first_imgThe late teens are our idealistic years, when we seek the Greater Truth and are eager to believe any utterly ridiculous thing they tell us. However, barely out of my own teens, I found most of the Great Truths to be like a movie set: a convincing facade and nothing behind. No related posts. Jack O’Briencenter_img So I turned to the natural sciences for support. They told me that the great discoveries of the preceding centuries – the Gas Laws, the Thermodynamics Laws, the Law of Gravity, etc. – were true for all times and places, even the remote galaxies, which is pretty far out.At last I had reached firm ground and could stand tall.But then I got into industry, where you have to use the natural laws to make or build things, and I made the disconcerting discovery that the Great Laws are just approximations. They are very close to the truth, but using them to design a refinery or calculate the stresses in an airplane wing, you have to use a Fudge Factor, if you want to stay out of court. Real gases follow the Gas Laws only when you tack on a Compressibility Coefficient, which is itself a variable depending on the conditions you’re in. And gravity, the one thing I thought I could be sure of, varies all over the world, depending on the amount of iron below you. Even Einstein, who could see as far through a brick wall as most people, had to stick in a Cosmological Constant in order to make his revolutionary theory fit the facts.And Relativity Theory was itself built on Quantum Theory, which sacrificed truth in favor of probability. I think that’s when our modern world was born, where we have all given up looking anywhere for truth and settle instead for maybe. In fact, we’ve gotten so good at it that only a comparatively few airplanes crash or buildings collapse due to faulty design, and even those can generally be blamed on cutting safety factors to the quick to reduce costs.So where does all this blather get us? Well, it leaves us with an abiding suspicion of experts, who are supposed to be the guardians of truth. And that makes it uncomfortable to enter a library, consultWikipedia or submit to invasive surgery. Now I am the last person to question sturdy independence, but doing a lens replacement on your own eye is tricky if not impractical. Which means moderation in all things is the only answer we’ve got. So do not trust the expert who offers you a discount, do not listen to anyone who talks at more than a hundred words a minute, and read only fiction writers, who don’t even pretend to tell the truth. Oh, and by the way, reject anything you hear from a politician in election year, and as for lens replacement, practice being blind for a year or two before submitting to the laser; that shouldn’t be too difficult, or you wouldn’t even be thinking about it. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgIf you passed by La Sabana in western San José Sunday night and gawked at the thousands lining up to enter the west esplanade of the National Stadium, you were witnessing Teletica Channel 7’s Christmas celebration,Fantasía de Navidad (Christmas Fantasy).Children and adults filled the area to celebrate a Christmas concert performed by national talents, such as the Gospel music group Master Key and the Tico Jazz Band orchestra.At 6:30 p.m., Costa Rican comedian Alex Costa warmed up the crowd. But by 7 p.m., the concert’s presenter, Edgar Silva (host of Teletica’s Buen Día) opened the event by introducing two young artists, 9-year-old twins Felipe and María José Castillo, who played “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Carol of the Bells” respectively on the piano. Then, they sang “El significado de la Navidad” (The Meaning of Christmas) from their holiday album.The rest of the concert was a musical play reminiscent of “The Nutcracker.” The story involved a young girl who received a rag doll (think Raggedy Andy) as a gift from her godfather, which did not please her. After she learned the values of humility and gratitude, the doll came alive and followed the girl and her friends on a worldwide adventure, visiting the North Pole, the Caribbean and China.Music performed included Christmas classics, like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (both sung in Spanish); as well as traditional carols and popular tunes such as MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” with new lyrics.Imani Campbell, 12, from Limón, sang a solo of “I Believe I Can Fly” and verses from “Hallelujah” in English. She was the winner of Teletica’s singing competition Nace una estrella (A Star is Born) during its fourth installment, and these songs were also part of her competition repertoire.Throughout the two-hour program, the children on stage were faced with obstacles. “Rats” (people in costume) kept interrupting the show with their own songs about sabotaging Christmas. At the end, it was up to Edgar Silva to intercede. He spoke about forgiveness and acceptance so both children and rats could enjoy the festivities. This motivated audiences to examine the true meaning of Christmas, along with an array of songs relating to the birth of Christ.The magical night came to a close with the whole cast singing and dancing to a Christmas version of Gangnam Style and a show of fireworks, which made both young and old dance around, in awe of the splendor.The show aired Monday night at 8 p.m. on Channel 7. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:How Cuba is and isn’t changing, one year after thaw with U.S. Will Cuba rejoin the IMF? Why Midwestern farmers want to break the Cuba embargo US food producers see bonanza in Cuba, but steep barriers remain WASHINGTON, D.C. — Monday at precisely 10 a.m. Cuba’s flag will rise for the first time in 54 years over the country’s stately old mission along Washington’s 16th Street — marking the opening of this capital city’s newest embassy.Simultaneously, some 1,130 miles south of here, the newly minted U.S. Embassy fronting Havana’s oceanfront Malecón will open for business.The twin events together mark a huge milestone in U.S.-Cuba relations. But in economic terms, the hard work for the communist-ruled Caribbean island of 11.2 million is only beginning.On July 14 Carlos Gutiérrez — the Cuban-born former secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush — told a panel at Washington’s Atlantic Council why he thinks the Obama administration is right to reverse course and open up to Cuba after more than five decades of the White House doing exactly the opposite. Former US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutiérrez, once an embargo supporter, now backs President Obama’s move to normalize diplomatic relations with Havana, July 17, 2015. Larry Luxner/The Tico Times“This is more than just symbolism. It’s a real step forward,” said Gutiérrrez, long a staunch supporter of the U.S. embargo against the Castro regime. “Cuba wants to change. But as we all know, there’s so much more to do.”The event, sponsored by the council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, coincided with the release of a report by Cuban economist Pavel Vidal and Scott Brown, former IMF mission chief for Albania.The study, titled “Cuba’s Economic Reintegration: Begin with the International Financial Institutions,” examines how former centralized economies like Albania and Vietnam were helped by membership in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and regional development banks.Vidal addressed the panel briefly via video link from Colombia, where he teaches at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali. In addition to Gutiérrez, Vidal and Brown, participants included Rafael Romeu, president and CEO of Miami-based development consulting firm DevTech Systems Inc., and José Ignacio López Perea, head of global commercial banking at Spanish banking giant BBVA.Jason Marczak, the center’s deputy director, offered opening remarks. He said IMF and World Bank officials were invited to the event but demurred, indicating the “radioactive” nature of the topic at hand.Interestingly, Cuba is one of only eight countries that do not belong to the IMF. The 24-page report argues that Albania — which joined the IMF in October 1991 after ridding itself of one of the most stridently Marxist regimes on Earth — shares many similarities with Cuba.“Albania’s first loan from the Fund, under a stand-by arrangement, was approved in August 1992, and its re-engagement with the global financial system and policy reforms produced significant improvements in the standard of living,” the report states. “Vietnam offers another positive example, with access to IFI support coming after a period of initial reform. In both countries, everything from GDP to life expectancy improved. These universal benefits are compelling factors for Cuba.”Among the report’s 10 specific recommendations: Cuba should carefully analyze all potential paths toward membership in international financial institutions (IFIs), and Washington needs to give Cuba breathing room by not enforcing the legal mechanisms that call for U.S. opposition to multilateral loans to the island.“Cuba withdrew from the World Bank in 1960, and from the IMF in 1964. It was never a member of the Inter-American Development Bank because the IDB started in 1959 — the year of the revolution — so Cuba doesn’t really know the benefits of investment capital,” Gutiérrez said.“Cuba wants to change,” he added. “I’ve been traveling to China now for about 20 years, sometimes as often as five or six times a year. More than 300 million Chinese have been lifted from poverty. It’s a great example of economic transition. Albania is another one.”Under the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which codifies the U.S. embargo into law and can only be lifted by Congress, regardless of President Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic ties, Washington must oppose Cuba’s entry into all these institutions.“But one thing is to oppose, and the other is to encourage everyone else to oppose,” Gutiérrez pointed out. “If the U.S. government wants to be part of the solution, the United States can comply with Helms-Burton and vote no, and then allow others to vote as they wish, as opposed to putting on pressure. It’s up to U.S. policymakers to help Cuba, but I’d be surprised if this is not part of the talks. If it isn’t, it should be.”However, this isn’t just about the Helms-Burton Act.“For one thing, Cuba can’t continue with two currencies. That will not make sense in an economy open to foreign investors,” said the former commerce secretary and Coca-Cola executive. “Unifying two very distinct currencies won’t be easy. It will reduce foreign reserves in the short term and will be a tough transition. And you can’t do it overnight.”Even more importantly, he said, is that the Cuban government allows private entrepreneurs to turn a profit — whether it’s a restaurant or a home-repair store.“For me, the most important requirement is a recognition that you need to have a return on capital,” Gutiérrez. “Cuban policymakers need to fully understand that — and if they do understand it, then they need to put it in place. If you’re going to access these institutions and access capital, you have to believe that capital must have a return. For me, this is not ideology; it’s about numbers. If you’re putting in money and not getting out money, you’re not going to be successful.”The IMF’s Brown, whose first assignment for the Fund was helping Albania transition to a market economy, called the European spring “a challenge like no other.”“Nobody really knew at that point how to help these centrally-planned economies. It was messy,” he said. “In Russia, it was very messy. In Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, it sorted itself out, and in Albania, it was initially very successful until people poured their money into Ponzi schemes and black holes.”Last week, the Castro regime announced that Cuba’s economy grew by 4.7 percent during the first half of 2015 — up from an estimate of 4 percent made by Economy Minister Marino Murillo just a month ago.That’s especially significant considering that for the previous four years, GDP growth had averaged only 2.3 percent annually, with only 1.3 percent growth in 2014. By sector, agriculture was up 4.8 percent — led by the sugar industry with 22.6 percent growth — while manufacturing grew 8 percent, construction 8.7 percent and internal trade 6.7 percent. Tourist arrivals increased more than 15 percent, although earnings lagged behind, partly due to strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies.BBVA’s López said there’s been “lots of business interest” here — especially in tourism — toward Cuba since Obama’s announcement last December that bilateral relations would be restored.López said that 92,000 U.S. residents visited Cuba in 2013, spending a total of $100 million, according to official data.“This year, it will grow sharply, following the easing of travel restrictions. The impact on the hotel sector is significant, especially in the premium sector,” he said. “There will also be an increase of U.S. exports to Cuba, but the limitation of Cuba having to pay cash in advance means it won’t be significant.”“Additionally, we see that the expectation of a future improvement in relations and a potential lifting of the embargo, even if it takes time, could have an immediate positive impact in some sectors such as real estate,” he said, estimating that impact at 0.5 to 1.0 percent of Cuba’s GDP.Added Brown: “In the end, the benefit that Cuba gets out of reintegration with the global economy will depend on Cuba’s own willingness to go that full voyage toward a vibrant market-oriented economy — and the desire for a better life for its people.”Correction: The original version of this story indicated that the U.S. flag would be raised outside the new U.S. Embassy in Havana on July 20. In fact, the flag will likely not be displayed until next month. 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first_imgRelated posts:Venezuela’s Maduro caught between pragmatism, ideology Maduro picks new scapegoat for Venezuela’s problems US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drug-trafficking allegations Quick Venezuela facts on Election Day CÚCUTA, Colombia — Hundreds of Colombians fled Venezuela Tuesday, opting to leave the country with their belongings rather than be deported empty-handed like more than 1,000 people sent home in an escalating border crisis.Some carted refrigerators or mattresses on their backs as they made the trek from the Venezuelan state of Táchira back to their home country, wading through the waist-deep water of the river that forms the border.“We left at 3:00 am in the clothes we were wearing. We wanted to come back before they deported us,” said Rosana Morena, a 25-year-old Colombian who left with her two children.Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered the border between Táchira and the Colombian department of Norte de Santander closed last week in response to an attack by unidentified assailants on a military patrol, which wounded a civilian and three soldiers on an anti-smuggling operation. Colombians deported from Venezuela who returned for some of their belongings and crossed them through the bordering Tachira river, stand on the banks of the river in Cúcuta, on the Colombian side, on Aug. 25, 2015. Luis Acosta/AFPHe initially ordered the closure for 72 hours, but later extended it indefinitely, accusing the neighboring country of waging “an attack on Venezuela’s economy.”That was a reference to the rampant smuggling of heavily subsidized food and other goods out of Venezuela.Venezuela has long used its oil wealth to fund price controls that keep goods like rice and toilet paper up to 10 times cheaper than in Colombia.But it is also in the grips of crippling shortages, now exacerbated by tumbling oil prices.After closing the border, the Venezuelan government launched mass deportations, unleashing what Colombian Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo decried as “a humanitarian tragedy.”Most of the deportees were sent home for alleged documentation problems, without families or their belongings.Some 600 of them are being housed in shelters, while 400 are staying with relatives, officials said.Colombian police said another 400 to 700 people had streamed across the border to avoid deportation. A Colombian who was deported from Venezuela waits in front of his now former house, marked with a “D” for demolition, in San Antonio de Tachira, Venezuela, where he returned for his belongings to carry them across the bordering Tachira River, on Aug. 25, 2015. Luis Acosta/AFPDozens of those fleeing accused Venezuelan soldiers of robbing their belongings and ordering them to leave their homes within a matter of hours — marking houses with a D for “deported” or an R for “relocated.”Authorities in the Colombian border town of Cúcuta have set up a center to deal with the influx.The two nations’ foreign ministers are scheduled to meet Wednesday in the Colombian resort city of Cartagena to discuss the crisis. Colombian police help Colombian citizens carry their belongings as they cross the Táchira border river from Brisas de Barinitas, Táchira state, Venezuela to Colombia on Aug. 25, 2015. Colombia complained Monday that Venezuela’s mass deportation of its citizens during a crackdown on smuggling has created a “humanitarian tragedy” on part of their border. George Castellanos/AFP Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica government vows to no longer support international shark protections Costa Rica says it will support new shark protections despite agreements with fishermen Costa Rica issues 1-year moratorium on export of hammerhead shark products Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís nominated for ‘Shark Enemy of the Year’ award The Costa Rican government will not sacrifice fishermen for sharks, President Luis Guillermo Solís said last week in response to claims by environmental groups that he has rolled back shark protections. Solís’s comments come a week after he wasnominated for the Shark Enemy of 2016 award by the conservation NGO Sharkproject International.“The government has said again and again that we will not abandon our fishermen for environmental issues,” Solís told the press Wednesday. “We need to find an equilibrium, especially because our coastal communities struggle with creating employment opportunities.”According to environmental groups, Solís’ name had been in consideration for the Shark Enemy award since February, after the government signed off on the export of two shipments of shark fins belonging to endangered species of sharks. The groups solidified their decision in September, after the government announced it would no longer propose or support the inclusion of commercially important shark species into international conventions.Environmental groups called the decisions a sign of “persistent and perverse urgency to undo shark conservation efforts,.” But the Solís government says they plan to make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence.“Right now there is uncertainty in much of the shark population data,” Antonio Porras, chief technical advisor for the Costa Rica Fisheries Institute, told The Tico Times. “In the long term we want to have better data to make more informed conservation decisions, but in the short term we have to consider the coastal population.”The government also released a point by point blog response to the issues brought up by Sharkproject International. The post refutes the claims that the export of hammerhead fins violated the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  The post also said Costa Rica will defer to the scientific recommendations of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission to make decisions on whether or not to limit fishing certain species of sharks.“We don’t feel like the measures we are taking justify this reaction,” Porras said. “We aren’t abandoning shark conservation, we are just looking for a balance between fishermen and conservation.”Editor’s note: You can read an op-ed defending the “Shark Enemy” of the year nomination for President Luis Guillermo Solís here.   Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Fernandez credits her late husband with fostering a model of social inclusion that has reduced extreme poverty, but critics see the Kirchners as serial abusers of power, autocrats whose demagogic populism has enfeebled the country’s institutions.Many right-wing Peronists have slammed the Kirchners’ center-left model, but Fernandez is now also getting heat from the left, led by trade unionists who say she is not sharing enough of Argentina’s remaining wealth with them.And by using central bank reserves to fund social programs rather than make debt payments, Argentina has found itself increasingly isolated from the rest of the world, Fraga said.Bacman, who directs the Center for Public Opinion in Buenos Aires, said it’s still too early to put Kirchner alongside Peron, who died in 1974.Peron formed a movement that made working-class people feel represented as he modernized Argentina in the 1940s and 1950s, pushing through worker-friendly laws, giving women the right to vote and fostering a post-war economic boom, Bacman recalled.Kirchner’s defining success was to re-establish presidential power after a profound economic and political crisis, when 50 percent of the people were impoverished and “throw them all out” was the theme of raucous pot-banging protests. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Fernandez still seeks strength in her late husband’s reflected glory, promoting his legacy in speech after pointed speech.“He might have been cross-eyed but he could see much better than people who had contact lenses and many other things, and what he didn’t see he could intuit, with this emotional intelligence that God gave him,” Fernandez said Friday.The documentary’s director, Paula de Luque, is an unapologetic Kirchner fan who also recently directed a drama based on the Perons’ relationship called “Juan y Eva,” which won Best Film and Best Director at last month’s Bogota Film Festival.De Luque was recruited by producers Fernando Navarro, a ruling party lawmaker in Buenos Aires province, and Jorge Devoto, who said they were inspired by the massive outpouring of sympathy unleashed by Kirchner’s death.The two men launched an Internet site asking people to contribute any images of Kirchner for the film, and received thousands. The documentary combines these with video fragments and personal testimonies, and music by Oscar-winning Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla.The result includes some of Kirchner’s most symbolic acts as president, such as when he paid off Argentina’s International Monetary Fund debt in an effort to operate without IMF scrutiny, and when he stared down George W. Bush at the 2005 Summit of the Americas and helped kill the U.S. president’s free-trade proposals. It also shows when Kirchner had the military take dictator Jorge Rafael Videla’s picture down from a place of honor in his campaign to revive human rights trials.The film doesn’t criticize Kirchner in any way.It doesn’t include, for example, accusations by his former political allies that he enriched himself with $535 million in oil royalties while he was governor of the southern Santa Cruz province. Kirchner moved it into overseas accounts in the 1990s, keeping it safe there from Argentina’s roller-coaster economy. Critics said he never fully accounted for the cash, but supporters praised this ability to outmaneuver enemies as an important aspect of the Kirchners’ rule.De Luque acknowledged she had no intention of making an objective documentary.“I’m not neutral,” de Luque said. “I’m not a journalist or neutral historian. It is a controversial movie, but that’s okay. This is how democracy works.”But she said she didn’t want to make a puff-piece, either.“I didn’t want a movie that promotes only one view … I’ve got enough cinematic ethics to know that my job was not to make a film just for my people, but to make it universal enough to be seen by people with other views,” de Luque added. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories “Kirchner’s historical legacy isn’t settled yet; I think in some ways it depends on what happens with Cristina Fernandez,” Bacman said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Now Argentines have yet another tool in their mythmaking kit: “Nestor Kirchner, The Movie,” a documentary that has just opened at 120 theaters around the country, an unusually wide distribution equal to that of movies expected to become box-office hits.The movie is also being shown at a film festival in the resort city of Mar del Plata, where Fernandez encouraged the crowd Friday to find strength in her late husband’s legacy.“He came to lift up the Argentines who were humiliated, submerged and forgotten,” the president said, her voice breaking, as it often does, when she talks of “him.” “So if you won’t give up, I won’t either.”The movie, like Fernandez’ political discourse, is aimed at more than just rallying supporters for a president whose ratings have slipped. Analyst Roberto Bacman said Fernandez is claiming a place for herself and her husband on the same pedestal where the Perons still stand as the transformative figures of modern Argentina.For most Argentines, “Kirchner is not Peron,” said analyst Rosendo Fraga, who directs the Center for the New Majority think tank in Buenos Aires. “Kirchner is being used to undo Peron,” he said. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Peron left his mark on every aspect of Argentine politics during three presidential terms. With his charismatic wife, he built a movement that united even extremists on the left and right into a grand project so dysfunctional that even today the various branches of the Peronist party include politicians who wouldn’t be caught dead sharing a photo-op together.“Peronism has a tendency to find myths, figures of great force; It is a characteristic of populism. Kirchner also made a strong mark as president and after his death his figure grew,” Bacman noted.Kirchner was unquestionably popular during his 2003-2007 mandate, presiding over the early years of an extended recovery from Argentina’s disastrous 2001 economic crisis, and reasserting his nation’s place in the world. But his approval ratings soared after his sudden death of a heart attack in October 2010 at the age of 60.“In Argentina, death has a greater social significance than in the rest of the world,” said Fraga, recalling how the death of Evita Peron at the age of 33 prompted massive outpourings of grief in 1952.Fernandez’s standing also shot up in the polls after her husband’s death. She has only worn black since she was widowed, and was re-elected with 54 percent of the votes a year later. But her support has dropped steadily since. About 61 percent of Argentines now disapprove of her performance, according to a September poll of 2,269 adults by Management & Fit polling firm that had an error margin of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Associated PressBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has sought tirelessly to secure her late husband’s place in Argentina’s pantheon alongside popular leader Juan Domingo Peron and his glamorous wife Evita, the country’s most influential politicians of the 20th century.Streets, hospitals, tunnels and even a soccer tournament have been named after Nestor Kirchner in the two years since his death. Statues and school improvement campaigns evoke his legacy. Activists proudly wear T-shirts saying “Nestor Lives.” Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

first_imgCanadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has long refused to support Omar Khadr, reflecting ambivalence in Canada over the Khadr family.Khadr’s long-time lawyer Dennis Edney and wife have offered to take him into their home.Edney said the government wants to drag it out even more.“Why? Just because they can’t stand to see that young Muslim boy out there,” Edney said.In court later Tuesday, Ross, the lower court judge, listened as the two sides hammered out bail conditions, should Bielby refuse the stay request by the government.Among conditions Ross imposed were that Khadr wear a tracking bracelet, live with the Edneys, observe a curfew between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., and have only supervised access to the Internet. Also, he could only communicate in English with his family in Ontario via video or phone under supervision, Ross said.“His case is obviously extremely unique,” Ross said. “He has grown up in jail. There will be challenges ahead. Those should be carefully managed.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Toronto-born Khadr spent a decade in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since 2012 he’s been held in a Canadian prison, serving out an eight-year sentence handed down by a U.S. military commission in 2010. He was convicted of five war crimes, including throwing a grenade when he was 15 years old that killed a U.S. Army sergeant in Afghanistan during a 2002 firefight.Khadr, once the youngest detainee at Guantanamo and now 28, has since said he only agreed to a 2010 plea deal to get out of Guantanamo and return to Canada.Canadian government lawyers argued Tuesday that releasing Khadr on bail would jeopardize the repatriation of other Canadian prisoners and damage Ottawa’s relations with Washington.But U.S. State Department Acting Deputy spokesman Jeff Rathke said it is up to the Canadian courts to decide whether Khadr should be released. “We’ll leave it to Canadian authorities and the Canadian judicial system to make their decision,” Rathke said.Court of Queen’s Bench Justice June Ross granted Khadr bail last month while he appeals his war crimes conviction in the United States.Defense attorneys say Khadr was pushed into war by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, an alleged senior al-Qaida financier whose family stayed with Osama bin Laden briefly when Omar Khadr was a boy. His Egyptian-born father was killed in 2003 in a Pakistani military operation. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — A Canadian judge said Tuesday she needs more time to make a decision on whether a former Guantanamo Bay inmate should be released on bail while he appeals his conviction for war crimes in the United States.Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby is expected to announce her decision Thursday morning. It follows a last-ditch attempt by the Canadian government to keep Omar Khadr jailed. The government is seeking an emergency stay of a lower court judge’s decision to grant Khadr bail. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer public college presidents hit the $1 million mark in earnings in 2014 compared with the previous year, according to a new survey.The Chronicle of Higher Education study found that two college presidents at public universities received more than $1 million in total compensation in the 2014 fiscal year — Rodney A. Erickson, former president of Pennsylvania State University, and R. Bowen Loftin, former president of Texas A&M University. The Chronicle’s survey for the previous fiscal year found nine college presidents exceeding $1 million in pay, though data from one school was later readjusted, leaving eight presidents earning more than a million. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Erickson retired in May 2014 after 37 years at Penn State as a faculty member and administrator. Loftin is now chancellor of the University of Missouri in Columbia.Among the other presidents on the Chronicle’s list of top earners are Elson S. Floyd at Washington State University, who earned just over $877,000, and Patrick T. Harker at the University of Delaware, with $800,156 in compensation.The Chronicle takes a separate look at private-college pay. Its most recent review of data from 2012 found 36 private college presidents earning at least $1 million.___Online:Presidential pay: http://bit.ly/pres-pay-15Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The Chronicle changed its methodology for total compensation in this year’s survey to include only deferred compensation that was paid out. Previously, deferred compensation that was promised to presidents if they remained on the job was factored into total compensation. Under the new methodology, three of the public college presidents in the 2013 fiscal year would have exceeded the $1 million mark.The survey being released Sunday examined pay for chief executives at 220 public universities and school systems. It found the median salary for presidents who served a full year was $428,250.Total compensation for former Penn State President Erickson was nearly $1.5 million, but the Chronicle said a significant portion of that was because he took ownership of his balance in a university-sponsored life insurance plan valued at $586,000.Loftin, the former Texas A&M president, earned $1.1 million. Most of that was a severance of $850,000 that was paid out in 2014, the survey said.The Chronicle calculates total compensation for public college presidents as base salary, plus bonus, severance and deferred compensation that was paid out. Used as a retention tool, deferred compensation is typically lost if a college president leaves the school early. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy The vital role family plays in society New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

first_imgEmirates Hotels & Resorts, Whale Watch Kaikoura, Accor and Botswana Tourism Board have just been named as the four winners of this year’s WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award winners. Announced during the 10th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Beijing, the four tourism organisations were recognised for their efforts in advancing sustainable tourism best practices in different parts of the world.“We are seeing a new horizon in the global Travel & Tourism industry where more and more companies and destinations, both large and small are leading the way forward in demonstrating that tourism can be an opportunity for protecting our planet and delivering tangible social and economic benefits,” said Costas Christ, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Judge.“We are in a global transformation of the Travel & Tourism industry as we have known it. With these awards we commend these innovation and successes in sustainable best practices.”12 finalists were shortlisted for the award in four categories of community, conservation, Destination Stewardship and Global Tourism Business. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/16454/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

first_imgRoom rates are on the rise with Brisbane reporting the highest increase in hotel costs in 2010 by 32 percent from AU$147 in 2009 to AU$195. According to a Hogg Robinson (HRG) survey, Sydney hotels saw a 21 percent rise in rates from AU$194 in 2009 to AU$234. Hotels in the US and Canada saw a four percent leap in costs compared to the nine percent decrease in 2009. “Resource rich economies, such as Australia and Canada, saw large gains in hotel prices reflecting healthy recoveries in their economies and accompanying currency appreciation, but generally the recovery in advanced economies has been more muted,” Centre for Economic and Business Research chief executive Douglas McWilliams said. “Of course, particular countries and regions are emerging quicker than others from recession but there are definite signs of increasing room rates, which go hand in hand with increasing business travel,“ HRG director of global hotel relations Margaret Bowler added. Middle Eastern countries Abu Dhabi and Dubai are among the areas that witnessed a decline in hotel rates last year. Abu Dhabi saw a 25 percent drop from AU$301 in 2009 to AU$227 while Dubai expressed a smaller decrease of five percent from AU$230 in 2009 to AU$219.“Many of the crisis-hit cities in Europe saw hotel prices decline in 2010 with falls in Athens, Dublin, Lisbon and Madrid as the sovereign debt crisis and fiscal austerity programs hammered the economies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain respectively,” Mr McWilliams said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

first_imgSource = Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre has scooped the pool in this year’s New South Wales Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) Awards, winning the top prize in four categories for a second consecutive year.The awards were announced last night at a gala dinner in Sydney, with the Centre winning a range of categories from Venue over 500, In-house AV Services and Banquet and Catering through to Corporate Social Responsibility.  Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said the Centre was thrilled by the wins, which follow a record four national MEA awards for the venue last year. .The Centre will now enter the MEA national awards in the four categories it has won at the State level, as well as an additional national category of Education.“We strive hard to be an industry leader across all areas of our operations so the breadth of these award categories is really very gratifying,” Mr van Amerongen said.“Not only do we have a world class venue, we have a world class team of professionals working here.  My thanks go to every one of them for their continued efforts to ensure the success of our clients’ events.”Mr van Amerongen said the Centre’s submissions for the NSW MEA awards had focussed on the venue’s achievements across a range of areas from products and initiatives, including a new website and social media thrust, through to sustainability advancements and event delivery.“In our continuing quest to provide the best possible service for our clients, we launched a range of new products and programs in 2011. Feedback has been great, with our client satisfaction rating reaching a record 87.3 per cent last year as a result,” Mr van Amerongen said.“To collect these MEA awards in recognition of our work is the icing on the cake.”last_img read more

first_imgVirgin Australia has received approval from Tiger Airways shareholders to purchase up to 60 percent in the no-frills airline. Announced less than a day after the carrier received regulatory approval on its 100 percent acquisition of Skywest Airlines, shareholder approval brings Virgin one-step closer to completing its pending acquisitions.Still subject to conditions and regulatory approvals, Virgin would own more than half of Tiger Airways, which would keep its name and branding. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Virgin creeps closer to completing acquisitions.last_img read more

first_imgCorporate Travel Management (CTM) has acquired Texan travel company, Avia International Travel furthering its expansion ambitions in the USA.CTM’s purchase will be effective from  1st September and boosts the company’s presence in the USA to seven states and 17 cities.CTM managing director Jamie Pherous said that Avia’s expertise in location and expertise in resources were the reasons for the takeover.“We are delighted to have Avia become part of the CTM team. It possesses all the qualities that we look for, having a great service reputation, a dedicated team and great “hands on” management,” Mr Pherous said.“This combined with our successful and well established offices throughout the USA will allow us to better leverage our combined buying power, client facing solutions, and support expertise moving forward.”Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

first_imgTFE Hotels (Toga Far East Hotels) is celebrating the launch of its next generation technology platform for Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) clients, bookers and guests.The event was hosted by the iVvy team at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on Tuesday, as they showcased the world’s first booking engine for the events’ industry, enabling organisers to search, compare, book and pay for function space, drink and dine menus and group accommodation in real-time.TFE Hotels has 46 of its 70 hotels featured on the site across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. With a successful 6-month trial prior to launch, the cloud-based system prepopulates information that the booker has already entered for quoting and contracting.The system creates group reports by brand and location based on leads received, value and booking results. The ability to set these rules to notify higher level managers when high value leads are received, means a smoother process all round.This partnership ensures that TFE Hotels gain more centralised control over its MICE booking and inventory functions so it can deliver faster solutions, drive growth through process efficiencies and increase overall visibility across its properties.“We are proud of the partnership and to be working with a progressive company that understands the pulse of its digitally connected customers, investing in solutions that offer the fastest way to manage revenues across all of their channels,” said Lauren Hall, CEO of iVvy.“We, at TFE Hotels, are very proud to be an early adopter partner with iVvy, and with some exceptional results from the pilot to date, it was a smart and strategic partnership,” said Emma Fraser, Group Director of Marketing at TFE Hotels.“iVvy is a challenger brand, and has brought disruption to a crowded meeting space, meaning people can work in real time, getting what they want, where they want it, at a time that they want it.”The iVvy partnership will encompass all TFE Hotels brands including Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Rendezvous Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels and properties falling under the TFE Collections portfolio, including Hotel Kurrajong Canberra. TFE HotelsSource = TFE Hotelslast_img read more

first_imgSearcys recognises values and quality at inaugural staff recognition awardsSearcys recognises values and quality at inaugural staff recognition awardsSearcys, the iconic collection of restaurants, bars and venues, honoured staff across its portfolio at the inaugural Searcys Awards held at Inner Temple, London last night. The event marked the outstanding achievements of Searcys employees, and highlighted the dedication, care and compassion that they show every day in the workplace.The nominations for the seven ‘Searcys Values Awards’ were submitted by Searcys employees and staff from Searcys’ venue portfolio. From a shortlist of three per category the Executive team picked the eventual winners. The Values Awards cover Searcys core pillars of Passion (rising star), Excellence (best team), Accountability (best support person), Energy (best guest feedback), Originality (best support Chef), Execution (best Manager), and Curiosity (best innovator).Other awards chosen directly by Searcys executive team included Chef of the Year, Venue of the Year and the Spirit of Searcy’s award.Richard Callaghan, Head of HR at Searcys, commented; “Searcys is proud to recognise the contribution that our staff make to our organisation and the impact they have on delivering the highest quality hospitality and catering to our clients and their guests.  Quality, innovation and service are at the heart of our ethos and offering and last night’s winners lead the way when it comes to maintaining those across our work.   It isn’t however just the winners but all of our staff show meticulous attention to detail and a passion for what they do and last night was an opportunity to thank everyone and show our ongoing commitment to supporting their growth and career development.”The deserving award winners, who collected the accolades at the gala dinner last night, were; Passion (rising star)                                         Cristina Palamar: Kenwood HouseExcellence (best team)                                    30 Euston Square: Sales TeamAccountability (best support person)          Francesco Arlotta: BarbicanEnergy (best guest feedback)                        Mimi Tudor: Champagne BarsOriginality (best support chef)                     Louise Schofield: The BalconyExecution (best Manager)                             Greg Hillier (Head Chef): British AcademyCuriosity (best innovator)                             Stefani Goodrem (Sales & Marketing Manager): Inner Temple & Kayleigh Tindalid (Marketing Manager): Pump Rooms and Roman Bath KitchenVenue of the Year                                            30 Euston SquareChef of the Year                                               Barry Tonks: Searcys at The Gherkin & Paul Smith: Allen & OverySpirit of Searcys                                               Marta Makarczuk: Searcys at The GherkinThe winner of ‘Venue of the Year’ award, 30 Euston Square’s General Manager, Yvette Chatwin said; “My team are absolutely amazing, I am extremely proud of them all and what they have achieved this year.  I’m delighted that their efforts have been recognised in the very first Searcys Value Awards ceremony. We are all thrilled and overwhelmed to have won this award as well as the Excellence Award.”Marta Makarczuk of Searcys at the Gherkin, who won the ‘Spirit of Searcys’ award for her continuous willpower, and high standards whilst delivering a seamless service, said; “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured that my work has been recognised in this way – I am so happy to receive this award.”The Head Chef, Barry Tonks, from Searcys at the Gherkin who scooped ‘Chef of the Year’, said; “I am thrilled to win this award reflecting both the restaurant and event menu offer at Searcys at The Gherkin. We are so passionate about delivering exceptional food quality and consistency, my team and I are delighted this has been recognised and encouraged as part of the awards.”About SearcysSince 1847, Searcys has been one of the UK’s most prestigious hospitality companies. With a passion for quality and an ability to execute an event to the very highest standards, it has developed a world-famous reputation for food and hospitality at its iconic, exclusive venues in London, the City and Bath.The company was founded by the Duke of Northumberland’s pastry chef with the plan to provide an outsourced catering service for large, private houses in London and the Home Counties that lacked full-time domestic staff. Over the next 120 years, Searcys were awarded a royal warrant and became the contract caterer of choice not just to royalty, but also to many of London’s stately homes.In the 1970s, Searcys opened a series of bars and small restaurants in London as its first permanent sites, and in 1990, was appointed as catering partner to the Barbican. In 2010, Searcy’s returned to being a privately owned, self-autonomous company, enabling it to focus on an absolute dedication to quality and building on its track record for innovation.Today Searcys portfolio of venues include M by Montcalm Shoreditch, Searcys St Pancras Grand, Searcys | The Gherkin, 30 Pavilion Road, Barbican, Blenheim Palace and Bath Assembly Rooms Source = Searcyslast_img read more

first_imgSource = AccorHotels In its 50th Anniversary CelebrationIn its 50th Anniversary CelebrationIn its anniversary celebration on 19 November 2017, AccorHotels welcomes “heroes” among them, such as social workers, volunteers, fire fighters, nurses and teachers, who work hard daily to serve communities around the hotels. Over 2,000 AccorHotels around the world, including 500 hotels on the Asia Pacific and more than 110 hotels in Indonesia are actively involved in this initiative.This global activity is an opportunity for groups and more than 250,000 employees as an expression of gratitude to those who have commited their time and efforts in serving the communities around them through sharing in a spirit of togetherness withactivities such as; breakfast, barbecue, concerts, and even invite them to stay as guests at the hotel.In Indonesia, one example is Novotel Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, which supplied daily necessities to the Karangasem area for the evacuees around the Mount Agung volcano and invited volunteers who handled the evacuation process to enjoy lunch at the hotel.Novotel Bogor and ibis Styles Bogor Raya invited children from orphanages and special needs schools nearby the hotel to stay and enjoy breakfast as well as get involved in fun activities at the hotel. Ibis Styles Jakarta Sunter invited veterans and their families to enjoy dinner and provided rooms for them to stay in. Ibis Budget Surabaya Airport held a brunch for 50 airport security personnel who are regarded as heroes who carried out their important duties around the hotel.Children Day at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort – Welcome HeroesInviting AccorHotels fostered children from the foster home in Bedugul and the Disabled Children‟s Aid Foundation (YPAC) together with their supervisors, representatives of the Nusa Dua local community, for a lunch with entertainment and fun games such as; swimming, magic tricks, and craft-making competitions (19 November).Global Overview of the 50th AccorHotels Anniversary Worldwide 90,000 guests – 6,650 free nights– 1,000 food and drink servings – 450 cocktails -240 concerts/partieslast_img read more

first_imgThe 100 day countdown to the launch of MSC Bellissima begins today. The new MSC Cruises flagship will be named in Southampton, UK on 2nd March 2019. With a maximum capacity of 5,686 guests and gross tonnage of 171,598, MSC Bellissima will be the biggest ship to be named in Southampton and will certainly live up to her name meaning “most beautiful” by offering guests a beautiful and memorable cruise experience.MSC Bellissima is the second ship in the innovative Meraviglia class and the fourth of MSC Cruises next-generation ships to come into service in just over 18 months. MSC Bellissima will spend her inaugural season offering 7-night cruises to some of the region’s most popular ports before moving to the Emirates for Winter 2019/2020.In addition to offering the very latest in guest technology, MSC Bellissima will be fitted with a large number of environmental features and innovative technology to reduce her environmental footprint. Just like her sister ship MSC Meraviglia, she will be equipped with, amongst others: an exhaust gas cleaning system for cleaner emissions; an advanced wastewater treatment system; smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) to recover heat from machinery spaces; and LED lighting and smart devices to significantly save energy. This is all part of MSC Cruises commitment to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea in a sustainable way.Here are just some of the most beautiful highlights that guests can expect:NEW DIGITAL CRUISE ASSISTANT – ZOEGuests on board MSC Bellissima will be the first to experience the world’s first digital cruise assistant available in seven languages designed to answer the most commonly asked questions in the comfort of their cabin. Zoe is a voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence device fitted in every cabin and has been custom designed for the cruise experience in partnership with HARMAN International. This will elevate the guest service experience to the next level and is employing start-of-the-art technology to enhance and enrich life on board for MSC Cruises guests.NEW TAPAS RESTAURANT CONCEPT FROM RAMON FREIXALocated on deck 6 at the heart of the iconic Mediterranean-style promenade, HOLA! Tapas Bar welcomes you into an amazing culinary experience created by the renowned Spanish chef Ramón Freixa, awarded two Michelin Stars. Designed as a social, dining experience where guests can enjoy shared plates and a wonderful celebration of the Mediterranean way of life. Throughout the day, HOLA Tapas Bar is bustling and features a range of delicious dishes and is a mix of tradition and vanguard in a contemporary but warm open space with both communal and individual seating.Ramón Freixa explains, “I want guests to enjoy a true taste of Spain through appetizing tapas and a cheerful bar atmosphere.” Freixa continues, “I am delighted to be collaborating again with MSC Cruises. This partnership is special to me as we have such strong shared values and this new restaurant embodies our passion for sharing the joys of Mediterranean food.”In addition to the new restaurant concept from Freixa, guests will be spoiled for choice with 12 international dining venues and 20 bars to choose from including a new French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot. The ship will also feature acclaimed pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury’s Chocolaterie and Chocolate Bar, dedicated entirely to unique and elegant chocolate creations and desserts and a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth.TWO BRAND NEW CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AT SEA SHOWSMSC Bellissima will be the second MSC Cruises ship to feature Cirque du Soleil at Sea, with two brand new shows designed exclusively for MSC Cruises guests. The new show concepts will be revealed next month. This long-standing partnership with world-leader in live entertainment, Cirque du Soleil will also see a further four new shows created for sister ships MSC Grandiosa, launching November 2019 and MSC Virtuosa launching in 2020.BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS AND EXPERIENCES WITH ROUND THE CLOCK ENTERTAINMENTFrom a brand new Grand Canyon theme for the aquapark with three exhilarating water slides to a full-size bowling alley, F1 simulator, XD cinema there is fun and interactive entertainment for guests of all ages. Six brand new West-end style theatre shows will wow guests each and every evening in the 985 seater and a full programme of activities are organised and hosted by the onboard entertainment team. There is a never a dull moment!MSC Bellissima features an iconic Mediterranean-style promenade with an 80-metre LED sky screen as the social hub of the ship and a shopping gallery with over 200 brands will delight those who love some retail-therapy. For those looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, the authentic Balinese MSC Aurea Spa offers 79 different body and facial treatments along with a stunning thermal area. And there is so much more to discover!NEW MAGIC THEMED KIDS’ PROGRAMMEMSC Cruises is renowned for the award-winning kids offering across the fleet and for MSC Bellissima this is further enhanced and enriched with activities and facilities designed in partnership with LEGO® and Chicco. An impressive 700m² children’s play area will a brand-new School of Magic programme and weekly Magic Talent Show to bring a truly extraordinary touch to young travellers’ holidays.Link to video HERELink to factsheet MSC Bellissima FactsheetTo find out more about MSC Bellissima and how to book CLICK HERE:About MSC CruisesMSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company and the number one cruise line in Europe and South America, South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. A game-changer in the world of cruises, the Company has achieved 800% growth in its first ten years, building a global reputation in the industry and one of the youngest cruise fleets at sea. MSC Cruises is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.The MSC Cruises fleet comprises 17 highly innovative and elegantly designed ships, offering an unparalleled holiday experience with authentic food, award-winning entertainment, plenty of relaxation, comfortable accommodation, as well as impeccable service and expertise.Under its ambitious industry-unprecedented €10.5 billion investment plan, the fleet is set to expand to 24 mega-cruise ships by 2026. To date, MSC Cruises has designed six new ship classes, all prototypes that push the boundaries of marine architecture and design.MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. The Company operates with the greatest respect for the world’s oceans and is on an ongoing journey to further develop innovative ways of lowering the environmental impact of its cruise passages.MSC Cruises’ holiday experiences are sold across the globe through a distribution network in 67 countries. The Company employs over 17,000 people worldwide, both ashore and on board its ships. MSC Cruises is part of MSC Group which is comprised of leading transport and logistics companies. 100 days to go until the launch of MSC Bellissima100 days to go until the launch of MSC Bellissima Source = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

first_imgDespite its wide-reaching socio-economic impacts, tourism still receives limited attention as a tool for development. On the occasion of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July, 13-16), UNWTO calls for higher support for tourism in international financing for development flows to maximise the sector´s contribution to sustainable development across the globe.Tourism’s under representation in international financing for development flows remains a critical hurdle to overcome in order to fully deploy its development potential. Despite being a high impact economic activity, a major job generator and key export sector accounting for six percent of total world trade, tourism receives only 0.78% of the total Aid for Trade (AfT) disbursements and a mere 0.097% of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA).As world leaders gather at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai recalled that tourism has been identified by half of the world´s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as a priority instrument for poverty reduction.“For an increasing number of developing countries tourism means jobs, poverty eradication, community development, and the protection of natural and cultural heritage. Yet, in order to maximise tourism’s contribution to the development objectives, it is critical to address the disparity between the sector´s capacity to foster development and the low priority it has been given so far in terms of financial support in the development cooperation agenda,” said Rifai.Tourism’s cross-cutting nature and multiple links to other economic sectors positions it as an effective multiplier in global development strategies as tourism often provides one of the few competitive options for developing countries to take part in the global economy. Tourism was in fact one of the main contributors behind the graduation of Botswana, The Maldives and Cabo Verde from their previous LDC status.“2015 is the year for action. As we move forward to adopt a new sustainable development agenda, we have a unique opportunity to raise the level of assistance in tourism to further harness its vast potential for stimulating green growth and inclusive development worldwide, particularly for the countries most in need,” concluded Rifai.Over recent years, tourism’s ability and potential to drive sustainable development has been increasingly recognised  – tourism is identified by half of the world’s LDCs as a priority instrument for poverty reduction and is one of the six initial programmes of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) designed to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production worldwide – yet the levels of financing for development in tourism are still comparatively low.last_img read more

first_imgMarking the successful completion of 50 golden years of excellence in tourism, travel and hospitality industry, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the only public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism has announced flat 50% discount on rooms across The Ashok group of Hotels. The hospitality and tourism giant also unveiled flat 25% off on food and beverages across ITDC-owned restaurants, room services and cake shops. Beginning September 24, 2016, the offers will continue till October 8, 2016 and will include many other promotional activities at different restaurants across ITDC properties. Umang Narula Chairman & Managing Director, ITDC conveyed his gratitude to all the guests and stake holders including Ministry of Tourism for continued support in its journey of 50 years.ITDC’s hotel division runs under the banner ‘The Ashok Group of Hotels’ best described as the epitome of Indian grandeur along with a touch of classic Indian hospitality. The hospitality division (HC division) operates 8 ITDC owned hotels, 5 joint venture hotels, 3 catering establishments and a standalone restaurant across all major tourist destinations in India in addition to managing prestigious Hyderabad House as well Vigyan Bhawan at New Delhi. The celebration offer is valid at the Ashok Group’s hotels present at New Delhi, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Bhubaneswar, Jammu, Bhopal, Ranchi Guwahati, Patna, Mysore, Puducherry and Itanagar.Talking about the golden jubilee celebrations, Piyush Tiwari, Director (Commercial and Marketing), ITDC said, “It is a moment of pride and fulfilment for all of us at ITDC.  As ITDC completes its 50 glorious years of operations across tourism and hospitality industry, it brings me immense pleasure to invite everyone to be a part of these revelries at The Ashok group of hotels, our standalone restaurants and all our joint venture hotels. Besides discounts and promotions, we also have many interesting food cum cultural engagements planned for our guests. 50 years is a great achievement for ITDC and we trust our guests come out full throttle to join us in these celebrations.”Apart from discounts and promotions, the guests will also witness many cultural and entertainment activities that the organisation plans to run at its hotels and restaurants across country. As the group’s flagship hotel at New Delhi ‘The Ashok’ also completes its 60 years, every 50th lucky guest will win the ‘Ashok Elite Card’ that will be valid for two years and will entitle the winner a discount of 25% on Room Tariff at The Ashok, New Delhi including its specialty fine-dining restaurants ‘The Oudh’, ‘The Frontier’, 24*7 coffee shop ‘The Samavar’ and the Cake Shop.last_img read more

first_img Share May 22, 2012 429 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Warren Group: Massachusetts Prices May Have Hit Bottomcenter_img Agents & Brokers Home Equity Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers The Warren Group 2012-05-22 Krista Franks Brock Continuing a four-month trend ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô one that has also prevailed in nine of the past 10 consecutive months ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose year-over-year in April, according to “”The Warren Group””:http://www.thewarrengroup.com/, a New England real estate analytics firm. [IMAGE]However, single-family home prices reversed a seven-month downward drift, rising 1.1 percent. The median sales price for single-family homes in Massachusetts now stands at $275,000. On the other hand, the year-to-date median price is $264,900, which is 1 percent lower than the year-to-date price in April of last year, according to The Warren Group. The relative flatness of prices over the last year and the sudden uptick after months of decline may signify that prices “”have hit[COLUMN_BREAK]bottom and will start to increase in the second half of the year,”” “”Timothy M. Warren Jr.””:http://www.thewarrengroup.com/about-us/management/, CEO of The Warren Group, said in a statement with the release of the Massachusetts data Tuesday. Furthermore, “”[l]ow mortgage rates and an improving job market in the Bay State are encouraging buyers to enter the market,”” Warren said.April, in fact, saw a 22 percent rise in sales year-over-year with 3,505 single-family home sales, the highest number of sales recorded in any month so far this year. April, however, was not a complete anomaly; year-to-date sales are up 18 percent from last year reaching a total of 11,477 since the start of the year. Condominium sales and prices also rose in April. Condo sales increased more than 12 percent year-over-year with 1,262 sales in April. Year-to-date condo sales in Massachusetts total 4,424, up 11 percent from the same period last year, according to The Warren Group. The median sales price for condos rose 3.5 percent year-over-year in April. The median price is now $280,000. The year-to-date median price is lower ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô $257,250 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô but it is still 4 percent higher than last year. “”It looks like the months ahead will continue to be positive as the strong spring and summer market heats up,”” Warren said. “”Typically, June is the biggest month of the year for real estate closings.””last_img read more