IATA airlines push ahead to modernize BSP

first_imgIATA airlines push ahead to modernize BSP Tags: IATA Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img GENEVA — IATA member airlines have given the green light to full implementation of the New Generation of IATA Settlement Systems (NewGen ISS), billed by IATA as the most extensive and ambitious modernization of the IATA Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) to date, facilitating the global distribution and settlement of funds between travel agents and airlines.Last year the BSP processed US$219 billion in airline funds with 100% on-time settlement.“Implementation of NewGen ISS is a critical step forward by the global air transport industry in ensuring that the BSP continues to serve the industry’s financial settlement requirements for years to come. It is the culmination of a multi-year engagement with participants in the air travel value chain, including airlines, travel agents, and IT and system providers. It will bring greater options and flexibility to our travel agent partners, while providing even more financial security to airlines,” said Aleks Popovich, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Financial and Distribution Services.The three pillars of NewGen ISS are:Three levels of travel agent accreditation: Travel agents will be able to choose the model most applicable to their business, as well as to convert across models as their business evolves.IATA EasyPay: A voluntary pay-as-you-go e-wallet solution for issuance of airline tickets in the BSP that offers a lower cost per transaction. As a secure form of payment, IATA EasyPay transactions are not part of a travel agent’s cash sales at risk. This allows travel agents a means to lower their financial security amounts held with IATA, and to issue transactions which are not included in their BSP remittance capacity.Global Default Insurance: An optional financial security alternative for travel agents that presents a cost effective and flexible alternative to bank guarantees and other types of security.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckNow a fourth pillar has been added: Remittance Holding Capacity (RHC), aimed at enabling safer selling and mitigating losses resulting from travel agency defaults. For the majority of travel agents, the RHC will be calculated based on the average of the three highest reporting periods of the previous 12 months plus 100%.IATA says measures will be available allowing travel agents to manage to their RHC, and to continue selling in a secure manner should their RHC ever be reached. A joint travel agent and airline group has been working collaboratively on RHC over the past year.“Remittance Holding Capacity is about safer selling. Airlines have no desire to restrict or limit travel agent sales. At the same time it is important to have agreed-upon, prudential safeguards in place to protect airline revenues. The RHC levels are the outcome of a collaborative process involving airlines and travel agents, to ensure that travel agents have the flexibility they need, while protecting airline ticket sales,” said Popovich.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Provisions have also been drawn up for Transparency in Payments (TIP), a new industry initiative. TIP reveals the different features and costs associated with each form of payment and agent remittance of airline funds. As it stands today, airlines only see the settlement costs after the fact, if at all. No form of remittance is barred by TIP, but travel agents can only use those forms to which an airline has previously given consent.Importantly, TIP allows travel agents to use their own credit cards – previously not supported in the BSP – if an airline consents.“Transparency in Payments provides a pro-competitive framework for bilateral arrangements between airlines and travel agents that will facilitate the introduction of new and innovative payment solutions,” said Popovich.NewGen ISS and Transparency in Payments will be rolled out progressively from March 2018. Certain pillars, including IATA EasyPay and Global Default Insurance (GDI) are already available in some markets. GDI has been implemented in more than 20 markets worldwide, while IATA EasyPay is being piloted in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Share Thursday, November 23, 2017 last_img read more

Costa Magica from Martinique and flights exclusive to ACV

first_img Share Travelweek Group Tags: Agent Incentives, Air Canada Vacations, Costa Magica, Rouge Posted by Tuesday, June 19, 2018 center_img MONTREAL — This winter Air Canada Vacations will introduce cruises sailing from Martinique onboard Costa Magica. The seven-night sailings start Dec. 27, with the Costa Magica setting sail every Thursday from Fort de France on alternating itineraries exploring the idyllic islands of Guadeloupe, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados, Tortola, Saint Lucia, St. Maarten, Antigua and Saint Vincent & Grenadines.Costa Magica was fully refurbished in 2017 and now has 1,358 cabins including 464 with private balconies, and 58 suites. There are also four dining venues, 11 bars, a wellness spa, four pools, a waterslide, five hot tubs and an outdoor jogging track on deck.Flight & Cruise packages out of Toronto start at$1,399 per person. Clients can choose from two seven-night itineraries or combine them for a memorable 14-night sailing. “As a new option for our clients, we are so excited to be offering the recently refurbished Costa Magica sailing for seven or 14 nights from Martinique with flights on Air Canada Rouge with very affordable prices,” said Christine Chiang, Manager, Product Development Cruises. With ACV&ME agents who book hotels, cruises and groups to sun destinations receive 600 points per room for packages of 7+ nights; 400 points per room for packages of 3–6 nights; 600 points per stateroom for air and cruise packages; and 300 points per passenger for Group bookings. ACV&ME loyalty points can be redeemed for Aeroplan Miles, travel vouchers or VISA cash cards. << Previous PostNext Post >> Costa Magica from Martinique and flights exclusive to ACVlast_img read more

Caja invests 29000 in equipment for cervical cancer treatment

first_imgNo related posts. The Social Security System, or Caja, on Tuesday announced an investment of ₡148 million ($29,000) in diagnostic and treatment equipment for patients with cervical cancer, one of the top three causes of death in Costa Rica.Caja Executive President Ileana Balmaceda said “with this equipment the institution increases care for women and improves early diagnosis of lesions in the cervix, to reduce the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer.”The equipment was distributed to the Caja’s 12 hospitals.Cervical cancer is the third most-common type among women in Costa Rica. Of every 100 women diagnosed with cancer, 21 suffer from skin cancer, 19 from breast cancer and 13 from cervical cancer. It is also third in terms of mortality rate (7 percent), behind breast cancer (15 percent) and stomach cancer (13 percent). Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Apple launches iPhone tradein program in US

first_imgNo related posts. SAN FRANCISCO, California – Apple on Friday began letting U.S. iPhone owners trade in their smartphones for credit toward buying new models.The California company’s trade-in program kicked off in the wake of unconfirmed reports of a Sept. 10 event at which Apple will unveil new iPhones, with rumors ranging from a gold handset to a low-price version aimed at emerging markets.“iPhones hold great value,” Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette said in an email to AFP. “So Apple Retail Stores are launching a new program to assist customers who wish to bring in their previous-generation iPhone for reuse or recycling.”She would not specify how much Apple is paying for old iPhones, but they can fetch $300 or so depending on the model at an array of websites or U.S. consumer electronics shops that buy handsets.The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported that Apple had asked its Taiwan-based supplier, Hon Hai Precision, to begin shipping two new versions of the iPhone in September, including a lower-cost model.Speculation has centered around whether Apple will shift its strategy of focusing on premium devices priced at the high-end of the market to include a lower-cost handset appealing to people with tight budgets.A survey by Gartner said Apple’s share of the smartphone market worldwide fell to 14.2 percent in the second quarter, while Samsung’s rose to 31.7 percent.Samsung has found global success with smartphones powered by Google’s free Android software, which now dominates the market.As the smartphone market in the United States and other Western countries matures, companies may have better luck encouraging upgrades rather than reaching out to first-time buyers, according to Gartner analyst Van Baker.Motives for Apple’s trade-in program likely include keeping iPhone users loyal to the smartphones as well as the lucrative iTunes shop for digital music, films and books.“Keeping people in the fold is what it is all about,” Baker said. “The question for me is whether it will be competitive with programs that already exist in the market.”Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry saw the trade-in program as Apple delivering product management instead of product innovation.Analysts and Apple fans have been watching whether chief Tim Cook will live up to the legacy of company co-founder Steve Jobs when it comes to wowing the world with culture-changing devices.“Tim Cook’s Apple is very different from Steve Jobs’s Apple,” Chowdhry said.“This is not the thing customers are looking for.”He said Apple lovers are more likely wondering, “Where is my iWatch” and “Where is my Apple TV.”Cook took over as chief of the Cupertino, California company in 2011 as Jobs stepped down to grapple with illness that took his life later that year.Cook is considered an operational mastermind with a relentless work ethic, and is believed to have played a leading role in the gadget company’s turnaround.Cook was Apple’s chief operating officer until his elevation to CEO. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Court OKs bill authorizing medical research on humans

first_imgIn a second and final round of debate next week, the Legislative Assembly will discuss and vote on a bill that allows and regulates medical research on humans in Costa Rica.Lawmakers plan to move the bill forward after a majority ruling on Thursday by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, that found no constitutional violations in the proposal, as was alleged by a group of lawmakers last year. Assembly members sent the bill to the Sala IV following its approval in a first round of debate on Nov. 19, 2013.Sala IV justices reviewed the legislation for four months before issuing a ruling that stated, “none of the articles violates any constitutional principle, procedure or interpretation.”If passed, the bill would allow medical research on humans to be reinstated after the Sala IV declared the research unconstitutional in 2010. At the time, justices said the “matter must be governed by a law, not a regulation,” as was the case in 2010.The new bill outlines all legal standards and requirements for human subjects to participate in medical and pharmaceutical research and experimentation.Sala IV President Gilbert Armijo, who abstained, said the ruling was complex, and the court has received several inquiries regarding the constitutionality of several articles of the bill.Citizen Action Party lawmaker María Eugenia Venegas, who supported a constitutional consultation, said she would respect the [Sala IV] ruling, but that she needed further analysis before deciding if she’d vote for the bill to become law.Legislator Patricia Pérez on Thursday said she believes there are no major obstacles for the bill’s passage next week, as most lawmakers support it. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica court refuses to hear sex reassignment case Costa Rican plaintiffs disappointed, but not surprised, by president’s IVF proposal No shirt, no shoes, no hospital visiting privileges, says Costa Rican Supreme Court  Costa Rican ants might have the secret to better antibioticslast_img read more

Río Torres festival aims to help clean up one of San Josés

first_imgThe state of Río Torres, which runs through nine cantons in the San José metropolitan area, is deplorable. Not only are fecal matter and trash found in the river, but also toxic substances such as mercury and oil. It’s hard to imagine any living organism surviving in the rushing water, but believe it or not, people still bathe in the river.This Saturday, a group of San José residents concerned about the river’s pollution will hold the first Festival del Río Torres y Sonrío, sponsored by the Asociación Amigos del Torres Riverwalk Costa Rica. The association hopes to save Río Torres through a public and private alliance.The source of Río Torres is located in San Rafael de Montes de Oca. The river runs 26 kilometers before emptying into Río Virilla near La Carpio.Alonso Briceño, an architect and one of the organizers of the river festival, told The Tico Times that the goal of the Asociación Amigos del Torres Riverwalk Costa Rica is to clean up and recover Río Torres as an urban, public space by creating parks along its banks.“More than anything else, we hope to recover the river and convert it into a collective space for the democratic access of the entire urban population,” said Briceño, also a founder of the initiative Río Urbano.The idea to organize the association came from Ernesto Arias, director of the University of Costa Rica’s Greater Metropolitan Area Urban Observatory.“Arias promoted that initial dream that the Río Torres has great potential for urban ecotourism, but we haven’t managed to take advantage [of that potential]. Arias grew up along the river in Barrio Amón,” Briceño said. High levels of fecal matter, trash and toxic substances such as mercury are all found in Río Torres. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThis Saturday’s date was selected to mark World Rivers Day, which takes place every year on the last Sunday of September.Other event sponsors include the Asociación Parque Polideportivo Aranjuez, ChepeCletas, Feria Verde de Aranjuez, FOCUS Taller Arquitectura Experimental, Pausa Urbana and Río Urbano.The festival will take place around Aranjuez’s well-known Feria Verde, and will include a series of artistic, environmental and recreational activities. Organizers hope to promote awareness among the community about the importance of cleaning up Costa Rica’s polluted urban rivers.Briceño said the festival includes discussions, children’s workshops, artistic activities and a river walk to clean up trash.San José municipal officials will hold a discussion about the Inter-Urban Río Torres Corridor. Several artists will create works inspired by a “clean and healthy river,” and there also will be “living art” for participants who want to help create murals.Volunteers organized by the Asociación Terra Nostra also will clean up trash along the riverbank. Bicycle advocacy group Chepecletas is organizing a bicycle trek that leaves from Parque España, crosses Barrio Amón and then arrives at the old Tournón coffee processing plant, near the Labor Ministry. They then will head to the Mariposario Spirogyra, a butterfly farm in San Francisco de Goicoechea, near the El Pueblo Commercial Center.“Part of that property [the butterfly farm] conserves an important area of secondary forest. It shows a very different image of what could be for an urban river,” Briceño said.In San José, it is common to hear stories that describe how residents 50 years ago would swim and fish in Río Torres and other idyllic river pools, such as María Aguilar and El Virilla. Today, all three of those rivers are highly polluted. Untreated runoff from businesses and homes and untreated sewage are the leading causes of pollution in San José’s Río Torres. Alberto Font/The Tico TimesAnother festival activity is organized by Pausa Urbana and will invite older generations of Costa Ricans to share their memories of the river. Historical photographs of the river will be displayed, and there will be an open mic for anyone wishing to participate.In November 2012, rafting company Ríos Tropicales, members of Costa Rica’s ecological Blue Flag program, and technicians from the Water and Sewer Institute rafted down the Río Torres in San José, taking water samples along the way.According to a lab analysis, Río Torres had up to 17 million fecal coliform colonies per 100 mL of water in just a 2-kilometer stretch. A clean river would have less than 1,000, and normal metropolitan rivers have up to 5,000.A November 2013 air and water quality study by the National University determined that untreated runoff from businesses and homes and untreated sewage are two of the leading causes of pollution in San José’s rivers.•What: “Festival del Río Torres Río y Sonrío”Where: Río Torres, Feria Verde de Aranjuez, Parque Polideportivo Aranjuez, Barrio Aranjuez, Parque España.When: Saturday, Sept. 27, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.More Info: https://www.facebook.com/AmigosDelTorres Facebook Comments Related posts:Filmmaker visits Costa Rica, screens bee documentary Sea Shepherd publishes vegan cookbook To help save Costa Rican rivers, head to a picnic National river-picnic events cancelled due to heavy rainslast_img read more

Keylor Navas stops critical penalty kick to save Real Madrid

first_img Facebook Comments DENIED! @NavasKeylor saves the PK! #AtletiRealMadrid http://t.co/C7MiLZrKVj— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) October 4, 2015 The legend of Costa Rica’s San Keylor continues to grow.Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas has looked like the top keeper in Spain’s La Liga so far in his first season as full-time starter with Real Madrid, and again Navas saved “Los Merengues” on Sunday against cross-town rival Atlético Madrid.After Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was called for a penalty in the box in the 21st minute, Atlético’s Antoine Griezmann was awarded a penalty kick that would have evened the score. But Navas, who set Real Madrid’s club record with the most consecutive shutouts to start a season, denied the would-be goal by perfectly judging Griezmann’s kick. Related posts:Keylor Navas breaks Real Madrid record with fourth straight shutout Keylor Navas breaks another Real Madrid record Keylor Navas’ coach at Real Madrid sacked, Spanish media report Keylor Navas shines in Real Madrid’s 5-0 rout of La Coruña An eighth minute goal from striker Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid an early lead in the Derby. Despite Navas’ heroics on the penalty kick save, Atlético’s pesky group of strikers came back to finally tie the score on an 83rd minute goal when Jackson Martínez crossed a ball in traffic that Navas was unable to corral before Luciano Vietto netted the equalizer.That goal marked just the second score against Navas all season, as he’s recorded five shutouts and has blocked two penalty kicks already on the young season.Navas’ shutout streak to start the season lasted an incredible 534 minutes, coming just four minutes shy of breaking the all-time La Liga record for the longest span of time without conceding a goal at the start of a season.One season after former Real Madrid goalie Iker Casillas allowed one goal per every four shot attempts, Navas has only allowed one goal per every 315 minutes of game action in La Liga with 17 saves in seven games.With a 4-0-3 record, Real Madrid is currently in second place in Spain’s La Liga standings, just one point behind league-leader Villareal.“¡Que rápido es Keylor Navas!” Watch the entire play:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvbx0LPly4klast_img read more

Donald Trumps hated 23 billion in migrant cash unlocks Mexican credit

first_imgRelated posts:Bernie Sanders’ CAFTA reversal pledge worries Costa Rica businesses Most Mexico policymakers warn against raising rates before US For Mexicans, the Donald Trump candidacy is getting scarier Budget woes threaten Mexico’s reputation as a conservation leader MEXICO CITY – Millions of Mexicans pay for everything from food to medicine with cash from relatives working in the U.S. Now, the money may allow them to get car loans in a country where a large swath of the population has no access to credit.Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. and its local financing arm said this month they will start granting loans to Mexicans who use their family in the U.S. as co-signers and who can show they get remittances on a regular basis.The move makes credit more readily available in a nation where more than half of residents work in jobs that aren’t taxed by the government, making it difficult for millions to prove earnings and banks loath to lend. Only 39 percent of Mexicans even had bank accounts in 2014, compared with 94 percent in the U.S., according to data published by the World Bank in April.“If banks just get to those potential customers that can have a regular income in a formal job, the credit is going to remain kind of small and saturated in those areas,” Alexis Milo, Deutsche Bank AG ‘s chief Mexico economist, said from Mexico City. “There’s a big number of potential customers that are untapped.”The lending program, known as “Sin Fronteras” (No Borders), gives Nissan, already the nation’s most popular car line, access to potential customers at a time when auto sales are soaring. The financing push also comes as migrant workers in the U.S. take advantage of the slumping peso to send more money back to their relatives. In the year through November, remittances totaled $22.6 billion, the most since 2008, according to the central bank. The U.S. is historically the source of more than 95 percent of that money.These funds have drawn the ire of Donald Trump, the Republican Party front-runner for president. He’s threatening to impound them as part of an immigration policy that includes compelling Mexico to pay for a wall along its border with the U.S. to prevent illegal entry. BBVA Bancomer SA estimates that most of the money comes from undocumented workers. Mexicans in the U.S. can already make mortgage payments to state-backed Infonavit from north of the border, according to the lender’s website.Mexico’s peso gained 0.1 percent Monday as of 12:10 p.m. in New York, paring its decline over the past 12 months to 20 percent.Andrés de la Parra, the chief executive officer of Nissan-backed lender NR Finance Mexico SA, estimates that more than 24 million people in the U.S. send money to relatives in Mexico. The 4,000 to 5,000 loans that NR Finance hopes to make in 2016 under the new program “is taking just a small sample of this great demand and potential market that exists,” he said.The remittance-backed loans will carry an annual interest rate of 18 percent, de la Parra said. The weighted average interest rate on car loans from banks tracked by Banco de Mexico was 12 percent in August 2014, according to the most recent available data.Vehicle sales in Mexico jumped 19 percent last year to a record 1.35 million. The market is only going to get bigger, Deustche Bank’s Milo said. He estimates Mexicans should be buying 2 million cars a year, based on the nation’s population and income level.In a bid to give Mexicans greater access to bank loans, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law two years ago sweeping legal changes that included bolstering the nation’s credit bureaus.The Nissan loan program “is something we’re going to see more of in the future,” said Benito Berber, a strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “The fact that low-middle class and the low-income population are not in the banking system” is a very important reason “why this could be successful.”© 2016, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Ricas La Sele beats Haiti 10 to clinch spot in final

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica heads into must-win game against United States Costa Rica pummeled by U.S. 4-0 in Copa America rout Costa Rica scores key victory over Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Qualifying Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifier All Costa Rica needed against Haiti was a tie to advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying play. The Ticos did one better by notching a 1-0 win and the points required to clinch a spot in the six-team Hexagonal.Still, there seems very little to celebrate after another ugly performance Friday night.Costa Rica nearly got on the board early when midfielder Randall Azofeifa fed a good ball to captain Bryan Ruíz in the second minute. Ruíz’s attempt in front of the goal was rejected by the Haitian keeper, and Haiti stormed back with pressure of its own.Over the next five minutes, the Haitians broke down the Costa Rican defense a few times and had two clear opportunities to score. The first came on a long volley from midfield where Patrick Pemberton inexplicably came far out of goal, as he’s inclined to do, and put himself past the ball.Action continued at an extremely slow pace until Azofeifa’s golazo from distance in the 72nd minute gave Costa Rica its 1-0 lead.By any definition, this is another mediocre performance for Costa Rica. Haiti, which hasn’t scored a goal in this round of qualifying, wasn’t even playing with a fully healthy team.Besides the narrow win, it’s the way the Ticos looked that is so concerning. Their offense was again disconnected and lifeless. Costa Rica is far too talented across the board to not dominate a team like Haiti, but it looks at times like a team more worried about messing up than forcing the issue on offense.Going forward, where the level of teams will be higher, Costa Rica will have to answer glaring questions about its lineup.Johnny Acosta is not a quality starter and barely qualifies as a good backup option. Yet, Ramírez has played him in every single one of La Sele’s five World Cup qualifiers.It’s time for this team to go back to Giancarlo González, who was left on the bench Friday in favor of Acosta.On the other side of the field, Marco Ureña continues to offer nothing. In the 37th minute, Ureña was given a good chance to beat a defender and score, but he was easily stripped of control and blew the promising shot.To have such a vanilla striker like Ureña that defenders don’t need to respect allows backlines to focus on jamming passing lanes rather than keeping all eyes on what should be a roaming striker.It’s somewhat jarring that Ramírez didn’t insert Johan Venegas into that role after his spirited performance in Costa Rica’s previous game against Colombia. Sure it’s not his natural position, but he provides much more activity at the position than Ureña ever could.Venegas ultimately came on for Ureña in the 55th minute.Right now, La Sele’s best offensive threats come off of steals on defense and quick counters from the wings. Still, those opportunities rarely manifest into consistent attacks over the course of a full game.At best, Ramírez’s selection is totally boring. At worst, and probably more honestly, it’s made up of a fragile offense that almost never goes through its best playmakers, instead over-relying on a defense prone to numerous breakdowns every match.Something needs to give quick because fringe contenders in CONCACAF like Trinidad & Tobago or Honduras could top La Sele for one of the three World Cup spots up for grabs if Ramirez’s team keeps up its dull pace.If the current standings hold elsewhere with Trinidad & Tobago winning Group C ahead of second-place United States, then Costa Rica could have to go back to the U.S. to play the USMNT in November, five months after the team was badly embarrassed in a 4-0 rout in the Copa América.Though goalie Keylor Navas would probably be back for that game, the Real Madrid star can’t solve the rest of the issues on a team that looks increasingly mediocre with each game under Ramírez.Costa Rica will return home to play in the National Stadium against Panama on Tuesday. In the game worth little more than a friendly, Ramírez has a chance to experiment more with his lineup. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Polish media unite to charge for online content

first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Richards says the Piano pay model emulates cable television.“You pay once, log in once and access a portfolio,” he said. “We don’t believe people want to buy multiple online subscriptions. It’s about convenience.”Media outlets have also experimented with a subscription fee for all content on site _ such as The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times _ or micropayments for each article.The six publishers include two Polish-owned groups, Agora and Murator, along with four internationally owned publishers: Swiss-German Ringier Axel Springer, British Media Regionalne, German Polskapresse and Edytor. Richards says Piano hopes that if the initiative proves profitable for the foreign-owned publishers they will also want to introduce it in their other markets.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Associated PressWARSAW, Poland (AP) – Several major Polish media companies are joining forces to put some of their best online content behind a combined paywall _ an attempt to maintain revenue as print readership declines.The initiative, known as Piano, has already been implemented with success in Slovakia and Slovenia, where people pay a small one-time fee for unlimited access to a range of websites. Poland, with 19.5 million Internet users in a nation of 38 million, represents the first large market to try this pay model, and how it fares could determine whether it takes hold in other countries. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Digital visitors subscribing to the initiative will pay 19.90 zlotys ($5.80; (EURO)4.75) a month for access to premium content on 42 websites belonging to six media publishing companies. Among them are major news sites, including the leading daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Forbes magazine and a range of sports and lifestyle magazines.Peter Richards, the Poland manager of Piano Media, a Slovak company that runs the initiative, said he believes many web users in search of high quality content will be willing to pay the monthly fee, noting that the price is about the equivalent of two coffees.“We think that for two cups of coffee people will buy it,” Richards said. The company collects fees from web users and distributes them to the publishers, keeping some of the earnings for itself.The initiative begins Wednesday when the company’s piano logo appeared on websites, alerting readers that from September some content will only be available behind a paywall, when the subscription service begins.Most of the websites will still provide a lot of free content to continue drawing viewers to their sites, but highly valued material, such as investigative pieces or political commentary, will only be available to subscribers. In some cases, publishers say they will be putting new material behind the paywall that they hadn’t put online before. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in society Top Stories last_img read more

Greece Amnesty slams mass migrant roundups

first_imgATHENS, Greece (AP) – Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on Greek authorities to stop mass roundups of suspected illegal immigrants, arguing that police are treating law-abiding foreigners like criminals and subjecting thousands of detained persons to “degrading and inhumane” conditions.The London-based group said Wednesday that legitimate asylum seekers were being denied proper assistance and that police were stopping and detaining suspects based on skin color. Greek police launched the mass deportation drive _ named operation Xenios-Zeus_ over the weekend.Some 2,000 officers in greater Athens detained around 7,000 immigrants. About 2,000 immigrants were eventually arrested on allegations of residing in Greece illegally.Greece is the busiest transit point for illegal immigrants trying to reach the European Union.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Quick workouts for men Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories last_img read more

Qatar buys fifth of UK airport operator BAA

first_imgAssociated PressDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A Qatari government investment fund on Friday said it had reached a deal with Spanish company Ferrovial to buy 20 percent of the company that operates London’s Heathrow, Stansted and other British airports.Qatar Holding LLC said it had agreed to buy the stake in BAA from Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial S.A. and two other existing investors in the airport company. Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Ferrovial said in a statement it was selling 10.6 percent of FGP Topco Ltd., the holding company that owns BAA, to Qatar Holding for 478 million pounds ($748.9 million).Qatar Holding is the main investment arm of the natural gas-rich Gulf nation’s sovereign wealth fund. It has several investments in the United Kingdom, including British bank Barclays and Harrods department store.Ferrovial said that Britannia Airport Partners and GIC had also sold shares in Topco to Qatar Holding, bringing up the fund’s holdings in the airport operator to 20 percent.“The total value of the shares purchased is thus 900 million pounds sterling, or (EURO)1.144 billion ($1.4 billion),” Ferrovial said, adding that the sale required approval from the European Competition authorities and was “expected to be completed before the end of the year.”Ferrovial CEO said his group welcomed Qatar Holding’s investment and hoped it would “ensure that Heathrow retains its position as one of the best infrastructure assets in the world.”A consortium headed by Ferrovial acquired BAA in June 2006.___Harold Heckle in Madrid contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories center_img 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milklast_img read more

China may end longhated labor reeducation camps

first_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Legal experts are concerned that authorities might replace labor re-education with something even less accountable, like the makeshift off-the-books holding centers known as “black jails.” Local officials and police often use black jails, sometimes for months at a time, to house petitioners, people who are trying to bring grievances inflicted by local authorities to the attention of the central government.“They are even worse than labor camps,” said Wang Cailiang, a Beijing-based lawyer. “If the authorities come up with any new method, it will be a grave mistake.”Lan Guiyuan was thrown into a black jail last week after she showed up outside the Communist Party’s internal watchdog agency in Beijing to petition about corruption in her native Hunan province. Security guards threw her into a police van and she was taken to a former factory complex turned holding pen.“By noon they had thrown so many of us petitioners in there, I couldn’t breathe and started shouting, `I want human rights.’ Others started calling out `Communist Party black jail. Give us freedom,’” said Lan, who was later shipped back to her hometown of Yueyang. Local officials soon began saying they would limit use of the system. In February, a top legal official in Yunnan province said people would no longer be sent to labor camps on charges of threatening national security, creating a disturbance by petitioning and smearing the image of officials. Those offenses are also covered in the criminal code.Opposition to labor re-education has been solidified by several high-profile cases, like Zhao’s, publicized by state-controlled media.Last year, a woman in central Hunan province was sentenced to 18 months for causing a disturbance after she repeatedly petitioned for harsher penalties for seven men convicted of abducting, raping and prostituting her 11-year-old daughter. Tang Hui was released within days following overwhelming public opposition. Her case prompted the government’s Xinhua News Agency to call for the system to “be swept into the dustbin of history.”During the annual legislative session, officials have been coy about when reforms would be made. Justice Minister Wu Aiying told reporters Thursday that the measures were being worked out. Once hammered out behind closed doors, the proposed changes would then be presented to the executive committee of the legislature, which meets every other month. Comments   Share   Still, reforming labor re-education would mark progress. Initially set up in the 1950s to detain accused counterrevolutionaries or other critics of the Communist government, the education-through-labor system was revamped around 1980 to hold drug addicts, petty thieves, prostitutes and other small-time offenders.As many as 40,000 people are detained in roughly 300 labor re-education camps across the country, according to Wang Gongyi, who recently retired as director of a research institute under the Ministry of Justice. Another 100,000 drug addicts are undergoing compulsory treatment in facilities that were separated out from the labor camps several years ago, he said.Inmates in some of the centers are forced to work, sometimes making consumer goods. It is considered a more lenient form of punishment because it does not carry the legal stigma of a criminal conviction and does not affect eligibility to attend university or obtain a passport to travel outside the country, Wang said.He said attempts to reform the system over the last decade have sputtered. “It has become a tool of revenge and retaliation,” said Wang.The new Xi leadership team encouraged expectations for an overhaul in January when the party official in charge of law enforcement, Meng Jianzhu, was quoted as saying that police would stop issuing labor re-education sentences this year. She was locked up in a long hated and often abused penal system known as labor re-education. Chinese police have used it to lock up tens of thousands of people for up to four years without a trial or a judge’s review.Established to punish early critics of the Communist Party, it was retooled to focus on petty criminals but now is used by local officials to deal with people challenging their authority on issues including land rights and corruption.Cases like Zhao’s last year have galvanized critics, many of them within the government, and China’s newly installed leadership is seizing on expectations for reform.“There’s little left to be debated. It should be abolished right away,” said Hou Xinyi, a law professor from Nankai University in the city of Tianjin. Hou serves on China’s top political advisory body, which is meeting in Beijing this week alongside the national legislature. Commentators in the media and on the Internet are hoping that some deputies propose that the system be overhauled during the 13-day legislative session, which ends Sunday.“Only the law should decide on a citizen’s personal freedom,” Hou said.What to do with the system has become a test of Communist Party chief Xi Jinping’s commitment to advance the rule of law and temper police and other security officials who often run roughshod over the legal system. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and his police chief, Wang Lijun, used labor re-education to quell dissent before they were ousted a year ago in China’s highest-profile political scandal in years.For an online posting questioning Bo’s crackdown, factory worker Liu Shiyin was given two years in a labor camp in 2009. He was accused of creating a “terrorist atmosphere.”“There was no dignity to speak of,” in the camp, Liu recalled. “You had to squat to eat your meals. Life there was inhuman. Beating and chiding were common.”Liu said he and the other inmates were forced to wrap thin copper wires onto tiny magnets to be used as electronic parts. “My fingers hurt so much I couldn’t sleep at night,” Liu said.A skilled worker needed nine hours to complete the daily workload, and less dexterous inmates could spend more than 10 hours trying to meet their daily production quota, Liu said.Reforms, if they materialize, are likely to be limited. Labor re-education is only part of a large penal system. Activists considered to be a threat to the party are routinely placed under house arrest or sent to prison on vaguely-defined charge of subversion, and that is not expected to change. BEIJING (AP) – All it took was a handwritten note from police to send Zhao Meifu to a labor camp for a year in China’s arid northwest.The farmer had been seeking redress for decades over a land grab by village officials. Tired of her complaints, police saw the labor camp as a quick way to get rid of her.“They did not like my mother, so they locked her up,” Zhao’s son, Guo Dajun, said in a recent interview.center_img Check your body, save your life Patients with chronic pain give advice Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Curbing or ending labor re-education would be a boost for legal reformers. The system is frequently used to silence minor government critics and ordinary Chinese like Zhao who are considered nuisances by local officials.In 1989, officials seeking property for development schemes started seizing Zhao’s farmland in Shanzidun village, in the dry yellow hills outside the provincial capital of Lanzhou. She has asked higher-level authorities for the return of her land or fair compensation, to no avail.In 2010, police sent her to labor re-education for a year; she was forced to do jobs like deshelling almonds but was soon released for health reasons. Last year, while visiting her son, a graduate student in Beijing, hometown police took her away. With a short, handwritten note, they reinstated her uncompleted 2010 sentence.“I was so angry my blood pressure soared,” Zhao said of the day she was booked into the labor camp. “I felt there was not a thread of hope.”Zhao was released after 18 days, officially on medical grounds, but she believes she was let out because of public pressure. Calls to the local labor camp and a government official overseeing the camp rang unanswered in several attempts. “If there should be a bill, it would definitely be accepted,” said Chen Zhonglin, a law professor from Chongqing University and a former deputy to the legislature. “After all, labor re-education is a priority task for the year.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img

Daimler Q2 profits jump on EADS stake sale

first_img Comments   Share   Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the result “represents progress in our earnings development, but no cause for complacency. We will continue to work hard on achieving our goals.”The company’s flagship Mercedes-Benz Cars division, which also includes the Smart compact, saw operating earnings slip due to a less profitable model mix and expenses for new technologies and vehicles. Profits excluding financial items such as interest and taxes fell 22 percent to 1.04 billion euros.The division’s return on sales fell to 6.4 percent from 8.7 percent, short of the company’s goal of a 10 percent profit margin for passenger cars. Total unit sales rose 9 percent to 404,700 in the quarter from a year ago, while sales revenue increased by 6 percent to 16.3 billion euros.(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 Check your body, save your life Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Quick workouts for men Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The maker of luxury brand Mercedes saw a gain of (EURO)3.2 billion from disposing of its remaining stake in EADS, the parent company of plane maker Airbus. Daimler made the move to concentrate better on its core auto business.Daimler shares rose 0.5 percent to (EURO)52.95 in morning trading in Europe.The company said that the stricken Western European car market “seems to have bottomed out” and that “a gradual improvement of the market situation is to be anticipated in the second half of the year.” The overall market is still expected to shrink for the full year, the company said.European car sales have been depressed by the continent’s financial and economic crisis. Sales fell 6.6 percent in Europe over the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the European carmakers’ association ACEA.The difficulties that carmakers face is largely due to the austerity measures that many European governments have pursued in order to get their public finances into shape. Many have cut spending and raised taxes to cope with too much debt and that prolonged recessions and worsened unemployment _ especially in the hardest hit countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. Slow sales have put pressure on all carmakers but especially on mass-market manufacturers such as Ford Motor Co. , General Motors’ Opel subsidiary and PSA Peugeot Citroen. FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Automaker Daimler AG laid out the hope of a recovery in the West European car market later this year as it reported a big jump in its second-quarter net profit following the sale of its stake in aerospace firm EADS.The Stuttgart-based company said Wednesday that net profit rose to (EURO)4.58 billion ($6.04 billion) from (EURO)1.56 billion in the same quarter a year before. Sales rose 3 percent to (EURO)29.7 billion. Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Toronto man fired after he tries to justify vulgar TV remark

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober TORONTO (AP) — A Toronto engineer lost his job Tuesday after a social media firestorm was created by a female TV reporter who fought back against offensive and vulgar comments that disrupted her live interview.Ontario’s largest electricity provider, Hydro One, issued a statement saying it has fired one of its employees in connection with the lewd disruption Sunday at a Toronto FC game. In the video, CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt is shown confronting and questioning the men who shouted crude remarks into her microphone and defended it as part of a popular trend. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis A Hydro One official identified the employee as Shawn Simoes, but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to name him for privacy reasons. Simoes is shown in the video using an expletive and calling his friend’s remark hilarious before telling the reporter she is lucky they didn’t have a vibrator.Hunt said she has often been the victim of the remarks while doing live television interviews.“I hit my limit and I had to push back,” she said Tuesday. “I wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. It was time to say something.”The men also face a one year-ban from all games of the soccer club and other teams owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which include the NHL Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors.“We’re appalled that this trend of disrespectful behavior would make its way to our city, let alone anywhere near our stadium,” MLSE said in a statement. “?We are working to identify the individuals, and when we do they will be banned from all of our facilities.”MLSE said it would also provide extra security support to female reporters doing live interviews at future games.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne weighed in on Twitter, thanking CityNews for airing the disruption. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “Whether or not it’s caught on film, sexual harassment at work is no joke,” Wynne tweeted.Former Florida State quarterback and top NFL draft pick Jameis Winston was benched for a half of football last year after being caught on camera shouting the same comment about female anatomy.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   last_img read more

IT oneworld entry postponed

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Kingfisher’s entry into the oneworld alliance has been placed on hold until the carrier organises its financial issues. Originally set to welcome the carrier into the alliance on 10 February this year, oneworld chief executive Bruce Ashby explained the alliance Group had worked closely with the Indian carrier to assist with its financial issues but it was “increasingly clear” the carrier needs more time.”These are turbulent times for the airline industry in India and many other parts of the world,” Mr Ashby said.   “We wish it well during this process and will work with Kingfisher Airlines with the aim of setting a new joining date once it is through this current period of turbulence.”Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya added that the postponement would allow the carrier the opportunity to shift its focus on the issues at hand but is still keen to be part of the alliance.”In light of the many priorities centred around Kingfisher Airlines’ recapitalisation efforts, we felt it prudent to defer our entry into the alliance for a little while,” he added.last_img read more

LH passengers warned of weekend strikes

first_imgTravellers flying on Lufthansa (LH) this weekend better brace for more delays and cancellations as the airline’s flight attendants continue with strike action until 7 September.An escalating labor battle saw Lufthansa flight attendants walk off the job on Tuesday at Germany’s three major airports (Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich), stranding passengers.After 13 months of failed talks, the Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO) has threatened a nationwide 24 hour strike, beginning on Friday, after the airline showed no signs of budging.Lufthansa will be forced to cancel a majority of flights due to the strike action, with the airline warning passengers of unscheduled cancellations and delays.Flights of Lufthansa Regional (Air Dolomiti, Augsburg Airways, CityLine, Eurowings) and Germanwings will not be affected, however, at this stage Lufthansa cannot say for sure what impact the strike action will have.The airline posted a statement outlining regret that the labor dispute had been waged at the expense of its customers and will do all possible to communicate the details of the strike as soon as possible to minimize the impacts on its customers.Eight hours of strikes on Tuesday led to Lufthansa cancelling around 350 flights at Tegel and Frankfurt Airports, and an 11 hour strike at Munich.The battle comes as the country’s largest airline is trying to implement an ambitious cost-cutting program amid tough competition from budget carriers and government-owned Gulf airlines.The union is seeking a five percent pay rise for Lufthansa’s 18,000 cabin crew workers after years of no increase.Lufthansa recommends passengers visit the website for updates on the situation. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

Sofitels Pacific Hotels Dominate HM Awards for 2012

first_imgSource = Sofitel, World Class Hotels & French Elegance Seven Sofitel hotels throughout the Pacific region were recognised at the recent Hotel Management Awards, with Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa taking out the prize for Best New Zealand Hotel, Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach & Private Island taking out the award for Best French Polynesian Hotel and Claude Stein winning the Award for Best Food & Beverage Associate of the Year for the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. Sofitel Queenstown General Manager Vincent Macquet said he was delighted his hotel was recognised as the best in the country, especially following a recent multi-million dollar renovation and the addition of an exclusive conference suite.  “Sofitel Queenstown, while enjoying global branding, remains a very special boutique hotel that exudes style and sophistication on every level so to be recognised amongst the best in New Zealand is a real honour,” he said.Other Sofitels recognised for their excellence were the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins which was Highly Commended as Best Business Hotel of the Year and Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa which was Highly Commended for Best Fijian Property of the Year. Meanwhile Wouter De Graaf of Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour was Highly Commended as New Zealand GM of the Year and Alan Wallbanks of Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach was Highly Commended for Engineer of the Year.“We are very proud that seven Sofitels from the Pacific region were recognised in the HM Awards this year,” said Ian Alexandre, Sofitel’s Vice President Pacific. “Awards like these are a testament to the passion and commitment of our Ambassadors to deliver the best possible service standards to our guests.”last_img read more

Ayers Rock Resort acquisition scrutinised

first_imgTourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said claims of mismanagement at the Ayers Rock Resort were potentially damaging the reputation of Australia’s indigenous tourism attractions. The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) has requested Prime Minister Tony Abbott launch a Parliamentary Inquiry into disputes surrounding the management of Ayers Rock Resort. ILC chairperson chairwoman Doctor Dawn Casey emphasised that losses of this magnitude were unprecedented in Indigenous Affairs and raise questions concerning the quality of the corporate governance which allowed the acquisition to occur. “The fact that they have taken indigenous employment from zero to over 200 has been a key factor in that growth, as has the physical improvement in the facility – most notably the conference facilities.” Outgoing Voyages boss Koos Klein has accused the ILC of attacking its own asset and damaging business relationships, staff morale and the resort’s reputation as an iconic tourism choice. “Visitors to our country are looking for genuine Indigenous attractions and experiences, provided by Aboriginal Australians – and that is what Ayers Rock Resort does so well,” Mr McEvoy said. Source = ETB News: P.T. “The current ILC Board is committed to addressing the financial challenges it inherited with the purchase of the Ayers Rock Resort and will ensure that the highly successful Indigenous employment and training initiatives at Yulara are protected to the maximum extent possible,” Dr Casey said. ILC subsidiary, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, purchased the property in 2010 for AU$317 million and have since reported losses of over AU$100 million, including a AU$62 million write down in the value of the resort in 2012-13, The Australian reported.last_img read more

TripAdvisors Review Express gets a big thumbs up

first_imgTripAdvisor has also announced a number of enhancements to the ReviewExpress service including easier saving of email campaigns, ability to update photo and “from” email addresses on multiple templates and additional how-to-guides and tip sheets. “There’s no question that reviews play a pivotal role in the booking decision for travellers – according to recent PhoCusWright research, more than half of TripAdvisor users will not book a hotel that does not have reviews,” Ms Philardeau said. TripAdvisor has announced that over 47,000 hospitality businesses are using its ReviewExpress Service, since it launched in May. Hospitality businesses must be registered with TripAdvisor to use the ReviewExpress service.  TripAdvisor said that 30,000 of the 47,000 hospitality businesses are boutique bed and breakfasts and they have seen an average 33 per cent upswing in the number of reviews for their properties on TripAdvisor.center_img The Review Express service allows businesses listed on TripAdvisor to more efficiently gain reviews on their pages. TripAdvisor for Business, vice president for global partnerships, Severine Philardeau said that ReviewExpress helped smaller hotels get noticed.   Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more