Trump Vancouver opens to frosty welcome

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> VANCOUVER — The furies unleashed by Donald Trump’s rise to the U.S. presidency are shaking Vancouver, where a gleaming new Trump International Hotel and Tower is about to open.The mayor wants its name changed. A city councilman calls it “over the top, glitz and glamor” that clashes with Canadian values. And the property developer who built it sounds traumatized by the whole affair.The 69-story building designed by one of Canada’s most renowned architects has drawn praise for its sleek, twisting design. Prices for the condominiums have set records.But Trump’s politics, especially his criticism of immigrants, has caused such outrage that the mayor won’t attend the grand opening next week. Even the Malaysian developer has had second thoughts about the partnership.Joo Kim Tiah, who like the U.S. president is the son of a prominent businessman who got into global real estate, said he found it “extremely stressful” when Trump’s statements about Muslims, Mexicans and women, among other things, made him extremely unpopular in Vancouver, one of the world’s most diverse and progressive cities. Unfortunately, it was well after he signed the licensing deal to use the Trump brand.“I was terrified,” Joo Kim of Holborn Development told The Associated Press. “The people who ran the city were not happy with me. I was scared, but I think they understand. They understand that I’m trapped into – not trapped, locked into – an agreement.”The developer said he would have had no legal grounds to back out of the licensing deal, the terms of which have not been publicly released. “There would be severe legal implications,” he said.The hotel and residence will have its grand opening on Tuesday, with Trump sons Donald Jr. and Eric in attendance.Located along an upscale six-lane downtown thoroughfare, the tower is the second-tallest in Vancouver and offers majestic mountain and ocean views. A one-bedroom apartment, at 699 square feet, starts around $1 million and the average 1,153-square-foot two-bedroom condo went for $1.7 million but has since gone up. Hotel rooms in the slow season start at around $228 ($300 Canadian).The chief White House ethics lawyers under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have criticized Trump’s turning over control of his business to his sons, saying it does not eliminate potential conflicts of interest. Legal experts also say Trump’s overseas businesses could violate the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. constitution, which bars public officials from accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments or companies they control without the consent of Congress. A liberal-funded watchdog group has filed a lawsuit against Trump citing the clause.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe Vancouver tower is the second Trump-branded property to officially open since he took office, coming shortly after a golf course in Dubai. The Canadian project has generated much more debate, however, because of its location in a place that prides itself on multiculturalism. Forty-eight per cent of Vancouver’s residents are foreign born.Mayor Gregor Robertson, among others, has urged the developer to drop the Trump name. “Trump’s name and brand have no more place on Vancouver’s skyline than his ignorant ideas have in the modern world,” he said in a letter.City councilman Kerry Jang said the tower, which he calls a “beacon of racism … intolerance, sexism and bullying,” is out of place not just because of the views of the person whose name adorns it but for a style that he said clashes with low-key Canada. “It represents a brand that’s over the top, glitz and glamor,” Jang said. “It’s not our thing. ”British Columbia Premier Christy Clark also said the Trump name doesn’t represent the values of a city that is known for its support of environmental causes and open drug policies.Donald Trump Jr. brushed off his father’s Vancouver detractors in an interview with CTV television last year, calling them “ridiculous” and “disgusting.” On Thursday, White House aide Hope Hicks directed all questions about the tower to the Trump Organization, which did not respond to requests for comment from the AP.Joo Kim said he was saddened by the criticism, noting that people of 30 different ethnicities work at the hotel.Silver and gold ingots of chocolate stamped “TRUMP” are displayed in hotel room minibars, part of the sumptuous decor in the $360-million tower.Building general manager Philipp Posch said Trump and his controversies have little to do with the company. “President Trump, what he does is separate,” said Posch, who also opened Trump’s Chicago hotel. “I focus on getting the beds ready and putting a chocolate on your pillow for turndown.”Ten per cent of the condo owners are foreigners, more than double the average in Vancouver. Joo Kim said a few owners called during the campaign concerned that Trump’s remarks would hurt their property values, but no one has sold. Still, he understands why people are upset. “I did a lot of soul searching because people were attacking me for it,” he said.More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyJoo Kim’s father, Tony Tiah Thee Kian, is one of Malaysia’s richest men, and built his fortune trading stocks in the 1990s before expanding into property. He was charged in 1999 with abetting a businessman to defraud another brokerage, Omega Securities. In 2002, he was convicted on a reduced charge of providing a false report to the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange and resigned as head of his financial firm, TA Enterprise.The father, who plans to attend the Vancouver tower opening, made a comeback in 2009 with the listing of his property arm, TA Global. Tiah groomed his eldest son as his successor, and 37-year-old Joo Kim was appointed CEO of TA Global last year. He also heads the family-owned Holborn Group, which says it earned $10.4 million from the Vancouver Trump project in 2015, representing 57 per cent of its profit.Joo Kim says he chose the Trump brand in part because he felt a bond with Donald Jr. “We’re both the oldest son and our fathers were really dominant and difficult at times,” he said. “We may be OK financially but we didn’t get the attention of our parents because our parents were always busy working. But at the same time there’s a big expectation to be perfect.”Joo Kim has a picture on Instagram of himself at Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, along with a picture of his ticket for the Liberty Ball, one of three balls the president attended.A protest is planned for the Vancouver hotel’s opening on Tuesday, but the city police department says there haven’t been any special requests for security.The neighbourhood where the tower is located seems split on its presence. Businesses on the block don’t see a threat from the presence of the Trump name or possible protests. The general manager of the Equinox sport club, Zak Miller, said he hasn’t seen any negative impact.The reactions of many passers-by are the opposite.Vancouver resident Jim Smith wondered why anyone would go inside. “It’s bad enough just to walk in front,” he said.Daniela DeSanto, another city resident, said the building ruins Vancouver’s reputation.“I’m so against it,” she said. “I think we should represent the city in better ways than his actions and his way of thinking.” Monday, February 27, 2017 Trump Vancouver opens to frosty welcome Tags: Trump Hotels, Vancouver By: Jeremy Hainsworth And Rob GilliesSource: The Associated Presslast_img read more


Full steam ahead approach for new Flight Centre Independent

first_img Wednesday, July 5, 2017 “Full steam ahead approach” for new Flight Centre Independent << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Flight Centre Independent – formerly Flight Centre Associates – says it’s setting its sights on providing the best host solution in the marketplace.Flight Centre Associates has been up and running in Canada for the last nine years. The host agency was officially rebranded to Flight Centre Independent on July 5. “We’ve matured as a business,” says Flight Centre Independent General Manager, Lee Zanello. “We’ve spent the last couple of years listening to what our Independent agents have to say and the new Flight Centre Independent is the result.”Flight Centre has made significant resource and technology investments leading up to the launch to ensure that Flight Centre Independent agents receive support and work in systems that are second to none in the market, he added. “As a Flight Centre Independent, you have access to all levels of support across the country within our leisure business. The same team of over 100 support staff that support our shops is also there for our Independent agents, and this gives us the opportunity to provide direct, one-on-one support in ways that are not available with any other host.”More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaZanello points to Flight Centre’s Group Centre and Cruise Centre as two such examples, teams designed to help agents manage group and cruise bookings from the enquiry stage right through to after travel.Flight Centre Canada President John Beauvais said “the engagement we have as an entire company over our Independent business model is incredible. We are very proud of the business and we know we have the best offer in the Canadian marketplace.”“The name change comes to us at a good time,” Zanello added. “We were the only ones using the ‘Associates’ term which means we were the best in that ‘Associates’ space. That’s not where the other players are playing. For an agent looking for a host, the question now becomes a lot clearer: do you want to be an Independent Agent or do you want to be a Flight Centre Independent Agent.”One of the biggest attractions for agents to Flight Centre Independent is the trust that comes at a consumer level for a brand name they recognize. “You can’t put a dollar value on that brand equity, and at the same time, we recognize that some agents and small agencies, especially in smaller communities, value the brand they have built and we are completely fine with that,” says Zanello. “You don’t need to paint yourself red and white if you don’t want to.”More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureThe full steam ahead approach of the model now means the Independent Agent is more a part of the Flight Centre family than ever before, he added. “We’ve always run this business in true Flight Centre fashion, putting the people first,” said Zanello. “Flight Centre Independent takes this to the next level where we have an entire company now working to support the success and profitability of our agents.” Tags: Flight Centre Travelweek Group last_img read more


Win 1000s of points with TravelBrands TicTacKnow

first_img Monday, July 17, 2017 Travelweek Group MISSISSAUGA — Through Aug. 10 agents who book any Holiday House FIT product will be eligible to play TravelBrands’ Tic-Tac-Know game to win Loyalty Rewards Points.All eligible players will answer three questions in a row for their chance to win up to 10,000 Loyalty Rewards Points. Any player who does not answer all questions correctly will receive 100 Loyalty Points for simply playing.“We decided to focus the Tic-Tac-Know questions on both Access and Canada 150 based on all of the things our company has celebrated this year,” says Frank DeMarinis, CEO, TravelBrands. “We believe this game is a great way to connect with our agents and have fun while doing so.”To qualify agents must book any Holiday House FIT product with a minimum booking value of $500 for hotel rooms, dynamic packages (TravelGenie) and car rentals, or a minimum booking value of $250 for add-ons.When a qualified booking is made, the agent will receive an email inviting them to take part in the game. They will have seven days after the email is sent to participate.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe Loyalty Rewards Points received after playing will be deposited immediately into the agent’s Loyalty ‘Confirmed Transactions’ account. For each eligible booking made, the agent will get a chance to play Tic-Tac-Know and earn more Loyalty Rewards Points.Agents must be registered with and book through travelbrandsaccess.com to join in on the fun and games.Bookings made through Call Centre and via a third party booking engine are not eligible. Further information can also be found on the website. Tags: Contests, TravelBrands Win 1000s of points with TravelBrands’ Tic-Tac-Knowcenter_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more


Lines drawn on GMOs in Costa Rica

first_imgDuring a Nov. 6 protest organized by the environmental collectives Bloque Verde and the Central American Alliance for the Protection of Biodiversity, more than 100 demonstrators in front of the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry in western San José demanded the prohibition of genetically modified corn in Costa Rica.Inside, members of the National Biosecurity Technical Commission discussed a request by Delta and Pine Land (D&PL), a subsidiary of multinational Monsanto, to plant GM corn seeds in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. A second company, Semillas del Trópico S.A., also sought to import and plant GM seeds, but was rejected because they failed to meet the commission’s requirements.Although the financial weekly El Financiero reported that D&PL hopes to plant 1-2 hectares of GM corn, and Bloque Verde said the company wants to plant 15 hectares, D&PL spokeswoman Eva Barbosa said the area planted would depend on the nine-member commission’s final evaluation.  Farmer Juan Arriaga, from the Sol de Vida Organization, said GM corn seed in Costa Rica would bring “shame, hunger, dependence and illness.” Alberto Font Should Costa Rica allow GM corn to be grown here?  Yes. There is nothing wrong with GMO crops.  No. It’s a dangerous step and could threaten Costa Rican farmers.  No Response. Protesters, including environmentalists, students and farmers, hoped to alert members of the commission about the risks they believe are associated with GMOs and their effect on local varieties of corn and on human health. Farmer Juan Arriaga, a member of the environmental and agricultural organization Sol y Vida in Santa Cruz, the historic city in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, said that introducing GM corn seed in Costa Rica “means shame, hunger, dependence and illness for human beings, and for the nature and biodiversity that we constantly sell [to tourists] in Costa Rica.” “The ICT [Costa Rican Tourism Board] sells the image abroad that Costa Rica is 100 percent natural, with no artificial ingredients, yet we’re one of the countries that most uses poisonous agricultural chemicals,” Arriaga said. “It’s going to be worse if they permit genetically modified corn.” Arriaga worries that GM seeds will contaminate local seeds, as corn cultivation depends on open pollination, meaning that plants are pollinated through the air, water and via insects. Some farmers worry that down the road, they’ll end up having to pay for patented seeds.Before the meeting, agronomy engineer, environmentalist and commission member Fabián Pacheco, said the defense of non-modified, local corn is something that goes beyond a discussion among technocrats in a closed-door meeting.“We’re talking about the future of farmers’ rights, and that can’t be defined by a closed-door commission,” he said.Pacheco pointed to studies, such as one by biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini, that indicated genetically modified corn caused tumors and other organ damage to laboratory rats. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has played down the significance of that study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, saying it was inconclusive. A few days after the commission’s meeting, Pacheco said he had presented various studies and information that demonstrated the problems associated with allowing GM corn into the country. But Pacheco’s stance against GMOs has locked him out of access to company information on the variety of seed D&PL wants to import: Despite sitting on the commission, the company filed a legal motion to block him and other environmentalists from accessing information about the seed variety, Mon 603. Barbosa said the varieties of corn the company plans on using in Costa Rica, if approved by the commission, are genetically modified to resist certain insects and to tolerate the application of pesticides. She said the seed is not for human consumption, but rather to generate more seed for export. She added that no scientifically rigorous studies exist showing that GM seeds are unsafe. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization and EFSA, Barbosa said, GMOs are just as safe as their conventional equivalents, which she said is supported by internationally accepted scientific research. She added that although corn is openly pollinated, studies show that nearly 100 percent of pollen remains within 50 meters of the plant that emits it. Existing regulations of corn-seed certification establish 50 meters of separation with other corn crops to guarantee purity of the seed produced. That statement is disputed by Luis Felipe Arauz, dean of the University of Costa Rica’s Agri-Food Sciences faculty. Arauz said that because corn pollen travels on the wind, it is impossible to keep it in a designated area. He is concerned that crossing local corn with GM corn could result in the introduction of Monsanto’s patented GM corn into local corn varieties. If that happens, he said, farmers would not be able to plant the hybrid corn, because they could risk legal action by Monsanto.For Arauz, the risks outweigh the possible benefits for Costa Rica, and he urged commission members to reject the company’s request.Leda Madrigal, a member of the commission representing the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, said it is important for the public to know that the commission will base its decision on scientific and technical studies, as established by Costa Rican law. According to a press release from the Culture Ministry, a group of citizens asked Culture Minister Manuel Obregón to declare local corn a national heritage, therefore affording local varieties official government protection. The request is based on the idea that a culture of corn generates different cultural products associated with many traditions that are represented in gastronomy, music, literature and indigenous culture, said Adrián Vindas, director of the Center for Research and Conservation of Cultural Patrimony. The commission will vote on the company’s request Dec. 3.center_img Facebook Comments GMO’s in Costa Rica No related posts.last_img read more


Chief Prosecutor calls for corruption probe of lawmaker

first_imgNo related posts. Costa Rican Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría ordered Wednesday evening a raid at the office of Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides, whose computer was confiscated in an ongoing investigation of alleged influence peddling.Officials are looking for information on a request sent by Social Christian Unity Party lawmaker Walter Céspedes, who allegedly asked Benavides for jobs for a friend and two nieces.Céspedes said the minister “neither responded to the email or helped him get the jobs,” but at least one of his nieces was hired as a janitor at the Education Ministry, the daily La Nación reported.A second investigation is being carried out by the Attorney General’s Office for an alleged violation of the Law Against Illicit Enrichment and Corruption.In Costa Rica influence peddling is a crime punishable by 2-5 years in prison. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Venezuelan government threatens prison for oppositions Capriles

first_imgNo related posts. CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government is threatening to imprison the opposition’s candidate for violence that left nine dead following the April 14 election.Venezuela’s National Assembly on Wednesday set up a commission to determine whether Henrique Capriles Radonski is responsible for the violence a day after Prisons Minister Iris Varela said she has a cell prepared for the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state.“The deaths ordered by the fascist murderer Capriles cannot go unpunished,” National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said Wednesday in a message on his Twitter account. “The investigations are going forward.”Violence erupted in the country last week after Maduro, who was sworn in April 19 following the electoral council’s decision to declare him the winner with 50.8 percent of the vote, refused Capriles’s request for a full ballot recount and accused him of inciting a coup. The electoral council agreed to extend an audit of the 15 million votes cast in the wake of street protests that left nine dead and 78 injured, according to the state prosecutor.The National Assembly commission will determine whether Capriles, who received 49 percent of the vote, is responsible for the violence after he called on his supporters to “unleash your anger” about the electoral results. Capriles said April 17 that his call was for people to vent their anger through peaceful demonstration involving synchronized banging of pots and pans at home, a traditional form of protest in Latin America known as a “cacerolazo.”“What I called for was a cacerolazo,” Capriles said during a news conference in Caracas. “How can it be a crime to demand a recount?”A spokesman for Capriles, who requested anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak publicly, declined to comment. Capriles said Wednesday on his Twitter account he will make announcements in the coming hours.The government has an arrest order out on Capriles, opposition leader Leopoldo López said April 17 on his Twitter account without saying where he obtained the information.State Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz said Wednesday that the government is investigating attacks on more than a dozen health centers across the country.“Why did they go to specific places around the country?” Ortega said in comments broadcast on state television. “There had to be an instruction, a direction, a direct or subliminal message.”The Venezuelan Program of Education-Action in Human Rights, or Provea, a Caracas-based nongovernmental organization, said April 18 that its investigations found no evidence that health centers had been attacked.Calls for Capriles to be imprisoned for the post-election violence have been echoed by other members of Maduro’s alliance.“Capriles is the intellectual author of these crimes and will not go unpunished,” Prisons Minister Iris Varela said yesterday on state television. “The only good news for you is that the prison waiting for you, Capriles Radonski, is not like the ones we inherited from the previous governments. We’ll see if we can get that fascist thinking out of you there.”The government is unlikely to follow through with its threats to imprison Capriles since it would convert its opponent into a martyr whom the election showed has the support of half the country, said James Lockhart, head of Latin America at risk consultancy Maplecroft.“These threats are designed to bolster support from their domestic supporters and push Capriles into backing down,” Lockhart said Wednesday in a phone interview from London. “The government will be treading very carefully because given the controversy of the electoral results and the continuing opposition of the U.S., throwing Capriles in jail would provoke a much wider range of international criticism.” — With assistance from Jose Orozco and Corina Pons in Caracas and Anatoly Kurmanaev in Bogota.© 2013, Bloomberg Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Costa Rican prosecutors judicial police under investigation for alleged use of police

first_imgRelated posts:VIDEO: Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas wins Spain’s Best Goalkeeper award for 2013-2014 season Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas named CONCACAF’s Player of the Year ¡Grande Navas! Watch the save that sent Costa Rica to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time Revenge eludes Uruguay as Costa Rica’s ‘Sele’ wins again Costa Rican goalkeeperKeylor Navas became a global superstar in sports this year following his stellar performance at the World Cup in Brazil, his signing with the legendary football club Real Madrid, and a nod this week with Spain’s Best Goalkeeper award for the 2013-2014 season. But a bizarre case back home involving illegal prying into his personal life by law enforcement officials has him in the spotlight again, for all the wrong reasons.Costa Rican Supreme Court justices on Tuesday ordered the country’s chief prosecutor, Jorge Chavarría, and the director of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), Francisco Segura, to explain why 24 OIJ agents and four prosecutors searched a police database a total of 51 times for personal information on Navas and two of his sisters earlier this year. Most of the searches occurred during the World Cup months of June and July, and when Navas signed a contract with Real Madrid in August.While most – if not all – of the information was public, such as personal phone and property records, officials confirmed this week that the judicial branch has no open investigation of Navas, meaning there is no legal justification for the snooping by law enforcement employees. The database on which the information is stored is protected by law from unwarranted access.“We have no reason to investigate Keylor Navas or any of his relatives. We don’t know why these people did this,” Segura said at a press conference.The Police Information Platform, as the database is named, contains information on all citizens. From June to October, law enforcement and judicial employees accessed it 42 times to search for personal information on Navas. Seven queries searched his sister’s name, Keilyn Navas, 25, and two searched his other sister, Kimberly Navas, 18, Segura admitted in a press conference Tuesday following the court action.Supreme Court President Zarela Villanueva on Tuesday called the scandal “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”“There is no justification for the use of agency resources to probe the private lives of people who are not under police investigation,” she said, before ordering an investigation and disciplinary measures against those who carried out the searches – whose names will be readily available to investigators.Chavarría said criminal charges could be pending.According to Segura, an official file ordering a criminal investigation on a suspect must be created before law enforcement employees can access someone’s personal information on the database. That would mean that judicial employees likely created fake case files to access the information on Navas and his family.One line of investigation is if employees planned to use the information to commit a crime. When Navas signed with Real Madrid, his annual salary jumped from €250,000 ($317,000) at Levante to €2.5 million ($3.1 million) with Real Madrid.Navas has not yet commented on the scandal, because he is playing in a match today in the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) against Cornellá. The game had just started at 1 p.m., Costa Rica time, at the time of this posting.Stay tuned for updates. Facebook Commentslast_img read more


As peace expands in Somalia govt wants weapons

first_img“AMISOM troops can’t stay there forever. We want our Somali forces to be trained,” Nur said. “It will be diffcult and it will take some time but it has to be started.”The U.S. is determined to help create a new Somali army subservient to civilian and constitutional control that will “take on increasingly new responsibilities that are much broader than anything AMISOM has been equipped and manned to do,” said the top U.S. diplomat on Africa, Johnnie Carson, earlier this month.African Union troops will leave as soon as the government has the capacity to take over security, said James Gadin, a political officer with AMISOM, speaking at a forum on AMISOM held in Nairobi on Wednesday. Military and police trainings are ongoing to improve Somalia’s military, he said.“With the arms embargo in place we cannot give to the Somali National Army what is required,” Gandi said.Somalia has no shortage of weapons, and Somali troops typically carry guns. But the U.N. ban prevents the importation of new weapons. Officials in the diplomatic community caution, though, that the government needs to have the capacity to track and control any new imports of weapons. Men’s health affects baby’s health too 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Separately, Kenya’s deputy foreign minister, Richard Onyonka, told the AMISOM forum on Wednesday that more than 2,700 Ugandan troops have died in Somalia since 2007.The number of African Union troops killed in Somalia has always been shrouded in mystery. AMISOM does not release death tolls and neither do the countries that contribute troops, citing political sensitivities back in home capitals. Onyonka, though, was upfront with what he said was a major sacrifice by Ugandan forces.“We should never forget that Uganda lost more than 2,700 troops during this process,” Onyonka said. “This exercise has its cost, which has been heavy. It’s important that we should not forget that. This is a critical aspect.”A Ugandan military spokesman did not immediately answer calls seeking comment. Ugandan officials have in the past declined to release death tolls, saying that the high cost has been worth it for the increased regional security the ouster of al-Shabab seems likely to bring.Two officials told The Associated Press last month that about 500 Ugandan and Burundian troops have died in Somalia since 2007.Onyonka said that roughly three dozen Kenyan forces have died in Somalia over the last year. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressNAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Should Somalia’s fledgling government be allowed to import weapons to arm its nascent military? With areas under government control increasing and the threat from al-Shabab militants decreasing, that’s the question being put to the U.N. Security Council.The African Union this week appealed to the council to allow arms and other military equipment into the country to equip Somalia’s military. It is a request being made as the international community begins to look at how long it will be before Somali troops can provide security on their own, allowing the departure of African Union troops, who have been in Somalia since 2007. Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur, said Wednesday that it is time to increase the capabilities of the country’s military, after a year of military and political progress. The Islamist extremist rebels were pushed out of Mogadishu in August 2011, and over the last three months a new government has been installed.“Now we are a government and a sovereign country and we will request through the U.N. to lift the arms embargo so we can arm our forces,” Nur said.President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has asked the U.N. to adjust its arms embargo so that the government can bring in rifles, light machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades with which to fight the militants. The embargo, the argument goes, was designed to keep arms away from al-Shabab, not the government. With some additional help _ like the building of new weapons armories _ the government believes it can make sure weapons don’t fall into the hands of the insurgents.The African Union force, known as AMISOM, is primarily made up of troops from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya. The force has pushed al-Shabab out of Mogadishu and more recently the southern port city of Kismayo. Many are looking for when the African troops can leave. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more


Somali parliament endorses downsized Cabinet

first_imgThe naming of the smaller Cabinet is the latest change undergone by the government this year. A new interim constitution has been passed, a new parliament was seated and a new president was voted in. The U.N. representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, hailed the naming of two women ministers: the minister of foreign affairs, who also serves as deputy prime minister, and the minister of development and social services.“This is another important milestone in the history of Somalia,” Mahiga said. “The appointment of clean slate of just 10 ministers conclusively demonstrates the will of the Somali leadership to move away from the mindset of the past and bring about positive change.”Mahiga added: “The new council of ministers represents a broad spectrum of political shades and membership while taking clan balance, equality and representation into account. It also reflects the cultural and social realities of today’s Somalia.”European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the limited size of the Cabinet will help the government implement key priorities. Past Somali governments have been bloated with huge numbers of ministries designed to appease certain clans. Comments   Share   The new Cabinet must continue the rebuilding of the country after years of warfare with al-Shabab militants, who continue to unleash suicide attacks in Mogadishu.“What we want is security for ourselves and property from al-Shabab and the unruly soldiers. Then we can talk about developments,” Ali Abdullahi, a Mogadishu resident said.Somalia fell into anarchy in 1991 and hasn’t had a fully functioning government since. But life has improved remarkably in Mogadishu over the last year, fueling hopes that the new government will expand and become a reliable provider of security and services.(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 Associated PressMOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – In a sign Somalia’s government may be willing to move away from its corrupt past, the parliament on Tuesday approved a smaller, 10-member Cabinet in a vote that serves as an important victory for the country’s new prime minister.Parliamentary speaker Mohmed Sheik Osman Jawari said 219 parliamentarians endorsed the Cabinet in a vote Tuesday. Three voted against and three abstained. The Cabinet, formed by Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, is expected to be sworn in next week. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How men can have a healthy 2019 Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more


Spain says 32 arrested as general strike begins

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ministry official Cristina Diaz played down participation saying it was hardly noticeable in goods haulage and major city wholesale food markets.She said electricity consumption, a gauge of industrial activity, was down 11 percent on a normal working day.Strikes and protests are also planned in Italy, Greece, Portugal, France and Belgium.With a 25 percent unemployment rate, Spain is at the core of Europe’s debt crisis.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 5 ways to recognize low testosteronecenter_img Sponsored Stories MADRID (AP) – A Spanish Interior Ministry official says 32 people have been arrested and 15 people treated for minor injuries in disturbances as a general strike in Spain against austerity measures and economic reforms began.The General Workers Union said the nationwide stoppage, the second this year, was being heeded by nearly 100 percent of workers Wednesday in the automobile, energy, shipbuilding and constructions industries. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories last_img read more


Vandals spray hate graffiti on Jerusalem church

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Extremists have carried out similar “price tag” attacks on other churches, mosques and Israeli military bases.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the defacing of the church.Israel has 155,000 Christian citizens, less than 2 percent of its nearly 8 million people.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories JERUSALEM (AP) – Vandals have spray-painted “Death to Christianity” and “Jesus, son of a whore” on a Greek Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem.The overnight attack on the Monastery of the Cross was the latest in a series of vandalisms of Christian holy sites. Extremist Jews sympathetic to Israel’s settlement movement are suspected.Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Wednesday the vandals also sprayed “price tag” on the monastery’s outer wall _ a form of retribution settlers and their sympathizers use in retaliation for acts they consider to be pro-Palestinian. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breachescenter_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more


6 alleged coup plotters in UAE on hunger strike

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A rights group says six people convicted of allegedly plotting an Islamist coup in the United Arab Emirates are staging a hunger strike.The Emirates Centre For Human Rights said Sunday the six were among more than 65 people who received prison sentences of up to 15 years in a mass trial that underscored the widening crackdowns on perceived Arab Spring-inspired dissent across the Gulf region. Rights groups have accused the UAE of widespread violations, including jailhouse abuses, against those put on trial. The suspects included teachers, lawyers and even a cousin of one of the UAE’s rulers.The Emirates Centre said five, including prominent rights lawyer Mohamed al Mansoori, went on hunger strike Wednesday over complaints of mistreatment by authorities and a sixth has since joined them.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Top Stories Sponsored Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up The vital role family plays in society How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more


Palestinian hit by jeep killed amid clashes with Israelis

first_img Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Medics check the body of Palestinian Abdallah Ghanayem, 22, killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Kafr Malik village, at a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, June 14, 2015. Ghanayem was killed after being hit by an Israeli army jeep amid clashes in the West Bank early Sunday near Ramallah. Palestinian officials say local residents were hurling stones at Israeli troops, while the Israeli military said the deceased man threw a firebomb at an Israeli military jeep. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Majid Maadi, the mayor of Kafr Malik, identified the dead Palestinian as Abdallah Ghanayem, 22. Maadi said Israeli soldiers shot Ghanayem before he was hit by the jeep. The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.___This story has been corrected to show the name of the village as Kafr Malik, not Malec.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 Comments   Share   JERUSALEM (AP) — A 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed Sunday after being hit by an Israeli army jeep amid clashes in the West Bank, authorities said.Palestinian officials said the clash involved local residents hurling stones at the Israeli troops in the village of Kafr Malik, just outside of Ramallah. The Israeli military said the Palestinian man threw a firebomb at the Israeli jeep, causing it to swerve and hit him. The military said soldiers later tried to provide medical assistance to the man, but the Palestinian had already died from his wounds.last_img read more


Aviation body tells delayed government how to fly

first_imgThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) boss has provided the next Australian government with plans to strengthen Australian aviation.“Whichever party forms the next government, key aviation elements need to be faced: infrastructure, training, environment and liberalisation,” IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani said in an address to the National Aviation Press Club.“No country knows better the importance of global linkages than Australia.“This agenda…will build a more competitive platform for aviation to deliver even greater benefits to the Australian economy and secure an even more important regional and global leadership role in driving the industry forward,” said Bisignani.According to Mr Bisignani, aviation contributes 500,000 jobs and AUD6.3 billion to the Australian economy and it is therefore “critical” that the next Australian government has a solid and coordinated aviation policy to position Australia to “reap the benefits” aviation brings to the country. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A As part of Mr Bisignani’s plan to grow Australia’s aviation, the next government would need to regulate Sydney Airport costs, make a “critical” decision on a second airport for Sydney, and take a leading role in aviation training and environmental issues.Mr Bisignani congratulated Australia on its liberal aviation policy that sees Australia’s and New Zealand’s open aviation area an achievement the US and Europe has not been able to meet.However, the IATA boss did question Australia’s “outdated” 49 per cent foreign ownership cap, saying the industry needed to run like a “normal business” to be sustainable.Directly following the presentation of his recommendations, Mr Bisignani met with Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese, a spokesperson from Mr Albanese’s office telling e-Travel Blackboard the two discussed the issue of Sydney’s second airport and the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation agenda.last_img read more


Visitors bonkers for Honkers now that swine flew

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong reached their highest ever single-month level in July 2010, though much of the gain is relative to a 2009 tourism season that was negatively impacted by the H1N1 Influenza. A record 3.1 million visitors made it to Hong Kong during July 2010, an increase of 31.9 percent year-on-year, the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced. July continued early growth patterns, with almost 20 million visitors in the first seven months of 2010 representing a 24.4 percent rise compared to the same period last year. The growth in overall arrivals – which exceeded visitor numbers for July 2008 (before H1N1) by 15.8 percent- was led by Mainland China, which provided more than two million visitors. This figure was 40 percent more than July last year and the highest monthly figure for the market, reflecting the popularity of summer travel with the Mainland. Other short-haul markets also displayed significant growth, with South and Southeast Asia posting a near 40 percent increase in arrivals off the back of improved economic conditions and greater flight capacity. Visits from long-haul markets showed steady growth, with a 10.6 percent increase in July 2010 compared to 2009. This figure was dwarfed by the prolific growth experienced in the emerging markets: Russia, the Middle East, and India grew by 86 percent, 47.5 percent and 44.9 percent respectively, propelled by the economic recovery and more frequent flights.Visitors are increasingly peeking and ducking into Hong Kong too, with more than 1.82 million overnight visits recorded for July 2010. Overnighters and day-trippers represented 58.3 percent of all visitors to Hong Kong – 35.7 percent more than in July 2009. Expectedly, almost half of the short-haul markets – such as Taiwan, Mainland China, and South and Southeast Asia – consisted of such visitors. last_img read more


Take an ecofriendly holiday report

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Travellers looking to book an eco-friendly vacation don’t have to look far following the release of The World’s Best Ethical Destinations report. The report put together by non for profit organisation Ethical Traveller, assists people booking their holiday with the “names of countries where human rights and the environment are protected”. Ethical Traveller director Jess Greenwald said vacationers can still have a holiday while visiting places that demonstrate respect for humans and the environment. “Developing countries should be encouraged to pursue good behaviours,” co-author Jane Esberg said. “Tourism can provide an economic incentive to improve human rights, environmental conservation and social practices.” The report’s co-author Natalie Lefevre said that while the authors manage to select a range of ecotourism friendly destinations, no country receives a ten out of ten. “No country anywhere, is perfect,” Ms Lefevre said. “This report showcases the most ethical developing countries, based on dozens of sources and extensive research.” The report is an annual study of developing countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.The group focuses on three areas of protection: environmental, social and human rights.last_img read more


Expedia ad angers rivals

first_imgExpedia’s competitors are said to have been angered after the online travel agency launched a television campaign which focused on its rivals booking fees. The 30 second ad which debut on Australian and New Zealand television screens earlier this month has received negative criticism from competitors, even being described as “the most pitiful and pitiable campaign” by Webjet managing director David Clarke, The Australian reported. According to the source, Mr Clarke stated that it was against common sense for a company to create a campaign based on its lack of fees and despite Webjet fees a family of four booking flights to the Gold Coast could save up to $100.”There are international examples as well, such as Air Asia and Strategic Airlines,” Mr Clarke said. “In Australia, we are the only OTA (online travel agency) that has the low-cost carriers and that’s where the value is.” Travel.com.au spokesperson concurred that the overall price of a holiday should be the focus of the Australia holiday makers, rather than the booking fee.“We advise Australians to ensure they’re comparing apples with apples when booking airfares online,” the spokesperson told the source. “It’s not the size or existence of a booking fee that matters, but ultimately the price you pay at the checkout.”While Expedia Worldwide president Scott Durchslag highlighted that the company was experience its fastest annual growth in Australia from 18 percent three years ago to 25 percent last year, Webjet’s head stressed that Expedia has not made headway in the Australian market since axing its fees. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more


Strategic Airlines eyes China

first_imgStrategic Airlines has China in its sights Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Strategic Airlines has lodged an application for 1,911 weekly seats on the Australia-China route as the carrier looks to commence services between the two countries from September this year. The Brisbane-based airline has requested the allotment for an initial five year period and intends to fully use its allocation by 31 August 2012, according to documents released by the International Air Services Commission. The commission has now invited other carriers to apply for the capacity, with 3 June 2011 the confirmed closing date for submissions. The news comes just days after the announcement by the airline confirming a global distribution agreement with Amadeus agencies worldwide. last_img read more


Virgin Singapore alliance in the hands of ACCC

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H. Singapore Airlines is hoping to make further inroads into the Aussie market The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received a submission from Virgin Australia seeking regulatory approval for the carrier’s proposed alliance with Singapore Airlines.According to the application, the alliance would fill “significant gaps” in the carriers’ networks, with Virgin Australia given access to the “increasingly important Asian market”, while Singapore Airlines will be handed an Australian partner.       Under the alliance, Virgin will look to offer its passengers a greater international network and a frequent flyer program comparable to that of Qantas, whilst continuing to offer value for money, the airline said in its submission.The ACCC was told the proposed partnership would “promote competition for Australian air travel”, providing “more choice and better value” for customers whilst enabling Virgin to attract “more business and corporate travel in closer competition with Qantas”.In its 107-page submission, Virgin said the alliance would positively affect tourism to Australia, “particularly to destinations beyond Australia’s main international gateways”, through the introduction of an Air Pass product for international tourists.   Virgin’s existing deals with Etihad, Air New Zealand and Delta will be unaffected, with the airline saying it had no intention to codeshare on Singapore Airlines’ routes where it had codeshare coverage with Etihad. Interlining and reciprocal lounge access for frequent flyer members will commence on 1 August.A final ruling on the proposed partnership is not expected until November or December. last_img read more