Huge crowds gather in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade

first_img Monday, June 17, 2019 Huge crowds gather in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade By: The Canadian Press TORONTO — Jubilant Raptors fans decked out in the team’s gear cheered and chanted as a parade starring the newly crowned NBA champions began in Toronto on Monday, the first such celebration in more than two decades.Crowds packed the route and the square outside City Hall where the march was to end this afternoon. Team players smiled from open top double-decker buses, some splashing gathered fans with champagne, as they moved slowly down the route.Ma Fuzzy x @Drake #WeTheNorth | #NBACHAMPS2019 pic.twitter.com/gVRvMqZtiu— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 17, 2019At one point, Kyle Lowry, the longest-serving member of team, was seen hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy while some of his teammates smoked cigars.Many fans said they decided not to go to school or work so they could attend the massive celebration.Cypher Sabanal, 15, said his mom let him skip school to attend the parade and rally.“I actually have exams this week but being here is worth it,” he said, adding that he’s been a Raptors fan his whole life.John Moreira said he decided not to go into work so he could be part of the moment.“I told my boss I wanted to be at the parade and he said there wasn’t much he could do if I called in sick so that’s exactly what I did,” said the 31-year-old. “I’m looking forward to seeing the whole team. They all work so hard and deserve all the fans being out here.”More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsRJ Salvador said he was “hyped” to be part of the massive celebration.“I’m so happy to be here,” said the 28-year-old, who happened to have the day off. “I haven’t seen anything like this happen in the city before so it’s great to be apart of it.”Some in the crowd had camped out all weekend in the hopes of nabbing a prime spot along the parade route or at Nathan Phillips Square, which was overflowing with people by 8 a.m. Even before the parade began, Toronto police posted on Twitter asking fans to go watch elsewhere.Wow! #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/iXlK3mvYWA— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 17, 2019Parents with strollers tried to make their way into the dense crowd of fans, but some gave up. Across the sea of red shirts, some fans held up signs and enlarged heads of their basketball idols like Kawhi Leonard and Fred VanVleet.A car carrying coach Nick Nurse was mobbed.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be among those celebrating, making a brief visit to Toronto for the event.Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to watch the festivities from Nathan Phillips Square. His press secretary said Ford wants the day to be about the fans and players, not politicians.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesMayor John Tory declared Monday “We The North Day” in Toronto, after the NBA champions’ slogan. Dressed in his now-famous black-and-gold Raptors blazer, the mayor urged all fans to come celebrate the team’s historic win.“To all employers out there, please let your staff go to the parade. I tell you, if they’re Raptors fans, they’re going to work twice as hard when they get back to the office,” he said.An hour-long rally will follow the parade at Nathan Phillips Square, the large public square in front of city hall, complete with a fly-by from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds demonstration team.Meanwhile, GO Transit said it was setting up a designated spot at transit hub Union Station’s lost and found for any children who may get separated from their group or family.Raptors fans are ready for this parade to begin #Toronto #Raptors #wethenorth #WeTheNorthDay pic.twitter.com/eDjFc6rLIv— blogTO (@blogTO) June 17, 2019The last time the city held a sports celebration of this magnitude was after the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993. That parade saw fans climbing trees and statues on city streets to catch a glimpse of a team that included Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: NBA, Torontolast_img read more

Trafalgars Europe Britain Presale helps lock in bookings

first_img TORONTO — Trafalgar has released its Europe & Britain Pre-sale deals of 2020 trips at guaranteed 2019 prices for a limited time.The special pricing is ideal for clients looking at 2020 Europe & Britain travel, says Trafalgar, adding that it’s already seeing an increase in the number of enquiries for next year’s travel.Clients can save an additional 10% per person with Trafalgar’s early payment discount. By booking now, clients can benefit from securing their seats on the trips they want with guaranteed 2019 prices by locking in early.“Canadian clients have been asking us about what lies in store for 2020 with Trafalgar, which is exciting. Through Pre-sale, and opening up space on our trips earlier than we have done before, we’re allowing our guests access to the trips they want for 2020, now,” says Trafalgar’s CEO Global Gavin Tollman.Clients booking early can get guaranteed space, best prices, deposit protection and best local experiences, he added.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“The interest we are seeing gives us the confidence that 2020 will be an incredible year for travel. By keeping our trips for a limited time at 2019 prices, guests can book at a great price, secure their spot and let the excitement begin – it’s that simple.”Agents can check out Trafalgar’s here today, gone tomorrow Real Travel Deals offering up to 15% off selected worldwide trips for 2019, he added. Posted by Travelweek Group Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Sharecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Europe, Trafalgar Trafalgar’s Europe & Britain Pre-sale helps lock in bookingslast_img read more

Cute new critter found in South American forests

first_imgNo related posts. WASHINGTON, D.C. – A lap-sized critter that looks like a mix between a raccoon and a teddy bear was unveiled Thursday as the first new carnivore in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.Scientists say the olinguito has actually been around for ages, in zoos, museums and in the forests of Ecuador and Colombia, but was mistaken for its larger cousin, the olingo.A big clue that this tree-crawling animal was something unusual was that it never wanted to breed with the olingo, experts said.The new species, named Bassaricyon neblina, is now understood to be the smallest member of the same family as raccoons, kinkajous and olingos.With wide, round eyes and tiny claws that help it cling to branches, the olinguito can jump between trees. It feasts mainly on fruit but also eats insects.Its discovery, which took a decade of research, is described in the Aug. 15 edition of the journal ZooKeys.As part of the journey, scientists realized that museum specimens of the olinguito had been collected from higher elevations – 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500-2,700 meters) above sea level – in the Andes Mountains than olingos were known to inhabit.DNA analysis also was done to differentiate the olinguitos from their cousins.The olinguito was smaller, with a differently shaped head and teeth. Its orange-brown coat was also longer and denser.And when researchers took to the South American forests to see if the creatures were still around in the wild, they were not disappointed.They found plenty of olinguitos in the cloud forests of the western Andes, and noted that the creatures are active at night.The two-pound (one-kilogram) animals also appear to prefer staying in the trees and have one baby at a time instead of several.“The cloud forests of the Andes are a world unto themselves, filled with many species found nowhere else, many of them threatened or endangered,” said Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.“We hope that the olinguito can serve as an ambassador species for the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia, to bring the world’s attention to these critical habitats.”Helgen and his fellow researchers on the project estimate that 42 percent of historic olinguito habitat has already been converted to agriculture or urban areas.There are four sub-species of the olinguito, and they are not being classified as endangered. Experts believe there must be many thousands of them, possibly even in Venezuela and Peru.At least one olinguito from Colombia was exhibited in several zoos in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, researchers said.Back in the 1920s, a zoologist in New York was said to have found the olinguito so unusual that he thought it might be a new species, but he did not publish any research to document the discovery.“Proving that a species exists and giving it a name is where everything starts,” said Helgen. “This is a beautiful animal, but we know so little about it. How many countries does it live in? What else can we learn about its behavior? What do we need to do to ensure its conservation?”According to the Smithsonian, the most recent new meat-eating mammal found in the Western Hemisphere was the Colombian weasel in 1978.A mongoose-like carnivorous mammal that is native to Madagascar was found in 2010. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica enforces laws to regulate transfer prices

first_imgAs of Friday Costa Rica has new laws on the books to regulate the prices of goods and services traded between related companies.The executive branch and the Finance Ministry published new Law #37898 in the official newspaper La Gaceta to set the rules for enforcement of transfer prices in the country. It will be adopted for the next fiscal year, meaning it will enter info force on Oct. 1.The transfer price is the price agreed to between two related companies to exchange goods or services between each other. It will apply to all Costa Rican companies selling or buying goods or services to related companies both domestic and abroad.The new law clarifies important issues such as the conditions to be met by the parties involved in a transaction that is considered “related.”It also urges companies to conduct a diagnosis to determine which of their transactions requires modifications before filing tax declarations for 2013, and states that for next year all companies are obliged to have a formal study of all their transfer prices.But the law published Friday does not include deadlines for submission of the study to the Tax Administration. Instead it states that an official date will be announced following a resolution from that agency in coming days.Transfer prices are significant for both taxpayers and tax administrations because they determine in large part the income and expenses, and therefore taxable profits of related companies in different tax jurisdictions.The new legislation will fill a legal loophole that created uncertainty for taxpayers, and it satisfies a need for clarification of tax policies for multinational companies.The approved regulations define the jurisdiction of Costa Rica’s Tax Administration and specify the methods to compare prices and describe documentation required from taxpayers.According to German Morales, a tax specialist at consulting company Deloitte, the publication of the new law allows for more certainty in an area that was ambiguous in Costa Rica, “so that it clarifies the rules, but also requires companies to prepare for this regulation that will enter into force for the fiscal year 2014.”Following the adoption of the new law, Nicaragua is the only country in the region that does not have laws to regulate transfer prices.El Salvador issued similar laws in 2009, Panama in 2010, and Guatemala earlier this year. Honduras will begin enforcing transfer price rules in 2014, and Nicaragua is scheduled to do so in 2016. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Two more companies close operations in Costa Rica lay off 110 employees

first_imgRelated posts:Intel to downsize Costa Rica operations, several media sources report Intel to close Costa Rica chip assembly plant, lay off 1,500 workers Bank of America, Intel announce thousands of layoffs in Costa Rica Local cargo company dismisses 65 employees Plastic bottle manufacturer Total PET Packaging and its recycling subsidiary New World Recycle have closed operations in Costa Rica, the company confirmed on Tuesday.The decision to close the businesses was made on April 30, but Total PET did not officially announce the news until Tuesday, after notifying 110 employees.The closure of both companies represents a total loss of at least $16 million of initial investment, according to the business weekly El Financiero.Total PET had been operating in the country for 14 years, with a production facility in a free trade zone in Heredia, where 70 workers were employed.Company president Ernesto Moreno said in a press release that the decision was based on a lack of capital from investors.New World Recycle opened last August with the aim of recycling used plastic bottles into new ones.The company invested some $13.5 million in the recycling plant, the first of its kind in the country and the second in Latin America.The plant, located in Tres Ríos, west of Cartago, employed 40 people. It had the capacity to process 9,000 tons of waste per year, equivalent to 300 million bottles.In 2012, company representatives told El Financiero they had plans to build five more recycling plants throughout Latin America over the next five years, starting in 2014. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica ends yearlong winless streak with 10 victory over Uruguay

first_imgRelated posts:La Sele announces 23-man roster for Copa América tournament Copa America Group A: Costa Rica faces stiff opposition Costa Rican Men’s National Team hopes to make history again in Mexico Costa Rica returns with full-strength lineup in last step toward World Cup qualifying It took head coach Óscar Ramírez just two games to get Costa Rica back in the win column.Ramíez, who was hired just three weeks ago, helped Costa Rica end a brutal winless streak with a 1-0 win against two-time World Cup champion Uruguay on Tuesday night at San José’s National Stadium. In its previous 10 games, the national team was 0-5-5 headed into the friendly, not having won since last October.“La Sele” netted the game’s lone goal when Joel Campbell lofted a pass into the box that captain Bryan Ruíz put home with a header in the seventh minute. Though he was relegated to the bench for most of Saturday’s friendly against Brazil, Campbell started at striker over Marco Ureña and showed why he remains Costa Rica’s best option at the position with his beautiful touch pass.https://vine.co/v/etpZ6zPba1MIn the second half, Campbell had three more opportunities to score, the last of which came in the 67th minute when he got behind the Uruguay defense but had his shot veer just right of the far post.“Not to disrespect Uruguay, but we had chances to score at least one more goal,” Ramírez said in the post-game news conference.Costa Rica, which quadrupled Uruguay’s shots on goals in the first half, dodged a scare when goalie Esteban Alvarado made an excellent save to stop a Christian Stuani header from going into the goal.Playing at home for the first time since March, when it tied with Paraguay, La Sele looked more comfortable and fluid than it has all year. Costa Rica controlled possession from the beginning while staying aggressive on offense, slicing through a very good Uruguayan defense that includes top-flight talents like Diego Godín and Martín Cáceres. Even though it took advantage early with the one-goal lead, Costa Rica kept pressing the Uruguayans on their side, nearly expanding upon the lead with a number of close calls at net orchestrated by Campbell, Johan Venegas, and Celso Borges. Costa Rica’s first win in nearly a year should give the national team needed momentum as it prepares for the World Cup qualifying matches that begin in November. Ezequiel Becerra/AFPBefore the match, Ramírez said his team would need to start dictating pace if it expected to beat the world’s best, almost foretelling exactly how Costa Rica would play against Uruguay.“We want to do what we do best and control possession, maintain defensive balance when the situation calls for it and keep feeding the ball back to ourselves,” he said.Even before Tuesday night’s game, Costa Rica’s defense looked to be immediately improved under Ramírez. The coach’s first game on the sidelines, on Saturday, ended in a 1-0 loss to a Brazil team that embarrassed the United States 4-1 on Tuesday night. After being plagued by miscommunications and break downs on the defensive end for so long, La Sele’s ability to hold back an aggressive Brazilian front gave fans plenty of reason for optimism. Even without key pieces like Keylor Navas and Bryan Oviedo, the defense overcame an early mistake on Brazil’s goal to seal down that side of the field and look cohesive.Alvarado started in goal on Tuesday night after Alajuelense’s Patrick Pemberton played valiantly against Brazil on Saturday. The 6 ft. 4 in. goalkeeper continued his solid play from July’s Gold Cup while shutting down an Uruguayan attack that was without its best offensive threats in Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez. This is the third time that Costa Rica has beat Uruguay in the past 15 months, beginning with the 3-1 win in the World Cup group stages that sparked the Ticos’ run to the quarterfinals.La Sele will next take the field again on Oct. 8 when it plays South Africa in a home friendly. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

UK lawmaker criticized over Assange rape comments

first_imgGalloway, a leftist political outsider who represents the anti-war Respect party, attempted to defend Assange in a video blog posted Sunday, saying that accusations against him showed “bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape.”Assange has fought for two years to avoid extradition to Sweden to be questioned over allegations of sexual molestation, unlawful coercion and rape made by two women. For the last two months, he has been hiding out in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, where he is out of reach of British authorities.“Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 percent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape. At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognize it,” Galloway said in the video. “It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.”Akin has faced pressure to abandon his U.S. Senate race from some Republicans following his comments Sunday. Asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped, Akin said, “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day In Britain, Rape Crisis, a charity, said Galloway’s description of the accusations faced by Assange was “offensive and deeply concerning.”Jo Swinson, a lawmaker with the Liberal Democrats, a party in Britain’s governing coalition, demanded that Galloway “apologize and retract his comments immediately.”“I am appalled that a member of Parliament could be so grossly irresponsible as to suggest that sex without consent is anything other than rape,” she said.Salma Yaqoob, leader of the Respect Party, said Galloway’s remarks on “what constitutes rape are deeply disappointing and wrong.”Assange was accused of sex offenses during a trip to Sweden in 2010 as his WikiLeaks website began publishing its huge cache of American secrets _ including 250,000 U.S. Embassy cables.One woman accuses Assange of intentionally damaging a condom during sex. A second woman claims he had sex with her while she was asleep, which can be considered rape under Swedish law.Assange denies wrongdoing and has said the sex with the women was consensual.Galloway, who was expelled from the country’s Labour Party in 2003 for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq and lost his seat in Parliament in 2010, returned to the House of Commons in a special election in March. In a statement Tuesday, Galloway defended his remarks and insisted that Assange’s actions would not constitute rape in Britain. However, British courts have rejected that claim in Assange’s appeal hearings.Assange and his supporters claim the Swedish case is merely the first move of a Washington-orchestrated plot to make him stand trial in the U.S. for his work with WikiLeaks. Swedish authorities dispute that claim.“This has all the hallmarks of a set-up,” Galloway said in his statement.The U.S. State Department on Monday accused Assange of making “wild assertions” about U.S. persecution to deflect attention from the sex allegations.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressLONDON (AP) – Two lawmakers on different sides of the Atlantic were lambasted by women’s rights campaigners and colleagues on Tuesday after making contentious comments about rape.British lawmaker George Galloway was chastised by the leader of his own political party over his claim that sex crime allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange do not constitute rape.It drew some parallels to U.S. congressman Todd Akin, who has faced calls to quit as the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri following comments he made in an interview aired Sunday by St. Louis television station KTVI.center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

Myanmars govt welcomes Obamas historic visit

first_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Zaw Htay said in a statement Friday that the government hopes “bilateral relations and cooperation will significantly increase after this historic visit.”During his Nov. 17-20 trip, Obama will also travel to Thailand and Cambodia, the latter another first for a U.S. president.Meanwhile, nine foreign embassies in Myanmar issued an unusual joint statement to push for assistance to residents of the strife-torn western state of Rakhine.The planned visit comes as ethnic tension in Rakhine has caused international concern, threatening to slow the tide of goodwill toward Thein Sein’s elected government, which is modernizing and liberalizing the government after almost five decades of repressive military rule.Almost 200 people have died since June in fighting between the Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities. More than 100,000 have been made homeless and are living in ramshackle refugee camps scattered around the state.A statement issued Friday and jointly signed by the embassies in Myanmar of nine nations urged all parties “to work together to bring an immediate end to the violence” and said it supported government efforts to restore security and stability. YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar’s government said Friday that it “warmly welcomes” President Barack Obama’s decision to visit the country this month, saying it will increase the momentum of democratic reform.Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit the onetime pariah nation, which is emerging from decades of military rule.Presidential office spokesman Maj. Zaw Htay says he believes the “support and encouragement by the U.S. president and American people will strengthen the commitment of President Thein Sein’s reform process to move forward without backtracking.” Men’s health affects baby’s health too Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories “We further encourage the Government to enable safe, timely, and unhindered humanitarian access across Rakhine State to all persons in need,” it said. “The international community stands ready to help with humanitarian aid and longer-term development assistance in Rakhine State, and is committed to doing so through coordinated efforts to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency.”The statement was signed by the embassies of Australia, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

US archbishop quits after archdiocese charged with coverup

first_imgSeparately, the Vatican indicted its own former ambassador to the Dominican Republic with sexually abusing minors in the Caribbean country — the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to stand trial for a sex crime.The developments came days after Francis approved the creation of a new tribunal inside the Vatican to specifically hear cases of bishops accused of failing to protect minors, answering years of criticism that top-ranked churchmen have long been immune to punishment for ignoring or covering up for priests who rape and molest children.It’s not clear if the tribunal — once it becomes functioning — would handle the case of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche of St. Paul and Minneapolis, since they are now no longer in office.They quit under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign before they retire because of illness or some other “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office.Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as a corporation of having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys. No individual was named in the complaint. VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has started making good on his promise to not let even the most senior churchmen get away with sex abuse or cover-up.On Monday, he accepted the resignation of the embattled archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and his deputy bishop after prosecutors there charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys. Top Stories In a statement, Piche said: “The people of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis need healing and hope. I was getting in the way of that, and so I had to resign.”With Monday’s resignations, there have been 18 bishops who have resigned after being publicly criticized for covering up for abusers, according to Anne Barrett Doyle of the online resource BishopAccountability.org.In April, Francis accepted the resignation of U.S. bishop Robert Finn, who had been convicted in a U.S. court of failing to report a suspected child abuser.Francis has pledged that not even high-ranking churchmen — “daddy’s boys” he called them — will get away with abuse or cover-up.“All bishops must carry out their pastoral ministry with utmost care in order to help foster the protection of minors, and they will be held accountable,” Francis declared in July during a Mass with survivors of abuse at the Vatican.The criminal charges against the archdiocese stem from its handling of Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two boys and faces prosecution involving a third boy in Wisconsin. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 0 Comments   Share   The charges came two years after diocesan canon lawyer-turned-whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger alleged widespread cover-up of clergy sex misconduct in the archdiocese, saying archbishops and their top staff lied to the public and ignored the U.S. bishops’ pledge to have no tolerance of priests who abuse.Haselberger, who was Nienstedt’s archivist, accused the church of using a chaotic system of record-keeping that helped conceal the backgrounds of guilty priests who remained on assignment.She said she repeatedly warned Nienstedt and his aides about the risk of keeping accused priests in ministry, but they took action only in one case. As a result of raising alarms, she said she was eventually shut out of meetings about priest misconduct, and later resigned.Nienstedt had refused to resign after Haselberger’s accusations, and later after announcing that allegations had been made against him of inappropriate sexual behavior. He denied misconduct and the archdiocese hired a firm to investigate. No results were ever announced and recently Nienstedt hired his own attorney to look at the matter again.In a statement Monday, Nienstedt said he was stepping down to give the archdiocese a new beginning. But he insisted he was leaving “with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.” Prosecutors say church leaders failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Wehmeyer from the time he entered seminary until he was removed from the priesthood in 2015. The criminal complaint says many people — including parishioners, fellow priests and parish staff — reported issues with Wehmeyer, and many of those claims were discounted.The resignations came on the same day that the Vatican announced it was putting its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, on trial in a Vatican court on charges he sexually abused boys in the Caribbean country and possessed child pornography. Wesolowski, who has already been defrocked after being convicted in a canon law court, now faces possible jail time if convicted by the criminal tribunal of the Vatican City State.The case has been highly sensitive, given that the Polish-born Wesolowski was an ambassador of the Holy See — a direct representative of the pope and not just one of the world’s 440,000 priests — and had been ordained both a priest and a bishop by St. John Paul II.___Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfieldCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How men can have a healthy 2019 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Domestic travel needs shakeup

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Tourism companies have been urged to create new products and experience to allure domestic visitors, after domestic visitor night rose by as little as one percent in the December quarter 2010 compared to 2009. According to a National Visitor Survey compiled by Tourism Research Australia overnight expenditure also increased by only one percent. Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said the industry needs to look at developing and improving products for domestic travel. “Investing in new tourism infrastructure, products and experiences can play a key role in addressing this issue,” Mr Lee said in an online statement. “It has the double benefit of giving Australians more reasons to holiday at home, but can also attract international visitors.” Mr Lee added that the industry particularly needs to look at its domestic option as the strong Aussie dollar allures travellers overseas. “We can’t compete on price, so we have to compete on quality and offer premium services,” he said. “The shift in focus to the supply side, as outlined in the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy, will not happen overnight but we need to have the right mechanisms in place to help that occur.”last_img read more

Visa report Tourism Outlook positive

first_imgRecent research titled ‘Tourism Outlook’ revealed that international visitors spent a whooping US$3.1billion on their Visa cards in 2010 whilst travelling in the United Arab Emirates.The research complied by Visa shows  the above total spend by international visitors on their visa cards in the UAE grew by 20.3 per cent year on year and visitor numbers to the region increased by three per cent year on year.The report found British tourists are the biggest spenders contributing to over US$441.2 million towards the UAE economy with their visa cards, which represented a ten percent increase from the previous year, followed by America US$302.9million and Russian visitors contributing US$238.1million.However, Chinese tourists topped the charts when it came to per capita spending, with an average transaction size of US$542.77 for 2010 a growth of 52 per cent from the previous year of US$357.60.The report also found that the last two months of the year are the busiest tourist seasons for the UAE and account for over a fifth of the total annual international spend on Visa cards.Visa Middle East general manager Kamran Siddiqi said Visa is supporting the tourism industry by providing safe and trusted payment systems across the globe.“Visa is able to provide an insight as to how tourists are spending their money when they visit the UAE and we are seeing a positive sign that things are on the up,” Mr Siddiqi said.“The country is expected to see some of the world’s strongest inbound tourism growth over the next five years and the travel industry is set to enjoy a further cash boost from international visitors.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P International visitors have spent 3.1 billion on their visa cards in 2010last_img read more

Aus accommodation receives strategic funding

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Australia’s hospitality industry will see educational updates, as Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) sets aside half a million on entry level to executive training.Receiving funding of up to $2.5 million for a five-year strategic direction plan, the Group said it would use a portion of that money to train staff up to a global standard.TAA managing director Rodger Powell said the investment would “raise industry standards, with the flow on effect of protecting and retaining employees within our sector”.Meanwhile over a million will be used to install a new best-practice industry intelligence system to improve businesses.“This new strategic plan, structure, funding model and suite of benefits will ensure that we grow and represent our members effectively in Canberra,” Mr Powell said.While full details of the plan will be released as they are finalized, Mr Powell added that the Group was committed to improving support for the 600 accommodation operators under its arm. “The entire National Executive of the AHA has unanimously supported the establishment of the new brand and organisation to effectively represent the needs of the accommodation sector,” Australian Hotels Association (AHA) national president Peter Hurley said.  “We recognise that the Tourism Accommodation operators have specific and special needs that are sometimes divergent with the needs of the AHA’s other members and that they must to be served by their own Board, funding and strategy.”last_img read more

Hotair balloon crash kills 19 hits Egypts tourism

first_imgA tragic accident kills 19 tourists. Image: EgyptAdventureTours.com … Egypt’s tourism has been hit by yet another blow, after a hot-air balloon crash killed 19 tourists in the ancient city of Luxor this week.The hot air-balloon collided with an electrical cable on its sunrise flight over the Luxor temples, and fell up to 1,000 feet to the ground, the Association Press reported.Eighteen tourist including those from France, Britain, Hong Kong, Japan and Belgium, were killed instantly in the accident, while three other people were transported to the hospital, where the nineteenth person died.Only two people survived the incident, including a British tourist and pilot.Since the January 2011 political strikes, Egypt has struggled to gain travellers’ confidence, regardless of ongoing assurance and promotions stressing the country’s safety.Over the two years, Egypt’s tourism sector has incurred a loss of up to $2.5 billion, with only 11.5 million tourists visiting the country in 2012, a drop from 14.7 million in 2010.Now, despite all their efforts, the owner of one of a dozen balloon companies in Luxor, Yasser Al Zambali says the accident will “have a devastating effect on tourism”, Khaleej Times reported.“We are in high season, but there are just a few dozen tourists,” Mr Zambali explained.Meanwhile, a five-star hotel reservations manager Raymond Khalaf said occupancy was down 35 percent.“The situation isn’t bad because of the revolution; it’s bad because of the violence that has followed,” the hotel’s assistant manager added. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

Hurtigruten Different authentically Norwegian

first_img“Because we are very, very different, it can sometimes be a challenge to market our product and get across what exactly our differences are, so I am really pleasantly amazed that there is a growing awareness of our product, and with more than a 90 per cent satisfaction rate, we are confident that the trade is definitely selling the right product to the right person,” Hurtigruten managing director Kathryn Beadle said. With cruise sales outgrowing the industry in general, Australia in particular has shown a higher demand in the traditional market, experiencing a growth of 18 per cent last year, outdoing the global average of 11 per cent. Hurtigruten’s commitment to offering unique and authentic experiences is what it does best and if its growing number of satisfied and returning customers is anything to go by, it seems more Australians are choosing to go off the beaten track when it comes to cruising. “We’ve been in the Australian market for a few years now, and the best advocates for our brand are those that have travelled with us, especially when you throw social media into the mix, and we are thrilled and surprised by how well the brand is known in Australia.” Taking a holistic approach, some of Hurtigruten’s unique and different offerings include authentic Norwegian hospitality and service on board (all staff on board Hurtigruten’s 12 ships are Norwegian) and in the townships they visit, 34 stops in ports right in the heart of remote communities, interaction with Norwegian passengers on board the Norway Coastal Voyage, a part tourist cruise part government-subsidised local ferry and of course the cuisine, of which 85 per cent is sourced locally, a commitment Hurtigruten takes seriously. “It’s a sign that people want to do something different and from foraging for food to kayaking under the midnight sun in the Fjords, Hurtigruten is looking forward to building on those unique experiences with our 54 excursions set for 2014.”center_img “We have entered into an initiative with the Norwegian Government and Tourism Board where Hurtigruten funds local suppliers for their produce, allowing our guests to experience a real connection to the land and culture, while at the same time supporting the local communities we visit.” With 120 years of coastal voyages along the Norwegian coast up its sleeve, Hurtigruten is continuing to win over tourists from around the world, through its voyages of discovery and exploration of captivating landscapes, rich wildlife and charismatic townships, offering guests a completely unique take on cruising. Source = ETB News: L.B. Hurtigruten managing director, Kathryn Beadlelast_img read more

Travel Industry Exhibition set to take off with industry supporter ATA

first_imgATAS will provide content for the seminar program, which will give accreditation to the educational component of the show.Event director, Pascal Ibrahim commented, “The exhibition is an important contributor to the professional development of the industry and the partnership with ATAS ensures we provide sessions that will really benefit visitors and exhibitors.We are passionate about helping our travel clients expand into new markets, explore new sales channels and win new customers.”Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Jayson Westbury said:“ATAS is all about elevating industry standards. We have already seen over 2,500 agency locations across Australia become ATAS – travel accredited and improve their business procedures and practices in the process.Visitors experience the latest innovations in destinations, hotels, air products, cruises, tours, packages, travel technology, travel agency groups, travel recruiters, industry organisations and more.The 2015 exhibition will take place 16- 17 July 2015 at the Sydney Exhibition Centre at Glebe Island. Source = ETB News: Megan Tranlast_img read more

2015 AFC Asian Cup will boost business for Australia

first_imgAustralia’s hosting of the AFC Asian Cup provides a fantastic opportunity to reinforce the country’s international reputation as a top class, highly desirable destination, according to Tourism Australia managing director, John O’Sullivan.“The teams have arrived in Australia along with tens of thousands of international football fans who are all here to lend their support. This 23 day ‘festival of football’ provides the perfect platform for Australia to showcase our credentials as a great place to visit amongst some of our most important overseas markets,” Mr O’Sullivan said.PricewaterhouseCoopers have estimated that the GDP impact from hosting the Asian Cup could be as much as AUD$23 million.AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee chief executive officer Michael Brown, said that aside from promoting soccer and sport in general the tournament will open doors for business, and also for tourism and trade and investment.“Seven of our top 10 trading partners are in the AFC region. The fact that Federal and State Governments have invested heavily in the Asian Cup shows that they understand and are committed to using the opportunities football presents,” Mr Brown said.Part of that commitment has been from the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), whose aims are to advance Australia’s international trade, investment, education and tourism interests. In 2014 Austrade established Match Australia, an international sports business program created to connect Australian businesses with global partners through major sporting events like the Asian Cup.“Match Australia is using the Asian Cup as a platform to further promote Australian capabilities across international markets especially Asia,” Mr Brown explains.The Federal Government is also excited with the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, and will undertake a series of business events around the event which is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Christchurch returns to AIME as New Zealands newest city

first_imgChristchurch returns to AIME as New Zealand’s newest cityAfter five years, New Zealand’s Christchurch and Canterbury region is back at Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) next month, and ready to unveil its city transformation.Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) is exhibiting for the first time since 2011, and is being joined by Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre to update buyers on the latest from New Zealand’s newest city.“It’s great to be back at AIME and we look forward to reconnecting with the Australian marketplace,” says CCCB Manager Caroline Blanchfield.“Christchurch is an exciting place to be right now and the next few years will see a huge transformation for business event visitors, as the new Convention Centre and more hotels open,” she says.Central Christchurch is evolving into a hub of smart precincts with world-class facilities. A lively convention centre precinct is in the final planning stages, and the new health and innovation precincts, performing arts venues and a metro sports facility are already underway.The Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre (CCEC) will have a prime riverside setting and promises to be a boutique-style premium international-standard facility, surrounded by shops, restaurants and hotels.“The city’s attractive design draws on our rich natural and cultural heritage, with a focus on pedestrian-friendly shopping, dining, arts and entertainment areas set alongside the beautiful Avon River, surrounded by wide green spaces framing the centre,” Blanchfield says.Christchurch is already home to many of New Zealand’s newest and interesting event venues including the Transitional ‘cardboard’ Cathedral, Isaac Theatre Royal, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Christchurch Art Gallery and Rydges Latimer Hotel.“At AIME we will be spreading the word about our region’s expertise. We can provide an exciting learning environment across diverse fields of interest including earth science, health science, agriculture, international education, building technology, ICT and innovation.”With a major international airport just 15 minutes from the city centre, Christchurch is also the visitor gateway to the coastal and alpine playgrounds of New Zealand’s South Island.“Our wider Canterbury region has many options on offer for pre and post touring, partner programmes and incentive travel – from thermal pools, spa treatments, wildlife viewing and night sky tours, to hot air ballooning, golf, scenic train journeys, 4WD tours and adrenalin-based activities,” Blanchfield says.The Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau and the Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre are exhibiting with the 100% Pure New Zealand team on stand 4614 at AIME 2016 in Melbourne – pop by and see Caroline, Claire or Rob.Source = Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureaulast_img read more

Royalton Luxury Resorts announces new properties in Jamaica and Saint

first_imgRoyalton Luxury Resorts announces new properties in Jamaica and Saint LuciaRoyalton Luxury Resorts is proud to announce four brand new modern and luxurious all-inclusive resorts in two of the Caribbean’s most sought-after vacation destinations.  Royalton Luxury Resorts for discerning travelers of all ages and Hideaway at Royalton, an adults-only oasis within a resort, will open on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica and in a private cove on the coast of Cap Cana, Saint Lucia, as of February 1, 2017.This award-winning hotel brand began welcoming guests of all ages to discover signature All-in Luxury®amenities and extras only a few years ago. In this time, Royalton Luxury Resorts has been able to identify and refine its signature offerings and create the next generation of all-inclusive hotels, from the ground up.  This expansion of Royalton has led to a two-fold increase in Jamaica by 573 rooms (with 166 in Hideaway atRoyalton Negril) and has created the opportunity to offer 455 luxurious suites in Saint Lucia (with 94 inHideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia).“As Royalton Luxury Resorts is becoming an established and successful brand, we now have the ability to build these resorts from the ground up and consider every part of our guest’s experience,” said Jordi Pelfort, Managing Director, Blue Diamond Resorts. “We have created signature touches that guests of Royalton and Hideaway can come to expect.”Each Royalton Luxury Resort promises elegant accommodations where guests rest peacefully between high thread count sheets atop DreamBeds™ designed exclusively for Royalton, and discover the luxury of signature rain showers or in-suite Jacuzzis.Families will enjoy the supervised kids club and age-appropriate teen’s lounge, on-site splash parks for refreshing fun and plenty of daily activities. For a premium vacation experience, a Diamond Club™ upgrade offers butler service, private beach and pool areas, an exclusive Diamond Club™ Lounge and more. To further enhance the experience, Royalton Negril and Royalton Saint Lucia feature The Royal Spa, a world class health facility committed to improving the wellness of guests.Hideaway at Royalton Luxury Resorts offers adult guests the All-in Luxury® freedom of spontaneity with the perfect mix of daily water sports, fitness programs, yoga on the beach, or mixology classes beside the pool. The vacation oasis of Hideaway at Royalton Negril and Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia both offer privacy and exclusivity found at an adults only retreat with the option to enjoy the adjacent Royalton Luxury Resort’s facilities.Additionally, guests are offered a concierge service, a custom Hideaway beach bag, in-suite aromatherapy, poolside Shiatsu/Thai massages, and the privilege of an exclusive adults only beachfront, pool, bar and restaurant. Royalton Luxury ResortsSource = Royalton Luxury Resortslast_img read more

Australian Tourism continues to power ahead with positive growth forec

first_imgAustralian Tourism continues to power ahead with positive growth forecastsAustralian tourism is recording all round success, with the latest forecasts showing the industry is well on track with an upward revision on previous forecasts and inbound visitation leading growth.The Tourism Research Australia (TRA) Tourism Forecasts 2016, released today, reveal that Australia is in the box seat to take advantage of growth in emerging economies including China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.“These figures show China is a deep well of opportunity for Australia’s export tourism industry, with their rising middle class generating continuing demand for the foreseeable future,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said today.“China is growing at such a rate that it is now due to become our largest market by volume two years earlier than expected, on top of the double digit expenditure growth we already see.“The rapidly growing Chinese middle class sees travel as an essential part of life and this is reflected in strong growth in aviation capacity as demand grows and Australia becomes more accessible to new areas of China.”As a member of the Tourism Forecasting Reference Panel which provides feedback to TRA on its tourism forecasts, Mr Shelley, said the top growth markets, led by China, were all new and emerging markets within the Asian region including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.“Australia really is ideally placed to make the most of a rising middle class in Asia, but we are also likely to be spurred along by lower oil prices, increases in airline seat capacity as well as the lower Australian dollar, all of which presents a more compelling offering for intending travellers including our traditional long-haul markets.“This report gives both the industry, and government a clear indication of the potential success of Australia’s export tourism industry and where we must focus our efforts to maximise the amply evident economic opportunity.“While an improved economic outlook in the US and UK has seen a strong increase in visitation from these markets in the past year, we are likely to see a negative impact on the UK market as a result of uncertainty brought about by the Brexit result.“With international arrivals expected to increase by an additional 5.2 million by 2025 our industry is fast becoming one of Australia’s strongest exports” Australian Tourism Export CouncilSource = Australian Tourism Export Councillast_img read more

Indian travellers prefer flat discounts over packaged deals Skyscanner

first_imgA recent survey commissioned by Skyscanner, revealed that 54% of Indian travellers prefer flat discounts for travel bookings. The survey which studied the booking habits and preferences of Indian travellers highlighted that 38% seek flexibility of cancellation and rescheduling of their flights, while 37% hunt for packaged deals and offers.Kavitha Gnanamurthy, Senior Marketing Manager, Skyscanner India said, “With over 116 million internet enabled smartphones, more and more Indian travellers are moving away from traditional methods of booking to a more evolved eco-system where they complete their transaction after browsing through all the available deals and discounts available. With the advancements in technology and increase of mobile and smartphone adoption, travellers now have the flexibility to plan a trip according to their budget– all at the convenience of their fingertips.”The survey revealed that while 45% of Indians prefer to make their travel booking on Personal Computers, increasingly more travellers are booking through apps via their mobile and tablet devices (27%), followed by mobile web (13%). Convenience being the contributing factor to this trend, regular updates on promotional offers have also prompted the shift in how Indian travellers plan and book travel.With credit card penetration at 21 million, the survey also witnessed a changing trend among Indian travellers when it comes to payment methods. According to the survey, credit cards (49%) and debit cards (32%) are the most preferred modes of payment by travellers. 31% of Indian travellers prefer completing their transaction through Internet banking, while a small percentage (5%) of respondents favours PayPal as a mode of payment. On the other hand, the survey highlighted the barriers which hinder Indians from completing their transaction on their mobile device, with 38% of Indian travellers believe there are accompanying security issues, and 33% of respondents find it inconvenient.last_img read more