats like warmer temperatures. Climate change in Monteverde might increase the population of vampire bats in the area, says LaVal. Facebook Comments
Art: “Superheroes and their Fictional Cities”If you were always as intrigued by Metropolis and Central City as you were by Superman and The Flash, this new exhibit by Carlos Llobet Montealegre is sure to fascinate.“Superhéroes y Sus Ficciones Urbanas” displays through May 16 at TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.Theater: “La Bruta Espera”Three short, darkish comedies by Argentinean dramatist Julio Chávez are performed at the Vargas Calvo black box theater, courtesy of the National Theater. The talented actresses Tatiana y María Chaves won a national award last year for the performance.“La Bruta Espera” continues through April 26 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. ₡2,500-5,500. Info: National Theater website.Art: “Microcosmos”Experimental paintings by Rolando Faba make their debut at the José Luis López Escarré Gallery.“Microcosmos” continues through May 8 at The National Theater, downtown San José. Free. Info: National Theater website.Art: Albrecht Dürer, Renaissance GeniusClassical German printer Albrecht Dürer receives a stunning retrospective at the Central Bank Museums.“Alberto Durero: Genio del Renacimiento” is on display through April 26 at the Central Bank Museums, downtown San José. Daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museum website. Film: Masters of French-Language CinemaThis five-day film festival screens a variety of French-language films, from across the Gallic diaspora. See dramas and comedies from multiple continents.Festival takes place April 10-14 at Cine Magaly, Barrio California. Fri.-Tue., 8:30 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: Facebook page. Courtesy of Gary NegbaurMusic: Gary NegbaurNew York songwriter and pianist Gary Negbaur arrives in Costa Rica to serenade the Gran Hotel with blues and jazz.Concert takes place April 11 at the Gran Hotel, Plaza de la Cultura, San José. 7 p.m. Free. Info: Negbaur’s official website.Theater: “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”What if you plotted a murder and told an entire town about your intentions, but no one bothered to warn the victim? Gabriel García Márquez’s novel receives a stage adaptation at Teatro Espressivo.“Crónica de una Muerte Anunciada” opens April 9 at Teatro Espressivo, Tres Rios. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡7,500-10,000 ($15-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website. Networking: FrydayCosta Rica has become a Shangri-La for business leaders and entrepreneurs, and the Fryday networking event is the perfect place to trade ideas, anecdotes, and business cards. Fryday is an international series where visionaries can sip a cocktail and mingle with motivated new friends. The local chapter is open to the public and promoted by the new WE-R-CR marketing platform. This week’s edition takes place at posh Escazú lounge 9N.Fryday takes place April 10 at 9N, Escazú. ₡4,000 ($8). Info: Event Facebook page.Art WalkArtists showcase their work and art mavens add to their collections in ultra-posh Avenida Escazú this weekend.The Art Walk takes place April 9-12 at Avenida Escazú. Info: Art Walk Facebook page.National Yoga FestivalBust out the mats and water bottles – this massive gathering of yogis will help you stretch, perfect your positioning, and maybe even find a new spiritual path. All ages and skill levels encouraged.Festival Nacional de Yoga takes place April 16-19 at CENAC, downtown San José. Thu.-Sun., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡1,000-5,000 ($2-10). Info: Event Facebook page. Facebook Comments Related posts:Design Festival, Marine Corps picnic, and other happenings around Costa Rica Shakespearean ballet, outdoor tango, and other happenings around Costa Rica Cowboys, coffee, and other happenings around Costa Rica Valentine’s Day, lyrical boleros, and other happenings around Costa Rica
Related posts:Costa Rican coastal community grieves colleague killed in US church massacre Making the invisible, visible: In Nicaragua, women journalists call for equality Investigators piece together motive in mass Oregon shooting Prosecutor who accused Argentine president is found dead What are we to make of the horror in Charleston, South Carolina?Wednesday night’s shooting at historic Emanuel AME Church conjures the type of terror suffered by a previous generation. And it adds yet another page to the nation’s long and halting racial narrative, which as often as not seems to leaven progress with pain.It comes at a moment when a resurgent civil rights movement grips the nation. That struggle, with its Black Lives Matter catchphrase and raucous social-media empowered legions, is about stemming police violence and pushing the criminal justice system to treat African-Americans equally.For many, the Black Lives Matter movement is picking up the unfinished work of activists who fought for equal voting rights five decades ago. That era was also punctuated by deadly violence. The massacre in Charleston evokes the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which killed four little black girls who were attending Sunday school less than three months after the March on Washington, one of the seminal events of that era’s civil rights movement. Family members of Carol Robertson, a 14-year-old girl killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sept. 15, 1963, attend her funeral on Sept. 19, 1963. Four little girls were killed in the bombing. AFP“We’ve made a lot of progress, but this shooting does open up old wounds,” said Rick Wade, a South Carolina native who advised President Barack Obama’s campaigns in the state, went on to serve as a top Commerce Department official and now heads the international Harves Investment Group. “Certainly there are no attack dogs, or colored-only signs now, and we have a black president. Still, are we in denial about the pervasiveness of the racial divide in America? And how do we fix that?”As a student at integrated Lancaster High School in the late 1970s, Wade, now 52, ran for black student body vice president, a post that served alongside the white vice president. By the time he was a senior, he was elected president of the entire student body, which was predominantly white.It is the kind of small step that heartens many Americans, even as it enrages a set of extremists angry about the country’s direction. Many of their acts seem as pathetic as they are hateful: painting racial slurs on a rock in front of a high school; distributing Klan literature; handing out racist fliers; burning a cross in the yard of two black women.Still, from time to time, the hate turns deadly. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFPAs the gunman at Emanuel unleashed the nation’s deadliest episode of racial violence in many decades, he reportedly complained that he was angry about blacks and other minorities taking over the country.Organizations that track hate groups know that demographic trends putting the nation on course to no longer be majority white before mid-century have become an obsession for white supremacist groups that operate on the fringes of our society. Their numbers are up sharply since the turn of the century, experts say.In a report earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that between April 2009 and February 2015, there was a domestic terrorist attack or a foiled attack in the country, on average every 34 days. They were most often motivated by race or ethnicity.“The No. 1 thing talked about on white supremacist websites is the changing of America,” said Heidi Beirich, head of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.Dylann Storm Roof, the young man arrested in the shooting, appears on his Facebook page wearing a dour expression and a jacket adorned with small flags from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa – countries where white minorities once dominated black majorities.Only the gunman knows for sure why he chose Emanuel for the deadly outburst. Jack Levin, co-director of Northeastern University’s Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, and the author of several books on hate crime and mass murder, speculated that the shooter knew that a black church would be a place that offered a large number of potential victims. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting from the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on June 18, 2015. Saul Loeb/AFPWhatever the case, the shooting brings together some unfortunate strands in the nation’s history. The African Methodist Episcopal church exists because of historical white resistance to treating black worshipers on equal terms – and a willingness to enforce those divisions with violence. It was led by a South Carolina state senator, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the shooting. That the carnage took place at a South Carolina institution founded in part by a man later hanged for planning a slave insurrection only makes the tragedy resonate more painfully.“Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African-Americans seeking liberty,” Obama said. “This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery.”The church rose from the ashes after being burned, with parishioners meeting in secret. Decades later, members reestablished the church at its current location in downtown Charleston. In 1865, Richard Cain took Emanuel’s helm, helping to grow its membership to more than 4,000 and creating a base for a political career that eventually saw him elected to Congress during Reconstruction.In the aftermath of the tragic church bombing in Birmingham, the city was on edge. There was some rioting and the night after the explosion, two black men were killed by whites. Still, when Martin Luther King Jr. arrived to eulogize the fallen girls, he spoke of better days.“These tragic deaths may lead our nation to substitute an aristocracy of character for an aristocracy of color,” King said. “The spilled blood of these innocent girls may cause the whole citizenry of Birmingham to transform the negative extremes of a dark past into the positive extremes of a bright future.” Photographs of the nine victims killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, are held up by congregants during a prayer vigil at the the Metropolitan AME Church on June 19, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments
HARARE, Zimbabwe – A wealthy U.S. dentist used a bow and arrow to shoot a much-loved Zimbabwean lion called Cecil, a safari industry group said Tuesday, amid allegations that the animal had taken 40 hours to die.The lion, which was a popular attraction among international visitors to the Hwange National Park, was lured outside the park’s boundaries by bait and shot earlier this month.“The offender is a gentleman who is an American called Walter James Palmer,” Emmanuel Fundira, president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, said at a news conference in the capital Harare.“A lot of people travel long distances coming to Zimbabwe to enjoy our wildlife and obviously the absence of Cecil is a disaster.” (Google Maps)Fundira described Cecil as “almost semi-domesticated” and said that Palmer had paid about $50,000 for the hunt.The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force charity said Palmer and professional Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst had gone out at night with a spotlight and tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil into range.“Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow but this shot didn’t kill him. They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun,” the charity alleged.It added that the hunters unsuccessfully tried to hide the dead lion’s tracking collar, which was part of a University of Cambridge research program.“Cecil was skinned and beheaded. We don’t know the whereabouts of the head,” the charity alleged.Cecil, aged about 13, was said by safari operators to be an “iconic” animal who was recognized by many visitors to Hwange due to his distinctive black mane.Hwange attracted 50,000 visitors last year, about half of them from abroad.Fierce criticism Bronkhorst and local landowner Honest Ndlovu will appear in court in Victoria Falls on Wednesday to face poaching charges.“Both the professional hunter and land owner had no permit or quota to justify the offtake of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt,” the Zimbabwean Parks Authority said in a statement Tuesday. “[They] are being jointly charged for illegally hunting the lion.”The statement made no mention of Palmer, but added that Bronkhorst’s son Zane was also wanted for questioning.Palmer is an experienced trophy hunter from Minnesota.He is well-known in U.S. hunting circles as an expert shot with his bow and arrow, and has traveled across the world in pursuit of leopards, buffalo rhino, elk and other large mammals.Palmer, who reportedly pleaded guilty in 2008 to poaching a black bear in Wisconsin, said he had “relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer said in a statement Tuesday. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt.”The Twitter and Facebook accounts and website of his dental practice — River Bluff Dental in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota — were shut down Tuesday after being flooded with blistering attacks.Some hunting of lions and other large animals is legal in countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, where permits are issued allowing hunters to kill certain older beasts that are beyond breeding age.It is outlawed in Zimbabwe’s national parks.“We use hunting as a conservation tool,” Fundira said. “Hunting is only based on animals which have been vigorously checked in terms of qualifying.”The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said Cecil had cubs, which were likely to be killed by the lion that took over in the group’s hierarchy.In May, a Texan hunter shot an elderly black rhinoceros in Namibia after buying a government-issued licence for $350,000. Facebook Comments Related posts:Rich US tourists kill hundreds of lions each year, and it’s all legal Delta, American and United ban shipments of ‘big five’ hunting trophies Little has changed 1 year after slaying of Costa Rica conservationist Jairo Mora Suspected poaching ring leader arrested, accused of killing tapir
New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements They had also planned to rob an armored car, prosecutors said.The FBI has said Scalise’s resume included serving as a technical adviser on the movie “Public Enemies” about Depression Era gangster John Dillinger, which was filmed in Chicago in 2008.Asked by reporters as he left court earlier this year if the Marlborough Diamond could ever be located, Scalise said, “If Lloyd’s wanted to pay enough money, maybe they could.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Parents, stop beating yourself up Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The difference between men and women when it comes to pain “It’s the way we are,” Rachel responded. “We got nothing better to do. We sit around talking.”Rachel and Joseph “The Monk” Scalise staged a daring daytime theft of the Marlborough Diamond in 1980. Both men were convicted in Britain of threatening to use a hand grenade while robbing London’s posh Graff Jewelers of $3.6 million worth of goods, including the diamond. They began serving 15-year prison terms in 1984 and were released in 1993.The diamond was never recovered.Federal prosecutor Amarjeet Bhachu didn’t mince words in characterizing Rachel, noting his long criminal history.“This thug has the gall to ask for leniency when he does the same thing over and over,” Bhachu told the court. “He is a parasite. He lives off of others. The public needs to be protected from this man.”Leinenweber found Rachel guilty in a bench trial, while his co-defendants _ Scalise, 74, and Robert Pullia, 70 _ pleaded guilty earlier.Evidence presented during Rachel’s trial included a banged-up stepladder that the would-be robbers intended to use in a 2010 burglary at the home of the late Chicago mobster Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra. Authorities arrested the senior citizens, dressed in black, outside the house. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family CHICAGO (AP) – A reputed Chicago mobster who gained notoriety three decades ago for stealing the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond from a London jewelry store was sentenced to prison in another case Thursday, telling the judge he got involved in more robberies because he was bored.Arthur “The Brain” Rachel, 73, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison for his involvement in planning robberies with two other accomplices, both of whom are also in their 70s. Before the sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber asked Rachel why he got involved after spending nearly a decade in prison for the diamond heist. Top Stories
The statement quoted fund Chairman Sir Franklin Berman of Britain as saying the fund recognized claims amounting to about $1.5 billion (nearly 1.2 billion euros). Because it was able to pay out only a fraction of that due to its limited finances, he said the compensation could thus only be seen as a “late gesture of reconciliation.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths VIENNA (AP) – An Austrian fund to compensate victims of Nazi persecution is shutting down after paying out $210 million (nearly 168 million euros) _ for just a fraction of the claims it recognized over its 11 years of existence.A statement from the Reparation Fund for the Victims of National Socialism said Tuesday that it is ending its work after dealing with the last of 20,702 applications since starting work in 2001. Top Stories Comments Share 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The difference between men and women when it comes to pain More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements
0 Comments Share 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Associated PressMONROVIA, Liberia (AP) – Liberia’s opposition is outraged by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent admission that some of her supporters hid their sons’ cards to prevent them from voting against her in 2005.Sirleaf said some Liberian women cheated to help her in the 2005 election race against retired international soccer star George Weah, according to FrontPage Africa, a leading Liberian daily and internet news provider. Sirleaf made the disclosure last week when she addressed a women’s fundraiser while in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly. The fundraiser to support of Sirleaf’s Market Women Project, was held at a public school in Harlem.The president said that some women market-sellers in Monrovia prevented their sons from voting the 2005 elections because they were afraid the young men would vote for Weah.“Knowing then that they had young sons who would all be the followers of one of the young candidates, they took all their voter cards from them in the night to make sure that they were not able to go to vote,” said Sirleaf.The president is further quoted as saying: “They (the women) even did some unorthodox things, as they confessed to me later on … and I can say it now since I am not running again.”Sirleaf, who turns 74 on October 29, is serving her second and final term.In the 2005 election _ the first after the end of Liberia’s 14-year civil war _ Weah came in first in the first round but was defeated in the second round by Sirleaf who got 56 percent of the vote while Weah received 46 percent, according to the electoral commission. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Patients with chronic pain give advice Sponsored Stories Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change party protested and charged deliberate cheating and “ballot stuffing” in favor of Sirleaf.Sirleaf’s new admission has rekindled the opposition’s anger.Acarous Gray, a Member of the House of Representatives from Weah’s party said Monday the president’s remarks about women stealing their sons’ voter cards “have brought the presidency to public disrepute” and the president “deserves resignation.”“As I speak to you,” Gray said, “we are speaking to like-minded lawmakers besides the Congress for Democratic Change along with a crack team of lawyers to ensure whether we can get a possible bill of impeachment during our January sitting against the president of Liberia.”He said although the president’s statement “is not a surprise,” it “does not only embarrass the international community’s declaration of the election being free, fair and transparent; it also undermines the president’s ability to fight corruption.”Gray recalled Sirleaf’s pledge on taking office in 2006 to fight graft, a fight that has gained very little success in a society where the president herself admits “corruption is endemic.” Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day “This president said she would have zero tolerance on corruption, corruption would be public enemy number one … when a group of people come to you to disenfranchise other group, the president is under obligation to take action against them, but the president has failed,” Gray said of the women who the president said had stolen their sons’ voters’ cards.“So this is a constitutional breach under our laws to deprive anybody from voting in terms of stealing voter registration cards,” he said.Sirleaf, in an interview played on local radio stations this week, could not deny what she said but she dismissed local reports as “absolute nonsense nurtured by irresponsible reporting and irresponsible statements.”“If anybody thinks that a few women take(ing) their sons’ cards will influence the results of an election in which over six hundred thousand persons participated, that person ought to go examine their head,” she told reporters on her return from the U.N.The president’s spokespersons have defended her this week.Isaac Jackson, deputy information minister said the call for Sirleaf to resign or be impeached “is utterly nonsensical.” Top Stories (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
Sponsored Stories Members of the police and army cast their ballots early in special voting on Saturday.“I am looking for real change,” said Ali Talib, a 27-year old policeman who was voting for the first time at a heavily guarded school in Baghdad. “This is the first election where we totally depend on ourselves to run and protect the election process.”The results will be an important gauge of support for various political blocs heading into 2014 national elections. Al-Maliki has not ruled out seeking a third term next year despite charges from opponents that his administration is a dictatorship in the making.A vote without major violence would be a victory in itself for the police and army, who face a reviving al-Qaida insurgency.Militants are making sure they are heard in the run-up to the polls. At least 13 candidates have been killed so far. In one attack earlier this month, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a lunch hosted by a Sunni candidate in the city of Baqouba. The candidate survived.More than 8,000 candidates from a dizzying array of dozens of electoral blocs, including many little-known small parties, are in the running.In the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, the fierce competition among them is evident. Posters of the candidates hang in the narrow spaces among the crowded tombs and mausoleum walls. Some would-be voters, including 46-year-old retired government employee Haider Khazim, say that is in poor taste. He came across the posters while burying a relative there about a month ago.“Even the dead become part of this electoral farce,” he said.“We know that the people running for this election are after the huge salaries, privileges and a share in (government) contracts. The last thing that crosses their mind … is to end the suffering of the people in their provinces,” Khazim added.Public anger over poor services, corruption and dim job prospects is common across Iraq. Many cities, including the capital, lack steady electricity and suffer from crumbling streets and rickety sewage systems.Local councils tussle with national leaders in Baghdad over how to spend money allocated to develop the provinces. Provincial councils repeatedly complain that they are tied up by restrictions issued by the central government over how to spend the funds.That lack of progress a decade after the 2003 U.S. invasion has left many voters apathetic _ if not downright cynical.On some Baghdad streets, vandals have removed one Arabic letter in the widely used slogan “My province first” so the defaced signs now read: “My wallet first.” Satirists online have rejiggered the electoral slogan of al-Maliki’s bloc from “Construction and Determination” to “Explosion and Exclusion” _ a reference to the feelings of many Sunnis that they have been marginalized by the Shiite-led government. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Candidate Murtada al-Bazouni, from al-Maliki’s State of Law bloc, said he understands voters’ frustrations. But he urged them to participate nonetheless, because “boycotting only means that old faces will return” to office.The last time Iraqis voted, in national elections in 2010, al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated State of Law coalition faced a strong challenge from the Iraqiya bloc, which sought support from Sunnis as well as secular-minded Shiites.Majority Shiites have headed the succession of Iraqi administrations that followed the ouster of Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-led regime in 2003.Iraqiya is running in this election too, but it is now fragmented. Prominent figures such as Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq _ who previously banded with Iraqiya _ are fielding their own slates of candidates rather than running under the Iraqiya banner.In Baghdad and the Shiite-dominated south, al-Maliki’s State of Law also will face a challenge from Shiite rivals _ the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrist Trend _ both of them closely allied with Shiite Iran. A strong showing by them could mobilize their political base and undermine support for al-Maliki’s bloc heading into next year’s national elections. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like BAGHDAD (AP) – Even the dead are not spared the campaigning for Iraq’s upcoming local elections.Brightly colored placards blanket major streets and hang around the vast cemetery in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, appealing to the hundreds of mourners who stream through each day.The April 20 vote for provincial governing councils will be the first election since the U.S. military withdrawal in December 2011. Even though elections for federal positions such as prime minister and parliament are not scheduled until next year, this will nevertheless be a key test for Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s dominant political bloc. Six of the country’s 18 governorates are not voting in this election.Voters in three provinces that make up the largely autonomous northern Kurdish region, which operates its own regional government, are expected to cast ballots in local elections later this year.Voters in the ethnically disputed and oil-rich province of Kirkuk have not had a chance to elect local officials since 2005 because residents cannot agree on a power-sharing formula there.Iraq’s Cabinet, citing security concerns, decided to postpone elections for up to six months in Sunni-dominated Anbar and Ninevah provinces, where anti-government protests have raged for months. The delay has not been welcomed by many voters and raises questions about the credibility of the vote.So does the fact that the police and army are voting a full week before the rest of the country, which means their ballots will have to be safeguarded for a longer period of time. In the past, the police and army voted just a couple days before the general public.Members of the security forces interviewed Saturday said their superiors encouraged them to vote, though they denied being pressured to vote for any particular bloc.One police officer voting in Baghdad, Adnan Hameed, said he expects all of his comrades will cast ballots and many will be for al-Maliki’s bloc. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Comments Share “They have the strength and resolve to defeat terrorism, and they are honest people,” he said.This time around, Iraqi electoral officials will allocate seats using a new formula that more closely translates the percentage of votes into a percentage of seats, said Jose Maria Aranaz, the chief electoral adviser at the United Nations mission to Iraq.Previously, parties that failed to reach a minimum threshold saw their votes discarded, while top vote-getters often secured a disproportionately large number of seats even if they did not win a majority outright.“The provincial councils should be more representative, and there will be less wasted votes,” Aranaz said.Political analyst Hadi Jalo predicted that half of the more than 16 million registered voters would cast ballots. Many, he forecast, will do so out of loyalty rather than a belief that their votes will bring about meaningful change.“Those voters believe that it is a … duty to vote for people from their own sect or tribe,” he said.___AP writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed.___Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at http://twitter.com/adamschreck Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision?
Friends and relatives say goodbye to volunteers being sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to join the ranks of special battalion “Azov” fighting against pro-Russian separatists, in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, May 7, 2015. Five Ukrainian government troops battling separatist forces in the east have been killed in one of the worst single days of bloodshed since a cease-fire was declared in February, military officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top holiday drink recipes Top Stories Comments Share Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Addressing an assembly packed with soldiers, Poroshenko said that 1,657 Ukrainian troops had also been killed in combat — which he described as aggression from Russia.Moscow has always denied supplying separatist rebels with either equipment or manpower, but it has been open in its diplomatic support for the separatists.Poroshenko said Russian involvement in the war had forced Ukraine to seek to align further with the West.“Given that the Russian threat is long-term and considering that the aggressive stance and policy of the Russian Federation poses a major threat to national security, the strategy aims to reach full compatibility in the security and defense sectors of Ukraine and NATO,” Poroshenko said.The uneasy cease-fire that has been in place in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk since mid-February has been marred by regular violations, although the scale of fighting has largely subsided since its peak.International cease-fire monitors say both parties are violating the peace agreement by deploying heavy weapons near the front-line.Separatists have been showing off large amounts of their hardware in rehearsal for a military parade to take place later this week in their stronghold of Donetsk. The city is only a few kilometers from the front-line, so deployment of any firepower with a caliber superior to 100 mm would nominally be in violation of the cease-fire deal. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Nearly 7,000 civilians have been killed in the war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists since fighting erupted in April last year, the nation’s president said Friday.Speaking before parliament, Petro Poroshenko said that more than 1,000 people remained unaccounted for.The figures mark a sharp increase from the most recent United Nations tally of around 6,100 people killed. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision? Sponsored Stories Actress Natalie Portman, left, and her husband choreographer Benjamin Millepied arrive for the opening ceremony and the screening of the film La Tete Haute (Standing Tall) at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Comments Share The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help The Israel-born Portman also wrote the screenplay and stars in the Hebrew-language feature as the boy’s mother Fania, a cultured and imaginative woman whose dreams can’t withstand grinding everyday reality.Portman’s film is playing as a special screening outside of the main competition at Cannes — just like Ryan Gosling’s film “Lost River” did last year.“A Tale of Love and Darkness” didn’t draw as strong a response from critics as “Lost River,” a baroque urban fairy tale generally panned as an ambitious flop.Portman’s film — a reverent adaptation with a vivid sense of place but less memorable characters — received mild applause at its press screening Friday. It has its gala festival screening on Saturday.Robbie Collin of Britain’s Daily Telegraph tweeted that the film was earnest but “completely respectable,” while Variety’s Peter Debruge said the “drearily empathetic film lacks whatever universality has made (the book) such an international phenomenon.”Portman, 33, is returning to acting soon with a starring role as Jacqueline Kennedy in Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie,” set in the days after John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. –By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawlessCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CANNES, France (AP) — For the second year in a row, the Cannes Film Festival is showcasing the directorial debut of a Hollywood star. This year it’s Natalie Portman’s first feature, “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”Adapted from an autobiographical novel by Amos Oz, the film is an ambitious period piece that charts the birth of the state of Israel and a boy’s initiation into the realities of disappointment and death. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
CAIRO (AP) — A U.S. airstrike has killed Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader, who commanded its powerful Yemeni affiliate, dealing the global network its biggest blow since the killing of Osama bin Laden and eliminating a charismatic leader at a time when it is vying with the Islamic State group for the mantle of global jihad.Nasir al-Wahishi is the latest in a series of senior figures from al-Qaida’s Yemen branch eliminated by U.S. drone strikes the past five months, including its top ideologue and a senior military commander. The U.S. has intensified its campaign, trying to push back the group as it has captured new territory in Yemen by taking advantage of the southern Arabian nation’s chronic chaos. Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The capture of Mukalla was the group’s biggest victory. It freed a number of prisoners, including Batrafi. It then struck a power-sharing deal with local tribesmen.But Mukalla has proved something of a death trap. Besides al-Wahishi, U.S. drone strikes in and around the city have killed the group’s top military commander Nasr al-Ansi, its most senior religious ideologue Ibrahim al-Rubaish, and key operatives Mamoun Hatem and Khalwan al-Sanaani.In recent years, U.S. strikes have also killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-Yemeni militant preacher who was a major recruiter for the group, and Saeed al-Shihri, an ex-Guantanamo detainee from Saudi Arabia who was al-Wahishi’s deputy at the time.The intensity of US drone strikes comes despite the withdrawal earlier this year of U.S. counterterrorism personnel from the al-Annad air base in southern Yemen in addition to the closure of US embassy in the capital because of the country’s fighting. The Special Forces commandos at the base had played a key role in drone strikes and there had been major concerns that the withdrawal would undermine the fight against al-Qaida.Al-Wahishi was known as bin Laden’s “black box,” keeping the al-Qaida leader’s secrets. It was not clear how much involvement al-Wahishi had in the 9/11 attacks in the United States. During the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, al-Wahishi fought alongside bin Laden at Tora Bora before the al-Qaida leader slipped across the border into Pakistan. Al-Wahishi fled to Iran, where he was detained and deported to Yemen in 2003.He was among 23 al-Qaida militants who broke out of a detention facility in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in February 2006. Three years later, al-Wahishi announced the creation of AQAP, which gathered together Yemeni and Saudi militants following a sweeping crackdown on the extremist group by Riyadh.According to the U.S. government’s “Wanted to Justice” program, al-Wahishi, “is responsible for approving targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources to training and attack planning, and tasking others to carry out attacks.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Top Stories Batarfi vowed that the group’s war on the United States would continue, saying “the blood of these pioneers makes us more determined to sacrifice.” He said the U.S. would “taste the bitter flavor of war and defeat until you stop supporting the Jews, the occupiers of Palestine, until you leave the lands of the Muslims and stop supporting apostate tyrants.”Al-Wahishi’s death came in a U.S. drone strike a week ago in the southern Yemeni port city of Mukalla, which al-Qaida captured in April. Yemeni security officials said two other militants were killed in the strike. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press. U.S. officials had said they were trying to verify whether al-Wahishi was killed.Al-Raimi, the new leader of AQAP, is thought to have masterminded a 2010 plot in which bombs concealed in printers were shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes before being detected and defused. He is believed to direct training camps in Yemen’s remote deserts and mountains, where he organizes cells and plans attacks.AQAP’s master bomb-maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, is also believed to still be alive. He is thought to have designed the bombs used in the cargo planes plot and in the 2009 plane-bombing plot, in which the bomber hid explosives in his underwear but botched the detonation. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Al-Asiri also designed the explosives used by his own younger brother, who blew himself up in a failed 2009 attempt to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, then head of Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism agency. Mohammed is now the crown prince. Al-Shihri is a Saudi national.Al-Wahishi’s death is a major loss for al-Qaida as it struggles to compete with the Islamic State, a breakaway group that has seized vast swaths of Syria and Iraq and spawned its own affiliates elsewhere in the region. The Islamic State group has also gained loyalists in Yemen in competition with al-Qaida.Both groups are dedicated to bringing about Islamic rule by force, but al-Qaida does not recognize the IS group’s self-styled caliphate and has maintained that the priority should be to wage jihad against America in order to drive it out of the Middle East.Al-Qaida has been able to make major gains in Yemen the past months as the country is torn by war between Shiite rebels known as Houthis who have taken over much of the country and their opponents, a mix of local militias, southern separatists, Sunni tribesmen and backers of the president, Abed Rabbo Hadi Mansour, who was driven abroad by the fighting. Al-Qaida’s militants have allied with some of the anti-Houthi forces in fighting the rebels. Batarfi said his group is fighting rebels and allied forces in 11 fronts. The US activity against al-Qaida is also not limited in Yemen. Over the weekend, a U.S. airstrike in Yemen targeted an al-Qaida-linked militant commander, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who led a 2013 attack on an Algerian gas complex that killed 35 hostages including several Americans. US officials are still trying to confirm whether he was killed in the raid.Al-Wahishi was a former aide to bin Laden who, after the al-Qaida affiliate in Saudi Arabia was crushed in the mid-2000s, rebuilt it in his homeland Yemen and turned it into the terror network’s most dangerous branch. He also served as deputy to Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded bin Laden in 2011 as the network’s leader. The U.S. put a bounty of up to $10 million on al-Wahishi.The Yemeni branch, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for January’s attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people. It also attempted several direct attacks on the United States including the botched 2009 plot to bomb an American passenger jet.A senior operative in the affiliate announced al-Wahishi’s death and said his deputy, Qassim al-Raimi, has been tapped to replace him.“Our Muslim nation, one of your heroes and masters has departed to God,” Khaled Batrafi said in a video statement dated June 14 but released by the group online Tuesday. In a eulogy, he said al-Wahishi “took part with (al-Qaida’s) first generation in hurting America in different places of the world starting from the 1990’s.” Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision?
Comments Share LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Spain and Portugal both issued weather alerts Monday, advising residents to take extra care as temperatures soared above 40 C (104 F) in some southern areas.The Iberian Peninsula was sweltering in a heat wave brought on by a mass of hot air flowing north from Africa to Europe in recent days, though recorded temperatures fell shy of the day’s forecast of a maximum 44 C (111.2 F).With the temperature in Cordoba hitting 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit), Spanish authorities placed the southern city on alert due to “extreme risks” from the heat. People across the southern half of Spain flocked to beaches, swimming pools and fountains. In Portugal, a high of 37 C (98.6 F) was recorded in the eastern city of Beja, while the capital, Lisbon, sweltered in 35 C (95 F) heat. Portugal’s General Directorate for Health recommended staying out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.Iberia is forecast to start cooling down on Tuesday when the heat wave is due to move into northern Europe, including the United Kingdom.Portuguese authorities also warned of a high risk of forest fires in wooded areas of central and northern Portugal.Official statistics show that after an uncommonly dry winter and spring, almost 54 percent of the Portuguese mainland was enduring extreme or severe drought at the end of May. With little rainfall in June, that percentage is expected to rise.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Check your body, save your life People sunbathe in a beach in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, June 28, 2015. Weather stations across Spain are warning people to take extra precautions as a heat wave engulfs much of the country, increasing the risk of wildfires. The country’s meteorological agency says a mass of hot air originating in Africa is moving northwards, bringing with it until at least Monday temperatures reaching 40 degrees centigrade (104 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The vital role family plays in society Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson announces TQUAL grant for study into cruise and luxury coach tour packages Captain Cook Cruises and AAT Kings announced their partnership last week to conduct a $50,000 project to research the potential market for a Cruise ‘n’ Coach product.The project has been partly funded by the Department of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.On Friday, the Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP officially announced the $24,000 in TQUAL Grants funding for the study.Captain Cook and AAT Kings have matched the grant dollar for dollar, contributing $26,000.The feasibility study will examine the market potential of short-break holiday itineraries to regions including the Hawkesbury River, Hunter Valley and Southern Highlands using cruise ship and coach transport.“This funding will enable us to take a systematic and methodical approach to determine what will work and, importantly, what will generate the greatest appeal to International, Interstate and NSW tourists” said Captain Cook chief executive Nick Hortle. “Dispersing cruise ship passengers into regional areas makes sense,” said Minister Ferguson.“Tourism is the lifeblood of many regional economies and this funding provides an opportunity for regions to further benefit from the Sydney international gateway and domestic markets” The Minister added that the Australian Government’s $2.3 billion in road infrastructure funding for Sydney and the surrounding regions would build a network of good roads and access into regions and in turn, successfully disperse visitors to other areas.AAT Kings and Captain Cook Cruises will finalise the project and present to the Government by mid-year.
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm, have today released a jointly published new report on the travel and tourism industry titled, Winning the Next Billion Asian Travellers – Starting with China. The report showed that by 2030, more than 50% of the growth in global traffic will come from Asia Pacific and 49% of all passenger traffic globally will be within Asia Pacific or between the region and the rest of the world. Growing Chinese Interest in Long-Haul and Exotic Destinations Furthermore, Chinese consumers continue to emphasise that they trust recommendations from people they know, as well as online opinion. Meeting the Needs and Expectations of Chinese Travellers “China’s fast-growing outbound tourism market represents significant and unprecedented opportunities for businesses around the world. Companies that deeply understand and cater to the preferences of Chinese travellers can differentiate themselves and win market share,” said Lily Cheng, Managing Director of TripAdvisor China. “Language barriers and cultural differences are two of the biggest obstacles that Chinese travellers face when travelling abroad. Businesses that offer various services and amenities that make Chinese travellers feel more welcome, such as Mandarin-speaking staff, travel guide information in Chinese, photos in menus, and acceptance of international cards like China UnionPay which are dominant amongst Chinese travellers, will stand a greater chance of attracting Chinese guests and winning them over,“ added Ms. Cheng. A recent study conducted by daodao.com, revealed some interesting insights into the psyche of Chinese travellers. For example, they prefer to settle payment on arrival, and while less experienced travellers favour to book through a Chinese online travel agency (OTA), the more experienced are likely to book through a foreign OTA site or directly with a property. Additionally, free in-room Wi-Fi connection, air-conditioning, Chinese tea, snacks and instant-noodles are amongst the most desirable hotel room amenities. According to the report, many of these preferences are rapidly evolving—particularly for young affluent travellers. For example, Chinese travellers tend to be more spontaneous and have shorter planning timelines than their Western counterparts. This is mainly because they love bargains, but also because planning for a vacation three to six months in advance is not the cultural norm in China. When it comes to hotels, the biggest decision factors for young affluent travellers are location, cleanliness, and price. According to TripAdvisor traveller insights of hotel preferences, the most important considerations for business and leisure travellers alike were location and reputation. Middle Class Segment in Smaller Cities Offers Biggest Growth Opportunities Similarly, a BCG 2013 survey showed that a growing number of young affluent Chinese travellers were interested in longer-haul trips. While just 20% of the most popular destinations for the past three years were long-haul trips (to the US and France), 80% of the most desired destinations for intended travel over the next five to 10 years are outside of Asia. The top “dream” destinations include Australia, with New Zealand, the Maldives, the US, France, Greece, the UK, and Italy also making the list. While sightseeing, relaxing, and shopping are popular activities amongst Chinese tourists, outdoor and adventure trips are emerging as a new trend, providing opportunities for both Australia and New Zealand to further increase their share of Chinese visitors. Travellers from China will account for the lion’s share of this growth—accounting for around 40% of Asian outbound travellers by 2030. Within the same time frame, China will likely overtake the US as the world’s largest domestic travel market. Well-known “super tier 1” cities, which all have populations of more than 10 million, like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, are all highly competitive environments. The TripAdvisor-BCG report revealed that more than 80% of China’s middle-income and affluent consumers (MAC) and potential spenders live in smaller cities outside of China’s major metropolises. Source = TripAdvisor TripAdvisor revealed several important insights into the future growth direction of China’s outbound tourism market, including destinations that Chinese travellers are investigating, the cities they come from, factors that motivate their travel choices, and how businesses can better cater to their needs and preferences. Locally, Tourism Australia implemented its ‘China 2020’ strategic plan*, following results that indicated China is Australia’s most valuable inbound tourism market. Australia has experienced faster arrivals growth from China than any other market. In 2010, China was Australia’s fourth largest source of visitor arrivals with 454,000 Chinese visitors, 24 per cent higher than 2009. This is estimated to reach 860,000 potential Chinese visitors by 2020. According to data from TripAdvisor’s official site in China, daodao.com, the number of unique visitors in July and August 2013 who researched outbound destinations has increased by more than 250% (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), compared to the same period the year before. Of those who researched outbound destinations in that time, 56% researched destinations in Asia while 44% researched destination outside of the region, with Paris, Rome, London and New York amongst the most frequently researched destinations. Specifically, by 2030, Chinese urban travellers will take 1.7 billion domestic and outbound trips annually, up from 500 million today, spending $1.8 trillion on travel and tourism—nearly seven times their current expenditures. The report shows that China’s outbound leisure market will grow the fastest, with its travel and tourism spending increasing by 15% year-on-year between now and 2030. According to 2013 data from daodao.com, more than 70% of unique site visitors researching outbound destinations lived outside the four “super tier 1” cities, and online traffic from these visitors is growing two to three times faster than that of visitors from the “super tier 1” cities. The report also showed that businesses that reach beyond China’s “super tier 1” cities may have to further adapt their services as well as marketing and distribution models, but they also have a better chance of gaining a first-mover advantage.