Russia Muslim sect members charged with abuse

first_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes It said Satarov declared himself a prophet _ a claim that contradicts the principles of Islam _ and ordered some 70 of his followers to stop contact with the outside world and live in underground cells they dug under a house outside Kazan in the early 2000s.Vesti quotes prosecutors saying some 20 children, aged between 1 and 17, lived there for years, some of whom have never seen daylight.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The vital role family plays in society Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates ErrorOK ErrorOK Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths MOSCOW (AP) – Russian prosecutors have brought child abuse charges against members of a reclusive Muslim sect accused of keeping some of their children in underground cells for over 10 years.Russia’s Vesti television reported Wednesday that prosecutors in Kazan, the capital of the predominantly Muslim central province of Tatarstan, have also charged Faizrakhman Satarov, the sect’s 83-year-old founder, with negligence. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   Top Stories last_img read more

Japanese teen gets 6 months for marijuana in Bali

first_img Top Stories The teen, who cannot be named under Indonesian law because of his age, admitted buying 2.6 grams (0.09 ounces) of marijuana for personal use. He has been detained in a police cell since Aug. 8, after buying the marijuana near popular Kuta beach while vacationing with his mother.He will be credited for time served. The judge said the boy would be freed in February and immediately deported.Last year, a 14-year-old Australian boy avoided prison after serving two months in an Indonesian detention center for buying drugs. The court also showed leniency after he expressed remorse and able to prove it he bought the drugs for personal use.(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)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 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Four benefits of having a wireless security system BALI, Indonesia (AP) – A 17-year-old Japanese boy was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday for possessing a small amount of marijuana while vacationing with family on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.The teen could have received 12 years under Indonesia’s tough narcotics laws. Judge Gunawan Tri Budiono said in Denpasar district court that although the boy “spoiled the image of Bali as tourist destination,” he showed leniency because the boy is young and bought the drugs for personal use.center_img Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Egypt probes prosecutor who ordered drunk flogged

first_img 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Egypt’s penal code does not mention flogging, however.Rights lawyer Anas Sayid Saleh says that only judges, not prosecutors, have the right to order punishments.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) – Egyptian authorities are suspending and investigating a provincial prosecutor who ordered a man flogged 80 times for public drunkenness.Spokesman Mahmoud el-Hefnawi of the prosecutor general’s office says the country’s top attorney ordered Hussein Anani’s decision cancelled and referred him to a judicial investigation.Anani had cited verses from the Quran in his ruling.Anani’s decision late Sunday surprised police officers in the southern province of Minya who refused to carry out the order. Public intoxication is a criminal offense in Egypt, with penalties ranging from small fines to around three months in prison.last_img read more

Isolated MashcoPiro Indians appear in Peru

first_imgLIMA, Peru (AP) – Members of an Indian tribe that has long lived in voluntary isolation in Peru’s southeastern Amazon attempted to make contact with outsiders for a second time since 2011, leading to a tense standoff at a river hamlet.Authorities are unsure what provoked the three-day encounter but say the Mashco-Piro may be upset by illegal logging in their territory as well as drug smugglers who pass through. Oil and gas exploration also affects the region. Top Stories Naturalists in the area and national park officials say the tribe’s traditional hunting grounds have been affected by a rise in low-flying air traffic related to natural gas and oil exploration in the region.Quicque said the Mashco-Piro were victimized by “genocide” in the mid-1980s from the incursion of loggers, and subsequently engaged in battles with mahogany-seekers.Members of the group reappeared in May 2011 on the banks of a different river after more than two decades in voluntary isolation.After those sightings, and after tourists left clothing for the Mashco-Piro, authorities barred all boats from going ashore in the area.Mashco-Piro were blamed later in 2011 for the wounding of one forest ranger and the killing of a Matsiguenka Indian who had long maintained a relationship with them and provided them with machetes and cooking pots.___Frank Bajak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fbajak “They spoke a variant of Yine,” Quicque said, but Ponciano understood only about two-thirds of the words.The Mashco-Piro live by their own social code, which includes kidnapping other tribes’ women and children, according to Carlos Soria, a Lima professor and former head of Peru’s park protection agency.Peruvian law prohibits physical contact with the estimated 15 “uncontacted” tribes in Peru that together are estimated to number between 12,000 and 15,000 people living in jungles east of the Andes. The main reason is their safety: Their immune systems are highly vulnerable to germs other humans carry.Anthropologist Beatriz Huertas, who works with Peru’s agency for indigenous affairs, says the Mashco-Piro are becoming increasingly less isolated. The tribe is believed to number in the hundreds in several different clans.It is not unusual for them to appear where they did during a season of sparse rainfall when rivers are low, and they tend to be itinerant, she said.“What’s strange is that they came so close to the population of Monte Salvado. It could be they are upset by problems of others taking advantage of resources in their territories and for that reason were demanding objects and food of the population,” Huertas said. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories The more than 100 members of Mashco-Piro clan appeared across the Las Piedras river from the remote community of Monte Salvado in the Tambopata region of Madre de Dios state from June 24-26, said Klaus Quicque, president of the regional FENAMAD indigenous federation.They asked for bananas, rope and machetes from the local Yine people but were dissuaded from crossing the river by FENAMAD rangers posted at the settlement, said Quicque, who directed them to a banana patch on their side of the river.The incident on the Las Piedras is chronicled in video shot by one of the rangers and obtained Monday by The Associated Press.“You can see in the images there was a lot of threatening _ the intention of crossing. They practically reached mid-river,” Quicque said by phone from Puerto Maldonado, the regional capital.The video shows Mashco-Piro of all ages and sexes, including men with lances, bows and arrows. In one image shot during a moment of tension, a man flexes his bow, ready to shoot.Quicque said the estimated 110-150 people living in Monte Salvado “feared for their lives.” He credited the ranger, Rommel Ponciano, for keeping a cool head.He said 23 Mashco-Piro appeared on the first day, 110 on the second and 25 on the third. The clan left and hasn’t returned. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   last_img read more

Iran rejects access to military sites scientists

first_imgTEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader vowed Wednesday he will not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told military commanders Wednesday that Iran will resist “coercion and excessive demands” from America and other world powers.Negotiators from Iran and a six nation group — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have launched a new round of talks in Vienna focused on reaching a final deal that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions. The two sides reached a framework agreement in March and hope to strike a final deal by June 30. A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the U.S. State Department said Iran would be required to grant the U.N. nuclear agency access to any “suspicious sites.”But Khamenei indicated that the Americans are increasing their demands that international inspection of Iran’s military sites and interviews with Iranian scientists be included in the final deal.“The impudent and brazen enemy expects that we allow them talk to our scientists and researchers about a fundamental local achievement but no such permission will be allowed,” Khamenei told military commanders in Tehran Wednesday, in remarks broadcast on state TV. “No inspection of any military site or interview with nuclear scientists will be allowed.”Khamenei said interviewing Iranian nuclear scientists would be an affront to Iran’s dignity.“I will not allow foreigners to interview — which is tantamount to interrogation — the prominent beloved scientists and sons of this nation,” he said.Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Khamenei, was quoted by Iranian media this week as accusing the Americans of changing their position and toughening their stance as the deadline approaches. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes “They insist on crossing (our) red lines. This turns into an obstacle,” Velayati was quoted as saying.Copyright © 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 5 treatments for adult scoliosis 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   last_img read more

Art world descends on Cuba for a month amid surging interest

first_img Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system HAVANA (AP) — A surge in interest in all things Cuban is extending to paintings and sculpture, with U.S. art collectors and dealers descending on Havana for a monthlong exhibition amid expectations that art prices will rise because of the detente between the former Cold War rivals.The event known as the Biennial, or the Bienal in Spanish, was opening Friday with works by artists from 40 countries at museums, galleries and outdoor spaces around Cuba’s capital. But most of the attention is on the works of native-born artists, especially for the legions of foreign collectors and dealers who have been filling hotels and restaurants in recent days. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 3 international destinations to visit in 2019center_img He sees that changing fast.“You’re getting a lot of collectors who are running to Cuba to buy art,” Farber said. “It’s the biggest opportunity for an art collector to start a collection.”Art critic Rafael Acosta de Arriva agreed.“It’s going to be a moment of major effervescence,” he said. “It’s good to note that the Bienal is not put together to promote the commerce of art but to explore artistic themes. But the collectors tend to take advantage of this great moment and a lot of buying and selling gets done.”More than 1,200 people have formally signed up to participate in Biennial events, which run through June 22, said Jorge Fernandez, one of the organizers. There are at least 1,000 more who will take part in workshops and other events without bothering to get accredited, he said.“Cuban art has had major recognition,” Cernuda said. “What’s different now is there will be U.S. tourists, nurtured during events like the Bienal.”___Associated Press writers Ben Fox and Beth Harpaz contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. It is taking place at a historic moment in U.S.-Cuba relations. In December, President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro announced that they would move toward restoring the diplomatic relations that were broken off in 1961.While the decades-long U.S. economic embargo remains in place and general tourism is still illegal, the Obama administration has eased restrictions on travel and commerce. Cuban officials say the number of U.S. visitors — both legal and otherwise — was up by more than 30 percent in the first four months of the year.That is carrying over into the Biennial, said Alberto Magnan, a Cuban-American gallery owner from New York who represents artists taking part in the exhibition.“The energy is better than I’ve seen in any of the Biennials,” said Magnan, who attended five of the previous exhibitions. “I’ve seen more U.S. collectors than I’ve ever seen and it hasn’t even begun yet. Times are changing and I believe that with the new Obama policy it’s changing faster than we think.”Even under the embargo, it’s legal for U.S. citizens to purchase Cuban art, though works cannot be directly commissioned by a U.S. buyer and cannot have been financed by the Cuban government. Some collectors have taken advantage of that loophole, though prices remain relatively low, according to Howard Farber, a resident of New York and Miami Beach whose foundation publishes the online Cuban Art News magazine. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement People sit on deck chairs on an artificial beach as a bride and groom ride a classic American convertible car on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, May 21, 2015. The artificial beach is part of a collective artistic intervention named Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Armed robbers kill French tourist camping in Nigeria

first_img Quick workouts for men New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 The victim’s wife, Lavaud Liana Dagnan, 53, was unharmed, he said, adding that the couple came from Villedieu-sur-Indre in central France.She told police the robbers got away with 1,150 euros ($1,300) and 13,000 Nigerian naira ($61).After spending the day driving, the couple camped off road Monday night in their vehicle near a quarry. They were attacked at about 8 p.m. that night.The couple had been on a cross-country African tour, Dikko said.The French Embassy had been informed and police have made 32 random arrests based on information from the community, he added.___This story has been corrected to remove an erroneous reference to the victim being from Lyon.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 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Armed robbers shot and hacked to death a French tourist camping with his wife in the bush of southeast Nigeria, police said Thursday.A band of men surprised the couple as they were sleeping to spend the night in their vehicle about two kilometers (about a mile) from the main road and shot 62-year-old Denis Dagnan in the leg before killing him with machete blows, said Ebonyi state police commissioner Maigari Dikko. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   last_img read more

Poet James Fenton wins PEN Pinter freespeech prize

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The award was established in 2009 in memory of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. It goes jointly to a British writer seen as sharing Pinter’s “unflinching, unswerving” social gaze and to an international writer who has faced persecution, chosen by the British winner and PEN.Organizers said Tuesday the joint winner will be announced Oct. 6.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) — Poet James Fenton has won the PEN Pinter Prize, a writing award that celebrates champions of free speech.Fenton is a former Oxford University professor of poetry and war correspondent. Many of his poems deal with conflict and its aftermath, including those in the collections “The Memory of War” and “Children in Exile.”Maureen Freely, president of writers’ group English PEN, said Fenton “has spoken truth to power — forcefully, fearlessly and beautifully.” Check your body, save your life Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

After vote win Greeces Tsipras looks to rebuild talks

first_imgBut his bolstered mandate to push for better concessions from creditors hit the hard reality of the country’s deteriorating finances, with the banks facing the risk of collapse within days unless a rescue deal is reached.In a sign that he hopes to reach a deal as soon as possible, Tsipras appointed a new mild-mannered finance minister to lead talks with bailout creditors and replace Yanis Varoufakis, the hard-talking professor who clashed regularly with his European counterparts.Euclid Tsakalotos, a 55-year-old economist, appears more willing to reach a compromise with creditors and will be tested as soon as Tuesday, when he will meet the other 18 eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.That meeting is meant to seek the basis for a deal that European leaders, including Tsipras, might discuss at an emergency summit later in the day. Ahead of the summit, Tsipras spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.Greece’s financial situation is getting more difficult by the day. It had to close the banks last week to prevent their collapse in the face of a run, and imposed limits on cash withdrawals and transfers.Greek banks remained closed Monday, with only a few branches opening for pensioners to receive emergency assistance. Louka Katseli, head of the Greek Bank Association, said she expected banks to remain closed for at least two more days. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall With all ballots counted, 61.3 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum said “no” to the question of whether they would accept creditors’ proposed measures.Tsipras has agreed to imposing more harsh austerity measures, following a six-year recession, but wants eurozone lenders to grant the country better terms for bailout debt repayments.“The prime minister is … committed to starting a fundamental debate on dealing with the problem of sustainability of the Greek national debt,” a statement signed by the government and three pro-European opposition parties said.European officials appear to be split on Greece’s demand for easier debt repayment.France’s finance minister, Michel Sapin, indicated that discussing Greece’s debt is not taboo, saying the country could not recover with its current obligations “in the months and years to come.”Germany, however, remains highly reluctant to discuss debt relief.Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Germany’s “position is well-known … a debt cut is not an issue for us.”German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Europe should be preparing to help Greeks with humanitarian assistance. Top Stories “The situation that is now being created by the referendum makes me sad, because life for the Greek population is going to get harder in the coming days and weeks,” he said.“After yesterday’s celebrations in the streets there’s a danger of a rude awakening soon.”___Demetris Nellas and Menelaos Hadjicostis in Athens, Greece, Lori Hinnant in Paris, Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Supporters of the No vote wave Greek flags after the referendum’s exit polls at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as officials counted the results of a referendum Sunday on whether to accept creditors’ demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans, with three opinion polls showing a tight race with a narrow victory likely for the “no” side. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)center_img Sponsored Stories The government is expected to extend the restrictions on withdrawals after the European Central Bank makes a decision later Monday on cash support for Greek banks.The ECB has frozen the amount of credit it allows Greek banks to draw on, even though their cash requirements are growing as people rush to withdraw what money they can.Analysts say that if the ECB keeps the amount of credit on hold, Greek banks will come under increasing pressure and the government could have to make the limits on cash withdrawals even tougher.The ongoing Greek drama hurt stocks around the world, particularly in Europe. The losses were not as great as some had feared, however, suggesting investors think that a Greek exit from the euro, while devastating for the country and destabilizing in Europe, would be manageable for the global economy.“The ‘no’ vote in Greece’s referendum on Sunday dramatically increases the risk of a slide toward a disorderly Greek exit from the eurozone,” ratings agency Fitch said.“An agreement between Greece and its official creditors remains possible, but time is short and the risk of policy missteps, or that the two sides simply cannot agree a deal, is high.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Despite triumphing in a popular vote against austerity, Greece on Monday faced the urgent need to heal its ties with European creditors and reach a financial rescue deal that might prevent it from falling out of the euro — possibly within days.Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won big in Sunday’s referendum, in which 60 percent of Greeks rejected the economic measures creditors had proposed in exchange for loans the country needs to remain afloat. He also received the rare backing of opposition parties to restart bailout negotiations. Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

The Latest Obama says South Sudan needs urgent attention

first_imgThe president says the situation demands the world’s urgent attention. He says the group of African countries working to resolve the conflict hasn’t been able to do so as of yet. He says the U.S. wants to assist that effort and that there needs to be a peace agreement and a structure in place in the next several weeks.Obama plans to convene a meeting of regional leaders on Monday in Ethiopia to discuss the situation.South Sudan marked four years of independence this month but has been plagued by violence since December 2013. That’s when clashes broke out between government troops controlled by President Salva Kiir and rebels led by his former deputy, Riek Machar.___2:10 p.m.President Barack Obama says more press freedoms and tolerance of opposition voices would strengthen the Ethiopian government’s agenda.Obama is defending his decision to visit Ethiopia despite deep concerns about the country’s human rights record.Obama says the U.S. wants to engage with other governments on mutual interests even if their democratic practices don’t align with those in the U.S. But he says the U.S. continually brings up human rights in talks with those countries. He says he doesn’t bite his tongue much in discussions with foreign leaders. Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The latest on President Barack Obama’s visit to Ethiopia (all times local):2:30 p.m.President Barack Obama is warning the world can’t wait long to address the deteriorating situation in South Sudan.Obama is addressing South Sudan’s civil war during a news conference in neighboring Ethiopia.Obama says the humanitarian situation is deteriorating and the conditions are getting “much, much worse.” He says the parties to the conflict have until now proven to be “very stubborn.” Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Somali police says 15 people died in the massive truck bomb attack Sunday on a hotel in Mogadishu.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean U.S. President Barack Obama, center, participates in a bilateral meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the National Palace, on Monday, July 27, 2015, in Addis Ababa. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) The president is comparing his willingness to engage with Ethiopia with the U.S. relationship with China. He says nobody questions the need for the U.S. to engage with large countries like China, but that a different standard is applied to smaller countries like Ethiopia.Human rights groups had warned that Obama’s visit would lend an air of international legitimacy to a government that they say uses national security concerns as a pretext to stifle opposition and curtail basic freedoms. The Committee to Protect Journalists says Ethiopia is the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Eritrea.___1:50 p.m.President Barack Obama says a bombing in Somalia’s capital is a reminder that terrorist groups like al-Shabab offer nothing but destruction and must be stopped.Obama is speaking at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He says the U.S. and other countries must keep the pressure on groups like al-Shabab.Obama says al-Shabab is also a serious threat to Ethiopia.The East African country has been a partner with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism, sharing intelligence with American officials and sending troops into Somalia to address instability there. Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

Travellers stranded in the midst of Egypt crisis

first_imgThe Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised Australians to avoid travelling to Egypt as political turmoil left people stranded at Cairo airport over the weekend. Tourists who travelled to the airport faced mass traffic on the roads and further delays in airport queues after staff walked off the job to join in anti-government protests, The Herald Sun reported. A US retiree Dorothy Reddy told the source she was in the passport inspection line for up to two hours and advanced by just under three metres. “We came Friday, for a 12-day cruise on the River Nile,” Ms Reddy said.”It took hours to reach the hotel. “Now they’ve cancelled everything and they are trying to get us out of here.”The only thing I saw were the Pyramids – from my hotel window [and] I think we’re flying to Amsterdam… Or anywhere. As long as we leave this place.” Despite the delays the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised Australians in Egypt to leave “if it is safe to do so”. According to the department’s statement, the situation in which the Egyptian army is patrolling the streets to intimidate possible arson and looting attacks could last for some time. “Australians in Egypt should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety and security risks,” the statement read. “We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners.” Following the departments recommendations, tourists in Egypt looking to stay in the loop have faced difficulties accessing outlets with reports of disruptions to communication networks including mobile phones and the internet. Travellers faced further turmoil overnight with the 4.00pm to 8.00am curfew introduced by the Egyptian government which forced many stranded to take shelter in the airport. According to the source an airport worker cautioned travellers to leave before nightfall because “it will be night soon and you do not want to be outside when night falls”. “It’s very dangerous,” he warned. Two young Australian women are among those stranded at Cairo Airport and they told Ninemsn that they fear for their lives. 22 year old Cassie who is travelling with her 19 year old sister Michelle said that she never felt so desperate in her life. “There are people out the front of the airport with machine guns killing people,” Cassie said. “They are fighting over the smallest things — like water.“There’s no police, no military.” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said up to 870 Australians are registered to be in Egypt but the reality is that there could be thousands.While the US and Iraqi governments have begun organising evacuation plans for their nationals, Australia, Britain, France and China still have no plans for emergency removal. The Australian department has however advised travellers requiring emergency assistance in Egypt to contact the Embassy on +202 2575 0444 or the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 1300 555 135. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

RCI Pacific Announces Go Green 2012 Award Winners

first_img RCI, the global leader in holiday exchange,announced the winners of its innovative “Go Green Awards” for its affiliated resorts in thePacific region at the recent Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC)conference. This award is a reflection of RCI’s ongoing commitment to environmental and socialstewardship.New Zealand’s Club Paihia took top honours, winning the grand prize two years running. Theresort significantly improved an already impressive array of green accomplishments, includingongoing refurbishments, cost-effective sustainable practices, continued care for an adjacentnative wildlife habitat and an evident enviro-friendly supply chain of management.Runners-up Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Torquay and The Pines Resort in Wanaka,New Zealand, shared similarities including a modified setting where both finalists arestrategically working toward becoming models of in-town sustainability within resortcommunities. To recognise their commitment to sustainable environmental practices, each of thefinalists received cash donations to further expand their environmental programs.Dr. David Weaver, professor of Tourism Research at Griffith University, acted as adjudicatoragain this year, assessing resorts on a combination of energy use, waste disposal and reduction,supply chain and water management, facility design, and community and guest engagement – a“best practice” self-assessment process, similar to the top green awards and certificationscurrently in circulation within the tourism industry.“The three impressive finalists selected this year all reflect the triple challenge of (a) managing‘inherited’ properties that were not originally built with sustainability in mind, (b) coping withtricky climate and topography conditions and (c) meeting customer and owner expectations ofcomfort and amenity,” explained Dr. Weaver.According to Dr. Weaver, practices such as recycling and linen re-use programs, bothinnovations two decades ago, are now the norm and taken for granted. He believes it’s the newinitiatives such as refurbishment strategies and educating stakeholders about the personal andglobal benefits of sustainable practices that are crucial. “Differentiating your property now isabout going the extra mile to help the community and the environment through outreach todifferent stakeholder groups,” added Dr. Weaver.With eco-holidaying and green-tourism steadily evolving into mainstream travel, RCI Pacificsaw an opportunity three years ago to pioneer the first timeshare ‘Go Green’ program in thePacific and for RCI worldwide. “Recognising a growing ‘green conscious’ member base allowed us to champion a green message in line with our corporate social responsibility,” said CharisseCox, managing director of RCI Pacific.“By actively engaging affiliated resorts within the exchange network to embrace sustainablepractices and to demonstrate a commitment to incorporating green measures into all facets ofdaily resort operations, we are seeing resorts capitalise on the social and economic benefit tobusiness and to their respective communities,” said Cox.As the coveted RCI ‘Go Green Award’ program continues to grow and gain support regionally, ithas also expanded on an RCI global level. North America and Europe have both modelled theirGreen Award programs after the successful Pacific initiative and recently announced their GreenAward winners. Charisse Cox (Managing Director RCI Pacific) & Martyn Rix (CEO of Monad Pacific Management), the management company for Club Paihia. Charisse Cox (Managing Director RCI Pacific) & Stephen Goy (Operations Manager Monad Pacific Management), the management company for The Pines Resort. Charisse Cox (Managing Director RCI Pacific) & Barry Robinson (Managing Director and CEO of Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific). Source = RCIlast_img read more

Etihads record growth

first_img“Headlining our partnership activities, we continued to work closely with regulatory authorities in India as we progressed our plans to acquire 24 percent of Jet Airways – the first offshore investment in an Indian airline under the country’s Foreign Direct Investment legislation,” Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan said. Flights to the carrier’s hub in Abu Dhabi are slated to begin June 2014, pending regulatory approval. “We also increased our stake in Virgin Australia from 10.5 to 17.4 percent, and launched partnerships with South African Airways, Air Canada, Belavia and Korean Air, taking to 46 our number of codeshare agreements and expanding our virtual network to 375 destinations.” Total revenue rose 11 percent to US$1.4 billion, while passenger load factors reached 81 percent. Revenue from codeshare and equity alliance partners increased by 36 percent to US$247 million in the third quarter, compared to US$181 million in Q3 2012. Source = ETB News: P.T.center_img “We signed an agreement with the Government of Serbia to enter into a five-year contract to manage Serbia’s national airline, Air Serbia, currently trading as Jat Airways, and integrated its frequent flyer program with our own Etihad Guest. Etihad Airways continues to post record growth results, with passenger revenue exceeding one billion US dollars for the first time, during the third quarter (Q3) of this year. Etihad’s total passenger numbers passed the three million mark during Q3, while passenger revenues increased by 10 percent to just over US$1.03 billion during the same period. The Emirati carrier has revealed plans to make Los Angeles its fourth US destination.last_img read more

Melbourne airport strong passenger growth for 2013

first_imgChina Eastern introduced Shanghai-Melbourne three times per week seasonal services from December 2013 to February 2014. This is in addition to the daily scheduled seven per week services. “Melbourne is known as Australia’s event capital with events such as The Ashes and the World Diabetes Conference, both held in December, showcasing Melbourne for the global destination it is.” Melbourne Airport CEO Mr Chris Woodruff said 2013 was a milestone year for the airport. New and increased international airline services in 2013 included: Qantas launched a daily Melbourne-Singapore service Air India commenced services in Australia with the launch of its Delhi-Sydney-Melbourne service with the first 787 Dreamliner Virgin Australia increased its Melbourne-Fiji services to a daily service “The approval of our Master Plan was a significant achievement for 2013 and sets the direction of our developments for the next 20 years. We also laid the foundations for the largest transformation of Melbourne Airport since it opened more than 40 years ago as we ensure that our facilities are able to manage the 60 million passengers forecast for 2033,” said Mr Woodruff. The calendar year to 31 December 2013 saw total passenger growth of 4 per cent at Melbourne Airport, with 30,475,166 passengers passing through the airport. Korean Air ceased its  three per week Melbourne- Seoul services “We reached the milestone mark of 30 million passengers in 2013 and as Victoria’s international aviation gateway, we will continue to provide access to global destinations as well as help to strengthen ties with key business, education, tourism and export markets to support the growth of our great state.” Philippines Airlines introduced direct services to Manila three times a week replacing services that triangulated via Sydney. Funds from the issuance were used to repay outstanding bank debt and provide additional liquidity. The transaction reaffirms the market’s confidence in the management of Melbourne Airport and extends the maturity profile of the business aligned with the long term nature of the business and assets. Domestic review A review of 2013 Qantas increased capacity on a number of key routes including Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Launceston. Domestic seat capacity increased by 901,527 seats, an increase of 3 per cent compared to 2012. Domestic passengers increased by 3 per cent compared to 2012, taking total domestic passengers to 23,051,421 for 2013.Domestic airline service developments in 2013 included: Sichuan Airlines commenced its first Australian service with the launch of direct Chengdu-Melbourne service three times per week Countries with strong growth in 2013 were Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Vietnam, all growing by more than 10 per cent compared to 2012. Australian passport holders increased by 6.5 per cent for 2013. “December was a record month for us – it was our busiest month on record, the 21st December was also our busiest day on record for international passengers and, for the first time, there were more than 700,000 international passengers in a month,” said Mr Woodruff. Melbourne Airport is rated A- and A3 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services respectively. Malaysian Airlines introduced a third daily service to Malaysia An additional 482,189 international passengers, or 7 per cent increase compared to 2012, flew in and out of Melbourne during 2013 with international passengers reaching a total of 7,423,745 passengers.  Etihad introduced the larger Boeing 777 aircraft for its services Air New Zealand increased capacity on its services to Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. China Southern increased capacity on its Guangzhou service to 14 per week during the peak summer season. Jetstar introduced a fourth weekly service to Honolulu during the peak summer period.  Jetstar also launched a direct service to Phuket and upgraded to a B787 on its Bali services. A direct service to Tokyo was also announced and is due to commence in April 2014. Refinancing Strong international passenger growth in December has seen Melbourne Airport handle more than 7 million international passengers for the year, a 7 per cent increase compared to 2012.  International seat capacity increased by 705,890 seats, an increase of 7.4 per cent. In September 2013, Melbourne Airport successfully raised €550 million (A$785 million) in the European bond market. This transaction was Melbourne Airport’s first in this market and was heavily oversubscribed. The bonds were issued to 145 investors and mature in September 2023. Garuda added two Bali-Melbourne services to become a daily service and also added another weekly Jakarta-Melbourne service to reach 5 daily services Source = Melbourne Airport Tiger Airways gradually grew its Melbourne network throughout the year to 10 destinations, adding Alice Springs and Sunshine Coast to services to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Hobart, Mackay, Perth, and Sydney. “Our airline customers also supported Victoria in 2013 with many introducing new services, new destinations or increased capacity on key routes with a focus on the growing Asian market,” said Mr Woodruff. Virgin Australia increased capacity on services to Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, and Launceston by adding services and upgrading to wide body aircraft. Domestic passengers increased by 3 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012, reaching 23,051,421 passengers.  For the month of December 2013, international passengers increased by 10 per cent and domestic passengers increased by 3 per cent compared to the same month last year. Australian passport holders increased by 7 per cent.   International review Singapore Airlines introduced a fourth daily service to Singapore Jetstar increased capacity on services to key leisure destinations including the Gold Coast and Cairns as well as added services to capital city routes including Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Launceston. Air Asia X increased services to Malaysia to 14 per weeklast_img read more

Club Med announces partnership with Facebook

first_imgImage via Club MedClub Med announced today its partnership with Facebook, making it the first global tourism company to offer Facebook at Work to its staff, i.e. around 13,000 employees in more than 40 countries around the world.Facebook at Work is a version of Facebook intended for business and a ground-breaking tool that is changing the way employees communicate.For Club Med, operating in 66 resort villages and present in the five continents, Facebook at Work will help connect all of the teams – representing more than 110 different nationalities – with the goal of sharing and enhancing the guest experience.Club Med revolutionized how people think about holidays by creating high-end all-inclusive holidays with no constraints. With this same pioneering spirit, Facebook at Work will help transform the way Club Med teams communicate and collaborate with each other.User-friendly Facebook at Work, based on the Facebook application (with the same “like”, “chat”, “survey”, translation, etc. functionalities), is devised for mobile use and increases tenfold the possibilities for pooling ideas and innovation by employees, who will be able to contact each other via their mobile phones, tablets or computers across time zones, languages and platforms.Therefore, all members of the company will be connected from Gentils Organisateurs (GOs) to members of the General Management Committee, in the four corners of the world.Anne Browaeys-Level, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Club Méditerranée, stated, “We are proud to be the first global tourism company to deploy Facebook at Work. Our mission is to please our customers when they stay at Club Med resorts.“This mission feeds our employee culture, where we strive to be transparent, multicultural and innovative.  We’re always looking for new ways of fostering this culture across the whole company.“Facebook at Work is a user-friendly mobile tool which will be essential to contribute to pooling ideas and innovation at Club Med, creating a more productive workplace.” Club MedSource = Club Medlast_img read more

KAYAK introduces Facebook Messenger bot for Aussies

first_imgKAYAK.com.au has announced the launch of the KAYAK bot for Facebook Messenger in Australia. The innovative featured update allows Aussie travellers to use a bot to search, plan, book and manage their travel.The KAYAK bot gives users ideas for where they can go within their budget, shows them when the best time to travel is, and will keep them right up-to-date with their travel plans – all from the convenient location of Messenger. The booking process can even be started within Messenger, keeping everything in one easy-to-access place.With a dedicated team of engineers constantly developing the new feature and through the bot’s intuitive user response system, functionality will only look to increase, offering Australian users an unparalleled travel booking experience through their mobile.How to use the bot:Start: Open Facebook Messenger. Open a new message. Put KAYAK in the “to” field and off we go (make sure to ‘like’ the KAYAK AU page on Facebook first)Plan: Start by messaging us with your travel plans (e.g. flights to Palma de Mallorca tomorrow, hotels in Rome tonight, cars in Porto on July 20, things to do in Munich). After a few questions, we’ll search hundreds of other travel sites simultaneously for the info you need. Then, we’ll message you back with a summary of your results or curated suggestionsFilter: You can further narrow your search by giving us more information about your preferences; like ‘non-stop only,’ ‘no XYZ Airline,’ or ‘only 5-star hotels.’Explore: If you are looking for some inspiration, just ask the bot “where can I go for $300” (or whatever amount you choose) and we’ll give you all the available options within that budgetBook: After looking through our suggestions, when you find an option you like, simply click “Book.” You will be sent directly to our provider’s booking pageManage: For users with a KAYAK account, link your account to Facebook via your KAYAK Trips settings. This will allow you to receive real-time notifications for gate changes, flight delays or check-in status via Messenger. You can also access your bookings and other details of your Trips through Messenger“We’re pleased to introduce the KAYAK Messenger bot to Aussie travellers. The bot is another way to offer the most innovative and cutting-edge technology to our users. Now travellers can search, book and manage their travel from beginning to end in one convenient location. They can even use emojis to find and book their next trip!” comments Debby Soo, KAYAK Vice President APAC.This integration with Messenger in Australia follows hot on the heels of the latest US application launches. KAYAK for Slack (where individuals and teams are helped to search for travel options) and Amazon Alexa (where the bot is plugged with KAYAK data to help answer users all those burning travel questions). KAYAK.com.auSource = KAYAKlast_img read more

Etihad Airways to increase capacity to Australia

first_imgEtihad Airways to increase capacity to AustraliaEtihad Airways to increase capacity to AustraliaEtihad Airways will add three weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney to operate a double-daily schedule from 6 February 2017.The morning departure from Abu Dhabi – EY450 – and the afternoon departure from Sydney – EY451 – will increase from four to seven flights per week.This enhancement to the airline’s Sydney schedule comes with the move by strategic partner Virgin Australia to shift its Australia to Abu Dhabi operation from Sydney to Perth from 9 June 2017.Expanding the codeshare agreement, Etihad Airways will add its EY code to Virgin Australia’s new three weekly Perth-Abu Dhabi flights.The combined impact of the additional Sydney capacity and new codeshare with Virgin Australia is an increase in the UAE flag carrier’s Australian footprint from a total of 42 to 45 weekly flights.To maintain schedule continuity, Etihad Airways will operate its three new weekly Sydney services at the same timings as Virgin Australia’s current Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights, on which Etihad Airways has placed its EY code since they began in February 2011.Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, Peter Baumgartner, said: “Australia is a critical part of our network, and we will continue to add capacity in order to meet the growing two-way demand for business and leisure travel.“The allocation of our newest equipment, the A380 and B787, to all four Australian gateways, and investment of our next-generation product and service offering demonstrate our commitment to this highly competitive market.”Mr Baumgartner also highlighted the benefits for travellers of the new codeshare with Virgin Australia and capacity increase on the Perth route.“From mid-2017, business and leisure travellers on the Perth route will enjoy the convenience of 10 weekly non-stop flights to our Abu Dhabi hub and seamless connectivity to more than 55 cities across Etihad Airways’ global network.”Among the new two-way connected markets for Perth are Athens, Beirut, Geneva, Istanbul, and a number of African destinations including Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Khartoum and Nairobi.The additional Sydney flights will be operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER, the aircraft type operating the current EY450/451 pattern. The aircraft is configured with eight seats in First Class, 40 in Business Class and 280 in Economy Class. Etihad Airwaysbook flights hereAbout Etihad Aviation GroupEtihad Aviation Group (EAG) is a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising four business divisions – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways Engineering, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners. The group has minority investments in seven airlines: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional.From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, 117 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 122 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s.Source = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

North Stradbroke Island adds a touch of glam to the great outdoors

first_imgNorth Stradbroke Island adds a touch of glam to the great outdoorsNorth Stradbroke Island adds a touch of glam to the great outdoorsFollowing the success of last year’s ‘pop up’ Flash Camp on North Stradbroke Island, Straddie Camping has launched a permanent flash camping site on the beachfront near the island’s most popular tourist village, Point Lookout.The mini-village of ten flash camping tents is located at Adder Rock on the northern coast, in a shady area, sheltered behind native tea tree and pandanus forests, with a beach directly in front of the camping ground.The glamping tents offer high-quality bedding, cotton sheets, fresh towels, two bamboo chairs and power, and are fully made up and ready for the arrival of guests, who also have access to the Adder Beach Camping Ground’s communal facilities. Restaurants and shops are within easy access of the camp site.The launch of the permanent glamping tents is perfectly timed for visitors to take advantage of the whale migration season – with whales passing by North Straddie throughout the season to November – and also the annual Quandamooka Festival, which offers a packed itinerary of events on North Stradbroke Island, including many on weekends, till September.Called Minjerribah by the Indigenous Quandamooka people, and affectionately known as ‘Straddie’ among locals, North Stradbroke Island’s laid-back vibe and subtropical beauty have established it as one of Queensland’s most popular camping areas. Visitors can view whales, dolphins and manta rays on the North Gorge Headlands Walk, take a scuba-diving adventure, hike through bushland to magnificent freshwater lakes, enjoy a 4WD tour on the beach, go fishing, or simply sit back and enjoy the glorious sunsets.Straddie Camping’s acting CEO, Hugo Johnston, said that that the demand for more ‘flash’ style camping was evident during the first ‘pop up’ Flash Camp in 2016: “We experimented with Flash Camp during holiday periods, and it became clear that there was a growing market for this style of camping so we decided to make it a permanent feature of our camping options.“There’s a revival of interest in camping, but while many people are attracted by the idea of camping under the stars, they’re dissuaded by all the work and hassle that goes with bringing in all the equipment and the potential lack of comfort. With our glamping option you have all the benefits of being in a traditional camping ground and out in the open, but with comforts that are more typical of hotels. A good night’s sleep in such beautiful surroundings can really help make for a memorable holiday.”Nightly rates for the flash camping start from $99 for two people.North Stradbroke Island is located in Moreton Bay, 30 kilometres south east of Brisbane. The island is easily accessible by regular ferry services (car and passenger).Source = North Stradbroke Islandlast_img read more

New platform offers travel agents direct

first_imgNew platform offers travel agents directNew platform offers travel agents directTripAdvisor’s Viator today announced the launch of its Travel Agent Program (TAP), a new booking platform created specifically for travel agents.Agents can now book directly through Viator, gaining direct and immediate access to the world’s largest selection of more than 70,000 commissionable tours and attractions, including TripAdvisor and Viator’s VIP, Exclusive and Skip the Line products. Both host agencies and independent agents can register on TAP, and since testing began last month, thousands of agents have created accounts and booked experiences for their clients directly through Viator.“While most platforms cater to the end-user or traveler, we’ve designed TAP specifically for travel agents and their businesses.  For the first time, agents will have direct access to the world’s largest collection of attractions and tours, and we’re working to make their booking experience seamless,” said Ben Drew, Head of Growth, Viator. “We’ll collect and incorporate feedback from early adopters as we continue to evolve the program and, ultimately, help agents around the world grow their businesses.”To date, feedback from agents on the platform has been positive. “We’re glad that Viator understands and appreciates the value of travel agents,” said Ellen Klein, Manager, TZell Travel Group Long Island.  “We recently signed up for the Viator Travel Agent Program and we’re very happy with it – it makes bookings easier and more profitable for us.”TAP offers a competitive commission rate and caters to a global travel agent audience, allowing for multiple currencies, along with monthly reporting for easy performance analysis.  Agents will also have access to a resource center with helpful tips and content, including agent training, product knowledge development and destination guides to increase industry knowledge and in turn, their bottom lines.Agents can now join the program without any fees or restrictions to book as an individual, a host agency, or member of host agency and receive direct commission from Viator, without third-party payment distribution.Source = TripAdvisorlast_img read more

Experience the majesty of Norway

first_imgExperience the majesty of NorwayExperience the majesty of NorwaySave $600 per couple. Plus special low fare for solos.Swimming with wild whales during winter in Norway may sound intrepid but with the help of dry suits, expert guides and a central-heated expedition vessel, travellers can spot and swim with humpbacks and orcas on a unique adventure holiday offered by Australian-based Majestic Whale Encounters.The nine-night Norway cruise tour also includes opportunities to meet the Arctic’s indigenous people and witness the stunning Northern Lights. The tour is available for two dates in 2019 – November 16 and 22 – and Australians can save up to $600 per couple by booking by October 1, 2018.Led by renowned Scottish photographer and conservationist, Grant Thomas, the expedition includes a six-night cruise along Norway’s wild coastline and three nights in boutique cabins. Guests will sail aboard the 16-passenger MS Stronstad, an expedition vessel with hot tubs and central heating.The round-trip cruise from Tromso along Norway’s spectacular fjords, lined by snow-capped mountains, offers guests a unique opportunity to see humpbacks, finn and minke whales, puffins, bearded seals, deer, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with the resident, herring-eating orcas – with the protection of a dry suit.After the cruise, the adventure continues ashore with three nights spent in mountain cabins near Tromso – one of the best vantage points in the world to see the spectacular phenomenon of the Northern Lights. Guests will also visit a reindeer camp where they can enjoy a sled ride through the forest. Afterwards, guests are invited into a traditional lavvo (Sami tent) to enjoy the rare offering of a traditional meal cooked on a fire while listening to traditional Sami stories.The tour culminates in a day at the Tromso Husky Farm, where guests will be greeted by 120 Alaskan huskies and depending on conditions, lead a team of dogs through the scenic landscape.“Swimming with orcas is an unforgettable experience” Majestic Whale Encounters Managing Director, Carmen Ellis, said. “Nothing is more humbling than sharing the underwater world with these highly intelligent, highly social mammals who grow up to 10m in length. We aim to run out trip with maximum interaction and minimal impact and we feel very honoured to share in this experience.”The 10-day cruise tour starts in Tromso, Norway, on November 16 and also November 22, 2019, and, if booked by October 1, 2018, is available from $8100 per person, twin-share, or from $7600 for solo travellers, quad-share, including the $300 per person earlybird discount. The tour includes a six-day cruise, use of dry suits, all main meals, transfers, three nights’ accommodation in Tromso, husky safari, reindeer experience and Northern Lights tour. Flights from Australia are extra.For bookings or information, call Majestic Whale Encounters on 0405 594 253 or visit www.majesticwhaleencounters.com.auSource = Majestic Whale Encounterslast_img read more