Nativescript 41 has been released

first_imgNativescript version 4.1 has been released with multiple performance improvements and major highlights such as support for Angular 6, faster app launch time, new UI scenarios and much more. Android 6 support NativeScript 4.1 Angular integration has been updated with support for Angular 6. And since Angular 6 requires webpack 4, developers have to update to nativescript-dev-webpack 0.12.0 as well. V8 engine now available in v6.6 The V8 Engine is now upgraded to version 6.6. The new engine adds major performance boost, JavaScript language features, code caching after execution, removal of AST numbering, and multiple asynchronous performance improvements. Faster Android startup time The upgrade to V8 6.6 and webpack 4, also brings faster app launch time on Android making it on par with iOS. Depending on the device and the specific app, Android app startup time is now between 800ms on high-end devices, to 1.8s on older devices. This is an improvement of almost 50% compared to the startup time in Nativescript v4.0! Improvements to user interfaces Nativescript 4.1 adds augmented reality with support for ARKit for iOS by adding the built-in vector type. Multiple iOS Simulators Nativescript 4.1, can now run applications simultaneously on multiple iOS Simulators, iOS devices, Android emulators, and Android devices. Developers can LiveSync change on iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPad 2, etc. and immediately see how the application looks and behaves on all of them. Navigation in a Modal View There are updates to navigation in modal view as well. Before version 4.1, for navigation inside a modal view, you had to remove the implicit wrapper and specify the root element of the modal view. With the new changes, the first element of the modal view becomes its root view and developers can place a page router outlet there, for proper navigation. LayoutChanged Event Nativescript 4.1 introduces layoutChanged event that will be fired when the layout bounds of a view changes due to layout processing. The correct view sizes are obtained with getActualSize(). Proper view sizes are especially useful when dealing with size-dependent animations. The full list of bug updates and other fixes are available in the changelog. You can read more about the release on the Nativescript blog. Read Next NativeScript: What is it, and how to set it upHow to integrate Firebase with NativeScript for cross-platform app developmentlast_img read more

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Weak UK pound Royal visit could boost tourism to Britain

first_img Posted by Tuesday, October 4, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Weak UK pound, Royal visit could boost tourism to Britaincenter_img LONDON – The pound has dropped to a 31-year low against the U.S. dollar as worries over the recent Brexit vote as talks to leave the European Union continue to affect the currency, making it a more affordable holiday destination than in the past. Investors have been selling the currency since a speech on Sunday by Prime Minister Theresa May, who said her government plans to start the process of leaving the European Union by the end of March 2017.Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially wrapped up their eight-day tour of B.C. and Yukon today with a departure ceremony in Victoria.Prince William issued a statement saying he and Kate are grateful for the warmth and hospitality they received, adding they are lucky to have been able to introduce their children – Prince George and Princess Charlotte – to Canada.The Royal visit will help solidify the emotional tie Canadians have with Britain, possibly spurring more tourism this year and in 2017. The Canadian Press Tags: Britain & Europelast_img read more

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From air safaris to spas Goway releases 201718 Downunder brochure

first_img Travelweek Group Share TORONTO — Several months in the making, Goway’s 2017/18 Downunder brochure has more than 450 travel ideas for travel in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, from private touring and cruises, to family vacations and youth working holidays, to luxury VIP travel.Brand new for 2017-18 are:Live Like a Local: A travel highlight for most globetrotters is to mingle and interact with locals. But to actually live amongst them, even for just a short time, “is an experience of a lifetime”, says Goway.Australian Air Safaris: The highlights of Australia travelling by private aircraft.Downunder Farmstays: Spend a night or two on a Downunder farm.True North Cruises: Luxury expedition cruising in Australia in the Kimberley Region, from Sydney over the holiday season, and also in Papua New GuineaNew Zealand Voyager: First class escorted cruise & tour vacations with APT.Norwegian Cruise Line in Australia and New Zealand.Cruise ship shore excursions in Australia and New Zealand.Polynesia Spa: Hotel mineral bathing and spa treatments in Rotorua.Zealandia in Wellington: The world’s first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary, with a 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as close as possible to their pre-human state.Train it to the Hunter Valley: An overnight trip to the Hunter Valley wine production region outside of Sydney.Dragonfly Dreaming: Kakadu 4WD safari, “a great way to visit the Top End”, says Goway.Mike Ball Dive Expeditions on the Great Barrier Reef: Liveaboard expeditions, especially suited to divers.Cooktown 4WD safari: Overnight safari in Far North Queensland.Best Western Hotel Passes in Australia.Sydney Discovery tour for 18 – 39s: A five-day trip around Sydney and surrounds, just for the youth market.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemAgents can call now to request their copy at 1-888-469-2944, email info@goway.com or visit goway.com/brochures. Posted by Tuesday, December 13, 2016 From air safaris to spas: Goway releases 2017/18 Downunder brochure << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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EU approves state aid to Air Berlin

first_imgEU approves state aid to Air Berlin The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >> BRUSSELS — European Union anti-trust regulators have approved Germany’s plan to provide troubled low-cost carrier Air Berlin with a 150-million-euro loan.The European Commission, which polices EU state aid rules, said Monday that the loan “will allow for the orderly wind-down of the insolvent airline Air Berlin without unduly distorting competition.”The Commission also said the move would help protect the interests of air travellers.Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest carrier, said last month that it was filing for bankruptcy after its main shareholder, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, decided to cut its financing.To allay travellers’ fears they might be stranded on summer holiday, the government announced that it would provide a loan so the airline could continue flights for the time being. Tags: Air Berlincenter_img Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Share Posted bylast_img read more

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Transat passengers rerouted from Santa Clara to Jardines del Rey

first_imgTransat passengers re-routed from Santa Clara to Jardines del Rey Share MONTREAL — Air Transat is re-routing Santa Clara, Cuba flights scheduled for May 2 to Jardines del Rey airport in Cayo Coco due to the closure of Santa Clara’s airport following a storm. Air Transat says it will organize the transfer of passengers to their final destination.Passengers travelling from Montreal to Cayo Santa Maria on flight TS714 scheduled for May 2 will now depart Montreal on May 2, at 9:35 a.m. Flight TS715, scheduled to depart Santa Clara airport, will now depart from Jardines del Rey airport in Cayo Coco at 2:30 p.m. Hotel operations are functioning normally. Transat says updates on flight operations for the coming days will be made available on Transat’s website. Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Tuesday, April 30, 2019 Tags: Transat << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Spaniards fleeing jobless scourge seek work in Morocco

first_imgMADRID — Barcelona-born architect Jean-Pierre Monguard Estragues says it’s much easier to find clients and projects in Marrakesh than back home in Spain.“The money isn’t the best pay I’ve ever had but it allows me to live and send some home,” says Monguard, 40, whose friends paid for his flight to Morocco nearly two years ago as he drowned in bills after losing his job. “Experience and know-how are much more appreciated here than they are in Spain.”Spain’s population fell last year for the first time in at least four decades as more than a quarter of the work force found themselves without a job. That highlights the turnaround in fortune for a nation that saw hiring surge during its economic boom. In the five years through 2007, Spain accounted for almost half the jobs created across the entire euro area.Monguard describes the migration as an “economic, intellectual and cultural catastrophe” that’s driving out the country’s best educated generation. Before Morocco, he went to the Spanish island of Tenerife to start a small architectural practice, though that failed when his clients cut their budgets. That’s when a friend contacted him about work in the North African country; he now has half a dozen projects and is thinking of starting his own firm.While Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says Spain is starting to recover from the crisis and the deepest austerity in its democratic history, it must still deal with the legacy of the recession: a 26 percent jobless rate. Almost a third of the unemployed in the 17-nation euro area are in Spain.With the end of the real-estate boom that attracted foreign workers, annual migration into Spain has fallen by almost half in the past four years. At the same time, the number of Spaniards moving to Morocco last year was 32 percent higher than in 2008. After Latin American and European countries, it was the number one destination for Spanish emigrants.Morocco’s Interior Ministry has urged Europeans coming to work to get permits in a country where the informal economy is estimated at 40 percent of gross domestic product. Labor Ministry statistics show only 10 percent of foreigners living in Morocco have one.“It’s not just fantasy, there is a decline in migration from Morocco while native-born Spaniards are going south,” said Hein de Haas, co-director of the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute. “It is linked to business cycles.”In total, 477,000 people left Spain in 2012, or 1 percent of the population. About 60,000 were Spaniards, 80 percent more than in 2008, according to data from the national statistics institute INE. When those moving to Spain are taken into account, net outward migration was 162,400.In July, there were 1.6 million foreign workers in Spain, down from about 2 million in 2008. About a fifth of all unemployed people in Spain are foreigners, reflecting the surge in overseas workers who moved there during the economic boom. Moroccans and Romanians are the two largest foreign groups in Spain and led the emigration of non-nationals in 2012.“People will continue to leave as long as green shoots don’t translate into a significant increase in jobs,” said José Antonio Herce, associate director at Madrid-based consulting firm Analistas Financieros Internacionales. “This emigration is dramatic from a human point of view, but from a historical perspective this isn’t the first time this happened in Spain and it’s rather healthy.”Unemployment in Spain declined for the first time in two years in the second quarter, INE said last month. The workforce fell for a fourth straight quarter as people gave up on job hunting or left the country.Discouraged by a youth jobless rate of 56 percent, many are “disappearing” from the workforce, some to study or work abroad, according to a report this month by Spain’s Council for Youth. The proportion of those aged 16 to 29 available for work has fallen to 60 percent from 66 percent in 2008, it said.Spain’s recession eased in the three months through June and the government is relying on exports and tourism to revive the economy after a six-year slump. Tourist visits through July increased 3.9 percent from a year ago, data showed last week.“There are some positive indicators, but Spain’s economy remains too dependent on the outside world,” said Maria Yolanda Fernández Jurado, associate professor of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences at Madrid’s Universidad Pontificia Comillas. “GDP may have contracted less than expected in the second quarter, but domestic demand and industrial production aren’t anywhere near growth and until that happens we’re not going to be able to create jobs.”In Morocco, Monguard is earning half of what he was making at his mid-size architect practice in Barcelona. While he says he dislikes the lack of real religious freedom and rights for women, he has no plans to go back to Spain, where his partner remained after illness forced her to stop working.“The political leadership is inept, nepotist, all it cares about is clinging to power,” he said. “The economic situation in Spain won’t improve before 2016.”© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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PHOTOS Costa Rica Celebrates 193 Years of Independence

first_img Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Thousands of students from 18 San José schools marched along Avenida Segunda Monday morning to celebrate Costa Rica’s 193 years of independence. Families also gathered along the avenue to watch the kids parade and perform. President Luis Guillermo Solís, First Lady Mercedes Peñas, government ministers, lawmakers and other officials also attended the activities. Cantons across the country also had their own parades. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Alberto Font/The Tico Times Related posts:PHOTOS: Snapshots of Costa Rica’s Independence Day Parade PHOTOS: Lantern parade and torch kick off Costa Rica Independence Day festivities Obama lauds ‘shared democratic values’ in statement marking Costa Rica’s independence Independence day and social democracylast_img read more

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Colombia is again the worlds top coca producer Why thats a blow

first_imgRelated posts:Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drug-trafficking allegations Mexico wants to question Sean Penn over meeting with ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Waging peace in Colombia TIERRADENTRO, Colombia – Illegal coca cultivation is surging in Colombia, erasing one of the showcase achievements of U.S. counternarcotics policy and threatening to send a burst of cheap cocaine through the smuggling pipeline to the United States.Just two years after it ceased to be the world’s largest producer, falling behind Peru, Colombia now grows more illegal coca than Peru and third-place Bolivia combined. In 2014, the last year for which statistics are available, Colombians planted 44 percent more coca than in 2013, and U.S. drug agents say this year’s crop is probably even larger.The coca boom comes at an especially sensitive time for the Colombian government, which is in the final stages of peace negotiations with leftist FARC rebels who have long profited from the illegal drug trade. Last month the government halted aerial spraying of the crop, citing concerns that the herbicides used may cause cancer. That program had been a pillar of Plan Colombia, under which the United States has provided more than $9 billion to this country since 2000.Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a key U.S. ally, said his administration is ready to launch a massive crop substitution campaign if a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is reached and areas under rebel control become safe enough for government workers. The guerrillas and the government have already agreed in principle on a sweeping new development plan for Colombia’s struggling rural areas, with the FARC pledging to help persuade farmers to rip out their coca in favor of lawful crops.U.S. and Colombian officials say the biggest reason for the current bumper crop is that the FARC, along with other armed groups, has encouraged farmers to plant more coca in anticipation of the peace deal and the new government aid.In an interview with The Washington Post, Santos said his government will seek U.S. support for the huge new crop substitution plan. With the FARC off the battlefield, such a program could succeed where past initiatives have fallen short, he said.“We have a golden opportunity,” Santos said. “But if we don’t give the farmers an alternative, they’re going to keep growing coca.” WikimediaCommons/DEAA new cocaine rushCocaine consumption in the United States fell in the past decade while methamphetamine and heroin use soared. But a glut of cheap product could bring a new cocaine rush. It could also unleash new cycles of violence along trafficking routes through Central America and Mexico.The FARC, whose formidable guerrillas initially “taxed” farmers’ coca production and went on to dominate trafficking in the areas under their control, has vowed to leave the drug trade if the peace deal is reached. But Colombia’s other armed groups – including ELN guerrillas, paramilitary gangs and the rural bands known as “bacrim” – will be looking to muscle into the business in areas where the FARC pulls out.U.S.-funded aerial spraying played a huge role in reducing Colombia’s coca crop from an estimated 400,000 acres in 2000 to fewer than 120,000 acres in 2012. The tactic was bitterly resented in rural communities, though, and it provided diminishing returns as drug growers moved their crops to national parks, indigenous reserves, border areas and other places off-limits to spraying.Two-thirds of the country’s 170,000 acres of coca fields are now in such areas, according to the government, and the new coca boom was well underway before the ban on aerial spraying took effect Oct. 1.‘More coca on the ground’Jorgan Andrews, director of the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs section at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, said the growth in coca production appears to be linked to the peace talks with the FARC and expectations about the substitution programs that may follow.“The government programs will be in areas where there is coca, so one interpretation is that those who grow the most coca will get the most government benefits,” he said.“And if the peace process with FARC falls apart,” he said, “they’ll already have more coca in the ground.”Andrews said Colombia’s 2015 coca output is projected to go “way up.” Many of the plants added last year have since matured, “so what you’ll see is a big cocaine production spike as those plants come online.”Once the coca leaves are stripped from the plant, they are soaked in solvents such as kerosene to leech out the naturally occurring alkaloids, then processed with sulfuric acid, ammonia and other chemicals to make cocaine base and eventually white powder.Because mature plants yield more of the leaves used to make cocaine hydrochloride, the street-level version of the drug, a 44 percent increase in the amount of land planted with coca translates to a projected 52 percent increase this year in cocaine production, according to U.N. estimates.Even if the Santos government and the FARC agree on a truce by their March 23 deadline, it won’t mean social workers with cacao seeds and fish-farm projects will be able to fan out across Colombia’s jungles and mountains. Some of the country’s coca strongholds are likely to remain no-go zones for years – Colombia has more deaths and injuries from anti-personnel mines than anywhere outside Afghanistan.“What happens if the coca numbers keep going up? It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the government from the international community,” said Bo Mathiasen, the Colombia director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.Recommended: 30-year-old Dutch photos help ID victims in 1985 Colombia Justice Palace siegeStill, he pointed out, coca is not lucrative for small farmers – even if it pays more than traditional crops. “And that’s the good news for us, because it makes it easier to succeed with alternatives,” Mathiasen said. From left, farmers Delvis Argumen, Pedro Montes and Juan Martínez rest on banana trees in Tierradentro, Colombia. U.S. and Colombia officials say the biggest reason for the current bumper crop is that the FARC, along with other armed groups, has encouraged farmers to plant more coca in anticipation of the peace deal and the new government aid. Photo by Dania Maxwell for The Washington PostAs many as 1 million of Colombia’s 50 million citizens are linked to the coca business directly or indirectly, according to Eduardo Díaz, the economist and former health minister in charge of the crop substitution program. Díaz said the government has learned critical lessons over the years about what works and does not.“It can’t be, ‘Here, try these seeds, see you later,’ ” Díaz said. “We have to establish the presence of the state in these conflict zones.”Cash payments to individual families in exchange for voluntary eradication do not work either, Díaz said, because the possibility of earning money simply encourages everyone to grow coca. Instead, the government wants entire communities to opt for crop substitution in the hope it will bring state-building investments in infrastructure, health and education. Holdouts would face forced eradication and criminal penalties.Díaz said asking farmers to gradually phase out coca also does not work. As long as there are illegal crops in the community, there will be armed groups attracted to it, he said, like flies swarming food.Losing patienceHere in Tierradentro, a tiny village at the foothills of the Nudo de Paramillo range in the northern state of Cordoba, a crop substitution program supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development is encouraging former coca growers to try bananas and cacao instead.FARC units remain active farther up the mountain, protecting coca fields in a national park.The area is one of Colombia’s most war-torn, fought over by right-wing paramilitaries and the FARC for the past 20 years. But with a unilateral cease-fire in effect, Tierradentro is quieter now than at any time in recent memory.Farmers here say they are proud to grow food again, returning to a simpler and more innocent era. Sure, they said, the coca brought more money, but also wanton killing, prostitution and benefits that did not last.“Most of the money went to alcohol,” said Darwis Tarifa, 42, who said he lost two brothers to drug deals gone bad.Cacao seemed the most promising alternative for Tierradentro’s farmers, but the trees planted here will take several years to bear fruit. Bananas were the only option in the meantime, and many farmers here confessed they were losing patience, earning as little as $175 a month, well below minimum wage and less than a third of what they made growing coca. Selling bricks of cocaine base was a lot easier than arranging for truckloads of bananas to reach markets several hours away along a rough dirt road.“Today we live in peace,” said Alexis Fernández, 63. “But there’s no coca and no money.”Farther up the mountain and a canoe ride across the muddy San Jorge River, Jacinto Tapia showed off the fields where he grew coca until switching to bananas last year. In the rich alluvial soils, his mature coca plants could be harvested every 40 days, virtually year-round, almost as good as a monthly paycheck.Soldiers arrived last year and ripped them out. Tapia signed up for the crop substitution program.“Once you start getting old, you get tired of having these problems,” said the sun-worn Tapia, 69. “You don’t make as much money, but you sleep better at night.”A few vestigial coca plants poked through the ground between the bananas and empty cans of glyphosate herbicide. Their leaves were a radiant shade of green. Tapia chopped at their roots with his machete but said the only way to finish them off was with heavy doses of the weedkiller.All it takes is a few severed roots left in the ground, he said, and the plant comes roaring back.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica winds down humanitarian mission for Cuban migrants with presidential sendoff

first_imgJust before sunrise on Friday morning, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís stepped on board an aircraft bound for Mexico and told its passengers – hundreds of Cuban migrants who had been stranded here for months – that his country’s efforts to assist them on their journey north were coming to an end.Friday’s flight – among the last four of a group of humanitarian flights that began in January and will end early next week – served as a photo-worthy bookend for what has been four difficult months of regional diplomacy, logistical setbacks and sometimes chaotic tramites by the Solís administration, aid agencies, immigration officials, local municipalities and the International Organization for Migration.Those efforts were aided by dozens of families, community groups and religious organizations that opened their doors and provided food and shelter for an estimated 8,000 Cuban migrants stranded here since last November.“We’ve never had such a large number of migrants together at one time,” Solís acknowledged. “Look how they’re leaving – they’re leaving happy and tranquil, thanking the people of Costa Rica.”That was mostly true, at least for this group. As Solís finished an early morning speech aboard the aircraft, the Cuban passengers erupted in applause, along with chants of “¡Viva Costa Rica!”Some donned Costa Rican caps while others swarmed the president inside a terminal at Juan Santamaría International Airport for their last selfies on Costa Rican soil. Solís stopped to pose with 2-month-old Lia Tadea Torres, born here to a Cuban migrant mother – and now the owner of a Costa Rican passport. President Luis Guillermo Solís, right, with 2-month-old Lia Tadea Torres, born in Costa Rica, and her Cuban mother and sister at Juan Santamaría International Airport outside San José, on March 11, 2016. (Courtesy of Casa Presidencial)‘My bad’As of last Wednesday, 1,015 Cuban migrants remained in 22 shelters scattered across Costa Rica, according to the Immigration Administration. By next Tuesday, officials hope all of them will be safely across the U.S. border, where they will be processed and allowed entry thanks to the U.S. government’s open-door policy for Cubans who arrive by land.In the past few years, tens of thousands of Cuban migrants have made their way to the United States by land from Ecuador and other South American countries, an 8,000-kilometer journey often fraught with danger. Along the way, many of the Cubans say they were attacked, robbed and harassed, both by members of organized criminal groups and by police and soldiers.When Costa Rican authorities dismantled a human smuggling network last November, thousands were trapped at borders in Panama and Costa Rica. Although the Costa Rican government quickly moved to grant temporary transit visas to allow them to continue north, Nicaragua closed its border to the Cubans, prompting an international humanitarian crisis that ended up costing the Costa Rican government at least $3 million.Since then, the Solís administration has gone to great lengths to highlight Costa Rica’s respect for human rights – a position the country has carefully cultivated for decades in the international community – and its responsibility to aid the Cuban migrants.The process hasn’t been without its flaws – passports were lost, information was hard to obtain, confusion was common at shelters, and thousands decided not to wait for the Costa Rican government to sort out the problems, instead taking their chances with coyotes, or smugglers, across the porous northern border with Nicaragua.But politically, the operation succeeded in transmitting the president’s message that the plight of these Cuban migrants is a regional human rights issue, and Costa Rica, after having helped cause the immigration bottleneck, wouldn’t be accused of turning its back on them.“I would’ve have liked for you to be able to continue your trip much earlier, but your situation wasn’t an easy one,” Solís said. “The things that turned out well were due to our people who helped, and the things that turned out badly, well, that’s my fault.” Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís, center, with a group of Cuban migrants at the Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, on March 11, 2016. (Courtesy of Casa Presidencial)A frustrating process, but no one went hungryAccording to the Solís administration, the Immigration Administration in the past four months has issued 7,800 temporary transit visas to the Cubans, and 5,500 migrants were sheltered in 44 locations across the country.After a tense series of meetings with regional heads of state, the administration finally managed on Dec. 28, 2015 to reach an agreement brokered by the IOM to provide “safe, orderly and documented passage” for the Cubans through Central American and Mexico.The first humanitarian flight took place in January as a test run, with 180 people onboard. The plan was to move all of the Cubans staying at shelters – 5,500 people – on flights to El Salvador, and later, Mexico. But the second flight was delayed until February, and the government’s system of determining who would be placed on which flights was off to a rocky start, according to several people familiar with the process.During a visit last Sunday to La Cruz, Guanacaste, near Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua, 141 migrants remained, sleeping on mats on a cement floor or in tents in an open-air, covered shelter behind a local fire station. Some were waiting for visa numbers to be called with a scheduled departure date, while others didn’t have enough money to pay for flights, which cost about $810 per person to northern Mexico.“They tell you one thing, and the next day it’s something different,” complained Ihosvany Óscar Artiles, a 44-year-old gas station attendant from Camagüey, in central Cuba. “We hope that by next week everyone here will be gone.” A Cuban migrant rests in a shelter in the town of La Cruz, Guanacaste, in northwestern Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua, on Nov. 17, 2015. Ezequiel Becerra/AFPAdrián Cantillo, the Costa Rican administrator of the La Cruz shelter at the fire station and a liaison between the government, the migrants and the IOM, acknowledged that many had grown frustrated in recent months, and several had left with the help of smugglers.“This is my country, but I have to admit the efforts could have been managed a little better. We’ve complained, sent a bunch of emails, and it seems that now they’re better organized,” Cantillo told The Tico Times last Sunday.Several Cubans at the shelter said they estimated the number of people who had already left by hiring smugglers at about 4,000. The daily La Nación calculated that number at 3,472, although exact figures are difficult to confirm.By Friday, almost all of the remaining migrants at the La Cruz shelter had either been scheduled on flights or relocated closer to the capital, Cantillo said. On Saturday, he expected the shelter to close.“Everything’s going smoothly now,” he said. “There are 15 who don’t have the money to fly, but we understand the government might offer a flight on Tuesday for those who are stranded without money.”On Monday, the National Emergency Commission reported that the last humanitarian flight would leave on Tuesday with 80 Cubans who lacked the money to pay for a ticket.Among those who remained optimistic last week despite the months of boredom, frustration and uncertainty was Dania Bello, a 43-year-old nurse from Holguín, the fourth largest city in southeastern Cuba.“Look how we are,” she said. “They bring us food so that we can cook, they bring us picadillo, and no one’s been left hungry. They put a roof over our heads, and they gave us a legal status in our passports, and everything else this president [Solís] has done. Look, I’ve got my Costa Rican flag right here.” From left, Cuban migrants Susel Suriv Mastrapa, 29, Dania Bello, 43, and Ibeth Fernández, 19, at a shelter in La Cruz, Guanacaste, on March 7, 2016. Zai Villegas/The Tico TimesMore to come?While this particular chapter in the Cuban migrant drama is winding down for Costa Rica, many Cubans who spoke with The Tico Times warned that the current wave of migration from the island would continue, despite the warming of relations between the U.S. and the Castro regime.On March 21, President Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island since 1928, and his administration is expected to announce further easing of trade and travel restrictions ahead of the trip, Reuters reported.While that diplomacy could help improve some of the hardships faced by many Cubans who remain on the island, skepticism over the country’s long-term ability to keep people from leaving remains.See: With Obama visit, Cubans hope for home run in baseball diplomacy Cuban migrants board an early-morning flight at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, on March 11, 2016. (Courtesy of Casa Presidencial)Ecuador’s Deputy Foreign Minister Xavier Lasso told AFP last November that 40,000 Cubans had entered Ecuador since the country stopped requiring visas in 2008. (In response to the crisis, Ecuador began requiring visas for Cubans on Dec. 1, 2015.)According to the Miami Herald, about 41,000 Cubans arrived in the U.S. without visas in fiscal year 2015 alone, which according to the newspaper was the largest annual number of Cuban migrants without visas to arrive in that country in more than a decade.“If we stay in Cuba,” said 41-year-old construction worker Yurgem Lugo, “it would be as prisoners.”Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Ihosvany Óscar Artiles’ name. We apologize for the error.  Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama promises human rights talk with Castro Obama, Castro hail ‘new day’ for US-Cuba relations Obama addresses the Cuban nation in historic Havana visit Crisis at the border: Costa Rica weighs its options after Nicaragua violently turns back Cuban migrantslast_img read more

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Higher and ampler sales tax recommended

first_imgFinally, Brys insisted that the complex Costa Rican tax system that should be simplified for easier collection and tracing taxpayers. He drew attention to high informality, avoidance, and tax evasion. The combination of these three factors undermines the efficiency and capacity of revenue growth through the current system. Facebook Comments The OECD study also recommendsPrimarily deal with evasion and avoidance with the reinforcement of the tax administration.The country should rebalance the combination of taxes, moving away from social charges towards VAT, income tax, and environmental taxes.That the country should move away from the excessive allocation of specific destinations for tax revenues and reduce tax exemptions.The base of companies that contribute to income tax be expanded, with measures such as taxing the income from foreign sources. The analysis suggests raising the tax rate – currently at 13% – to 15%. Costa Rica needs to convert the current general sales tax into a modern, broad-based value-added tax (VAT) that the cuts services, an increasingly large sector in the country. Last Thursday, economist Bert Brys, explained the results of the Fiscal Policy Analysis: Costa Rica 2017, a study that was made at the request of the Costa Rican government. Their proposal coincides with what the Solis administration has promoted since the last elections. According to the study, the Costa Rican tax system does not contribute to a redistribution of wealth in society or reduction of inequality, which are the purposes of a modern tax system. The Costa Rican government is very interested in forming part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECDhttp://www.oecd.org/ ). The OECD is formed by 35 nations to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Related posts:Government wants to hike taxes to boost income Finance Ministry submits tax reform bills to Legislative Assembly Finance Ministry could lower Costa Rica income tax brackets Government tables draft bills aimed at approving fiscal reformslast_img read more

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Court orders arrest of Kingfisher Airlines boss

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches A court in the southern city of Hyderabad issued an arrest warrant for Vijay Mallya on charges his airline bounced four checks worth over 103 million rupees ($1.9 million) to the consortium running the airport in the city. The money was meant to cover landing, parking and navigation fees at the airport.Kingfisher can approach a higher court for a temporary stay on the arrest warrant and it’s unlikely that Mallya faces immediate arrest. But it wasn’t clear what his next move would be.“We have not been served with any warrants,” said Prakash Mirpuri, Kingfisher’s vice president for corporate communications in an email sent Friday afternoon.Industrialist Mallya is famous for his flashy lifestyle and lavish parties attended by fashion models, Bollywood movie stars and cricket players. Mallya’s United Brewery Group is India’s largest brewer and owns other businesses in industries from chemicals to information technology. He also owns Force India _ an F1 team and Royal Challengers, a cricket team that plays in the Indian Premier League. Mallya’s net worth is $1 billion, according to Forbes.Kingfisher, once one of India’s best airlines, is now battling for a lifeline with India’s airline regulator, which has asked the company to explain why its license shouldn’t be revoked. The company is also drowning in debt. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement MUMBAI, India (AP) – An Indian court Friday ordered the arrest of the highflying owner of Kingfisher Airlines for bouncing checks, adding to the beleaguered airline’s woes as its struggles to resume flights that have been grounded since the start of the month.The cash-strapped airline has stopped selling tickets on its website through Oct. 20 and is still trying to convince pilots and engineers who haven’t been paid for months to return to work. The airline had promised to resume flights on Friday. The Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, an airline industry research group, puts Kingfisher’s outstanding debt at $2.5 billion, including about $1.1 billion in bank debt, and says its accumulated losses swelled to $1.9 billion by the end of June.Kingfisher maintains that it will be able to engineer a turnaround and has pledged to provide India’s aviation regulator with a “comprehensive plan for restoration of services after negotiations with our employees” by Oct. 20.The company hasn’t made a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to FactSet, a financial information provider.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Top Stories The vital role family plays in society Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

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Poll Indias opposition BJP leads Congress party

first_img Top Stories NEW DELHI (AP) – India’s Hindu nationalist opposition party is leading the incumbent Congress party in the run-up to this year’s national elections in the world’s biggest democracy, a poll released Wednesday says.The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, trounced Congress in recent state polls which were seen as a gauge of voter sentiment in the nation of 1.2 billion. The general election must be held by May. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone 0 Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Four benefits of having a wireless security systemcenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Pew Research Center poll said the Indian public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer BJP to lead the next government over Congress.It said 63 percent of Indians prefer the BJP to lead the next government, 19 percent prefer Congress and 12 percent support other parties. BJP backing is consistent across age groups, the research found.Pew, a Washington-based think tank, interviewed 2,464 randomly selected adults in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 percent of the Indian population. The poll, conducted between Dec. 7 and Jan. 12, has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.Modi, the chief minister of western Gujarat state for the past 11 years, is credited with turning his state into an industrial haven. But critics question whether the Hindu nationalist chief can be a truly secular leader over India’s many cultures.Rahul Gandhi, heir to the country’s Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, is leading the Congress party’s struggling campaign.Congress has said it will not formally declare Gandhi as its candidate for prime minister _ a bit of political maneuvering aimed at protecting the 43-year-old from being a scapegoat for his party’s problems. Sponsored Stories The Congress party has been battered by corruption scandals, internal feuding and an inability to deal with a stumbling economy and deep-rooted problems with poverty, infrastructure and education.Modi also is facing his share of controversy. He has been accused of doing little to stop anti-Muslim riots in the state in 2002 which left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims.Modi has denied any role in the violence and says he bears no responsibility for the killings. In December, he said that he had been “shaken to the core” by the violence and that his government responded to it swiftly and decisively.Manmohan Singh has been India’s prime minister for the past 10 years but said in January that he would not seek another term. A technocrat, he was chosen to fill the prime minister’s seat in 2004 by Sonia Gandhi, the widow of assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul’s mother.But Singh has been widely seen as a regent, keeping the seat warm until Rahul Gandhi was ready to take what some see as his birthright.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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Police in China fatally shoot man seeking aid for family

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img The family had visited Beijing several times seeking aid, and local media had reported their case. Local officials often try to block such trips to avoid drawing scrutiny from central authorities.Southern Metropolis said Xu reacted violently to the police action and reached for a policeman’s gun. Xie said witness videos contradict that account.Poor Chinese often travel to the capital to attempt to petition national authorities about land seizures, labor disputes and other issues after making little progress with local officials. Southern Metropolis said Xu had been trying for years to place his mother in a public nursing home and board his sons at a state-run juvenile facility.His sons will now be placed in a public orphanage, the newspaper reported.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories BEIJING (AP) — Chinese police fatally shot a man in northern China who was on his way to Beijing to ask the central government to help house and take care of his sons and elderly mother, police and a lawyer said Wednesday.The man’s relatives received approval for the aid three days after the Saturday killing, the newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily said.Lawyer Xie Yanyi, who is working with Xu Chenhe’s family on the case, said Xu, his mother and three sons were on their way to the capital when train station security officers in Harbin recognized them and barred them from buying tickets. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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17 killed mainly students in bus accident in Perus Andes

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches LIMA, Peru (AP) — A truck carrying students home from a parade fell into a ravine in the Peru’s Andes Mountains, killing 17 people and injuring 33, authorities said Monday.Five of the injured are in “grave condition” following the accident Sunday near the remote community of Cahuac, 263 kilometers (163 miles) northeast of the capital, Lima, said hospital director Rosa Pascual. Fifteen of the dead were students aged 9 to 15. Four benefits of having a wireless security system 0 Comments   Share   The truck was returning from a flag day parade when it fell 300 meters (985 feet) into the ravine, said Huanuco Gov. Ruben Alva.School director Yonel Espinoza said the students decided to get in the back of the truck because they wanted to avoid the 90-minute walk from the parade site back to Cahuac, where they lived.Peru’s transport system is plagued by old vehicles and poor roads and highways, often through mountainous regions, contributing to a high accident rate. According to the Transport Minister, 3,110 people died in road accidents in Peru in 2013.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

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American Toyota exec released from custody in Japan

first_img Comments   Share   Komori said Hamp’s resignation from Toyota could have helped in winning her release.Hamp, who joined Toyota in 2012, worked at its U.S. operations until her latest promotion. Before that, she worked for PepsiCo Inc. and General Motors Co.Police raided the automaker’s headquarters in Toyota city, central Japan, as well as its Tokyo and Nagoya offices last month.It is not unheard of for foreigners to be detained in Japan for mailing or bringing in medicine they used at home. Such drugs may be banned in Japan or require special approval. In Japan, suspects can be held in custody for up to 23 days without formal charges.___Follow Yuri Kageyama: twitter.com/yurikageyamaCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Hamp, an American, was appointed three months ago as the head of public relations at the Japanese automaker, in a high-profile move that was highlighted by the Japanese automaker as promoting diversity.Prosecutors said Wednesday that she arranged with her father to have 57 oxycodone pills sent air mail from the U.S. to a Tokyo hotel in June. They said this act was importation of a narcotic but decided not to pursue charges.Japanese prosecutors are not obligated to publicly explain the reasons for their decisions. Legal experts say that a show of remorse and first-time offenders tend to win some leniency. Bringing in such a tightly controlled drug is a serious crime in Japan, often resulting in charges.Toyota named a replacement for Hamp on Wednesday, tapping Shigeru Hayakawa, a senior managing officer and board member. Hayakawa, who joined Toyota in 1977, has experience in the company’s U.S. operations and is a communications veteran at the company.Toyota reiterated its apology for the “confusion and concerns” Hamp’s arrest might have caused.It again promised to promote qualified people, regardless of nationality, gender and age, as Toyota continues its efforts “to become a truly global company.” FILE – In this June 18, 2015 file photo, Julie Hamp, then head of public relations of Toyota Motor Corp., speaks during a press conference in Toyoda, central Japan. The American Toyota executive who was arrested in Japan in June on suspicion of drug law violations is expected to be released Wednesday, July 8, 2015 without being prosecuted, according to Kyodo News service. Kyodo did not identify the source of its information. Tokyo prosecutors declined to comment Tuesday, July 7. Toyota Motor Corp. said it had no information. (Tsutomu Agechi/Kyodo News via AP, File) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY Toyota President Akio Toyoda has defended Hamp, calling her an important member of the Toyota team. Company officials said they did not know her whereabouts or her plans.Toyoda has acknowledged the company likely should have done more to help with her relocation as the first foreign executive to be permanently stationed in Japan.Her arrest, a big embarrassment for Toyota, highlights missteps in its effort to diversify and become more international in its corporate culture.Toyota’s top executives are predominantly Japanese males, although some progress has been made in recent years to promote foreigners. Hamp was the first high-profile female promotion.Sakae Komori, a lawyer who frequently handles drug-related cases, said it’s difficult to figure out why someone is charged or not charged. Suspects with smaller amounts of the same drug have been charged, he said.“This is seen as a very serious crime in Japan,” he said, acknowledging that the decision may invite allegations of unfairness. “Perhaps the authorities see her as already facing enough social punishment, and she was not judged a drug abuser.”Toyota is such a powerful company in Japan that anything it does, or anything that happens to it, can be seen as setting a precedent. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall TOKYO (AP) — Toyota’s highest ranking female executive until her arrest in Japan on suspicion of drug law violations was released from custody without charges Wednesday.Julie Hamp, 55, who resigned last week from Toyota Motor Corp., was arrested June 18 on suspicion of importing oxycodone, a narcotic pain killer. The drug is tightly controlled in Japan.She emerged from a Tokyo police building where she’d been detained looking solemn and tired. She was whisked away in a minivan. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Patients with chronic pain give advice Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

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TA takes Australia to China

first_imgThe next phase of Tourism Australia’s global advertising campaign will be unveiled in Australia’s key visitor market, China.Starting with a new broadcast ad showing in Shanghai, the campaign will roll out to 25 countries in 17 languages continuing the globally successful pitch, There’s nothing like Australia. Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said China is a logical place to start, being a big part of efforts to double overnight visitor expenditure to $140 billion by 2020.“Tourism Australia is focused on marketing Australia’s unique tourism attributes where the greatest tourism growth opportunities exist,” Mr McEvoy commented.Last year 542,000 Chinese visited Australia, representing almost 20 per cent growth compared to 2010.  In 2012 the number is expected to exceed 600,000 visitors.”The real test and true success of any campaign is how it performs with consumers in key international markets,” Mr McEvoy continued.China has responded well to Tourism Australia’s There’s nothing like Australia campaign so far, better than anywhere else.  According to Tourism Australia, over 90 per cent of Chinese who viewed the campaign said they considered a trip to Australia. While the campaign, that uses rich digital applications and modern, relevant images of Australia, was launched in China it doesn’t mean that Australian’s will miss out on the campaign.“We will of course undertake significant domestic campaign activity and Australians will get to see the new broadcast ad on TV, in the cinema and online and in new media platforms at the same time we do the big reveal in Shanghai,” Mr McEvoy said.Building on an already successful and established platform, this new phase of the campaign takes it a step further by specifically focusing on the quality and highlights of the very best Australia has to offer. Sydney city – Source: Tourism Australia Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wcenter_img Australian wildlife, Kangaroo – Source: Tourism Australialast_img read more

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Its time to learn Japan JNTO

first_imgJapan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) president Ryoichi Matsuyama says fostering a “mutual understanding” between Japan and Australia is key to promoting bilateral tourism growth.Sitting down with e-Travel Blackboard in Sydney, Mr Matsuyama said that although Japan and Australia had “a good history, a nice history” with a liking for one another, potential visitors to Japan actually knew very little about the country.“You like Japan, but what do you know about Japan?” Mr Matsuyama explained.  “You know ski resorts and some cherry blossom. Maybe, apart from that, not much,” he said, pointing to Japan’s fusion of east and west, its food and the “tropical zone” of Okinawa, which he says can be enjoyed during Australia’s winter and juxtaposes the country’s well-known ski attractions.  At the centre of Japan’s plan on educating the Aussie traveller is the recently launched Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013, which aims to boost traffic between the countries by among other things, promoting the nations’ diverse tourism offering. A result of discussions between JNTO and Australian tourism authorities, the campaign will focus heavily on “revitalizing” the countries’ long-standing sister-city relationships, which number more than 100, as well as the “sister schools” program, numbering over 400.  With 20,000 to 30,000 Japanese students visiting Australia each year, and around 8,000 Aussie students travelling to Japan, Mr Matsuyama said the initiative would help foster “a mutual understanding among these future generations” upon which travel would rely.According to the JNTO boss, around 340,000 Japanese tourists visited Australia last year while some 160,000 Aussies travelled to Japan. The Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 will look to increase total traveller numbers to above 650,000. Australia is Japan’s sixth largest source market Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

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Surfs up for Hawaiian Airlines

first_img “Hawaiian Airlines is now in its 84th of continuous service and our club goes back to late 1914 and early 1915 when the legendary Hawaiian, Duke Kahanamoku, introduced modern surfing to Australia,” North Bondi surf live saving club president, Grant McMah said. “As an airline that is extremely proud of its island and ocean heritage, we are honoured to also be associated with an iconic Australian beach frequented by so many international visitors,” Hawaiian Airlines head of marketing and sales Australia, Andrew Denman said. Source = ETB News: T.N. The agreement ensures that Hawaiian Airlines will feature on the bows of the club’s five lifeboats and lifeguards will wear Hawaiian Airlines branded swimming gear. The agreement will also provide signage rights for the airline in the club’s new clubhouse in North Bondi. Hawaiian airlines and North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club announced that the airline would be the exclusive airline partner for the club’s boat crews.last_img read more

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Norwegian Cruise Line berths in Hong Kong

first_imgNorwegian Cruise Lines berths in Hong KongNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) today celebrated the opening of the company’s first office in Hong Kong and appointment of a dedicated local team to drive forward the regional growth for the company’s three brands – the contemporary freestyle cruising brand, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the upper-premium cruise line, Oceania Cruises (OCI) and the all-inclusive luxury line, Regent Seven Sea Cruises (RSSC).The new Hong Kong office represents a major base of operations in support of the three brands and features key sales and marketing functions and a dedicated contact center to serve travel agents across the region. The service recognizes that travel agent partners are uniquely placed to support and capitalize on NCLH’s growth in the region.The commitment in Hong Kong is further deepened by the return of its contemporary premium brand, Norwegian Cruise Lines, to Asia for the first time since 2002.Norwegian Star will make the city a seasonal homeport with its maiden call in December 2016 and offer 4 sailings till January 2017. With the city’s position as a top tourist destination, Hong Kong is a leading choice for cruise passengers and strategically located for short and long voyage itineraries.Coinciding with today’s celebration, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Voyager arrived in Hong Kong today as part of her North Asian sojourn, which commenced in Tokyo and will end in Beijing later this month.Supported by the company’s new Asia Pacific headquarters in Sydney, Australia (opened November 2015), the Hong Kong office will be led by cruise industry expert Steve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for NCLH.His leadership team with decades of local industry experience and a thorough understanding of the needs and wants of the Hong Kong traveler include Felix Chan, Vice President of Sales – Asia, NCL; Winnie Chan, Senior Director of Sales – Asia, OCI and RSSC and Dorothy Mak, Vice President – Marketing, Asia for NCLH.“Asia is an increasingly important market for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, with cruise tourism in the region growing at double-digit rates, demand increasing from both cruise passengers from Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, and international travellers seeking to experience Asian destinations,” said Mr. Odell.“With this new office, we will be able to better support our travel partners, forge new mutually-beneficially partnerships, and provide our valued Hong Kong guests a range of enhanced services, for passengers seeking cruise holiday experiences across the spectrum – from contemporary to luxury and short sailings to world voyages.”Currently operating 22 ships comprising approximately 45,000 lower berths and visiting more than 510 destinations, NCLH will introduce five new ships across its three brands over the next three years and invest US$25 million on fleet enhancements to further elevate the on-board experience.New builds include the first in Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Breakaway Plus class, Norwegian Escape – launched late last year heralding the rise of a new premium-contemporary cruise segment, plus three new ships to be built by 2019 including the recently announced dedicated build for China – Norwegian Joy; Oceania Cruises new Sirena delivering The Finest Cuisine at SeaTM; and Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ highly anticipated Seven Seas Explorer, the most luxurious ship ever builtTM – featuring the largest and most luxurious, all-suite, all-balcony accommodations at sea.Across its three brands, from March 2016 to April 2017, NCLH’s fleet will sail 45 itineraries throughout Asia. Ports of call include exciting destinations across Asia Pacific including Hong Kong, Singapore, Xiamen, Shanghai, Tianjin (Beijing), Jeju, Incheon, Kyoto (Kobe), Nagasaki, Okinawa (Naha), Tokyo, Mumbai, Yangon and Colombo amongst others.The Asian expansion is further supported by opening of offices in the key cities of Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, and New Delhi with a new regional headquarters in Sydney. Norwegian Cruise LineSource = Norwegian Cruise Linelast_img read more

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side in Oman

first_imgTake a Walk on the Wild Side in OmanIntrepid travellers with a sense of adventure need look no further than Oman to satisfy the next adrenalin rush.  No other Gulf region offers such a diverse range of great outdoor adventures across a striking terrain that travels back 500 million years of geological time.Mona Tannous Country Manager for Sultanate of Oman Tourism Australia and New Zealand said “In some international markets Oman is known as a mid to high end coastal destination with spectacular beaches and desert experiences but as a part of our current campaign we want to show Australian travellers the awesome outdoor adventure options Oman has to offer.“With dramatic canyons and caves, soaring mountain peaks, cool wadis and coastline, cascading waterfalls and endless miles of rocky wilderness there is enough to satisfy everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to extreme adventurers.” continued Ms Tannous.Adventure World in conjunction with Oman Tourism are giving two lucky people the chance to win an Oman Adventure as part of the current ‘Secrets of Oman” campaign. To whet your appetite, here are 6 ways to bring out your adventurous side in Oman;Desert Dune Bashing Huge rolling dunes as far as the eye can see makes for a white knuckle ride dune bashing in 4WD’s at Shaqiya Sands- less than 3 hours from Muscat. Take a quad bike or camel over the dunes and watch the world turn pink and orange with a spectacular desert sun set.  Accommodation here varies from luxury tented camp to more basic options but either way you will relish the time under a thousand stars of the desert night sky.Caves and CanyonsFor those who like their adventure on the extreme side, the thrill of rock-climbing and abseiling awaits. Climbers from around the globe are drawn to the high peaks of the Hajar mountains, and to the beautiful sea cliffs along the Omani coast.First-time climbers can attempt one of several Via Ferrata (‘by wire’) routes which keep them permanently attached to a cable via a harness for maximum safety at Snake Canyon, Jabel Shams and Jabal Akhdar.Take a HikeThe challenging terrain of Oman’s ‘Sun Mountain’, Jabal Shams – standing 3009 metres above sea level as the country’s highest mountain peak – is a perfect place to start an adventure tour.  Sprinkled with juniper and olive trees, the mountains offer plenty of gruelling treks and picturesque vistas along with paths that traverse the ancient Bedouin and Shihuh trails – some of which are located on the very edge of the cliffs and are used by remote communities today.Wadi BashGo off-road and experience one of Oman’s fastest growing adventure sports. Throughout the Sultanate there are many opportunities for travellers to hit the dirt, water and sand dunes in a 4 x 4 wheel drive. And never is off-road driving more popular than when the wadis are awash with lush vegetation and rushing waters after the rain.Snorkel and ScubaOman’s magnificent marine environment draws in adventurous travellers with the opportunity to snorkel, scuba dive and kayak in sparkling turquoise waters that support vibrant coral reefs. In stark contrast to its arid interior, Oman’s waters are teeming with life – turtles, dolphins and whale sharks are all regularly sighted by visitors.Get AirborneKitesurfing is one of the fastest growing and extreme water sports to be enjoyed in the Gulf’s warm waters and Masirah Island has the only kitesurfing academy in the Gulf where you can camp out on the island in Bedouin style tents.Undisturbed by human influence, this island is a sanctuary for flamingos in their natural habitat and is the world’s second-largest breeding ground for sea turtles.For a chance to win the ultimate Omani adventure along with a $2000 travel card from Mastercard Cash Passport, one year’s subscription to Get Lost Magazine and the latest in outdoor wear from clothing company Jack Wolfskin go to www.secretsofoman.com.auSource = Oman Tourismlast_img read more

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